Why Digital Marketing is Important These Days
Before taking the course, I thought digital marketing is just writing funny posts on social media like Facebook. However, after a semester of learning various digital marketing tools, I found that it is more than that. In the following paragraphs, I will show you two main reasons why it is important and how they can help you.
First, digital marketing helps you tell your target audience your existence. In the past, when the Internet was not as popular as these days, people were restricted by the source of information they can have access to. Most of them got information from newspapers, magazines, or TVs. Thus, if being a small or regional business, you may only have to spend a fairly small amount on newspaper or other channels, and you can have monopoly of the whole market in that area. Nowadays, however, everything has changed by the Internet. With the help of the Internet, consumers have free access to unlimited amount of information worldwide. This has also changed their purchasing funnel as the rise of the “zero moment of truth”(ZMOT). Due to the competitiveness of consumer products, they now have countless choices, and if you are not there to help when consumers trying to make a decision, you are out.
Second, digital marketing helps you understand your target audience. In the past, consumers’ needs were monotonic and easy to predict. Sometimes business may not even pay too much attention to consumers’ needs, since a good product spoke for itself. The Internet, however not only offers them chances to understand what they like, but also choices to satisfy their needs. Therefore, if you cannot satisfy consumers’ needs, then you are out in the competition.
Digital marketing, on the other hand, provides different tools for you to solve the above two issues, amplifying your presence to consumers, and disclosing thoughts of consumers via SEO, social media, and email.
- SEO helps you get found by consumers and understand their search intent.
These days, if consumers have questions about a certain product or are intrigued by a product, the first thing they may do is to open their browser and search for that product. If you are not there to offer them a good impression, then you may be deleted from their purchasing funnel. SEO is the exact tool that helps you prevent that from happening. Understanding the algorithms of search engines may help you revise your website and appear at a high rank in the search results pages. The key to do this is to understand the search intent of your target audience. Nowadays, Google has changed its algorithms from only focusing on keywords to topic association. Understanding searchers’ intent becomes more important since the top results are not those with the most keywords, but are those with the most relevant content and those people find most helpful in that certain topic. Businesses should first come up with a list of potential keywords, and then group those keywords according to people’s intent. Then they should build their websites based on the intents, not only including the keywords, but also revealing people’s intent in making that search. Next, businesses need to update their webpages regularly and maybe create other contents around potential new intents, and in this way, even their old customers may learn something new from the websites. Besides improving organic search results, another effective SEO strategy is sponsored search. By analyzing the performance of each keyword via metrics like average position, impressions, click-through rate, average cost per click, conversion rate, and cost per conversion, businesses can discover consumers’ intent, and then decide which keywords to invest more, and which to be eliminated. Fortunately, Google and other SEO websites offer various tools for businesses to utilize.
- Social media helps you amplify the brand and analyze consumer behavior.
A brand page on social media platform is not a one-man monologue that sells your products, but a chance for you to actively engage with your followers and find out what they like. In order to engage your consumers, you can host contests, encourage user-generated contents, provide customer service, or even offer them personalized experience with the company. Apart from that, people on social media also want to interact with their friends and family, and this facilitates the spread of word of mouth. Consumers trust their fellows more than the company. As a result, if your contents or your products are amazing, people are willing to share them with their friends, and they will have a good impression towards you as well. This is as if rolling a snowball that social media helps you to expand your reach to millions of potential consumers. Besides, social medial also allows you to understand your consumers’ language and their online behaviors. By analyzing the language they use when they refer to your industry, your business, and your product, you can discover their attitude, whether they like or dislike your product, and whether you can help them solve any problem or fulfill any needs. The sentiment among their languages can really reveal their true feelings towards your products. On the other hand, Facebook, for example, offers various statistics for you to understand how your customers behave on the Internet, including their interest in different topics, their demographic composition, the devices they use, and so on. By understanding those behaviors, business may create a persona for their target audience, and thus, targets them more effectively.
- Emails help you reach your consumers and test their likes and dislikes.
You can do a lot with email marketing since giving you their email address shows that consumers are interested in your products. Hence, building a large email list may help you reach more and more potential consumers, and convert them into loyalists to your products. On the other hand, Facebook also provides different tools for you to take full advantage of your email lists. For example, you can match your email list with people on Facebook, and learn more about them, such as their interests, online behaviors, and so on. This helps you understand your audience better, and in turn, create products that suit them better and design marketing campaigns that can reach them more effectively. Another thing you could do with email marketing is A/B testing. You can test different elements in an email such as subject lines, tones, fonts, and images, and find out the ones that can engage and convert more consumers. Personalization and localization of emails are also good practices to make consumers believe that you really understand them and care for them.
In conclusion, in today’s world, digital marketing is extremely significant and powerful since it helps you consolidate presence in front of your target audience and helps you understand them.
Yue Jiang is a second year master student majoring in economics at the University of Wisconsin Madison. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.