As 2016 winds up to a close, many marketing departments are in a frenzy to layout their digital marketing plan for 2017 and prioritize their marketing budgets. We realize that you get solicited backwards and forwards by all types of digital platforms trying to grab a piece of your valuable marketing dollars, so we thought it would be helpful to show you WHERE to spend your digital marketing dollars in 2017.
priorities

Content. Content. Content.

There we said it. Spend your digital marketing dollars on content. We can’t stress the importance of this enough. Content truly makes the digital world go around, so here are a few places you need to spend your dollars when it comes to content development, content marketing, and measurement.

Strategy

Without strategy, your content can be mind numbing. How will it tell your story? How will the content coincide with your sales cycle? Where will the content get deployed? What keywords need to be a part of the content in order to get your organic SEO humming?

Copywriting

PLEASE don’t try to write your content in-house. After doing this for over 11 years, we can tell you from experience, you won’t be able to generate the amount of content necessary to move the needle. We’d love to sugar coat and pat you on the back and cheer you on, but the reality is you’re busy doing marketing team things. You don’t have time to create the editorial calendar, do the SEO keyword research, craft the content, pretty up the content, deploy the content in the right places and measure the content in order to make educated decisions about next months content. Hire an agency like On Target that has HUNDREDS of USA based writers to strategize, research, compose, pretty up, execute, and measure.

Infographics

People love infographics. They are easily shareable on social media channels, they can educate quickly, they can entertain, and they can truly set your business up as an industry expert when done properly. Infographics require a particular skillset, such as a keen design eye, the ability to convey messages visually and quickly, and the ability to get that infographic in front of the right audience. Adding infographics to your content mix is so important, and in 2017, you may start to see all kinds of hybrid infographics that may have cinemagraphs or video integrated, as well as interactive infographics where content consumers can choose their own adventure, etc. Be sure to add visually amazing infographics to your 2017 digital marketing plan.

Video

Think snackable content. Video is huge and will become even bigger in 2017. The real challenge is creating video content that is shareable AND that is built for our collective diminishing attention span. We call it snackable. Be certain to allocate some PROFESSIONAL video creation and editing / production into your 2017 digital marketing budget. Think testimonials, product demos, customer service related videos, HOW to series, employee spotlights, fun at the office on Fridays, etc.

Web Design

If you want your users to contact you or take a desired action while they’re on your website, you will need to ensure that your web design is updated, user-friendly, and most importantly, mobile ready. More and more people are engaging with brand websites on their mobile phones, and you need to make sure your content on your website is ready to adapt to that user experience. Google is now favoring AMP pages for mobile users, which use minimal CSS and no Javascript or Flash. This allows for an enhanced user experience and super fast load times. Your web design should tell your brand’s story and create an experience for your users. If you look at your website as if it’s another business card format, then you aren’t maximizing your opportunity to grow your business exponentially.

SEO

Without a comprehensive SEO strategy, your content may not be moving the needle. As we previously mentioned, keyword research and knowing what people are searching in Google is key to understanding what type of content to create. You also have to make sure that the technical components are integrated effectively into your ongoing content. But, nothing is complete without a strong foundation. You need to ensure that your website has the correct technical components to be able to attract your core audience when they’re searching for you within the search engines. What type of foundation do you have set up on your site currently? Do you have structured data and schema markups implemented? Is your site optimized for mobile?

Paid Digital Advertising

There are several opportunities for paid advertising within the digital space. Most people utilize Google AdWords as a primary digital advertising channel, which is definitely a good start, but you need to make sure that it’s the right channel for your market. For example, if you’re selling vacation homes, the Cost Per Click within AdWords can reach upwards of $80.00. Does that CPC allow you to generate a positive ROI still? Also, what networks and strategies within AdWords will you utilize? You can use remarketing campaigns, advertise on the Google Search Network, advertise before relevant video content on YouTube, or show your ads on websites that your target audience is finding you under. Don’t forget that social networks have advertising platforms as well, and in those cases, you can really narrow down your target audience through employment, behavior, and interest marketing. You can also remarket to users or build an audience that has the same traits as your email list or your Facebook page. Social networks tend to be more affordable than Google AdWords, so if you’re trying to be cost effective with your advertising, make sure to explore these channels.

Organic Social Media

Social media is ruling the world right now. Your organization cannot afford to not be found by your audience on the social networks. This means being active on these platforms. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, Instagram, and the list goes on. Do you know where your audience is hanging out? You’ll need to ensure that your organic social media campaigns and efforts are aligned with the rest of your content marketing efforts. Social media is a great platform to market your content, whether it be video, infographics, blogs, press releases, or GIFs. Keep in mind that social media is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of marketing channel. Your audience needs to be engaged with, tended to, and cultivated. Don’t miss out on creating a whole army of brand advocates by engaging with your fans on social media.

Analytics & Reporting

You can’t expect what you don’t inspect. We can’t stress analytics enough. Who read your content? Who shared it? How long did people stick around? What actions did they take while digesting your content? Where did they come from geographically? If you’re not investing in some type of analytics interpretation/data mining, your content marketing becomes a shot in the dark. Analytics can help dictate and drive what happens next month, what content is actually performing, what you need to be writing more of, etc. You can also determine which channels are providing the most value in terms of conversions. Don’t neglect investigating your leads and their actions on your website. The more data you can have available to you, the more efficient you can make your marketing efforts.

 

Nice-to-Have

Professional Photography

Photos make a brand. Whether it’s your photo representation on your website, your social media pages, your brochure, or your content, you’ll find that having professional photography can really make a difference.  More importantly, your website will fade into obscurity, while your competitors will dominate your market with professional photography.

Social Media Listening & Customer Service

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are becoming the new customer service help desk. More and more people are looking to social media to reach out to brands to sing their praises or to share their grievances. By monitoring social media pages, messages, and mentions, you can create a customer service experience for your users in the place where they’re looking for it.

Email Marketing

Depending on your industry, email marketing can be extremely beneficial. The first thing you need to do is build a list. You can reach out to your current contacts to see if they want to opt-in, or you can put a field on your website that people can opt-in themselves to receive updates. Once you’ve built a sufficient list, you can send out email communication about updates, upcoming events, recently posted content, and more incentivized content to your followers.

Public Relations

Public relations can be very beneficial for your service or product depending on the general public interest. A few mentions on major media outlets that your audience is reading can have a huge impact on your business. The goal is to find the right channels to put your brand out there. Also, this is not something you can do yourself. Without an expansive media contact list and an understanding of public relations, you will might fail.

Go Big In 2017.
If it’s time to go big in 2017, give us a call today. We’ll help craft a digital marketing roadmap specifically for your business consisting of a content marketing plan, social media strategy, website messaging and design and an online advertising plan. Call Brian Weber, our director of digital strategy today 407-830-4550 or fill out our contact form at the top right.

 

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