Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you had a lovely time over Christmas and New Year. Now, let’s get back to work!
We don’t make a habit of talking about trends on the Canny blog. Our view on branding is that it should be timeless, rendering trends obsolete.
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However, as the calendar has just flipped into the New Year, we decided to review some of the things your business can do in 2017 to build success.
First things first, let’s reflect on 2016 and:
Scale Back Your 2016 Failures Whilst Doubling Down on Your 2016 Successes
This is key.
You don’t want to go into the New Year with failed marketing campaigns continuing to cost you money. However, you do want to double down on what worked for you in 2016 and do more of it.
How to Deal With Your Failures
Failures are great! You can learn a lot from them.
If you ran some targeted Adwords or social campaigns and they’ve not played out how you expected, now is the perfect time to hit the pause button and assess the situation.
The New Year is great for that. It’s the perfect break point and gives you time to reflect on what went wrong.
Here’s what I try to do with my failures:
Learn from them.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with campaigns failing, but you have to adapt quickly and turn things around.
Perhaps you got the demographic wrong. Maybe the advertising imagery and copy just weren’t compelling enough. Maybe the pricing was ever so slightly off.
Whatever it is, try to reach out to some of the people that spilled out of your funnel, and ask them questions like:
“Why didn’t you buy from us?” or “What did you think of X?”
Talking to potential customers is key. Find out what they liked and didn’t like about your advert, your business, your offering and then work to improve it.
Remember to split test everything constantly. If something hasn’t worked, you can either stop doing it or change it and test it further.
How to Double Down On Your Success
Your successes, on the other hand, are a different matter entirely.
Over the course of 2016, I’m sure you’ll have worked on some successful marketing campaigns. Heading into 2017, you need to double down on them.
If something works, you need to put as much cash or effort into that as you possibly can.
I still urge you to reflect and split test everything you do. If it’s working, then you’re in a great position to start with.
You can always improve.
Here are some different things you could split test on your landing page or paid advertising campaign:
A catchy headline can have a massive effect on your conversion rate. Make sure it’s benefit driven and tells your visitor what the benefits are for them.
Neil has a fantastic chapter in The Definitive Guide to Copywriting that deals specifically with writing headlines.
Your Body Copy
The body of your advert or post must do a number of different things:
It has to convince your customers to push that CTA button and further expand the service offering.
Unbounce wrote an article called the No-Fail Process for Writing Landing Page Copy That Converts that’s definitely worth a read.
Your Value Proposition
Your value proposition is a tricky one to get right. But it shouldn’t be.
Rather than rambling on about how great you and your service are, flip the copy. Tell your visitors what the benefits of using your service are.
Your Price Point
Price is always an interesting one. Get it too high, and people will think you’re ripping them off (unless your advert/landing page can convince them otherwise). Go too low and people won’t see the value you’re offering them.
It’s also worth considering split payment options. For example, if you’re marketing a course, rather than one upfront payment of £999, consider testing 12 payments of £99 each. You can then charge more for drawing out the payments; essentially you’re charging interest.
Your Call to Action and Opt In
There are a number of different ways you might want people to engage with your landing page. But you should choose which is of most value to you and gear your users towards that action.
You might want to collect email list signups, or it might be a case of “its time to hand over the money.” Either way, don’t confuse people with multiple calls to action within a small space.
And, if they buy, they’ll expect to be added to your mailing list anyway!
I didn’t opt-in to receive OptinMonster’s digest email. However, as I bought their service, I’m glad to get it sent through as it’s always packed full of top tips!
There are hundreds of different things you can test, but don’t get too picky.
If you’re looking for new reading inspiration about split testing, take a look at:
Thrive Themes’ article about testing button colour and A/B testing in isolation. These will give you a lot to think about.
This little gem from Neil Patel is also great.
Live Video Streaming
2016 saw a huge rise in live video streaming and nearly live video streaming.
You now have the ability to stream live on Facebook, Snapchat, and Periscope, and almost live on Instagram. And, if your business exists in the gaming space, you should also check out Twitch.
I went to Twitch when writing this article and spent 30 minutes watching a Counter-Strike tournament. I have no idea what the game is, or who the teams involved were. But, it was super compelling, and I ended up staying until the end.
Online marketing gurus such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Ducker, and Pat Flynn have been using video content for their businesses for several years now. Chris in particular, has been going all in over Christmas with his video Advent Calendar.
