The 7 Best Online Marketing Tactics for 2017 Guest Author A guest post by Larry Kim, founder and CTO of Wordstream. Do you want to be a magical unicorn or a boring old donkey in 2017? If you want to be a unicorn – and who doesn’t? – then this is the post you’re looking for! I’m going to share the seven best online marketing tactics to set you up for a successful 2017. Now what do I mean by a unicorn? Have you ever written a piece of content that got 5x or maybe 10x more traffic or social shares than normal? That’s one type of unicorn. But you can find magical unicorns in every marketing channel – email, SEO, PPC, social media, and conversion rate optimization. Unicorns manifest in the form of exceptional open rates, click-through rates, engagement rates, and conversion rates. Unicorns are predictably unpredictable, but when you find one, you have to go all in. Drop everything, shine the unicorn signal, and promote the heck out of it across every other channel. Sound good? Are you ready to find your unicorns and make the most of them? OK then! Here are seven amazing online marketing tactics for 2017. 1. Don’t Let Your Conversion Rates Go Rogue What pops into your mind when you hear the term “conversion rate optimization” (or CRO)? Is it changing the color of a button, an image, or a font? These are small changes. Making small changes like these will result in small changes to your conversion rates. Plus, any gains you do see won’t last. Forget about aiming for changes of 2 to 5 percent. Aim for changes of 2x to 5x! The real secret to higher conversion rates is brand familiarity. Why? Higher quality leads. Here are a couple ways to get people familiar with your brand: Remarketing: Use the Google Display Network and Facebook to (cheaply!) target people who recently visited your website without converting. Hit them with hard offers (e.g., sign-ups, consultations, and downloads). Video ads: You can get thousands of views for pennies. Plus, video ads will help people remember your brand and truly great video ads will have high ad engagement. Remember: people who know your brand, and like it, are more likely to convert! 2. Save Your Organic Search CTR Your organic click-through rate (CTR) tells you the percentage of people who clicked on your result in Google’s search results. You can find this data in the Google Search Console. Raising your CTR can increase the rankings of your pages. If you suffer from low CTRs, one reason might be because your headlines are boring. What to do? Rewrite your dull headlines using this awesome formula (it works!) and start getting clicks: 3. Rescue Your Facebook Organic Reach What’s that you say? Facebook organic reach is dead? Close, but not quite. Actually, you can recover a little bit of your reach. With Facebook, the name of the game is engagement. You want to generate likes, shares, and comments. Here are a few ways to raise your Facebook engagement rates: Preferred Audience Targeting. This feature lets you target your organic updates as if they were ads, but for free. Use this to make sure only those people who are most likely to be interested in your update will see it. Unicorn Detector Pyramid Scheme. Post fewer, better updates on Facebook. Test out your content organically on Twitter and only post your “winners” (your unicorns) on Facebook. Post Engagement Ads. For about $20, you can get thousands of paid impressions – but you’ll also get some organic reach and engagement as a result. Invite People to Like Your Page. Click on the link that shows you the names of everyone who reacted to your post (likes, loves, etc.). You’ll see three types of buttons (Invite, Liked, Invited) to the right of people’s names. Click on the Invite button to send an invitation to people who engaged with one of your posts, but who haven’t yet liked your Facebook page. Videos. Add some video content. It’s incredibly memorable and engaging. 4. Strike Back at Your Competitors Ready to outsmart your competition and steal some sales? There are some really clever ways you can use technology to find their equivalent of a thermal exhaust port. For instance, with Facebook ads you can target interests. So target your ads at people are interested in your competitor’s name (or product or URL) and bring them from the dark side and into the light. But there are many more ways to disrupt your competition: Create awesome YouTube ads and target your ads so that whenever someone searches for the YouTube videos of your competitor that they’ll see your ad first. Use Gmail Ads to target consumers that have received emails from your competitors in their inbox. Pay for a list of your competitors’ Twitter followers, upload that list to Twitter ads, and start targeting them. With some creativity, you might just persuade them to switch or buy from you instead. 5. May the Force of Social Ads Be With You Not a big name yet? No problem! A small investment in social media ads will help you – or your company – get noticed and appear to be a bigger deal in your industry than you actually are so you can grow your audience, influence, and business. For instance, you can target ads so only employees with a certain job titles at specific companies see them. Or, if you write a guest post for an industry site, pay to promote that post on Facebook and Twitter. Your editors will notice all the shares and traffic and probably ask you to become a regular contributor. 6. Realize the Power of Twitter Lead Gen Twitter has something called Lead Generation Cards. Ironically, you’ll get more leads from Twitter by NOT using these cards. They look like ads – and most Twitter users will never EVER click on ads. Instead you should just create a promoted tweet and attach a funny photo. Use images that have done well organically because content that generates organic engagement will also generate engagement as an ad. The more engagement your promoted tweet gets, the more money you’ll save. On Twitter, you can get more qualified leads at a lower cost than most of the other major ad platforms. There’s a lot more to this, so if you want to learn how to really run a Twitter lead generation campaign, check out this post. 7. Medium Publishing Makes You Stronger Medium is a super popular blogging platform. You can use it to republish existing content and expose it to a (potentially) larger audience. But to really make the most of Medium, you’ll want to spend a few bucks promoting your post to the right people using social media ads (Facebook or Twitter). If you can get at least 200 hearts in one day, your post will become a trending article and get tons of pageviews. Also, make sure to use a great eye-catching image, engage with and follow people who like your posts, submit your posts to relevant Medium publications with built-in audiences, and post regularly. Conclusion The circle is now complete. So use these awesome online marketing strategies and make 2017 super successful! About the Author Larry Kim is the founder and CTO of WordStream, a leading search marketing software and services provider based in Boston, managing approximately a half-billion in annual ad spend across thousands of customers. He regularly shares his advice and insight at the WordStream Blog and is a top contributor for leading industry publications including Inc.com, Search Engine Land, Social Media Examiner and Social Media Today. Now that Larry’s given you the secret sauce to juicing up your marketing efforts in 2017, make sure you’re completing the circle by bringing all of your engaged audience into the fold and nurturing them into customers and repeat buyers. Check out our guide to turning your website into a sales machine.