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It’s that time of year again, so you know what that means, right? Yep, the cliché New Year’s Resolution lists are starting to get some traction, along with the “Best/Worst Of” lists. In the world of marketing, though, there’s a different kind of cliché — the “How to Succeed in 2017” posts. These are packed full of actionable tips for starting the new year, plus things to avoid. 

But let’s face it, sometimes they’re just recapping best practices, rather than sharing innovative solutions.

So then, what’s the recipe for digital marketing success in 2017? We’ve been doing a little reading, and this is what folks are saying. And, of course, we couldn’t resist adding some of our thoughts.

1. A Content-Driven Strategy

The prediction: While video content is wildly popular, you can’t get away from the good old-fashioned written word.
We’re talking about quality copy that reflects your brand & voice. This isn’t exactly a new a cutting-edge strategy for 2017, it’s more of a you-should-already-be-doing-this strategy.
Digital Marketing Consultant Nicola Slavin was quoted as saying:

“…in a world where journalists are under immense click-bait pressure, features and honest, in-depth articles from passionate marketers will be a welcome relief.”

We couldn’t agree more. In fact, we’ve talked about how to write solid content before. What’s the key? Well, why does your car dealership deserve to be #1 in a Google search result? Literally, answer that question, put it on paper, and you’ve got your parameters for writing amazing website content. There are no tricks or cheat codes for having good content, you have quality content because your dealership is quality.

2. A Hands-On SEO Approach

The prediction: Bundled, outsourced SEO services will go the way of the dinosaur.
This isn’t really “new” either. Here’s the hard truth. If your provider is using automated “set it and forget it” services for your SEO, that’s not good. Remember those Oldsmobile deluxe cars back in the early 90’s? They had tons of console buttons, toggles, and switches to make your seat go every which way. But what happened? Well, trying to do a luxury car & La-Z-boy recliner didn’t work out too well, and it turned out that car manufacturers needed to stick to what they knew best: cars.

When your SEO services are rolled into a pre-packaged deal (i.e., a set # of blog posts, a set # of inbound links, a set # of positive reviews per month, etc), you have cause to be skeptical. There are tons of reasons why you don’t want automated SEO services, but DealerOn has long since preached that a “hands-on” personal approach to SEO is the only way for success.

Your website & social media accounts are reflections of your dealership’s personality. If you have 12 different teams working on different parts of your dealership’s SEO, then they don’t really know you, do they? That leads us into the next one.

3. Providing Exceptional Customer Service

Prediction: customers want a uniform, harmonious experience from their digital marketing & advertising providers. 
Ok, now it’s not hard to see that this is hardly a groundbreaking concept. People love good customer service, and it’s why Disneyland & Disneyworld are the most sought-after vacation destinations in the world; they provide an amazing experience for their customers.

Try as they may, thought leaders have never quite been able to manufacture the perfect way to deliver a satisfying experience for customers, across the board. Don’t believe us? Go to any given FedEx store and look at the books on the lobby floor. We’ll wait.

It’s all leadership training/coaching books, right? That’s because getting your company to provide a great experience is a must to succeed in our social-media driven world. Everything is interactive and has a personality, even your dealership.

DealerOn’s strategy is simple. Just keep things small & local. We’re a large company and we handle a lot of dealerships across North America, but our clients are handled by individual people. We intentionally assign clients to individual SEO experts, who are on teams of 6-8 people, on average. That’s what we mean by keeping things small and local.

4. Go Mobile-First

Prediction: mobile traffic is overtaking desktop traffic, so websites need to be optimized for a mobile platform.
Responsive web design is not just a flashy term anymore, it’s becoming an industry standard. If your site doesn’t look good on multiple platforms, then you can go ahead and take your seat in the back of the room.

And it’s not just about looking good on a mobile platform, you need to optimize for mobile — make it a primary goal for your website’s conversion goals. Hence, the name “mobile-first” strategy. At DealerOn, we’ve got our Chameleon Responsive platform to do all the heavy lifting for us. And guess what? We’re not introducing this in 2017, it’s been here all along and it’s waiting for you.

5. Video as Content

Prediction: Facebook and YouTube will become major sources of content marketing, as brands start to take their message onto the silver screen (or black screen, if you’re on your phone). 
Yes, yes, video is very engaging and it’s only growing in popularity. So what does that mean for your content strategy? Time to get creative.

Good thing for you, the Beard and the Hair have already beat you to the punch. Using Facebook subtitles is an awesome way to maximize your video impact, and it’s something we’ve used in our video messages for quite awhile (just ask anyone who regularly attends our Wednesday Workshop. While virtual reality is slowly integrating with our modern technology, the fact is that video marketing still has quite a bit of potential. Using subtitles in a creative way is just one of the methods we use to stay ahead of the curve.

In Conclusion…

So there you have it, the most popular predictions for digital marketing in 2017, along with some DealerOn commentary. It’s not that we think these trending “How to Succeed in 2017” lists are irrelevant, it’s just that we’re already doing this kind of thing. If you can get a good grip on what’s going to be popular in 2017, then you’ll have an edge on your competition. But if you can walk into the room having already mastered those things, well, that’s a different story.

Are you trying anything new out in 2017? Let us know in the comments!


Author DealerOn

DealerOn, Inc. is a premier website and digital marketing company serving the retail automotive industry. In the last 12 months DealerOn’s websites have won virtually every meaningful industry award including: Driving Sales Top-Rated Website, Digital Dealer’s Overall Website Excellence Award, AWA’s Pinnacle Award, and Dealer Marketing Magazine’s Technology Award for Website Providers. DealerOn has become noted in the industry for their Lead Guarantee, based on their Digital Marketing Dashboard. Since creating this process in 2009, DealerOn has documented an average increase of over 200% in website lead volume for their auto dealer clients. To learn more about DealerOn’s Lead Guarantee, visit our website here.

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