Back to Basics: What is Digital Marketing and How Will It Benefit My Business?
The internet is revolutionising the way that we do business. Local markets are becoming regional franchises and nation-spanning businesses now reach customers around the world. All of this is thanks to the development of the internet. How do these businesses reach out to their customers though? How do customers hear about their offerings online and flock to their websites? A portion of the answer can be attributed to digital marketing.
What is digital marketing? The development of the digital market has necessitated the creation of a marketing strategy that can appeal directly to internet customers. This marketing strategy is focused around crafting an experience customised to every single customer. Using the tools available on the internet, you can learn exactly what your clients want and be ready to address these needs 24/7, 365 days a year.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is defined as a marketing strategy that utilises digital or web-based services and devices rather than traditional marketing media. This includes email campaigns, social media, online videos and banner ads on websites. This strategy is useful to every single business on the planet because it has the potential to reach any client who has a connection to the web.
Digital marketing is not only a global endeavour though. Digital marketing can be used to target local demographics. You can see this reflected in the ads you get when you travel. Digital marketing has an increasingly large effect upon the market place. B2B and B2C companies are increasing their budget for digital marketing every single year.
So what can Digital Marketing do for Me?
Digital marketing has various uses and advantages which can all be applied to a business of any size. There is not an industry on this planet that could not benefit from digital marketing. Digital marketing offers a level playing field for every business out there. A lot of money can only do so much in the digital space. If your site is smoother and works better than your competitor’s site, then it does not matter how much of a financial advantage they have. Companies can also reach the same customer base online. The customers who see your competitor’s website on the search results page will see yours as well. It is up to you to create an experience that they will choose over your competitor’s.
Digital marketing opens up a business place that never closes. Business is no longer limited to your regular work hours. Potential customers can search your site whenever they please. This ease of shopping gives you more chances to get a customer in the proverbial door and a sale in the register. Digital marketing also offers you ads that will not go away. A TV ad will eventually go back to the program, a billboard will be driven by and a flyer will be taken down eventually. Digital ads stay in one place as long as they are paid for and never degrade in quality.
These ads are processed and seen in real time and their effectiveness can be tracked. Traditional marketing has the great hindrance of having a delayed result. A customer would usually have to see the ad, drive to your business, buy your product and you would have to ask them if they saw your ad in the paper. Digital ads register whenever they are followed or clicked on. This allows you to quickly sort through marketing strategies to determine which one is the most effective. The profits from these digital ads are also real time. If a customer sees an ad online, they can follow the link and buy instantly.
Customer Relations with Digital Marketing
Despite these great benefits, the greatest use of digital marketing is the ability to be on a person-to-person relationship with every customer. Digital marketing allows you to know what a customer needs and what they like. By looking at their previous purchases and activity, you can recommend related products or services they may want.
This new marketing strategy also lets you keep in touch with customers after the purchase. Traditional marketing can use newsletters, but these efforts clutter mailboxes and are a pain to keep up with if someone changes residences. Now, with email and social media, it is relatively simple to deliver customised advertisements and offers to customers in a non-intrusive method. They are expecting to see companies on their social media feeds and inboxes. It is a direct marketing line to the consumer, need I say more?
Digital marketing ads also provide instant feedback on your business and product. The majority of traditional customer reviews could only be found at the customer service desk. Digital marketing allows anyone to review your product in the public forum. There is always the risk of a bad review, but good reviews will be just as visible. Be it on your own website or on third party sites, customers thinking about buying from you will look at the reviews of past customers. This social proof can do wonders for your business.
This method of marketing also opens up your entire showroom floor to every customer. Not only can a digital platform show off all of your products and give detailed description of them, it allows you to promote particular products to the customers who are most interested in it.
Gain an Edge over the Competition
Digital marketing strategies can give you an advantage over your competitors. Many people are picking up digital marketing strategies every year, but not everybody and not to a complete extent. Having a more intuitive website and a well-developed digital marketing strategy can establish your business over a less-digitally integrated opponent. Even if they have their own digital marketing campaigns, take a look at their efforts. How well established is their social media presence? Do they have an email newsletter? Your strategy should seek to do what they do better and be wherever they are not.
These previous suggestions require a fair amount of knowledge about your competitor to enact. With traditional marketing, this would be a hard process that might border on corporate espionage. Digital marketing makes keeping tabs on your competition easy. Following their website and social media activity is as simple as following their posts.
Google also simplifies keeping tabs on your competitors with Google Alerts. This service allows you to keep tabs on websites of your choosing. Google will be so kind as to provide you with an email about new products, services and events that the indicated site announces.
Digital marketing is also leaps and bounds cheaper than traditional marketing. Billboards, paint, paper, TV air-time and other costs can push your marketing budget through the roof. This new form of marketing slashes costs. Email and social media services are often completely free. The price to maintain a website is much lower than keeping a billboard on a highway. This extra budget can be used to invest deeper into other forms of marketing or advance your own product and business.
What is digital marketing? It is the future of the marketplace. A capitalist dream: a space where business never sleeps and commerce can flow to large and small businesses. The only indicator of which one gets it depends on who puts in the most work. This is not to discount traditional marketing entirely though. The best approach to take is to intertwine digital and traditional methods.
Now you know the shape of things to come. Marketing to a digital audience is extremely important to every business out there. It is time to learn to the tools needed to create a dynamic and interesting platform that will draw in repeat business from around the globe.