It doesn’t take an advanced degree in Marketing, Communications, or Advertising to realize that nearly everything we do in this world is done with the assistance of the internet. Sure, we still watch television, read books and magazines, and check out billboards and signs. But if you want the attention of most people, you’re going to have to go digital.
We all know we need to do it, but most of the time, we’re not entirely sure why. Why is digital marketing so important for our businesses, despite the fact that some businesses still pay millions of dollars for well-placed television ads?
Let’s take a look at some of the crucial advantages of digital marketing for today’s businesses.
Digital Marketing: The Cost and The Target
Over the years, we have reached an understanding that, the more you spend on advertising, the bigger a market you can reach. But while reaching a bigger market can improve your overall chances of making conversions, sometimes spending less money for a more strategic effort is an even better idea.
Read also: Marketing with a limited budget
There is no denying that digital marketing is by and large, incredibly cost-effective. A multitude of free digital marketing opportunities become available the minute you start a social media presence for your brand. Platforms such as Facebook/Meta, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and many more allow you to start an account for free.
In some instances, setting up a business, verified (interested?), or professional account may require a few extra steps or a small fee, but once you’ve enrolled with your business’ information, you can post as much as you wish.
As an extra bonus, some of these platforms sell ad space at a discounted rate to those who have accounts with the service. Facebook/Meta and Instagram, for example, allow businesses to display advertisements, and provide helpful tools to improve your targeting.
Compare this to print ads. When you purchase print ads space, you’re putting your money on a very wide audience, even when you’re being attentive to the niche. For example, if you purchase ad space in an equestrian magazine, you’ll be in front of the right audience, but you still won’t know what demographic within that audience responds positively to your ad.
Read more: Finding your Target Audience
On the other hand, Facebook/Meta allows users to set up ads that include specific keywords, demographics, or geographical locations. That means you can strategically place your ad in front of only the eyes that matter to you. You end up paying less overall while still ensuring your brand is being seen by the right people.
Immediateness of Digital Marketing
Another benefit to digital marketing is that the internet is everywhere. Thanks to smartphones, the internet can be anywhere a human happens to be when they press a few buttons. That means any time is a good time to reach out to your customers.
Television commercials are often restricted to a certain time slot. Print ads disappear the moment the reader is done with their material. It’s easy to forget “that one thing you saw”, unless you look it up right then and there.
There are many options within digital marketing to keep your brand name in the forefront of your audience’s mind. Jingles and storytelling are wonderful, but imagine if your customers could learn about your business, learn about your brand, explore your inventory, and purchase exactly what they need within the amount of time it takes to travel from one end of town to the other?
Google ads (learn more here) allow potential customers to tap on something that catches their fancy and have it within their hands within days. The use of keywords, long-tail keywords, and negative keywords has made it easier for people to find what they want without having to look too hard. In fact, voice activated assistants are able to do the shopping on behalf of users, just by entering a few important words to narrow down the search. Having your product appear at the top of the list of options increases your ability to gain customers.
Making and Maintaining Contact (And How To Grow)
Perhaps one of the biggest draws of digital marketing is that it is always a two-way street. Comments, shares, and analytics are some of the ways your digital advertising dollar goes further than print or television ads.
When you post on social media, for example, you do so to attract the attention of followers. Those followers can like and share your posts and ads, which can in turn include links to your website, details about a special offer, and various landing pages, just to name a few popular options. You are immediately drawing in an audience, and if you’ve targeted your ads correctly, those audience members will become customers.
Add onto this that you can actually engage with your followers via social media. When they comment on your posts, you can “like” their comment or reply to acknowledge what they’ve said. Everyone enjoys a personal touch, so when a business takes the time to interact with customers, it helps create a meaningful connection between your business and your audience. That leads to lifetime customers who feel valued by your brand.
Shares are another benefit of digital marketing, and another reason why online advertising dollars go further than print or television. When someone sees something on the internet that they love, they’ll tag, copy and paste the link, or screen shot that page to share it with people who they feel might also benefit from learning about your brand.
That one targeted audience member may end up unintentionally spreading the word far and wide about your business, just from one interaction with one ad. And given the immediate-ness of digital marketing, that can lead to a lot of activity, just from one opportunity.
And if all else fails, you have analytics to help you understand where things went wrong. Google’s built-in analytics, but also tools like this one, will help you understand what keywords are hot, and which are not so that you aren’t wasting money with your ads. Facebook/Meta’s analytics show you the “when” and “who” of what makes your ad successful, as well. Even if your customers aren’t telling you directly, digital analytic tools help you understand where things are working and why.
As business owners, we’re often asked what our digital marketing strategy is, without really thinking why we do it. When you stop and think about it, there are some definite advantages to digital over print or television advertising. We live in a time when online resources have made it possible for business owners to have greater control over who sees their ads while simultaneously making it easier than ever for customers to spread the word about the businesses they enjoy.
In many ways, you can say that digital marketing is “bigger and better than ever,” in terms of what can be accomplished with a well-placed advertising dollar.