Hubspot has a great article that talks about several creative ways to use live streaming. If you’re looking for inspiration, then check it out.
Here are three more ideas about using live video to promote your business:
Run a Q&A Session with Your Fans
Nice and easy. Get connected and get your fans and community to start chiming in with some questions.
This type of session tends to work well when there are plenty of people on the stream, and everything unfolds organically. It can be quite painful to watch if there’s nobody there to ask questions!
Broadcast Live From an Event
If you’re about to hit the stage at a speaking gig, why not broadcast the whole thing live? Before you do this, you should make sure that it’s okay to do so with the event organisers!
The Over-The-Shoulder View
You can use live video to give your fans an over-the-shoulder view of your day. Show people what happens when the cameras are off. Show them how you go about your day and what you get up to.
There are a lot of great things that you can do with live video, and I think we’ve really only touched the tip of the iceberg.
Neil Patel and Eric Siu recently talked about live video on their Marketing School podcast.
They said that as well as the great things it can do to build your personal brand, if you’re using Facebook specifically, right now, they’re showing your live video to almost everyone: This is in contrast to paid ads and regular posts etc.get that only a fraction of your audiece gets to see.
Because Facebook want you to engage with Live Video, they’re showing video feeds to as many people as possible.
That’s something worth thinking about when deciding which platform to use for your broadcast!
Investing in Social
The social web has existed for exactly how long now? The short answer to that is “a very long time”
If you’re still not fully embracing its power, why not?
Choosing the right social platform for your brand is difficult. Really, really difficult.
It’s impossible to give every single social network 100% of your attention.
Later this year, we’ll take a look at each of the networks in more detail and break them down further.
But for now, here’s a quick breakdown of the big players in the social space:
Facebook is the largest social network on earth. And, to be honest, it’s pretty good at most things. Building personal brands, building business brands, live video streaming–they do it all.
Nearly everybody uses Facebook. It has such a wide user base that really, I would recommend every business and brand use it.
Who’s doing Facebook well?
Both Gary Vaynerchuk and Chris Ducker are using Facebook well. However, as Chris is fresh in my mind from his Christmas Advent Calendar video series, let’s give him the nod. He’s engaging with followers, using Facebook Live Video, pushing out his content and promoting his courses. Give him a like and see what he’s up to.
Google have now owned YouTube for 10 years. In that time, they’ve essentially built the 2 biggest search engines on the planet.
Whilst YouTube isn’t traditionally classed as a Social Network, over the past few years, there has been a meteoric rise in the amount of video content that companies are pushing onto the internet.
You also have a huge rise in independent “YouTubers” who are becoming famous through creating their own YouTube shows.
For businesses, creating a regular YouTube show might seem like hard work. YouTube is quite under-utilised in the B2B space. With a little time and effort, you could easily position yourself ahead of your competition with some well-written, well-produced video content.
Who’s doing YouTube well?
Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You To Be Reach puts out a lot of great content on YouTube. He posts a whole host of interesting videos and has well over 100,000 subscribers.
You also have YouTube consumer product pioneers, BlendTec, who are still trying to find out the answer to “Will It Blend?”
There’s a lot of great YouTube content out there that you can take inspiration from and in the coming years, video will continue to rise. It’s time to jump on board!
Twitter seems to be used primarily for people looking to build a strong personal brand. It’s good to have your business on there, but most users are presenting their own front.
Who’s doing Twitter well?
Gary Vaynerchuk has had massive success with Twitter and continues to do so. He uses it to drive people to his Facebook page, where he live streams and shares video content.
What I find interesting about that, though, is that he’s driving people from Twitter to Facebook so they can watch his video content. He’s not trying to drive them to Periscope which is a Twitter-owned product that deals with live video.
Is this a sign of things to come for Twitter, perhaps? It already feels like it’s on a very slippery slope.
LinkedIn is perfect if you’re primarily in the B2B space. The “company page” functionality isn’t the best on LinkedIn, but it does let you develop a presence there.
However, people buy from people, and if you’re trying to look people up and make the right connections, then LinkedIn is the perfect place for you.
Who’s doing LinkedIn well?
LinkedIn is a hard one to judge because a lot of the activity that takes place is hidden away. However, our client, Heather Blue of BizPixPlus is a LinkedIn master, and if you’re looking for LinkedIn advice, then get in touch.
