The changing seasons offer a great opportunity for a bit of reflection and reassessment. And autumn – the season of back to school and that last, super busy quarter of the year – always seems like a particularly good time to introduce effective change. If you’ve had a bit of a lacklustre marketing strategy in place so far this year, if you’re struggling to see ROI from marketing investment or you’re just ready for a new approach then here are 10 strategic marketing changes to take you into autumn.
1. Raise your content standards
It is the accepted wisdom that content marketing is still the best way to reach customers, new and old. However, there is some serious oversaturation happening right now, particularly of content that is purely for conversion or improving your metrics. Set new content standards for your business this autumn: high quality, genuinely interesting, with authentic purpose and well written or produced. As the digital world gets more competitive it will be quality that wins in the end.
2. Increase your visuals
Explainer videos, high quality images, GIFs – start getting visually creative with your marketing if you want better engagement and to hold the attention span of your audience. See our article on why explainer videos deliver results
3. Invest in social media advertising
Social media is now an essential component of every marketing strategy. However, organic reach is getting increasingly hard, particularly on Facebook. The response? It’s time to think about social advertising if you haven’t already. Targeted ads with set daily budgets and measurable results are a cost effective way to use marketing to help grow your brand.
4. Focus on the individual
The days of group-focused marketing blasts are fading out – now, the most successful strategy taps in to the consumer desire for individual attention.
5. Narrow your social media efforts
Social media is becoming more complicated and more diverse and – especially if you’re a small business – it’s easy to get spread thin. You don’t need to be represented across all social channels to win at social media. Find the platform that works for you and then stick with it and invest in it. It’s no longer just enough to be on social media – your social efforts should be informed by marketing knowledge, specifically targeting certain customers and set up to benefit your audience.
One of the biggest marketing trends this year, personalisation is becoming an essential strategic choice – because it works. For example, HubSpot research found that a call-to-action that is directed at users does 42% better than generic call-to-actions do. A dynamic website and automation driven marketing plan will enable your business to start providing personalised experiences for every customer, current or potential.
7. Switch to inbound marketing
Outbound marketing is effectively dying out as consumers no longer want to be presented with aggressive, clumsy efforts that just sell, sell, sell. Instead, it’s becoming all about inbound methods where businesses “get found” by people already learning about and shopping in a particular industry. If you want to attract visitors “naturally” then the key basic components are: a strong, lead generating website, regular, fresh blog content and building an authentic and engaged social media presence that followers will find genuinely interesting. View our article on the 7 Essentials for a lead generating website
8. Upgrade your analytics
How many of us actually use analytics to really drill down into our web and social performance? And how many of those who use them really understand them? This autumn, make getting to grips with your metrics a priority – start to measure with purpose and context so that business objectives tie into to profit, revenue, customer retention, and satisfaction.
9. Embrace micro moments
When we’re in need of information on the spot, a huge 96% of smart phone users will reach for a phone. Mobile isn’t a new trend but its dominance is forcing everyone to re-examine how to market better – for example, by tapping into micro moments. Micro moments are those seconds of decision when we reach for a phone – to find a local restaurant, look at a property price or get a graphic design quote. Google says they are “highly critical and evaluative touch points where customers expect brands to cater their needs with reliable information, regardless of the time and location.” If search marketing is part of your strategy for 2017, catering to micro moments needs to be on the list.
10. AI and IoT
According to marketing automation vendor Marketo, 51% of the world’s top global marketers expect that IoT will revolutionise the marketing landscape by 2020. From predictive customer service to marketing automation, real time interactions and buying journey insights, now is the time to start looking into what AI and the Internet of Things could bring to your strategic marketing decision making in 2017 - 2018, and beyond.