Are you a business owner who is wondering which path to take when it comes to digital marketing – embracing new technology and innovations while maximizing the reach of your existing marketing channels or establishing yourself as an expert in traditional marketing methods?
The line between online marketing and merchandising is blurred. With consumers always searching for bargains and discounts, marketers must understand how to connect with their audiences across all digital platforms. While some tactics and strategies will remain the same, we’ll uncover five ways that marketing in the digital sphere has changed, along with some advice on how to navigate the new landscape.
1. Adapt or perish
The line between marketing and merchandising has blurred. With consumers always searching for bargains and discounts, businesses must understand how to connect with their audiences across all digital platforms.
Marketing used to be about generating leads and nurturing them into customers. But with customers demanding more and more from businesses across the world – and technologies enabling them to get their demands met – marketing has changed. Today it’s about establishing a connection with the audience and encouraging them to take action – whether that’s buying your product or service, making a donation, or leaving a review. Social media channels and platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are just a sampling of the places that brands can now build relationships with consumers – and the variety of interactions and engagement opportunities that these new channels offer.
- Instagram (Instagram): This is the biggest photo-sharing platform globally with over a billion active monthly users. Instagrammers can engage with consumers by showing them products and offers in their feed or by using special hashtags when posting a photo of an item to attract the attention of potential customers. Businesses can also respond to comments and engage with customers on social media platforms. This strategy often results in a boost in sales.
- Pinterest (Pinterest): This is another popular photo-sharing app with over 500 million monthly active users and an incredibly engaged audience. Similar to Instagram, Pinterest users can see products and offers and can engage with businesses via ‘pins’ (similar to a tweet). Pinterest also has a search bar which makes finding a specific product or service much easier. Additionally, many Pinterest users ‘like’ or’re-pin’ the products and services that they discover – meaning that many people are already familiar with your product or service even if they’ve never visited your website or blog.
- YouTube (YouTube): This is the world’s largest video-sharing platform with over a billion active monthly users. Similar to TikTok, YouTube users can see video content curated from various sources (including TV and film shows). Like social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, businesses can have an official channel on YouTube – ranging from product demos and FAQs to interviews with thought leaders and celebrities. This is a highly engaged audience – over 70% of YouTube users have ‘liked’ a business’ video content.
- LinkedIn (LinkedIn): This is the world’s largest professional networking and business-focused social media platform with over 500 million monthly active users. Similar to Pinterest and YouTube, LinkedIn users can discover content curated from various sources (including news websites and blogs). Like these other social media platforms, businesses can have an official LinkedIn business page with a link to the company’s website. Additionally, LinkedIn users can follow the business’ activities (including blog posts and product launches) or become a part of the community and engage with other members via the platform’s discussion groups.
With new marketing platforms emerging every day, businesses must keep up with the times to ensure that they are reaching their audience and maximizing the effectiveness of their digital marketing.
2. The evolution of email marketing
Marketing via email was once the exclusive domain of large corporations with huge marketing budgets. But today, with marketing platforms like MailChimp making email marketing easy to set up and maintain, even small businesses can play too.
In the past, a brand might have spent thousands on expensive ads in a national magazine or billboard campaign – and seen minimal to no results. However, with the right email marketing strategy and a little know-how, brands can now get results from small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
For instance, if a retailer wants to promote a certain product, they might create an email marketing campaign with a subject line such as ‘Hello World!’ and send it to their customers with a small pitch about the product followed by a discount code for that product. Or if a car company wants to promote a new model, they could send out an email with a list of helpful tips for potential buyers followed by a coupon code for a free meal at a restaurant.
The great thing about email marketing is that it’s extremely versatile. Because it’s such a low-cost channel, almost any business can afford to experiment with it and see what works best for their niche. Plus, as a digital marketing channel, it’s all about testing and refining – something that is both expensive and time-consuming to do in person.
3. SEO, content strategy, and content creation become more important
Getting found on Google is becoming more important every year – as shown by Google’s search algorithm increasing its focus on content strategy and creating high-quality content.
Searches on Google Trends show a steady rise in searches for ‘content marketing’ and ‘content strategy’ as the lines between marketing and merchandising blur.
Additionally, many businesses operate in silos. That is, they might have a digital marketing team focused on SEO, content strategy, and creating content for various platforms. However, when it comes time to execute the strategy, they might forget about SEO and think that Facebook is the only place that they can post to reach their audience.
The world is changing, and so is marketing. While some tactics and strategies will remain the same, we’ll uncover five ways that marketing in the digital sphere has changed, along with some advice on how to navigate the new landscape.