COVID-19 has obviously made some enormous changes to the world at large. Everything from the way we live our day to day lives to the way we do business has undergone enormous changes in a matter of months. But how has digital marketing changed as a result of the current global pandemic? Here are a few of the ways in which COVID-19 has changed the landscape of digital marketing.
Marketing Budgets Have Been Forced to Adapt
We all know that money drives commerce. Without the right budgets, any industry will fail to keep pace with the demands of their own industry and the world at large. This is true of everything from client retention to reaching out to new customers. But in the wake of the current global pandemic, digital marketers have adapted their budgets to meet the needs of both their current clients and their new ones.
There are a few ways to look at the changes coronavirus has made on digital marketing budgets. But first, it’s important to recognize the shift that was already happening before the global pandemic. Businesses across all industries were already leading the charge to shift a great deal of their marketing and advertising efforts towards digital mediums. It’s not just enough to focus on client retention or social media marketing, either. In fact, the data showcases just how much of a shift toward digital marketing the world was making even before COVID-19 hit. For example, were you aware of the fact that ninety-two percent of marketers say that content creation is either “somewhat” or “very” effective when it comes to SEO?
So, how have changing budgets impacted digital marketing in light of the global pandemic? Well, in the past, lots of marketing budgets placed some percentage of their funds into physical events and in-person marketing pushes. Now that in-person events have largely been eradicated or radically transformed, digital marketers must take a new approach to everything from client retention to brand reputation. Their budgets now make much more room to play around on the digital front. This means there’s a greater demand and focus being placed on forms of digital advertising that may have otherwise taken a back seat to live, in-person events and campaigns.
Marketers Have More Time to Dedicate to Ad Campaigns
As we all know, the pandemic means that most people are working from home. As a result, employees who work in the world of digital advertising find their day to day schedules less cluttered. Sure, online meetings and emails are still an omnipresent force in their lives, but without their commute and other daily distractions that are present in the workplace, digital marketers have more time to commit to the sole purpose of creating excellent ad campaigns.
We’ve already seen some great examples of the superior ad campaigns that can be made from a surplus of time. Companies of all kinds are increasing their digital advertising efforts to enhance their client retention and their new customer acquisition alike. Of course, these kinds of things vary across industries and cultures. But one thing remains true: when advertisers have more time to invest in their ad campaigns, they can create even greater work for their customers.
Clients Are Having Fewer Face to Face Meetings
Looking at employees serves to showcase some of the major swings in the landscape of digital advertising. But you also have to look at the other side of things. How much has client behavior impacted digital marketing? Well, as it turns out, it’s quite a bit in most cases.
Clients are having fewer live, in-person meetings because of the coronavirus pandemic. This means that they may be more easily swayed to make a purchasing decision based on the web presence of a business. Not only does this lead to greater client retention in many cases, but it also means that businesses who have already invested heavily in their digital marketing efforts can now reap some of the benefits of “the new normal.” Similarly, professional digital marketers are able to provide website audits from anywhere in the world.
That isn’t to say that clients aren’t concerned about the lack of an in-person meeting. In fact, many clients are still eager to connect with a company in a virtual video conference to iron out details and establish needs. This kind of collaboration proves to be fruitful in most cases. But it will be interesting to see how digital marketing adapts once again when in-person meetings become standard once again.
People Are Spending More Time Online
Finally, you cannot have an honest discussion about the changing world of digital marketing without first addressing the foundational elements at play. The fact stands that people are simply spending more time online these days. As mentioned earlier, many quarantine and shelter in place orders demand that people work from their homes. This means that they are spending less time traveling to and from the office. This also means that they engage in more activities online.
Increased online activity is a boon for any product or service that plans to use digital marketing strategies to reach new customers, or as part of their client retention plan. With more and more eyeballs on websites and social media as the days pass, digital marketers get the chance to test and retest their ideas on a willing audience. Marketers may roll out one ad campaign in a week, only to see how people are receiving it and make adjustments in the coming days. This kind of real-time ability to tweak ad campaigns is something that has never existed before in human history. And it’s only possible because people are spending more of their time in front of their computer or smartphone screen.
The coronavirus pandemic has created changes in the world that will be felt for many years to come. Whether you look at client retention, new customer acquisition, or social media marketing, the changes are evident. For anyone who is looking at the world of digital marketing, it’s clear that the current situation has also impacted this field. By changing with the times and making the best out of the worst, digital marketers continue to adapt to the changing tides of the world.
