Top Marketing Trends for Channel Partners to Leverage in 2017

Andy HillOnce perceived as a promotional and broadcasting tactic, marketing is now the primary growth engine for most organizations. A recent Gartner report indicates that by 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality. By 2019, 20% of brands will have abandoned their mobile apps, and ad blocking will increase advertising effectiveness by 50%.

The impact of technology driven rapid-fire marketing changes on enterprise organizations is much larger than on small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). However, no matter the size it is critical to understand the trends and position your business accordingly. Here’s a look at marketing trends channel partners can take advantage of immediately.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Trends

  • Mobile first: In late 2016, mobile outranked desktops as the most used device for accessing the Internet. The change impacts search results and Google is currently in BETA for the switch to mobile first indexing. The rollover is predicted to occur in 2018 and when it does, mobile versions of websites will be indexed first thereby pushing mobile responsive websites with quick page load times ahead in search rankings.

    Tip: Between now and the switch, look critically at your website from a mobile device; is it mobile responsive and is the user experience on mobile as good as can be? If not, make necessary updates before the end of the year.Take these two tests to see how you fare:
    Google Mobile Friendly Test
    Google Mobile Speed Test

  • Voice search: As more buyers speak into their devices and voice-activated personal assistants make our homes smart, voice search continues to evolve into a prominent factor in SEO. These searches are typically phrased as who, what, where, when and why questions rather than a few typed keywords strung together.

    Tip: FAQs on webpages are a perfect content vehicle for ranking in voice search. For other question-based topic ideas use Answer the Public. Enter a keyword and it returns the related questions asked by searchers. Use them to craft voice search ready content for your website.

  • Machine learning: RankBrain is Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence algorithm. Or more simply – it’s Google’s ability to use your search patterns and behaviors to learn which results suit you best. By using your behavior, RankBrain ensures high quality, well-researched relevant topics rank above all else. Keep publishing top-notch content!

Learn about how blogging can drive search rankings in this article.

Social Media Trends

  • Social algorithm changes: In order to make money, social media platforms need engaged users who interact with their advertising. Social algorithms now reward engaged users by serving their content to followers more often. The more you engage, the more people see your posts. Gone are the days of set-it-and-forget-it. If you want your messaging broadcast on social media, it’s mandatory to develop an engagement strategy first.

    Tip: Start by interacting with and sharing content from other users.

  • Social selling: Social media profiles are the starting place for social selling. When was the last time you updated them? Do images match your brand and level of professionalism? Is your information easy to find? Take a critical look. Make necessary changes. From there it’s a matter of building an audience, cultivating online relationships, participating in groups and conversations to establish your position as a trusted expert for your industry by commenting on and posting interesting content.

    Tip: LinkedIn allows you to “follow” people, without connecting to them. When it comes to social selling, I personally recommend following* Larry Levine who not only “talks the talk”, but also “walks the walk” when it comes to social selling for the print and copier industry.

Local Marketing Trends

Every online marketing tactic is driven by user demands. For local search, the focus is on users who begin shopping online and finish at a brick and mortar location. For example, searching “where to purchase a printer locally,” researching options online, and driving to your location to complete the transaction.

  • Geo targeting: This tactic utilizes the IP address of website visitors to determine their location which allows marketers to better target buyers by geography. Then, based on that location, different types of ads or content can be served up.
  • Hyperlocal marketing: Being found in “near me” searches, begins with updating Google and Bing local listings. If you have lost control of your local listings, this article will help you get it back.

    Tip: Have multiple locations? Update each location’s local listings – not just your headquarters.

Video Trends

With over 87% of marketers using video, it’s a powerful tactic that alongside mobility first, local marketing, and social media is making a significant impact on buyers. Aside from being one of the simplest methods for consuming information, video helps with SEO by keeping prospects on website pages longer which factors in search rankings.

  • Create your own branded YouTube channel: For channel partners, video is a simple way to communicate about product updates, showcase customers, answer questions, and deliver printer and copier tips. In this article, Professional Document Solutions (PDS), a Colorado based Xerox Agent, shared their top 10 strategies for success with YouTube videos.

    Tip: The YouTube Creator Academy has lessons and courses that can teach you pretty much everything you need to know about online video – all for free!

 

Looking for more sales and marketing advice? Check out our Digital Mastery Program for more tips and links to useful resources to help you master digital marketing. Keep the conversation going on our partner-only LinkedIn group. See you there!

 

*This is a personal recommendation by Andy Hill and not in any way an endorsement, or recommendation by the Xerox Corporation.

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12 Comments

  1. Darrell Amy August 8, 2017 - Reply

    Super article Andy. To your first point, one thing companies often overlook for SEO is their page load speed. Websites and pages need to be optimized for fast page loads. They also need to be hosted on robust, business-class servers.

  2. Andy Hill August 8, 2017 - Reply

    Thanks for commenting Darrell.

    On the subject of hosting, another thing to consider is that large enterprises often deploy software tools to prevent and protect their users from reaching websites that have been identified as spam / phishing / blacklisted etc.

    The software usually references a database of compromised IP addresses. So without knowing it, a channel partner could have their site on a shared hosting platform where many sites could be using the same IP address and should one of those sites be compromised, their site can end up on a blacklist and blocked.

    I’ve seen it a few times where I have had to ask for a channel partner’s site to have an exception on our proxy server so that I could visit their site.

    So absolutely go robust, business-class servers from a reputable provider.

  3. Joshua Justice August 8, 2017 - Reply

    GREAT post! These are the tips we all need to succeed. Many of these things we do and can also improve on. I’m a huge fan of the local blog with updated and relevant information about our company, its services, our employees and our successes! By sharing this content in a regular basis across multiple platforms, we increase our reach and help SEO.

  4. Andy Hill August 9, 2017 - Reply

    Thanks Josh,

    You and I have spoken recently about how you are leveraging digital marketing techniques to broaden your reach and to capture new business, so if this article has added a few more tips for you to use then I’m delighted.

  5. Larry Levine August 9, 2017 - Reply

    We live in a digital society as we must start to weave digital into our business climate. Fantastic tips for channel partners as some of these can translate into the sales department as well. When it comes to content we must use to engage, educate and excite clients and prospects into a business conversation.

  6. Andy Hill August 9, 2017 - Reply

    Thanks Larry.

    I continue to learn from your content and approach to social selling. It certainly is all about the business conversation. And as you’ve told me before, there’s no point sharing stuff without following up whenever someone shares or comment on it.

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