It used to be said that if you didn’t have a website you may as well not exist, and while that has never been truer, just having a website is no longer cutting the mustard. This is because customer expectations have changed. Almost all Australians have regular access to the Internet. Most of us, when we hear of a business for the first time, immediately look for a website or social media profile where we can learn more. We don’t stop in for a visit. We don’t look you up in a phone book. We don’t consult a Rolodex. People expect you to have a website, and if you don’t, they may doubt your legitimacy or disregard you as a potential option altogether. There’s a “bare minimum” standard that consumers expect to see from businesses online, so it’s imperative for businesses to at least achieve that.
With more people using mobile internet, it’s making the integration between more traditional forms of advertising and digital advertising even more important. For example, your business could have a traditional poster at a bus stop telling people about your product or service, but unless you happen to have your shop right next to the bus stop getting them to make that leap from awareness to purchase isn’t going to happen quickly (if at all). However, if you list your website they could type it into their phone (or computer when they get home), and purchase the product then or at the least find a store that stocks your product. And if you were really thinking ahead, you could add a QR code to your poster so all they have to do is scan it and it will take them directly to that product on your website. By using an integrated digital strategy you have gone from awareness to purchase within minutes!
Sadly a lot of businesses still think of marketing and digital (or online) marketing as two separate strategies or efforts, but they are complimentary and your return on investment will be much greater if they are integrated together into one cohesive strategy.
So how do you do this?
1 – Align your digital marketing with your bigger business goals
What are your most critical business goals, and how can digital marketing help you reach them? Whether you’re focused on acquiring new customers, taking your products or services into new markets, or building brand awareness, a digital strategy provides the roadmap you’ll need. Your goals determine which tactics, channels, messages, and partners you need to focus on to generate real and measurable results.
2 – Be fluid and able to adapt to whats working
One of the great things about digital marketing is the real-time data that’s available. You can see what messages or ads people are responding to within days rather than waiting weeks or even months to get tangible results from more traditional forms of marketing. That means that for example, if you’ve created 3-5 great ads on Facebook and you can clearly see that one is outperforming the others, then push your budget towards that one or create others that are more similar.
3 – Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all your customers are offline
There are lots of businesses that find their customers through existing partnerships and networking. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, and it is an effective way to do business, it’s a biased way of thinking – of course you’ll only attract customers offline if you’re only marketing offline. There are over 5 billion Google searches every day and over 1 billion active Facebook users; surely at least some of those users might be interested in your business and if so how much business could you be missing out on?
4 – Think of it as a long-term investment
Technology is evolving all the time and the rate of change in platforms, usability, accessibility and reliance all of which influences consumer behaviour is incredible. Big breakthroughs in technology, such as high-speed Internet and mobile devices, make us more dependent on the Internet and less dependent on physical structures every day. This means online marketing becomes more and more important on a consistent scale as time passes. So if you don’t think online marketing is important for your business today, there’s a chance you may be right, but what about nex year? Even if you start out small by building an online presence, your efforts will not be in vain.
5 – Don’t give up if it doesn’t work the first time
If you’ve tried marketing before and have seen little to no success, that doesn’t mean marketing is inherently flawed—it means there was a flaw in its design or execution. This happens, even to the industry’s best, but rather than throw in the towel – make improvements by finding new partners, pursuing new channels, and increasing the quality of the data you work with and most of all learning from your mistakes and what didn’t work.
6 – Focus on building a better customer experience
Becuase digital marketing efforts produce real time data and allow us to see what our customers are responding it (or not responding to) it allows us to develop more personalised strategies for a better customer experience. As Forrester Research notes, a digital strategy lets companies take “a user-centered approach to understanding the needs and behaviors of their omni-channel customers and filling in the experience gaps in a disciplined manner.” What this means is, you can take the data you have collected across multiple digital platforms to build a comprehensive picture of who your ideal customer is and what they want, and then use this information to make sure you have steps in place to catch them at every available opportunity.
7 – Experiment with new approaches
The digital marketing toolkit is constantly evolving and changing. New technologies and expanding social media platforms are constantly being introduced meaning that brands need to be aware of and stay on top of trends and proactively experiment with different formats, channels, and approaches to see what resonates with their audience. An integrated digital strategy helps brands effectively determine what’s working and what isn’t, and by knowing your online customer you can have a better idea of what new channels they may or may not respond to.
8 – Consistently optimise
Be aware that what worked last year, or sometimes even last month or week may not work again this week. In order to stay in the game and ideally stay ahead you need to be constantly improving on your efforts. If you’ve created a great Facebook ad for example that is bringing in good leads, you can’t just set and forget. Eventually, the ad will run stagnant and start to underperform. If however you are consistently making little changes and tweaks or trialing new images etc then you will be able to keep it purring along like a kitten. The same goes for landing pages, GDN ads, Google Adwords etc.
So hopefully we have convinced you of the importance of having an integrated digital strategy, but if you’re a little unsure of how to actually implement one then give us a call and we can help you not only create one but also get the rubber to hit the road.