It’s the start of a new year, and we couldn’t be more excited for the way the marketing industry will change and evolve in 2017. This year we’re looking forward to a different way to implement lead generation, a shift in customer and prospect experiences and more effective use of technology overall. With this is mind, let’s dive into the top marketing strategies:
Casting outside of the funnel content (OOFU) as a wide lead generation net.
If you’ve never heard of OOFU content before, you can get more familiar with it by reading my last blog. Basically, outside of the funnel content takes inbound marketing to the extreme by creating broader content offers that are valuable to almost anyone. An example of this is the HubSpot email signature generator, or our CTA builder.
Generally, OOFU content has a lot of utility for prospects, which provides you the opportunity to connect with people who aren’t necessarily in the buyer’s journey yet, or even aware that they have a need for your services. Ultimately, OOFU content is a turn towards mega lead generation; and while not all leads will be your ideal buyers, the law of large numbers definitely applies here.
(Re)Focusing on customer experience.
Picture this: you nurture your prospect, perhaps offer them a trial or demonstration of your product or service, get them to sign on as a customer, and then drop all marketing efforts.
Let’s be honest… many of us are guilty of this. What’s more, our customers can often be our gateway to more customers! Remember to consistently provide customers value after they’ve signed on the dotted line. You can do this by:
- Sending them a monthly or quarterly customer newsletter/update
- Sharing new benefits of your product or service update before they go live
- Sending out customer feedback surveys on a quarterly or semi-annual basis
- Sending articles, blogs, ebooks and other content that you know they’ll find valuable
- Going “old school” and mail them a book for business or personal growth (the more pertinent this is to their role, the better)
There are many other ways to do this, but the main point is to continue to connect with customers via marketing efforts, whether you’ve been partnered for a week or 20 years. Not only will this help you retain customers, but it will help you build strong company advocates that drive referrals your way.
While buyer personas continue to drive tailored content, marketers need to dig even deeper into personalization this year.
One way to effectively hyper-personalize is through digital advertising. Whether it’s Google Adwords, social ads or another option, online advertising allows you to dig in to deliver the right message at right time.
For example, LinkedIn ads let you tailor your target audience based on criteria like the company they work for and their job title. Are you trying to reach the COO of ABC company? LinkedIn ads allow you to target and reach individuals on that specific of a level.
What’s more, LinkedIn ads also allow you to exclude certain prospects based on criteria. So if you sell a product that is great for 18-35 year olds, but is likely not a fit for the 55+ category, you have flexibility to target specific age ranges and exclude others.
Another way to hyper-personalize your content is with an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy. Account-based marketing requires you to strategically think of individuals or individual accounts as their own market. This does require much more time from your marketing team because you’re connecting separately with each account or contact. However, an ABM approach delivers a message that resonates with the recipient more than a traditional marketing approach.
Here’s a tip: If you want to see if ABM is worth the time and efforts of your marketing team, benchmark the results of your current efforts (which you’re probably doing already) and then run ABM for a few months and compare the results. Make sure to measure meaningful results as well, like meetings scheduled and sales, not just clicks and website visitor conversions.
Creating more and better videos.
We’ve been hearing about video for a few years now, but this year, the focus isn’t just about including video in your strategy, it’s about creating quality videos that matter.
You don’t need pricey filming equipment to make a great video, but Techradar suggests you consider the following if you’re using a smartphone:
- Shoot your video horizontally (a standard video practice)
- Keep the phone steady by locking your elbows and using both hands… I always try to hold my breath if the video is short
- Make lighting work for, not against, you
- Shoot your subject from multiple angles
- Purchase smartphone accessories, like a better lens, or a tripod, to improve filming
- Consider recording audio separate from filming (this will depend on what you are filming, and the quality of your recording device)
Implement a chatbot.
At INBOUND 2016 we learned more about the competitive advantage chatbots give and will continue to give businesses in 2017. Chatbots are the next logical step for companies using digital marketing to connect with customers in real-time.
You might be thinking, no way, the chatbots I’ve experienced are so mechanical they can’t possibly provide a good experience. Well the chatbots of yesteryear are gone, and the 2017 chatbot is more human than before due to machine learning, uses more natural language and does, in fact, provide better interaction.
Chatbots might seem overwhelming to implement, but they are surprisingly inexpensive on self-service platforms like Motion.ai, Pandorabots and Chatfuel (for now). What’s more, your prospects want this kind of communication! Based on data over the last few years, messaging apps have grown stronger and even surpassed the use of social media. This means that chatbots are a great way to integrate this communication preference into your marketing strategy.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from Facebook Live, it’s that live streaming is here to stay. Through Facebook Live and other streaming apps, brands are now able to directly connect with their fans/followers and give them exclusive content.
If you’ve never streamed live before, here are a few best practices to consider:
- Ensure you’ve got a strong internet connection
- Before you live stream, post or share teasers of what your event will be about to encourage more viewers
- Don’t move around a lot unless you have a reason to—movement on a live stream may be distracting
Don’t forget to record your live video in order to share it later on your website, blog and social platforms!
I hope you’re excited as we are for these top marketing strategies in 2017. What other marketing strategies do you think will emerge this year? Share them with me in the comments below! Need help implementing these strategies? Connect with Milwaukee marketing agency, Accelity Marketing!