The Importance of Digital Marketing in 2018
Kristen Herhold, business2community.com
Technology is integrated into our lives more than ever before. We own smartphones, conversational AI devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, laptops, and tablets.
With so many people online, it’s essential for businesses to be online as well. As our online presence continues to grow, the way we make online purchases will continue to evolve.
Digital marketing is important because more and more consumers are online; digital marketing is an immediate way to reach them. Traditional marketing can no longer reach people quite like digital marketing.
The Importance of Using a Variety of Digital Marketing Channels
In order for digital marketing to succeed, businesses need to recognize the importance of using many different digital marketing channels.
A recent Clutch survey found that the digital marketing channels businesses use most are social media marketing (81 percent), websites (78 percent), and email marketing (69 percent).
Top 6 Digital Marketing Channels for Businesses
Digital marketing is an easy way for companies to tell their brand’s story and brings companies to life on an online platform.
“Those three avenues are so common for businesses to use because you can highlight what your company is all about,” said Jeremy Greenberg, founder of web design and digital marketing agency 97 Switch. “People are responsive when you have the ability to tell your brand story, whether it’s on social media, your website, or email. With other mediums, there’s not as much ability to tell your story.”
Social media, email, and websites give companies the ability to reach consumers directly, which means customers are receiving more information in digital form than ever before.
SEO Is an Unpopular Digital Marketing Channel
SEO is left behind when it comes to popular digital marketing channels. Businesses are least likely to invest in SEO compared to other channels. Clutch found two reasons for this.
The first reason is that businesses sometimes don’t believe they are actively using SEO. A lot of companies simply don’t understand SEO or what it can do for their business.
“They’re saying they’re not investing in SEO, but if they’re investing in and telling their story on social media and they’re doing email marketing, that’s part of it,” Greenberg said. “If they’re creating shareable content online and they’re investing in their website, that’s SEO.”
The second reason is that SEO doesn’t produce immediate results, and the results aren’t obvious, especially at first. However, failure to invest in SEO can end up hurting a company.
“Businesses have a harder time with SEO,” said Jon Borg-Breen, co-founder and head of sales at B2B lead generation agency Symbiont Group. “It’s not as immediately impactful as having a brand-new design on your website that people can say, ‘Wow, that looks cool.’”
IntelliChief, a B2B content marketing management software company, spent months on SEO before it noticed measurable results.
“When I first came on board, prospective customers were getting confused and leaving our website, and absolutely nobody was finding us in the first place,” IntelliChief Content Marketing Manager Faith Kubicki said. “So, by researching the keywords that our prospective customers are using, creating valuable, optimized content that focused on those keywords, and promoting that content across various channels, we’re working hard to increase our digital profile.”
While SEO takes a lot of time, hard work, and determination, businesses should still consider it a successful digital marketing tactic.
Digital Marketing Increases Sales
When companies set out to use digital marketing, the main goal is to increase sales and make more money. Borg-Breen says digital marketing is really just digital sales. The goal is to get people to buy something from your company, whether that be a service or product.
Pupford, a website that sells dog products and provides training resources, uses digital marketing channels to increase its sales.
“If we didn’t have digital marketing, the only sales we’d have would be friends and family and word-of-mouth,” said Marketing Manager Devin Stagg. “It’s our main method of exposure, and all our efforts are pushing us toward getting more revenue.”
Business Size Matters
Large businesses with larger customer bases use digital marketing so they can stand out from the competition.
“For larger organizations, your efforts to grow your company are based on longer sales funnels,” said Flynn Zaiger, CEO of Online Optimism, a digital marketing agency in New Orleans. “Using your digital marketing to help differentiate yourself will get you more leads and increase your close rate, essential growth strategy for larger companies.”
HealthLabs.com, a website that offers online lab testing, uses digital marketing to make its company more relatable and to humanize its brand.
“[Digital marketing] really gives us a voice,” said HealthLabs.com Digital Marketer Lauren Crain. “It shows customers that we’re more than just a brand – we’re people who care about our customers’ health and wellbeing.”
Smaller companies, on the other hand, use digital marketing to bring awareness to their brand. They have to break into the market before they can worry about competing with larger companies.
“Smaller companies aren’t known,” Borg-Breen said. “If you don’t get awareness, you’re never going to get someone to buy from you. Getting a big enough base of people who know who you are is critical.”
Hope & Harmony Farms, a peanut farm in Drewryville, Va., uses digital marketing to bring attention and customers to its brand.
“Digital marketing helps increase [our] web footprint and visibility,” said Hope & Harmony Farms co-owner Stephanie Pope. “It allows us to position ourselves as an expert in peanut nutrition and sustainable farming practices.”
Digital Marketing Success
Digital marketing benefits businesses and customers. Eighty-three percent of companies think their digital marketing is successful and reaches their goals.
“That number is high because digital marketing is where customers are,” Zaiger said. “Walking down the street, people aren’t looking at billboards or checking newspapers – they’re staring at their phones.”
Traditional marketing and advertising don’t seem to be as effective as digital marketing. Technology is so integrated into our lives, it only makes sense that is how companies reach us.