Understanding Digital Marketing
It’s unavoidable - we’re all part of a worldwide digital love-fest.
After a recent trip to New York where I had no choice but to “enjoy” a variety of transport options, I was able to observe a mix of people from young to old, male, female, native or tourist, staring doubled-chinned at their devices, barely glancing up to register their stop.
I also noticed how traditional marketing efforts were completely disregarded. Outdoor signs whizzed past unnoticed and even strategically placed posters and leaflets were left neglected for the more compelling lure of the screen.
It was at that point that I realised that my decision to work in digital marketing was probably the smartest move I’d made for a while.
The Digital Changeover
And you don’t have to take my word for it; the 2015 Communications Market Report produced by Ofcom identified that for the first time, Smartphones had overtaken laptops as the device seen as most important for connecting to the internet and it’s not just mobiles; laptop and computer users spend an average 29.8 hours per month just browsing the internet.
So let’s commit to poking the elephant in the room and just say that if you want marketing messages to be seen, you need to go where the people are. And the people choose digital.
Yes, traditional marketing has its place but with the complex challenges faced by marketing managers to get their services noticed… it’s time to truly understand and embrace the benefits of digital marketing.
Digital versus Traditional; the perks
As motivating as it is to want to reach potential customers amongst the 44.7 million people in the UK with internet access, there are also some very convincing advantages of digital marketing compared to traditional marketing.
· It costs a whole lot less
As effective as TV advertising is at driving home marketing messages…Nicole? Papa? We don’t all have access to budgets that can fund film crews or secure airtime for radio ads.
Even traditional advertising’s cheaper friend Mr Print isn’t always the most affordable option. Costs for advertising space, brochures, leaflets and postage all add up with a lower return on investment than digital.
In comparison, digital marketing is much… much more affordable. For example, advertising your services on search engines such as Google can be quite cost-effective. This method of using pay-per-click advertising only charges you when a person clicks on your ad and can be set within a budget of your choice.
Other affordable options for digital marketing include promoting your service using social media marketing on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There are also websites, email advertising, blog writing and of course search engine optimisation (that works to boost your website to the top of online searches); all affordable and effective options compared to traditional methods.
· It reaches a load more people
Of course, let’s not forget that digital produces a better return on marketing investment. That’s because its cost-per-thousand impressions (the amount it costs for just 1000 people to see one promotion) is much lower than traditional cost-per-thousand views (i.e. 1000 leaflets printed and posted to 1000 addresses).
In fact, you could have a moment of inspiration by posting an interesting image or comment on Twitter for free, and before you know it, it’s gone viral, shared and seen by millions – the gold/blue dress fiasco anyone?
However smart digital marketing is often based on online searches.
Google, the overlords of the search world, process about 40,000 search queries… a second. With so many random queries searched, such as “City Break in London” or “Cheap Car Insurance” digital marketing tactics can help to ensure your website is the one the searcher finds and visits. This process is called search engine optimisation and is a way to reach millions simply and quickly. You can learn more about search marketing here.
· It’s Real Time and Super Agile
Traditional marketing is inherently a long winded drawn out process. Take advertising in a magazine for example; first, you need to purchase the ad space, create the ad, send it off for approval, check the proof, wait for it to be printed and then after a person purchases the magazine and flips through to the right page… they notice you’ve put an apostrophe in the wrong place.
Thankfully, this scenario isn’t an issue for digital marketing. Adverts can be written and automatically generated in minutes ready for viewing on search engines. Unfortunate mistakes? Well, they can be edited or apologised for quickly – implementing immediate damage control.
Holiday season approaching? Digital marketing gives you the freedom to increase or discount prices on your e-commerce website. You can even add incentives, promotions and offers free on social media, emails or in search results whenever you feel that your revenue needs a boost.
With real-time digital marketing, you can ride on the wave of the latest new trend, development or news item from day-to-day, boosting your brand awareness and bringing attention to your services.
· It’s Fun, Weird and Wonderful
With digital marketing, the sky’s the limit. Yes, you may not have the budget to create a quality TV commercial, but you can create a decent video showcasing your service which can be added on YouTube, your website homepage and shared on social media… all for minimal cost.
As more ideas begin to surface, you can explore new trends such as proximity marketing which sends texts to mobile phones in your location; handy for drawing cold wet pedestrians into your warm, cosy café.
With many skilled developers around to generate affordable animations, media-rich adverts, personalised emails and even downloadable apps there are more and more exciting ways to reach your digitally inclined customers compared with traditional marketing.
A fun part to marketing your business online is around the social aspect which includes interacting with people on social media and responding to questions. Not only does this spread your services to thousands of potential customers, but people like to know their opinion is valued, and in turn may advocate your services to others or add deliciously helpful reviews that you can use on your website or in-store such as in the case for Lidl.
· It can be measured and analysed again and again
Figuring out if was the new poster in the shop window or the advert in the local paper that helped bring in customers isn’t straightforward. In contrast, digital marketing helps remove a lot of the guesswork.
With digital marketing campaigns you can measure, analyse and monitor more than Donald Trump with the latest opinion polls; using intelligent and useful online tools you can track how many people clicked your ad, visited your website and made a purchase. You can also see what people lingered at on your site, what source they came from (Google, Twitter, advert, etc.) and even their demographics.
Monitoring tools can tell you how many people saw and interacted with your social media posts, emails and adverts – so you can find out which ideas worked well and which need tweaking or scraping.
All the data collected can be analysed to create a picture of the people most likely to purchase your service (your target market) so that any future campaigns, adverts or content can be aimed at them, improving sales and increasing your return on investment.
Digital versus Traditional; the drawbacks
Ok, so it’s not all picnics and rainbows. Digital marketing may come with a steep learning curve and requires rapid responses
· Managing your Reputation
Unlike traditional marketing, exposing your business online and welcoming comments always comes with a risk that you will receive publicly bad feedback, especially as it’s impossible to please everyone. Even Tom Hanks receives nasty comments on Twitter… I mean come on people, Tom Hanks?! So this is where a little public relations (PR) comes in handy.
Promptly responding to customer concerns, apologising for errors, thanking customers for helping improve services and adding in a little humour can all work to keep your brand reputation intact and online. We love how O2 responded to this comment:
· We’re Having Technical Issues
Yes, for optimal digital marketing experiences we rely on minimal downtimes, quick load times and the most reliable management systems the internet can provide.
However try as we may, technology doesn’t always work perfectly, things crash and errors happen. Choosing providers that guarantee quick response times and out-of-hours services can help. There are also professional web developers who are happy to combat website issues and help you to get your services back online.
· Finding the Right Skills
Then we come to the last but often most challenging hurdle of digital marketing drawbacks; access to the right skill set.
Unless you’re pretty keen on following the latest computer and online trends, you may struggle to know where to start with digital marketing. Of course, you can always start at the hub of all things digital and Google-search for answers, trying your best to implement the right tactics.
But to be really sure you’re getting the best from the internet, you can use professional digital marketers, web developers and search engine optimisation specialists to make sure your brand is heard above all the other digital marketing noise.
So whatever aspect of digital marketing appeals to you, you can be sure that it’s not a fad that’s going to disappear as quickly as it came. However don’t forget that getting the best from digital marketing requires incorporating it with your current traditional methods, this will cover all aspects and really boost your overall marketing efforts.
For the complete digital marketing package, that includes websites, search engine optimisation and social media marketing combined, you can contact Cocoonfxmedia or call 01543 223074 to learn more about their fixed-fee monthly partnership package.