At one point online marketing was just a new and different way to market. It opened up a new form of media on which to peddle goods and services. But within just the past few years, the importance of digital marketing has become something else. It’s become an integral part of what a business is to its customers. It’s no longer enough to have a website or run some un-focused AdWords campaign.
Don’t have integrated digital marketing strategies working for your business? Time is working against you because of it. As the Internet becomes entwined with everything we do, the importance of digital marketing is becoming crystal clear.
Let’s take a look at why your business needs digital marketing to grow and thrive.
1. Reaches People Where They Spend Their Time & Money
In 2018, the average Internet user has at least 7 social media accounts. That’s up from 3 just 5 years ago.
97% of US adults under 65 are on social media at least once a month. The vast majority are on it every day. Social media is strongly preferred as a means of customer care.
Although as many as 89% of customer messages are ignored by businesses. 22% of the world population is on Facebook. 62% of people in the US are there. 76% of Facebook users and 51% of Instagram users are on it every day.
30% of people on social media mention a specific brand when referring to milestones in their lives. Gen X is slightly more likely to interact with a brand on social media than millennials. The trend right now is the average person spends over 2 hours a day on social media.
Teenagers average 9 hours. Social media is integrated into everything they do from school, to work, to entertainment, to hanging out with friends. Social Media is where people are.
But do people buy things there?
One of the top 10 reasons people say they’re on social media is to buy products advertised to them. They spend around 37% of their social media time interacting with branded content. 57% of Millennial say that social media has made the ads they see more relevant to them. 48% of people say they made their last online purchase as the direct result of a Facebook ad.
But only 45% of marketers think their social media efforts are paying off. There are definitely some winners and losers on social media. Just having a profile and sharing some content once in a while isn’t enough. You need a social media marketing strategy.
When you understand how to maximize your ROI in social media advertising, you win big.
Social media marketing and advertising are only a piece of digital marketing. But it’s a very important one. Throughout this article, we’ll look at many kinds of online marketing methods. This will show the importance of digital marketing to your business.
2. Levels the Playing Field for Small Business
You’ve seen it happen before. A huge company like Walmart comes to town and wipes out 100’s of local specialty shops. Starbucks rolls in and mom and pop coffee and bagel shops close down. We’ve seen the online equivalent of this with Amazon. It’s hard to compete with the name recognition or the millions that they put into marketing and reputation management.
That’s where the importance of digital marketing shines as a beacon of hope for small businesses. It’s the same for brick & mortar, eCommerce, and personal brands alike. Digital marketing actually allows smaller businesses the ability to hold a top ranking position, like a client we helped outrank Amazon and Lowe’s using our AdWords services.
Digital marketing allows small businesses to compete with a much smaller advertising budget. When managed effectively, it gives them laser-focused control over where and how they spend their money. When you have this kind of control and the data to support decisions, you make smarter ones. Continue to explore the benefits and importance of digital marketing. Just how it levels the playing field becomes increasingly clear.
3. More Targeted
When you run a magazine ad, for example, you definitely do some targeting. You know if your target audience reads that publication. You have some control over placement and size. You control the message within certain publisher guidelines. That ad may reach 1 million plus readers.
But what percent of this million is actually your target? A particular fashion magazine might have a demographic 59% female ages 35-55. They may have some college education. And you know they’re interested in the type of fashion depicted in the magazine. But that’s a huge demographic.
One of the gifts that digital marketing has given us is the ability to dissect huge demographics. Whittle them down into very targeted groups to get super-focused on a specific kind of person.
Who’s that person? It’s the person most likely purchase what you sell. When you do targeting at this level, you create an ad that’s highly relevant to your target market. Because it’s so relevant, it connects on a level that more general advertising can’t. This connection gives it the ability to influence decisions. You do it without annoying traditional advertising techniques. You’re not showing the same ad thousands of times over a month’s period. Or interrupting someone’s
program over and over.
So, what kind of targeting is possible with digital marketing? You’ll probably be surprised. Let’s look at search advertising as an example. That includes AdWords. In this form of digital marketing, you target people doing searches in Google. Search results now account for about 64% of website traffic across the Internet. For businesses who’ve put strong focus on SEO (search engine optimization) as
much as 80% of traffic arrives from search results. Search advertising, aka PPC (pay per click) allows you to position yourself near the top of searches. That’s even if that’s not where your website would organically appear.
With search advertising, you can target people with a very specific:
- Education level
- Buying behavior
- And more
Do this by bidding on search queries that represent these specific targets. Build ads and landing pages around them to convert that traffic.
Social media advertising similarly allows you to narrow your target audience Use the data they’ve collected about their users. Tell Facebook, for example, to only show your ad to people with a very specific recent behavior, interest, location or other identifier.
You don’t spend thousands on one ad. And you can run ads indefinitely. So you can easily modify that ad to connect with different groups of people. You don’t have this level of control over who sees your ad with any other form of marketing.
4. Can Be Hyper-Personalized
We’ve only just begun to discuss the importance of digital marketing in regards to targeting. With email marketing, yet another important part of digital marketing, you can target almost down to the individual level.
We call this “segmentation“. In some cases, you actually can get to the individual level. Marketers call this “personalization“.
72% of consumers prefer that businesses use email to communicate with them. This gives people a sense of control that makes them more comfortable signing up for your emails and buying from you. If they don’t like what you send them, they can just unsubscribe. But when you send them content that is highly relevant, they stay on your list and continue to buy again and again. You can see where in the importance of digital marketing lies in a repeat lifetime customer.
There are basic programs that will allow you to add a person’s name or certain information automatically to an email. But we’re talking about a much more advanced approach that’s proven its ability to get results for our clients, like the improvements in the chart below. That’s email segmentation, automation, and personalization.
With segmentation, you’re collecting data about each email subscriber. You use this data to sub-divide your list based upon certain traits or behaviors identifiedthrough analytics. Once, divided, send each segment content that is most relevant to that segment. If it isn’t relevant, you don’t send it to them. And if you can make small changes to a piece of content make to it more relevant to a different segment, you do it to reach more people.
Automation allows you to send that content at the optimal time to obtain the desired result. It takes the repetitiveness out of the process. You learn what this optimal time is through your data collection process. This time may be immediately. It may be a certain time of day. It may be sending a certain message before another one. Finally, you have personalization. You recognize a person on an individual level.
You are able to recommend the best products to them because you know their purchase history. You recognize that they just visited your website and abandoned their cart. You refer to them by name. They feel that you respect their individuality.