How to drive sales with digital marketing.

What is digital marketing?

  • Marketing communications has always been about connecting with your audience in the right place at the right time. In today’s world with forever adapting new technologies and audiences spending an increasing amount of time online, it is no surprise that this is where marketing efforts are being focused.  As a business today, that means you need to connect with your audience where they are spending most of their time – and that, is on the internet.
  • In the last decade, with the marketing industry following technological trends into the digital space, we’ve seen the booming emergence of digital marketing. Digital marketing was initially just a small branch of marketing activity when it was first born. But, fast forward to today and digital marketing can make up nearly 45% of a business’s marketing budget, depending on your industry and marketing goals.
digital marketing overview

Simply put, digital marketing encompasses all marketing activities that involve the internet – from search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, pay per click advertising, content marketing, email and website activity. These are just some strategic ways for businesses to connect with current and potential audiences online. We will go into more examples of digital marketing activities later on.

A digital marketing strategy is key
digital marketing strategy

With any marketing activity, it is important to start with a considered strategy and plan. By creating and implementing a digital marketing strategy and plan, you are setting your business up to better achieve your business objectives and marketing goals more efficiently. How so? A digital marketing strategy will clearly define your target audience, how best to talk to them, what channels are most effective to reach them and what messaging will be most relevant in making a connection.

For example, if you own a building company and are looking to launch a social media campaign, a strategy would help define the right messaging and channels for your target audience, which are most likely males and females aged 35+. Facebook and Instagram would most likely be the best channels to reach this audience, not Snapchat (for example) which is aimed towards a much younger audience. Thinking of the customer journey and your overall objective (i.e. brand awareness, consideration, sales or lead generation) will optimise your digital marketing efforts, helping you to meet your goals.


Why digital marketing?

Ad and objective customisation

Digital marketing is one of the most effective marketing activities to communicate with your audience. The average person spends about 24 hours a week on the internet, most of the time on their smartphone. Furthermore, with digital marketing you have endless possibilities to personalise messages, artwork, highly target your ads and track behaviours and trends to ensure you are best utilising your marketing investment. Looking to increase your brand awareness? Digital marketing can do that. Wanting to get more leads into your business? Again, digital marketing is the answer. Whatever your objective, there is a customised digital approach to suit your business needs.

It’s cost-effective

The biggest advantage to digital marketing is that it is cost-effective. With tracking metrics like cost-per-click, cost-per-acquisition and real-time monitoring, you can easily track how your marketing campaigns are performing and adjust or change at any time. It is important to note, however, that you must consider the level of competition in your industry, sometimes certain industries are relatively ‘more expensive’ in terms of advertising spend but are still considerably more targeted than renting out a billboard and cheaper than a television commercial.

Effective return-on-investment

On the subject of cost, digital marketing provides a high return on investment (ROI) being a low-cost activity and having a high level of conversion or engagement. The basic formula for calculating ROI is (gains from investment – cost of investment) / (cost of investment) x 100%. This is an easy metric to calculate when running an online campaign and can instantly inform how your digital marketing is performing if ROI is a key performance indicator (or KPI) for your marketing objective.

Highly targeted

With digital marketing activities, you can target your audience in ways you would have never imagined in the past, giving you the opportunity to speak directly to specific audience segments. This means your ads are more likely to achieve better results. As of 2020, there are 4.57 million people using social media platforms, giving businesses direct access to their audiences. Advertising online allows you to target your audience based on location, age, gender, interest or behaviour (such as they have engaged with your website, watched a video for a certain length of time, or liked a post of yours on a specific platform). There are multiple layers to highly target your audience and get your message across.

Real-time measuring and monitoring

Traditional marketing, like print ads in newspapers and magazines, may have worked hard at achieving brand awareness. But consumer brand awareness is an expensive thing to measure and usually only a reality for big brands.  With digital marketing, you can measure an array of metrics to ensure you are meeting your business objectives and marketing goals. There are brand awareness metrics, like reach and impressions, engagement metrics, like clicks and click-through-rate, and conversion metrics, like completed forms, website visits and sales. These can all be easily attributed to any digital marketing campaign, giving you insight in real-time, but also tracking trends and behaviours for future campaigns and marketing activities.

