We live in a digital-obsessed world, where toddlers expect “pinching” the pages of a magazine to have the same effect on the screen of an iPad. But, it’s not just the next generation that has been impacted by digital trends. Nearly everyone relies on the Internet for information, and information about your business is no exception.
Ten years ago, digital marketing was a relatively new field, but today, it is an essential piece of your marketing strategy. Customers turn to the Internet first for information about a business, so what they find — or more importantly, don’t find — is critical in their decision-making process.
Here is what you’re missing by not having a focused online presence:
- People may not find your business online
- Customers may lose trust in your brand
- Your company will seem outdated compared to its competitors
- You’ll lose business
The kicker is that last point. Ultimately, you can’t afford not to have digital intertwined with your traditional marketing tactics. The concept is easy enough to understand, but implementing it isn’t a simple process.
Before 2008, when Facebook moved away from an invitation-only model, businesses only needed to worry about being found online via search engines or by simply having a website. Now, users expect businesses to have a social presence to give them something to talk about or to provide validation for their purchasing decisions.
When crafting a digital marketing strategy, your customers should be your focus. Your online presence should exist to serve their needs — including how they engage with the Internet. If you delight your customers, they will gain trust in your brand, and you will outshine your competitors and increase your profits
A strong online presence allows your business to engage with your customers constantly, creating a dialog that can help answer their questions quickly, keep them informed about what is happening with your business and get the word out about promotions. Whether you use social media outlets to accomplish this or regularly update your website’s content, you will be providing your customers a better experience and a direct line of communication to your business that they can rely on. Keep in mind, however, that a stale digital presence is worse than not having one at all. Once you have a direction in mind for your digital strategy, you must set reasonable expectations for your business’s ability to follow through in terms of skill set and time constraints.
The shortened feedback loop that digital marketing creates also leads to a greater opportunity to create repeat customers. Data collection is inherently easier in digital marketing and allows us to better understand our customers. What if you could track what people look at in your store and follow up with them the next time they stop by with information about a limited-time offer on that product? This would be a taxing, time-consuming process. Digital marketing makes this scenario feasible. Online, you can track what items a potential customer is looking at and buying as well as whether they’re coming back to buy more. Technology allows us to deliver unique content to site users based on their interests in an effort to turn a one-time customer into repeat business. The success of digital marketing is measurable in a powerful way that traditional tactics cannot quite replicate.
The success of digital marketing is measurable in a powerful way that traditional tactics cannot quite replicate.
With digital, you can measure open rates and link clicks for email campaigns. You know how many social media posts were shared, liked or commented on and what type of content your customers like the most. You can see how many contact form submissions were received on your websites. You can analyze online checkout funnels to determine where users are abandoning the checkout process. That’s hard to do in a retail store.
There is no guessing in digital marketing when you set up tracking properly. Clear, concrete numbers provide a definitive answer to the question: What are the results of our marketing efforts? And real numbers allow us to adjust our efforts so that we experience greater success and turn window shoppers into customers.Bio: Brittney Sheffield is a marketing strategist for 352, a digital agency that specializes in UX design, software development and digital marketing. She has worked at 352 for about three years and previously held a development team coordinator role. Brittney is a graduate of the University of Florida, loves a good run, volunteering, SEC football and live music.