Digital marketing techniques: Promotional practices to perfect your online presence
Ready to turbo-charge your digital marketing techniques?
In today’s digitally-devoted landscape, a good chunk of your marketing is probably taking place online.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C organisation, innovative technology and the rise of the internet means you’re constantly interacting with your target audience on the web. Whether it’s active engagement through social media campaigns and content creation, or customers judging you via product reviews, the online world bridges the gap between consumers and companies.
Of course, making the right impression online isn’t always easy. In fact, HubSpot’s “State of Inbound” report suggests that 63% of marketing professionals consider digital marketing techniques to be one of their biggest challenges.
It’s no surprise that businesses are struggling. After all, the rules around digital marketing are constantly changing, with consumer trends and search engine algorithms pushing companies through an ever-evolving search for engagement.
The question for today’s companies isn’t just “what is digital marketing?”, but how can you create, fine-tune, and maintain the right digital marketing strategy in today’s marketplace.
Going back to basics what is digital marketing?
Before we can start exploring some of the latest digital marketing techniques, and the strategies you can use to enhance your campaign, we have an important question to answer: Precisely “What is digital marketing?”
In simple terms, marketing is the tool that organisations use to reach out to their target audience. Ideally, the best way to reach your customers and leave a lasting impression is to meet them where they’re already spending their time – on the net.
Digital marketing is any form of advertising or promotion that takes place online. It can be something as obvious as a digital banner ad, displayed on the side of a Facebook feed. Or your marketing can be as subtle as a content campaign that gently introduces people to your products or services.
Ultimately, digital marketing is the most important promotional strategy any company can invest in today, simply because the internet currently plays a critical role in how people perceive and interact with your brand. Your customers:
Search for your products and services online using search engines.
Connect with your brand over social media to create affinity and loyalty.
Research your services or products with reviews, case studies, and testimonials.
Talk about your company on forums and social channels.
Buy products directly from your website.
Yet, despite the evidence that digital marketing techniques are crucial to today’s companies, 49% of organisations don’t have their own digital marketing strategy.
In a world where the internet impacts how a customer feels about you, whether they buy from you, and how much revenue you can create, businesses need to not only be online but have a solid plan in place.
How to create or update your digital marketing strategy
If you’ve found your way to this article, you’re probably in one of two categories:
People who need to develop their digital marketing strategy for the first time.
People who need to optimise their current digital marketing techniques to adhere to today’s trends.
Your digital marketing techniques are the actions you use to achieve your goals online. Whether you’re trying to leverage loyalty in your existing audience, connect with new customers, or improve your sales potential, you need digital marketing.
The trouble is, digital marketing tools and techniques are constantly changing, which means that you can’t just “set and forget” your strategy. To stay ahead of the curve, or create a plan for long-term success, make sure you carve out some time once or twice a day to do the following three things:
1. Keep buyer personas up-to-date
Whether you’re marketing online or offline, you’ll always need to know who you’re speaking to. The best digital marketing techniques work because they connect to detailed user personas. With a user persona in place, you can make sure that your marketing campaigns are speaking the right language to engage and delight your customers. Remember to look at a range of data, including:
Brand polls and questionnaires.
Previous reviews and testimonials.
Gather as much data as you can about your customers. Remember, as you learn more about your customers through analytics, continue to add to your personas.
2. Identify your goals and the tools you’ll need
Just as you need to consider the aims and expectations of your audience when investing in new digital marketing techniques, you also need to consider your business goals. Your marketing goals should always link back to the fundamental growth path for your company. For instance, if your goal in business is to increase your revenue, then you might want to work on getting more leads to your website or improving engagement with return customers.
Make sure that your goals are SMART. That means they should be:
Also, once you have your goals in mind, think about the tools you can use to track your progress towards them. For instance, if your new digital marketing techniques revolve around social media, then you may need a social scheduling and analytics tool.
3. Audit your existing channels and assets
Finally, when reviewing or establishing your digital marketing techniques, it’s always helpful to look behind you before you move forward. Evaluate and audit your:
Owned media: Digital assets you own, like your social media profiles, blog content, and website.
Earned media: Exposure you’ve earned through word of mouth, PR strategies, or even guest posting on other websites.
Paid media: PPC campaigns, paid social media strategies, or anything else that you’re buying visibility with.
Evaluating the owned, earned and paid media you’ve invested in so far should help you to build upon the strategies that are still working for your brand, and maintain a solid reputation in your space. If any of your digital marketing techniques don’t represent the kind of brand you want to create, you can remove them, and start pivoting your strategy.
