The marketing world has undergone a massive change over the past decade. While the practice undergoes a constant evolution, this change has been jumpstarted especially over the past few years. With the increase in internet access, social media sites, affordable smartphones, bloggers, influencers, businesses can do more for less with their marketing dollars.
Before the rise of digital marketing avenues, marketing was limited to television commercials, print ads and branded events in public spaces.
These are very expensive and difficult to track marketing activities. The rise of digital has called into question the actual effectiveness. Yes, these mediums are great for raising awareness and promotions. But it’s difficult to track what revenue was earned from investing in these age-old techniques.
Thanks to digital agencies such as Summong Digital who are a leading PPC agency in London, small companies now have access to cost effective and more efficient marketing tools. Gone are the days when a brand requires millions of dollars to develop a TVC and then bid for air time. With digital, you can directly target your core audience / target market and track it.
As a result, startups can and have chosen to focus on digital marketing. However, not all digital marketing practices are equal. Some work better then others. This is especially true when considering the effectiveness of digital marketing for digital marketing.
After all, a financial services firm wouldn’t follow the same digital strategy as a soap seller.
Now let’s talk about some popular digital marketing strategies which have a proven track record and can support a business in its growth process:
- Email Marketing
This one is a favorite, especially in the services industry. Though many predicted its death, email marketing is still around and doing well.
Of course, results will vary industry to industry. For example, a bank will use emails to update clients about new loans, send bank statements, updates on credit card offerings etc. This functions as a way of targeting existing customers and potentially new ones.
Just provide a hyperlink to the relevant website and the potential client can fill in a form and the bank would come to them. This way, you bring convenience to the consumer.
For a start-up, again, a fintech company would benefit more from email marketing then one focused on physical consumer goods.
However, yes if you have a ground breaking product and access to a large email database filled with your target consumer, then yes, please use email marketing. Its cheap. But make sure the content is appealing.
The biggest mistake a start up can make is to use generic content that looks like that of the market leader or other big players. With the infinite amount of content out there, it is important to stand out and maintain your brand positioning.
- Social Media Marketing
Here we go. The Big Daddy of digital marketing. Many companies make the common mistake of treating social media marketing like any other tool. Well, that’s a mistake, sometimes a big glaring one that leaves you full of regrets the next morning (like that extra cocktail you should have avoided).
Social media marketing is great. Its cost effective, creates amazing awareness and can generate sales. BUT, that is only if you know what you’re doing. I have personally seen a brand manager treating Facebook like he would television and print. What can social media do for you:
- Let’s your content to be viewed by your bullseye target market (for this it is important to know your consumer. This way you can add the proper filters and get maximum value for your dollars. Avoid targeting the entire social medial populous. Not every person on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat is your potential customer. Focus on the people who believe in your brand and the values it practices.
- Stand out from the crowd: Content marketing is this very vague term thrown around a lot. However, what does that mean and do for you? Well, this article can’t answer that for you. As the business owner / brand manager for your start up, only you can determine the path your content should follow. Its very easy for an agency or consultant to give ideas or advice. But the final decision maker is you. Make sure to study what your direct and indirect competitors are doing, what your consumer likes to read/view and then create a content plan around your brand and what it means. The easiest way to waste your marketing dollars is to be reactive and do too much.
- Creates relationships: The biggest advantage (some might perceive it as a negative) of social media marketing is that is creates a space for two way communication. Imagine your brand, as a person, chatting with a consumer. Getting direct feedback/praise. It’s a fantastic way for brands to learn and improve. Service sector firms have especially benefitted from this As a start up, you can use this as a platform for adding and improving to your particular product / service. Don’t go crazy and hire a team or agency to do your social listening as early as in your start up stage, do it yourself. It’s your company, your product. Who would understand the feedback better? You, the person who started it all, or a third party vendor / employee who has to visit the “About us” section of your website every 30 minutes?
- Generates Revenue: Despite popular belief, social media, if properly utilized can create moments where people buy, convert to or ask about your product.
- Pay-Per-Click Marketing (Google AdWords)
Indeed, a powerful and potentially effective marketing tool. But, it’s not for everyone. Sure, you maybe sold on it in the sense that you only pay when someone clicks on the advertised link on the top of the search results. But keep in mind that whatever results you get out of this are short term. I would only advise a start up to use PPC if it is planning some massive promotion or offers an industry changing service.
In today’s increasingly competitive environment and keeping in mind that most start ups fail, it is important to focus on “earning” your place in the consumer mind as opposed to buying a short-term thought.
If I see a PPC ad from JP Morgan or Emirate Airlines, I might click on it. But if I don’t know the brand or company, I’ll pass. Such is the fate of start-ups. They aren’t that well known. Don’t let the example of Uber fool you. Uber is a 50 billion dollar PLUS company. Not every start up has the same luck or path to follow.
In conclusion, digital marketing is great, use it. However, keep in mind it is only a marketing medium. A new platform by which to reach your consumer. The focus should be on building your startups brand and credibility which will enable effective marketing. Your brand should not be based on digital marketing strategies. Your digital marketing strategies should be based on what your brand means and offers.