Why is Digital Marketing so Important?

The Covid-19 pandemic has proven to us that being online is the only way your business can keep interacting with customers and potential buyers. Digital marketing has become a very vital part of overall marketing for any business. Clients and customers are all online. Businesses have had no choice but to adapt to this new way of living. According to Datareportal.com, the internet sector of the world has seen a reported 60.9% increase in internet usage and access across the globe over the past 2 and half years. That is almost 346% overall increase since the year 2009. Internet service providers have seen a huge growth in overall user sign-ups, subscription contracts, and inquiries from customers who need internet. Fibre was once an expensive luxury that was only afforded by high-income earners. Today, one can get very good and reliable fibre internet services from as little as R500/$40 per month.

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Why is digital marketing so important?

There’s no denying it, the world has swiftly shifted from analogue to digital. People are consuming more and more digital content on a day-to-day basis – on mobile devices, laptops, desktop computers, and many more. It is not only a rapidly increasing force in the current marketing playing field, but it is also set to be the future of marketing, and it seems likely that Digital Media will soon replace more outdated forms altogether. The facts are that digital methods of communication and marketing are faster, more versatile, practical, and streamlined, so it is perhaps unsurprising that once the technology became available, we began quickly moving into the Digital Age. The good news is that Digital offers just as much potential to marketers as it does to consumers.

Digital Media is so pervasive that consumers have access to information at any time and any place they want it. Digital Media is an ever-growing source of amusement, news, shopping, and social communication, and customers are now exposed not just to what your company says about your brand, but what the media, friends, relatives, and peers are saying as well. And they are more likely to believe them than you. People want brands they can trust, companies that know them, communications that are personalized and relevant, and offers custom-made to their needs and preferences.

So, why digital marketing?

Well, technology is the new means and mode of business. Online is the new place to be. Offline marketing on the internet has also grown in the past decade with the rise of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing. These new forms of marketing have made it easier for small business owners with small budgets to be able to advertise their products and services to their respective markets. First of all, digital marketing is enormously more affordable than outdated Offline Marketing methods. An E-mail or Social Media campaign, for example, can transmit a marketing message to consumers for the merest fraction of the cost of a TV ad or print campaign, and potentially reach a wider audience.

But one of the main benefits of conducting your Marketing Digitally is the ease with which results can be tracked and examined. Rather than conducting expensive customer research, you can quickly view customer response rates and measure the success of your Marketing campaign is present, enabling you to plan more successfully for the next one.

Perhaps the strongest case for incorporating a digital element into your Marketing is that Digital Media forms are quickly overtaking traditional forms of information consumption. According to the Office for National Statistics, over 82% of UK adults went online in the first three months of this year: that’s over 40 million individuals. The bottom line is, the Digital Age is here, and the businesses that fail to adapt to the new Marketing climate are at great risk of going extinct sooner rather than later.

Where does one start?

Do your research. Check your competitors, see what they are doing online, where and how do you find their services and products, navigate through the website and social media pages and see what people are saying about them. Go back to your plans and check whether social media platforms or search engines are more suitable for you and your type of business. Choose a platform(s) that will work for you and your business. If you choose search engines for marketing (SEM) then you need to do a few important things before you spend a dime on search engine advertising. A choice between search engine marketing and social media marketing is important as each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you can afford it, then both platforms should help. First decide which search engine you will use between BingGoogle, and Yahoo. Next, find out how much your competitors are paying per click to rank high on the ad’s sections of the search engine. Check which areas are they targeting, check their ad copy, their landing page, and finally check if they have any tags on their website to help them track and trace the conversions. Then with all this new information, you will have an idea of how to structure your ads, ad copy and even have an estimated monthly budget.

Now you have your ad, ad copy, landing page/website with all tracking code tags to keep track of the analytics. You also have your monthly budget, targeted locations, and keywords. All that is left for you is to open a Google AdsBing Ads, or Yahoo Ads account, set it up for your business, apply your researched information and you are now ready to serve your ads live on these platforms.

How much will it cost me?

Again, it is important to understand which platform you use for your digital marketing campaign. For search engines, you need to decide what kind of campaign you want and decide how many ad groups you think will be relevant to you. (Only one product per ad group will give you higher chances of interaction and unlimited search terms on that specific product or service you are advertising.) Depending on your competitor research and using tools like Ubersuggest, you will have an idea of how much you need to spend to start ranking for a particular keyword. Make a list of all your keywords, enter each keyword into the Ubersuggest search bar and see how each keyword performs. Add the total cost per click on each keyword, then take your budget and divide it by the total cost per click of all the keywords. You will get an estimated cost of how much you should spend per month. You can also take your monthly budget and divide it by 30 to get an exact figure that you can spend each day for your campaign. Search engine campaigns require daily attention as your budget can either limit your campaign or blow your monthly budget within a few days.

For social media platforms, you need to decide what kind of campaign you want and decide how many active pages and peoples’ interests will be relevant and in line with your product or service. All you do is just set your audiences based on location and interests. Thereafter you set your budget and campaign duration, upload your ad, create unique Call-To-Actions, install a Pixel to track all your conversions, and then you just press play. The platform will break down your monthly budget into a daily amount and shall serve your ad to the relevant audience you created. The social media platform will also optimize your ad daily to ensure that your ads are served to relevant potential customers. The platform will use the budget optimally which gives you more time to focus on your leads and conversions and not adjusting your daily budget.

How long does it take to see results?

Results depend on a lot of factors. You could set up your ad today with everything on its ultimate level, then get results only after weeks or even a few minutes. There are many factors to take into consideration. For example, your ad design, ad copy, and audience demographics could be set correctly and your business will get an insane number of conversions for a long as the campaign is running. Sometimes the opposite happens where your budget would be spent, people would see your ad but never take action. When such happens, you must track and trace what happened from point A to B. Alternatively, you could run an AB Test on each of your campaigns. This will give you an insight as to which of your campaigns has the potential to perform better and get you the results that you want.

Do your research, plan your ads and ad copies, research your audience and their demographics and finally have a monthly budget that you can afford. Run AB tests on your campaigns to see how people respond to each ad. Also, make distinguished element changes on your landing pages for each campaign you are testing. Use tools like Hotjar to see how users navigate your landing page and which links do they click the most.

What if my digital marketing budget is really low?

You are probably thinking about how would you compete with big companies that sell similar products or services online. How do you compete with these companies that have a bigger budget and reach than you? How do you get the same attention that they are getting online without having to spend a lot of money? Well, the easy answer is “put in work”. You have to build your presence over a certain period. Creativity should become your new best friend as this might be the difference between you keeping your business open and shutting down. You need to create engaging posts and content around your business. You can use the business social media pages and website to showcase the latest content.

If your website does not have much traffic, use your social media pages to grow your audience and overall reach. Take your most viewed content and boost it to an audience with similar interests as your audience. Host competitions on your pages, give the winners a physical prize and get them to share a testimonial on your website, social media pages as well as the winner’s social media page.

If you have a little bit of budget to play around with, you could always approach influencers to help you by posting your business content to their audience. You could also create a hashtag and get an unlimited number of people using the same social media platform as your business to post something about your business and add the hashtag. This hashtag will remain on social media platforms for as long as you want it there. You can then carry on posting other posts well after and still keep the same hashtag. You can also ask for a feature post from bigger pages or groups so they can showcase your business to their audience. This will help you gain a new audience and help you tap into new markets.

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This content was originally published here.

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