With the year winding down, it’s time to start focusing on building your marketing plan for the upcoming year. It’s at times like these where I wish that I had access to Doc Brown’s DeLorean to take a trip into the not so distant future, so I know exactly what to expect. Unfortunately, while we do finally have those self-lacing Nikes that have eluded us for so long, we’re stuck in the present day. Just because we can’t see into the future, doesn’t mean we can’t make informed predictions about where we should focus our marketing efforts. Below are 6 big bets that businesses can bank on being important in 2017.
Continued growth of mobile
It’s no secret that mobile devices and mobile content should be an integral part of your marketing plan. That importance is only going to grow in the coming year. Mobile searches continue to outpace desktop searches, and this development has caused Google to take action. As we posted previously, the search engine giant is experimenting with mobile-first indexing to help determine search engine ranking. This could spell trouble if your site and content isn’t mobile friendly.
What can your business do to make sure its content is mobile-ready? The easiest thing to do is implement a responsive design on your website. Doing so will ensure your audience receives an optimal experience regardless of the device they are using. For tips on how to best create content and implement a responsive website design, check out this article on business.com.
Importance of data-driven marketing
Is your business taking advantage of all the valuable data it’s collecting about its customers, competitors, and marketing campaigns? If not, you should definitely incorporate data-driven marketing initiatives into your 2017 marketing plan. Using data can help you streamline and automate your marketing campaigns. This will free up time for you to focus on strategy, develop creative content, and fine-tune your campaigns.
If you’re anything like me, you went into marketing because you weren’t good with numbers. Statistics was something you had to endure in college, not something you enjoy digging into. Luckily, there are tools available that will aggregate all of your data sources and present it in an easy-to-read manner.
A/B testing is a good first step into data-driven marketing. Conducting A/B tests helps businesses quantitatively determine what is and isn’t working and more importantly helps them understand why. You can test subject lines, calls to action, images, the timing of emails, copy, etc. It’s important to know what the goals of your A/B tests are before you start. Do you want to increase open rates, improve click-throughs, or boost time on page? It’s also important to not stop after a single test. If you truly want to improve your marketing efforts, you should continually test and optimize your campaigns and use all the data you have available to improve your efforts.
Getting hyperlocal with your campaigns
Another area where you can use data to drive your 2017 marketing plan is by using it to create hyperlocal campaigns. In his surprising victory this fall, President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign used the massive data sets of the RNC to hyper-target messages, allowing them to reach a specific group of people in important geographic areas without breaking the bank on TV advertising. Once they identified who they were targeting, they hit them with specific messages they felt would resonate most with them based on the data.
With the sheer number of messages consumers are bombarded with each day, it’s getting more and more important to target your messages to specific geographic areas or demographics to make sure you’re cutting through the noise. This is especially true for small, locally-owned businesses. You don’t need to reach the masses. You just need to reach the people who A: live in your area; and B: could benefit from the product or service you provide.
Personalization is one hyperlocal marketing tactic that will help you stand out. According to Hubspot, personalized calls-to-action receive a 42% higher conversion rate than non-personalized calls to action.
Chatbots coming to life
Ever since Facebook announced it was upgrading its messenger platform to include chatbots, businesses have been clamoring to figure out ways take advantage. For those of you unfamiliar, a chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate human conversations. They can be used to improve online customer service, troubleshoot issues, and act as the first line of defense for your business online. The easier you make it for consumers to interact and do business with you online the happier and more loyal they will be to your business. Chatbots are a good tool to streamline and improve the online customer experience.
Utilizing live stream video to connect with customers
Whether we want to admit it or not, most of us probably giggled with delight when we watched Candace Payne put on a Chewbacca mask and transform from an ordinary Star Wars fan to a viral sensation. Audiences viewed Payne’s Facebook Live video 105 million times in just two days. It quickly became the most-viewed Facebook Live video of all time.
Live stream video like Facebook Live and Periscope is quickly gaining traction with consumers. The question many businesses are wondering is what they can do to take advantage of this trend. The easiest way to incorporate live streaming into your 2017 marketing plan is broadcasting company events or conducting live Q&As with your customers. These simple things give customers a peek behind the curtain and provide them with access to information they might not have otherwise. Additionally, it gives you another opportunity to engage with and build relationships with your customers.
The power of online reviews will grow
It’s hard to imagine the power and influence of online reviews could get any greater than it already is. Right now, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends. Add to that the fact that 90% of purchase decisions are influenced by online reviews and you have a pretty powerful tool.
With each passing year, consumers are getting savvier. They are finding ways to bypass your marketing messages with information from independent sources like reviews. Businesses that haven’t found a way to harness the voice of their customer could lag behind the competition.
One of the best ways to build a thriving online reputation is by implementing an online review management platform as part of your marketing plan. A good platform will streamline the invitation process, making it easy for your customers to leave reviews. The key is to be proactive and ask all of your customers to provide feedback. Doing so will ensure your reputation is representative of actual customer experience.
Make Podium Part of Your 2017 Marketing Plan
Request a demo to see how Podium’s cloud-based solution can help you use text messages to invite all of your customers to review your business. Podium’s efficient, mobile process can help your business build a strong online presence on the sites that matter most. This will, in turn, improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenues.