How to Improve Your Online Marketing Strategy in 2017

The Biggest Changes Coming in Q1 2017

It’s not been an easy year, and things are certainly going to change in the New Year. While many bits of business remain the same, others will see huge alterations thanks to new technology and shifting consumer behaviour.

Here are some of the biggest changes that will hit different parts of the industry in Q1 2017.

Local Search

Google is making serious inroads into the local search market, and businesses of all sizes are feeling the impact. Not only can they easily use the search engine to find local businesses, but they can also use it to find reviews and feedback about their business. With over 250 million unique users a month, and over 20 billion searches conducted each year, Google has established itself as the most popular search engine globally. Naturally, as a business owner or marketer, you’ll want to take advantage of this popularity to find your customers.

Thanks to the ever-improving Google My Business platform, you can optimise your digital presence for local search and map searches. This includes things like establishing your address, listing your phone number, adding photos, and responding to reviews. If you’re using Google Apps for Business, you can even set up automated online surveys to gather feedback from your customers.

E-commerce

E-commerce is also experiencing a profound shift, with many shopping occasions taking place online rather than in stores. In fact, since the start of this year, over 125 million Americans have visited retail websites without going into a retail store. Thanks to the likes of Amazon and eBay, businesses of all sizes can thrive online, offering everything from small items such as jewelry and clothes to larger products such as cars and planes. The convenience and scope for growth enticed even the most wary entrepreneurs to dive in.

Forbes recently published a list of “The Most Influential Personas in E-commerce For 2017,” identifying seven distinct ‘personas’ which will impact how you should approach e-commerce marketing in the coming year. The list, which was compiled based on a survey amongst 800 e-commerce marketers, includes:

  • Early adopters
  • Wondershapers
  • Digital nomads
  • Thrifty shoppers
  • Tech-savvy millennials
  • Boomers
  • Retirees

Each of these groups have very different shopping habits. For example, Early Adopters tend to look for bargains, whilst Budget-conscious shoppers prefer value for money. Knowing how to best connect with and appeal to each group is vital if you want to succeed in e-commerce.

Content

Since the start of this year, the media landscape has shifted, with many publications moving online only. Whether it’s due to shifting consumer behavior or the need for a cost-effective content strategy, businesses are finding that a content-led approach is essential to stay afloat.

According to HubSpot Blogs research, 66% of people expect to see at least some content in online shops. This content can take the form of text, images, or both. If you want to ensure that your customers understand exactly what your product is and why they should purchase it, having an expertly curated group of articles is the perfect way to do so.

Display Ads

Advertising remains a major part of digital marketing, employed by virtually every business to raise awareness about their products and attract potential customers. However, the type of ads we see online have changed, shifting from the large banner ads of the past to rich media such as videos, slideshows, and podcasts.

Since the middle of last year, Google has favoured ads which utilize video, with the company’s self-serve ads earning video 70% of the time in search results. If your target audience is more visually-oriented, rich media such as video content is essential to secure those all-important clicks.

Real Time Marketing

Last but not least, let’s not forget about the big data era which has transformed marketing. Thanks to real-time marketing platforms such as HubSpot, businesses can track the behavior of their customers in near real-time, using big data analysis tools to spot any trends or movements which could affect their bottom line.

The world of marketing is changing, and fast. From the way we find information and make purchasing decisions to the ads we see and the tools which help us optimize our business, everything is evolving and changing to fit the needs of consumers.