One of the big changes in the world of marketing since the global phenomenon of the digital era took root, and the internet explosion, is that of engagement. Marketing is no longer one way traffic; increasingly customers expect to be able to contact and interact with brands, and businesses that fail to engage or utilise the benefits of digital engagement and communication will inevitably lose customer loyalty and market share.
So, how do we define digital marketing? Put simply, it is the use of the internet, websites, apps, promotional emails, mobile device technology, social media, search engines, and other digital based technology channels to reach and interact with businesses and consumers. As opposed to traditional marketing methods, such as print, direct mail, outdoor media, radio and television. Of course there is still a place for traditional marketing but for small businesses and SME’s with limited resources, a professionally planned and implemented digital marketing strategy will inevitably deliver a better and more sustainable ROI.
Digital marketing allows a business to reach enormous audiences in a cost effective and measurable way, bringing opportunities to B2C and B2B businesses that were once outside of their geographical catchment area. It also allows smaller organisations to level the playing field against their big budget rivals. With a bit of creative thinking and innovation it is possible to cut through over-saturated markets and target and engage with very specific target audiences, build brand loyalty, and make your customers your ambassadors.
One critical aspect of digital strategies is search marketing; you need to be found. It’s important to reach out and get yourself noticed and there are numerous methods and platforms to achieve this, most notably social media platforms. By utilising well positioned and engaging content you can create a strong following and improve customer retention. However, it is also essential to your business products and services are visible to your target audiences. This is where a well-defined and executed SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy, arguably the most cost-effective route to market, comes in. SEO strategies aim to get you ranked for your relevant keywords on browsers such as Google and Bing, allowing consumers and businesses to search and find whatever they require. Your opportunity to be the one delivering these products or services improves expansively the higher up the rankings you are found.
Digital marketing also gives you the opportunity to claim your place at the table and make your voice heard; even relatively small businesses are able to position themselves as a voice of authority in the digital arena. Regardless of your organisation’s aims, whether you want to boost sales, inform or educate, digital platforms allow you to engage directly with existing and potential audiences and build relationships which in turn increase engagement, revenue and improve customer retention.
For any business that wants to remain relevant in the 21st Century, digital marketing is crucial. Whether you are a modern forward thinking software development company, hotel chain, bicycle manufacturer or local retailer – engaging with the digital world is no longer an option, it’s imperative.