By Kevin Ketels, President, Kyrris Marketing
Since 2012, the amount of time per day people consume media on their cell phones has doubled. “Traditional” media consumption (newspapers, magazines, broadcast radio and TV) is experiencing a slow but steady decline. But these aren’t the only reasons you should consider digital marketing. Unlike traditional advertising, your digital marketing options offer the benefit of sophisticated targeting, audience interactivity and tools to measure performance.
Small and medium businesses can make these investments without large budgets, and with greater control than ever. To select the best channels, consider your target audience, marketing message, consumer purchase process and desired outcome.
Here are my top ten digital marketing options:
1. Search engine advertising
If you’re looking for efficiency, search engine advertising (SEA) delivers to an audience that is actively looking for information about your product or service through an internet search. SEA allows you to bid for keywords (such as “Italian restaurant” or “tax accountant”) and place your marketing message within those search results. You can define your search engine marketing campaigns by key word, geographic location, devices, day, time and budget. Consider Google AdWords as well as Bing and Yahoo as secondary options.
2. Social media “organic” messaging
Social media is an opportunity to interact with your audience in a way you cannot with traditional one-way advertising. Through online interactions, you can build a relationship, familiarity and trust. Your social media channels are a window into the soul of your company. Your messaging should reflect the values and passion of those who work at your company. Consider Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn
3. Social media advertising
With the exploding number of social media users, there is heavy competition to place your messaging in the social media news feed of your customers or prospects. Advertising is necessary to ensure that your message reaches the largest and most relevant possible audience. Many platforms allow you to define your campaign by location, behavior, gender, age and/or interests. You can spend as little or as much as you like.
Email campaigns that reach out to customers or prospects who have consented to receive email can be an effective tool in sharing new product launches, special offers or new product uses. Limit frequency so customers don’t feel they are being spammed. Make sure your email content offers value. Consider Mail Chimp, Campaigner or Constant Contact.
Remarketing is a paid option whereby a prospective customer has visited your website or used your mobile app. Google grabs some identifying info and offers up display advertising whenever that computer user visits a website that runs Google advertising. These ads have more efficiency than normal display advertising, because the user has demonstrated an interest in your product or service by visiting your website. Consider Google AdWords Remarketing.
6. Live streaming
Several social media apps offer the ability to live stream video. This is a unique opportunity to interact with your audience – answer questions, demonstrate a product/service or provide coverage of an interesting event. Consider Facebook, Instagram or Periscope.
7. Search engine optimization
Search engines such as Google want to deliver the most relevant search results to users so that those users keep using their search program. Search engine optimization is the process of structuring your website and content in such a way that search engines understand that relevance, which improves your position in the organic search results.
When dealing with a complex business, product or industry, blogging can be a way to provide customers value by offering information, analysis or recommendations. Blogs can also be entertaining. They are a more compelling incentive for consumers to click on your digital content and visit your website, opening the door to a higher level of engagement.
A video shoot does not require high quality video cameras or professional editing. Consumers appreciate authenticity. Capture short videos with your cell phone of the people, events and special moments taking place at your company. These videos should be one minute or less. If light editing is absolutely necessary, consider downloading iMovie or PowerDirector to your smart phone.
10. Content Marketing Platforms
Several online media sites offer opportunities to place sponsored content in designated positions on their news pages. These spots are usually located below or to the right of their original content. Sponsored content is used by the advertiser to promote their product, service or cause. Consider Outbrain or Taboola.
Digital marketing offers a myriad of options and tools that small/medium businesses can use to promote a brand, generate goodwill, educate potential consumers, close a sale and/or retain loyal customers. There is a budget to fit every business and the performance of digital marketing efforts is more quantifiable than ever.
Kevin Ketels is president of Kyrris Marketing and an adjunct professor of marketing in the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University.