Importance of Digital and why now is key

Over the last ten years, digital channels have become increasingly important for organisations and brands. There are no surprises there. With the current situation (COVID-19) currently ripping up the playing field, digital tools are quickly becoming the only way companies can effectively reach their audiences.

Those companies that have previously embraced digital and have solid infrastructure are likely to weather the storm better than those that haven’t. For those that are not digitally native, relying on word of mouth or traditional marketing methods, the loss of these connections is likely to cause a shock. 

What is Digital Marketing?

During COVID-19, we’ve seen a spike from clients wanting to update websites, launch new e-commerce channels and cement their position in search results either via paid or organic ranking. But what is Digital Marketing? Digital marketing is a form of marketing that appears online or leverages digital tools, such as smartphones, to reach the desired audience. A wider extension of this is the more general term used in marketing circles of ‘digital’. This terminology extends to e-commerce platforms, apps and other environments that facilitate sales or customer engagement. The marketing element is how we drive customers to these locations or physical places. The digital marketing world can be a confusing place, with technical terms banded around. Importantly no one-size solution fits any brand, the development of a strategy allows for a blend of tools to be utilised. 

Before we get into the strategy (in a later post), let’s look at some of the environments and tools that brands can leverage to engage with customers:

  • Apps – applications are programmes that are commonly installed onto a smartphone, tablet or computer. They perform a series of functions either not native to the device or specific to the brand or organisation that has developed the app. Apps can also provide additional marketing space through the use of banner ads.

 

  • Websites (catalogue and e-commerce) – most (but not all) businesses have an online presence. Most traditional B2B firms haven’t considered selling direct to consumer; however, those that do feel the benefit of increased margins and control over the brand messaging. Websites tend to be the first place people look when researching a business or a brand, and they, therefore, need to be carefully structured to ensure users can firstly find them and secondly can understand and digest the messaging present. 

 

  • Google Ads & Microsoft Ads – traditionally called pay per click, search engine users are targeted via keywords and more so now, profiling. Analysis and management of the spend for advertising help optimise the activity driving relevant customers to your website. These ads are a powerful tool in reaching your audience at the moment they’re searching for your product or service.

 

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – sat underneath the PPC ads on most search engines is the organic results. These listings are defined by how relevant your site or content is against the user’s search query. This relevance is driven by algorithms that are not made public, so ongoing optimisation of the website is essential to ensure it is visible for specific search queries. Organic search results are the most trusted by users, the higher up the results list the more pertinent to their query. 

 

  • Display and retargeting ads – these are the ‘banner’ ads that you see all over the internet; they are increasingly getting more intelligent with dynamic personalisation and the ability to target users based on their browsing history. 

 

  • Social – most people are aware of social media, whether it is Facebook, Instagram or even the latest popular platform, Tik Tok. Each channel has quirks that make them suitable for certain brands or specific types of messaging. It’s essential to understand your audience and where they spend their time before investing in one particular channel. 

 

  • Content (Eg: Video) – content crosses over with websites and social media, in that it can live in both these places. Still, ultimately this output needs to drive engagement with your audience by adding value to them, whether that is detailed information, entertainment or news it must be carefully created to ensure it drives value for your brand or business. 

 

  • Email marketing – email is an immensely powerful tool for driving engagement with customers. Databases can be segmented and tailored to individuals to drive relevancy, by carefully analysing customer data, you can build an effective campaign that will drive actions from your recipients. Email recipients are pre-engaged, they’ve already expressed an interest in your brand or product, making them more likely to convert on your call to actions. 

The above is not an exhaustive list or overly-detailed description of tools that can be used by brands to reach customers; broadly speaking, it’s a shortlist of the most common we see our clients using. As previously referenced a blend of these can help businesses meet their marketing objectives, even then there are nuances about the use of these tools. 

 

If you’re ready to start or enhance your digital journey with us at Black Lab Digital, get in touch today. 

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