Digital Marketing Dos and Don’ts for 2017

A Multi-touch Journey

We’ve become a nation of “multi-screeners” using smartphones, tablets, computers and TVs — sometimes simultaneously — to gather and explore information. As a result, the path that consumers take from awareness to purchase is now a multi-touch journey. From the initial search, a typical buyer will visit company websites, read reviews on blogs or consumer sites, subscribe to newsletters, watch a YouTube video, visit a brand Facebook page, see a banner ad, see a retargeted banner ad, conduct additional searches with refined terms and look for a coupon or a discount – all before making a purchase decision. Knowing the digital marketing dos and don’ts for 2017 can help you successfully plan your marketing channels for 2017.

digital marketing dos and don'ts

Google’s data reveals that the average shopper uses 10.4 sources of information to make a purchase decision, up from 5.3 sources in 2010. The key to success is understanding the digital engagement path each consumer travels and integrating the right channels at the right touch points for a seamless experience.

Smart online marketers understand that you can’t make a sale with a single ad. No matter how compelling the message or image, a customer’s journey from awareness to conversion happens across multiple visits, devices, and touchpoints. Each of these channels contributes to the final sale. With an integrated campaign, the number of impressions and the interaction between channels has a dramatic cumulative effect on conversion and profitability.

But planning the proper mix of channels and messaging can be tricky. You want every campaign to offer the right mix of awareness, engagement and conversion activities.

Digital Marketing Dos and Don’ts

DO go where your buyers are

Follow your customer journey from pre-engagement to post-purchase, listening to and learning how different customers interact with your brand. Understand what these touchpoints are, where they fall in the decision-making cycle, and what kind of impact they have in progressing customers closer to purchase.

DON’T use one ad format

This year marketers can expect a lot of new ad formats to play with and to optimize for specific goals. Online advertising is becoming more sophisticated every day, with a variety of ad types and granularity that enable advertisers to get in front of their desired audiences with more precision than ever before. Explore the options out there to see which ones are most effective with your target audience.

DO retarget

Retargeted advertising allows brands to connect across touchpoints by serving ads that remind users of products they have browsed but haven’t purchased yet. With only a small percent of web traffic converting on the first visit, ad retargeting works to increase the overall conversion rate by reminding consumers of the product or service they viewed. This keeps the brand and the product at the top of the consumer’s mind, builds trust and makes consumers more likely to make a purchase.

DON’T shut out mobile users

According to Forbes, 87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones. Whether it’s creating an alternate mobile version of a website or using responsive web design, it’s important to provide a positive experience to users that are browsing via a mobile device.

DO engage and re-engage consumers

Adjust your strategy to reach consumers at all points of the purchase funnel. Use display to speak to customers in a relevant context and build campaigns designed for awareness, engagement or conversion. For example, use keyword contextual targeting for initial engagement and remarketing to target past site visitors who are more likely to convert.

DON’T create in a bubble

Use all the tools in the toolbox. Instead of just making an isolated piece of content, use SEO to ensure it gets found, social media to outreach to key influencers, PPC to kick start interest in it, PR to reach a broader range of people and analytics to track effectiveness.

DO think beyond the sale

Integrated marketing isn’t just about making sales. Instead, it’s about leveraging a range of channels for a broader set of potential conversions – website visits, gathering information for in-store visits, signing up for more information – that will contribute to the bottom line.

DON’T be unfriendly

Treat your customers as a community. You’ve gone through all that work to acquire them – stay friendly and build long-term relationships by providing tangible value and showing that you understand their habits, needs and desires.

DO look at your data

One of the benefits of digital advertising is the ability to track and measure each touch point, and attribute each conversion, lead or sale to its corresponding impression. Make sure your marketing attribution is equipping you with the intelligence you need to convert visitors into customers and drive ROI.

DON’T obsess about SEO (alone)

Post Penguin and Panda algorithm updates, SEO has shifted more towards content that provides value, relevance of your website as it relates to the search query, usability, and mobile. Google’s algorithm doesn’t reward brands that get obsessed with SEO rankings alone, but those that focus more on what its users need and the site’s overall authority.

DO integrate social

Social media is a great tool to help connect different media – Twitter, your content, and your website, for example – to help move consumers along the digital engagement path from awareness to purchase.

Integrated marketing allows brands to reach consumers at various touch points along the same campaign, and enables marketers to leverage the strengths of one channel to support success in another. A multi-touch engagement strategy can significantly improve digital campaign performance while maximizing consumer insight, ROI and conversion volumes. Follow these digital marketing Dos and Don’ts to help your customers research, compare, decide, and purchase from you — and not your competitor – and leave us a comment below if we missed any Dos and Don’ts for 2017!