Understanding and influencing consumer behaviour has become increasingly difficult in recent times. With newer ways of information research and multiple online and offline modes of purchasing, the shopping behaviour of consumers has become highly complex. Companies are constantly looking for advanced ways and means to analyze and draw insights into the behavioural patterns of the consumers.
The advent of the internet, social media, and e-commerce have changed the game of marketing forever. With all the information they need to make a purchase at their disposal and just a click away, consumers have become smarter. Also, a multi-fold increase in the number of mobile phone users coupled with affordable mobile data has largely influenced the way in which consumers are interacting with businesses. In Australia alone, the internet penetration percentage has increased from 86.8% to 88% and is expected to grow steadily over the next 5 years.
Hence, businesses have to be prepared to ride the next wave of digital marketing disruption with consumer at the core of their strategy. Digital marketing is no longer confined to making customers land on your website or making them buy your products/services, it has gone way beyond that, it has become all about wowing them.
Breaking down the Digital Marketing Jargon:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – This is the oldest and the most solid method of digital marketing. SEO deals with knowing all the possible keywords that potential customers might use to search similar products or services online. Then businesses use these keyword and optimize their websites to end up in the top ten search results. Google used to rank websites based on the presence of these keywords. However, it has become increasingly difficult to get a better rank on Google just by optimizing for keyword searches. Google began to focus on quality of the content along with keywords. If time is not a constraint and you intend to grow your online presence organically, then you might definitely not miss out on SEO.
- Social Media Marketing – As the name itself suggests, this form of digital marketing involves utilizing all the available Social Media Platforms to reach out to potential customers.
The above graphic gives us a clear indication that Social Media is here to stay. Each year millions of new users a getting enlisted on these platforms which in turn are providing a tailored fit customer base to businesses.
Businesses can accurately segment, target and position their products and services by utilising the enormous amount of data that is left behind by these users. Also, Social Media gives an opportunity for businesses to directly interact with customers and build communities. Given all these advantages, it is no wonder that Social Media has become a favourite in the world of digital marketing.
- Mobile Marketing – This form of Digital Marketinghelps businesses to send targeted ads to customers on their mobile phones. The various ways in which these ads are presented to customers may include simple text messages, in app advertisements, and direct business to customer apps (Whatsapp for business is the best example). With the surge in the number of mobile phones and increased number of business interactions happening on mobile apps, this form of digital marketing has also picked up pace in the past decade.
- Content Marketing – From engaging Instagram Stories to YouTube advertisements, from creative pins on Pinterest to Tweets referring pop culture, today, everything is centered on the stories that keep the customers hooked. Content is the King. The average attention span of internet users has reduced to 1-3 minutes. If the content which the users are consuming is not engaging enough, there is a great likelihood that users might skip the content or end up ignoring it altogether. If done properly content marketing can work wonders for your business.
- Paid Promotions/Campaigns – Typically this type of digital marketing deals with buying ads on ubiquitous social media platforms as well as Google ads. If the business has a goal to reach sales numbers within a time frame, then paid promotions can be considered. However, this type of digital marketing is not suitable for creating brand awareness and customer engagement.
- Affiliate Marketing – A highly successful method of digital marketing where businesses can sell their product or services by partnering with other individuals or businesses who already have a customer base and are driving huge traffic to their websites, blogs, and YouTube channels. These individuals and businesses are referred as Affiliates. They make money only when you make money, hence, it gives them an incentive to promote your products. Amazon affiliate program is the best example for this kind of digital marketing.
- Influencer Marketing – Influencers are individuals who have a considerable number of followers on social media and are considered to be experts in their respective fields. Businesses are increasingly partnering with Influencers to promote their brands. Influencers are then incentivized for their efforts. This type digital marketing is suitable for budding brands to build their online presence.
- Email Marketing – This form of digital marketing has stood the test of time. Even today, more than 90% business of the communication still happens through e-mail. Whatever the other digital marketing ways you choose, never neglect e-mail marketing, because for two simple reasons – It is way more economical than other methods and most importantly it works!
Steps involved in building an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy:
Below is a step by step process for any business to develop a robust digital marketing strategy
- Creating a Customer Persona – In order to devise an effective Digital Marketing Strategy it is desirable for businesses to understand the journey that their customers take online to find the products or services that suit their needs. It involves deep dive into the psyche of the customers. Identifying the key demographic segments is done during this phase.
- Identifying Your Goals and Tools –This step involves in identifying the nature of the business (B2B, B2C, Services, and Products) and defining clear digital marketing goals based on it. Be it building brand awareness, engaging customers, increasing sales, or educating customers, whatever might be the goal, it should be identified and listed in this step.
