What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is the all-mighty gateway between electronic technology and marketing psychology. Knowing how to master and manage the information going out and into this gateway can be the difference between making or breaking your business. After all, any successful business is built on great branding. In fact, great branding can carry a business – even in cases where customers don’t know what the business is actually selling, a solid and creative brand can do wonders to cement a spot in the consumer psyche. (Think GoDaddy.com. When their suggestive and highly humorous commercials first aired, most people had no idea what GoDaddy.com was about, but they’ll always remember them!)
If you’re going to cash in on solid digital marketing, you have to understand how it works, and to understand how it works (and how it works for you), you have to understand the basic principles of digital marketing.
Every single business will want to take a slightly different (or very different) approach to their digital marketing strategy and deciding on your exact plan of attack is a highly individualized process. Still, there are a few rudimentary and all-encompassing principles of digital marketing that can be ecumenically adopted and applied. We’re going to break them down for you here.
The 13 Principles of Digital Marketing
1. Content Capital. With seemingly endless quantities of content out there, it probably comes as no surprise that a disturbing amount of this content is total garbage. Successful digital marketing will set itself apart from the junk by resting its laurels on solid, engaging and sharable content. The Internet is free and available to everyone, so anyone can (and it can seem like everyone does) amass their own content – and not all of this content is quality. This influx of trash is why you want your customers to view your content as a shinning beacon of light and reliability in a landfill of substandard waste. Don’t contribute to the rabble; set yourself apart by offering your customers valuable content.
2. Simplicity = Efficiency. Want people to thoroughly connect with your digital marketing message? Then keep it simple. All too often we see potentially amazing digital marketing initiatives miss the mark simply because they got a little overzealous and overcomplicated. Keep your message succinct. People have enough going on in their lives. When given something simple, customers will revel in its simplicity.
3. The Customer Connection. You have to know your customer. This digital marketing principle may seem pretty basic, but it is often lost in the struggle to create the next ‘big’ idea. The best angle is one that captures and enraptures the attention of your customer by speaking directly, clearly, and as we’ve already stated, simply to them. Make sure your digital marketing campaign targets your specific audience. Go too broad and you will probably miss your mark – and market.
4. Pimp your Vitals. The majority of customers visit your website to get the most basic of basic information, like location, street address, email address and phone number. Make sure these vital details are super easy to find.
5. Buddy Up. Form advantageous alliances with other online businesses and initiatives that can help you promote and strengthen your online presence, your offline presence, and digital marketing efforts. This isn’t to say you should slide into bed with your direct competition, rather you should find other brands that compliment your brand. (Think McDonalds and Disney or Loblaw’s and Esso.)
6. Video. Last year video got set to steal the stage, and this year it’s done just that. Optimize your digital marketing message with some quality video marketing content . Countless studies show that when people can see and hear a message, their ability to recall the message increases exponentially.
7. Media Medley. Social media is important, but it is equally important not to forget about ‘old school’ media like broadcast, press, and (gasp!) even print. Embracing all forms of media will help create a solid, cohesive, well-branded foundation for your customers.
8. Face Value. We know that beauty is only skin deep, but the ‘face’ of your company (and consequently, your digital marketing) needs to look its very best. Remember: you need to stand out in a world-awash with content, and you’ve got some lofty competition.
9. Consistency is Key. Your relationship with your customers is not a one way street; like any relationship, it goes both ways and if you want to ensure long-term success, you are going to want to be consistent in your behaviour and customer interaction.
10. Adapt or Die. Our digital world is continually evolving, and as a result, so must our digital marketing. You need to commit yourself to constantly aiming to improve and grow – and we mean really commit yourself. Put resources like time and money aside for digital marketing R&D. You’ll see the best results if you set aside about 10% (and no less than 5%) of your time to research. If you don’t want to be hopping on the next big bandwagon, you are going to have to put the time and effort into forecasting trends and creating your own – a much more lucrative approach than riding on the coat-tails of another brand’s genius. Customers recognize copy-cats, and it doesn’t breed respect.
11. Get Out Your Feelers. People buy by feeling, they don’t buy products. Just think about the powerful marketing used in alcohol commercials. There is perhaps nowhere else will you see such precise and effective marketing aimed at getting people to buy a product to feel a certain way and live a certain life. Lifestyle advertising works. Use it!
12. Nurture Existing Relationships. Repeat sales are where it’s at. You got that customer to commit to buying once, so you stand a good chance of getting them to buy again. Capitalizing on the relationships you nurture with existing customers is actually cheaper than attracting new customers since you already have them hooked. Just think about how much money you spend when you first start dating someone as opposed to how much you spend once a bond has been created and the dust settles. The woo-worthy $300 dinners can now be easily replaced by a more cost-effective (but equally thoughtful!) homemade feast. In other words, we’re not saying you should take these customers for granted and forget about them altogether; simply that trust is established and you won’t have to put as much money into proving yourself worthy of their attentions and affections. You do, however, still have to make time for them.
13. Know Thy Competition. Part of your research and development should involve looking into what your competition is doing well (and not so well) so you can get a better picture of what and where you should be concentrating your digital marketing efforts.
Stick to these basic digital marketing principles and watch your campaign flourish. Just keep in mind businesses that don’t have a committed digital marketing team or individual will probably need some extra help to create a coherent, cohesive and effective strategy. Contact our specialists to get started.