This is the time of year when I’d normally post about the marketing trends I expect in 2018. Right now, it’s pretty much impossible to talk about the future of digital media without talking about net neutrality.

In fact, it’s pretty hard to talk about anything except net neutrality at the moment.

Even though the FTC voted to overturn net neutrality, there are still people challenging the decision and legislative actions in the works. The repeal might not stand, and as of right now, nothing is certain except that we’re going to be hearing a lot more on this topic.

I’m not writing this post as a call to action or a political statement. You’re welcome to share your own opinions and speculations about net neutrality in the comments or on our social media pages – I just don’t have anything to add.

I decided to write this post because all of us at NeONBRAND are citizens of the digital world, and no matter the outcome of current events, we’re always going to have to figure out how to live with the new reality.

living with the new reality of net neutrality overturned

Net Neutrality and The Future of Online Business

It’s difficult to predict if, when, and how things are going to change.

We only know that they’re definitely going to.

The digital landscape is constantly changing. Whether net neutrality ends or continues, businesses will have to keep adapting in the online world.

If the FTC vote is defeated in court and net neutrality ultimately stands, we’re still going to face challenges in 2018. For example, video content continues to be more important for visibility on social media, and search algorithms keep getting smarter so longtime SEO tricks are less effective.

Still, the biggest concern for a lot of online businesses right now is whether an end to net neutrality will affect their bottom line.

Lots of people have speculated on what will happen to the internet if net neutrality ends, and I’m not going to add my commentary. I don’t honestly know what will happen, so it won’t do you any good if I make some random guesses.

Without knowing the future, though, I can still help you prepare for whatever happens to net neutrality with some basic tips for adapting to market fluctuations.

how to adapt to net neutrality changes

Tip 1: Go Where The People Are

While I don’t know how an end to net neutrality will change browsing habits, I can tell you confidently that people will use their internet time differently if the digital landscape changes.

That means some of your go-to advertising platforms will have massive audience fluctuations.

Pay attention to how your fans and followers are using the web, and if their patterns change, you should change strategy accordingly.

It’s a basic rule of marketing that’s always going to be valid; go where your audience hangs out, and talk to them in their own language.

Tip 2: Closely Monitor ROI

My business partner Kurt is a stickler about watching your metrics, and he’s right. As a business, keeping close track of your numbers is really the only way you can tell whether or not your company is healthy.

When marketing online, track your return on investment for each channel.

All of the changes in browsing habits make digital marketing more or less effective for each platform.

It’s easy to think that advertising to more people for less money is better, but that’s not always the case. In the end, what matters is whether or not those people make a purchase, right?

Pay attention to your numbers and do more of the things that are getting the best results.

your online business will be fine without net neutrality

Tip 3: Diversify Your Marketing Strategy

Net neutrality or no net neutrality, relying too heavily on just 1 or 2 marketing channels is a mistake.

For some businesses (NeONBRAND included) the internet is what makes everything work. We’re a digital marketing company, and we still market offline.

Strike a balance that makes sense for your business. You want to put most of your marketing budget into the channels that produce the highest returns, but you also want to start cultivating audiences and building skills elsewhere.

Don’t waste money on non-productive marketing in the name of diversification, but also don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Make sense?

Tip 4: Getting Upset is a Waste of Energy

Things change, and sometimes it sucks.

With things like Google algorithm updates, Facebook policy changes, and anything that might happen with net neutrality, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it once it’s already happened.

Some people react to these kinds of changes with anger and frustration, and that doesn’t help anybody. Rather than acknowledging the new reality and figuring out how to work with it, they waste time and energy complaining about their new problems.

Here are 2 things I’ve learned in all the years I’ve been in business:

  1. If you actually care about something, you should have been taking action all along instead of waiting until it’s too late.
  2. A lot of times, the things that look cataclysmic aren’t really bad at all.

Instead of whining about the way things are different, shift into problem-solving mode and get to work.

It’s okay to be stressed out, and it’s okay to feel frustrated about your situation. Just make sure you keep moving, because other businesses are going to find some way to turn the same situation into an advantage.