Digital marketing is simply the promotion of products and services via electronic platforms such as websites, blogs, social media, and apps. The number of digital platforms has expanded over the years mainly due to the rise of mobile phone usage. Today, nearly all types of businesses, from multinational conglomerates to neighborhood bookshops, are marketing on the same channels.
by Anna Rodriguez
Why is integrated digital marketing essential for your startup? Consumers use multichannels, thus it’s imperative to integrate marketing initiatives across devices.
Your market within your fingertips
In 2016, there were 3.5 billion active Internet users worldwide, up from 2.21 billion in the previous year. Statista attributed the spike to easier access to computers, modernization, and increased smartphone usage. January 2017 data showed that there were 386.43 million Internet users in Latin America with Brazilians leading the list (139.1 million users) followed by Mexico (76 million) and Argentina (34.79 million). Chile has 14.11 million active Internet users as of January 2017.
The demand for multichannel
Internet browsing is mostly done via handheld devices including smartphones and tablets. However, when it comes to consumers, multiplatform is the trend. According to comScore, consumers are often multi-screening, accessing sites on mobile or desktop. “The reality is that while smartphone use is overwhelmingly popular for some activities such as social media, messaging and catching up with news and gossip, the majority of consumers in western markets also have desktop (and tablet) devices which they tend to use for more detailed review and purchasing,” noted Dave Chaffey in Smart Insights. The challenge for businesses is how to deploy consistent experience across various devices, which comScore refers to as Multichannel Majority.
SEO for startups
In any platform, digital marketing strategies must be hinged on fundamental processes. These serve as the pillars, without which marketing campaigns and promotions will just be put to waste. Some of these core processes include search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and social media management.
SEO is a combination of techniques that will improve your Internet presence. It aims to improve rankings on search engines, drive traffic to your pages, and increase your online visibility. For startups with localized operations, local SEO is a more appropriate tactic. Local SEO is geographic, thus highly targeted. It “allows local businesses to promote their services to local customers at exactly the time they’re looking for your type of business.” The core of local SEO is data. Google advises businesses to update their citations (name, address, and phone numbers) in all their online listings to enhance presence in Google’s Search and Maps. Inconsistency in your information will negatively affect your ranking, so you better keep tabs of your data online.
Content marketing and the new consumers
Younger consumers, also known as the cash-rich millennials, don’t respond well to traditional selling. They choose products and services that were recommended by people they trust, or those they can relate to. “Content marketing is the process of developing, publishing, and distributing useful information that engages prospective customers and propels them toward purchase,” according to Anne Murphy, director for marketing content at Kapost. The end goal of content marketing is sale. It is important not only to introduce your business to your target audience, but also to inspire action.
According to Forbes, 15 percent of businesses’ marketing budget is spent on content creation. When creating an article, video or any digital material, remember three adjectives: relevant, engaging, and useful.
Content marketing tips you should know
Think like a tech-savvy consumer who has access to information about countless products and services. What will make him/her consider your offering? Keep in mind that people’s attention is getting shorter and harder to capture. You need to come up with content that is concise yet informative and appealing and substantial. The material must also be original.
For best practices, check out video camera maker GoPro, which partnered with creative content creators and outdoor sports enthusiasts; wallpaper seller The Chromologist, which publishes high-quality articles on anything related to colors whether in home design or fashion; and the hotel chain Marriott, which produces amazing short films set in their hotels.
Social media: the new marketplace
Most content are published in social media sites as these platforms make it easier for businesses to measure interaction. Social media networks like Facebook and Instagram also allows interactions via “likes,” comments and shares. Why should your business boost its social media initiatives? As of January 2017, there were 2.8 billion active social media users worldwide. Facebook is leading the pack in terms of the number of active users (1.87 billion users) and engagement (15 percent). Other major players in the social landscape include Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.
How can your business maximize the benefits of social media? First, know the site that suits you. Facebook is popular among baby boomers, while Instagram and Tumblr are preferred by millennials. Post quality content regularly and interact with users. However, this doesn’t mean that you need staff to monitor interactions 24/7. You can make use of bots that can respond to feedbacks immediately. Know trends in your chosen social media site, which may include 30-second videos and funny gifs.
Some words of wisdom from industry leaders
“People don’t want to be marketed at in the social channel. This is where they want to talk to each other, and brands are there by invitation. They have to be a great guest at the table — otherwise they are going to be uninvited.” — Veronica Fielding, president of digital marketing agency Digital Brand Expressions
“Be relevant…Consumers are looking for different things at different times of the year, and it’s easier to get an extra item in the basket if it’s tied into what he or she is thinking about when they’re shopping.” — Joe Cavaliere, chief customer officer at Newell-Rubbermaid
“Marketing is a lot like jazz. Its beauty isn’t in the predictable notes; it’s in the improvisation. So prepare, be open, let go, and adjust.” — Kathy Klotz-Guest, founder of Keeping It Human
In this changing business landscape, you’re obliged to be flexible and open. Digital marketing is like a living organism that evolves over time. You need to stay ahead of the game, otherwise, you’d be biting the dust.