Principles of Digital Marketing
The internet has consumed our lives – from how we communicate to learn, shop for food, or use transportation. These days, most things are increasingly transacted or researched online.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing promotes or sells goods or services through online channels and technological devices. Examples include email newsletters, banner ads, and retargeting ads, but there are plenty more. Gone are the days when simply handing out flyers or mailing out sales letters is enough.
It’s not because these tactics don’t work, but leans more toward the higher efficiencies delivered by digital marketing. Data gathering capabilities and dynamic elements make digital marketing even more exciting. And let’s face it, shipping out mail is less scalable because of the costs involved in printing and mailing marketing materials.
The most compelling element of digital marketing is leveraging data and using the information to fuel your marketing strategy. Because to be successful, you must also be agile. You must see beyond pattern recognition and be willing to learn the next best digital technique. Digital campaigns need constant maintenance and care, such as tracking your metrics, monitoring performance, and tweaking the approach.
Four key points support the principles of digital marketing:
1. Attract your target audience
2. Engage your audience
3. Convert prospects into buyers
4. Retain buyers for long-term growth
Attract Your Target Audience
Awareness of your product or service is the first step in the consumer buying journey, also called the top of the sales funnel (TOFU). So what channels are you setting up to attract your audience and lead them to the next stage of the funnel?
Tactics of a successful digital marketing strategy include:
● SEO optimization (organic traffic)
● Pay-per-click advertising (paid traffic)
● Lead magnets
● Email marketing
● Social media marketing
● Content marketing
● Affiliate marketing
Engage Your Prospects
If you think the work gets easier after you grab your customers’ attention–think again! You must first engage your audience and form a connection to lead a customer from knowing who you are (brand awareness) to conversion (point of sale). This is where leveraging multiple campaigns across various channels helps keep people interested and to stay in front of their minds.
Once you determine your target audience and develop a successful marketing campaign, it’s about making minor adjustments to improve your messaging and stay relevant.
You won’t always get things right the first time. Some marketing campaigns will resonate with your audience, while others fall flat. However, taking calculated risks with your messaging is worth the effort.
Success is born out in the click-through rates, leads, and sales numbers. As long as your brand identity remains consistent, your audience won’t sense disharmony in any dynamic content. Proper messaging requires consistency to guide your clients in the right direction. Which direction? Down the funnel, of course.
Convert Prospects into Buyers
Engagement means nothing if you can’t convert. Once you have the audience’s attention, your sales team must turn those prospects into paying customers.
Moving them through each funnel takes a certain amount of energy. You want to deploy split testing and analyze user data at each step. Here, you present different versions of a variable, such as an individual page element or an entire web page, to different segments of visitors – the results will help you determine which is most effective. A/B testing anything and everything is a great place to start your digital marketing journey.
Track everything considered a conversion to understand what causes consumers to drop out of the sales funnel. Review key metrics, such as cost per lead (CPL), click-through rates (CTR), and conversion rates, to see if you’re meeting your goal. In doing this, you’ll find actual value and uncover critical insights that will help you optimize your funnel.
Retain Clients for an Impactful Lifetime Value (LTV)
So, you’re off to a great start, and the sales are rolling in. That’s it then, right? Wrong.
To create a loyal client base, you must employ any retention strategy that keeps the value of your service above its cost. Retaining current clients is crucial for sustainable growth, especially since getting new customers costs more than keeping the ones you already have. Determine what is and isn’t working. You’re doing things right if your LTV exceeds the industry standard (value or length). Make sure you always seek client feedback and use this intel to improve what you offer and how you serve.
Know Your Customers Wants and Needs
Establish and Nurture Relationships
Give customers what they want
Great marketing calls for a firm yet gentle command. There’s a difference between telling customers what they want to hear and giving them what they want. Your clients discovered you and stayed for a reason. As you guide them on this journey, this is your chance to offer them the necessary solutions.
Consistency is key
Inconsistency is the fastest way to reduce customer retention and loyalty. You don’t want to keep your audience guessing. For instance, if they consume content from your blog weekly, make sure you publish on a rhythm and on time. The more you break their trust, the harder it’ll be to regain it—four up, two down.
If you deal with inconsistency, likely, you haven’t taken the time to curate your brand message, voice, system, and identity. When you have, it then switches to consistent execution of those guidelines – and guarding all of them, all the time. This will boost your brand’s authority and establish trust.
Content is King
It all starts with great content. If your content doesn’t provide any value for your clients, you’ve already started to lose them. That’s why it’s important to offer free value-added content to begin to establish trust early in the relationship
The content should not only be helpful, but it should also be relatable–why should the reader care? How can you make it better? What will make them share the content with their friends, family or colleagues?
KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)
Short and sweet takes the cake.
If you can get the same idea across in half of the words, do it. Being concise online matters. Don’t waste people’s time by beating around the bush or being redundant. Shorter is always better as long as you remain clear and consistent with your message. This goes for design, color and format as well. If you have too many elements, they can become distracting and put up a barrier, making it harder for you to communicate with your audience.
And remember: always edit for clarity.
Establish a Strong Foundation With High-Quality Content
Just because you value simplicity doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality. Not only do you want to engage customers, but you want to excite them as well. Raise your standards and keep them high so you can continue to impress your clients.
For example, create various types of content (content research) in regard to text, imagery and video. These different forms of content will hold interest longer and raise engagement. Not only do you need to produce a subject matter of high-quality, but it needs to be exciting and relatable — why should the viewer care? What will make them share the content with their friends, family or colleagues?
If the content is king, then repetition is queen. Don’t be afraid to try new things. But, if something works, repeat that same message in different ways and on various channels.
However, if something falls flat, learn when to walk away and start over. The adage, “quitters never win,” only applies to sports. The faster you can recognize a valueless activity or action and change direction, the better off you will be.
Don’t let your ego get in the way. No matter how much you think a particular ad or campaign will perform well, if it doesn’t, then accept it and learn how to pivot or pitch before you waste more money on a poor campaign. Don’t fall victim to the sunk cost fallacy.
You may even have to do a complete overhaul. But that’s okay and even often expected. Limit your losses and move on.
Focus on More Channels
Diversifying your channels and types of output is a proven way to cast a wider net. Various segments of your target audience prefer to consume digital content in different ways. As such, repurposing content is an easy and cost-effective way to have a broader reach and generate the maximum ROI from content production.
Digital Marketing is Constantly Changing - Marketings’ Bleeding Edge
One of the biggest mistakes marketers often make is underestimating the ever-quickening pace of digitized content. There’s something new to be learned everyday and the ones who succeed are the ones who stay nimble on their feet, unafraid of change.
Unfortunately, even our current education system fails to properly teach marketing for the present age. The silver lining is that there’s no shortage of resources online. If you have the drive and passion to pursue a digital marketing career, there are many opportunities ahead of you.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re ready to start your journey or level up in the marketing industry, you need to first arm yourself with the right tools and get familiarized with the principles of digital marketing.
And when you do, remember that these are not one-offs. Keep exploring, ask more questions, and stay ahead of the game. Don’t get too comfortable with what you’ve learned today because all that may change tomorrow. But that’s the fun part too, isn’t it?