The beauty of digital marketing is that it can scale to suit your business needs. Your digital spend does, of course, make a difference, but if you have a smaller budget and you use it wisely, there’s no reason why your smaller brand can’t compete with a much larger corporation.
In the digital world, the strength of your digital marketing strategy is what counts, not the size of your budget.
With this in mind – here are five growth areas to focus your digital marketing efforts on this year:
1. Nurture your social community
One third of the world’s population uses social media networks on a regular basis. This means that you should not only have a powerful brand presence on social media, but you must also make it compelling enough to cut through all the noise.
If you want to cultivate a positive customer experience on your social platforms, you need to understand your customers’ needs, challenges, decision-making processes, preferences and goals. With these insights, you’ll be in a better position to engage them and build lasting relationships with them.
Creating a positive brand experience also relies on your ability to listen to your customers when they share their concerns, opinions and complaints – and respond to them in a personal, helpful and timely manner. Just to put this in perspective: research shows that 32% of social customers expect a company to respond to a complaint within half an hour, while 42% expect a response within one hour.
Are you allocating enough resources to ensure your brand is meeting these expectations?
2. Data-driven marketing
All online activity is stored as digital data. With the explosion of social media, more people are sharing more personal information than ever before in history. Analysts predict that by the year 2020, around 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every person on the planet.
Digital marketing specialists need to explore ways of harnessing this data to analyse user behaviour, and identify patterns and trends that provide insights for more powerful digital communication strategies.
By measuring your audience’s behaviour, purchasing patterns and their reactions to your content and campaigns, you can divide your target market into different segments or personas – and then tailor your marketing efforts for each category accordingly.
You can also measure the efficacy of your digital marketing efforts and adjust these immediately, using Google Analytics and other tools offered by social media networks.
In these ways, a data-driven approach will enable you to be agile and focused, and ultimately, extract the most value from your budget.
3. Authentic content
Thanks to the availability of mobile technology, most consumers have a powerful computer in their pockets that connects them to the information they need in an instant. People can research companies and products in a flash, access reviews generated by other users, and have an opinion about your offering before they’ve even interacted with your sales team.
At the same time, with all this information out there, you need to be sure that the content you do share with your customers is going to engage them because it is relevant to them.
Research shows that 76% of consumers believe the content that average people share is more honest than advertising from brands. So, keep encouraging – and possibly even incentivising – your customers to share, tag and comment on your products, services and solutions. Their words could be far more impactful than your own.
4. Video content marketing
Videos are easy for the average online user to consume. And when these videos are entertaining, helpful or moving, they also make great viral content that can provide an excellent return on your initial investment.
If you haven’t explored the possibilities of video content marketing yet, consider these stats:
- 4 x more customers prefer watching product videos than reading product information
- Almost 50% of internet users search for product/service videos before visiting a store
- 4 in 5 consumers find demo videos to be helpful
If you do decide to include videos in your digital marketing strategy, make sure you understand how to capitalise on meta-descriptions and tag your videos with keywords for SEO purposes.
5. Digital audio experiences
Consumers are starting to use digital platforms in a more audio-driven way, from chatting to digital assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri (Apple), to consuming more podcasts.
In keeping with this trend, Facebook has launched Live Audio:
“We know that sometimes publishers want to tell a story on Facebook with words and not video… From interviews to book readings, we’re excited about the layer of interactivity that Live Audio brings to both the broadcaster and listener. Just as with a live video on Facebook, listeners can discover live audio content in News Feed, ask questions and leave reactions in real time during the broadcast, and easily share with their friends.”
One major advantage of audio is that people can listen to it while they do other things, like sitting in traffic or while they’re working. This means that you can stay in touch with your audience and keep feeding them valuable content even when they are not directly engaging with your brand.
Ultimately, whatever you plan to spend your budget on going forward – make sure that you are playing to the strengths of digital marketing. This includes its ability to offer audiences more choice and more power.
Be sure you are giving your target market a variety of ways to interact with your brand digitally – whether they prefer reading a blog post, watching a video, listening to a podcast or engaging on social media.
Giving your consumers the power to choose means that when they do engage, it will be a more meaningful and positive experience.