2017 is already proving to be a year filled with new and revolutionary communication methods. Your business must ensure that it’s connecting with your prospects where they are. You want to find your prospects at the right time, in the right place, with the right message. What can you do to help your business ensure this happens? Here are 7 Go To’s to make 2017 your strongest year yet:

Responsive Website. If your website was built before 2014 then it’s time for a new one. I know, 3 years doesn’t seem like long enough to have a “new” website. However, lots of changes have taken place in that time and Google makes businesses suffer who don’t follow their rules. A Responsive Website will morph to fit the screen the user has. Why is this important? Well, user experience should always be important but also Google will not give your business search credibility if your website is not responsive. That means that Google will not show your website in search results even if you are the best solution to a customer problem. Why? Because 80% of all online use is on mobile. Your site needs to meet customers where they are with a site that can be navigated without a challenge. Building a new, responsive site can change all that and make it easier to be found.

List Optimization. Your business, whether you know it or not, is listed on a lot of sites online. It’s more than just Google+ and Yelp!. There are thousands of directories and sites that house your business info. Not all of it is correct. If your business has moved, changed names, changed ownership, logo, or anything else it’s probably wrong on several sites. Keep that information accurate on all these sites (excluding Angie’s List and other membership-based sites, Chamber or Economic Development Sites that are manually entered) by utilizing a service that updates these list for you. You get your information corrected and it’s done for you. Inaccurate information can truly hurt a business and lead to lose customers. Don’t be victim to this, optimize your listings.

Reputation Monitoring. Your business has a reputation online and offline. You’ve seen Facebook and Google reviews for your business. You’ve seen customers give you 4 stars on Yelp! and explain why you didn’t get the 5th. Customer reviews aren’t going away and your business must know what is being said. But how do you keep track of it all? Reputation Monitoring allows you to see all reviews, articles and blog posts written about your business in one place. From there you can write thank you’s, reply to customers who had a challenging experience or answer questions. It’s a great way to ensure you know exactly what is being said and by whom.

Personalization. Marketing is becoming more advanced and the ability to personalize a message(s) to direct audience has never been greater. This allows you to focus more narrow but with greater depth. When you know exactly who your audience is you can target them with messages specific to their interest, needs or wants. Through this, you can build a number of messages to a number of audiences all at once. This is more and more important to each business and something that needs to be utilized in a smart, calculated manner. The shotgun message still works for branding, but the specific message is game changing for businesses.

Video. Video production and video frequency are only going to increase. By 2020 it’s estimated that 90% of all online activity will be video content. That means that in 3 more years you won’t be reading this, you’ll be watching it. Increase your video creation/production to produce more video content. This can be commercials, information videos, culture videos or specific service line videos to share with your various audiences. Once you have increased your video production, you can increase your post and utilization frequency. Again, 90% of online content will be video in 3 years. Get ahead of the curve now.

Content Creation and Curation. Content is still king and it’s not going to change. Create content and send it out to various platforms to be found in more places. This (LinkedIn) is a great place to land content. Use your website, social media, blog sites like Medium and WordPress. Use local media companies (radio, newspaper, etc.) who have a place where you can place content (it will be at a cost but well worth it). The more content that can be created and the more places you can land it the better. No time to develop it on your own? That’s where companies can get help from businesses like ours. Working with a partner (on content or any other item on this list) will save you time and allow you to focus on things that are just as important but more pressing for you.

Live Events and Streams. If you aren’t taking advantage of Facebook and Instagram Live then you should be. Not only is this a great tool to show off your business in real time, it’s also an opportunity to get your message out instantaneously. No waiting, no developing, no delay. Instant access to your fan base. How amazing is that?! Live streams will grow in popularity as the creativity and bandwidth of those using them grows. Start now and develop a pace and consistency that will develop a following.

Live Events are more time to consume and need more deliberate planning, but they can be very effective. It would be foolish not to host a live event (and share it with Facebook Live) at strategic times throughout the year. Furniture Store? How can you tie in a Labor Day Sale with an event to get more people to your location? The potential for increased sales, increase reach and touching base with your fans.

Here’s a BONUS Go To for 2017.

Develop a Theme/Focus/Message for the entire year. What is something that you can identify as a theme for the year that will be all encompassing for your business? This should touch every aspect of your business from sales to marketing to customer service to extending into a new line of service. This will solidify identity in your message to the public and your internal objective for the year. What is your focus for 2017 and how can it impact the 7 Go To’s mentioned here?

Ian McGriff is the Digital Sales and Marketing Director at digitalAIM Media Indiana. digitalAIM Media is full service digital marketing agency offering everything from award-winning creative and production, to paid media placement that drives real results, to custom programs and campaigns as unique as your business.

digitalAIM is not your typical agency. With several small offices throughout the country, we live locally and work nationally. To better understand your markets and your business, we strategically place our offices in communities both large and small, allowing us to better understand the various businesses we work with and their audience. At digitalAIM, we are one team in many places. With full creative, video production, content creation, as well as campaign creation, placement, execution and reporting, digitalAIM is a comprehensive agency that exceeds your needs.