Ability to A/B test

Although it may seem like digital marketing is a silver bullet solution for reaching your objectives, it usually takes time to see what works best for your business and audience.  One way to optimise your efforts is to A/B test (sometimes referred to as split test) everything! What does this mean? It basically means comparing two things. This could be two different  headlines on your ad or trying different images to see which one best resonates. It could be as detailed as trialing a red call-to-action (CTA) button versus a purple one. And don’t forget to test these elements on your campaign landing page! Testing and comparing these different components will give your business a better opportunity of engaging your target audience and making them connect with your brand.

Modify, adapt, optimise
  • Digital marketing gives you the ongoing ability to modify and adapt your activities as required to increase your results. Once you have setup and implemented your A/B testing versions, you can immediately track trends and metrics to modify your campaigns for optimal results. 
An engaged audience at your fingertips
  • Generally speaking, when people are online, they are more engaged in the content they are viewing, than if they were to be reading a magazine and happen to scan past an advertisement, and therefore, they have a higher buying intent or more effectively qualify as a lead. Nearly all of us have smartphones , meaning we are that omni-connected to the internet. In fact, 91% of social media content is being accessed via mobile device. This means that your audience is ready to engage and connect with your business if you’ve strategically optimised your campaign – from relevant messaging, to considered artwork and the right online platforms.

Digital marketing channels.

As defined earlier on, digital marketing encompasses all marketing activities that involve the internet, meaning that there are many different channels under the digital marketing umbrella. Let’s explore these in more detail – you may not even realise these are considered digital marketing, but they most certainly are.

digital marketing channels
Website

Your website is at the crux of all digital marketing activities. Whether you are writing a blog, advertising on social media, running a pay-per-click campaign (to be explained further on) or sending an eDM, all activities should link back to your website. We could go on for days about websites, but we will keep it brief for now – you can read more in our blog about marketing-led websites. Essentially, your website will be your first impression, your landing page, your opportunity to gain a user’s trust and prove your credibility and authenticity as a business. There are optimal ways to demonstrate these tactics and they are so important to get right so your website can enhance your digital marketing activities.

Social media

This is probably the channel you automatically think of when you envision digital marketing. And you are right for thinking so – 62% of companies acquired new customers from LinkedIn, 52% from Facebook and 44% from Twitter. Pretty solid statistics in terms of lead generation. Through creating a considered digital marketing strategy, you will have ensured informed decisions as to which social media platforms are best for reaching your audience based on age, location and / or interests.

Here’s a quick overview:

– Facebook: the ‘go-to’ social media giant for online advertising. All age groups tend to use this platform; however, we have seen a shift to an older demographic recently due to the -emergence of new social media platforms (i.e. TikTok and Snapchat). Facebook allows you to advertise across multiple campaign objectives and ad formats, making it one of the most effective digital marketing platforms.

– Instagram: a ‘visually’ focused platform. As Instagram is owned by Facebook, there are multiple ad formats and objectives available and easy to manage from one place. Best suited for audiences under 50.

– Twitter: growing in popularity among all age groups, but 81% of users are millennials. To be successful on this platform, you must produce engaging content consistently, not just set and forget.

– LinkedIn: mainly for B2B businesses aimed at audiences aged 35+. There are multiple ad formats to explore and is setup similarly to Facebook.

– Snapchat – growing substantially as an advertising platform among millennials and Generation Z. 60% of the 218 million people on Snapchat are more likely to make impulse purchases than any other platform, due to the ‘instant experience’ of the app. Additionally, $1.53 million was spent on Snapchat ads in 2019 – this is projected to reach $2.62 billion in 2021.

There are always new social media platforms coming out and growing in popularity. The highlights above are also ever-changing as age groups shift between platforms based on the ‘latest and greatest’ channel. Starting with a digital marketing strategy will ensure you are utilising the right social media channels to their fullest potential and pave a roadmap for your campaigns, whether running a product promotion, long-term funnel campaign or lead generation campaign.

