Tis the sea­son to take a look at what worked and didn’t work in your mar­ket­ing last year. In going through that exer­cise, I encour­age you to test some new tac­tics for the year ahead. Below are six trends to keep an eye on and how to apply them.

1. ‘Mobilfication’

We’ve heard about mobile for the last few years, but for some crazy rea­son, many busi­ness­es are still not tak­ing action. Stand in line any­where nowa­days and watch what peo­ple are doing. I can assure you they have their face buried in their mobile device. Mobile will con­tin­ue to be a top pri­or­i­ty for mar­keters for years to come.

Put a mobile strat­e­gy in place to engage with your prospects and cus­tomers. This means cre­at­ing a mobile web­site but, depend­ing on your busi­ness, mobile ele­ments might include the abil­i­ty to send text mes­sages to your cus­tomers. For exam­ple, the restau­rant indus­try can get away with send­ing texts once a week with spe­cials, where­as a doc­tors office would be hard-pressed to send some­thing so reg­u­lar­ly.

I’d sug­gest start­ing off by send­ing two mes­sages a month, one fun text and one pro­mo­tion­al with a call to action. Once you get start­ed, you’ll be able to quick­ly gauge how many mes­sages your audi­ence will respond to.

2. Media Properties

What type of busi­ness are you in? Regard­less of your answer, I would chal­lenge you to start think­ing about your busi­ness as a media com­pa­ny. Where do you get most of your infor­ma­tion about what’s going on in the world? Whether you read your news online or still read a paper copy, the news con­trols the con­ver­sa­tion for the day, week or month.

The best way to con­trol the con­ver­sa­tion in front of your prospects and cus­tomers is to get in front of them with qual­i­ty con­tent. Launch one media plat­form that’s 100% focused on pro­vid­ing help­ful, authen­tic con­tent to your end cus­tomers. This could mean a pod­cast, a well-writ­ten and thought-out blog or even a livestream video that you film on a week­ly basis. The busi­ness that pro­duces the best (and most) con­tent will come out on top.

3. Chatbots

Chat­bots are all the rage as of late and for great rea­son. If you’re not famil­iar, think of them as a tool on the oth­er side of a com­put­er that can respond to your cus­tomers’ ques­tions or com­ments. Chat­bots are used for engage­ment, cus­tomer ser­vice issues, gen­er­al ques­tions and even clos­ing busi­ness.

I’ve been test­ing them out the last six months and the results have been off-the-charts. The crazy thing is, if you set up the bot cor­rect­ly, it’s very tough to tell if you’re talk­ing to an actu­al per­son or a bot.

Launch a web­site or Face­book chat­bot to engage with your prospects. Find some­thing fun or engag­ing to start the con­ver­sa­tion, as the prospect needs to ini­ti­ate the chat. I’m a huge fan of data-dri­ven mar­ket­ing and have seen open rates exceed 80% or high­er with an engaged audi­ence. So, if you send 1,000 mes­sages via your chat­bot tool, chances are high that at least 800 peo­ple will see your mes­sage. Those rates are far supe­ri­or to email open rates, mak­ing this a unique chan­nel not to ignore.

4. Reviews

Organ­ic traf­fic from SEO con­tin­ues to be one of the best sources of web traf­fic for many busi­ness­es. While there are a lot of ele­ments involved in rank­ing, the num­ber of reviews you have is a key fac­tor. Google looks at your Google reviews, Face­book reviews, Yelp reviews and more. Why would Google want to pri­or­i­tize a busi­ness in the search rank that has a one-star rat­ing?

While your reviews are essen­tial for search engine rank­ings, they can also make or break a sale for you. Accord­ing to research, half of adults under the age of 50 reg­u­lar­ly check online reviews before pur­chas­ing a new item. What will they find? I hope a sub­stan­tial amount of pos­i­tive reviews that makes the deci­sion easy.

Put togeth­er a sol­id plan for get­ting reviews for your busi­ness. Be care­ful not to incen­tivize peo­ple (as this is not allowed), but instead have a sys­tem for ask­ing for reviews.

5. Video

I expect to see more Face­book Live videos and a rise in web TV. In many sur­veys out there (like this one), con­sumers say they much pre­fer video over text. Video helps tell more com­pelling sto­ries, gets your point across faster and can improve sales. Video on a land­ing page or sales page, for exam­ple, can help increase con­ver­sions by as much as 80%, accord­ing to research.

Get start­ed by com­mit­ting to doing four videos per month. Whether you do a Face­book Live, YouTube video or a video for your web­site, it doesn’t mat­ter. Get into the habit of pro­duc­ing qual­i­ty video con­tent for your prospects and cus­tomers.

6. Branding Versus Direct Response

Telling your sto­ry ver­sus telling peo­ple what to do is crit­i­cal. To paint a more vivid pic­ture, let me pro­vide an exam­ple.

Edu­ca­tors Cred­it Union, a client of ours, hosts dozens of events through­out the year that pro­vides val­ue to their mem­bers and por­trays their brand to the com­mu­ni­ty. Sev­er­al times a year, they host a shred day, allow­ing mem­bers to bring their papers to be shred­ded at no cost. Their team is there to help and makes it a fun, com­mu­ni­ty-based day. There are no fan­cy calls to action. Instead, they’re con­tin­u­ing to keep their name out in the com­mu­ni­ty and telling their sto­ry.

Stop focus­ing all of your atten­tion on the call to action and make sure you’re deliv­er­ing val­ue first, telling your sto­ry and por­tray­ing your busi­ness in the best pos­si­ble light.

Above, I’ve pro­vid­ed six trends. Pick one and exe­cute. Ready, set, go!