The fact that you’re reading this means you are already aware of the potential advantages that await your business if you make the move to digital marketing. You’ve realised your present and future customers—and the competition—are or will also be online. As publications such as The Economic Times notes, good digital marketing will not only allow you to compete with other SMEs, it will also help you quickly build your brand and, ideally, the competitive edge you need to flourish.
Digital marketing opens up a much greater reach, and remains “out there” and viable much longer than traditional marketing media such as print ads and TV commercials. Since there are fewer middlemen between you and the final products, you are also getting better value for every marketing dollar you spend.
Sounds really enticing, yes? However, for those planning to fully switch from traditional to digital marketing (or at least put more focus on the latter), there are several things you must know first before making the move, such as the ones below.
Know Your Target Audience
The keystone of any marketing strategy is knowing your real customer base. Not only does this dictate where you will focus your marketing efforts, but also your approach and your brand. The tone and content you would present to tech-savvy millennials who spend 18 hours a day consuming media would be quite different from what you would provide to attract elderly retired people who may prefer simple email.
Employing a “shotgun approach” to marketing would not only be more expensive but less effective. Knowing your target audience allows you to hone in on the tactics that will most likely garner actual customers because, as Forbes puts it, you are addressing their needs and motivations.
Versatility Pays Off
When you examine the online content of brand giants, you will notice that they employ a combination of digital marketing types, which may include:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – What content your business puts out there is only part of the equation. After all, what’s the use of good content if no one accesses it? SEO incorporates keywords and phrases in effective ratios so that your site pops up close to the top of internet search results and content becomes more visible online.
- Social Media Marketing – There are a variety of social media platforms, from the biggest (Facebook) and photography-oriented (Instagram) to the quick and snappy (Twitter) and focused on professionals (LinkedIn). Which platforms you will focus your efforts on will largely depend on which ones your target audiences frequent. Social media marketing is all about engagement—starting conversations to increase brand awareness.
- Content Marketing – The reality is most of us don’t want to be frequently bothered by sales talk both online and offline. So, a good tactic is not to look like you’re selling anything at all, but rather sharing useful knowledge, experience, and expertise through your content. Publishing blogs, fun and informative videos, and Q&As, for example, can position you as a thought leader in your field, improving your online brand reputation and creating buzz around your content.
Paid Is Not Necessarily Better
This may seem like one of the weirder digital marketing tips. Paid advertising—including pay-per-click—will always have a place in the digital marketplace, but the most successful brands know that it’s conversion that matters most. Exposure to your content doesn’t help you if people don’t take the step to buy your products or avail of your services.
What makes the types of digital marketing listed above so effective is the potential conversion rates they can bring. No one likes to be just a number, so if you make an effort to forge a relationship with people, they are more likely to engage and become loyal customers (as long as you deliver in terms of products or services, that is).
It’s an Ongoing Investment, Not a One-Off
Developing a website is not the end game but rather just the beginning. We know that technology is constantly evolving. An out-of-date platform may pose data security risks and scare customers off, negatively affecting how they perceive your brand. Aside from having a website, you should also explore channels, such as the ones we previously mentioned (content, social media, SEO).
Also make sure that your content is mobile-friendly. Remember that most people nowadays use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Not having content that can be properly viewed using these devices will be a huge blow to your marketing efforts and leaves you vulnerable to being overtaken by the competition.
Having stale content results to bored and uninterested followers who will likely forget about or avoid your brand. You want people to continue tuning in. As such, refreshing or updating your content, email campaigns, and social media posts are important if you want to garner consistent digital marketing engagement and success.
It May Be Worth It to Go “Pro”
It’s tempting to go the self-taught route to save a few bucks, but it can be a good idea to look into professional digital marketing services as well—especially if you are less fluent in online practices and processes. You’re likely to spend more, but the learning curve will be less steep, you’ll be guided into the world of digital marketing, and you’ll have experts to assist you if you run into problems, helping make results come sooner rather than later.
The internet is a wide sea full of fish a.k.a. your competitors; the pros know how to help you find your target audience and how to speak their language. They also know the most effective options for reaching them through the different types of digital marketing options and the best channels for reaching those that matter most—your customers.