Digital marketing is now the most powerful and cost-effective way to grow your business. It is flexible, malleable, and highly targeted. It has paved the way for countless small businesses to make the leap into multi-million dollar companies. It gives small startups access to the incredible power of marketing. Traditionally, only the biggest and richest companies could afford advertising or sponsorship. Now, it’s an open playing field. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
In fact, quite the opposite. Digital marketing is an evolving beast. It is ever changing and difficult to pin down. The best must continue to adapt and mould their campaigns around the latest developments. There’s always a new social media platform to develop. There are always new Google algorithms to consider. There’s always a new technique. So, what exactly does digital marketing mean in 2016? Let’s explore the most up-to-date techniques in marketing, and explain how to put them into practice.
Know your audience
A good digital marketing strategy all starts with a sound understanding of your audience. Each marketing avenue we’ll look at today offers laser sharp targeting precision. You can actively find and target specific people or groups of people. But first, you need to know who they are. It all starts with creating ‘personas’. These are detailed outlines of your ideal customer. Who is the your best customer? What are their demographics? But more importantly, what are their likes, dislikes, hopes and fears? If you know that, you understand how to find them and market to them.
Many modern marketers skip out this section to their detriment. Research is key in both understanding your audience and choosing the best marketing methods. There are thousands of potential paths with your digital marketing strategy. Conducting in-depth research will help you narrow it down. For example, does your target audience spend more time on Instagram or Google+? More importantly, what are they looking for in a new product or service? When you know this information, you know what to promote and where to do it.
Make it visual
In 2016, focusing on just one path won’t get you very far. A strong Facebook presence is essentials. But, it also needs support from other social media avenues. You also need a strong website, advertising campaign, and SEO plan. Moreover, each of these aspects must seamlessly integrate with each other. Your digital marketing strategy should form a complex and interwoven web. Everything must feel consistent and part of the same brand. It’s a tricky balance, but one you must get right.
One thing that could give you the edge in 2016 is rigorous testing. Remember, digital marketing is a battleground out there. It’s very accessible, which means everyone is doing it. You’ve got to think creatively to stand out, and capitalize on every opportunity. One way to do that is through testing. Test and measure every small detail of your strategy. If you run an advertising campaign, test two different images. Which one performs better? Try different copy or wording. Which one convinces more customers? Test and refine every aspect of your digital marketing strategy.
If there’s one rule that is critical no matter what your marketing strategy, it’s this. Your digital marketing in 2016 must be highly visual. Whether you’re creating a social media strategy or an advertising campaign, image matters. It’s all about capturing attention and interacting with potential customers and clients. Facebook and Twitter, for example, now actively prioritise video content. Meanwhile, YouTube is the most widely shared content on the web. Consider this carefully when putting together your marketing materials.
So, now we understand some of the basic principles of marketing. But, what are the primary channels to focus your energy on? Well, social media is still as powerful as ever, if not more so. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they’re expanding. Good market research should help you figure out which avenues to focus on. However, Facebook is a useful, universal place to start. Begin building a community here. Share content and engage with your followers. It’s also worth considering newer platforms like Pinterest and Snapchat.
Another string to your marketing bow is advertising. Ads are no longer limited to TV, radio and newspapers. Nowadays, it’s cheaper and more accessible than ever. We suggest started with social media advertising. You can start a small ad campaign on Facebook for as much or as little money as you like. Best of all, you can choose a very specific audience based on their demographics and their interests. Once you’ve mastered Facebook ads, you can move onto Google AdWords. This places your adverts in search engine results and on relevant websites.
Search engine optimization is one of the trickiest aspects of digital marketing. But, it’s also one of the most effective strategies in the long term. SEO is a series of tricks and techniques that you can use to improve your rank on Google. As you can imagine, the websites on the first page of Google draw an enormous amount of traffic. In fact, 70% of people don’t scroll past the first page. By using keywords, you can help Google better locate and categorize your site. And by using great content and growing inbound links, you can boost your authority. It’s often best to hire an agency who can help you with this tricky business.
Email might seem a little outdated in 2016. However, it’s still the most effective marketing channel. In fact, many of the top names in the industry still swear by the power of email. It gives you direct communication with your customers, and it build a close relationship. You can send regular tailored offers direct to their inbox. If you haven’t already, start collecting email address on your website with a subscriber box.
And so we come to the end of our in-depth discussion on digital marketing in 2016. Have you got any tips or tricks to add to our list? We’d love to hear from you, so leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below.