The internet has revolutionized the marketing phenomenon forever. Nowadays, consumers, customers, and clients have a lot of choices at their disposal. They also exercise more control over what they need to purchase and how. At the touch of a finger, they have businesses from all over the globe within their reach, allowing them to choose who they wish to buy from, which means that no business has the power to control the actions and decisions of their customers.
This has led to digital marketers being stuck in a continuous race for refining and upgrading of their marketing plans. When a prospective customer needs to buy a product or a service, the very first thing that he does is use a search engine. In the present era of worldwide digital communication, any news about a product, service or a particular brand can diffuse at the speed of light, bringing instant changes to the business environment. With any change in the perception of consumers, the business itself needs to revamp its marketing strategy, and seek out new ways of promoting its product.
If you are a businessman, and you think that you are unable to fully grasp the opportunities presented by the digital domain, this article is for you. It will discuss eight aspects of a winning digital marketing plan, and how you can incorporate them into your own strategy.
However, before jumping headfirst into the digital marketing arena, we will first discuss the basics of the idea itself.
Digital Marketing Defined
This marketing technique has many names: online marketing, internet marketing, digital marketing or e-marketing.
No matter what you decide to call it, the main idea remains the same. It involves using internet-based technologies for promoting brands, products, and services. It also helps businesses create needs for their products/services, and then satisfy those needs with their own offerings.
In the world that we live in today, the internet is a major part of our lives. Almost all of us spend a few hours a day on the internet, using social media platforms, entertainment websites, and other forms of digital communication.
This exponential increase in the use of the internet has changed the way businesses reach out to their customers and market their products. Even small and medium-sized businesses today have been successful in gaining access to their niche markets directly, with the help of the internet. Today, there is not a single successful business that can claim that it does not have a presence on the internet.
The main objective of digital marketing is to establish your business’s online identity, enhance customer confidence, and engage your customers in a variety of ways. This, in turn, results in improved brand image, better customer relationships as well as increased sales revenues and profits.
Benefits of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing has offered a chance to every business – no matter what its size – to compete with its peers on a global level. Even if a business is small in size, it can still sell its products anywhere in the world because its customers can access it anytime, anywhere through the internet and place orders to receive their desired products. The internet offers a number of digital platforms from where a business can promote its product/service to a global audience.
Not only does the internet offer a business the opportunity to sell its product to customers, but it also allows the business to communicate with its customers and keep them engaged. Traditional marketing does not have this advantage – it only allows one-way communication from the business to the consumer, without giving customers the chance to give their feedback. In today’s world, if you rely on such a system alone, you are sure to fail. Customers want to communicate with the businesses they buy from. They want to ask questions and have their queries answered as well as give their feedback on products.
In the world we live in, internet marketing has become so powerful that it has transformed the entire marketing concept all over the globe. The days of traditional marketing are over. Traditional media like newspapers, television, and radio are unable to cater to the increasing demands of today’s customers.
Eight Aspects of a Winning Digital Marketing Plan
Digital marketing is a world in itself. Marketers have only begun to discover its great potential, and how they can benefit from it. Let us now discuss the eight aspects of digital marketing that will render it a success in the long run.
- Advertising over the internet
The initial step for any business seeking to establish an online identity is to set aside some funds for internet marketing and advertisement. Though this type of advertisement costs less than traditional marketing, there are still some costs associated with it.
If you are new in this game, you will find it rather confusing to come to terms with the plethora of online advertisements, and where you should be starting. Here are some of the most important and widely used online advertisement methods compiled for the ease of the reader:
- Google Ad Words:
These use targeted keywords for creating online advertisements within the same platform
When a user types a search word in Google, and its matches with your own keyword, your advertisement will show up with the results, increasing your visibility and resulting in sales generation.
- Pay Per Click or PPC Advertisements
Under this method, the advertiser has to pay a specific amount of money based on the number of clicks on your advertisements. For example, the business may decide to advertise on a particular search engine. Every time a visitor clicks on it to access the business’ webpage, the business has to pay the search engine a fee.
PPC advertisements are becoming very popular owing to their instant results.
- Display Advertisements
These advertisements are in the form of images that would usually be displayed on the corners of the web page that the user has opened.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO involves attracting traffic to the company’s webpage from the free search results on search engines. When the user searches for a particular keyword on a search engine, they are shown several webpages, with those being the most relevant shown at the top. So, if your business can find out what users are looking for and tailor its content to the requirements of the user, it can successfully increase its visibility. For this purpose, the business must utilize techniques to identify relevant keywords and optimize its content.
