Let us first understand “what is Digital Marketing”.
As per Wikipedia, Digital Marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes internet and online based digital technologies such as desktop computers, mobile phones and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services.
Marketing was different when there we no smart phones, laptops, internet & social media. People used traditional channels like exhibitions, print & television, and personal selling to promote products and services.
With the advent of internet, smart devices, e-commerce & social media, consumers discovered a whole new way of researching a product, purchasing, and then sharing their experience with friends and peers. Not only was this a lot convenient, but it also saved time, cost and was an activity that they could easily keep a track of. This set in a reluctance in stepping out of their home/office, going to a shop, showroom, or cinema hall and to meet a salesperson. The change in consumer behavior also defined a new set of expectations that they had from companies or brands. They wanted information on fingertips, at a time and day of their choice. They wanted to know everything about the product, the features, benefits, reviews, testimonials etc. before picking up the phone to speak to a salesperson. The spread of corona virus further strengthened their belief in digital.
In such a situation, do marketers even have a choice of not going digital?
Here are some reasons for you to consider Digital Marketing:
1. “Be” where your customer “is”
If your customers use digital media and digital platforms, you MUST use the same. You should be present where your customers are.
Every businessperson looks at ROI. Compared to traditional marketing, digital is highly cost effective.
Consumers have adopted digital due to its convenience. Using the same logic, marketers should also adopt it because it is highly convenient.
The response that you get for digital marketing initiatives can be tracked easily. We can thus measure the return that we get on different initiatives and make changes for better results.
Small companies have smaller budgets and limited capacities in terms of efforts needed to reach the target audience. With digital marketing, your market reach increases multi-fold.
All digital marketing initiatives serve your customers 24x7. No holidays, no overtime.
7. Pull vs Push
A big advantage of digital marketing is that it relies on pull strategy, which means you attract customers to your business, creating awareness and generating interest by sharing relevant content and adding value at each step of the buyer’s journey. You do not push prospects by interrupting them using telephone or other traditional means.
With a pull approach, your salespeople interact with a warm prospect or lead, and the chances of conversion go up significantly. It also ensures time & cost saving for the sales team along with building their confidence and self-esteem.
What comprises Digital Marketing?
All promotional initiatives using website, SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), SMM (social media marketing), email marketing, webinars etc.
How can small businesses adapt?
Every company, whether small or big, wants growth. Small business owners need to change their mindset first. They need to view marketing as an investment and not an expense. The usual tendency is to hire sales resources instead of investing in marketing. One they have made up their mind, they should first decide on the goals, then strategies, and finally the tactics. Do not jump to tactics directly.
Companies can either hire internal resources or work with an external team for execution.
How can one learn Digital Marketing?
There are lot of courses available online. You may choose the one that best meets your need and suits your schedule. However, the best learning happens when you apply the theory to your business. See what works and what does not. It is a dynamic marketplace out there and comprises a fast-changing landscape.
Learn from your mistakes and make changes ensuring that mistakes are not repeated.
Each area of digital marketing has a set of tools that will make your job easy. Select one each for email marketing, social media scheduling and tracking, website traffic analytics, marketing automation, and design.
Decide based on your needs, comfort level and budget. Both free and paid versions are available.
How to monitor results
The first step is to set up a clear objective for each initiative. Then determine the metrics or KPIs (key performance indicators) that you will use to track performance. Set up your tools in accordance. With the advancement in technology, it is now possible to track the performance to the minutest detail.
It is recommended that one person be designated for this activity to ensure consistency and prompt feedback.
Digital Marketing is all about being found online, sharing knowledge online, solving customer problems online, interacting with potential & existing customers online, building loyalty online and a lot more.
In short, you do not exist if you are not present in the digital space.
Digital presence and Digital Marketing are a MUST for your SUCCESS!