A 2018 Gartner report projects spending on digital marketing will hit a record high of £14.8billion next year.
The increase is caused by digital marketing’s ability to attract and engage customers across all channels – mobile, web, social media, and email – and throughout the customer journey.
With the right approach, marketing technology can help to coordinate the many touchpoints between a brand and its customers. This, in turn, can help to create a loyal audience and increased brand engagement.
An O2 analysis found that customers who use a combination of web, email, and social media channels to research and then purchase a product, service, or solution are far more engaged with the brand than those who use only one platform.
The report, ‘Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants’, compared the customer behaviour of digital marketing natives (those who use all four platforms daily) with that of digital immigrants (those who use only one or two platforms daily).
Those who use social media to research and then purchase a product, service, or solution are far more likely to have a positive experience than those who use only search engines or email.
The report states: “The digital marketing and shopping behaviours of these two groups are quite distinct.”
Consumers today are increasingly savvy to digital marketing tricks and tactics. They’re aware of the various marketing methods – from TV commercials to email spam – and are quick to spot and avoid poorly executed marketing activities. This means marketers must be just as careful about evolving their approach as their competitors are.
The Importance of Personas
Marketers can use personas – fictional character sketches that describe the traits, sensibilities, and behaviours of targeted audiences – to better understand their target audience’s needs, wants, and motivations.
Delineating a persona’s characteristics and motivations can help to create a persona-driven marketing strategy that speaks directly to the individual, providing a much more relevant and engaging experience.
An example of this is the persona of the “digital native”. Typically, this type of consumer is an expert user of all digital channels, who is highly engaged with the content they consume. They often visit multiple websites and engage with content on social media platforms.
The “digital native” persona is highly informed, spends a lot of time researching products and reading online reviews, and uses multiple digital channels to make purchase decisions. As a result, they’re likely to have a positive experience with a brand or company.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the “digital immigrant”, who is less familiar with these new channels and depends on search engines and email to find the information they need. Typically, this consumer has a less positive experience when engaging with a brand or company – in part, because they haven’t used the channels regularly enough to feel comfortable in their presence.
The “digital immigrant” may not immediately see the value or appeal of various digital channels, and may even find them to be a little bit threatening. This is particularly the case when a company introduces a new channel for offering a product or service.
For instance, if a fashion brand decides to integrate a chatbot into their website or social media channels, the “digital immigrant” may feel a bit frustrated as they’re not used to engaging with bots – particularly the cute and snarky variety.
Since these two types of consumers behave very differently, marketers must consider how to approach each of them with the most effective strategy. In particular, marketers must be aware of the different approaches that work best for each type of persona – and the channels that they prefer to use.
In general, consumers prefer to use search engines to find the information they need. This is mainly because it’s simple and easy to do, and because people generally trust search engines to provide accurate results.
With regards to marketing a product or service online, search engines can be an integral part of the strategy. Marketers can use various tactics to ensure their products or services are listed highly in the search results for relevant searches. These tactics include using branded keywords, creating content about the product or service, and participating in online discussions.
An SMO analysis of over 200,000 UK online stores found that keyword-rich product titles and descriptions, coupled with high-quality content, can substantially increase a website’s chances of appearing in the top three search results.
– The SEO Guide for Businesses by Search Engine Optimization (SMO) magazine
Using structured data and metadata to describe a product or service can also help to improve search engine rankings. This is why many e-commerce websites use the Data Feed Specification (DFS) format. This is an XML schema that standardizes the way product data is presented on a website, allowing search engines to easily identify and index all product information – including features, specs, reviews, pricing, and availability.
A DFS-compliant product page will contain all the essential information a consumer needs to know about a particular product, including reviews, whether the item is available in their country, and relevant images.
Consumers have an innate desire to connect with other people – even if it’s just to say “Hi” or to ask a question. This is why social media platforms exist and continue to grow in popularity.
Marketers can take advantage of this by setting up social media accounts for their brands, which enables them to engage with current and potential customers. This can be done via platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or even Instagram.
Each of these platforms allows for marketers to engage with audiences in ways that were not previously possible. This is mainly thanks to the increasing popularity of chatbots, which can automate the collection of information and allow for more frequent, authentic conversations between businesses and consumers.
– Why chatbots are the future of marketing on social media by HubSpot Blogs
The most effective strategy for engaging with social media audiences is to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and to engage with your followers regularly.
Building a community of people interested in your niche – whether that’s fashion, beauty, health, or lifestyle – and then engaging with them regularly can increase your brand’s exposure and popularity. This is likely to result in more customers and, eventually, more revenue.
Despite all the advancements in digital marketing, the humble email still plays an essential role in relation to business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing.
Many people argue that email marketing is one of the most effective forms of modern-day marketing, especially as it allows for easy, targeted advertising to a large audience.
Email marketing typically refers to the process of communicating with existing or potential customers via email – typically, with the aim of encouraging them to make a purchase or take some form of action.
While digital marketing’s ultimate goal is to attract and engage customers across all platforms, email is still the most popular method of contact for those who want to do business with a company. This makes sense: Even if someone is finding the information they need on a web page, they may still want to contact the business for more details or to speak to a person.
Businesses that want to reach the most customers must integrate email marketing into their strategy – despite its simplicity and effectiveness.
Mobile marketing allows businesses to target consumers while they are in transit or on the move. This can be done via text messaging, push notifications, or even in-app purchases.
As the name suggests, mobile marketing is most effective when used on mobile devices – typically, smartphones and tablets. This is because mobile users spend a lot of time on their phones while traveling, shopping, or otherwise in transit.
One of the most popular mobile marketing services is text messaging. With mobile marketing, businesses can target individuals based on their mobile phone number and send them text messages – usually, with offers, discounts, and other compelling content.
To create successful mobile marketing campaigns, businesses must follow a few key guidelines. These include making use of short codes for sending text messages, creating unique messages for each potential customer, and measuring the success of each campaign.
An increasing number of consumers are shifting to a digital lifestyle. This means businesses must evolve alongside them by integrating the channels and technologies they use every day into marketing strategy.