6 Lessons from Inbound Marketing in 2016 & What they Mean for 2017 [Part 1]

6 Lessons from Inbound Marketing in 2016 & What they Mean for 2017 [Part 1]

Inbound marketing tactics change year-in-year-out. What are some lessons from inbound marketing to take into next year?

  1. In 2016, local search was big contributor to traffic to business websites. This will lead to a huge emphasis on improving local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in 2017.  This is evident in the statistics below:
    • 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016)
    • 30% of mobile searches are related to finding a location. (Google, 2016)
    • 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. (Google, 2016)

In 2016, we saw a trend of consumers wanting local, searching local, and buying local. There seems to be a lot of factors contributing to this – one is a result of the new mobile landscape; 48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine (Smart Insights, 2016). This is likely because people are searching for things on the go and, of course, going to a business that is close by.

What does this mean for 2017? An emphasis on local SEO. Making sure your business is easy to find locally can drive a lot of targeted traffic, just like the case in 2016. This type of local SEO will become a crucial part of setting up an effective online presence. This includes setting your business up on Google Maps, investing in local SEO, and local citations. Most notably, “Google My Business”. This suite includes Google Pages, Maps, and Search. For more information, click here to read more on what Google My Business is and click here to read more about how it can benefit financial advisors.

  1. Inbound marketing, specifically blogging, has gained a lot more traction in 2016 and will likely continue to be a very important part of the marketing mix.
    • 60% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2016)
    • 1 in 10 blog posts are compounding, meaning organic search increases their traffic over time. (HubSpot, 2016)
    • Compounding blog posts make up 10% of all blog posts and generate 38% of overall traffic. (HubSpot, 2016)
    • Over its lifetime, one compounding blog post creates as much traffic as six decaying posts. (HubSpot, 2016)

2016 saw the majority of marketers placing a high importance on blog creation, rightfully so. Blogging created a lot more opportunities and traffic in conjunction with SEO techniques.

This trend will remain in 2017; I would even go as far to say that the impact on website traffic as a result of blogs will increase. The increase is partly due to the trend of local SEO and search engines becoming more accurate and refined; a focus on providing visitors with the highest quality and most relevant search results. In addition, content marketers and sales will be much more interconnected in the future since creating content, or blogging, will directly assist the salesperson in acquiring new business.

  • 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
  • 96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)

The link between content and buyers is as strong as ever so it seems only natural for the progression of content to be more in line to assist sales in moving prospects through the buyer journey. Adapting content strategies to the shifting buyer journey can fill gaps in knowledge. During the awareness stage, content can attract relevant visitors and coverts them to leads. Afterwards, during the consideration phase, content builds trust. Finally, during the decision stage, the buyers will have all of the knowledge they need to compare products/services, and ultimately pick the winner. Having content specific for these phases of the journey lifts some responsibilities from the sales department allowing them to focus on converting the leads.

  1. Social media proved to not just be a fad, but a lifestyle.
    • Facebook has 1.13 billion daily active users. (Statista, 2016)
    • Twitter has 313 million monthly active users. (HubSpot, 2016)
    • LinkedIn has 450 million members, but only 25% actively visit the professional social network each month. (VentureBeat, 2016)
    • Nearly one-third of the world uses social networks regularly. (eMarketer, 2016)

Social media is also a large part of the professional networks and businesses as Facebook and LinkedIn increasingly add features for that demographic.

  • 73% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • In the past two years, content consumption on Facebook has increased 57%. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • In the past two years, content consumption on LinkedIn has increased 21%. (HubSpot, 2016)

2017 will see social media continuing to remain a consistent potion of an effective marketing mix. There are no signs that social media will fade, although, the platforms could become outdated – like Myspace. Social media is such a big part of the new generation that there will always be some sort of social media that will take the place of any dwindling service. As for content consumption of these platforms, the trend shows another increase from 2016 to 2017. Overall, it will keep rising year over year for the next few years and will eventually stabilize at a natural maximum.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series where we will cover off 3 more Inbound Marketing lessons from 2016.