By: Thomas Young
If you only work on three new strategic digital marketing strategies in 2017, choose these to increase website traffic and grow sales. These strategic digital marketing trends are not new, but they will certainly intensify during the coming year and became more commonly used by web marketers.
These strategic digital marketing trends are important because it is harder than ever to appear at the top of Google search results. Companies and brands will need to find different methods than they used in the past for getting found in Google. Social media, email marketing and offline marketing are your best options in 2017.
Let’s start with social media, which is dominated by Facebook.
Trend Number 1: Social Media is Growing in a Vacuum
At Intuitive Websites, we review Google Analytics data from hundreds of websites. Most websites are seeing slow growth in search engine traffic, but steady growth in social media visits. In fact, the biggest challenge in SEO today is to maintain your rankings and not lose positioning to competitors!
A major factor in this trend is how people use social media in place of Google searches. More people are turning to social media for news and content instead of going to a web browser to search for a company website on Google. This has led to an increase in social media ads on Facebook and a movement towards better content and reporting, coming from Facebook. People who prefer social media content spend less time on Google visiting websites and more time on Facebook.
Facebook will do a much better job separating fake news from real news in 2017. Fake news is not going away, but Facebook users will be able to know when a fake news story appears in their news feed. This will help companies get a better return from the content they post in Facebook as the credibility of Facebook as a content resource improves.
The downside of increased Facebook traffic is lower conversion rates. Facebook is a horrible conversion source for web marketers. Websites are much better at conversions because of user intent when they visit a website and because the well organization website content will best motivate conversions.
Social Media Action Items for 2017:
- Learn about and test Facebook ads and post interesting and valuable content weekly to Facebook. Don’t worry about repeating popular posts, because content moves quickly down the Facebook news feed.
- Link your website to your Facebook page. Likewise, all Facebook content should have a link back to your website.
- Set-up conversion tracking in Google Analytics and use the Facebook Pixel in your Facebook ads to help track conversions.
Trend Number 2: Email Marketing Grows and Matures
Email will be the best sales tool of 2017 for businesses of all sizes. People have options when it comes to web searches and also in how they use social media and your website is easily missed, yet almost all professionals will read their email. You can get more targeted people to read your content and click through to your website with email newsletters.
Web marketers will work on your behalf to customize email content with the goal of activating dormant customers and to attract new buyers. Expect to see increased use of email newsletters as a sales tool to generate leads and sustain customer loyalty. All of this can be done with low investments and a high potential return.
Not only will email continue to be the most popular sales tool for sales teams, but companies like MailChimp will continue to grow and expand their products and services with more options on reaching your target market.
Email Marketing Action Items
- If you are not already doing it, start building an email marketing list today and segment your target markets. Use MailChimp or similar email program.
- Set up email newsletter sign-ups as a key conversion point on your website and in social media.
- Send out monthly email newsletters with great content that people are excited to read and share.
Trend Number 3: Use Offline Marketing and Sales to Complement Web Marketing
Marketing professionals will need to work hard in 2017 using offline marketing tactics to drive website visits and conversions. This offline work will be used to complement search engine optimization (SEO) and other online advertising. This may include an increase in print advertising, sales team growth, printed materials and other traditional marketing efforts. The key is to be strategic in combining offline efforts with strategic digital marketing strategies by focusing on your company’s core strengths in both areas.
Because it is so difficult to get Google traffic, many traditional outbound marketing tactics are coming back. The key to success is how well they work alongside your digital marketing efforts.
Offline Marketing Action Items
- Establish dedicated website landing pages for all print materials and offline marketing campaigns.
- Train your salespeople on content marketing and website lead generation.
- Encourage your sales team to write blogs and post to social media. Salespeople can be an excellent content resource.
Here are a few more strategic digital marketing trends to watch for in 2017.
- Look for deeper discounts coming for Google AdWords.
- Prices will increase for Facebook ads and data will improve.
- Email newsletters will merge with blog posts and other content.
- New website content is the best option to increase website visits from Google searches.
- Mobile traffic will continue to grow and surpass 50% of visitors for most websites.
- There will be more spam to remove from Google Analytics.
Social media, email and offline selling; these are the keys to successful online marketing in 2017. Of course, a great website and content strategy as a foundation is a must.
You may already find yourself thinking about these trends and your plans to make them work for your business. Businesses of all sizes will take more time in 2017 to build customer loyalty than ever before and will work very hard to keep those customers.
Thomas Young is the CEO and founder of Intuitive Websites. He is an author, speaker and digital marketing consultant. Order Tom’s book “Winning the Website War” to get more digital marketing insights.