Pro Tips for Paid Online Marketers to reach your target audience
Digital is becoming an increasingly important channel for marketing and sales today. Consumers are using the internet to research and guide their purchase decisions, and to engage with brands and topics that they care about. Whether you are a start-up or a multi-million dollar business, you cannot afford to ignore digital marketing, especially as it has been one of the most resilient types of marketing channels in recent times, despite the global pandemic.
There are multiple options for organic and paid promotion on digital, and if one really wants to make the most of the medium, it makes sense to explore both these sides. While organic methods will usually need some time to start showing results, paid advertising is a great way to reach out to your relevant target audiences online and drive visits, conversions and sales in a short time span.
But not all paid marketing online will give the same results, and a large part of their success boils down to the right selection of target audience.
Why it is important to target right
The right message at the right time to the right audience – this dictum sums up the basics of pretty much any type of marketing, including digital. With the right targeting in place, you can ensure that you are engaging with only the people who really matter, and all other things being good, this one thing can greatly increase the chances of your campaign’s success.
This is important even when you are catering to a large and diverse audience group. Unlike most traditional ATL and BTL channels, where there is always a chance of spillage and therefore a need to cast a wider net just to be able to reach your target audience, digital marketing offers the opportunity to be very precise in your targeting.
In case you are wondering if it will really make that big a difference to your campaign metrics, consider the scenarios below.
- Marketing to the wrong audience can be an expensive mistake.
Suppose that you are doing a CPC campaign for a specific health package at many age groups can benefit from. You decide to use a creative tone and design that would likely appeal to a wide demographic audience that is looking for health packages in general. However, if you are not very clear in your audience targeting, it is possible to attract a lot of people who might be looking for something more general, and who might not be interested in what you are promoting, and who might quickly move on to your competitors. Even if we take an average CPC of $2.5, you would end up spending a significant amount on attracting visitors that aren’t quite keen to complete the purchase. Moreover, not just the target audience but the manner in which you are delivering your messages can define your overall expenses. In some cases, Text message marketing, for example, using channels like tatango, can be more economical and in some cases, email marketing channels can make more sense. All in all, you need to factor in the audience and also how you are going to deliver your messages in order to manage the overall cost.
- Wrong targeting can compromise your Quality Score
Having the wrong targeting can also affect the quality score or relevance score that you can otherwise earn. Most large platforms such as Google and Facebook assign a quality score based on how relevant is your ad content to your target audience. One of the ways they measure this is by looking at the time spent on your landing pages. If there is a high bounce rate, it signals a low relevance between what your target audience wants, and what you have to offer. This bumps down your quality score, and you might need to spend more to reach the same audience, as compared to a competitor that has a better quality ranking.
So, how can you really get your targeting right?
There are many different ways you can go about this. Some marketers might want to approach this the way they approach traditional – that is, plastering the ads across all possible digital mediums, and ensuring that it is seen by all. This isn’t always the best approach, and also requires a huge investment. I would instead urge you all to focus on some basics, which are often forgotten, and how you can use these basics to get the most out of your paid campaigns.
- Target Audience Segmentation
If you appeal to a niche market, segmenting your audience is easy. However, if your market consists of a rather broad group of people across different demographics, it would be good to invest the time to get your segmentation right. You can have multiple audience segments based on certain common characteristics in each group. These characteristics could be anything from age, location, life stage, interests, intent, their socio economic class and so on.
You could always go with a generic campaign targeting all these different groups, or you could create different campaigns and landing pages for each subset of your audience. I recommend the latter approach, as this usually performs better as compared to a one-size fits-all approach. Google PPC campaigns allow you to segment by demographics and intent, whereas Facebook can allow you to be as granular as you wish to be.
- Understanding Audience Motivation
So, once you have narrowed down your audience segmentation, the next step to consider is what it is that they really want, and why would they want to buy the product or service you are selling. This will help you to understand them better – from their preferences and latent motivations to their decision-making process, and allow you to choose the right channels and the right messaging. For example, if your target audience has a heavy presence on social media, consider campaigns on those platforms and using a hashtag generator to maximize your reach to them.
You could get your data from market and customer research, and base your targeting and communication on solid audience data. As a marketer or business owner, it is natural to have some gut instincts. And while we should always trust these, it would be good to back up your instincts with facts and data, to be on the safer side.
- Exclude the groups that aren’t relevant
What is really great about marketing online is that not only can you get really precise about who you want to reach out to, you can be as precise for those you do not want to reach out to! If your audience group contains subsets that would not be the best fit for your campaign, you can easily choose to exclude those subsets from your overall targeting. This can come in handy in remarketing campaigns towards interested prospects, where you can exclude the people who have actually made a purchase. This will prevent wasted clicks, and will allow you to have a sharper focus on a specific group.
