What you should know about Digital Marketing!
Digital Marketing is that essential commodity with which today’s businesses will not grow! When you are a small business owner the world of online can be intimidating. This is an article which any business owner can read and implement Digital Marketing to help grow the business.
Digital Marketing(DM) specifically is any marketing activity that is carried out online as opposed to marketing done through other media like print, audio, or video like advertisements promoted in papers, magazines, radio or TV. Digital Marketing has been used extensively by Google, Facebook, and Youtube and its benefits are out there for us to see.
Digital Marketing is known by other names – Online Marketing, Internet Marketing, Web Marketing or Search Engine Marketing. It has opened a plethora of channels – starting with email, search engine, social media (Facebook, WhatsApp), and video (YouTube). These are the places where the present day customer lives. And Digital Marketing is about finding ways to be present in these channels at the right moment and capture the customer’s attention.
The internet is not only responsible for this wide array of channels, it has become omnipresent because of it being on the mobile too. I can say this as this has analogously turned around the age old Indian axiom that “A thirsty man has to go to the waterfront, the river will not come to him”. Now armed with the resources, the customer is in charge of the buying process. Prior to embarking on the shopping spree, he can do his own research on the product, do comparisons, share information about it with peers, ask for recommendations, and browse the reviews to get both the plus points and negatives of the product.
I call it the age of the Digital Marketing as it has put the things which were once in the norm into the back seat very firmly. Magazines have reported a drop in the print sales as online versions are liked and read more and more. People are no longer enamoured with cable TV and the population is steadily increasing towards on-demand shows like NetFlix, Spuul, etc. Radios are replaced by streaming music and even Yellow Pages is getting eliminated by Google Local, Yelp, and Zomata.
So, to take advantage of this boom in online channels, digital marketing has to make your business stand out – garner interest from potential customers and finally convert the interest to a purchase.
Historically, any issue that is overwhelming has been addressed with the divide and rule idiom. Applying this idiom, lets talk about only three types of media that are used in Digital Marketing – paid, owned, and earned.
- Your paid media will make up everything that you, well, pay for. This will include channels like Google Adwords, Facebook paid ads, and display marketing.
- Your owned media will encompass channels like your website, your list of customers that you use to send out e-mails, and a blog that has an active readership.
- Earned media is the world of organic press. Your social media accounts, mentions on other blogs, and articles written about you make up the channels within earned media.
To summarize, be it any kind of media, online marketing to define it aesthetically, means to put your business in front of your customer and be at the center of the journey that the customer takes.
The biggest advantages of Digital Marketing are:
- Growth in potential
- Reduced expenses
- Elegant communications
- Better control
- Improved customer service
- Competitive advantage
Most companies are looking to pilot or increase their spend in the various channels that are available like Email marketing, social media marketing etc.
But how they build their strategy depends on what is important to them in the first place. Most companies value revenue growth as their first priority followed by ROI, customer satisfaction, customer retention, and so on.
The table in Figure 1 below is from the Digital Marketing Summary Report 2015 published by Web Strategies Inc. It shows how companies are ranking each of the metrics like Revenue growth, CS, ROI etc.
It is evident that, whatever be the order, it does suggest that their strategy will revolve around increasing their reach to get new customers, enhance their relationship with existing customers and eventually retain them in the long term.
And the market place is full of technologies to choose from in order to achieve the business goals – by bridging the goals with the customer needs or in simple words creating a strategy to make the best investments in technologies which have a greater chance of connecting with customers.
Again, Web Strategies Inc’s Summary Report 2015 has provided a table which lists the different technologies (of Digital Marketing) that a business can invest It also shows the percentage of marketers using them – this is shown on the left hand side of the figure. The effectiveness of each technology is denoted in the colored bars with the help of the legend. The right most column shows the metrics on the number of companies who plan to use/pilot the respective technology in the year 2015.
The above table surely gives one a clear idea of the growth in different channels of digital marketing. Now, the challenge is to decide on which of these channels are suitable to your business’s revenue growth.
Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy:
Developing a Digital Marketing strategy will help you decide on which channels are to be invested in. Here are five things which can help you:
- Set a Goal: Make sure you a have goal defined – be it growing your customer base or to get ahead of your competitors, you need to have a well defined goal in place. This will put things in perspective and make you focus on the right steps to achieve the goal.
- Creating a Marketing Funnel: A Funnel is the sequence of events which you can map in the journey of your customer from a stranger to your business to the time they become leads. If the funnel is clear, then you will know what strategies to put in place to help the customer move through the funnel. To explain the concept of a funnel, here is an example of a small business which specializes in mentor driven online trainings on latest IT technologies:
As soon the Support team receives a lead, the team calls up the lead and helps them understand the course details and the opportunities it provides in the job market. This shortens the funnel period as the Support team guides the lead very accurately and helps in enrollment in a short time. Otherwise, the lead would be having a lot of unanswered queries about benefits Vs cost and other stuff which could be causing a delay in reaching the funnel end. Having an effective funnel not only helps in getting the leads but helps in turning the leads to customers.
From the CRM software, the Support team gets an idea of the source of the lead – it could be Google Search, Facebook, Twitter, LinkdIn etc. It is quite clear now, what are the channels that deserve investment in this case!
- Developing a Call to Action: The next step after creating the funnel is to use a call-to-action. So, what exactly is a call-to-action (CTA) ? It is an image or text which prompts visitors to take action – maybe subscribe to a newsletter, register for an upcoming event like a webinar or free trial of the software etc. And in this process, the users information collected results in more leads.
- Creating a Lead Magnet: Creating lead magnets like a downloadable EBook to provide information on your product – draws a lead into the funnel. It can be used within the funnel too. Here the idea of lead magnets is to trade information. For example, before downloading the EBook, the lead is asked to fill a form with his details which helps you in knowing his domain of interest and this information gather can help you to interact better.
- Driving Traffic: Just like a menu card which has the biggest spread of various cuisines can attract a variety and majority of customers in a restaurant – so also the most important feature of your website is that it should have enough content to drive more traffic into it. This could be quality blogs on relevant topics or using social media to attract more traffic.
Market Spend Trends in 2015:
At this point, another point of interest is to know how the other companies are investing. The Digital Marketing survey has predicted that companies are going to spend one-third of the entire marketing spend on Digital Marketing. SEO and SEM will capture the largest share of the online spend at 45% and 14% of the entire marketing spend. And within the online spend, the online display advertising will capture the largest share of it. Finally the mobile (the largest growing digital marketing channel) will get a share of 10% of the total Digital Marketing budget.
Now that you know the basics of Digital Marketing, its growing contribution to revenue growth and customer satisfaction and as well the strategies to apply for Digital Marketing – go ahead and employ them and you will see the how much difference it makes. The saying on the billboard is: If you want your business to grow, digital marketing is the way to go!
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