Marketing in a digital world has evolved. There was a time when ads in leading newspapers, commercials during popular TV shows, and strategically placed billboards did the job. Now, with every passing day, getting noticed by your audience is becoming more and more difficult.
Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are overcrowded. Odds are fair that your post will get lost in the constant, unabated, overwhelming storm of information.
So how can you gird yourself for the digital battle?
Being in the right place, at the right time, in front of the right people is about implementing the right tactics and ideas, including the following five.
1. Target the right audience
Facebook isn’t the one-pill solution for all online ills. Neither is Twitter. Identify your audience, think about where they are likely to spend their time online, and then work on building a presence in those very areas.
The “who” and “where” become extremely important when you finally begin to study your ROI, much of that investment being your precious time, not just money.
Example: Uber focused on mobile-savvy professionals who didn’t mind paying that little extra to travel in style and comfort. They made luxury standard, and backed it up with a brilliant app that made booking an Uber ride extremely quick and convenient. Uber is now a success story cited by many and studied in depth.
2. Pay attention to the important numbers
Increasing unique visitors to your website shouldn’t be the end game. Converting visitors is what counts. How many of them subscribed to your newsletter, read your e-book, downloaded the free trail or simply filled out a form you wished they would?
Ditto with Facebook likes. Garnering thousands of fans on Facebook, though great by itself and no mean feat, doesn’t help your bottom line. How many of them convert to paying buyers? Pay attention to the far more important numbers.
Many online marketing companies tend on focus on the vanity metrics, and pitch their services based on increase in shares, likes, visits, or comments. Instead, the focus ought to be on conversions, sales, signups, and relationships built.
Example: Pink Cake Box, a small specialty cake shop in New Jersey, began by setting up a WordPress website and blog, regularly posting about delicious cakes and cupcakes, keeping the focus on the pictures to entice viewers. It worked: Traffic grew, and orders with it. But the direct correlation worked up to a point, beyond which the traffic simply consisted of non-buyers who were just looking for information and recipes. To counter that trend, the company began streamlining its content and focusing on relevant traffic rather than aggregate traffic numbers.
3. Project clear goals and corresponding messages
Are your various marketing channels projecting mixed messages? A high bounce rate on your site should raise a red flag. Is your ad or post giving a different impression, while the landing page doesn’t deliver what was expected, driving the visitor away? That phenomenon is prevalent in paid search. You are losing valuable money and potential customers.
Every digital marketing channel used must project a unified goal and picture of your business. Keep your goals clear and measurable, and your messages on point.
Example: Kiva is a nonprofit microfinancing organization that allows people to lend money through the Internet to entrepreneurs and students worldwide. Its mission is “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” As of Nov 2013, Kiva was raising about $ 1 million every three days. The messages and goals from Kiva have been clear and uniform across all social channels. The platform now has a community of more than a million lenders from around the world.
4. Be accessible on the go
Being mobile-friendly isn’t optional anymore. More and more people are accessing the Internet via mobile devices. Being easily available and shareable via smartphone is imperative for business success.
Example: BuzzFeed as tripled visitor figures over the last two years. It popularly targets the “Bored at Work” and “Bored in Line” people to consume and share interesting content. It found that people who consume content on their phones while waiting are major drivers of social sharing. It made sure its content was mobile-friendly, making reading, participating, and sharing very easy. Currently, more than one-third of BuzzFeed traffic is from mobile devices.
5. Connect and collaborate
What you can achieve alone has a limit. You need to try to maximize output with limited input by collaborating and getting people to happily do the work for you (much like Tom Sawyer). Create a great platform, post valuable information, build a community, and empower them to act… then watch it flourish.
Example: Ana White is a carpenter who created a website to help women do DIY carpentry projects. She has created a huge following, among men and women alike, who love, use, and share her blueprints and ideas. Ana encourages her visitors to post pictures of their projects. Remarkably, she has a very popular site where most of the content comes from the community. She herself does not post very often. Although she does comment on others’ posts and engages with her readers, her community actively posts and answers each others’ questions.
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Don’t get too caught up in the next new technology or craze. It’s easy to believe that by trying the latest quick-fix tool or platform your business will somehow grow. Many of them, however, can be waste of time. Instead, set your objectives and figure out the appropriate digital marketing strategy by reading, researching, and studying success stories. Often, you will hit upon your golden idea while doing so.