The future of marketing is digital. Gone are the days of cold calling and overpriced ad campaigns. Businesses used to rely on those marketing methods are looking at their ROI, wondering what went wrong. Others are getting great results with more modern tools.
If you're going to succeed in the online market, you have to do it digitally. Fortunately, digital marketing doesn't have to be expensive. There are many ways to use digital marketing without breaking the bank.
When done right, digital marketing will boost your online marketing strategy, increase customer loyalty, and enhance your sales. But what is digital marketing? What should you be doing, and how can you know if it's working? Read on to find out in this pseudo digital marketing bootcamp.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is a general term, but is a lot different than billboards and TV from traditional marketing. It's used to describe the advertising of products or services using digital technologies. This includes the internet, mobile phones, and display advertising. Essentially, digital marketing is the practice of reaching people when shopping online, researching new services, or reading articles and blogs like this one.
As the pandemic pushed people to use digital services to a greater extent, digital marketing is critical to growing every business. Whether you're a small business owner who needs a way to reach more customers, a manager at a big corporation looking to engage your audience, or an entrepreneur trying to build your brand - digital marketing is your way forward.
Why Is Digital Marketing Important
The true importance of marketing in the digital space is often understated. Digital marketing is not just about brand building or having an online presence but about increasing leads and sales. Its importance lies in the ability of businesses to reach a broad audience at a minimal cost.
In today's digital world, where consumers are constantly getting bombarded with information from all directions, getting them to pay attention to your brand can be challenging - to say the least. Ads flood consumers across all channels at practically all times. If you're to reach your audience, you only have a few seconds (at most) to make an impact before a person moves on.
Moreover, consumers have gotten better at ignoring traditional forms of advertising. To cut through the clutter, brands need modern marketing strategies. They need to engage audiences with relevant and personalized content delivered in real-time.
Effective digital marketing must be:
- Relevant: Digital marketing strategies must be relevant to the audience and the business objectives.
- Personalized: Gone are the days when you could blast a standard message to everyone in your database. Modern digital marketing is about creating personalized messages for individual personas so that those messages resonate and drive meaningful action.
- Timely: With declining attention spans, it's more important than ever to deliver content at times when your customers are most likely to engage with it.
But accomplishing these three points in an increasingly fast-paced online environment is far from easy. Businesses must develop robust information systems to capitalize on customer feedback and generate repeat sales.
Digital marketing has made this process easier than ever before. Retailers can build brand loyalty and grow their reputations through an array of channels, including social media, email, and personalized offers.
Digital marketing is also a cost-effective means of advertising, especially compared with traditional mediums like television and print. With the ability to retarget specific audiences or change ad copy on the fly, digital marketing campaigns are more responsive to consumer demands and market trends. Moreover, you get a chance to track and analyze many metrics in real-time with digital marketing. Later on, you can use the gathered information to fine-tune digital marketing campaigns in ways never before possible.
It's also essential to note that every business must have a presence on at least major social media networks to be successful today. Digital marketing can help with that and allow brands to interact with current and prospective customers on a personal level without spending too much money.
Tips for Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a wide-open field. You can use many tools and methods to achieve business success, depending on your industry, budget, experience, and goals. There are no hard and fast rules that apply to every situation, but here are some tips to help you get started with digital marketing.
Know Your Audience
If you don't know who your customers are, how do you know what they'll like? The first step of any digital marketing plan is knowing who you want to speak to with your campaigns. Although this seems like a simple step, small business owners often don't take the time to identify the types of customers they hope to reach.
You can start your journey to understanding your audience by writing down all the characteristics you want your customers to have. Then, you can narrow it down to the top three or four most important traits. The method will give you a good idea about who your audience is and help you find them on social media, forums, and other places online where they might spend their time.
You'll need reliable and consistent ways to gather actionable customer feedback, though. Customer insights can help you answer questions about your audience, such as age, gender, education level, income, and location. Once you have a specific group in mind, you can adjust your marketing strategy to it more effectively.
