This article is from Clicks Magazine
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The New Year is fast approaching and it’s a good time to look ahead to 2017 and think about what your marketing strategy will be. Digital marketing is running neck and neck with traditional advertising in terms of spending, and for many small business owners, it makes sense to allocate the lion’s share of their marketing budget to online strategies.

With that in mind, here are 10 killer marketing trends to embrace in 2017.

#1: Live Video

Live video had a big year in 2016, and that trend is expected to continue in 2017. Facebook Live attracted celebrities, advertisers, and even individuals with its immediacy.

The key to using live video effectively is to plan ahead and have a strategy for using it. Not every topic or situation lends itself to live video, but some that due include:

  • Live Q & A sessions where you answer questions from the comment section
  • Demonstrations of new products (or unboxing new products)
  • Behind-the-scenes tours of your business or production facility
  • Coverage of live events

If you want to use live video, come up with a schedule and budget (it doesn’t have to be expensive) and then make sure your followers know when to expect you.

#2: Mobile Everything

2015 was the first year that mobile searches outstripped desktop searches, and research shows that 65% of all online user engagement in 2016 was on mobile devices.

What does that mean in terms of marketing? It means that your website and all of the content on it should be optimized for mobile users. You should also consider implementing mobile buying buttons, mobile payments, and creating a mobile app to engage your customers. Even small things, such as using Facebook’s “Call Now” button for your mobile ads, can make a significant difference when it comes to the ROI on your mobile ads.

#3: Influencer Marketing

One of the most frustrating things for content marketers who use social media is the increasingly-sophisticated algorithms that prevent many of their followers from seeing their content – unless they pay to boost it.

If you’re looking for a way to get around that issue without paying Facebook or Twitter – the people who are, after all, causing the problem in the first place – you might want to consider influencer marketing. Regardless of what niche you’re in, you can contract with authorities, celebrities, and people with large social followings that overlap your target audience. Get them to mention your company or products to their followers, and reach hundreds or even thousands of new users for (potentially) only a fraction of what you might pay to run an ad or boost a post.

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#4: Data-Driven Marketing

As marketing grows increasingly sophisticated, it’s not surprising that marketers at every level are digging deep into customer research to obtain information to help them fine-tune their marketing campaigns.

Some of the things you can do to mine data include reviewing traditional analytics and conducting customer surveys. The information you gather can help you to personalize your marketing and increase your engagement.

#5: Geo-targeting

Local marketing has always been important, but mobile technology makes it easier than ever to reach your customers where they are – and when they are most likely to need your products or services.

If you want to engage in hyper-local marketing, you should:

  • Verify your NAP listings
  • Make yourself known by appearing at local events
  • Use social media targeting to reach people in your immediate area
  • Consider using geofencing to reach mobile customers when they’re near your store

These tactics can help you increase foot traffic and build a loyal following.

#6: Permission Marketing

Research shows that millions of internet users – perhaps as many as 26% -- use ad blocking software when they surf the internet. That means that marketers have a potential problem unless they can find a way to reach those people.

Content marketing is a big part of the solution since it’s not likely to be blocked. However, organic reach is down too. One solution may be to target consumers with advertising that they have agreed in advance to receive. For example, podcasts, webcasts, live video, and newsletters are all ways that you can reach out to customers who are willing to look at ads in return for valuable and relevant content.

#7: Email Marketing

It might surprise you to see email marketing on this list since this type of marketing is hardly new. However, it is still one of the best and most reliable ways to reach out to your target audience and engage them.

The key to using email marketing effectively is not to send a series of sales pitches. Nobody who subscribes to your list will stay subscribed for long if all you do is try to sell them something. Instead, focus on delivering interesting, relevant, and actionable content. If you do that, people will look forward to receiving your emails – and they’ll be receptive when you do make a sales pitch.

#8: Beacon Technology

This last trend relates to mobile users and local marketing, but it deserve its own place on this list because it has the potential to revolutionize marketing going forward.

Beacon technology is software that use Bluetooth technology to home in on mobile devices in stores and then use that connection to analyze shopper behavior. Eventually, proponents of the technology imagine that it can be used to send hyper-personalized content to mobile users while they are shopping. It may also be able to help business owners optimize the layout of their stores and the customer experience to increase sales and build loyalty.

Of course, you can also expect that social media marketing will continue to be important in 2017. The key to maximizing the ROI on your marketing campaigns is to analyze the performance of your current marketing, continue with what works, and incorporate new trends as they make sense for your business. If you do that, 2017 can be your best year yet.

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