Your industry will sell through digital sales channels if it isn’t already. Traditional channels have taken a backseat in today’s digital world. Gone are the days of depending on face-to-face meetings with prospects and repeated sales calls before landing a sale.
Today, brands use digital channels to connect with customers at just the right time. Failure to go digital will reduce you to reactivity, negatively affecting your growth potential. The best change to make now is to start using digital channels.
To carry out a digital campaign, you need to set specific goals, define your target market, draft compelling product content, pick the digital channels you want to use, and measure progress.
Online sales is becoming more complex each day, with more channels popping up and consumer tastes changing rapidly. But one thing is a constant: people prefer brands ready to provide them with a delightful customer experience throughout their journey. And these customers will keep coming back for more.
The Problem with Only Using Traditional Marketing Channels
Traditional channels used to reach target audiences with the aid of face to face, telephone, print, and broadcast media communication. The goal of traditional channels is to provide information to push your brand with little or no interaction between the medium and the public. Digital marketing, on the other hand, makes audience interaction with the selected medium possible. Prospects have the opportunity to visit your site, read descriptions of product attributes, make comments, and provide feedback.
Digital channels level the playing field between big, well-established brands and those just starting out. Remember, a local retailer, using traditional channels probably won’t be in a position to compete with larger names. Through digital channels, brand success isn’t dependent on the size of the store to achieve greater exposure.
Data is harder to store with traditional media. On the other hand, digital marketing gives the public variety and the ability to select how they want to receive your digital assets.
While traditional marketing channels can do the job, digital marketing can do so more quickly and efficiently. Digital channels provide real-time results at the click of a link, tracking progress to readjust. Traditional channels just can’t compete with this kind of functionality.
On the issue of generating buzz and viral sensation, digital marketing channels have taken the lead over traditional channels. Social media sharing distributes your content to millions in seconds, thus increasing your brand visibility. This is impossible in print or broadcast media.
Digital Channels and the Power of Content Creation
As a business, you need to be available where your consumers exist. Digital marketing reaches your customers in an environment ideally suited for you to satisfy their needs. Through digital channels, you can connect, inform, persuade, and make an offer that meets your customers’ specific, individual needs. Using digital channels saves money and time, and reduces the frustration bound to happen when using traditional channels alone.
You can’t talk about digital channels without discussing content and organization of product information. Content is the backbone of digital marketing, because it encompasses all communication between brand and customer. Engaging content influences purchasing decisions in your favor.
When content is great, it is easy to spot because it’s informative, interesting and easy to understand. Good content tells your brand story and connects with your audience. Brands are subscribing to the use of digital content not only to pitch their products and services, but to deliver valuable information to customers. Using content to become relevant to their lives and turn them to loyal customers is key.
Quality is essential in content creation, if it is to be engaging and powerful. The content you produce should inspire your customers to “take action.” Your calls-to-action should encourage customers to supply you with their details for immediate purchase.
Preparing for Digital Channel Marketing: Digital Marketing Strategy
While we are not disputing the fact that traditional channels are still important, it is safe to say that digital channels have come in to complement the failures of traditional channels. This is why you need to be ready for digital channel marketing and your digital strategy can help you best prepare.
Digital marketing strategy is a plan of action that can help you achieve your business goals through the use of online or internet marketing. Buyer personas should be built because they represent the customers you are targeting. All these are explained in the subsequent points below.
Understand Your Customers Intimately
It should be at the back of your mind that everything you do in business is for the satisfaction and delight of your customers. They are the reason for your existence as a business. Do your research well by knowing who they are and the best way to market to them that can capture their attention and sustain it.
Excellent customer service should be at the core of all marketing activities so that value is assured even before a purchase decision is made. Building buyer personas is a great way to understand the target audience of businesses. The nature of your business will influence the data you collect when building your buyer personas. Information should be collected about their demographics which span from location, income, age bracket, among others.
Psychographic information can also be collected with regard to their interests, challenges or pain points as well as their preferences in a bid to intimately understand their behavioral patterns. You should go as deep as knowing the amount of time they spend on each page on your website.
All this information should be accurately collected because your digital marketing strategy will be targeted to your customer segments through the buyer personas you have created.
What Are Your Digital Marketing Goals?
Your digital marketing goals are different from the overall goal of your business. However, they must complement each other. Your marketing goal should not be completely different from the overall goals of your business but should be tied back to it.
Your marketing goals should be outlined in clear statements. This is very important for measurement and evaluation. The effectiveness of your digital strategy can be largely determined by the extent to which your marketing goals were achieved.
Your digital marketing goals should revolve around some specific points. It can be tailored to converting leads to buying customers, known as customer acquisition. Increasing sales by a certain percentage, to win back lost customers who have ceased to be active or to increase the lifetime value of customers. In other words, reducing customer churn and increasing customer retention.
The set goals should be as specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound as possible. Each of these elements will go a long way to ensure its success. It should be properly defined to ensure that campaigns are drafted in line with them if you want successful results.
Determine the Digital Channels You Want to Use
There are a lot of digital channels that are available for the use of businesses, which is why it is so powerful. Remember, the digital channel selected must be one that will fit into your digital marketing strategy with the capacity to fulfill your set goals. It may not be all channels that may be the right fit for your products and services. Hence, you need to understand the ones that are relevant to your business and the ones that are not.
You can use owned, earned or paid media channels in order to generate awareness about your brand. Digital channels present opportunity for brands to engage their prospects across multiple touch points. While there are so many, a few will be discussed below;
It is important for you to have a website for your business if you don’t have one. You need to have a place where customers can go to when trying to access your products and services.
