In the world of digital marketing, the environment is always changing. It can be a challenge to keep track of all the new and old marketing channels even for seasoned marketers. This article explores hottest digital marketing trends for SMEs in 2017 based on our research and experience in the market. These trends will help you better understand where the marketing is headed and what to keep an eye on if you want to stay up to date with your marketing tactics.
1. SEO becomes more integrated & Penguin 4.0 update
In the past, SEO was working on its own quite well. The SEO guy would happily work in his corner and try to rank the page in Google. Not anymore. Google has become very sophisticated in ranking good quality websites, and just adding a few keywords and building a few easy links won’t cut it anymore. The trend of integrating SEO with Social Media, Content Marketing, AdWords campaigns and other digital marketing channels is only going to keep growing in 2017, explains Duct Tape Marketing. Also, the release of the latest Penguin 4.0 update means that the job for SEOs will be slightly easier when it comes to link building, because bad or spammy links won’t get your whole site penalised anymore, but only reduce its rankings at worst, according to Gary Illes from Google.
What does it mean for SMEs? Don’t hire an SEO guy and let him do his thang. Today and in 2017, the SEO person/team needs to be fully integrated into the wider company’s activities to achieve good results in Google rankings. Also, the job of building links and get penalised will be less risky thanks to the new Penguin 4.0 update.
2. Content marketing
People’s natural desire to read stories or educate themselves can’t be underestimated. For an SME this trend might be daunting, to say the least, but minimum one quality blog a month or a few short videos should be enough not to fall behind the competition that has teams who create brilliant content on a daily basis.
Content Marketing has been on an uptrend for the past few years, according to Forbes, and we expect the trend to continue in 2017.
3. Influencer marketing
As the graph from Google Trends shows above, influencer marketing is on the rise. Influencer marketing can be loosely defined as a form of marketing that identifies and targets individuals with influence over potential buyers according to Rob Petersen. Wikipedia describes it as “targeting key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole.” In today’s social web, according to MOZ, there are a three major ways an influencer can have a significant impact on your business:
1. They can write a blog post / article about you.
2. They can share information about you in their social media accounts.
3. They can ask you, or permit you, to guest post on their site.
4. Or, any combination of, or all of, the above.
Influencer marketing is more important than ever, especially when Google search engine is getting smarter every day, so we expect it to continue trending upwards in 2017.
Remember when Twitter first came out you probably thought, yeah right, how will they make money. Today, Twitter generates $2.2B in yearly ad revenues.
Snapchat for the younger generation is a hit and marketers are still trying to find ways how to advertise in this still largely unexplored space successfully.
A controversial trend? Yes. Something to look out for in 2017? Definitely, if you want to stay ahead of the curve.
5. Email marketing is becoming more personalised
Email marketing is one of the oldest marketing techniques, but it still works very well.
There is plenty of research out there that backs this up, for example, backlinko.io has a great article that compares engagement rates in social media vs email marketing. It does require an existing subscriber database, however, the rewards can be tremendous. A survey by Econsultancy and further depicted at emailmonday, shows that 74% of digital marketers see email marketing as one of the channels with the highest return on investment.
In 2017 emails will become even more personalised than they are now and continue to be a great tool in any business’ arsenal.
6. Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
Many companies have been doing CRO for years, however, most SMEs don’t even know what it is. In fact, CRO works so well that it should be high on priority list for every business that has a website. Here are Conversion Rate Optimisation examples from one of our previous blogs. Increasingly more companies realise the benefits of it, with HSBC UK running 150 A/B tests (a part of CRO) every month since Summer 2016.
By realising how many SMEs are still not aware of this service, we predict that Conversion Rate Optimisation is going to continue its steady growth into 2017 and beyond.
7. Pay-per-click AdWords
Google is trying hard to keep its primary source of revenue pumping out profits. And they are very successful in doing so. This year Google has increased Ad character count and made various other tweaks to make the ads more attractive to the searcher and advertiser alike. Now is a good time to integrate AdWords in any digital marketing strategy because of the high ROI and transparent analytics. We are sure that AdWords will continue playing a large role in SME’s budgets into 2017 and beyond.
8. Becoming more human
Every year we see lots of new tools that help marketers to automate communications between the brand and the customer. These tools are becoming more and more powerful and sophisticated, however, could a trend in other direction be possible? We believe so. According to this article and our own analysis, people start to value a live human response much more than 10 years ago. Would you rather hear ‘Thank you for calling BrandX, we really value your call, so we have the following options available for you ….. Blah blah blah’; Or, would you prefer ‘Hello, this is BrandY, how can I help you?’. We all know the answer. Therefore, when it comes to automation, we see a trend for humanity in 2017. SMEs should value their human approach and keep taking advantage of it.
9. Creating strategy for integrated marketing
Last, but not least. With so many digital marketing channels available these days, you might wonder – how to keep track of it all and create the leads and sales a company craves for. More and more SMEs in 2017 will hire an agency or consultant to help them with an integrated marketing strategy and planning to join all their marketing dots together to create a successful and profitable plan.
Now, you are probably full of excitement after reading about these digital opportunities for the next year. It’s now down to you and your business how you decide to take advantage of it and be successful. And remember, at New Window Marketing, we are always here to help you with your marketing challenges.