Marketers have had to contend and keep up with the numerous leaps in technology during the past few decades. At the moment, only a fast-paced brand will survive and make the most of what technology has to offer.
With so many technology solutions coming up, it is imperative that you fully understand what you need to pay attention to and what you need to let go of.
Clearly, you cannot embrace everything that comes your way. Financial muscle notwithstanding, it is neither wise nor practical to jump onto every single innovation no matter how cool or trendy it might seem.
Besides, you will most likely face an uphill task as you try to align some of these new technologies with the day-to-day operations of your company.
But as you think of the technologies to ignore, digital marketing shouldn’t be one of them. In fact, digital marketing should top your list of technology tools to integrate into your business.
Your business will rely heavily on the execution of appropriate digital marketing strategies to experience the desired level of growth.
A recent report by Business Wire revealed that while a sizeable number of marketers are uncertain of their future, they are convinced that digital marketing will be a critical element in their company over the next two years.
In spite of the uncertainty, when the marketing professionals were asked what they think their roles would be in 30 years, more than half of the respondents in the USA (68%) and UK (61%) said that their present digital role would probably or certainly not have changed.
Throwback – A Little Walk Down the Memory Lane
Significant technological advancements, notably the internet, big data, smartphones, and other handheld devices have repeatedly and significantly changed the marketing arena.
The Emergence of the Internet
The widespread adoption of the internet into daily lives remains the single most noteworthy event that has impacted marketing in the last three decades.
The increase in internet users brought about an evolution in the landscape with recent statistics reveal that there are now over 4 billion internet users around the world, which translates to a global penetration rate of about 59 percent.
This represents a growth of 1,157 percent between 2000 and 2019.
The email phenomenon came along and then search engines such as Yahoo and Google (in 1994 and 1997, respectively).
During the same period, we witnessed the advent of eCommerce sites such as Amazon and eBay. These inventions were a gold mine for marketing.
Brands increasingly embraced email as a new marketing tool alongside the usual assortments, namely radio, TV, telephone sales and print advertisements.
At the same time, search engines came in handy as far as cataloging new websites was concerned, besides allowing users to locate the information as well as the products they wanted from the comfort of their homes.
To obtain higher rankings in the search engines, marketers utilized search engine optimization (SEO) techniques such as excessive tagging, keyword stuffing and backlinking. Marketers went wild with this revolutionary technique.
Well, until search engines like Google decided to bring some order and sanity on the internet by putting in place checks and balances that only rewarded quality content.
The highly critical element – Big Data
All the above would not have been possible in the absence of big data. Thanks to big data, you can now track patterns, human behavior, and trends. This, therefore, means that big data is here to stay, and as such, we can only anticipate increased activity.
Big Data is so big that companies such as Domo, Optimov, and Oracle specialize in making the technology even better.
And then came the smartphones!
Can you imagine a world without these devices? It would be unbearable, right?
The world has witnessed an explosion of these new communication devices during the past decade. Due to heightened competition among smartphone makers, things are happening so fast that some marketing departments are still playing catch up.
Smartphones quickly overshadowed personal computers mainly due to their portability and convenience. Today, the smartphone is the primary digital device for browsing the web. It is estimated that about 75 percent of the world population will utilize only their smartphone to go online by 2025.
A research report by Delloite found out that consumers are “addicted” to their smartphones. Their findings revealed modern consumers’ regularity of checking smartphones is nearly round the clock.
More than 33.3 percent of consumers across the globe confirmed that they check their phones within the first five minutes of waking up with almost half of the respondents saying that they must check their phones at night.
A further 20 percent of consumers admitted that they check their phones over 50 times daily. On average, that would translate to once every 20 minutes of every hour they are working all things held constant.
Thanks to the internet, smartphones (and other internet-enabled handheld devices) and big data, the marketing scene has grown exponentially and tremendously.
Businesses are making huge sales and consumers can now find products and services that they desire with a lot of ease.
These three platforms are among the most effective and disruptive technologies that have led and continue to drive the growth of digital marketing as a must-have tool for accelerating business growth.
So What is Digital Marketing?
Simply put, or at least according to HubSpot, digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Digital marketing also demands the leveraging of all the digital channels like social media, email, search engines and other websites to link with existing and potential customers.
Understanding the meaning of digital marketing is essential for every marketer or business owner that wants to use it to grow their business or brand.
Digital marketing offers more options and tactics compared to traditional marketing techniques such as print media, TV and radio. It allows marketers to put their creativity to work. It allows brands to experiment with an array of marketing strategies on a budget.
Digital marketing permits the use of analytics dashboards to check the success and return on investments of your campaigns in a considerably bigger way than the traditional marketing content like print advertisements and billboards.
These are some of the reasons why a lot of companies are no longer hesitant to adopt digital marketing.
There are so many ways digital marketing techniques that can help you accomplish the desired outcome. Besides owning a website or a blog, your company can incorporate digital advertising, email marketing, and online brochures in its marketing campaigns so that all your marketing efforts can make a meaningful impact.
