5 Trends That Are Currently Shaping the Digital Marketing Scene

Digital marketing is an ever-evolving practice. It includes many different platforms and channels, with each one experiencing their fair share of constant innovation. From social media marketing to website user experience (UX), digital marketing encompasses every part of a brand’s online presence. This is important because not having an optimised online profile means you’re definitely missing multiple opportunities—hey, everyone’s online nowadays, right?

Digital marketing’s role in the complete marketing mix will only grow. Global spending on digital marketing is expected to reach $335.48 billion by 2020. Whoa!

And with so many ways to apply digital marketing dollars, what’s the best way to allocate them? The answer is never simple and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ response. It depends greatly on your industry, audience, and business goals. There’s also opportunity to test and learn with new trends, which is why it’s a must to always be updated if you aim to use something as dynamic and innovative such as digital marketing.

As such, here are five trends that are worth considering and currently shaping the digital marketing scene.

Personalised Digital Experiences

Thanks to the internet and its various forms, many consumers have become very savvy and sophisticated online. They yearn for relevant experiences when they land on a website. If you have different kinds of audiences (which could be segmented by industry, buying stage, or other factors), it’s important to create a more personalised experience to increase the likelihood of conversion. This is a significant point since research has shown that 70-percent of online shoppers expect a more personalised experience when visiting online retailers.

Personalisation in your digital marketing efforts is certainly possible, even if you’re running a small- or medium-sized enterprise, thanks to various digital tools now available. You can execute this in several ways such as customised email marketing and retargeting ads that will remind users after they leave your website of why they should return.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing involves developing partnerships with those who have enough online influence or following to promote your product or brand. This could entail an influencer writing a guest blog post, creating a video showing the use of your product, or talking about your brand on social media to all their fans and followers. An influencer can be a social media icon, celebrity, or even an athlete who has significant pull on social media.

Influencers have the ability to affect the buying habits of their followers. However, you must identify the influencers who best align with your brand’s values and whose followers align with your target market. Aside from wooing more people to at least check out your products or services, having a partnership with a recognised influencer gives more credence and legitimacy to your brand.

Using Big Data to Develop Better Customer Relationships

Marketing and customer behaviour data can be used to help brands create better relationships with their customers. By using insights derived from analysing data, it’s possible to increase customer loyalty and improve on the customer lifetime return. It’s important to understand that the customer’s view of their decision-making lifecycle is different from how a brand develops initiatives centred on acquisition, on-boarding, retention, and loyalty. The value of data analytics actually increases as the relationship continues. This means that your strategies and efforts on collecting customer data shouldn’t end just because a conversion or purchase occurs.

By utilising analytics, digital marketers are able to extract the needed insights for creating improved, more targeted digital marketing campaigns. This allows them to take advantage of data relating to online customer behaviour and internet usage, painting a clearer picture of what online channels and strategies to use. This is the reason why more and more companies are turning to Big Data in the hopes of achieving more digital marketing success.

Social Media Customer Care

Customers are increasingly turning to social media channels to seek advice and/or to complain. In fact, one in three social media users prefer to seek customer service via social media compared to phone or email correspondence. Approximately 67-percent of consumers also use social networks to seek problem resolution. This shift means customer service is no longer an activity carried out only via voice calls or sending emails. If you want to provide improved customer care, you’re going to need dedicated online resources as well.

There’s always going to be negative feedback, but you have the opportunity to turn the situation around by being responsive and acknowledging the feedback. If you respond in a timely manner and resolve the issue via social media, the customer is more likely to stay loyal to your brand. This also improves how your clients view your business. Responsiveness and being accessible to your target market improves how they see your brand, increasing the chances of them giving positive feedback and saying good things to other people who are not your clients yet. This, ultimately, helps boost your digital marketing efforts.

User-generated Content

User-generated content are becoming a part of many brands’ content marketing plan. When brands engage with their customers and offer them a chance to become part of the community, it elevates the relationship. It can also create trust towards your brand since 85-percent of people view user-generated content as both trustworthy and reliable. Saying how great your brand is will never be as convincing as an actual user saying it.

If utilised properly, user-generated content elevates a company’s digital marketing plan’s effectiveness and gives the brand more authenticity. It also sends a positive message to a consumers that their insights are valued and that the company listens. This is why including it in marketing campaigns is a wise move if you want to reinforce brand loyalty or to communicate the idea that “we’re a brand you can trust.”

Digital marketing is the foundation of how your brand appears and is marketed online. However, due to the many channels, tools, and parts involved, it can be quite confusing, even intimidating especially for newer businesses and SMEs. If you seek guidance and help, we recommend consulting with experts in the field like the hardworking ‘bees’ at Curate Bee.

Persistent Myths About Digital Marketing, Debunked!

To have a full understanding of digital marketing and remove any misconceptions it must first be defined.