Before you build your website, you have to know the purpose it will serve and the impression you want customers to have when they visit. You need to know the customer segment your brand is targeting and what their needs will be, so you can include tailored content your site specifically for them.
For those that already have one, while you may argue that you already have a website, it is important to answer the question of whether your site is fully optimized for visits done via mobile devices. Your site should be easy to understand and navigate with engaging content that will make them want to stay longer.
The design and functionality of your site is also an important consideration it should be one that can catch the attention of shoppers and have a positive effect on their view of your brand as a whole.
The reason for the poor turn out to your site could be that it is not mobile-friendly, slow load-time or poorly structured layout. Whatever be the case, it is important for your design team to fix these problems if you want to attract more prospects to your site. Ensure your website is secure as cybersecurity is the concern of most shoppers online.
Regularly test your website to have an insight into the experiences of customers when they visit your site. This will give you insights into the problems they face and effective solutions can be implemented.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is a digital marketing channel used in the promotion of brands on various platforms. Some popular ones include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. As earlier said, your choice of channel will depend largely on your digital marketing strategy.
Social media is not just for socializing, but helps build rapport and engagement with customers on their terms with the platform of their choice. With more and more platforms developed every day, it is fast becoming an essential targeted advertising platform. Be interactive with your followers, for example, chat with them in real-time and answer their questions promptly. This goes a long way to show them that they are important and you value their contributions.
Social data analytics program is one that can help you collate data from social media sites for proper targeting of content to the right market. Write industry specific content to focus in on specific client verticals. Speaking to these customers directly will show them how interested you are in their business. This will help you win new customers and improve existing customer loyalty.
Grading content likewise will help you focus in on what works and what doesn’t. You will know what content needs to be improved, what needs to be deleted, and where the holes to fill are.
Your digital strategy should inform all social media activities to achieve your marketing goals. Your brand voice should be consistent across all the platforms you use. This is a great medium to display the personality of your brand and your brand promise which will help differentiate your brand from others.
Search Engine Optimization
This is not a channel per se but a strategy to increase your ranking on the results of search engine queries. It is largely connected to specific keywords used when entering a particular subject or topic. Optimization is important because it can help you drive organic search and increase your site rankings through important elements of quality content, relevant links, and social media engagements.
Beware of your page load speed and reduce anything that will slow it down. No one is going to wait around for your website to take its sweet time loading and frustrate their experience; they will move on to faster alternatives. Always remember to tailor your custom content to your customers, not to search engines. Focus on consistently delivering quality, original and engaging content and your customers will always come back for more. More brands will want to link to your share-worthy content.
Your images matter, and connecting them to the right keyword optimizes them for search engines. Your customers should be able to understand your Uniform Resource Locator (URL) easily with just a glance. And use words instead of characters to make it more memorable for your customers.
At the end of the day, always have an effective tracking system to tell what is working and what is not.
This is a channel that uses electronic mail medium to market their brands and businesses. It is a very important channel that can increase the visibility of your brand because it is the most personal way brands can interact with their customers.
Email marketing is effective in targeted communications across your sales funnel. You cannot be relevant to everybody at the same time. This is why you should segment your email list to send targeted messages to prospects.
Don’t fall victim and become a pest to customers by sending too many emails to customers; it can get irritating and make them unsubscribe from you. Sending few emails is bad because you can be forgettable and end up in spam. This is why there should be a perfect balance when it comes to the issue of frequency and timing.
Have a clear purpose before you request the customer to give you an email address. You need to be able to give your customer something valuable which will keep them interested for more offers from you. Remember to include a call-to-action in a way that recipients will not miss it even if they are only skimming through.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
This is another avenue that to explore with regard to selling through digital channels. Think of PPC as paid adverts offered by search engines. Here, you can buy visits to your sites instead of solely depending on organic visits. Here, advertisers pay a fee when someone clicks on one of their ads. Google AdWords is an example of a PPC system.
In order to expand the reach of your PPC advert campaigns, include keywords that are relevant to your business. Carry out reviews regularly, especially on expensive PPC keywords and any others not performing according to expectations. Ultimately, strong content is content that’s working. If it’s not working, fix it or shut it down.
Make Digital Channels Work for Your Ecommerce Business
Why select a medium that allows you have just one conversation at a time, when you can talk to millions at the same time at even lower cost? This is not to say traditional channels aren’t important to generate leads and boost conversions. Traditional channels offer a human touch that digital doesn’t. On the other hand, digital channels are more efficient, cheaper, and have a wider reach.
This post is not in any way an exhaustive list of all channels your ecommerce business can use. Do research and discover more, if you want to be a leader in your industry.
Your traditional marketing methods and channels should support an already solid digital marketing effort. You shouldn’t use either in isolation. It is not advisable for firms to solely depend on digital channel and abandon the ground work traditional channels can play. Thus, for optimum results in their dealings with current and prospective customers, firms should combine the human element of traditional channels with the efficiency of digital ones.
The goal is delightful customer experiences that keep them satisfied; hence, you need to make sure that your service providers are willing to go above and beyond to ensure that this is done. This means speeding up response time and handling complaints effectively.
Personalization of your services is important to make your brand more “human”. Customers do not want newsletters and emails from firms, they want personalization. The information gathered from your buyer personas can help you tailor your messages specifically to certain groups of people.
Regularly evaluating all the digital channels you use for adequate corrections is key, especially where you find goals deviating so management can begin making smart decisions again. The goal remains quality interactions with customers that can root your company name and brand image firmly in the minds of your customers.
Now that you know the value of selling through digital channels, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.