Promoting your business online in 2017 is going to take some real creativity. The focus this year is on quality content, audience-led messaging, and provoking a reaction. It will take a bit more than an infographic to cut through the noise this year… Here are some cool tactics you can adopt to help you run better marketing campaigns and do more with your website in 2017.
Guerrilla marketing is a fantastic way to disrupt your marketing and get out of a content rut. By embracing disruptive marketing tactics, you’ll find new angles and ways of talking about your brand that isn't bland and done to death.
Yes, it’s important to shout about your product or service benefits (rather than features), but sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes people want to be transported, told stories that help them get out of their daily lives, and to be inspired – make your brand part of that.
- This type of marketing isn’t expensive or flashy: it’s creative and it invites comment. It’s perfect for small businesses as you can afford to take more risks. Try to get under people’s skin and cut through the BS.
- You will really need to commit to this – guerrilla marketing is as much a state of mind as a tactic.
- Guerrilla marketing often involves public ‘stunts’. When you’re out there in the wide world, you’re going to have to develop a thick skin! People won’t necessarily react in the way you’d like.
- Starting a guerrilla content campaign online is all about seeding an idea in people’s head – something disruptive and out of the norm with a twist would be ideal. Or, you could go for a wacky contest, or follow someone’s day through social media as they do something awesome.
- Guerrilla marketing works best in small doses – time-specific and targeted campaigns are what you want. Don’t let your entire website become overrun with hyped-up guerrilla speak.
User-generated content: content that is created by other people. Let them do the hard work!
- Harness the power of the people around you with roundup posts and Q&A posts. The cool thing about people is that when asked the right questions, they say the funniest and most insightful things. And everyone likes to be mentioned and featured, right?
- User-generated content feels more real and is much more unpredictable than editorial content – it will help keep your content more risque and interesting.
- A great place to start experimenting with user-generated content is on your own blog. Social media roundups or results from a customer survey are popular. Keep things light at first, humor will be your best ally. Not sure how many people have found your blog yet? Grow your blog’s readership with these tips.
- Get people to share their own moments on social media with your product or service. People will only do this if there is a lot of value in it for them (like making them look cool). You’ll have to work hard on building a good relationship with your audience and getting your message on point.
- Be careful with real life stories – do some basic fact-checking and give credit where credit is due. You’re dealing with real people here.
Jump on seasonal events
Seasonality will help you design campaigns and content around key tentpole events. Don’t let your website marketing meander off into irrelevance – keep your finger on the pulse with a seasonal marketing calendar that has enough breathing space for reactive content too.
- By factoring in the ‘natural’ calendar into your promotion and marketing, you will find it easier to join in on popular conversations. Every year, certain issues and topics surface around the same time. Speak to people’s desires, hopes, and fears during this time to get under their skin. Help them celebrate and commemorate better, and ask them to share their experiences. (And please – get your seasonal hashtags right!).
- Word of warning: a thinly veiled product placement or an insincere greeting won’t do you any favors. Do seasonality well and invest in quality content, or don’t do it at all. There has been a lot brand backlash (especially on social media), so approach token seasonality with caution. Don’t just dangle the carrot – give people the gravy too.
- Selling online? Get to grips with these Black Friday and Cyber Monday trends that defined 2016. Note especially the huge shift to mobile, the increasingly globalized shopping world, and the shopper spikes at peak times. There is a load of money to be made on these dates, but you’ll need to plan in advance to meet demand.
It’s so easy to reach for the obvious formats like blog posts and articles, but image roundups and Slideshare's get a lot of engagement. (And they can be loads of fun to put together). Images on your website also tell a tale – make sure they’re saying the right things.
- Explore the power of image galleries (both on your domain and on sites like Flickr) to tell your brand story and raise awareness. You could even get SEO links from image attribution!
- Become known for curating and sharing great niche imagery and invest in visual social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest. Overlay images with text to make them more shareable (quotes are popular).
- Too many websites rely on formulaic stock imagery to tell their story. Invest in original imagery, and don’t neglect the power of animations and GIFs, they can really liven up a dull post and have been popularized by sites like BuzzFeed.
- Funny image roundups or photo stories allow you to combine choice words with powerful images. A picture tells a thousand words…
- More ways to promote your business with images.
Have you been tempted by the siren calls of Facebook asking you ‘to go live’? Have you shared any moments on Twitter or Snapchat? Short video loops or live videos can be a great way to grow your audience – online video is hugely engaging and draws in a crowd.
- Live video can be a powerful promotional tool, but only if it’s done well. You don’t want just a bland, poorly shot video of someone droning on – you need videos with a powerful message behind them. Cover a cool event, share an inspirational message, or say hello to the world. Make it about immediacy and engagement, not a perfectly edited PR piece.
- Funny video loops are great for social media, blog posts, and landing pages. Don’t be afraid to explore other textures to make your site more 3D.
Hopefully 2017 is the year for you. If you want to grow your brand authentically and sustainably, learn how to mix the old with the new. You don’t have to jump on every marketing bandwagon, but you also don’t want to be left behind the curve. What marketing goals have you set yourself for 2017?