Predictions for Inbound Marketing and Sales for 2017 are all over the web...
...but it's important to look beyond some of the simplistic views.
I am often asked what I think are the most important things to focus on when it comes to inbound sales and marketing this year.
For the most part, it's very similar to what I have been preaching for the last 4 years, but it I feel like it just needs repeating.
Sure, there are many new ideas out there, but I see just too many businesses not even doing the basics well, let alone going down the more advanced rabbit hole.
So in this post, I wanted to take a moment and discuss where the focus for your Inbound Marketing and sales efforts should be for 2017.
1. Data Drives Marketing Decisions
To achieve true marketing success this year it will be essential for companies to expand and learn more about how their marketing is or is not working for them.
Gone are the days of throwing random ads out and hoping people see them. 2017 will be the year where successful companies subscribe to and understand the data components of their digital advertising campaigns.
Data has the ability to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a marketing campaign by showing companies where their money is most effectively invested. Note: I said "invested" not expensed.
2. Higher Level Content
Fluffy articles without true worth are not going to keep a potential customer on your site. Higher level content is a huge prediction for inbound marketing and sales in 2017. No matter which consumer sector you are in, providing useful content, and answering questions is a necessity in 2017.
Use your website to become the best educator in your field.
3. Conversion Rate Optimization
Getting potential customers to the website is only half the battle. Converting those customers from your landing page is a more important goal than getting a high number of clicks on your ad. If 2,000 people click on your blog sales link but only one buys the product, that's not nearly as effective as if ten people click through and eight purchase.
Building a website with conversion rate optimization in mind is key to your digital marketing efforts.
4. Marketing Automation
This is an area that makes a lot of people nervous and doesn't have to. Building a marketing list, nurturing the customer relationship and moving people down the buyer's jorney can be a great experience for everyone, including your customer.
Start simple with automation and worry more about the human experience than the sales, it will pay off in the end.
5. Social Media Experiences
No one social media platform is king. In 2017 it's necessary for your company to have an overall coordinated social media experience. Twitter and Facebook are not enough in 2017, you will need to expand and include other platforms like SnapChat, Instagram, and Pinterest.
No matter what, don't just focus on marketing yourself on these channels. Listen and engage. Use them as customer service opportunities as well.
6. Video Has Arrived
In 2017, there may be no bigger story than video. Video consumption is on the rise, and often times a visitor on your site would rather watch a video than read your blog post.
Creating great Q&A or how-to videos may be on top of your list, but do not forget about all the other ways you can get on the video bandwagon like Facebook Live, Instagram and Snapchat Stories, and even Periscope.
The best thing about video, if done correctly, is that you are introducing the human element of your business to your otherwise static and non-personal website.
If you want to gain the trust of your prospect faster, get started on video ASAP.
7. Sales and Marketing Must Align
If there was one constant for me in 2016, it was seeing how companies have tried to keep sales and marketing in different silos. This is the year that alignment will finally make it to the forefront of executive decision making.
When sales and marketing are on the same page, working towards the same goals, and holding each other accountable, revenue rises and some costs can also be reduced. It's a beautiful thing.
8. No More Hoping or Wishing... Time To Execute!
To wrap this up, I hope 2017 is the year of execution. We have mentioned 7 other points here, but there are so many more. The challenge I have witnessed is that many businesses either do not invest the right resources to make this thing called inbound or contemt marketing work, they have not fully bought into the process, or they throw blame elsewhere.
With that being said, I really do believe that 2017 will be the year that more businesses "get it" and start to really execute solid inbound strategies that work.
Predictions for inbound marketing and sales in 2017 are all about servicing the customer, providing amazing content and understanding the data behind what will help your company be most successful in this new year.
Are you ready to rock your inbound marketing and sales this year?
Until next time...