I’m not usually one to make predictions, because they rarely come to pass. If they do, it’s certainly not because I said anything about it. And, what’s more, predictions generally don’t help business owners make better decisions, they just make the predictor feel like a know-it-all. Guess what – I am far from a know-it-all. I am, however, intuitive, and knowing trends when it comes to online marketing is my job.

I have decided, instead, to give you a few small things that you can do, based on overall trends that are absolutely sure to continue. These changes could make the difference in the overall success of your online marketing program in 2017. What’s more – many of you are already doing one or the other – so it could not be simpler!

Mobile Usage is Growing Fast

A whopping 60% of emails are opened on smartphones, with an additional 13% opened on tablets. According to experts, the average smartphone user picks up their device 1,500 times per week (221 times a day). So it certainly comes as no surprise that mobile rules.

What you can do to satisfy this growing horde of email readers:

  • Optimize the email for mobile: Be sure your design is responsive and easy to read on mobile devices. An average of 35% of email recipients will call an email SPAM or unsubscribe if it is not easily readable.
  • Provide a consistent message: Ensure that your subject promise matches the content inside. Mobile readers want their information right away, and don’t like to click around too much to find things.
  • Make it Actionable: Give mobile readers an easy way to take action by placing your “call to action” button front and center. Don’t forget to include persuasive messaging (“Call Now”, “Get a Free Quote”, etc.)
  • Mobile shoppers prefer speaking directly with a business, rather than filling out a form. Include a prominently placed clickable phone number to help them get immediate answers to their questions.

PS People still want to get emails from you – they just don’t want you to ramble on and on – make it short and sweet.

Use Your Own Domain Name

I know it seems logical – send emails from “me@mycompany.com” – of course, mycompany.com being your domain name. So, why do so many people still use “gmail.com” or “yahoo.com” or whatever other generic email address is out there? Using a generic email address has already become a problem in 2016, and may be an even bigger problem in 2017.

Here’s how it works: If I send you an email FROM my gmail account TO your gmail account directly, Google knows it originated within their servers – no problem there. (or, if you prefer, use yahoo in place of gmail in that sentence, or whatever generic service)

But, if I send an email FROM my gmail account THROUGH and email service provider TO your gmail account, we have a problem. Google can tell that the email did not originate on its own servers, so Google’s little automated bots sniff it out and find it fishy. Because of that, they may not deliver it to the intended recipient at all. If they do, it will certainly end up in the SPAM folder. PS Even if the recipient has put you in their list of contacts, your email might not get past the little bots.

For that reason, a best practice in 2017 is to finally use your own domain name as the sender when using email marketing.

By the way, using your own domain name intensifies branding. Aren’t you proud enough of your company name to want to spread it around as much as possible?

Stay Motivated

This last suggestion is probably the hardest of all. I work with so many entrepreneurs and small business owners who put marketing LAST on their list of things to do. By the time they get to it, they procrastinate, lose energy and focus, and, well, just forget it.

I know about this first hand, and have decided to do something about it. Over the years I have taught hundreds of people how to use online tools, email and social media to promote their businesses. Now it’s time to put that into action. What’s needed is advanced training in how to use those tools to increase brand appeal, and how to get motivated and stay energized – or pumped – to put marketing first. After all, branding and marketing will help people find you and get you more business – which means more money.

If I can help just a few business owners get and stay more focused, it will all be worth it. Now, let’s get working!