Digital marketing is simply a must for any business looking to expand and thrive in this technological age, as floods of consumers use the web to live their day-to-day lives. For many businesses, it is where their customers are at, but deploying the right digital strategy to appeal to your target market is where many marketing teams lack direction. So, in this post, we give you 9 key tips on how to really make the most of your business’s digital marketing efforts.

Social Media

There is no doubt that social media is an essential addition to any digital marketing strategy. In fact, you could go as far as to say that any digital strategy without social media is not worth the paper it is written on, simply because social platforms offer much more than just brand awareness; it instils trust and authority in your brand; it increases your audience size enabling you to connect with a broader range of consumers; it allows you to effectively manage your reputation to the wider digital landscape. The benefits of factoring social media marketing into your digital strategy are truly endless, which affirms the need to integrate both organic and paid social campaigns into your strategy.

However, this should never be a one-size fits-all strategy, you should take time to choose social media platforms carefully, ensuring you are active on the channels where you know your customers are at. For small businesses, focusing on two or three platforms reaps far more benefits that spreading too thin over every social media platform there is. For larger businesses, analyse Google Analytics data to comprehensively understand where your traffic is coming from and other social tools to report on engagement.

Temporary Marketing

Also known as ephemeral marketing, meaning short-lived or transient marketing – SnapChat is leading the way, especially with younger audiences. SnapChat is great for creating a buzz around a new product or service, so don’t dismiss it completely.

This kind of marketing is ‘now you see it, now you don’t’. Promotions and infomercials are short and sweet with the younger generation apparently liking content that is straight to the point.

Content Is ‘You-know-what’

We all know how important digital content is to any digital marketing strategy, hence why I’ve altered the regurgitated adage to refrain from continually using Bill Gates’ statement some 20 years ago. As you will have read (or heard) it countless times before, it would seem that there’s no letting up for the foreseeable future – in any digital marketing strategy, you need content – however taxing or laborious you may find it to be.

Countless studies have proved this, and Google have updated their algorithm to emphasise the importance of content in search marketing. On average, 8 out of 10 people believing that a company with good content wants to build relationships and not only that, but content marketing costs much less than traditional methods; in fact, for every lead it generates it costs half as much, a saving worth having for any business.

Content builds trust, loyalty and engagement, in addition to the myriad factors that have been known for a long time, but yet it is surprising that many businesses still don’t have a content strategy as part of their overall digital strategy.

Location-based technology

For businesses that regularly host events, the use of the latest location-based technology is an important addition to a digital marketing strategy.

The latest technology of this ilk utilises Radio Frequency Identification or RFID can be used as an alternative to bar codes. Consisting of three pieces of kit, companies with regular events are buying into the technology that offers them the edge over competitors.

There are other means of doing this, of course, and hosting events is not the only way to locate your customers that could be near-by. Google have shown that the use of data enabled devices by customers in a certain area is one way of showing them local business etc. Beacons are another effective means of exploiting location-based sales and leads, though finding customers wanting to use these could be a challenge.

Brand advocates/influencers

A digital strategy that focuses on short, sharp and quick interactions is only going part of the way. Brand advocates are loyal customers, so by concentrating your digital strategy on not only finding customers but also keeping them, you will find brand advocates that enjoy your product or service. Customers like to feel this relationship is organic and not forced, genuine, authentic and credible.

Additionally, industry bloggers can offer a wealth of benefits to generating interest in a product/service to their following as it’s generally understood that popular influencers are considered to trustworthy and authoritative across the ‘sociosphere’. However, on important point to remember which often requires iteration is that to get bloggers on your side for promoting your content the relationship absolutely has to be mutually beneficial.

Scheduling tools

Any business active of social media will know how much time it can and does swallow. Managing tweets and posts is essential. Combine this with the amazing power of content and you have a digital strategy that could take off.

As well as outsourcing part or all of social media management, there are a variety of platforms such as Hootsuite and Buffer than can help out with scheduling tweets and posts. However, always keep a sense of human-ness about tweets and posts, as being too automated can be a turn off for customers and fans

Wearable tech

Wearable tech – the LG Urbane watches the Apple watches and so on – are a steady burn in the world of technology. Some people love them and see the value in them, others are still unsure.

What this denotes is a distinction in behaviour. As a company, you will want to take advantage of this as a means of more targeted marketing. Are your customers into wearable tech?

Understanding who finds this kind of technology exciting and a must-have accessory should be a high priority because, if they are your customers and fans, this needs to be worked into your digital strategy.

Video Content

YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, which shouldn’t really be too surprising when considering that the latter bought out the former for US$1.65 billion back in November 2006. So, when Google deployed a similar algorithm to the one embedded into their search engine, it enabled YouTube videos to be indexed in a similar vein to how Google Search indexes websites.

What does this mean for you, you may be thinking? Well it means that creating videos, vines, films, animations and having your own YouTube channel could pay dividends. And it does – which is precisely why video creators invest so much time into frequently updating their YouTube channel.

The addition of live streaming takes this to a whole new level so if you are yet to look at this as digital strategy then the time is NOW! This coming year, it is essential you explore SnapChat, Periscope as well as building a presence, or improving it on YouTube.

Optimised, responsive website

At this point in 2016, having a fully optimised and responsive website that can seamlessly display on all devices (mobile, tablet and desktop) should be a no-brainer, but some businesses have been slower to change than others.

Customers are now expecting a heightened level of responsiveness from websites. A slow, chunky site is an immediate turn off and worse still, if a customer cannot comfortably access your site without too much fiddling, they will simply navigate away.

The use of mobile devices to access the web has steadily climbed in recent years, for audiences across the globe and with the number looking to carry on climbing, if you have not already created or adapted your website for mobile or tablet, then you simply must – or face being left behind.

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