In 2017 we can expect to see more big changes across the world of digital marketing. Over the last few years we’ve passed many major milestones, such as the turning point for mobile traffic which now accounts for the majority of all internet usage and visits to websites.
Meanwhile, the spectrum of different platforms available has continued to develop and diversify, with brands racing to keep up with the latest trends. If you’re interested in pushing the boundaries and getting to new audiences before your competitors, don’t delay any longer – this list of upcoming trends should give you some inspiration.
Facebook is the main player pushing live video to the masses right now. Periscope was on the verge of taking off in a big way about a year ago, but it was quickly snapped up by Twitter who are yet to launch their version of the technology. We can probably expect this very soon.
Live video is an extremely engaging channel that allows businesses to have virtual guests at their real life events, opening up a real-time, two-way communication channel that makes everything feel more exciting. We can expect to see much wider use of live streaming for marketing reasons as the year goes on.
As we spend more time online, we leave more digital footprints. Companies are getting better at harvesting this information and processing it to draw up coherent customer profiles. This brings with it a level of precision-targeting we’ve never seen before, and technology continues to improve in this field.
As a result, all the adverts we see online and getting increasingly specific, which significantly boosts businesses’ chances of getting interactions from these. This is mutually beneficial, since users are exposed to fewer generic ads, and businesses don’t waste money casting nets too widely.
Virtual reality has definitely entered the mainstream, although its marketing applications are currently limited. Some of the most forward-thinking brands are now looking to change that by taking it a step further with augmented reality.
To get a sense of how this can realistically work, think about apps like Snapchat and Pokémon Go which overlay effects and animations on what’s physically in front of you by using your camera phone. Soon we can expect to see more apps that function as personal shopping assistants, helping you find items in shops and providing on-screen information about them using the same principle.
Location-sensitive mobile marketing
Your mobile phone can provide a wealth of information about your behaviour which companies would love to get their hands on. One data type that’s relatively easy to track (once you get someone to install your app) is a person’s location. Some brands are now using this live data to target people with specific ads based on their past purchases.
For example, walking into the vicinity of a particular shop (using technology called geo-fencing) could trigger a notification to remind you about the gift certificate you still have to spend there. Airline apps now offer passengers helpful services like in-flight entertainment guides and live departure updates as they move through the airport and get ready for their flight.
These are just a few of the futuristic techniques we can expect to see more of in the coming months. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, we recommend experimenting with some of these yourself to try and reach your customers in new and exciting ways.
What has your business achieved in the last year?
In any field, it’s important to constantly learn new lessons and put your experience to good use. This is especially true for online businesses, since technology and trends change so fast it can be hard to keep up.
You need to stay on top of your game this year, so what can you do? We recommend setting yourself a few realistic goals for 2017, and working on them as soon as possible.
Here are our top choices for business New Year’s resolutions…
Build your business website
Amazingly, it’s estimated that around 40% of small businesses are still managing with no website at all. This makes it extremely difficult for new customers to find out you even exist, let alone persuade them that you are the right choice for them. It instantly gives your competitors a huge advantage.
If you’re in this position, your first resolution for the year has to be to get online.
Update your website
Got a website already? Great. But is it actually up to scratch?
Although you may have invested a lot of money in your website, but if that was more than two or three years ago, there’s a good chance your site could require an update in order to present your business in the best possible way.
Modern users expect any business to have a fast, attractive and responsive website design that adapts to screens of any size, whether you’re viewing on a phone or a desktop PC. They expect seamless social media integration, easy checkout functions, engaging content… the list goes on.
It might be a daunting task, but there will almost certainly be at least a few small ways you can really improve the experience of visiting your site, and that could convert into great sales figures.
Get on social media
Engaging in conversations on Twitter, Facebook and other channels is no longer optional if you expect to be taken seriously in most markets. Customers in 2017 expect businesses to have a presence everywhere that matters, because they know that even if a business isn’t listening to their opinions, their friends and followers will.
The worst case scenario here is to be getting a bad reputation on a social network you haven’t even signed up for. But apart from damage control, there are many positive reasons to get more active on social media. More personal relationships are usually great for business, so anything that helps connect you with your customers is a great tool when used correctly.
Write a monthly blog
It shouldn’t take too long to sit down and write a few hundred words on something that’s relevant to your niche. After all, you’re passionate about what you do, right?
Of course, not everyone finds blogging that easy, but it’s important to think about the benefits of investing that time and sharing your expertise. As someone managing a business, you have a huge amount to offer your readers, so don’t undervalue your knowledge.
In addition to directly speaking to your customers through your blog, this is also fantastic for search engines. Fresh content appearing on your website on a regular basis is a great indicator for the likes of Google, so you may also see your search positions increasing as a result.
Create a written plan
Whatever you do, it’s essential to write notes on what you plan to achieve by the end of this year, or even in the next few months.
From there, once you have an objective in mind, you can decide what ideas you’re going to implement in order to get there. It’s important to do these things in the right order and make coordination a priority, otherwise you run the risk of all your team members heading in different directions. This makes it much harder to make progress.
We wish you the best of luck with all your business resolutions this year! If you’d like help with these issues or any other plans you have for marketing your business online, we’d love to hear from you and help find a solution.