2017 is almost here!
It is going to be an important year for some of the big names in the digital space like Apple and Google. Here is the list of milestones that some popular brands will cross in 2017:
- In January 2017, Apple iPhone will be a 10 year old product (launched by Steve Jobs on Jan 9, 2007)
- In February 2017, Facebook will be a 13 year old company (founded on Feb 4, 2004)
- In March 2017, Twitter will be a 11 year old company (founded on Mar 21, 2006)
- In November 2017, Google’s Android OS will be a 10 year old mobile operating system (first alpha version was released on Nov 5, 2007)
- In December 2017, LinkedIn will be a 15 year old company (founded on Dec 14, 2002)
Many of the key players & products crossing the 10 year milestone is an encouraging sign of maturity and stability within the industry.
What about you? What are your plans for 2017?
Research studies show that 2017 will be a year of growth and opportunity in the digital marketing and social media marketing space (source: Social Media Marketing Trends 2017), do not miss this opportunity to grow with the industry. Some questions for you to think about:
- What are the key milestones your business (or nonprofit) will be crossing in 2017? And how will digital marketing help you achieve your goals?
- What is your digital marketing strategy for 2017?
- Are you ready to meet the needs of your existing audience this new year using online tools?
- How will you increase your customer base and acquire new audience?
- How are you planning to expand your reach and amplify your message in 2017?
- Is you web presence strong enough to help you achieve your objectives?
- Are you SEO ready?
- Are you mobile ready?
Create your strategy before the holiday season:
A few weeks ago I spent 3 entire days with my core team firming up our digital marketing and business action plan for 2017. We found a distraction-free location and shut ourselves in to create a detailed roadmap for the coming new year. We reviewed our plans, long term goals and short term goals. We do not have all the answers yet, but at least we have a direction in which we have decided to move.
Documenting your plans and knowing where you are going can greatly reduce personal stress levels.
Renowned psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik presented a report (in 1927) on the popular Zeigarnik effect which states that, people remember incomplete or interrupted tasks more than they remember completed tasks. Which means if you have been postponing your 2017 planning session for a while, your mind continues to remember it, building up your stress levels. The sooner you get done with your planning, lower your stress levels. Lower stress means more creativity and productivity.
As we enter the holiday season, if your mind is less stressful you can be fully present with your friends & family enjoying the holiday season without being preoccupied about work and what you are going to do as soon as you get back to work. So I strongly suggest you take time and work on creating a digital marketing strategy for 2017 before you take off for the holiday season.
How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for 2017
First things first: Analyse and take stock of your progress
When you are trying to use a map to get directions to a destination it cannot help you find the right way if you do not know your current location. Similarly, the very first step in creating a digital marketing strategy for the future is to collect all the required information from the past and know where you stand.
- Pull out the 2016 planning documents and review the list of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
- Gather the list of campaigns that you ran in 2016 and the approach that you took for each digital marketing campaign
- Ask you web and mobile apps team to give you a report of all the versions, changes and features implemented in 2017
- Ask you SEO team to give you details of your current rankings for various keywords, list of links, pages, etc.
- Extract annual report from Google Analytics and take stock of the source, medium, engagement and conversion metrics (if you are not sure how to measure these on Google Analytics click here to learn)
- Extract annual reports from all your social media channels (like Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, etc.)
Now that you have all the data required, go through them with your team one by one (and combining the relevant ones) and look for key trends – successful ones and failures. Discuss key learning from what worked and what did not. Remember not to repeat some of the mistakes you made last year. Think about your long term (5 years and 10 year goals) and assess where you are at this point.
3 key areas of digital marketing to consider while planning and creating a strategy for 2017
Digital marketing is a domain that encompasses a wide variety of activities including advertising, SEO, social media, content marketing, web developments, online PR, mobile marketing and many more. While you need to think about all the relevant aspects of digital marketing that could impact your operations, here is a list of 3 key areas that you may want to focus on first.
1.Plan to improve your visibility and traffic in 2017
You can expect the digital marketing space to get more crowded in 2017. Aim to stand out in this crowded space and be more visible to your audience.
- Plan to improve your search rankings. Read our blogs on SEO strategies.
- Plan to optimise your website and other assets for visibility. Here is a post on 10 questions to ask your web developer.
- If you offer location based services work on your local search optimisation. Check out this resource from MOZ on optimizing your website for local search.
- Plan to optimize your content for the mobile consumption. If it is relevant for your business, consider implementing mobile specific content optimisation techniques like AMP and Facebook Instant Articles.
- Plan to improve your usability and user experience which can help in improving search rankings. Here is a blog post that can help you understand User Experience and Usability.
- Don’t just create content in 2017. Ignite it. Here is a list of 12 content ignition ideas from Mark Schaefer, the master of content marketing.
2. Plan to strengthen your online presence in 2017
Your online presence includes your website, mobile apps (if any) and your presence on various social media channels. In 2017, plan to strengthen your online presence.
- Ensure consistency of information across online assets. Review your profile, description, images, color themes and ensure consistency.
- Optimize each asset for keywords. In websites review the titles, description, blog post headings, categories, etc. In Mobile apps review the tabs, the structure and content flow. In social media review the keywords used in your description and other posts.
- Check the internal links between all your assets. Check if you have linked you web, mobile and social media assets to each other, so that people who find you in one place will be able to seamlessly navigate to the other areas. For example: Someone who comes across a Facebook promotion of your blog post, should be able to find the original blog post on your website without much difficulty.
- Create a review schedule for your online assets 2017. As the year progresses you might get caught up in lots of other activities and forget to regularly audit and review your online presence. So set up a schedule to review it.
3. Plan to expand your online influence in 2017
Influence is like a currency in the online ecosystem and can be exchanged for many things. As a business owner or head of a nonprofit, building your influence should be one of your top priorities for 2017.
- Create a plan to Blog regularly. Blogs help you establish authority and increase influence. Here is a great article on how to blog from ProBlogger.
- Share your expertise in events, seminars and conferences. Some of the ways to get speaking assignments: network with the right people, become part of associations and small groups in your industry and start helping others. Share your knowledge freely and be open to invitations. You can also hire professional PR firms and organisations that specialize in getting you speaking engagements.
- Plan to write a book. If you have deep knowledge on a specific domain consider writing a book on the subject. Self publishing is not complicated anymore, it has evolved much and the process has become much easier than it used to be.
- Plan to start a podcast. If you like conversations and like to share you expertise and increase influence, podcast is a great way to do it. The initial setup may take a bit of time, but its worth the effort. Here is a detailed step-by-step resource from Pat Flynn on how to start a podcast.
If you like to know the one strategy that could help you succeed with digital marketing in 2017, here it is: focus on deep work. In this noisy online media space here is a formula for success.
Success = Finding your niche + Gaining ‘indepth’ knowledge on that subject + Sharing it with your audience in an attention-grabbing style on a relevant channel in the right format + Promoting and Amplifying that message like crazy
I wish you all the very best for 2017. Let me know if you have any questions or need any specific inputs on digital marketing and social media using the comments section.
See you again in 2017. Happy holidays!