If you do not have the skills in-house for effective search engine optimization, you can always seek expert help from a Digital Agency.
- Blogs and content marketing
Blogs form an integral part of the digital marketing strategy these days. Blogging is a great way to give your business a voice and provide information to customers on topics that of their interest and relevant to the company’s products. In the process, the business can foster positive relationships with their target market and tell customers about what they do and their products in the hopes of generating leads.
According to research, content marketing is likely to generate three times the leads of paid search advertisements. Due to such promising statistics, 55% of marketers consider blogging as their top digital marketing priority.
- Online press releases
A press release is an effective way to disseminate information to your customers and update them about a major upcoming development related to the business or its products.
Distributing online press releases enhances the visibility of your business over the internet, as well as helping the business establish a connection with its targeted audiences and build links. The only thing necessary for a press release to be an effective form of digital communication is to publish it only when you have something really important to share with your audience.
For example, if you are a printing business that has just gotten hold of the rights to publish John Grisham’s new novel, this is something really interesting and should be immediately shared with your customers.
Press releases can either be developed in-house, or you may acquire the services of an agency that specializes in writing and distributing PRs.
- Internet Analytics
A business can utilize Internet Analytics or Web Analytics for measuring the response garnered through its digital marketing campaign. It can also be used for analyzing the behavior and preferences of your customers.
Analytics allow you to gain a much better understanding of your niche market. With the help of a service like Google Analytics, your business will be able to understand how a particular customer heard about your company, and how they are engaging with you over the internet. You can find out important information about your visitors such as the age group, location, gender and preferences of people viewing your website. Not only that, these tools can tell you the amount of time spent by visitors on each webpage and which of your webpages have been the most successful in generating traffic and sales.
This information can then be used for improving your digital marketing game and planning your next campaign with more information and insight. The marketers at your company can incorporate variations in your marketing strategy that would best attract your customers.
- Managing Social Media Platforms
It is obvious that the customer of today has become very demanding; they like to communicate with the seller on their own terms, at their preferable time, and through the medium that they like most. Social media platforms allow your business to cater to these customer demands.
But in order for your social media accounts to make a powerful impact, you need to be very active on your channels – you need to have regular posts, constantly monitor what your clients are saying, and respond to their queries and comments as quickly as possible. As a rule of thumb, customers always take a business that responds quickly seriously compared to those that take a lot of time or don’t bother to respond at all.
Social media websites are one of the main platforms for two-way communication between the business and its customers. If used effectively, they are a great way to build a rapport with your client base and keep them updated about your latest offerings.
- Newsletters and Emails
Emails campaigns are highly effective, provided that the customer has subscribed to be a part of your mailing list themselves. There are several ways to encourage customers to subscribe to your regular newsletters such as through offers or discounts. Once they agree to subscribe, you will have a live channel for establishing regular communication with your customers. And email is one of the most effective forms of digital marketing - it is direct, cheap, and can be easily kept track of.
However, in order for an email marketing campaign to be effective, it must be customized to the needs of the individual recipients. Generalized emails are a big no - it is obvious that prospective customers are turned off by generalized emails. They know that these emails are being sent to hundreds, if not thousands, of people simultaneously. A specific email, on the other hand, displays that the business knows about the preferences of the customer, and is going to tell them something they are likely to be interested in.
- Marketing Through Mobiles and Hand-Held Devices
Mobile phones and hand-held devices are becoming increasingly popular with each day. In fact, most internet users access the web through these devices. This means that marketing through mobile and hand-held devices will become the most effective means of internet marketing in the coming days. Businesses are constantly creating and running campaigns for obtaining cell phone numbers and relaying ads through SMS and mobile apps.
From the point of view of the marketer, the GPS within a mobile phone is very beneficial. It finds out the exact geographical location of a mobile phone user and shows goods and services to the customer that are available within his/her location.
The Final Word
The eight aspects of digital marketing stated above should form the backbone of your internet marketing strategy, but that’s not all there is to it. Your internet marketing campaign should make use of every element that will help your company communicate its message, boost its sales, and establish engagement with its customers.
Additionally, digital marketing tools should be used in conjunction with each other rather than on a stand-alone basis. For example, a business should have a robust presence on social platforms while simultaneously using emails for newsletter distribution. The same business should also use internet analytics for gauging the effectiveness of its campaigns. This kind of approach utilizes many elements of digital marketing at the same time and has a much higher chance of being successful.
There is no denying the fact that digital marketing has a very bright future. It is also becoming one of the mandatory requisites for doing business in today’s world. Any business that ignores this rising phenomenon is sure to find itself lagging behind its competitors. Make sure your business is not one of them.