You may think you have your digital marketing strategy down to a science. Each company has its own unique thumbprint, but we would all do well to adjust our strategies occasionally to reflect the latest trends. Even if you think your strategy is working, there's a chance you could be doing something else that works better. If you're using one of these outdated marketing tools, you're in danger of falling behind the curve. Ditch these dead marketing tactics and refresh with something new in 2017.

Twitter

Oh yeah I went there. Certain orange-haired men have pushed this social media platform to even more prominence in the past year, but this company is struggling to stay alive and relevant as we speak.

Don't get me wrong. I've loved my Twitter account since 2008. The company has had its ups and downs over the years to be sure. And then this year Marc Benioff at Salesforce swiped left on the company. That suggests it's just not an attractive target anymore. Did I just make a Tinder reference? Sorry about that - please keep reading.

Anyway, instead of engaging your followers on Twitter, give Snapchat or Instagram a try. These are perhaps the fastest growing social media tools on the market right now. They're also especially popular with millennials and Gen Z. A recent survey from eMarketer showed that the Snapchat user base grew by 27% in 2016, surpassing both Twitter and Pinterest.

Annoying Banner Ads and Pop Ups

Marketing has gotten more invasive as we work to get the right message to the right person at the right time. Consumers are beginning to see this as an invasion of privacy, especially when big banner ads dominate the page and disrupt the user experience. As a result, banner ads are becoming less popular and advertisers are working on improving native advertising, which research shows generates significantly more leads.

Pop ups are also disappearing to some extent, in part because the majority of people view content from their phones or other mobile devices. The other part is a recent announcement from Google, which announced in August 2016 that it would begin punishing websites that use them. If you rely on either of these methods, it's time to seek less invasive approaches for reaching people.

One method that will grow in popularity is video advertising. When done well, this is an effective method for telling a story and allowing people to connect to what your brand has to offer.

We all know what it's like when it's done badly. You show up to a site, and a video starts paying automatically, driving you insane as you try to find out where the audio is coming from, so you can stop the video. That type of distraction is unacceptable and makes visiting your site hell. Site publishers, I recommend you stop it now.

Telling Instead of Showing

Connected with the annoying banner and display advertising is the mostly outdated idea that we should be telling people about what makes our product or service so amazing instead of showing them. We spend more time sitting in front of our devices than ever, and there's real opportunity there. Replace your boring ads with gamified marketing. Pokémon Go showed us that augmented reality can work, even if its popularity was brief for most folks. Visual storytelling and gamified marketing techniques can really show prospects and leads what you have to offer.

Gated Content

Content is an important part of driving traffic to your website, and you can't ignore it. Creating high-quality content worthy of engaging visitors will always be important to SEO. But "gating" your content - in other words, blocking me from reading more than a few posts a month, or requiring an opt-in for a newsletter or email blasts - has to go.

People don't like to feel obligated or spammed in exchange for information they may find useful. I've already kicked at least one strong publication to the curb because they won't let me read more than three stories a month. Consider this: according to their posting activity report, Wordpress sites accrued 73.9 million posts in December of 2016 alone. Chances are, people can find access to the information somewhere else, and without paying the piper, so to speak. So keep your content exciting, and truly free of charge.

Multi-Channel Marketing

This may seem like a head scratcher, but's it's time to ditch marketing in different channels in favor of the omni-channel. Marketers must work to create a seamless experience regardless of a prospect's channel - physical or virtual. This isn't a new idea, especially in retail, but developments in technology make it more feasible for any sized business.

Big data and the Internet of Things make it possible to bridge our physical and virtual worlds. Ideas like Nordstrom's smart fitting room, which creates interactive displays and shopping suggestions, opens up a world of possibilities that will allow marketers to personalize buyer experiences even further.

There you have it. If you're using one of these tactics, it's time to make adjustments in your digital marketing toolbox. Give your digital marketing a makeover to reflect the most recent trends. You don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but give all of your tactics a close inspection. You should be doing that anyway on a regular basis just to keep things fresh and effective.

Published on: Mar 1, 2017