Google

When most people think of Google, they may default to thinking of it as a search engine only. Or where they go to get directions to the new restaurant in town. But it is so much more than that! Advertising on Google can be done in many ways – from search, display, video, shopping or in-app advertising. Advertising on Google allows you to reach a targeted audience through various ad formats and search results within the Google Display Network (millions of sites) including YouTube, Gmail and in-app advertising on both iOS and Android systems.

– Search: keyword generated text ads. When searching on Google for certain keywords or phrases, relevant text ads will appear above organic search results. These are often referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) ads as you only pay when your ads are clicked. Best for consideration or lead generation objectives as users are already interested in the terms and phrases they are searching for.

– Display: image or gif banner ads displayed across the Google Display Network (i.e. news.com.au). Best used for brand awareness and remarketing to keep your brand and business front of mind.

– Video: these ads are displayed on YouTube and are available in several different ad formats, from 6 second video snippets to longer, more expensive video ad options. Also great for brand awareness and engagement.

– Shopping: these are the shopping results displayed when you search for certain keywords and phrases. Generated by user searches but linked to a Merchant Center that allow users to directly purchase your products. Great for driving sales as user is considering products already when searching.

– In-App: great for promoting apps across various software systems. Targeting options are broader, but conversion is high for in-app advertising in general.

Email marketing

Email campaigns (or eDMs / electronic direct mail – as sometimes referred to) are a great way of communicating with an audience that is already engaged with your brand. Whether they have subscribed to your newsletter or are previous or current clients or customers, they have shown interest in your business and an email campaign is an effective way to ensure they stay engaged. Some types of email campaigns you may send could include:

– A new blog sharing useful and relevant information
– Follow-up emails to website visitors encouraging purchase or re-visit
– Customer welcome emails to generate greater brand engagement
– Holiday promotions, loyalty program discounts or abandoned cart discount offers
– Useful tips or a series of tips / education campaigns to nurture new leads

eDMs are often most effective when integrated in a wider marketing campaign. It takes up to 20 impressions for someone to remember and act on a brand, so using emails in conjunction with other digital marketing activities will optimise your efforts. Additionally, you should establish a frequency for sending emails. There is a fine line between hearing from a brand too much and not enough – find what works for your business.

Since eDMs are so effective in communicating with a considered audience, you should ensure you are aiming to consistently gather email addresses and build your database to maximise this digital marketing tactic. This can be done through an email capture (or lead generation) campaign on a variety of platforms.

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

SEO has become a large component of digital marketing in recent years. It is the process of optimising your website to ‘rank’ highly in organic search results, therefore increasing the amount of organic (or free) traffic to your website. There are many ways to optimise your website both on page and off page – read our top 4 tips here.

– On page: this type of SEO focuses on all the content that exists ‘on the page’ when looking at your website. This includes aspects like keyword research. By researching keywords for their search volume and intent, you can answer meaningful questions that readers are looking for and rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). Posting relevant blogs and keeping each page specifically keyword focused will help to boost your organic website traffic.

– Off page: this type of SEO focus on all the activity that takes place ‘off the page’. Mainly, this includes inbound links, also known as backlinks. By networking with publishers (or authors) from other websites, encouraging them to publish content that links back to your website, creating an ‘authority’ showing the search engine algorithm that your website is attracting external attention.

– Technical: this type of SEO focuses on the backend of your website. Image compression, structured data, meta titles and descriptions and CSS file optimisation are all forms of technical SEO. By optimising these aspects, your website is likely to load faster and load better on mobile, which is a key ranking factor in search results. As a matter of fact, 57% of mobile users will not recommend a business if their mobile website is poorly designed or unresponsive.

It should be noted that improving your SEO is a long-term strategy. It takes time to find the best keywords that are relevant to your website and readers and it is important to monitor these trends overtime. SEO and PPC advertising can work hand-in-hand if you are just getting started in the digital space. PPC works to drive immediate paid traffic, boosting your organic, free traffic once the algorithms can see traffic going to your website from your ads.

Inbound marketing

What is inbound marketing you ask? It refers to a marketing methodology where you attract, engage and delight customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Using all digital marketing tactics, you can create a customer experience that work with the customer and not against them. For example:

– Blogging instead of pop-up ads
– Video marketing instead of commercial advertising
– Email contact lists instead of email spam

Content marketing

What comes to mind when you think of content marketing? Blogs are probably the most thought of type of content marketing for your business, but there are many opportunities to generate your own content in the digital space.