Some of the methods you can use to gather customer insights include:
- Analyzing data from emails and social media posts
- Collecting information from forms or surveys on your website
- Interviewing customers in person or over the phone
Establish a Strong SEO Presence
In today's digital age, customers easily get put off by a business with a poor website or no web presence at all. Thus, every company needs to have an effective digital marketing strategy.
The biggest part of every digital marketing strategy is search engine optimization (SEO). This allows businesses to be competitive in the online marketplace. It can be a key ongoing generator of inbound marketing leads
Search engine marketing is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid results - often referred to as "natural" or "organic" results. In other words, SEO helps your business gain visibility on sites like Google and Bing. As such, it improves your chance of getting discovered by potential customers. Thanks to SEO, people will find your business first when looking for goods or services like yours.
SEO is going to involve optimizations to your website, including things like:
- Keyword-rich copy for your homepage, landing pages, and blog posts
- Alt tags for all images on your site
- The internal linking structure that helps Google navigate through your site with ease
- External links to other relevant sites which help Google see you're a legitimate player in the field
- A sitemap that helps Google find all the content on your website
Nurture Leads to New Customers
The truth is that most of your first customer contacts probably won't lead to a sale right away. People online often don't want to commit to a business relationship immediately. They want to get to know you first, trust you, and like you before becoming customers. That takes time.
Nurturing is the process of slowly building a relationship with your leads over time until they're ready to buy. It's about trust, not sales. Many entrepreneurs who have mastered the art of nurturing have built multimillion-dollar businesses on the backs of their loyal customers.
But how do you nurture successfully? It takes:
- Personalization. Each lead is an individual, so treat them that way. You want to pay attention to your data and tailor your messages according to what you've learned about their interests, needs, and pain points.
- A variety of touchpoints. It's common for prospects to need multiple interactions with a brand before they're ready to buy. So use email marketing, social media, and even offline marketing like direct mail to reach out to them at different times.
- Consistent content that educates and inspires. Your marketing materials should help leads make informed decisions by giving them tips they can put into practice right away.
- Flexibility. Leads will take different paths through the sales funnel, and they won't all be ready to buy at the same time. It's important to offer different ways for leads to engage with your brand and learn more about your products or services - like e-books, white papers, and webinars - at various stages of the buying process.
Marketing automation can be a key piece of nurturing. Having a digital platform like Scorpion and the experts who work there to setup email marketing and advertising campaigns that go out automatically can save you a lot of time. Marketing automation can also be a great way to create a content marketing journey for your potential customers. You can send out blog posts, eBooks, and other content marketing
Digital marketing is more science than art. You need to act based on data and leave your intuitions to the side as much as possible. A hunch that this or that will make a difference won't drive success - measurements will. Its important to have the right marketing science professional also known as "data science" to help you make these decisions. Here's what you can measure to make informed business decisions:
Traffic from Each Source
You know how many people visit your website from organic search, but how many come from email? Paid search? Advertising? Your traffic from each source tells you different things about your audience.
Conversions from Each Source
Once you know where your visitors are coming from, try to measure which of those sources is driving conversions. For eCommerce sites, this means measuring sales in totality - not just purchases but dollar value.
Beyond conversions, it's essential to look at email subscribers, social media followers, and other key performance indicators (KPI).
Acquisition Cost per User
This is particularly important for paid advertising campaigns. It's not enough to count the number of visitors coming from pay-per-click (PPC). You need to know how many users you gained from that campaign and what you spent on acquiring them.
If you spend more than you earn from each customer, you need to either increase prices or find another way of acquiring customers that's less expensive.
Conversion rate is one of the most popular marketing objectives to track because it measures how effectively your sales funnel works - how many people who visit your site purchase something?
To determine your conversion rate, divide the number of visitors to your site by the number of conversions (purchases). For example, say 100 people visit your site, and 25 of them buy something. Your conversion rate is exactly 25 percent.
