It’s official. 2017 has come to a close and 2018 has started with a bang! The new year starts with new marketing plans, new sales goals, and what we want to accomplish in the new year. Do we set these items in motion blindly? Do we pull ideas and numbers out of a hat? Of course not. We start by reflecting on last year and years past.
2017 brought new challenges to some industries and relief to others. The hotel and vacation rentals are starting to rely on OTAs more than ever. Not because they want to, as the lodging industry feels the OTAs do not understand their business nor do they have their best interest at heart. But for the simple fact that they don’t know how to compete against the OTA giants.
Businesses of all sorts have learned that shortcuts and black hat tricks won’t do anything but get you in trouble. Instead, hard work, giving the end user what they truly want: great content, inspiring information and food for thought, brings success.
Businesses are also seeing the true value in social media. No, not everyone has thousands of followers or constant engagement, but they saw the difference it made to their SEO once they started providing a social signal.
Instagram has made a bigger move for businesses that have a visual story to tell. Meanwhile, Twitter made a shift by allowing more characters in posts in the hopes of gaining more users that have more to say. I personally still only need 140 characters to say what I have to say.
Drones are still making an impact in the marketing world. More websites have drone footage than ever before, and hopefully attained it the right way. Speaking of websites, more businesses experienced an SEO drop due to old sites that are not in line with two major factors that are important to search engines: mobile friendliness and clean code.
The ADA (American Disability Act) has made a huge impact on various businesses by requiring websites to be accessible to those with disabilities. It is said that this year, 2018, ADA compliance for your website will be mandated. We thought it was going to be made law last year, but apparently, this is supposed to be official this year. Although it is currently not mandatory, this has not stopped individuals from suing companies over websites that weren’t ADA friendly. The most notable court case for this issue was that of Winn Dixie, who lost and was forced to fix their site and pay the plaintiff’s court fees.
Review sites of all sorts are gaining the attention of all businesses. Today’s business owners are seeing the true value in responses as well as listening to their customers. The most notable change was Trip Advisor with the launch of their warning badges.
We had been hearing for the past two years that email is dead. We have yet to experience this for our clients. You will still have those that will unsubscribe from an email that says Happy Thanksgiving, but if they truly opted in, they can’t wait to hear from you. This is why we still advise our clients to use email messages in moderation.
Automation and AI
Let’s talk automation. Automation, as well as AI, has played a large part in 2017 strategies. Even Facebook messenger is using AI technology which has been helpful to many businesses both large and small. Although automation has gained a lot of popularity, it is imperative that the sales and marketing teams use it correctly. The thought behind automation is to not make it look automated, and many are missing the boat on this. We think that professionals will get better at this in 2018.
These are my main takeaways from 2017. The Captevrix team has noted many things that they have learned over the past year, but these are just a few of mine. You just might see their thoughts here as well. What were your main learning points of 2017?