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Five digital marketing trends start-ups and other small businesses can embrace in 2017

Digital marketing is a complex and relatively new field that can leave many start-ups and small business feeling overwhelmed. In order to reap the full benefit, businesses must ensure many moving parts are correctly aligned. In addition, digital marketing continues to evolve with new, ‘must have’ platforms popping up every day. While most businesses will have the basics of digital marketing down pat, there are advantages to be gained from tapping into emerging digital marketing trends. 

Here are five trends to be aware of 2017 and some practical tips on how to employ them in your business:

Vanity metrics to metrics that matter

Likes and reach are going to only be good for brand awareness and will start to die off in terms of overall importance. The new focus is going to be on click throughs, driving traffic to where it counts and on content that converts to maximize every marketing dollars spent. Ensure that there’s a clear alignment between your business goals for 2017 and the marketing measurements that will drive you on pathways to success.

Action – Only measure what matters and understand how it ties into your bottom line.

Influencers will be more influential

The visibility and influence of bloggers and social media influencers will intensify in 2017 and continue to disrupt the marketing environment. The audience, reach and engagement that influencers can provide using social media platforms as their hangout of choice, means that millions of people can be reached by engaging certain influencers or groups of influencers. My agency was recently involved in an expedition to Port Lincoln for tourism marketing with 22 influencers whose combined audience of 1,007,500 meant 2 to 4 million people were reached.  GTM has just released an analytics report on the effectiveness of social media influencers, indicating that the potential return on investment for Adventure Bay Charters would be $0.002 per view and approximately $1 per lead.

It’s important that start-ups and small business only work with influencers that are aligned with their target audience and customers. When you engage an influencer, ensure they are happy to collaborate with your brand or business and that the outcome of the engagement is defined before you begin. Set your goals, budget and process of capturing the new audiences before you kick off a social media influencer campaign.

Action – Identify three influencers that your target audience listen to and reach out to discuss a paid collaboration campaign.

Invest time into your personal brand

Investing time, and maybe some money, into your personal brand in 2017 will benefit your bottom line. We live in the world of googling and seriously who hasn’t done a quick google of someone that we’re about to meet?!

The good news is that it’s not hard to get started. Begin by making sure that you have a LinkedIn account with a great head shot – pictures ensure profiles perform 9x better! Update your summary, experience and education and flesh this out with what you’re working on currently. You can also work with a personal branding specialist to take your brand to the next level if you have big, bold and out of the box goals.

Action – Ensure that you, as the CEO, founder or owner, and your employees, can be found on LinkedIn and invest in some great new headshots.

CMOs and CTOs will become BFFs

The line between tech and marketing is not only blurred but completely gone, having been automated away by tech driven marketing geeks. When we think about marketing, we have to think digital first. There are lots of products out there that can help us automate processes around your customers that in return can offer deeper insights into acquisition and retention for marketing purposes. This can give you greater leverage and access to your customers and prospective clients.

Action – Look into automation software, as well as marketing and sales tracking products to see what is new and coming down the line. Investigate anything that can bring you relevant data on the metrics that matter!

Keep it social.

Everyone’s on social media but this year is about raising it to the next level with technical applications and expertise for better bang for your buck. Bump up your social with a six month strategy or by investing in a specialist who can increase your business objectives through a technical execution.

There are lots of digital marketing specialists and agencies out there on multiple platforms who can bring you inspiration, industry or business specific advice, and share their experiences. Search out those in your industry or in digital marketing to find someone who you can learn from, upskill you and your team and take your digital marketing to the next level!

Action – Download a Social Strategy like this, and have a crack! If you’re at the next level already then engage a social specialist or agency to refine and hone in on achieving your business objectives for this year.

About the author

HelenHelen Ahrens
 is a social media influencer, a personal branding specialist and the founder & CEO of digital agency Good Things Marketing. She developed Little City Skyline Accelerator and is the chair of ADMA (Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising) in SA, a university lecturer, an international speaker and the co-owner of Little City co-working studio. 

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Helen Ahrens

Helen Ahrens

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