Digital Marketing – Which Tool is Right For Me?

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If you’re reading this article, then you have unwittingly been manipulated by the owner of this website. Do not be alarmed! This is perfectly natural. You are simply the subject of digital marketing, and there have probably been a wide range of behind-the-scenes activities that have brought you to this website to read this content. A pat on the back for the webmaster. Still reading? Excellent, a pat on the back for you.
Digital marketing has been around for quite a while, although the phrase is starting to gain some more mainstream use since the recession forced many marketing teams to look for cheaper, more measurable and accountable alternatives. Traditional marketers have been forced to become familiar with Search, Email Marketing, Paid Search Advertising, Affiliate Marketing, Article Marketing, and Social Media. These are no longer magic words, these are mainstream marketing channels that are rapidly growing their share of marketing budget.
Define Your Objectives
As with all marketing, choosing the right tool for the job is crucial for a digital marketing campaign to succeed. The first step in deciding which tool to use is to clearly define what your marketing objectives are. What do you need to achieve? When do you need to achieve this by?
The next stage in your marketing plan is to understand your audience. Who are they? Where do they go online? How do they want to find you? Once you have these answers, choosing the tools that you will use becomes a whole lot easier.
Search
By its very nature, search marketing requires patience as your customers need to be looking for you or the services that you offer before they’ll be exposed to any sort of marketing message. In classical marketing, this is the pull form. Search continues to grow in popularity as the web itself grows and content become ever more dispersed.
Ranking well for search terms is no longer the walk in the park that it used to be. To rank well requires a dedicated approach to building useful, unique and authoritative content. Search has more in common with PR than ever before.
In order to be successful, the first step in understanding search is to ascertain whether there is enough search volume for your chosen phrases to sustain your business or make a return on your invested time. If a visitor typically buys a small value item, you need to generate a large volume of them. If they don’t search online for those items, then search is not a viable option.
Search has two options – paid or organic. Which one you will target will depend on your budget, your commitment to building a brand and its accompanying content, and the timescale within which you want to start driving traffic. If you’re not prepared to invest in a brand building campaign, or need results immediately, then go for the paid option.
Paid search is fantastic when you need quick search presence and need to start driving traffic immediately. Care needs to be taken to understand the value of a visitor to your site. So divide your average revenue per customer by the number of site visitors that it took to get you that revenue and you have your value per visitor. Now bidding on keywords becomes easier and the whole system becomes easier to manage.
Email Marketing
Email is a push form of marketing, whereby information is pushed out to potential customers. Email is a great digital tool to use because of its proactive nature. Whilst search relies on waiting for people to search, email actively approaches your audience with your marketing message. Getting email marketing right takes some expertise, and getting it wrong can result in your campaign failing most dramatically.
We all get bombarded with email on a daily basis. Email marketing is a noisy channel. To stand out amongst the background noise your email campaigns need to be highly targeted, highly relevant, highly useful and perhaps quite creative in your approach.
Social Media
The new kid on the block… or is it? The web is actually a large social network, with references to other people’s content. The social media sites simply allowed 2 way interaction on this content all within the same page, but there was previously nothing stopping me from commenting about someone else’s content on my own website, and linking to that content.
Social media is a collective term for a number of marketing channels: blogs, social networking, micro-blogging, commenting, reviewing, etc. Anything interactive, that invites participation from readers and two-way dialogue might be considered as social media.
The rules of engagement within social media for marketers are different to those employed in many other channels. Social media frowns upon overly promotional interaction. the whole point of social media is to build advocates for your brand based on trust, authority and expertise, demonstrated by providing leading knowledge insights that are useful to other members of the community. Sales are increased by the rise in brand popularity and the demonstration of expertise in a field.
Measure!
The strength of digital marketing over other offline forms is its measurability. Being able to effectively put a cash figure on marketing activities is highly appealing to many companies. This level of intelligent business data requires careful and thorough monitoring, and for any digital marketer a good analytics package is a must. Some of the marketing activities above may have an immediate effect on your site traffic and “sales”, but others may take quite a while to have an effect. The art of digital marketing is knowing when we need to be more patient or identifying when something simply isn’t working, and then being prepared to invest the time elsewhere.