Digital marketing can mean a lot of things; it’s a bit of an umbrella term. Simply put, it’s the marketing of a product or service via digital technologies. That can mean online, through mobile devices, display advertising, or any other digital medium.

Although digital marketing isn’t new, it’s still not as utilised as you might think. Sure, you see lots of banner ads on websites and products in your social media feeds. But how many brands have fully adopted it? According to research, only 47% of brands have a digital marketing strategy. That doesn’t necessarily mean the other 53% are doing nothing; they just aren’t committed or convinced enough to go for digital marketing. And the worldwide spending on digital marketing and advertising isn’t slowing down—it’s even predicted to grow to a whopping $192 billion within the year!

But there are still many organisations that depend on traditional marketing schemes such as cold calling, direct mail, or other in-person opportunities. For these groups to get on board with the digital trend, they need to understand that their assumptions about digital marketing may be wrong.

By breaking down a few of the most common misconceptions, it will be easier to understand that digital marketing can be a great tool to find new markets, leads, and opportunities, either as your main or secondary marketing strategy.

1. Only certain industries will benefit from digital marketing

Retailers depend on digital marketing and advertising. However, if you own, say, a manufacturing company, you may think there’s not much reason for you to engage online. That’s an erroneous belief. First of all, individuals spend as many as eight hours a day using the internet. Don’t think your audience isn’t online looking for information and solutions. They are there, and you can connect with them with valuable content that interests them. A well-thought-out content marketing plan is often the backbone of digital marketing. Providing relevant, engaging content about specific topics will get you lots of views leading to more conversions.

In today’s day and age of digital communications and dependence, it’s more likely that a significant chunk of your target market uses digital platforms and devices, no matter what industry you’re in. Remember, technology and the internet are not limited to a specific audience or market in terms of adoption and attraction.

2. Digital marketing is only for the big brands

Not true by a long shot. Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) can reap great rewards from digital marketing. It’s a low-cost option, especially when compared to traditional means such as print ads or TV/radio commercials. It’s also much easier to find out the return on investment related to digital marketing than traditional marketing given the numerous analytics tools you can use to track down important digital specifics such as views, reach, and social media shares.

Digital marketing opens up all kinds of opportunities for SMEs. With little investment or overhead, they can expose a bigger audience to their products and services, helping them develop an effective online brand presence. You could even argue that digital marketing and all its elements (e.g. social media, content) can help SMEs level the playing field with bigger businesses, to a certain extent, in terms of reaching a wider market.

3. Only the young ones are online

Younger people such as teens and Millennials do love the internet and their devices (how many of them do you see around holding a smartphone or a tablet each day? Plenty, we assume!). However, this is not to say that they are the only ones online and, thus, the only ones who can be effectively reached by digital marketing. In fact, the number of members from all age groups, including the older sets, who are being exposed to and are using social media and the internet continues to increase.

The number of people over 75 years old who are on Facebook has recently doubled. This means that digital and online marketing is not reserved for the young ones. As such, even if your business targets older people, you still shouldn’t ignore digital marketing, or risk being left behind by the competition.

4. Digital marketing is too expensive

This one is simply not true. There are many opportunities to test and try different channels without spending a lot. Try some Facebook ads for as little as $10 a day. Set up a Google AdWords campaign for $100. Or, you could start with a month of banner ads for a particular site that your audience is likely to visit. Start small and test out what works. Many forms of inbound marketing, such as blogging and SEO, are inexpensive yet will help to build sustainable traffic to your business’ website.

True, digital marketing still requires spending. However, there are plenty of digital tools, platforms, and options now available for your online marketing efforts that won’t require you to rob a bank. Getting your brand in front of more faces will benefit you immensely, and many companies have found success with even a small, focused digital marketing strategy. Take Simplilearn for example. This online education platform doubled its leads, increased reach by 50%, and decreased lead cost by 60% in just five months, thanks to Facebook ads!

5. You need to use all social media sites to be successful

Social media is indeed an important part of a well-rounded and effective digital marketing strategy. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to have a presence in many or all social media platforms. What’s more important is first knowing your audience and their digital habits in terms of social media use and the specialties and audiences of each social media site. From there you’ll know which platform you have to focus on. Facebook is a given since it’s used by basically everyone, what’s trickier is figuring out the others.

However, it’s not really about covering all bases; rather, it’s more about making the right choice. For example, if your business is into visuals or photography, Instagram is a great choice since it’s a community that’s all about sharing quality images. Remember, being efficient is key. You don’t want to spend all that time and effort creating a LinkedIn business page when your audience primarily involves teenagers or kids now, do you?

See? Digital marketing isn’t so scary after all, and it’s definitely not a fad! So, if you don’t want to be left behind, we recommend you put more focus on your business’ digital marketing strategy if you haven’t already; you won’t regret doing so!

 

This post was originally published on Smallville.com.au