Digital marketing channels: Going beyond content marketing
One important thing to keep in mind as you explore the latest digital marketing techniques is that there’s more to having a powerful presence online than investing in content marketing. While content still has a lot to offer any company interested in growth, there is a wide range of digital marketing channels through which you can build your campaign. Here are just some of the most popular avenues to keep in mind as you move through the rest of this year.
1. Your website and SEO
Search engine optimisation isn’t a new concept, but it’s still a critical component of any digital marketing strategy. After all, 72% of the research your customer does before buying from you takes place on Google.
To succeed with any new digital marketing techniques, you’ll need to start with a website primed for SEO. That means that your site needs a combination of:
The right keywords to attract your audience and give context to search engine bots.
Engaging content to keep your customers around for as long as possible.
Great structure and speed so that your site is easy to use.
2. Content marketing
Some people see content marketing as an extension of SEO, but it can do a lot more than simply attract more customers to your website. While content is a natural part of any SEO strategy, it’s also a useful way to build relationships with your target audience. Through relevant and engaging content, you can turn any visitor into a dedicated ambassador for your brand.
Importantly, content often starts with a blog, but it doesn’t have to stay there. Once you’ve established an editorial calendar for your written content, try exploring other opportunities too, like videos, podcasts, social media and infographics.
3. Pay per click advertising
While organic traffic delivered by SEO and content marketing will give you stronger long-term results for your brand, PPC (pay per click) advertising can be a great way to boost your online presence quickly. Like with SEO, much of the success of your PPC campaigns will depend on how well you understand your audience and what they’re searching for.
Choose the right keywords by analysing your competition and using SEO tools to track terms that will give you the highest number of clicks, for the lowest possible investment. Remember, on average; businesses can make $2 for every $1 they spend in AdWords.
4. Email marketing
Mail has always been a common channel for marketing. Before the rise of the internet, countless companies connected with their customers through direct mail leaflets and offers. In fact, there are plenty of organisations that still swear by the benefits of direct mail today. However, in the age of digital marketing techniques, email marketing can be an easier way to nurture a wide range of local, and international customers.
Around 66% of business leaders check their email first thing in the morning. On top of that, email marketing has a 4,400% ROI, which means that you can make $44 for every $1 you spend. As digital marketing techniques go, email might be a classic, but it’s still crucial today.
5. Social media marketing
Finally, social media marketing must be one of the most significant digital marketing channels on the web today. In fact, the power of social media is growing constantly. Around seven out of ten consumers expect the businesses they buy from to have a social presence.
Social media marketing has delivered a host of new digital marketing techniques in recent years, all the way from influencer marketing, to live video campaigns. As perhaps the best channel for companies who want to develop the relationships they have with their consumers, social media will only become more popular in the years ahead.
The latest digital marketing techniques for 2018
Up until now, we’ve looked at the channels you can consider when building your digital marketing techniques, and the things you need to consider to stay up-to-date. Now, it’s time to examine some of the latest trends to hit the online advertising space.
After all, it’s a constant challenge for modern companies to stay on top of their digital efforts in a data-driven, customer-focused and increasingly intelligent world. Here are just 5 of the latest digital marketing techniques you should be aware of.
1. The demand for video on demand
Whether it’s on your website, your product pages, or even your social media feed – video is everywhere. While video content might not be the best way to get ahead with SEO, it is a fantastic digital marketing technique for anyone who wants to capture the attention of a wider audience. After all:
Facebook users consume around 8 billion videos each day.
82% of Twitter users watch video when browsing social media.
If you’re concerned that your company doesn’t have enough marketing budget to invest in a video campaign right now, don’t worry. There are plenty of formats you can try out, from live streams taken with a phone camera, to professionally produced videos that welcome people to your homepage.
2. Intelligent ideas: AI and behavioural marketing
For a few years now, marketing platforms have been exploring new ways to collect and store information with the consent of their customers. The more data you collect from your marketing campaigns, the more you can tailor your strategies to suit your target audience.
In 2018, the impact of big data is bigger than ever, with artificial intelligence joining the team. Thanks to machine learning algorithms in today’s digital platforms, you can actively predict what your customers want to see. This means that you can find and create the best marketing content, improve the way you serve your audience, and even adjust the platforms or channels you use according to customer information.
3. Dialling into mobile marketing
A few years ago, in 2015, Google rolled out an algorithm update referred to as “Mobilegeddon.” This update asked companies to adjust their digital marketing techniques so that their websites and their content showed up on mobile, as well as online. Today, we’re beginning to realise that mobile is more important than we ever imagined. In fact:
When it comes to customer referrals, 89% of people are more likely to recommend a brand after a good mobile experience.
Mobile marketing isn’t just about having a responsive website anymore. The best digital marketing techniques will consider dedicated strategies specifically designed to entice the customer on-the-go.
