A look at four aspects of digital marketing and what they bring to the (virtual) table.
We’re long past the days where digital marketing is a trend, but relatively speaking it is still in its formative years when compared to non-digital mediums such as print, outdoor, and terrestrial radio. Digital strategies and the approaches and platforms to support them are still being developed and tweaked. Targeting capabilities are expanding almost exponentially, as are measurement and analytics tools.
The granularity provided through digital marketing tactics is attractive to marketers, business owners, and even consumers alike. It’s customized outreach connecting with audiences who (and when) they are most likely to engage along their consumer journey.
So it comes as no surprise that many companies have already thrown their hats into the digital ring. But they less often know exactly why. Why digital? Some will say “because everyone else is doing it” or they’ve just done it this way for the past several years. Sometimes decision makers have data to support this decision, other times they don’t.
A September 2018 study from the PEW Research Center cites that segments of the US population have reached “near-saturation levels of adoption of some technologies,” with the internet, social media, and smartphones having the highest adoption rates. Internet Live Stats, a part of the Real Time Statistics Project, shows there’s been over 2 trillion (that’s 2 followed by 12 zeros) Google searches to-date in the year 2018 alone.
With that in mind, here’s a look at four aspects of digital marketing and what they bring to the (virtual) table:
It’s all about the metrics
Digital tactics can be more measurable than many other communication tactics. Many digital platforms have their own measurement capabilities which often show impressions and/or reach, frequency, and some level of engagement. In conjunction, website tools such as Google Analytics are able to dive deeper into what actions users take when they arrived at your landing page and what goals or conversions they complete. Correlations can also be made between website activity and marketing activity, both digital and non-digital.
Responsiveness = opportunity
No matter how carefully you research and outline your campaign, sometimes things just don’t go as planned. The beauty of digital platforms is you can easily make adjustments. For example, if your paid search ads aren’t earning many clicks, you can review your paid search keywords and ad copy (and don’t forget your Google quality score) to ensure the audience, messaging, and goals of your campaign are aligned.
One the other hand, perhaps you are pleasantly surprised by the performance of your online display banners. You can increase your budget spend on that platform to augment performance where you know you are doing well. This includes your messaging, too. If you started off your campaign with testing a few different messaging directions (a smart idea referred to as A/B testing), once you’ve found the direction which resonates most, you can bolster efforts behind it.
Additionally in the camp of responsiveness is social media. Social media posts (even the paid ones) can be shared and commented on. Not only can you see real-time into your audiences’ thoughts and response to your campaign, you can also respond to any questions or comments as they arise.
For the long game and the short one
I’ve used examples of mostly short-term campaigns throughout this blog. But digital also aligns directly with the basics of inbound marketing and can be a fruitful long-term strategy. From awareness and education to lead nurturing and engagement, digital content can “feed” your consumers with the information they are searching for and keep your business top of mind for when they are ready to take action.
Resource content such as blogs, case studies, guides, white papers, and e-books are great opportunities to educate consumers and demonstrate industry expertise while also creating valuable touch points along the way. Website content, newsletters, and webinars are additional digital content opportunities.
Cultivating consumer champions
Digital marketing enables an incredible opportunity to turn your customers into your greatest champions. It can be magical, really. When you are receiving reviews on how your service has changed someone’s life; or when someone tags a friend to your product’s social ad and says “you need this!”; or when your customers respond on your behalf to another user’s doubts – these are all examples of your champions at work. It empowers your customers do the talking (and cheering) for you and builds trust and authenticity with your brand and audience.
As humans, we’re connected now more than ever through digital channels. There’s no doubt that digital marketing is a valuable option for almost any company. Understanding how it works and why it’s valuable is important for supporting digital marketing’s use case and optimizing the efforts which include it.
Giselle Mahoney is an account executive with RDW Group. Her life credits include being a mom, wife, mar/comm professional, and wannabe gardener. Success is sometimes questionable on the latter.