Sometimes when you’re running a startup or small business it’s good to step back and level the playing field and think about what exactly you’re trying to accomplish. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut and to think you’re on the right path when you’ve actually drifted far afield of your target. Adopting this renewed perspective is perhaps no more important than when it comes to evaluating your marketing strategy. Getting your brand, product, and service in front of your customer is your biggest priority and that’s why it’s crucial to have the right marketing mindset.
Technology has changed so fast in recent years. Mobile, cloud, Big Data, and collaboration technologies have created new business models, new customer expectations, and new approaches to the art (and science!) of branding your product. Digital marketing is about using PCs, smartphones, tablets, gaming devices (we can soon add Apple Watch and wearables to this list) to engage with your customers through the use of websites, blogs, emails, social media, and mobile applications. You see the point! Digital marketing is innovative and creative, keeps up with the latest technology trends, knows what the customers want, and is willing to do what it takes to meet those expectations. In case it’s not clear, digital marketing should be your preferred approach to marketing today. Or stated slightly differently, your marketing strategy should be digital, period!
When talking about digital marketing it’s important to be clear about what specific techniques we mean. The primary channels for digital marketing today are emails, SEO (search engine optimization, SMM (social media marketing), YouTube marketing, and mobile marketing. Let’s break down and briefly describe each segment.
- Email marketing involves using email to send ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations; the basis for email marketing is to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness. MailChimp has developed a well-deserved reputation as the gold standard in the email marketing industry. The platform is intuitive and easy to use, offers ample support, and scales well to the size of your business.
- SEO, or search engine optimization, is about implementing measures to impact the visibility of a website or a web page in the search engine’s rankings. According to Wiki, from a marketing strategy “SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience.”
- SMM, or social media marketing, is straightforward and concerned with generating and sharing content about your brand, product, or service across social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.
- YouTube marketing has become a unique niche of digital marketing due to the viability of video sharing as a means for branding your product. With one billion unique users visiting YouTube each month, the platform has become a critically important and often overlooked channel for publicizing your brand. For example, you can view a variety of topics around innovation, entrepreneurship, and business funding through Silicon Valley Innovation Center’s own YouTube channel.
- Mobile marketing is a set of best practices that allow organizations to engage with their customers interactively through a smartphone or mobile device. Mobile marketing is hands down the most important channel for your digital marketing strategy. This past August became the first time in history that more people used mobile devices to visit online stores than desktop computers. According to the latest stats, 50.3% of traffic comes from mobile devices and 49.7% from computers. Facebook has become a primary channel for mobile marketing through its mobile ads platform. With 1.35 billion active monthly users and 1.12 billion active daily mobile users, marketers today can’t afford to ignore Facebook advertising channels.
The world has gone digital but too many businesses today are still relying on traditional marketing techniques like newspapers, magazines, telephone books, radio, and TV. This is a problem. Startups and small businesses today can’t afford to be stuck in the 1970s when trying to get their brand, product, or service in front of people. Keeping your customers engaged will require meeting them though their preferred channels. Nothing against TV or radio ads or billboards but the money spent here can be much better spent, for instance, on developing your mobile marketing strategy.
In order to get the most traction out of marketing today small businesses and startups need to go digital. Using the latest emerging technologies and platforms will ensure that you meet your customers when, how, and where they want to be engaged. It’s something you simply can’t afford to ignore. Anything less than a fully integrated digital marketing strategy will put your company at risk of getting left behind by the competition. Digital is the wave of the future, and the future is now! So get onboard the digital marketing train today and see what a difference it can make for your brand.