What is the Value of Digital Marketing?

digital marketing strategy

marketing analytics predictions for 2016Recently, I’ve had a number of folks asking this question: What is the value of digital marketing? Obviously, as a digital marketing agency, my answer is YES, but I appreciate the question.

Businesses should ask questions like this and if the folks they entrust with their marketing can’t answer it, they should run … fast.

The value of digital marketing

What’s the value of a Tweet .. a Like?

Maybe nothing. Certainly in isolation, a Tweet has no value.

But, as part of an integrated marketing campaign, a Tweet can be very valuable. In fact, a Tweet might make your rent this month … or your car payment … or your equipment lease.

Integrated marketing

Integrated marketing:

Integrated_Marketing
Image courtesy of Asen Marketing;

Strategy aimed at unifying different marketing methods such as mass marketing, one-to-one marketing, and direct marketing. Its objective is to complement and reinforce the market impact of each method, and to employ the market data generated by these efforts in product development, pricing, distribution, customer service, etc

This, according to the Business Dictionary.

So, integrated marketing uses a variety of channels and marketing tactics in a strategic way to achieve the organization’s goals. Because a sound marketing strategy requires an integrated marketing plan, why would anyone expect a single Tweet or Like to have any impact on our market performance?

How digital fits into an integrated marketing strategy

If you ask me, digital marketing includes both the elements listed in the image above as digital marketing and social media — mostly because the two fit together pretty seamlessly.

In essence, I think there are 2 activities that yield successful market performance — bringing in more traffic (to your site or location) and converting more traffic. Doing 1 without the other means you could bring in more revenue. And, who doesn’t want MORE revenue?

Check out my own infographic below to see the numerous tactics I think you should consider when building a successful marketing strategy.

digital marketing strategy

So, how do you integrate across all these channels and tactics?

It’s not simple and takes a lot of experience. And, analytics.

In essence, your analytics should drive tactics that optimize market performance. That’s why your digital marketing staff should communicate effectively with staff doing traditional marketing, customer service, market research, and branding. And, traditional marketing concepts, such as targeting and segmenting underpin everything in your marketing strategy.

How digital marketing provides value

Let’s start with blogging. I blog at least once a week — I used to blog more, but I’ve taken on more clients and lost some of my Account Executives to larger firms.

A blog post may have no value. But, consistently blogging valuable content designed to attract your target audience gets results over time. Especially if you do a good job of SEO (search engine optimization) and use appropriate keywords.

Take a look at this graphic from Hubspot:

Businesses who blog get 70%+ more customers than those who don’t by only blogging once a week. Even blogging once a month gets you 33% more customers. It’s pretty hard to argue with those stats.

Now, take that blog content, share it on social networks, and expand your reach, sending more visitors to your website and building your reputation. Detractors argue that it isn’t targeted, but you could say that about any marketing channel.

You can improve targeting by using LinkedIn if you’re a B2B play (especially targeted LinkedIn groups). If you’re a B2C play, try Facebook ads (which are the best value on the planet if you ask me). Facebook targeting uses demographics and psychographics to help pinpoint an exact target audience once you’ve done the hard task of knowing who your target is.

But, social media doesn’t give you as much bang if you have a small network. So, you need to focus some energy on building that network by sharing valuable content (I use Feedly to bring appropriate content into SproutSocial, then sharing it every day), engaging with the community (which means following back, thanking them for sharing, liking their content, etc), and actively connecting with influencers.

We can’t forget email marketing which may be the most effective digital marketing strategy. Prompt visitors to your website and social media to join your community (I use Aweber and Constant Contact) by sharing a white paper or other substantive content in exchange for their email address. Then, craft regular emails with unique content to build your relationship with them.

It’s OK to add a little CTA (Call to Action) in your posts, newsletters, and on your social media. In fact, you should get some tangible results from all your digital marketing efforts. Invite them to connect with you or offer something free or discounted to get them to contact you.

Does digital marketing really work?

You won’t see results in the first week — although I had one client whose website visits went from 0 to 1000 a day in the first week after launching the website (but he already had a big following on Facebook).

Digital marketing requires sustained, consistent use over a period of time before you start seeing results. But, you will see results.

Here’s what I get in return for my digital marketing efforts:

  • Revenue doubled over the last year
  • Requests for proposals — about 1/week
  • My content syndicated on Business2Community, featured in Yahoo Business News and Newscred, and other outlets
  • Outreach from other content providers for interviews (including a recent NPR interview), for paid speaking engagements, and paid content
  • Massive growth in both virtual and real communities

Can digital marketing work for you?

Yes.

But, maybe not by itself.

Maybe you need to add some traditional advertising?

Maybe you need a little off-page SEO?

conversion funnelYou can NEVER forget the power of classic marketing whether you’re doing marketing digitally or traditionally.

  1. Market segmentation — if you don’t do market segmentation, don’t choose the right segments, or don’t know enough about your market segments, you won’t get the market performance you hoped.
  2. Product — Product, product, product. Unless you have a good product, your performance will suffer. That includes the way you position and brand your product. And, UX, UI (sorry all you IT wonks, at its heart, UX is marketing. The rest is CSS).
  3. Customer service – you should strive for superior customer service in every customer experience.
  4. Motivation — somehow, you need to get folks into the funnel above, then move them down the funnel past conversion to repeat customers. Social media can help, as consumers are more likely to buy based on a recommendation from their network than through marketing messages. Plus, it doesn’t do any good to spend effort dumping consumers into the top of the funnel if few travel down to the point where they ring your cash register.

Need marketing help to support business growth?

We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies.  Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get our FREE guide to creating an awesome website, or contact us for more information on hiring us.

Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.