Make Harnessing the Power of Digital Your New Year’s Resolution

Business owners and decision makers often have New Year’s resolutions that go beyond just personal life improvements and extend to their business practices. If growing your customer base is one of your resolutions this year, consider turning to digital marketing as a solution.

If you are in the process of developing a digital marketing strategy or you just want to get more out of your existing digital marketing efforts, there are plenty of new trends and technological advancements from which your business could be benefiting. Developing or improving your business’ digital marketing may be one of the easiest resolutions you can accomplish this upcoming year!

Here are our top digital marketing recommendations to add to your New Year's marketing resolutions.

Use Your Analytics to Drive Your Strategy

Are your digital marketing efforts data driven? They certainly should be. One of the biggest benefits of digital marketing over traditional advertising is the ability to track ROI with pinpoint accuracy. Digital marketing rarely works if you’re just blindly throwing money at it, so make sure you’re tracking what is and isn’t working and double down on what is while cutting out what isn’t.

A relatively simple resolution you can accomplish, if you haven’t already, is finding a better way to review your analytics data. If you currently perform a lot of reporting manually, or maybe you aren't reporting at all, consider one of the many available reporting dashboards that will automatically compile and track performance data for you.

A good place to start is adding Google Analytics tracking to your website. This tool is free and easy to install. Once the code has been added to the header of your site, you will be able to view a reporting dashboard to analyze your user data to better understand your customer and create a strategy to improve your digital marketing effort.

Google Analytics Demo Site

Once you start tracking your data, determine a strategy that will support your business’ key performing indicators (KPIs). This is important in determining your digital marketing ROI and will help to support your overall digital marketing strategy moving into the new year.

Develop A Mobile Marketing Strategy

Early this year, Google is going to start crawling and indexing mobile separately from desktop. This mobile index will now be the primary index search engines use to respond to mobile search queries.

Having a mobile-optimized site will not be enough – improving speed, user experience and engagement will have a big impact on how your site will rank. According to Google, 53 percent of users will abandon a site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. Google found that websites with load speed times of 5 seconds vs. 19 seconds saw improved performance in:

  • 25% higher ad viewability
  • 70% longer average page sessions
  • 35% lower bounce rates
  • Earned up to 2x more mobile ad revenue

Mobile ranking-algorithms will be unique, so if your audience primarily uses mobile on your site or if you are a local retailer, this change will have major implications to your SEO strategy – which makes developing a mobile marketing strategy a top priority for your 2017 marketing resolutions.

For more information on how you can optimize your site for mobile, read our blog What is Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project?

Develop a Real Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing in particular is gaining a lot of traction. Content is still king, particularly long form content. If you haven’t begun regularly generating new content for your website and social accounts, this is an area of your marketing strategy you'll want to plan for this year.

To incorporate a strong content marketing strategy, you'll need to create a monthly content calendar and map out what you're going to publish and when. If you need some help developing content ideas, we suggest doing some research on trending topics in your industry. Crafting your own content (or hiring a strong writer to do this for you), is a great way to position your business as a thought-leader in your industry.  

Using your business analytics, you can then track which pieces of content are getting you the most traction and which are not resonating with your audience. You can do this by focusing on the user behavior metrics in the Google Analytics dashboard. Do you want to increase the average time spent on the page? Writing long form content (e.g. 1,500 - 2,000 words per blog), not only performs better in search results but also keeps users on your site longer. Is your goal to increase user engagement? You may need to create more effective internal linking in the content to relevant articles or pages on your site to increase page views and user engagement.

Spend time on both the topics and content, making sure you are creating high quality, useful content for your readers. You should also spend an equal amount of time on your strategy for sharing the content afterwards as this will give your content greater reach.

For more information on how you can create data driven content, read our blog, Letting Analytics Be Your Guide to Engaging Content.

Target Millennial Consumers

A vast majority of millennials, approximately 80 percent, use their smartphones while in brick and mortar retail locations to look up competing prices and reviews. Most of these millennials don’t view location-based ads as a bad thing, and are actually willing to take advantage of offers they are alerted to via in-store Bluetooth beacons. If your business has retail locations and count millennials among your clientele, consider the ROI of incorporating beacon marketing. From offering limited time incentives to just giving people more information about the store’s layout or particular products they are near, the sky is really the limit with beacon marketing.

For more information on beacon marketing, check out our blog, Connect With Offline Customers Using a Digital Strategy.

Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

The Data & Marketing Association expects social media to take up a bigger portion of digital marketing budgets this year, forecasting social media marketing spends to make up approximately 24 percent of overall digital marketing budgets within the next five years. Right now that number is only about 10 percent.

They also found that approximately 70 percent of companies are still not incorporating all the valuable data freely offered by social media users into their digital marketing efforts. Social media users offer up all kinds of demographic and purchasing habit information freely when they're logged on to social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Snapchat. As a marketer, you have access to some valuable demographic information, giving you additional leverage when it comes to tailoring your campaigns to reach your ideal customers.

Search Engine Journal gathered predictions from 26 digital marketing experts on the social media trends you should include in your digital marketing resolution for 2017. They include: 

  • Videos: Social media users show higher engagement with brands who invite audiences to be in-the-moment with them via live videos. As social media platforms continue to prioritize video within organic social results and refine how users consume video, user engagement will continue to increase and your potential customer reach will continue to grow.

  • Influencer Marketing: This trend is far from over. From celebrity product placement and product reviews to partnerships with popular social media mavens and YouTube stars, influencer marketing is thriving. Influencer marketing will continue engaging customers and increase loyal customer and brand interactions through the use of hashtags. LaCroix, a carbonated water company, understood this concept and capitalized on the opportunity. Rather than spending their marketing budget on big ad campaigns or TV spots, they focused on creating a big presence on social platforms like Instagram. The company encouraged loyal customers to post pictures with the drink using branded hashtags with the opportunity to be featured on the brand’s social pages. This strategy paid off exponentially as the company’s sales doubled within two years to $225.5 million.

  • Use of Bots: Developing a chatbot or messenger bot will allow your business to connect to social customers answering questions in a user-friendly manner with faster response times. For SMBs the use of bots to connect with customers online is a major game changer and will save your in-house social media team time so they can focus on the more advanced, technical work.

Start Using Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic marketing is, in essence, ad placement and budget control utilizing advanced AI software. Instead of relying on a human, who can only be awake and monitoring budgets and placement for so many hours per day, businesses are relying on automated bidding and demographic targeting.

Programmatic advertising is becoming more advanced every year, and many programmatic advertising options can adjust and account for things like fraudulent ad traffic, track your KPIs and adjust campaigns on the fly to maximize the ROI of your ad dollars. 

Let G/O Digital Help Make Your New Year’s Digital Marketing Resolution a Reality

If you want to take advantage of the latest trends and technology in the digital marketing space, be sure to reach out to the digital marketing experts at G/O Digital for a free, no-obligation digital analysis. Our professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and develop solutions tailored to your business’ identity and goals.

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