Prospective customers are as diverse as the problems they are trying to solve when searching the Internet. Your company must be prepared to answer the question “Why You?” In most cases there are many companies that offer the same products and/or services and your ability to differentiate your company will be essential to your success. Digital marketing provides an opportunity to showcase your differentiation through using digital technologies such as social media, website, mobile devices, and display advertising.
The World of Social Media
I am still amazed at the number of businesses that do not use social media. While it is true that most of the reluctance is among Baby Boomers, I have seen some Gen Xers who were weaned on the traditional business model and have not embraced the new reality. Working with these companies, I have noticed most do not use social media because the fail to see the relevance in driving sales; so I have posted a graphical representation that I hope will create an “aha” moment.
What social media is best used for is driving data. The success of your efforts can be measured by the amount of traffic that is directed to your website by the various social media platforms. You may use videos and specials to drive engagement, but it is the analytics of who responded that you are looking for. The better you are at determining which platform energized which segment of your target audience, the easier it will be to create products and services that are more relevant to those segments, which will hopefully lead to increased sales. Social media is also of great value in gauging your brand experience; what are customers saying about your products and services and how can that information be used to increase brand loyalty?
Finally, if you are in a highly competitive industry or market, social media can be used to find opportunities among the customers of your competitors. If there are shortcomings within your competitors’ strategies, the various social rating websites (trip advisor, yelp, google+, etc), your company can gain market share by simply offering those desired services and using social media to get the word out.
Although the various social media platforms provide us with avenues to get to know our customers, they cannot replace a website. Your company website is where you set the foundation for the relationship between you, existing customers, and prospective customers. It should explain who you are, your company’s core beliefs, how your products and services add value to your customers’ lives, and how they may obtain your products and services. Your website should also be the central point of your digital footprint (blogs, videos, articles, and reviews). Customers should be able to access your website from all of your social media platforms and have an active sales funnel.
Using tools such as Google Analytics provides you with insights on how prospective customers find you, how long they were on your website, what pages they visited, and what pages they exited on. This information is invaluable in enhancing conversions and attracting customers through your SEO efforts. Finally, keep you website fresh, add pictures, testimonials, and press releases to maintain relevance and make sure your website is formatted for viewing on mobile devices.
A new report from comScore uses a veritable mountain of data to expose and explain the multi-platform state of internet user behavior. However, it also makes clear that mobile is now the growth driver, while the desktop is rapidly becoming a “secondary touch point” for a large percentage of the US digital audience. The data shows that mobile now represents 65% of all digital media time, with mobile apps dominating that usage. The desktop has lost 12% points since 2013 and has receded to 35% of digital time spent.
When marketing to prospective customers using mobile devices your content has to be relevant, dynamic, and useful. In a recent poll conducted by Google, 51% of smartphone users said they purchased from a company/brand other than the one they intended to because the information provided by another brand was more useful. Seventy-three percent of consumers say receiving useful information in their advertising is the most important attribute when making a purchasing decision. Further, mobile marketing can be used to acquire contact information through text campaigns, send push notifications for live events, hold instant contests, and expand product suggestions using QR codes.
With so many consumers flocking to the Internet to find information, read reviews and to ultimately buy something, it is more important than ever that your business is easy to find online. Poor exposure, or worse, no exposure can make your business become obsolete very quickly. You could have the most amazing product or service available, but if people cannot find it easily online, then you can be sure that you will not be able to move your product off the shelf.
Paid Search Marketing (also known as Pay Per Click marketing, PPC marketing, Cost Per Click marketing, or Sponsored Advertising) is one of the best ways to help a business get consistent traffic from relevant search results and other websites. Of course the process begins with a clear definition of the audience you are trying to reach and their interests. If you are considering Google Adwords and do not have a lot of experience choosing "key words", I would suggest using Google Adwords Express, which will automatically create key words based on your industry. With Facebook Ads is simpler because you can choose the interests of your specific audience, as well as age and gender. Next, you will choose the geographic area for your campaign and your daily budget. A few things to keep in mind when designing you ad include:
On Facebook you can use images, so make sure the image is high resolution and relevant to the campaign
When using Google Adwords, use a title that would interest the person searching for more information on your topic
Be sure to add your Google Adwords campaign to your Google Analytics dashboard
Have a specific landing page on your website that includes an opportunity to register for more information