Digital marketing is a fickle friend.
One minute you’re doing everything the ‘right’ way and things are swimming along just fine.
Then you turn your back for a moment and suddenly your strategy is outdated, your tactics are old hat, and your favourite channels don’t even exist anymore (#RIPVine #neverforget #neverforgive).
OK, maybe I’m exaggerating slightly. But still. The golden standards of digital marketing are always evolving. The digital best practices of 2017 certainly aren’t the same as they were in 2012.
If you want your business to stay on top of the best/right ways to approach your digital marketing, you have to be ready to adapt at any moment.
So here are some of the key digital best practices we’ve identified this year. See how many you can check off your list. (Spoiler alert: The word ‘data’ appears 11 times below. It’s a real riot.)
Sacrifice your silos to unlock your data
Drake says no to silos
Rogue siloed channels have no place in a 2017 digital strategy.
- If your SEO is keeping secrets from your paid search, fix it.
- If your social media isn’t supporting your content, fix it.
- If your display and programmatic are two paths that have diverged in a yellow wood and you’re sorry you couldn’t travel both, you need to take a break from reading the fantastic poetry of Robert Frost. But also, fix it.
For your overall digital strategy to work to its best potential, all your channels need to communicate with each other. Your digital marketing mix should be like an apartment building with paper-thin walls: when one channel’s getting lucky, all the neighbours need to hear about it.
Sharing first- and third-party data across your channels opens the doors to:
- More comprehensive insights (e.g. perhaps your AdWords click-through rates reveal some top-performing keywords that could be used more often in headlines or meta descriptions)
- Opportunities to improve efficiency (e.g. perhaps two or more channels overlap on something that could be streamlined)
- Better results (e.g. perhaps SEO and social can support each other by targeting the same LSI keywords at similar times).
Key takeaway: Burn your silos to the ground. Let a collaborative, multi-channel phoenix rise from the ashes.
A crazy little thing called data
If you’re not already collecting and using your first-party data, it’s time to start.
Data is an amazing asset when you know what to do with it. For example, you can:
- Analyse your data to get useful insights into your customers
- Segment your customers in order to deliver more tailored campaigns
- Accurately attribute your conversions to the correct channels and sources
- Create a personalised experience for your customers based on what you know about them
- Use a 3D printer to create a life-sized replica of your average customer because you need a friend who won’t complain when you recite your favourite Robert Frost poems to them.
In the realms of content and social, data can be particularly handy. Use it to profile your audience and determine the most suitable objectives to aim for with your content and social strategies.
Data can also help you:
- Measure the results of your content and social posts
- Track your amplification efforts and improve these over time
- Distribute your content to the right people in the right places
- Compare/align the results of content and social with your other channels
- Understand the types of content your audience is most interested in or engages with most.
Key takeaway: Data. Collect it. Use it. Please don’t waste it.
SEO: Get the fundamentals right or…
Any black hat SEO tactics you may have used in the past should be well behind bars by now. No chance of parole.
Crimes include but aren’t limited to:
- Hiding text
- Keyword stuffing
- Building dodgy links
- Writing spammy blog content
- Dropping crumbs all over the bloody carpet.
But the SEO best practices of 2017 aren’t just about things you shouldn’t do. There’s also a bunch of excellent tactics you absolutely should have implemented by now.
- Set up and optimised your Google My Business page?
- Implemented structured data to enrich your search listing?
- Checked your page load speed and taken steps to improve it if necessary?
- Made your website ‘mobile first’ so it won’t suffer from the upcoming algorithm update?
Key takeaway: There’s no excuse for neglecting your SEO basics. It’s 2017. Bad SEO hasn’t been in fashion since parachute pants were cool (i.e. never).
Make online ads a seamless experience
There are some situations where friction is a good thing. Online advertising isn’t one of them.
When you’re using a mixture of programmatic, display, dynamic ads, remarketing and AdWords (or any combination of these), it’s important to make sure you’re not overwhelming your audience with mixed messages.
Rather, take steps to make sure your ads match your user’s buying intent at the right moment. This will be easier if you’ve already de-siloed your channels and you’re already making the most of your data.
Remember: your ultimate goal is to deliver real-time, personalised offers to people who are in market – and then capture those people.
Key takeaway: A potential buyer is like a lvl 50 Snorlax and you only have a few Pokéballs left to throw. But the right combination of ads can paralyse your Snorlaxes and reduce their HP to 1, making them much easier to catch. (This analogy doesn’t work as well as I wanted it to… but at least it’s not boring! Right?)
Of course, the best best digital practice of 2017 (or ever) is to hire an ace agency to help you with your digital marketing. *exaggerated wink*