Is digital marketing harder than traditional methods?
In terms of the physical work involved, digital marketing is probably a lot easier than creating flyers and pounding the streets to give them out, for example. It’s likely cheaper than employing television adverts or huge billboard signs to advertise your wares. It gives you the opportunity to direct your messages to the right people, rather than simply throwing them ‘out there’ and hoping some of them will stick.
The thing is, the internet is infinite. Online, you’re no longer competing with the handful of competitors you’d normally have if you owned a brick-and mortar store in a single locality. You’re competing with every business everywhere who sells what you do.
This can be a bit of an issue.
The minute Joe Bloggs goes online, he’ll see adverts everywhere. If he checks in with his connections on social media, he’s to scroll through numerous advertorial posts to get to those he wants to read. If he consumes media, he’s to wait for the platform’s obligatory adverts to peter out before he can watch what he wants to see.
There are so many more adverts online than on any TV channel. So many that we get used to tuning them out. So, how can any small business hope to be seen against this blanket of commercial messages?
For all the benefits mentioned in the first paragraph, when done well, digital marketing supersedes most traditional marketing methods. Unfortunately, there are no absolute rules to follow that guarantee success, though the following tips will certainly help to increase your visibility and engagement.
Because an online only retailer doesn’t have a bricks-and-mortar store that potential customers can visit on a regular basis, you need to find other ways of staying in their view. This doesn’t mean spamming the life out of people online, but it does mean posting regular content in a variety of forms that’s interesting, informative and intriguing. If you bombard your audience just to disappear into obscurity afterwards, you’re unlikely to win many fans.
If something isn’t working, cut it. If you’re not quite reaching the right customers, tweak your approach. Don’t rest on your laurels, continually check whether you’re hitting the spot with your marketing—or not.
You can do this by understanding your analytics. Even when the going is good and you’re seeing a lot of responses, sift through your analytics to determine what is bringing people to you and how you can keep this going.
If you had the same customers coming into your physical store, day in, day out, you’d no doubt get to know them a little…you’d probably know their name and where they come from and even gather some insights about their family. You’d have a connection. In the digital world, analytics can provide some of this information and allow you to target your messages even further, or provide prompts that you can use to build a relationship.
Credibility and social proof
Because customers can’t see and touch what you sell in your online store, you need to look at other ways of gaining their trust. Honest reviews, engaging case studies and clear imagery can all work together to remove any concerns potential buyers may have about your product or service.
Talk to them, not at them
Use the 80/20 rule…make 80% of your social posts about your audience, and only 20% about you and what you offer. Unless there’s already hype around your product, your posts need to engage your audience—to excite, entertain, inspire, inform or influence them in some way.
Having an understanding of your ideal customer(s) is key here. You need to see your product/service through their eyes. Why do they need or why should they want your product—what will it do for them? What benefit will it bring? Who are these people? At what stage of life are they? How much disposable income do they typically enjoy? In which sectors are they likely to work? Knowing the answers to these questions will really help you create content they will want to see.
Don’t assume anything, either. If there’s something you’re not sure of, just ask them…that’s what market research is, and too few companies make a point of incorporating this into their strategy.
As well as creating the right kind of content for your target customers, also think about the words you use, as this will help your SEO. Whether paid-for or organic SEO, using words that your potential customers would likely type into a search engine to find you will help Google place you higher in its search results.
Hashtags, keywords and synonyms should be your friends when you’re putting content out there.
This is just a short list of what you should consider when marketing yourself online. Yes, there’s the chance that you could instantly go viral, but it’s unlikely that you will see much response from your ideal clients without plenty of hard work and consistent posting.