6 predictions for 2017’s digital business landscape

Remember 2015? It was last year. It was a simpler time of Vines and Star Wars sequels. Don Trump was still running “as a joke” and I made a bunch of predictions for 2016.

A true hero of 2015.


Well, 2016 is long gone. Good riddance too. Celebrity deaths, a pretty mediocre film season and the mannequin challenge. All can suck it as far as I’m concerned.

So with that, let’s cast our eyes frontward, to the blinding light of 2017 and all the predictions that I have. Spoiler alert: I barely got 50% right last time, so this should be good.

Email marketing remains top communication method

email marketing predictions 2017

2017 is a lawless, post apocalyptic wasteland. Emails flying around like nobody’s business

Automation in email is already part of the package. The number of triggers we see being used to send emails is also going to explode.

Apps like Zapier already allow us to fire off emails when certain events happen, big email marketing players will follow suit and start offering more integrations.

Email marketing 2017 OrchestrateEmail Marketing in 2017: Key Predictions

Opened up your PDF and read 50%. That’s an email. Reached a new Twitter follower count? That’s an email. New Facebook live video? That’s an email.

It’ll be like Jasper’s reasons for a paddlin’. Everything will deserve an email.

email marketing 2017 predeicitons

A paddlin’ and an email

Are we reaching saturation levels? Maybe. But until then, email marketing is going to provide crazy ROI for marketers and digital businesses.

Delivery diversification becomes vital to business survival

2017 digital business predictions

For example, the PHONE will become a big deal. Just you wait

Businesses that set up in a traditional method, having one or two services or products, are going to have to diversify their DELIVERY rather than their products.

Accountants, for example, they’ll do your books and use words like “exempt” and “final warning”, but the way they deliver results will change. All industries will.

It’ll no longer be enough for web designers to just build websites. Small courses, video products and e-guides are going to help their customers get results via different means.

Businesses that want to stay on top and reach more people, will understand that people aren’t buying services or products. They’re not buying face time or new landing pages. They’re buying results.

If you build funnels for customers, the setup and execution is certainly part of what you offer. But video lessons on content marketing will add massive value to projects.

Businesses set up with recurring revenue as the main offering


Similarly, smaller businesses are going to follow the larger players and start to offer subscription based products. Even for websites and marketing services, regular payments with no contracts or tie-ins are going to be expected by customers.

Subscription, membership and recurring revenue products are going to be attractive to investors AND will become more important in understanding new business models. Expect investors, mentors and banks to start asking what your recurring revenue model looks like.

ALL businesses can develop rec. rev. products and services. It might not seem intuitive to your business, but you need it. Paying for regular costs needs to be offset with regular income.

recurring revenue subscription marketing

Are they customers if you don’t charge? I should have thought about this more.

Project income from large invoices will be seen as the profit generators, splitting how businesses see income. Smart businesses will split income into “paying for business” and “paying for projects”. Larger one off projects will pay into the profit account.

Maintenance plans, support plans, coaching access. Think about how you’re going to get regular repeat payments from customers.

Business size is no longer measured in staff numbers

business size staff numbers 2017

It’s measured in beats per minute. Business beats per minute.

In the UK, a small business is measured as under 250 employees.

“The usual definition of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) is any business with fewer than 250 employees”

UK Parliment report

Don’t click that. It’s a PDF. Just take my word

I know businesses with $97 000 a month turnover and 10 staff, it’s roughly a $1 million a year business and close to 50% profit. That’s almost $50 000 profit per employee.

I also know a £500 million company with close to 2000 employees that struggled to pay its suppliers year on year. Despite being listed on the FTSE.

What I’m saying is that governments need to get wise to business size. The growth of remote working, co-working spaces and easy outsourcing means businesses needn’t measure their size in number of employees, rather in profit per employee.

Maybe they already do, I don’t know. And I’m not going to Google it.

Businesses position themselves as media businesses over service based

media business predictions 2017

Be a media company that publishes and promotes. That’s the key. Apparently.

More powerful than recurring revenue and diversified delivery, is your media presence. We all have billions of social accounts, but how we use them and promote ourselves is how businesses will find explosive growth.

Reporting on news, sharing content and driving media interaction is what new business models will focus on. You don’t need fancy studios or gear now, your smartphone is an HD camera and editing suite.

If you build funnels, you need to talk to customers, interview other experts and be seen as an authority. Fast track that by treating your business as a media company.

Trust me, this is EXACTLY how marketing agencies are going to start positioning customers and telling them what they need to do. More and more small businesses will have a “face” or spokesperson that delivers the presence of the company.

Media builds audience and audience builds revenue.

Stop writing content and start promoting it

predictions for 2017

Imagine that. Also, stop using email and stop using Facebook. Seriously.

Final prediction. The method of writing 365 blog posts in a year will become less and less functional. We all want to write more and have more content. But we’ll be told by content marketing experts that the promotion and automation between content is 100x more important.

For every hour spent writing, you’ll be told to spend 10 – 20 hours promoting it. Book authors don’t write one piece and move on. You don’t build products and move on. You’ll need to treat content like products and create BETTER content and promote it more.

Find networks that promote content, get other podcasts to review yours and be interviewed about your content. Be known as the business that had “that one epic post” and capitalise on it.

That’s what we’ll be told to do.

What do you think? I got a few right last year. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take ( Wayne Gretzky). This way, I’m bound to get at least one right and then I can sail on the “I told people this would happen”. By the way, that’s LITERALLY how stocks and investment experts make their money.

Let me know in the comments below how you think it’ll all go down in 2017. More deaths? Another election? A franchise reboot that doesn’t suck?

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.