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!