- Evaluating existing digital marketing channels – Based on the nature of ideal customer persona and business goals, all the available digital marketing channels must be thoroughly analysed on two major parameters – Cost and Effectiveness.
- Automate Marketing – After finalizing the appropriate channels, a plan is then developed to automate the campaigns. Many Social Media platforms have existing tools which help businesses to plan and automate the campaigns. However, results from these campaigns must be analysed and campaigns must then be tweaked to improve the expected results.
- Nail Mobile Optimization – Since there are multiple modes of customer interaction – mobile, tablet, and laptop, it is essential for businesses to understand the way in which user interacts with the applications and websites across these modes and optimize them accordingly.
- Make it easy for customers to reach you– Businesses must utilise all Social Media Platforms, request existing users for reviews, and get listed all the online directories. For B2B companies, creating an online community of like-minded users and participating actively in existing communities helps to build visibility.
- Use the right technology – Below are some highly recommended free tools to start with
- Google Trends – Helps to understand which searches are trending online and estimate the search behaviour of customers.
- Google Ads Keywords Planner – Helps plan the Keywords for blog/website based on search volumes and competition for those words with respect to Google ads.
- Small SEO Tools Plagiarism Checker – Helps to check for any plagiarised content in the blog/article.
- Google Analytics and Search Console– Helps in analysing the website traffic and gain insights into the demographics of the visitors who can later be converted with targeted ads.
- Alexa website traffic statistics – Similar to Google Analytics, however, there are limited free features while rest can be purchased on a subscription basis.
- Track your progress – In the end, results matter. If whatever the efforts business put into digital marketing do not yield the desired results, the strategy must be re-assessed and adjusted accordingly.
The key metrics that matter:
- Conversion Rate – It is the ratio of total attributed conversions (people who make an actual purchase) to the total number of clicks or visits.
- Cost of Customer Acquisition – The amount of marketing dollars spent to acquire one customer. This measure is critical for any online business. Customer acquisition might be lower for established brands as compared to budding brands. Even a small percent reduction in this cost might result in a huge contribution to the revenue.
- Retention Rate – The number of customers from the previous period retained as customers in the current period who are actively contributing to the revenue. This is helpful in measuring customer satisfaction and engagement.
- Supply Chain Capabilities – How well is the supply chain integrated with Digital Marketing Strategy to maintain the promised level of serviceability? To develop Supply chain capabilities and meet the demand that would be generated by digital marketing, businesses should integrate and align their Supply Chain strategy with their digital marketing strategy. The supply chain must be enhanced by forming a continuous feedback loop to make reduce cycle times from customer inquiry to customer acquisition.
- Customer Reviews – More than 70% of online purchases are made based on customer reviews. Digital marketing does not stop at purchase. Even after a sale is made, businesses should follow up with customers and collect feedback on products and services, and loop this feedback into the strategy for a better result.
How the Optimization of Digital Strategy Can transform your Business?
A two-dimensional strategy is proposed by Aurion Systems which is proactive (the fact that unknown risks are addressed during initial stages), predictive (separating good vs bad information). These two strategies combined are supported by a solid foundation of Lean, Design Thinking, Digital tools & technology, and Analytics where we cut down the efforts and supplement up the human efficiency using powerful assistive tools designed and developed to proactively tasked to do all the heavy lifting (repetitive steps) at a very faster speed without a need to put any human intervention (you are left with plenty of time to think about your future customers at a beach). This helps create success to the Digital Marketing Strategy and opens a door for the never-ending pursuit of customer engagement (what a great feeling), thereby increasing confidence in your transformation initiatives almost immediately (trust me as easy as posting a Facebook Status)
Those friends who have come across me just now and interested to know about what I mean by proactive strategies please follow this link. Regardless of the profession/ business, you are in, I am sure we have something to share with each other.
Transforming the Clean Energy Value Chain by leveraging Lean, Design Thinking, Blockchain & Technology
How to start and not stop at the end of this article piece?
I would recommend starting simply by just taking this approach, which has negligible risk, simple and yet an amazingly effective positive step towards our goal of a proactive strategy
A) Take pen -paper or manual method (start now)
Start creating Social Media Channels and post updates about your Business, Products, and events (I know this causes efforts, but this will pave the way for better Customer Engagement and interaction).
B) Take help from technology
Work towards making it unattended, assisted by using Super-fast digital solution such that it works autonomously without losing its efficacy by engaging a solid, affordable solution partner
If you are a CEO/COO/CIO/Managing Director/General Manager who is spending more time in reactive/preventive mode than future-facing, please reach out for an exploratory conversation.
My Contact details
Pradeep Mishra (Director and Co-founder)
Please feel free to leave your suggestions and thoughts in the comment box below!