Everyone likes to talk about new plans for 2017, but there's another aspect to getting ready for a new year – something that comes up when discussing budgets and long-term digital marketing challenges and strategies: What are we going to leave behind? Let's face it, some trends are good year-long events but need to be discarded when you're sharpening up your new plans. So what can you leave behind in 2016, and what needs more focus in 2017? We took a look at the trends, and made a quick list for you to review. Check it out!
Digital Marketing Challenges: Leave Behind in 2016
1. Shortening Your Messages
In 2016 we heard a lot of talk about how everyone's attention spans were dropping, and how people just don't have enough time to absorb anything online. The theory was that super short, Twitter-length messages would engage more people and lead to more conversions. This idea was good for its time (especially on mobile devices), but it's not exactly a rule. We've talked before about how attention spans actually vary and how longform blog posts both improve SEO and attract buyers looking for high-quality posts. So don't be afraid to go long in 2017.
2. Worrying about Search Engine Algorithms
Every time Google announces a search engine update, it's like throwing a big rock in a small pool. Everyone spends the next few days scurrying around wondering what they have to change (us included, sometimes!), and the SEO landscape often shifts. But there's a good reason you don't have to worry much about this in 2017: Google's latest change means that all updates will go up in real time. That means no more big announcements or changes – just a long stream of tiny, immediate updates that general focus on improving content quality around the Internet.
3. Proving ROI for Social Media
Isn't the time long past for "proving ROI" for your social media work? Because it needs to be. We have the metrics. We have proof of social media activity and that conversions can result from work. There's neither place nor time to wonder if social media is effective or not, because we know that it is. If you have a boss or peer who still doubts that ROI exists for social content, sit them down and have a serious talk before the new year, because you don't need this headache for 2017.
Digital Marketing Challenges: Tackle Head On in 2017
1. Expand Your Reach
Now is the time to increase your followers, reach out to influencers, and establish a wider circle of people who pay attention to you. Competition for an audience is only going to increase in the future, so you need to establish a following ASAP. Expand your reach by actively seeking out more followers on every platform, and diversifying into new channels. We suggest creating a strict trial period where you try out a platform, choose the right metric for analyzing your work, and see if it is attracting new prospects. If it is, adopt that channel for long-term work. Snapchat and Instagram are good candidates for this process, but so are less app-related channels, like guest-blogging and participating in more LinkedIn discussions/groups.
2. Use New Forms Content
With video content on the rise, you certainly need to use at least a few videos in your upcoming online marketing campaigns. But if you really want to attract attention and win the eyes of new leads, then you should forage ahead into newer forms of content. We're talking about drone video, virtual reality video, and other experiences that are only now becoming powerful marketing tools. Hop on board!
3. Rethink Design
We're seeing a growing gulf between designs that are "just okay" and designs that really give confidence to buyers – and make no mistake, buyers are judging your web design. This is particularly important with mobile design, as Google is pushing for more minimalistic, mobile-first designs while a lot of companies are holding back and saying, "Eh, responsive design is enough for us." 2017 will be the year to look in the mirror and ask, "Is responsive design really enough? Is it impressing prospects?" Because if people aren't impressed, you aren't making new sales.