If you are just getting started with digital marketing, you need to understand that all successful digital marketers usually have a clear picture of how their digital marketing campaigns align with the overall goal.
An excellent digital marketer pays attention to the goals of the firm’s marketing strategy before deciding to support a larger campaign via the available paid and free channels.
Are you a digital marketing beginner? Are you stuck and unaware of how to use technology to grow your business fast? The following simple hacks will help you reach your destination in record speed!
A Beginner’s Guide to Making It Big through Digital Marketing
- Set your goals
You cannot achieve anything if you don’t know what you want in the first place. The first thing that a good digital marketer does is to determine what they are marketing for before making any other step. The decision by small and medium enterprises to create a budget for lead generation and brand awareness is never easy.
For starters, brand awareness isn’t something that happens overnight. It entails widening your audience over time. On the other hand, lead generation involves grabbing the attention of an identified group of prospective customers quickly.
An ideal situation demands the integration of lead generation and brand awareness. They should work collaboratively to reinforce the company’s overall digital marketing strategy. Both of them are critical to the growth of the business.
While none is more important than the other, the phase of a business dictates the one that gets the most attention. For instance, for a company that is in the beginning phase, the benefits of building brand awareness supersede those of lead generation.
In any case, building brand awareness is an effective way of laying the groundwork for lead generation. Later on, when you have quality leads, your business is destined for increased sales.
Key takeaway: determine if you need to market for brand awareness or lead generation.
- Jobs-To-Be-Done Theory (JTDB)
The modern consumer is liberated. Today, more than ever, consumers are enjoying a lot of freedom because of the empowerment that the internet has brought about. Failure to pay attention to their needs means getting out of business in worst-case scenarios or fighting for survival in best-case-scenarios.
There is an increasing need for businesses to be customer-oriented. More and more companies are focusing on the user experience. Brands are left with no choice but to devise new ways of putting the needs of their audience at the heart of all the company-wide decisions.
If you haven’t tried JTDB, you might want to consider it. The theory is built upon the benefits of developing innovative content (quizzes, videos or articles) – out of the things that happen in the lives of the customers – in a bid to offer solutions to the problems they face.
Typically, it is a shift from what functionally motivate customers and inclining more on things that emotionally motivates them.
Focusing on circumstances that give your audience sleepless nights and endless headaches and then offering a solution is what you need to give your business a reputation lift. Begin positioning your brand as a thought leader by providing immediate solutions to their problems.
- Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO hasn’t died yet, and it isn’t about to anytime soon. It is more alive than ever!
Search engine optimization can help you understand your audience. Although a long term investment, this cost-effective strategy increases your visibility on search engines. Some of its benefits include generating traffic, building revenue, increasing brand awareness and in the end, driving sales.
Use SEO best practices to tap into the data of search engines to discover what your audience is searching for. Use the information you gather to create targeted campaigns. Optimize your online presence using the three SEO pillars, namely content marketing, onsite optimization, and link acquisition.
Understand that you must spend time on search engine optimization. It is not a one-off thing. If you are unsure of how to go about this ongoing process, consider hiring professionals. They will help you devise an SEO strategy capable of delivering fast results.
Do not shy away from spending money on Pay Per Click (PPC) either. PPC platforms are loved for their ability to deliver increased customers very fast. Anyone serious about their digital marketing should have a monthly budget for PPC.
Over time, Google Ads has amassed vast popularity in the world of PPC advertising. But it’s also worth to keep Bing Ads in mind, especially if you are operating on a tight budget.
Don’t be in a rush. You can always begin slow and then grow as you go. Resist the urge to put all your money on PPC from the very beginning. Instead, focusing on investing minimal amounts, optimize your campaigns, and once you’ve made them profitable, you can think of increasing your budgets.
- Don’t forget social media marketing
Undoubtedly, social media has dramatically transformed the marketing arena. How would it not while it took the world by storm? Besides connecting people, social media is one of the best digital marketing tools.
Since social media gained popularity, it has become almost impossible to promote a brand without considering it. It is not difficult to understand this trend, seeing that social media simplifies the processing of linking with new clients and expressing one’s thoughts.
So, how do you make use of social media to grow your business?
Identify social networks that relate to your business. While there are a lot of social networks, it is not necessary to utilize all of them. The chart below shows the various social media networks and their usage in millions as of January 2017. Obviously, the figure has gone up.
Choose and concentrate on the ones that are related to your brand and customers. Conduct research to determine the social media networks your target market mostly uses. Use surveys to ask your customers the social media channels they often use.
Avoid over promoting your business and products.
Here is the reason: the original goal of social media wasn’t to help businesses, but rather, to connect people. As such, you will lose the attention of your audience if you over promote your company and its services. Focus on making your profiles useful by supplying valuable content for your readers.
If you thought attracting social media followers is easy, stay clear of paid advertising. In a day or two, you will realize that it isn’t a walk in the park. But it’s a necessary evil, especially if your profiles are brand-new.
To make your page visible to as many people as you want, consider paid advertising. It is the easiest way of attracting new followers. Upon getting their attention, share useful content to retain the following.
