Is it worth investing in a digital marketing strategy?

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by Sara Bosch

Digital marketing is a way to promote your organisation using digital channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s easy to describe but hard to master, as digital moves fast and unpredictably. Different channels work unevenly between different businesses, and audiences interact in multiple ways at different times. This situation makes it challenging to present case studies to follow in the exact same way to get the same results.

Regardless of their size, companies are reacting to digital and are investing more to implement strategies. Working strategically with digital marketing is now part of ‘business as usual’. The industry does not think of digital as separate from marketing; we are starting to see the future of marketing as one and the same as the future of digital, with no distinction made.

But first things first: what do you want to achieve? A clear direction is essential to reach your goals in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. A digital marketing strategy should be data driven and focused on results. This way, your company can put the resources for the right digital marketing strategy to build brand awareness, cater to the mobile consumer, provide better ROI (return on investment), and obtain results that can be measured.

Creation of digital marketing plans can include anything from buying direct ad space (search and social) to increasing digital activity around events (surveys, hashtags). A key element of any strategy is to research your own data and use it! Brands have finally figured out how to collect and use big data. Customers and clients are now offered the opportunity to create, share and buy personalised products and services; and brands use their data to then serve client-relevant individual content wherever they are in their user journey (website, social and in-store). Every brand will be soon asking questions about brand intrusion (bit creepy!) and brand consistency (does it lead to fragmented brand messaging?).

From this big data, it is important to create and expand unique content accordingly — be creative, compelling, and consistent. Recent changes to Google's algorithm (see our latest blog on this: Changes to Google algorithm to favour mobile-friendly pages) mean that content is still very much king. However, it is looking at what your content says and where it sits that is absolutely crucial to driving the success of your business. Refreshing the content on your website on an almost daily basis is not the only — or the most important — route to getting your brand noticed. In a world of social media, optimising and personalising what you say and communicate through your owned channels is equally important.

Client and consumers are more savvy to brand messaging than ever before and they are very vocal about brands that push self-serving content on them. In order to build a real relationship with your customers online, you need to be offering them content of real value, be that a special video or an offer not available to the general public. It is not search engine optimisation (SEO) versus social media optimisation (SMO), but both working together that lead to success.