4. Micro-influencers gain more influence
When influencer marketing first emerged as one of the new digital marketing techniques on the block, it was all about getting celebrities to recommend your product or services. Now, the nature of influencer marketing is changing. Customers don’t care as much about the celeb status of your influencer. One study found that 30% of consumers are more likely to buy something championed by a non-celebrity blogger.
The key to better influencer marketing today isn’t getting the biggest name you can afford to show off your products. Instead, it’s about finding those “micro-influencers” that your customers can connect with. Remember, your influencers need to represent your brand values too!
5. The next chapter in storytelling
As customers throughout the world continue to demand a more emotional and immersive relationship with companies, storytelling has become one of the best digital marketing techniques. However, we’re starting to see a new evolution in what digital storytelling can mean. At first, it was all about blogs, videos, and brand photos. Now, storytelling also appears in the social media marketing world.
First, Instagram created their “Instagram Stories” service; then YouTube released a stories format of their own with “Reels.” Social media is increasingly offering new opportunities for brands to capture the best moments of their day and use them to show customers what they stand for. It could be time for companies to add new chapters to their stories.
Tips for making the most of new digital marketing techniques
Staying ahead of the game with new digital marketing techniques means implementing an agile strategy that allows your business to grow and evolve with changing trends. Today, and for the foreseeable future, it seems that digital marketing techniques are focusing more heavily on the needs of the customer, and the relationships you can build with your target market.
In 2018, we entered a new age of marketing, referred to as the “age of the hyperconnected customer.” In other words, today’s brands are appealing to consumers who already have access to a huge amount of digital information. Customer experience has become the only true differentiator for many organisations competing in the current space, which means that you need an ultra-personalised digital marketing strategy if you want to get ahead.
Just adding a first name to an email won’t cut it anymore. Only 5% of brands currently customise their digital marketing techniques “extensively.” Despite this, the impact of using customer data in your campaigns is phenomenal. The more you tailor your campaigns to your audience, the longer they’ll stick by you.
2. Let customers take control
Way before digital marketing techniques were a thing, word of mouth marketing was the best way to drive business outcomes. Today, word of mouth still has a lot to offer your digital campaigns. While you can tap into word of mouth marketing with referral campaigns and influencer marketing, you can also take consumer conversation to the next level with “user-generated content.”
User Generated Content, or UGC, is perhaps the ultimate testimonial. It’s an easy way to get customers to advocate for your brand, by inviting them to create their own content to share with your audience. For instance, the UGC your clients create could be video reviews of a product, branded hashtags on Instagram, or even blog posts. What better way to resonate with your audience than to deliver content that comes straight from them? Just look at how successful the #ShareACoke hashtag was, for example.
3. Be more transparent
Brand transparency emerged as a crucial marketing strategy in 2017, and it remains an important consideration today. In a world where your customers constantly check online reviews and testimonials for insights into your business, it’s important to make sure that you have the right reputation online.
In the years ahead, make sure your digital marketing techniques focus on showing your customers the “behind the scenes” nature of your business. This means looking at everything from employee advocacy to case studies that highlight exactly how you interact with your customers.
The more we rely on smartphones and AI in our day-to-day lives, the more our search for information begins to change. Many of the top digital marketing techniques today focus on optimising for voice, particularly thanks to the rise of virtual assistants and smart home speakers. These days, a surprising number of people start their buyer journey by talking to Alexa or Siri.
In the future, it seems that fewer people will type their queries, and vocal search will grow increasingly important. With this demand for audio in mind, the way you handle your keyword strategies and SEO campaigns are likely to change. For instance, you’ll need to pay more attention to long-tail phrases and semantic search.
5. Concentrate on what works
Finally, the number of digital marketing techniques available for businesses today is greater than ever. There are literally dozens of tactics out there – if not hundreds for digital marketers to explore and try. It’s easy to get distracted by all the options available and spread yourself too thin by trying to embrace too many trends at once.
Instead of letting yourself get carried away with the latest digital marketing techniques, focus on the key tactics that are set to drive the most success for your organisation. Look at the channels we mentioned above, from PPC data to organic search results, and track your performance over time. Once you find which solutions are giving you the best outcomes, double down on those digital marketing techniques.
Evolving to suit today’s digital marketing tools and techniques
Digital marketing techniques are constantly evolving.
The concept of digital marketing began in 1993, with the very first clickable website banner. Since then, we’ve come a long way, with search engine optimisation, social media platforms, and the power of video leading the way.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you think you know about digital marketing, the atmosphere continues to change every year. That’s why businesses needs to connect themselves to a digital marketing expert, and every expert needs to keep on top of the current trends.
Without the right digital marketing techniques, no company could hope to get ahead in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Make sure that you’re ready to dominate your space, with an agile and adaptable strategy.
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