You can’t predict the internet. You never know what’s going to take off and what isn’t. Anybody who could even predict a fraction of what will take off will get very rich indeed. So, does that mean we should just close of this paragraph and all go home? Not in the slightest. Just because you can’t predict the trends, doesn’t mean you can’t build a good strategy.
The thing is just that you need to incorporate that uncertainty into your strategy. You should leave space for you to adjust to what happens on the ground. But then, a good strategy should always be flexible, don’t you agree?
So how do you do that for 2017?
Clearly, define your end goals
You need to know where you’re going. If you don’t, then it’s like getting into a car without a map, and without a destination in mind. What are the chances you’re actually going to end up somewhere interesting and not get stuck deep in the suburbs when you do that?
Not very high.
And so, you’ve got to define a goal. Yes, I know. There are a lot of choices out there. You could decide to boost your audience. Increase your engagement. Or raise the number of visitors that you manage to convert into customers. All of those no doubt sound appealing.
And yet you should choose only one. Why? Because when you choose more, the water gets muddled. That’s why different decisions at different times can have you heading in opposite directions. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be happy if the other numbers go up as well. It just isn’t what you’re aiming at.
Know your audience
Particularly on the internet, where things change rapidly, you’ve got to know who your audience is. Otherwise, you’re going to end up running around like a headless chicken as you chase one group or the other, without ever really getting a handle on anybody.
If you’ve got one target audience, however, then you can actually stay abreast of them, what they’re up to and what they’re paying attention to.
So how do you pick your audience? Well there are two basic strategies:
- If you’re happy with the audience you’ve got, then work out what they’re like and try to build on them. The big advantage you’ve got if you decide to go with the audience you’ve already got is that you can continue creating content and pinging your audience in more or less the same way you’ve been going. The best way to find out what kind of an audience you’ve got is probably Google Analytics.
- Alternatively, you can try to move target a new audience group. In this case, you want to build up a profile about them, figure out where they’re hanging out and what they’re doing, and copy the styles of the people and companies they pay attention to. A good tool to use facebook ad manager as there you can explore what kinds of pages people that fit your demographics are the most likely to like and pay attention to. Then you can use these websites to inform your style.
Have diverse content
The best way to make sure that you can catch a new trend and run with it is to have many different content creation paths. This way, if somebody comes up with an interesting visual, you can jump aboard. Would an infographic cover it better? Then you can do that. What about an interview to take advantage of a trend? That’s possible too, as you’ve got an interviewer you can call.
When you don’t know where the next big thing is coming from, then the best strategy is to cover all your bases. In that way, you’re ready for whatever may come.
Can’t cover that with your budget? Then consider having a group of freelancers on call. There are plenty of them out there, you can choose the one from the long list of best sites for writing help.
Have a dedicated social media advertising budget
The last thing you want to have to do when that perfect opportunity presents itself is spending weeks trying to wrangle money from different places in order to pay for it. To avoid this, set a budget for this kind of adverting ahead of time so that when that opportunity comes along, you can jump on and hit it before everybody and your uncle Jimmy have heard about it.
Of course, if you’ve got a budget that doesn’t mean you have to blow through it. Don’t think ‘we have to spend this money’. That’s just going to mean poorly planned and executed campaigns. Instead, make it clear to the people responsible that if they don’t spend the entire budget that does not mean that their budget will be cut so that they don’t feel obliged to spend everything on anything.
Everybody’s mobile now. So make sure that whatever you’re doing is mobile compatible. In fact, with the kinds of numbers that are out there, it should no longer be about things being mobile compatible, it should be about them being designed for mobile and being desktop compatible as well.
That means adjusting image sizes so that they load quickly on devices, offering minimal text versions, with the option of expanding into a larger text version if they so desire, and – above all – it should be about making it a cinch for your customers to actually buy the product you’re offering through their mobile device.
In that way, whatever trend you jump on board on, you’re going to be ready to capitalize on whatever traffic comes to your website by making sure that they will actually convert into paying customers.
If you follow these simple steps, then you’ll have a good long-term strategy, even while retaining the flexibility that you need in order to adjust to whatever the internet will throw at you – however bizarre it may be.
It’s about being clear-eyed about what the future will hold in general while accepting that you can’t predict what the specifics of it will be. It’s about programming flexibility into your strategy, without allowing you to get distracted by the things that don’t actually matter to you.
In that way, you’ll be ready when the new year hits and your company will be in prime position to take full advantage of what the year may throw our way.
All I can ask is, what are you waiting for? Get cracking already!
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