When it comes to digital marketing, a myriad of channels can be used to spread a message. Depending on your message, some mediums may prove to be more effective than others. The spread of the Internet has shaped the way consumers look for business services or how professionals search for new clients. Currently the most popular methods include Search Engine Optimization, Email marketing and Social Media Marketing. They are the rising stars of the digital marketing future. Each with their own unique advantages can be used simultaneously to reach a wider audience and advance business goals. However with each advantage comes a disadvantage that merits using one channel for a certain strategy. Taking a look at the components of each will help you decide which to incorporate for your digital marketing approach.
Social Media Marketing
Experts have hailed social media marketing as the fastest growing marketing tool of our time. Its steady increase in the marketplace has given businesses a new way to connect with customers. The advantages of social media marketing include allowing positive advertisement for a brand to be supported by peer review. Most companies that create a Facebook page for example have the pleasure of being “liked” by a customer. That approval of a product or resource is then seen by thousands of networked friends, which will instantly give more visibility of your brand to the public.
“Twitter”, “Instagram”, and “Vine”, three of the top social media programs of 2014, are allowing product advertisements with lucrative results. Millions of people are spreading their approval of a product, celebrity, or brand, and spreading it to millions of other users, sometimes overnight. While that should not be your instant expectation, just know that most consumers today use social media to discover new products and share their approval, and sometimes disapproval of a product. However, even with disapproval, companies have the chance to immediately respond and turn a complaint into a compliment in full public view. Search engines work slower than social media because they generally require a Webmaster approval process. Minutes can seem like days on the internet if a complaint is left unanswered, which will further damage a business reputation if not dealt with immediately.
Social Media generally can better suit entertainment, food, beverage or even local business brands. Some disadvantages of Social media are that it’s specifically popular to a certain age group. Research shows that 89% of Internet users aged 18-29 are using social media and also are exposed to company advertisements. Older age groups are slowly increasing however the majorities still generally depend on search engines or basic methods for finding new businesses.
Search Engine Marketing
Most consumers report that when searching for a business they already have in mind, or want to see consumer reports about, a search engine is a popular choice. Some pro’s include authorship and validation of website results, which lead to more consumer confidence in businesses advertised with high click rankings. Having a higher ranking means generating consistent organic traffic to your website with ease. Recent marketing research shows that 61% of consumers research a product or business online through search engines before making a purchase.
Search engines and SEO marketing offer great tools that help drive higher rankings to increase organic traffic. Charts of trending keywords and topics can help boost rankings instantly. Even without checking trending keywords or personalizing your website based on trending SEO strategies, most search engines allow the option to buy your way to the top. Instead of a single line of text, paid advertisements on Google for instance, can reach 368,000 users in one minute with a more noticeable banner or web ad. A notable disadvantage is if a company doesn’t have the funds to buy their way to the top, which can become expensive over time; alternately, floating to the top of sometimes more than ten million results can be a daunting task.
SEO while incredibly useful can be difficult to learn, and the opportunity cost of wasted company time in researching appropriate strategies and methods can be onerous. Sometimes search ads are also ignored as a result of the possibility of spam and lack of consumer approval. Search engines are great for making business information available, but disadvantageous for displaying and responding instantly to consumer complaints.
Some people have given up on email because what they used to do that netted customers hand over fist no longer works. Assuming ‘email is dead’, these marketers have wrongly given up on email marketing. Email scams and lack of visual content can sometimes drive an email marketing campaign to rock bottom. With the spotlight on Social Media and SEO, email has wrongly taken a backseat. Yet, experienced marketers know that simply evolving strategies to meet new demands is the best way to revamp previously working tactics.
Building email campaigns effectively, surprisingly mimics other strategies that are working. One of the top complaints about email from recipients was simply the content was not relevant or personal. If you received email from a pet supply store about how their deals on “big dog treats” were the best around, yet you had a miniature poodle, the result was to block those annoying emails. Email marketers now understand to be heard, they have to provide relevant content, just like SEO and Social Media. The best way is to start segmenting your email database into ‘like’ demographics and targeting those consumers that fall into the same categories for more personalized content. For service or non-retail businesses providing interesting and readable content should be the first concern. Relating personal details or stories is one of the best ways to engage people interested in you or your company and providing subtle informative text within those stories.
Sum it Up
All three of the aforementioned digital marketing channels have strengths that work with certain business strategies. Businesses need to understand that with digital marketing becoming more fragmented so to must their marketing strategies effectively employ cross-channel marketing in as many mediums, formats and venues as possible. Using the channels effectively will need some planning to understand demographics and target markets and will need to be continually updated, at least annually. With these benefits in mind, it’s a great plan to incorporate all three into your business strategy. Targeting as many people as possible will help extend your brand and create a large awareness utilizing the latest trends. Just remember the limits of each channel in developing your marketing plan.
Social Media Marketing works best when you add good viral factor in the content but still the user interaction with your content slowly but surely phases out. For organic search engine marketing, you can always be paid the royalty of great traffic to your site for a piece of content you have written ages ago. Email Marketing is omnimarketing and it works for every kind of business. Everyone is talking about social media marketing but to start using a social networking site, you need an email account.