Instagram is an image sharing platform. It’s very visually striking and, along with Snapchat, is quickly becoming the go-to choice for teens and millennials.
As it’s owned by Facebook, it’s easy to cross post and make the most of both platforms. They also share an advertising network, which makes it easy to run advertising on both sites at the same time.
And now that they’ve incorporated “stories” into Instagram too, you can bet it’s going to become a major player in 2017.
Who’s doing Instagram well?
Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, the “Lean in 15” guy has built his entire brand on the back of the Instagram platform. And now he has his own TV show on Channel 4. Not bad going!
Snapchat is one-of-a-kind. A kind of time-sensitive social network where posts only last up to 10 seconds.
Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But if you’re targeting 15-35-year-olds with your marketing, Snapchat is a great social platform for you to invest in.
Who’s doing Snapchat well?
Again, Gary Vaynerchuk enters the conversation. He’s been investing in Snapchat for a while now and continues to crush it every day. If you’re looking for brands or businesses to follow, Hubspot have your back.
Smart Insights have a great breakdown of social media statistics from as recently as January to June 2016.
Skip over there and have a read, and see if it helps you narrow the field.
Upping Your Content Streams and Output
As if blogging and being active on social media weren’t enough. One of the things that is going to put you ahead of your competition in 2017 is the amount of high-quality content that you can produce.
Notice I said high-quality. Just upping your content output for the sake of it is no good at all. The content that you’re putting out there has to be high-quality and provide a ton of value to your reader.
But, assuming you’re blogging regularly, or at least your business is blogging regularly, what else can you do to increase your content output?
Here are a few ideas:
- Double up on your blog – If you’re blogging once a week, why not start blogging twice a week? Most of the huge digital companies blog every single day, multiple times. Could that be a strategy that works for your business?
- Create a second content stream – So you’re already blogging? What else? Well, later this year we’ll be starting our Canny podcast. Podcasts are all the rage right now, and it could just be the perfect way to give a better insight into your business. Or, like I said earlier, how about video? Worried about creating all that content? Read our next point!
- Start Working with a PR Agency – If your budget will stretch, have you considered working with a Public Relations agency to get you in the limelight? Some magazine features, a slot on the business radio show, a prime-time TV spot perhaps? It’s all possible with the right team behind you.
There are a lot of different ways to up the amount of content you’re putting out there. If you can consistently produce high-quality content, then I do recommend you look at ways to scale up the amount that you produce.
However, if you can’t, there is another approach:
Enter Brian Dean.
Brian Dean is the owner and founder of Backlinko.com, a fantastic digital marketing resource and blog.
His strategy relies on pushing out only the highest quality content he can. And as a result, he doesn’t publish too regularly. But when he does, it’s absolute gold!
The rest of the time, he focuses on building links and making connections that will appreciate and share his work — the 80/20 rule, so to speak. 80 percent of the time is spent marketing, while 20 percent is spent creating.
Whichever approach you take, more high quality content, or less posts and more promotion, you need to go all in.
Repurpose Your Old Content
One of the key things we’ll be focusing on at Canny this year is repurposing our old content. As a result, we will be upping our content stream!
So what exactly do I mean when I say “you should be repurposing your old content”?
Exactly what it sounds like.
There’s no point in writing all of these great blogs, then coming up with a list of separate ideas to talk about on your podcast or video show.
Take your most successful posts and talk about them on the podcast or a live video feed. Or do the same in reverse. Turn your audio and video content into blog posts.
Some blog topics could even serve as a kick-off point for further in-depth blog posts on the subject.
Again, Neil Patel comes up with the goods on repurposing content.
There are a lot of different ways to repurpose written words. You could:
- Make a white paper
- Create a slide deck
- Turn it into an audio podcast
- Turn it into a video
- Make an infographic
The list goes on and on. But equally, if you run a successful podcast, have you thought about transcribing it and turning it into a blog post? The same goes for video.
Repurposing your existing content will help you with your production levels. And it’s not lazy. In fact, it’s the opposite.
People prefer to consume information in different ways. So why not serve it up to them in as many different ways as you can?
2017 will be a massive year in the brand and business space. Whether you’re a small business, startup, or small to medium enterprise, I hope you can take some inspiration from this post and take action!
Again, Happy New Year, and here’s to a successful 2017!
We’d love to talk with you. Let us know in the comments below what your goals are for this year, what worked for you last year, and what you’re going to do heading into 2017.