A new year always brings thoughts of how to improve over the previous one, and the development of new techniques, innovations and shifting priorities drive a new approach to marketing. 2017 is bringing deeper emphasis on personalization, engaging brand stories, compelling visuals and more. Here are five top considerations to take your content to a new level in 2017.
What’s your story?
Every brand, both fledgling and iconic, started somewhere, and there is always a story behind the spark that lit the entrepreneurial fire. The more personal and relational your story, the more effective your outreach can be. People respond to the personal, even emotional reasons why companies make the products or offer the services they do, and your story makes you stand out from your competitors in a unique and unmatchable way. What’s your reason, as Simon Sinek would ask?
Hone your story and get personal. Why did you enter the industry? What’s your business philosophy? Are you involved with charities? What do you care about that keeps your heart central to your business?
Seeing is believing.
The world has endless eyes now that everyone carries a camera in their pockets. We live in a time when visual information supersedes written by a large margin, and busy people want the info now, succinctly and showing just how it’s applicable to their world and needs. One good video is worth a thousand emails. Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and, of course, YouTube are the new standards for conveying what’s happening at your company and what you have to offer. Content is how people find you, and when they do, they want to learn why they want your products and services without too much wading.
According to John Medina of Brain Rules, when people hear (or read) information, only 10% of that information is likely to be retained, whereas, if a compelling related image accompanies that information, viewers will retain 65% of the information 3 days later. Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner confirms that the importance of visuals in marketing content is an unstoppable trend: 60% of marketers use video in their content and 73% intend on increasing its use in 2017. Snapchat is gaining in popularity rapidly, but YouTube is by far the most important venue for social marketing content. Setting up a YouTube channel and sharing some brief but informative videos may be your fastest route to increased traffic to your site and your front door.
The ubiquitous use of visuals in all forms of marketing has raised the bar in terms of image quality, and choosing the right images is what makes the difference between looking amateur or current and professional. A low resolution, badly lit image from a phone is not going to cut it against some of the elegant professional imagery that is available quite affordably from dozens of stock image sites. Infographics, especially if comparative, are also valuable in conveying more abstract information without a lot of words. Memes (visuals that conjure an understanding of a concept, often with humor, and usually passed along through social media) can be another point through which people remember and follow your business. The right visuals will greatly enhance your business image more than you might imagine, and are absolutely essential to effective visual marketing.
Versatility is a great asset to any business, but it is important to convey very clearly where you live as an expert. Having a niche will place you high above the field of more generic providers of your product or service. It makes you memorable, sets you apart as the go-to source, and it will open doors that might be closed to businesses that do not offer a specialty.
What do you love most about what you do? Make that your niche and blog about it. Tell people why you love it. Again, make it part of your unique story and perpetuate it. Offer special promotions for it. Host events for it and promote it across your social media.
Once you establish a certain niche or specialty, employ a great press release to get the word out. Influence marketing can set your sales on fire with one great review from a respected, popular blogger.
If your web site is not yet mobile-friendly, it’s time to hit the road and make yourself accessible from the mobile devices that seem to be fused to everyone’s hands these days. 80% of internet users own smartphones, and tablets account for the highest add-to-cart rates on e-commerce websites. 71% of marketers believe that mobile marketing is core to their business, especially if selling product.* According to Google, 61% of users are not likely to return to a site that is not easily accessed on a mobile device, and 40% of those will go to a competing site.
83% of mobile users say a seamless experience across all devices is very important.** When marketing via email blasts, they are viewed at a consistently higher rate on smartphones than from a desktop. Lastly, average smartphone conversion rates are up by 64% over average desktop conversion rates! The necessity of mobility is obvious.
Who loves you, baby?
How often do you read user reviews online before investing in a product or service provider? Exactly. Social media has completely changed the landscape for shopping, and your content marketing is not complete without real people telling other people how much they love you. A large percentage of potential clients and customers might skim your sell copy and head straight for the testimonials (on your own site and elsewhere), so it’s a crucial part of your content that should take a front seat on your website. And once viewers are convinced by all your rave reviews, make it easy for them to take the next step toward a consult or a purchase. Add an attractive, easy-to-find button or link that moves them straight to your online store or contact info. Incentives like a free gift with purchase or a free consultation can be the tipping point toward engagement and sales.
Content remains king, and these additions to your output – getting personal, visual, specific, mobile and recommended – will help make all those success resolutions you made on Jan. 1st come to life.
* Source: Salesforce
** Source: MicKinsey & Company