Is Digital Marketing Right for Your Business? - 3 Questions to Ask Yourself
Digital Marketing is Everywhere.
We use the internet for everything. From shopping to keeping up with friends to following up with business connections, digital is everywhere we turn. These days, few people act before pulling out a phone or laptop to do some research or confirm a decision.
While you cruise familiar apps and websites, you'll see constant campaigns and messages. They even follow you around for days afterward. You might be asking if you should be using digital marketing for your own business.
The short answer: yes. For most businesses, digital marketing works great. It's a big part of an effective online strategy. But we'd suggest digging in a little further before jumping in with both feet.
Here are 3 questions to ask yourself before you get started:
#1 - Where are my customers?
Chances are that your customers are online, but where are they?What sites do they frequent? What social networks do they belong to? How do they search the web?
Based on current behaviour, there are a few places to look first:
- Google. Duh. It serves up 25% of all internet traffic. "Googling" is a verb we do more than almost anything.
- Facebook. Another obvious one, Facebook has over two billion users globally. While usage by millennials has tapered off, it's still the most likely place to reach people of all types.
- Instagram. It's the hot social network, loved by young and old. And unlike other networks that have tried, it's working well for brands.
- Twitter. Many say that Twitter is on the decline. It doesn't look like it's going away, but it’s tough for regular businesses to market on Twitter. Still, it's worth exploring if your audience is there.
- Pinterest. Design-related or visual products can attract engagement on Pinterest. The platform doesn't have the numbers of the big networks, but it's worth considering.
- LinkedIn. The most obvious choice for business. Often used for recruiting, the network can get spammy. But, the right content can attract engagement from colleagues and potential customers.
- YouTube. It's the second largest search engine and the number one place for video of all kinds.
After you've considering the obvious, wide reaching channels, look at niche options. These include regional sites or industry specific sites. Local news sites or lifestyle blogs can offer great opportunities to gain exposure.
#2 - Is my offering a good fit for digital?
Are some products a better fit for digital than others? For sure. But the rules are always being rewritten. New brands keep finding ways to reinvent seemingly boring categories. If Casper (http://casper.com) can take the internet by storm selling mattresses, then you've got a shot too.
The important thing is to not write off digital because of assumptions. Your product or service might not gain an audience on one channel, but it could be super successful on another.
The question is more about finding the right balance of digital for your brand. It's a little like making a cocktail. The right mix of channels can turn into something pretty tasty.
For most brands, a combination of search, social engagement, content strategy and email marketing does the trick. Lifestyle products might focus more Instagram while service businesses will find an audience on LinkedIn. Whatever the channel cocktail, it's important that it all works together.
Your product might not make Google's top charts and it might not get featured on the best of Instagram. But with the right mix, you'll be able to reach your specific audience.
Think about your sales process as you assess your fit for digital. How do your customers hear about you and what eventually makes them buy? You might not sell your product online, but if your business values calls or inquiries as part of the sales process, digital can work. It will be important to choose the right digital channels for each stage of your sales flow.
#3 - Can I afford digital marketing?
Is digital marketing expensive? Yes and no. Whether you can afford it will depend on the dollars you have to spend as well as the time and skill you have available.
Compared to other forms of advertising, digital is extremely affordable. Traditional advertising typically costs thousands or tens of thousands to run a campaign. You can get started on digital for just a few dollars. But it's important to know what you're getting into before you start playing with digital spends. It will take time and adequate budget to refine a campaign before it's effective.
Too many businesses try running an Adwords campaign on Google and fail. Or they set up a couple social accounts, but nobody follows. This leads to writing off digital marketing altogether.
Digital marketing providers make it incredibly easy to get started, but that doesn't mean it's easy to be successful. It takes real expertise to craft an effective digital ad campaign. And it requires talent and hard work to build a following on social. Most businesses can do a big chunk of the daily work on their own, but a capable digital agency will be a valuable asset. An experienced agency can make your campaign more engaging and can make your spend go further in the long run.
Figuring out if Digital is Right for You
I hope these questions help you explore your brands fit with digital. It takes a good digital marketing plan, but digital can be the most effective and affordable way to market your business.
If your business needs help making a digital marketing strategy, or if you want help crafting the right mix, we'd love to help. Shoot us an email or give us a call.