Digital marketing was once a buzzword only mentioned in Silicon Valley circles. Today, however, it’s mainstream and affects every business. There’s a big difference however between digital strategy and digital marketing. Digital strategy is more holistic and incorporates far more aspects of the digital world than marketing.
What’s more, it’s now becoming eminently clear that the nature of business is changing. Businesses are being transformed on a fundamental level away from “capital-first businesses” or “labour-first” companies into information business. Information is becoming the currency of choice. Companies like Google and Oracle that are close to big, powerful computers tend to be able to outcompete their competitors on every front. Information is the true currency of value at the start of the 21st century.
So what does a truly comprehensive digital strategy look like?
An Optimised And Responsive Website
Businesses have been looking for ways to improve the responsiveness of their sites for some time now. However, when Flash dominated, this was hard. Websites were clunky and slow to load. HTML5 brings significant improvements and provides the groundwork for faster websites. And with things like the AMP program, speed is set to get even faster.
With that said, there’s still a lot that companies can do to optimise their websites. WordPress specialists are constantly reminding businesses that they need to have a site that is optimised for all platforms, include smartphones and tablets. Research shows that people don’t like to wait more than 1.5 seconds for a website to respond to their clicks which means that the speed of many sites leaves a lot to be desired.
An Online Video Strategy
Back in 2006, Google bought the fledgeling user-generated video site, YouTube for around $1.65 billion. At the time, it seemed like a lot of money to pay for a video site. But over time, the wisdom of the decision to buy it has been proven. YouTube is now the world’s second most popular search engine, after Google itself.
In 2006, Google immediately moved to implement their proprietary search technology into YouTube. This resulted in a catalogue of videos that could be indexed. Few companies recognised the potential of the video sharing platform at the start, but it soon became obvious as its popularity increased. What’s more, video marketing is just a lot more effective at helping your business SEO than regular content, providing yet another reason to have a video strategy.
A Brand Advocate Scheme
Brand advocates make an enormous difference to a company’s online presence. Research shows that people are far more willing to trust their peers (meaning other customers) than they are the business itself when it comes to the quality of your products. As a result, you’re much more likely to be successful online if you can find people to be your brand advocates.
There are all sorts of channels you can go down to build brand recognition, but one thing you can do is approach bloggers and ask them if you can write a sponsored guest post. Sponsored posts are a great idea because they allow you to piggyback on all the trust that the blogger has built up with their audience. The more trusting they are, the more likely you are to get more customers through them in the future. If you can, try to choose a blogger who deals with subject matter in your particular areas. For instance, if you’re a food business, try approaching a food blogger, not a tech blogger.
Start Leveraging Location Data
The number of possibilities open to companies that embrace the digital revolution is quite startling. One of the things that they’re not able to do is track customer location and offer advertisements and services using that information.
For brick and mortar businesses, this prospect is particularly exciting. Essentially, it means that customers could be walking by your business and get a notification telling them that they can get money off a purchase if they get it in the next 30 minutes. This type of offer is especially useful for businesses that experience peaks and troughs in demand during the day. A car wash business might see a spike in demand in the early morning, the early evening and at lunchtime as people find time out of their working schedules to drop their cars off. They could, therefore, leverage digital technology to offer nearby customers money off their car wash if they come during off-peak times.
Content Strategy Is About More Than Churning Out The Words
Some small businesses think that content marketing is a form of Google tax. It’s something that they have to do in order to convince Google that they’ve got something valuable to offer its users.
But it turns out that content is actually a lot more important than merely satisfying Google. Research suggests that around 80 percent of people make a decision about whether to build a relationship with a company based on the content on its website. The more useful the content, the more likely they are to engage.
What’s more, although content writing is laborious, it actually costs less than traditional marketing methods. Google’s paid search services can cost more than £50 a day for a small business which is a huge amount when you factor in the cost of wages. Content can be churned out at a fraction of the cost and is usually a lot more efficient.
Furthermore, unlike outbound marketing methods, content is able to build trust. People get to know you through your content and will find you more approachable.
The Rise Of Ephemeral Marketing
The word ephemeral means “temporary” – and ever since Snapchat showed us the way, it’s become increasingly important. Ephemeral marketing is essentially all about creating marketing content which is only designed to last a limited amount of time. With the rise of ephemeral chat services like Snapchat, it’s being used to create a short-term buzz about upcoming products. Right now, it’s particularly popular among consumer electronics and tech companies. These companies are using ephemeral marketing methods to talk about upcoming products and create excitement.