Digital marketing consists of using various technologies to connect with customers. While the Internet is one of the most pertinent of these platforms, there are also several other components you should consider. For instance, apps and SMS text messages are also considered digital marketing.
Having a strong strategy for marketing helps keep the business afloat. In fact, as many as 14 percent of businesses may fail because of poor marketing. And in today’s world, neglecting to implement a digital presence can be devastating to business practices.
What can you do to keep ahead of the game? It’s all about knowing how to build a digital marketing strategy. Here are a few of my ideas that may help shape how you approach this important facet of business.
The Internet Rules All, Almost
According to Google, there are more than two trillion searches performed on the search engine giant every year. That’s more than 3.8 million every second. From product research to informative content, the Internet is a widely used source of data.
Because the Internet saturates a large portion of our lives, it only makes sense businesses would implement a digital marketing strategy to take advantage of it. It’s believed that 96 percent of Americans shop online. Which means not having Internet marketing strategies will surely hurt your business.
Which Strategies Work Best
Perhaps the most difficult part of developing a good digital marketing plan is knowing which methods work the best. Unfortunately, that’s something that I cannot tell you with 100 percent certainty. You see, every business and industry is very different. What works for one company may not work for another.
Here are the basics of devising a good strategy.
- Know Your Objectives: Have a clear understanding of what you wish to accomplish with each campaign.
- Know Your Target Audience: Understand who it is you’re trying to market products or services to.
- Constantly Monitor Progress: Never underestimate the value of data when it comes to tracking campaigns.
- Brainstorm to Address Issues: Identify which areas of campaigns need revamping for success.
- Create Forecasts: Have a plan of action for future needs and adjustments for your campaigns.
These basic steps work in just about any digital marketing strategy template. Of course you may want to expand on these points according to your own situation and business needs.
What kind of digital marketing is available and when do you want to use it?
Word-of-Mouth, Both Online and Off
Although word-of-mouth is nothing new, it impacts a business more today than it did back in the 1900s. This is because of the widespread use of social media, email and text messages. It’s safe to assume that customers are going to share the experience whether it’s good or bad with a wide audience.
In reality, 53 percent of millennials will share content on Facebook. This doesn’t include other platforms such as the growing channels of Instagram or Snapchat. Providing an optimal experience for customers is vital for a positive word-of-mouth campaign.
Encourage consumers to share and like posts, comments and products on your site. Don’t simply rely on organic comments the user may or may not provide. Adding elements such as share buttons or perhaps offering coupons to those who “spread the word” inspires those customers to act.
Trying to achieve a positive impact from word-of-mouth should be something you strive for before opening the doors to the business. While you can’t please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time, the ones you do will be key to future success.
Implementing Reviews and Testimonials
Approximately 40 percent of consumers will form an opinion regarding a brand after reading up to three reviews. Considering how 92 percent of consumers read these reviews, it demonstrates how effective they are for marketing.
It all comes down to how consumers trust peers over statements made by brands. This is especially true given the wave of “fake news” spurned from late 2016 and early 2017. Consumers have less trust in advertisements as they once did.
Reviews and testimonials are effective to have in the very beginning. Even if the review is negative, it needs to be available. People today are already mistrustful of businesses, and hiding faults can ultimately damage an online reputation. Instead, use negative reviews as a way to grow and adapt.
Using Video Platforms
Businesses are able to increase conversions by 80 percent by adding a video to a landing page. There’s no doubt that video content has proliferated through the Internet. In fact, video content is the main use of online bandwidth across the globe.
Websites such as YouTube and Vimeo provide a platform in which any business can create content to engage an audience. These videos are then easily shared by embedding them into websites or simply added to social posts. Either way, video is becoming a normal addition to digital marketing plans.
But when is a good time to start creating videos? That really depends on your strategy, industry and type of content you want to create. Video production is relatively easy nowadays thanks to advancements in technology. It can be done on the cheap or you could spend thousands in state-of-the art recording equipment and software.
Instead of buying the latest and greatest recording equipment, try a few videos using less expensive gear. If the content takes off and brings the business a bit of income, then grow production. The point is you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on equipment only to realize it’s not working out.
For instance, a lot of successful YouTubers today started with a basic webcam. Over time, they stepped up their budget because it was a platform that was being successful.
Offering New Products or Services
Always keep expanding or replacing the products and services you offer. Don’t rely on the items that once proved to be the bread-and-butter of the business. Eventually, those items will become obsolete or less sought after.
A perfect example of continuing to evolve with the market is Google, Inc. Google constantly evolves products and services in order to meet the demands of the consumer. If certain products are not as productive, the company gets rid of it and works on something new.
Like technology, your business needs to be able to constantly advance forward. One of the best ways to do this is by using monitoring tools such as Google Analytics. Goods that don’t receive much attention may signify:
- You need better marketing for those items.