Getting your target audience right might not be a cakewalk, and would entail multiple rounds of trial and error, and can consume time and resources. However, when you do get this right, it will definitely reap rich rewards, with regards to campaign efficacy and performance.
Social Media Strategies That Will Grow Your Business
An online presence is something of a necessity nowadays. There is hardly a thing you can do without the Internet. Various forms of media have promoted business growth over the years and in the recent past, the digital arena has been at the core of business promotion and growth.
Marketing is at the heart of all business growth. Social media marketing (SMM) is a somewhat newer strategy but it is proving to be an effective marketing tool. If you haven’t jumped on the SMM wagon, you are missing out and it’s high time you joined the team.
How To Market On Social Media
Social media (SM) works by creating and sharing content. The quality of your content is will affect your audience. If your content is good, it will appeal to a wider audience.
It is important to research topics and ideas that you have and find creative ways to create them. This might require you to plan ahead of time. You can also choose to create your content in bulk (batching) and then schedule when you will share them.
When you share your content regularly, you can both create an audience and also retain it. Consistency creates room for engagement. You can have conversations with your audience and this creates room for growth.
People will easily associate with a brand when it has created a clear and consistent image and voice in their minds. Knowing your niche will help you target a specific audience and it also helps your targeted audience distinguish you from other brands.
Every business must have a way to analyse its business data. Many social media platforms have analytics as an option for businesses allowing them to see how they have performed. This is an important tool to discover weak points and strong points. You can make adjustments based on your discoveries.
Many social media platforms have paid advertising options. Investing in paid advertising is a great way to increase your reach and grow your audience.
Set SMM Goals
The first thing to consider when opting to market on social media is what platform to use. You can choose one or several depending on your ability to manage the platforms and your specific needs as a business. The type of content you aim to create is also a factor that will determine the platform used. There are 4 content types; audio, images, text and video. Choose an international media group to grow your business.
Having a niche means creating specific content for a specific audience. Social media allows businesses to interact with their audiences directly and this not only starts conversations, but it also creates loyalty. Customers love it when they feel like they have a personal connection with the one providing what they want or need.
Investing in ads is an easy way to create awareness of your brand on social media. It can generate a loyal fan base or following and also grow your audience.
Call To Action
Creating content should be both intentional and strategic. A call to action is adding a specific instruction to your content. When you add links to your website on social media, you can direct your audience to it by directing them to it. You can also create free content (freebie) which they can access through subscribing to an email list which provides a direct way to reaching them with other products. It is a great way to boost sales.
Benefits Of SMM
- Promotes authenticity and originality
- Even small businesses with low budgets can grow
- Get to understand the market
- Create a custom audience
- Understand your customers’ patterns
- Create brand awareness
- Allows you to promote your products and services
Wrapping It Up
Social media is a great way to grow your business. It is a low-cost investment with low risks and numerous benefits. Implementing a social media strategy would be a great way to increase your reach and sales.
How large brands use SEO and Digital Marketing to reach their target audience
Digital Marketing is becoming a must-do for all businesses today. Whether small, medium or large, there are very few businesses that are immune to the allure of digital marketing.
There is often a misconception that large and successful brands have it easy when it comes to marketing, given the reputation that they’ve already earned, and the huge marketing monies and resources at their disposal.
But here’s the real deal. Despite the obvious advantages that these brands might have, it is as much of an effort to stay on top, as much as it is to reach the top. And in the digital world, where young brands do not need huge budgets to have a presence, the competition can get even more intense, with many more players vying for the same space and the same audience on digital. Moreover, there is much information and misinformation about what works and what doesn’t.
However, there are some large players across the globe that are leading the way when it comes to doing Digital Marketing & SEO, and continue to lead both online and offline. Irrespective of the budgets they employ, these brands are focussing on doing simple things right, in a consistent manner. And while at it, they also adapt their communication and strategy as needed, to real-time market and customer dynamics.
I’d like to spotlight the top proven tactics that would be of value for small and medium businesses as well.
- Investing in User Experience
Creating a pleasant user experience (UX) online is an extremely important aspect of digital success, and for that matter, even marketing in general.
Successful brands understand that the quality of a visitor’s online experience can have a huge impact on whether they choose to interact or not with the brand. It is for this reason that they invest significant time and effort in creating a stellar experience for their online visitors, akin to their offline experience.
