In today’s technological age, digital marketing offers many benefits to businesses looking to attract new customers, boost sales and expand their market reach with minimal cost. You don’t have to look any further than the decline of print media to see the shift from traditional marketing to online platforms.
It’s become commonplace to shop for homes, cars, clothes and other everyday purchases online. Just look at all the retailers who offer incentives to capture your email and then clog your inbox with daily deals and coupons to get you in the store or to click on embedded links to their website.
Online marketing has proven to be cost-efficient with unprecedented audience reach. It also allows businesses to identify and engage with their targeted audience, and allows customers and prospects to directly respond, while providing value and information about your company, brand and services.
Millennials, business professionals and a growing number of Baby Boomers don’t leave home without their smartphones. Information is just a Google search away, and mobile phones have become a leading way to access information around the world. Digital marketing reaches consumers where they are, and that’s on their mobile or electronic device, regardless of where they live, if they are at work or on vacation.
Traditional marketing in the way of print ads, billboards, television and radio spots, or direct mailers can be effective for a local audience, but digital methods are increasingly important to reach people who never pick up a newspaper or watch TV. They are essential if you run an Internet-based business and offer products and services that can be purchased online. Digital marketing efforts are delivered via electronic devices and platforms, including websites, blogs, social networking sites, email marketing, pay per click, banner ads, Google ads, videos and mobile phones.
According to research, smartphone users are a captive audience:
- 4 out of 5 mobile phone users use it to shop online
- People will check their social networks on their smartphones rather than desktops
- 3 out of 5 mobile users pay attention to mobile ads while visiting social media sites
- Mobile marketing ranks at the top in terms of consumption with 1.8 hours, above television and other platforms
- People spend nearly two hours on their smartphone daily
Here are four reasons to go digital with some of your marketing efforts:
Cost: Traditional marketing through ads in newspapers and magazines, billboards, television, radio, and direct mail are much more expensive than online avenues. Sure, a well-done color ad in a glossy magazine looks nice, but it’s limited to certain issues and readers of that particular publication. Digital Marketing has some costs in the way of designing a website, web hosting, Google ads and social media management, but there are many digital marketing strategies that are free or provide a good return on investment. The Internet has the potential to reach thousands through a website or blog post, especially if that post ranks high in a Google search. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are free, and even though Facebook now restricts posts unless you pay to promote them, a business Facebook page is another free tool that’s easy to manage, monitor and grow an online audience. It may take some dedicate time and effort to increase page likes and shares, but slow and steady wins the race. Hands down, internet marketing is inexpensive when examining the ratio of cost to the reach of your target audience.
Reach: With traditional marketing outlets, your ad may be short lived or appear only once. It’s hard to know if people opened your direct mailer or tossed it out with the trash, turned the channel right before a costly television commercial or read the newspaper the day your ad appeared. The exposure is very momentary and there is no guarantee people even saw it. But online efforts like a blog stay indefinitely and can be archived on your website, recirculated on social media or promoted through search engine optimization so customers can easily find it. Plus, you can tailor-fit your marketing efforts to the specific audience you want to reach. Internet marketing content is easy to personalize because you can tap visitor data and demographic information to customize ads or email campaigns for different groups.
Immediacy: One benefit of digital marketing is that it gives businesses a direct response for their efforts through clicks, likes, shares, sign-ups or repeat visits to your website or blog. Plus, the reach can be almost instantaneous once it’s posted to a website or distributed on social networks. Whether you are a solo entrepreneur or a large company, you can publish and promote messages, photos, videos and blogs immediately as important events happen or to promote upcoming sales and events. Even better, you can change mistakes and update content or ads quickly and easily online, which is not possible with print ads. For businesses with a limited budget, getting these results can go a long way towards expanding your brand or promoting a product, event or special. Traditional marketing, like a direct mail campaign or print ads, takes more time to go from concept to a finished product. It can involve numerous people, deadlines and design steps and each takes some time.
Tracking: Digital campaigns are trackable and measure specific goals for your marketing efforts. Taking your marketing efforts online means you can monitor traffic to your website, track page views and audience engagement on social networks, and count the people visiting your blog, watching a video or opening an email newsletter. Email marketing software can track the number of people who open a message and then do something, like visit your website or make an online purchase. Traditional marketing requires more effort and time-consuming research to get information on customer engagement, conversion and behaviors in response to your marketing efforts. It’s hard to know the success of the campaign or if you just wasted your money.
That’s not to say you should go totally digital and ignore traditional marketing, especially if your customer base is ultra-local. Ultimately, the type of marketing should depend on what’s best for your business, budget, audience and message. Your advertisements and content should reflect your brand, products and services, show why your company is unique and convince customers and prospects to do business with you.