2017 Digital Detox: A Guide to Your Healthiest Marketing Self

in Digital Marketing Strategy & Trends | by Adrienne Morgan

2017 will finally be the year you travel the world, run a marathon, buy a house and nail a digital marketing strategy that will set you above your competition.

OK, so while we can’t speak for the first three resolutions (but we believe in you!), as a badass integrated marketing agency, we do have some digital marketing experience. Our team of strategy gurus forecasted the most important trends for the new year so now it’s time to put them into action. Don’t worry, we did all the thinking for you so you can save your energy for the gym. Ready to get down and dirty? Here are your resolutions and an action plan for 2017.

Resolution 1: Go Deep with Data or Go Home

We know you know your customers, but do you really know them? Rather than relying on vague generalizations, make this the year the one where you get specific (and smart) with analytics. A small amount of information-dense data has greater business value than an ocean of broad-based knowledge.

Start: Utilizing lead scoring and grading to align with the highest potential customer profile. By analyzing your customer’s behavior and assigning value to their activities, you can determine whether or not they are a good fit for your marketing efforts.

Stop: Stop using vague demographics like ‘general public’ to target your audience. One size does not fit all.

Continue: Micro-segmenting your audience based on specific similarities, such as geography, age, gender, interests and spending habits. Filter it down to Team Taylor or Team Kanye, why don’t you.

As with all resolutions, be specific. Once you narrow down your playing field—and who’s playing on it—automate the heck out of it. Then knock those conversions out of the park.

Resolution 2: Go for the Experience

SEO is now an experience, not just an engine optimization trick. Google is starting to humanize its results (think: movie times, events and recipes), so that means you must take a more holistic approach to SEO. The goal should be link interaction, not just top rankings.

Start: Curling those biceps…and SEO optimization. CURL, which stands for content, user experience, RankBrain and links, are all key factors when ranking in Google’s algorithm. The CURL method is a best practice for SEO optimization and provides a model framework for optimizing search experience.

Stop: Sacrificing quality for quantity of link building. Would you rather spend money on eight McDonald’s burgers or one filet mignon? Hint: Your body would prefer the latter. A small number of reputable links with valuable content will give you a greater ROI than hundreds of low-grade links scattered across the web.

Continue: Improving your site’s speed. Implement best practices such as minification, caching and a mobile-friendly approach to ensure an overall ease of use.

Adapting to Google’s changes will ensure your survival in the digital jungle known as the Internet. But we were serious—bigger biceps wouldn’t hurt, either.

Resolution 3: Master the Art of Integration

Omni-channel marketing, which provides a seamless and consistent user experience regardless of channel or device, is now crucial for keeping audiences in tune and engaged. What’s that you say? Rather than just having multiple points of contact like web, email and social media (multi-channel), omni-channel marketing creates an integrated brand experience for the customer.

Start: Using consistent marketing messages and design that speaks to your brand and the customer’s mindset. Give your brand the same look, feel and voice across all platforms.

Stop: Being stubborn. Just buck up and adjust your marketing plan as needed throughout the year. Sure, it was good in January, but ongoing analysis and tweaking will lead to optimal user experience.

Continue: Listening and responding to feedback. Viewing a situation from the eyes of a consumer never killed anyone. In fact, in times of crisis, it might just save you some customers.

Consumers are hit with hundreds of advertisements daily and only the most integrated and consistent brands stand out as memorable. Don’t let your messaging fall through the iPhone screen cracks. And now that we’ve mentioned it, try not to crack that screen this year, either.

Resolution 4: Just Test It

Nike tells us to just do it. We’re telling you to just test it. Just A/B test it. A quick A/B test of two headers, images or landing pages will take the guesswork out of web optimization.

Start: Taking advantage of testing software available on the market. Use tools like Optimizely, Pardot and Marketo to optimize lead generation pages and increase those leads.

Stop: Chickening out. Change is good. Change your hair, change your website, change your life. That’s the saying, right? As daunting as it sounds to run tests (and work off those results) sometimes we need tough love to get over our fears.

Continue: Building your dream team. Content, marketing and web development go hand-in-hand-in-hand. All three positions, plus that new software you invested in, will rival the ‘92 Olympic team.

A/B testing is an underrated yet oh-so-important process. Plus, it sets the framework for more in-depth multivariate testing. 2017 will be a testing breakthrough. We can feel it.

Resolution 5: Pull Out Your Video Camera

You don’t have to win the Oscar for Best Director (our money is on Damien Chazelle), but make it your mission in 2017 to create more (and better) video content. As a video production agency we know first-hand that videos receive a higher level of engagement than text alone. Plus, consumers now demand more than just words from marketers. Words, meet movement.

Start: Using platforms like Boomerang, Instagram and Snapchat. Test out live streaming channels like Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Periscope. Companies must understand their audiences and promote their stories across all appropriate channels, so give a few options a whirl before deciding your course of action.

Stop: Undermining the value of using targeted keywords for video search. Treat your video SEO strategy like you would any other platform and optimize it for search engines.

Continue: Creating videos that are under 60 seconds in length. Any longer and you’ll lose your audience’s attention. And ours, too.

Video is now the norm when it comes to connecting brands to consumers, so it’s time to transition your marketing mindset to accept and embrace this new phase. Plus, who knows where this introduction to video will lead you? We will take praise in the form of an Oscar speech.

Five resolutions down, five more to go. We’ve got the guide you want (and need) for your best and healthiest marketing year yet. Grab Sparxoo’s 2017 Digital Marketing Trends for access to in-depth information on all ten trends. Seriously, this was just the warm-up. Your actionable points, details and marketing puns are waiting for you. Download, read, and go forth and conquer.

Go ahead. Show 2017 who’s boss.