If you’re reading this, I assume you’re already aware of the massive impact of social media on consumers’ everyday lives. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, “Horeca” stands for “Hospitality & Restaurant Industry.” It represents a multi-billion dollar industry that provides products and services related to the hospitality, food, and beverage sectors. It also represents the marketing departments within these businesses, which aim to attract and retain customers through the widespread use of digital marketing, particularly online marketing.
Even though the world of digital marketing is constantly evolving, a lot has remained the same in the last few decades. Marketers still aim to attract and retain customers through traditional channels, while also establishing strong brand impressions and driving sales in new areas, such as online marketing. The difference nowadays is that businesses now have more opportunities to market their products and services due to the widespread use of social media.
The traditional methods of marketing, such as television ads, billboards, magazines, newspapers, and radio, have all but disappeared. Instead, consumers now seek out marketing content when they’re searching for something online. As a result, digital marketing as a whole is dominated by three distinct characteristics:
- Content (e.g., articles, blogs, reviews, videos)
- Social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube)
Each of these areas is discussed in greater detail below.
Searches are an important component of digital marketing because consumers are using the internet to discover information and conduct business. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 75% of consumers look at online reviews before visiting a business location, while 49% do so before purchasing a product or service. Only 14% of consumers trust advertising alone to determine the quality of a business or product.
Even if you have the best product or service in the world, word of mouth and consumer reviews still matter. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 22% of consumers trust online reviews and testimonials from friends and family, while 18% trust online reviews from professionals, and 16% trust hybrid reviews (i.e., a combination of online reviews and traditional advertising). Finally, 10% of consumers trust nothing but ads.
Businesses are producing more content than ever before, and marketing departments are tasked with figuring out how to best use this content to their advantage. Since consumers are seeking out information online, savvy marketers recognize that this content needs to be available for people to find when they’re searching for the product or service. As a result, most marketing departments are producing some type of content, whether it’s web copy, social media content, or a mix of both.
The question is: What type of content is most effective? As mentioned by HubSpot Blogs, “blogging is growing in popularity as a method of creating content for businesses to use online, because it allows businesses to connect with potential customers through engaging stories.” Blogging is an excellent way to develop and maintain a web presence, because it requires little to no effort and teaches you how to write compelling copy using online tools, such as WordPress.
While the above statement may be true, it doesn’t mean that all business blogs will perform equally well. As you’ll see below, some blogs can be quite effective when it comes to driving sales, while others may be better suited for building a brand reputation.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you want to drive sales, put out a sales-y blog post at least once a week. If you want to build a brand reputation, put out a quality blog post at least once a month.
This is one area that has changed completely in the last few decades. Back in the day, all businesses had a marketing department, which was responsible for producing and distributing various types of marketing materials, such as ads, billboards, and magazines. Today, these departments are more like entertainment outfits, which are responsible for creating entertaining and engaging content that will draw in potential customers.
It’s quite an irony that the very tools that enabled individuals to have a voice and connect with others have become the primary way businesses can do the same. As a marketer, it’s your job to figure out how to best use these tools to your advantage.
The most popular social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are quite intuitive when it comes to using, so there’s no question about their popularity with consumers. According to HubSpot Blogs research, consumers are more likely to trust what they see and read on social media, as compared to other forms of marketing, such as radio ads or billboards. This is probably because social media allows businesses to provide quality content to consumers, while also engaging with them. It’s also quite likely that consumers have more contact with businesses through social media, as compared to other platforms, such as radio or billboards, which are more limited in terms of how often they can engage with potential customers.
Along with search, social media is the biggest influencer in digital marketing today, which means that brands, products, and people can influence each other through social media.
Since the dawn of digital marketing, marketers have been trying to find a way to combine the power of online and offline marketing. While social media clearly had a huge impact, especially on digital marketing and advertising in the last few years, email marketing still plays a crucial role in many companies’ marketing strategies.
According to HubSpot Blogs research, 37% of consumers say they’ve bought something because they saw an email pitch, while 18% bought something after reading an online review and only 12% after seeing a TV commercial.
Email marketing is quite literally the “silver bullet” of digital marketing, thanks to automation. Modern email marketing software, such as HubSpot’s CRM, allow businesses to send out automated emails, which allow them to scale their marketing efforts quickly and easily. The result is that marketing departments can spend more time on content that will draw in more customers, while also lessening the amount of time spent on delivery and follow-ups. This, in turn, can help businesses grow and prosper.
The takeaway from all of this is that just because a business has a blog, it doesn’t mean that it’s a marketing department’s responsibility to write one. In fact, depending on the type of business you work for, it may be a better idea to let the marketing department focus on generating leads, while the content team creates engaging stories that capture audiences’ attention.
Depending on your own personal experience, you may have found that one blog post can create more sales than months of radio ads or billboards. If this sounds like you, then consider documenting your experiences and gaining insight from others who have found success in similar blogs.