Right from the content and design to creating a smooth user journey, the focus is to design an experience around what the target audience needs and wants. While research can help in understanding what works best, it is important to keep in mind that your owned online assets should be optimized for both web and mobile, so as to ensure a seamless experience for the visitor.
A great UX can augment visitor interest, which can translate into leads and hopefully, revenue in the long run and it is worth investing time in getting this right.
- Strategic Content Marketing
Content Marketing is becoming a highly ranked buzzword today and has evolved from a “good to have” to a “must-have” element in the digital marketing mix. Loosely defined, content marketing stands for creating relevant, engaging and valuable content, and distributing it on the right channels to attract, convert and retain your target audience. In other words, delivering the right content at the right time to the right person forms the crux of good content marketing.
It is interesting to note that while the broad digital tactics might be similar across competing brands, it is really content that helps a brand stand out amidst the information clutter in the online space.
Successful brands usually have a well-defined content strategy with clearly outlined goals and KPIs in place. If we were to look for commonalities among the content strategies of these brands, we would see that they employ different content formats that span text, audio, visual, video and more. Also, we would all agree that the brands we feel closest to bring us content that is entertaining, informative, evocative, inspirational and enriching or even all of these at once! These brands invest significant time and resources to create high-quality content for each step of the buyer journey, and beyond. There are some smart brands that not only create their own content but thrive on user-generated and curated content as well.
Whether you choose to create or curate, good content is deeply rooted in an accurate understanding of your target audience and what they really want.
- Optimizing Social Media
Social Media platforms have become the place to hang out online, especially post the pandemic. Unlike the case a few years back, an increasing number of social media users are willing to engage with brands online. Social channels offer a dynamic, ever-evolving virtual space where people share about what is important to them, and connect with people, brands and causes that they care about.
Successful online brands use this as a wonderful opportunity to not only reach out and engage with their diverse audiences’ online, but also have interactions that drive preference, conversions and encourage repeat purchases. These brands also monitor their social metrics and correlate it with business performance metrics like ROI, leads and sales.
For success on social, it is also important to also identify the right platforms where your customers spend more time and build a strong presence with well-planned content, campaigns and real-time responsiveness.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEM or PPC usually makes it to most digital marketing plans, but SEO is where the real reward lies. Most purchase decisions today start with a simple online search, and organic search results command much higher credibility as compared to paid results. In fact, this behaviour is so deeply embedded, that it feels only natural to look online when we are considering making a purchase decision. This is an era dependent on search engines, and no brand, big or small, would want to miss out on the opportunities to connect with newer audiences online.
Given that Google, which is currently the most popular search engine, receives over 57,000 searches per second, SEO is something that nobody can take for granted. It isn’t enough for large brands to rest on their offline reputation, as if they do not hold their rank, they could be toppled over by newer entrants to the market. Yes, SEO can be an equalizer of sorts.
And so, successful online brands look at SEO as an investment to maintain their online turf. Not only is it a great way to strengthen the brand association with the category, but it is a great avenue for cost-effective lead generation as well. Most of these brands and businesses also optimize for local SEO, to ensure that they are discoverable by those in close vicinity, as most people search for products and services on their handheld devices when they are on the go. Social SEO is yet another tactic that can contribute to overall visibility and rankings.
- Customer Behaviour Tracking & Data Analytics
Data mining and analytics has become a veritable buzzword today, and rightly so. Digital Marketing success today cannot be perceived without data analytics. The various analytics tools available today allow businesses to fairly predict customer behaviour and plan their campaigns accordingly. It is now easy to understand what drives prospective customers to you, what makes them stay or leave, how they feel about your brand and even whether your digital marketing efforts are working the way you had intended, among other things.
From Google Analytics for your website to independent social media analytics tools, there is a tool to measure almost anything on digital. And this makes it possible to observe and understand behaviours and patterns that we might have otherwise missed.
Successful brands have a habit of closely monitoring their data from their website as well as social media channels, mining actionable insights from it and swiftly responding as necessary, to always stay on top of their digital game. Correctly interpreting data requires a certain level of expertise, but when done correctly, it can empower businesses to make the best possible use of digital.
To sum up, well-executed Digital Marketing and SEO strategies can help your business reap rich dividends in the form of higher brand awareness and preference, and a positive impact on your bottom line. But there is one thing more important than the perfect digital marketing plan. Successful online brands go a step further and ensure that there is alignment and synergy between the online and offline interaction with their visitors. There is no point in offering a great virtual experience if you cannot back it up in the real world. And if you are aspiring for digital success, this is something you cannot ignore.
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