The evolution of retail marketing and e-commerce has led to a complete rebranding of how businesses market and sell their goods. Gone are the days of depending on traditional marketing methods such as outdoor billboards and magazine spreads. Thanks to the internet and social media, traditional marketing methods have been greatly enhanced, as have customers’ expectations. Today’s consumer expects to gain valuable information about the products and services they are considering purchasing, and they want to be able to do so easily.
The role of a business’s marketing department has changed. They no longer just need to “sell” the company’s products; today, marketing departments need to help generate leads, boost online sales, and refine the company’s image and message.
1. Establish A Strategy And Rethink The Role Of Marketing
The marketing department of your business will probably be the least familiar department to you as an entrepreneur. This is because, traditionally, marketing has been the responsibility of the business’s sales department. The marketing department’s role was to create brand awareness, generate leads, and promote the sale of products. Now, with the rise of digital marketing, the marketing department’s responsibility is far more comprehensive. A 2019 report from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) estimated that marketing budget will increase 7% year from 2020 to 2025, reaching $14.1 billion.
This shift has been prompted by the exponential growth of digital marketing and the changing customer behavior that it enables. According to the same report, online marketing will account for almost half of all marketing budget dollars in 2025.
What is online marketing?
Simply put, online marketing is the use of digital tools and platforms to promote a business or brand. This can include everything from email marketing and social media marketing to SEO and content creation. The goal of any online marketing program is to drive traffic to a business’ website and generate sales.
Why are customers flocking to digital marketing and online shopping?
Well, firstly, customers can research product information, compare prices, and make purchases with the click of a mouse. Customers have learned to expect fast, convenient service and secure transactions online, and they expect this convenience when they are shopping for products or booking services. Forrester Research has forecasted that by 2022, 47% of all retail purchases will be made online.
Secondly, as the number of people using digital platforms such as social media to communicate has increased, so too has the opportunity for businesses to communicate with their customers. In 2019, there were 16.2 million American adults who used TikTok, compared to 7.4 million adults who used Instagram.
The number of adults who use TikTok or Instagram to discover content is also increasing, which means that businesses can also take advantage of this audience to discover, engage, and convert them into buying customers.
2. Measure The Effect Of Your Marketing Strategy
Every marketing plan starts with a benchmark – an established point from which to measure the strategy’s success. It’s important to set this benchmark early on so that you can track the progress of your plan and evaluate whether or not it’s working. In terms of driving traffic to your website and converting that traffic into paying customers, one of the best ways to measure the success of your marketing strategy is with a conversion rate!
A conversion rate is the amount of people who come to your website, click a button, make a purchase, or take some other action, compared to the total amount of people who came to your site to begin with. A high conversion rate indicates that your site visitors are finding what they’re looking for and taking action quickly enough that you can then measure the success of your marketing strategy. A low conversion rate can mean that your site visitors are either unable to find what they’re looking for or unable to act fast enough once they do find it. In these situations, your marketing strategy may not be serving its intended purpose.
How do I calculate a conversion rate?
You can use Google Analytics to track the behavior of your visitors and determine whether or not they’re taking action, which buttons are most effective, and which pages are driving the most traffic. With this information, you can then calculate a conversion rate. For example, if 100 people visit your website but only 10 make a purchase, the conversion rate is 10%.
There are several different ways to display the results of your conversion rate in a pretty graph. For example, you can use google.com/analytics to track the traffic to your website and display the results in a graph. Alternatively, you can log into your Google Ads dashboard and use the Conversion Rate widget to display your metrics in a graph. Keep in mind that, while the results of your SEO efforts can be tracked in terms of traffic and conversions using tools like Google Analytics and Google Ads, SEO is not a standalone marketing strategy – it is an aspect of an integrated marketing plan, implemented alongside traditional marketing methods.
3. Identify The Best Digital Marketing Channels
Nowadays, the term “digital marketing” can refer to a variety of strategies and tactics. While SEO, social media, and email marketing are all considered forms of digital marketing, mobile marketing and display advertising fall outside of this category. Regardless of the form, all of these strategies can be implemented online – meaning that they don’t necessarily need to involve any physical products.
In order to determine which platforms to use for marketing, you first need to determine which audience you are trying to reach. If you are a business looking to attract consumers in a certain demographic, you will want to use online marketing techniques to reach this audience. If you are an entrepreneur looking to raise funds, you will want to use online marketing to engage with investors and potential customers.
For the purposes of this article, we will consider “online marketing channels” to be the platforms discussed above – SEO, social media, and email marketing. While other forms of digital marketing, such as mobile marketing and display advertising, fall under the umbrella of “online marketing channels,” they are considered stand-alone marketing strategies and therefore are not discussed below.
4. Create A Dossier On The Targeted Customer
Once you have identified your target audience, you can start to create a dossier on them. A dossier is an information packet or collection of information about a person, often used to target marketing offers and solicitations at that person. Think of a dossier as a collection of data points that can be used to accurately profile and target potential customers. This can include data such as their web browsing history, purchasing patterns, and demographic information.
You can use free platforms such as Profanity to create dossiers, or you can use tools like Google Docs to create and maintain a shared document that can be accessed by everyone in your team. The important thing is to have all of the information you need to accurately target your desired audience.
5. Distribute Your Dossier To Selected Marketing Stakeholders
Once you have your target audience identified and a few initial sales or interest-level agreements, it’s time to hand over your dossier!. At this point, you will want to distribute your dossier to your selected marketing stakeholders. Stakeholders are individuals or groups with which you have established a relationship, either directly or indirectly (such as through an agent or intermediary). These individuals or groups can assist in the implementation of your marketing strategy and help drive traffic to your website and convert that traffic into paying customers.
Your stakeholder network may include people within your organization (such as your marketing team), as well as individuals and groups outside of your organization (such as social media influencers and bloggers). The people within your network will have access to and influence over your target audience, while the individuals and groups outside of your network will have the capacity to drive traffic to your site.
6. Identify The Best Digital Marketing Tools
In addition to establishing a strategy and marketing plan, you will want to make sure that you have the right tools to support these efforts. Just like when you were growing up, if you wanted to create art or write a story, you would have needed a toolbox, right? A toolbox, just like a computer, allows you to have the necessary tools to support your chosen profession. When it comes to marketing, the right tool can make all the difference!
In order to support your digital marketing strategy, you will want to use tools such as Google Analytics, Hootsuite, and Zoom.
Google Analytics is a free tool that provides you with all the essential metrics you need to assess the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. With this tool, you can track the results of your SEO, social media, and email marketing efforts and determine which methods are working and which ones need to be tweaked or replaced.