– Blogs: research what your audience wants to know, then answer these questions specifically in your blog. For example, you could do this by making a note of the top 10 frequently asked questions amongst your audience or ask some friendly customers what they want to know. There are also some great online tools – like Answer The Public or Google alerts – which show what topics and questions your audience may be searching. This will position your business as an industry leader, but also serve as education pieces and simultaneously boost your SEO if you optimise your website correctly. Blogs can then be easily shared on social media channels, email campaigns and funnel campaigns.

– White papers: these are long-form content with in-depth technical information. These would generally be used in the interest and consideration phases of the sales funnel, as their ‘detailed’ and technical nature may ‘turn off’ people in the brand awareness stage.

– eBooks: these are great for providing a considered education piece to your audience. Similar to white papers, but their language and tone of voice are usually not as technical.

– Infographics: 79% of people only scan webpages. Infographics can serve as a simple and straight forward way to digest information without reading a 2-3-minute-long blog


What are some digital marketing tactics?

Let’s move on to digital marketing tactics. Depending on your digital marketing strategy and marketing objectives, this will dictate what activities and tactics will work most effectively for your business. Once you have established the right audience, messaging and platforms for your business, it is time to implement the tactics.

digital marketing tactics
Pay-per-click (PPC)
  • We’ve talked about this tactic briefly, but it is a cost-effective way to run your digital campaign. It is usually used in terms of Google Search Ads but can be used on social media as well if you set your objective and bidding strategy to link clicks. This mean you will only then pay for your ads when someone clicks on them.
Remarketing
  • Only 2% of website visitors convert during their first visit. Not as much as you’d expect. Well, que remarketing! Remarketing is a retargeting tactic used to show ads to people who have previously visited your website or who have taken certain actions on your website (i.e. abandoned cart, watched a video etc.) across third party websites. With remarketing on third party websites, you can select placement categories and types for where you want your ads to appear, but you cannot select website URLs specifically. Google works to optimise your remarketing campaign to show your ads on only relevant websites where your audience will be. This can be a useful tactic to keep your brand front of mind in a noisy digital environment. Additionally, it is more cost effective to retain customers than to acquire new ones – this means remarketing can help to cross-sell or up-sell products and services and continue to keep your business a step ahead of competitors.
Funnel
  • These campaigns can be setup in several different ways, but act as a tactic that mirrors your typical sales funnel. Step 1: setup an ad for brand awareness, step 2: retarget to those that interact with ad 1, step 3: aim to convert those that interact with ad 2. Although extremely effective, these tend to work with a long-term strategy in mind, as it takes your audience through the entire sales funnel – depending on your industry, this could be months.
Video advertising
  • 20% of people will read the text on a page or ad, but 80% will watch a video. It is clear that video advertising has become increasingly popular and is only continuing to be the most attractive tactic in the digital space, as it can be used across multiple platforms and is a very engaging way for your audience to interact with your business.
Marketing automation
  • This refers to the software that serves to automate your basic marketing activities. This tactic can be extremely beneficial in nurturing leads, as it can be a long process at times, so it gives you the time to concentrate your efforts elsewhere. Some additional marketing automation tactics include:
    • Email newsletters
    • Social media post scheduling
    • Lead-nurturing workflows
    • Campaign tracking and reporting

Speak to PIER about digital marketing today.

When it comes to digital marketing, PIER Marketing is your team of experts. With a strategic mindset and full-service capabilities, we will look at the ‘big picture’ for your business and do what is best to reach your business objectives and marketing goals. Don’t just take our word for it, take a look through our case studies which show the excellent results we have achieved for our clients. We would love to hear from you and are available to answer all your digital marketing questions. Get in touch today to start your digital marketing journey with PIER.

Sources:

• Hubspot: What is digital marketing?

• Lyfe Marketing: Role of Digital Marketing

• Omnicore: Digital Marketing Statistics

• 99 Firms: Retargeting Statistics

• Digi Day: Silent World Facebook

Forbes: The US Digital Marketing Forecast, 2018 to 2023