2017 Online Business Trends

As Seen In...

This is the time of year when everything gets really exciting online. We start seeing all of the impending updates, releases and trends on the horizon, and I’ve rounded up some of the most striking business trends right here.

All of these can inspire some really dynamic changes in the story of your business, so you should definitely sit up and make some notes (colour-coded, naturally).

Here are 10 of the most striking business trends creeping onto the scene (and keep reading for even more!):

A fluid approach to reality

We’ve seen the potential of augmented realities this year, with Pokemon Go taking the world by storm, and it’s anticipated that more businesses will embrace this tech in 2017.

Virtual reality and blended reality can both be incorporated into your digital efforts without investing an arm and a leg in a pro. Think about how you can start blending fantasy into your marketing and advertising attempts.

Cross-device communications

They say that the average user is connected through five distinct (but targetable) devices. Obviously this offers a lot of scope to market to people, but there is also the challenge tracking consumer actions across these different devices.

This is something to bear in mind when creating your content execution plan (more on that later), particularly as it takes around 6 touches before someone chooses to buy from you.

Influencer marketing

In its simplest form, influencer marketing is all about getting a big-wig in your industry to promote you, your product or your business. Trust me when I say it’s worth the effort – the public trusts recommendations from people they know far beyond even the most creative advertising efforts.

‘Good’ content will be measured by engagement, distribution and where it’s posted – influencers will be a God send in this respect. Whether they’re publishing a guest post from you, promoting your content across social media, or writing about/linking to you, you will see the benefits.

Real-time engagement – for real

Recently we’ve seen an upturn in the tools that offer brands and customers ways to communicate in real time – whether this be in live events, webinars, Q&A’s, live streams or more.

One way I’ve incorporated this into my business is to have a “Live Chat” function on my site. I’ve found that doing this helps alleviate any customer doubts that may be holding them back from that “buy now” button.

Tools like Live Chat Inc.  makes it super easy to provide an instant chat function, so that your customers and clients can engage directly through your website. I have it on all sales pages, my website and as a tab on my Facebook Page.

Live broadcasts

With ever-improving tech, tools and wifi, live streaming can only be heading in one direction. The best part is that anybody – from global brands to one man bands – has the power to livestream without investing in expensive software or equipment.

For actionable ideas to bring live streaming into your social media marketing strategy, take a peek at my Simply Smart Live Stream Hacks.

We’re seeing some fantastic results with Facebook Live, particularly in terms of reach and engagement.

Social shopping

Social media “buy” buttons already exist on many platforms, but they’re not used as much as they could be. This will likely change in 2017 as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Youtube continue to channel their efforts into facilitating buying experiences (both for brands and for customers).

Your content execution framework will become more important than your content plan.

It’s easy to spend a few hours brainstorming impactful content and popping it onto a plan, but that document is not always quite so easy to execute. A content plan tends to be about big picture ideas, rather than the mechanics of how, where and why you’re going to publish your content.

Instead think about specific action steps that need to take place, and responsibilities that need to be assigned, and resources you’ll need access to. Developing a robust plan of this sort is what will help you thrive online in 2017.

I call mine my ‘content engine’ and I’d be lost without my trusty copywriter, Daire, who makes the engine purr like a contented cat.

Original visuals are on the rise.

With connection becoming more and more important – so does the connection your visual content creates. That means it may time to say au revoir to stock imagery.

Your audience wants authenticity, not the same standard photographs that everyone else in your field is still relying on.

Here are a few ideas for totally bespoke visuals to help you stand out online:

  • Commission a series of exclusive-to-you illustrations from a local artist, or even from Fiverr.
  • Take your own photographs, or hire a pro.
  • Use striking, on brand typography to evoke an emotion.
  • Make your own GIFs using a tool such as Make A GIF

Webinars for the win.

So many online business owners are already taking advantage of all the opportunities offered by live webinars, but it looks like we can expect some changes over the coming year.

Currently, many people use webinars simply to sell, rather than as a vehicle to showcase their expertise. I use webinars to offer live training sessions – I like to think people go away with implementable knowledge, whether they’re buying what I’m selling or not. As time goes on, I expect we’ll see more emphasis on creating a valuable learning experience, rather than a pitch.

We can also expect a rise of automated webinars. Despite what I’ve just said about automation, these can be an amazing way to create nurture paths to scale your business.

If you fancy dipping your toe into the world of webinars, my favourite platforms are Demio and Crowdcast.

Expiring content to inspire action.

Ephemeral content (or content that expires that expires after a specific window of time) is a fantastic way to create a sense of urgency, and ensure that customers make the time to view your content. Look how well it’s worked for Snapchat!

This is a brilliant tactic to employ in your launch content too if you’re hoping to inspire lots of sales – it’s what I did for my Simply Smart Business Academy. That ticking clock pushes people into making buying decisions, so take advantage of that.

Wait – there’s more. For full access to all 32 business tends to uplevel your biz in 2017, click on the image below:




For those conscious souls ready to step up and serve. Suitable for established or new coaches.