confused dog Does it seem like marketing is rapidly changing? Like the new era is all about screens? Smart phones, tablets, laptops? Today’s world is a never-ending stream of screen to screen interaction. Even if you lift your head from your screen, you won’t be able to escape it. Digital marketing is everywhere, it is the engine driving today’s businesses.

But what exactly is digital marketing?

In layman terms, it’s marketing on-line. Digital marketing is the best of both digital and marketing. While marketing principles and strategies still apply, digital marketing offers more than just another outlet for marketing. It’s a contemporary approach that tailors to specific consumer behaviours.

Digital marketing overcomes traditional marketing limitations such as one-way communication and no real time feedback. Marketing should be a two-way street and digital marketing does just that. With the massive explosion of social media, consumers aren’t waiting around to hear news from an hour ago let alone yesterday’s news. Consumers are demanding real-time updates. Immediately! Want to talk to a big brand like Powered by Search? Tweet or Facebook message it! Digital marketing allows for a faster deliverance of new topics, ideas, promotions. You name it.

In a broader sense, the internet encompasses much of digital marketing. With recent growth in smart phones and tablets, mobile is quickly occupying a part of the digital marketing pie as well.

But how does digital marketing fit into your business cycle?
If we look at the hierarchy of buying, most business are targeting the bottom of the hierarchy. What you want is to demonstrate you’re a recognized expert in the field – the middle of the hierarchy.

But how do I express my expertise?

That’s where digital marketing fits into your business. A major asset of digital marketing is the ability to showcase your expertise. Digital marketing can be informative and educational. Traditional marketing on the other hand is mainly focused on selling. When others see you as an expert they’ll always have a need for you. Maybe not right now, but knowledge is always sought after.  And VOILA! You have successfully pulled these potential customers into your sales funnel.

hierarchy of buying

Okay, now you understand what digital marketing is and how to successfully attract customers to you. How exactly do you do it?

The answer is an initiate need we have all built inside of us. TRUST. One of the biggest challenges anyone faces, let alone companies, is trust. Why should I trust you? Why should they try your product or service? Your entire focus when you try to attract new clients should be to build trust. Trust ties back to the hierarchy or buying – expertise. Prove that you’re knowledgeable in your field. Blog, write whitepapers or just join forums. Whatever the method, prove that you’re worth it.

Another way to nurture trust is through social media. Facebook isn’t just for teenagers any more. Brands, companies and even products are taking on a human voice and talking to the public. Are you?social communication brainstormWith interaction as the foundation for social media, it’s the optimal way to update the community on what you have to offer and why they should trust you. Simona Stefanescu, communication strategist and owner of Simona Media, suggests you pick 2-3 social platforms and master those. “Determine which serves your purpose better. Facebook is king – the largest social media platform in the world, available in most countries. For the businesses based on visual, Pinterest works better. For those based on information, Twitter may be a good choice. Location-based entities may benefit from FourSquare or Yelp.” Consumers are now exposed to the opinions of media, friends and peers right at their fingertips. And they are more likely to believe them than you. People want brands they can trust, companies that know them, communications that are personalized and relevant, and offers tailored to their needs and preferences.

The game has changed! The explosion of social media comes a change in power. You are no longer in control. The customer is your king… and they’ve changed. The public doesn’t have time for you anymore. They’re busy! SO if you’re trying to cram in why they need you by interrupting their busy lives with cold calls. Forget it! On the other hand, if they have a problem and you’re there to help them. Guess whom they trust now? That’s right. You.

Now another problem arises. How are they going to come across you if they don’t even know you exist? Here’s where technology is your new best friend.

  1. Search Engine Marketing

92% of all online adults are using search engines. Why not make yourself visible to the constant stream of searchers? After all, they could be looking for you. With the masses hoping on the internet bandwagon, search engine marketing (SEM) has become the low-hanging fruit of digital marketing. SEM is the promotion of websites to increase visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) such as Google or Yahoo. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) are some of the ways to optimize your links for higher ranking.

  1. Optimization

This is the digital marketing silver bullet if there ever was one. Marketers need to ensure that their valuable original content we talked about in #1 is optimized for email contact, different browsers and mobile devices. Search engines such as Google basically punish sites without updated, optimized content. So what are you waiting for? Set up a blog and start reaching out!

Phew! Now your work is done, right? Wrong! Go back to the basics. Learn your ABCs. Always Be Closing!
thoughtful handsome man thinkingWhy are you marketing? Informing the public… sure. But we all know your ultimate goal is to generate leads and ultimately sales. All of your marketing should be geared towards capturing customer information. Sadly, it takes more than just one click on your branded, optimized site for a customer to trust you. Have a call to action to invite your visitors to sign up! Be it white papers or newsletters; offer customers a reason to give you their information. Also consider targeting specific demographics with analytics software such as Google Analytics. Google analytics provides you with essential data such as where your visitors are coming from geographically, what site referred them and what search terms they were using to search for you. Analytics is also a great way to set goals.

When all is said and done, technology is simply a tool for you to drive sales. Digital marketing doesn’t automatically sell your product or service for you. Digital marketing is a constant two-way networking that you have to put into action to drive sales.

Photo credit:
SalFalko via photopin cc
Mikko Lemola via shutterstock cc
gpointstudio via shutterstock cc

Tagged with: Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, seo, Social Media

About Valerie Zhang

Valerie is a Digital Marketing Assistant at Powered by Search. Connect with her on Google+.