The beauty of advertising on social networks comes from the fact that your ads and campaigns go directly to your target customers. It goes a long way in increasing content visibility, driving more traffic to your website, boosting email sign-ups and conversions, and improving search engine rankings.
Other SMM tips include:
- Embrace UGC (user-generated content). Pose appropriate questions to your audience to help you identify relevant information for creating user-generated content.
- Try organizing contests. Encourage your audience to share your story on the various SMM channels and then measure their impact.
Social media plays many useful roles in digital marketing. You simply cannot afford to ignore it.
- Content is everything
Your digital marketing breakthrough is months or years away if you don’t have good content. One of the goals that should feature top on the list of your digital marketing strategy is the creation of original and quality content.
Over 40 percent of B2B marketers believe that their content marketing is on point.
You don’t know why? We’ll tell you why.
- Every marketing effort you make will become useless if your content is of low quality. Therefore, you need to generate compelling content every time to enjoy the benefits of high-quality content.
- Your website requires fresh content for it to be effective. You want your visitors to keep coming back to your site? Give them new content all the time.
- Your social media networks demand compelling content to keep the audience engaged. Keep your social content interesting and informative as well and your engagement levels will keep on growing.
Digital marketing is really all about content – whether we are talking about images, audio, videos or text. You need a well thought out content marketing plan in order to succeed in digital marketing.
There’s no shortcut. It is what is it.
Besides having good content, you need it in plenty. Consistency is key.
You are going to face competition in nearly everything you plan to do on the internet. And while at it, you also need to consider the length of your articles.
Here’s an interesting fact. Content with more words can cover a topic much better and is preferred by search engine algorithms compared to shorter, superficial articles.
Obtaining a competitive edge requires your ability to publish better content, and in more volumes than the competition.
Do not be mistaken, though. Even as you focus on quantity, remember that quality carries the most importance. So, don’t just generate content for the sake of getting something published, make the content worth reading.
Content marketing doesn’t end at publishing good quality content. It also involves promoting your content and bringing it before the eyes of your target audience. Paid advertising will come in handy in this case.
Here are more pro tips:
- Never miss an opportunity to share actionable blogs with your target audience. Use such information to show how your products/services can solve the problems of your customers.
- Don’t shy away from telling your story. Human beings are emotional and social, and a good way of connecting with them is by narrating your experiences. Doing so helps you get a human connection with your existing customers and prospects.
- Let your customers know the benefits they will reap by using your products. Let them know how it works and the value it brings to their lives. Focus on what your product can help them achieve.
- Mobile marketing
The fact that mobile usage has increased around the globe means that digital marketers must align accordingly.
Begin by ensuring that your website is responsive. A mobile-friendly website offers several benefits, namely faster load time, competitive edge, enhanced backlinking and higher ranking on search engines. A responsive website is actually one of the hottest trends in the digital marketing industry.
Mobile apps are yet another hot trend in digital marketing. Both your existing and prospective customers are always looking for and downloading apps from AppStore, Google Play, and Amazon. If you haven’t yet, consider developing and submitting your native mobile applications for them to find you in these stores.
- Email marketing
Email marketing has been around for some time, and if you thought it is going anywhere, you are mistaken. Companies that have been optimizing email marketing have widened their client base significantly.
The more reason you should start building your email list – if you haven’t already! Treat this tactic with urgency.
Many marketers affirm that email marketing is the most productive channel of digital marketing when it comes to customer retention. Brands also love it because it is cost-effective.
Email marketing is inexpensive to create, requires straightforward implementation and it is also a great way of keeping your customers at arm’s length.
Email marketing has what other channels of digital marketing lack – personalization and targeting capabilities. Add this to the mass acceptance of emails by consumers.
By many measures, the return on investment for email marketing is double that of other digital marketing techniques – if not better. You cannot even compare email marketing ROI with that of traditional marketing media like radio, direct mail, and TV.
Depending on the nature of your business, determine an effective way of calculating emailing marketing ROI.
One of the surest ways of ensuring that your email marketing delivers an impressive ROI is by automating as much as possible. Look for an automation software that facilitates dynamic segmentation, autoresponders, and intricate email-based workflows.
Besides eliminating a lot of routine work that goes into the management of email marketing, automation ensures that your customers get favorable responses, and in good time – even as the customers move from one stage of the conversion funnel to the other.
First and foremost, look for an email marketing automation software provider. Engage several of them and find out what each one of them has to offer. Read their reviews and testimonials from past and existing customers. Determine their affordability. Once you’ve considered all the crucial factors, you may progress to have your email marketing, automated – and then focus on other critical business matters.
These are just some of the quick, easy-to-implement hacks that a digital marketing beginner can utilize to begin seeing business growth.
Do not beat yourself too hard and do not overwork your brains and resources. If there are strategies you would want to implement, but you do not have the resources needed, consider hiring a professional.
Seek reputable social media marketers, content creators, email marketers, and SEO experts, and so on. There is always someone who can deliver what you are looking for according to your budget.