Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Why Your Business Needs A Digital Marketing Strategy

Marketing is often described as a war amongst the participants; with each organization trying to get as much market share as they can. In order to do that, you must plan for success and use all the tools you can (within budget of course).

Digital marketing strategy is an extension of traditional marketing strategy, with the opportunities for commerce and communication taking place using the digital medium through a number of Internet connected devices (PC, tablet, smart phones, etc.).  All activities can be quantified and measured easily unlike traditional integrated marketing communications (IMC) tactics such as radio advertisements, indoor and outdoor signage, etc. that require staff be on the ball and survey customers (who may or may not be willing to answer your questions).

The Burger King slogan “have it your way” is the digital marketing strategy, which customizes the online experience. E-Marketing: The Essential Guide to Digital Marketing, describes the users experience as “user-centric thinking, which involves placing the user at the core of all decisions, is vital when looking at building a successful digital marketing strategy. The advent of new technologies means the digital marketing strategist of today is offered not only a plethora of new tactical possibilities, but also unprecedented ways of measure the effectiveness of chosen strategies and tactics.[i]

A digital marketing strategy is something that every business needs, regardless of size in the 21st century. No longer can a company get by with having no online presence or a simple website as their only means of communicating to the world, “this is who we are and what we have to offer.” Why? Your competition is doing more than using a token website as their lone internet tool or will be working towards doing more in order to create more revenue for their business – which potentially means taking money away from your company.
Some small business owner may be thinking, “yeah, we already have that covered with a website that we’ve been using for years. It’s good enough”

But is it enough? What is the competition doing?

According to a May 2014 survey conducted by Webs, a subsidiary of Vistaprint N.V., in which surveyed 2,292 small business in the United States[ii]:
·       63% of small business owners use digital products as part of strategy (often with print)
·       61% use or will use a website, online store or mobile website
Furthermore, the role of social media is becoming more prominent in digital marketing strategy for small business due to the effectiveness of getting the message out and the low cost. Surveyed small businesses plan to use or are using:

·       46% of small business have/plan to create a social media profile

·       88% of small business with social media profiles list Facebook as their top choice also use Linkedin (39%), Twitter (31%), Google Plus (22%), Pinterest (20%) and Youtube (17%) to reach their stakeholders

·       65% with Facebook business profiles may use Facebook advertising in the future

Looking at the small business survey may be a good measuring stick in terms of comparing what your company is currently doing online. Even then, this is just scratching the surface. It doesn’t indicate how much their sales have gone up or if they even do a good job with the online tools that they have. This is an area where you may be able to look more professional by using professional online sevices. Small businesses in this survey stated:

·       80% of website owners are their own webmasters

·       59% created the website with do-it-yourself (DIY) tools

Remember how you’re essentially at war with your competitors? There are ways of finding out what they are doing through online market intelligence. Tools exist such as Spyfu (www.spyfu.com) that allow you to find out what your competitors key words for their website is for example. Competitor activities can be monitored using various Google services (www.google.com/patents) for example. The list is endless.

Like with any war, in order to win, you must adapt, adapt, adapt. A well planned digital marketing strategy, executed properly can help you to live to fight another day.

[i] Stokes, R. (2011). Digital Marketing Strategy. E-marketing: The essential guide to digital marketing. (4th ed.). Quirk (Pty) Ltd. Retrieved from http://www.quirk.biz/emarketingtextbook/

[ii] http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140514005382/en/Survey-Shows-Small-Businesses-Increasingly-Adopting-DIY#.U5aAvHJdWSp

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