“Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted – the trouble is I don’t know which half”. John Wanamaker’s famous quote is as relevant today, more than 100 years on, as it was when he made it.
Marketing methods and channels have changed out of all recognition since his time, notably the digital revolution of the past decade. So, it’s hardly surprising modern advertisers wonder if they should totally embrace the latest means of communication or stick to the tried and tested methods they’ve used in the past.
The short answer is that you need to do both. But for those of you who have your doubts, let’s take a quick look at just some of what digital marketing can offer.
This is our old friend the direct mailshot in an electronic form: instead of dropping through your customers’ letterbox, it pops into their inboxes. In either form, it’s one of the most effective marketing tools there is.
Its great value is that it can be precisely targeted at the audience you want to reach – be it your existing customer base or a specific mailing list. In addition, an e-mailer or e-brochure can be interactive with click-throughs to your website, videos, or supporting documentation.
Just make sure that you use a reputable agency, and that your list is clean and GDPR compliant.
Content marketing is the digital equivalent of public relations, press and magazine editorials rolled into one. It is informative and non-invasive and can include blog posts, infographics, news releases, case studies and more.
Creating ‘digital honeypots’ isn’t always easy. It requires hard work and creativity to produce something that readers want to consume and will often actively seek out.
However, if done correctly, it offers an opportunity to raise your web profile as an expert, be the first brand that people think of, create a positive image, and be the go-to supplier for the featured product or service. Content is the source to which your emailers and social marketing (see below) can connect readers, thus boosting lead generation.
Typical examples might include white papers, eBooks, webpages, podcasts, videos and much more.
Social Media Marketing
Have you ever got on a train and asked another passenger “Is this the train for….?”
Even though you’ve asked the ticket office clerk and checked the departures board you still have to ask, don’t you?
In business, social media works in much the same way. People want to be reassured by a second or third opinion. More than half of social media browsers use it to research brands. So, you can see the value for your business. You can use social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to link with your blog and grow customers.
Managing your social media marketing (SMM) requires a clear content strategy, buckets of creativity and unwavering consistency. While it all may seem a little overwhelming to begin with, its importance cannot be overstated.
There is much more to social media than simply great content and pretty pictures, you need to have impeccable timing and in-depth knowledge of your analytics too.
SEO & PPC
Both of these digital tools are designed to respond directly to customers’ online searches. With SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) the trick is to anticipate the keywords searchers will use when seeking a product or service (e.g., “organic food supplier near me”) and make sure that those words are embedded in the text of your website. The more often and prominently they appear the likelier you are to top the list in search results. However, don’t indulge in ‘keyword stuffing’; no matter how tempting it might be!
With PPC (Pay Per Click) you pay to have your website appear near the top of online searches, in the advertising listings, even if it wouldn’t show up there naturally. You only pay each time a user clicks on your ad and can set your own budget, so it’s a relatively economic way of targeting potential buyers and can be very useful in the more crowded digital markets.
If you think half the money you spend on advertising is wasted, ask yourself, is that because I’m only using half the promotional channels open to me? To get the best value for your advertising budget, employ a full-service agency that can offer you the best of both worlds – traditional and digital marketing in all its variety.