As a general rule, if you want to increase sales, you can either increase traffic or your conversion rate. Improving traffic is usually more expensive than doing that with conversion rates, so many businesses try to improve the latter first.
Digital Marketing Tools
Learning how to measure the results of marketing efforts separates pros from amateurs. The good news is that tracking and analyzing data is easier than ever before. With quality digital marketing tools, you can track conversions, clicks, and sales on nearly any marketing channel.
Before starting a digital marketing campaign, take a moment to understand the different tools at your disposal. There are a lot of methods and services out there that will help you achieve your goals, but it'll take some trial and error to find the one that works for you.
Content marketing is an umbrella term. It includes all types of content strategy for content you share online to achieve your business goals. Content marketing can involve writing blog posts or articles, making videos, or posting photos.
The goal of content marketing is usually twofold. You either want people to think better of your company as one that shares interesting, useful, or entertaining information, or you want them to engage with your brand by clicking links, registering for events, or making purchases.
Either way, you'll need a consistent and robust content marketing strategy. Therefore, content marketing is one of the best tools in the digital marketer's toolbox.
Social Media Marketing
Social media has emerged as one of the crucial battlefields for digital marketers to engage and connect with their customers, drive brand awareness, and generate leads. The problem is that social media is huge. It's easy to suffer from analysis paralysis, waiting forever to decide on the best approach.
Narrowing the playing field with customer insights can help you choose channels and content strategies for your brand. Customer research tools can be used to identify your market segments and gather information about them, such as age, gender, location, interests, etc. These insights will help you craft a more effective messaging strategy that delivers more tailored content to the right audience at the right time.
Email is still one of the most effective ways to reach out to customers and prospects. The trick is to stay on top of trends and best practices. What worked even a year or two ago is probably not working now. With new technologies and new ways to measure engagement constantly emerging on the market, email remains a powerful tool - if you know how to use it right.
One of the most important things to know about email marketing is that it's not about you. If your messages are only about what you have to offer, you'll lose readers. Always think about how your product or services can solve people's problems and make that your focus. You should:
- Have a specific goal for every email campaign you send.
- Make sure your content is relevant to your audience and easy to scan.
- Segment your mailing list so that the content you send is tailored to specific audiences.
Various email marketing services like MailChimp can help you track analytics for your campaigns. They let you see which emails get opened, unique open rates, click-through rates, and more. That kind of data is what you need to help you make adjustments.
Google Analytics provides a wealth of information about your web traffic, including where it comes from, what it does on your website, and how it converts. You can see which channels are most effective in generating new leads and sales and which need improvement. The tool is also handy for testing different marketing tactics to see what works best.
You can use data from Google Analytics to:
- Optimize your web pages. See how people interact with each page so you can adjust the design or content to improve user experience, conversions, and engagement.
- Improve your ad campaigns. See how ads are performing in clicks, lead generation, and sales.
- See how well landing pages convert. If you're running a lead-generation campaign, Google Analytics can show you which landing pages perform best, so you know where to direct your efforts.
Google Keyword Planner
Keyword research is an essential part of digital marketing. The Google Keyword Planner is a free keyword research tool that lets you discover keywords related to your business.
With keyword research, you can identify which terms and phrases are most relevant to your business, how often people search for them, and how difficult the competition is to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The gathered data can inform other aspects of your digital marketing strategy by targeting keywords with a high volume but low competition or vice versa. You can even use this information to predict seasonal spikes in keyword searches related to your products or services. Google Keyword Planner is a powerful tool that businesses of all sizes use to shape their digital marketing strategy.
Start Making Most of Your Digital Marketing Strategy Today
Digital marketing is a necessary part of running a business these days, but it can still feel overwhelming at times. For many business owners, the concept of digital marketing is just too big for them to tackle on their own. That's why they turn to a digital marketing agency to help them.
At Scorpion, we can help you figure out what areas of digital marketing you need to focus on most to grow your business. When you're ready, we'll even lend a hand in implementing your strategy and managing your campaigns.