- The items are no longer of interest to consumers.
Take HD DVDs, for example. Many people loaded up on the high-definition DVD platform to sell through eCommerce…until Blu Ray was produced. This is a lesson in keeping a close eye on the industry.
When traffic to certain goods slows down, immediately look into “why.”
Influencers are social media personalities who have large followings. These “celebrities” are extremely effective when it comes to brand recognition and sales. For instance, 60 percent of people who subscribe to channels state they follow the advice of the YouTube personality over other celebrities.
Influencers vary greatly when it comes to cost. Some will have flat fees for each single post or video while others are OK with an affiliate-type of campaign. Either way, this form of digital marketing is effective at reaching an incredibly large audience in a short amount of time.
When is a good time to contact an influencer? It depends on your budget and goals. Social media celebrities are often quite expensive to use. Many who have millions of fans know their value and can easily cost thousands of dollars for a single spot.
There’s nothing wrong with shopping around. Just make sure you find an influencer who is relevant to your industry. For instance, you wouldn’t want to spend money on a gaming celebrity if you sell shoes. It’s all about connecting to the right audience through these influencers.
Creating Email Marketing Campaigns
By 2020, email will be in use by three billion people. That’s nearly half of the population of Earth. It’s one of the most common forms of digital communication, and it’s also one of the most used additions to a digital marketing strategy.
However, it takes more than just sending a message to get someone’s attention. In today’s market, personalization is key to attracting a reader. These custom messages are more influential and often result in a higher return on investment.
You can start email marketing campaigns immediately. It’s extremely cost-effective to reach out to a large audience as all it costs in some cases is your time. The hardest part about email campaigns is developing a mailing list. This is usually done through subscription forms or by messaging past customers.
Using PPC Advertisements
The pay-per-click campaign, or PPC, is a widely popular platform for digital marketing. Essentially, you don’t pay for an advertisement until someone clicks on it to visit your website. Even if the ad is delivered more than a million times, it won’t cost a dime until it’s clicked.
While the prospects of PPC are quite high, it does take a bit of search engine optimization to get the most out of the experience. You can’t simply bid on your favorite keywords and cross your fingers. Optimizing PPC is where the platform becomes valuable. In fact, customers will click on PPC ads 65 percent of the time if there is high-commercial search intent involved.
Pay-per-click campaigns is another one of those “budget restrictive” marketing platforms. If you have good SEO skills, it’s possible to have a high ROI with very little money invested. However, PPC is often expensive to those who are new to the system. It’s easy to spend money on clicks from people who are not all that interested in buying your product.
SMS Text Messaging
Approximately 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone. This doesn’t include those who have basic phones with texting abilities. Which means the majority of the population has potential for contact through SMS text messaging. As a result, many businesses are implementing texts as part of the digital marketing plan.
On average, SMS text messages have a higher response rate than other mobile advertising. This rate includes online and offline transactions. For instance, people are more likely to personally walk into a store to make a purchase after receiving a text message from the company.
Think of SMS text messaging as a form of social media engagement. When you have people following your account, all it takes is a single post to engage them all.
Some platforms on the Internet are perfect to use for getting started. For example, SlickText.com has a free account that lets you send up to 50 text messages per month. Depending on your audience, that may be more than enough to engage customers and encourage sales. Because SMS texts don’t cost a lot, it’s great for any size of business.
Developing Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are often used to boost digital marketing. Often, these pieces of software accentuate a business while making the user feel more connected. For example, a lot of companies will produce apps that hand out digital coupons to shoppers.
However, creating an app doesn’t necessarily mean people will use it. Sometimes it takes a bit of marketing to encourage use of an app.
Case in point: Chick-fil-A, a popular fast food restaurant chain, increased the download of their app by more than 14,000 percent. This was done when the company launched a free sandwich promotion to encourage use of the app. Downloads soared from approximately 5,000 per day to more than 400,000 in a matter of 48 hours.
App development can range in expense. Some will cost a lot to develop while others may be built by yourself. In reality, it all depends on how elaborate you want the app and what you want it to deliver. Building an app may not be a good choice in the beginning, but it definitely has potential once you establish the business.
Creating Great Content
When it comes to digital marketing of any kind, “content is king.” Content is what drives visitors and customers. Whether it’s a well-planned video on YouTube or a detailed product description for eCommerce, it’s all relevant.
Creating engaging content relies on an understanding of your audience and what you’re trying to convey. From billboards in the real world to social media posts, the purpose is to connect with consumers.
You should be creating great content from the first day you opened the business. Flyers, ads, social media posts and more all play into how people perceive the brand. Without it, no one would know what it is you provide.
Have a Digital Marketing Plan
Although real-world marketing is important for engaging local customers, the digital space plays an increasing role both online and off. Put together a strategy that works for your business and keep it updated. Just because something works well today doesn’t mean it will be efficient tomorrow.