How to choose the Best Digital Marketing Platform for your Business
As an entrepreneur, I often found myself grappling with the following questions:
Do I need digital marketing for my business?
Should I be using a social media platform like LinkedIn or Facebook?
What about spending my money in PPC for promoting my businesses products and services?
Sometimes it is hard to find the right answers to these questions and, at the same time, the best solution that fit the budget. 🙂
I can try to give you some good bits of advice and help you find the right solution to your business problems
If you are a small business owner, as I am, we have the same problems and a shared vision: I want to reach my targeted audience and convert them into sales.
Nothing more than this and it seems pretty easy, but it’s not!
1) Digital marketing platforms and strategies
First of all, it’s important to understand that the traditional media age is gone!
Papers ads, leaflets and every other traditional marketing methods that were effective before, may not be as effective in the current environment.
With the advent and growth of digital channels, the marketing landscape has changed dramatically and things have become confusing for business owners wanting to create an online presence but not knowing where to start.
Today business promotion happens mostly online and finding the right online channel to promote your business is a big opportunity for its growth.
We are doing business in times when the audience is constantly searching for information readily available online.
This new trend, that could appear overwhelming for the most, poses a huge opportunity for these businesses that choose to reach out to their audience in a quick and effective way.
New technologies give you a total control of what’s happening with the money that you decide to invest.
With a good digital marketing advertising campaign, you can find the right audience, convert leads in sales and have tons of data to know the exact number of people that you reached by investing a certain amount of money in the campaign.
You can choose between multiple advertising platforms and each of them tells you the exact number of impressions and clicks you will receive from an online advertisement. So,
2) What is a digital marketing platform?
A digital platform is a hardware or software infrastructure that provides technological services and tools, programs and applications, for the distribution, management and creation of free or paid digital content and services.
According to Smart Insights a digital platform can facilitate exchanges between different groups who don’t necessarily know each other, even through the integration of multiple media (integrated digital platform).
3) Which digital marketing platform can help my business the most?
The million-dollar question, the answer will depend largely on the type of business you have and the kind of customers you are targeting for.
There are so many tools on the market today that it’s really hard to find the right one for your needs and not all of these digital marketing tools are applicable or will work with your business.
As with any major business decision, research is required, this is especially true when kicking off your search for the digital marketing platform that will take your business to the next level.
And knowing whether a particular platform is suitable for your business or not is the most critical decision you can make.
To help you should ask yourself these simple questions:
1. Are you B2C, B2B, or both?
2. Are your target audience (influencers, consumers, payers) using the platform?
3. Do your competitors promote their businesses using the platform?
4. Are your competitors getting results (engagement, views, subscribers, followers) from that specific platform?
If the answer is yes to the above questions then the platform would be a good fit to promote your business.
With digital marketing, it is also good to not put all your eggs in one basket.
In the beginning, start with one platform and then as your budget grows you can expand to other platforms.
Infographic by Clix4u Digital Agency
4) Primary Considerations in the Selection Process
As touched on in the previous section, the various digital marketing channels can be used by business owners independently or as part of an overall digital marketing campaign.
A) Define your primary company goals for using Digital Marketing channels
When planning your campaign, you should first define your primary company goals that your business may be wanting to achieve include.
A. Brand Awareness – Increasing your targeted audiences recall of your company and product names, as well as familiarity with your business, brand, products and services.
If brand awareness is one of the major goals you should be looking to use:
I. Social media channels particular Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to promote engagement with your targeted audience.
II. Channels that promote visual elements like Instagram and Pinterest.
III. Channels that promote video materials like YouTube and Vimeo.
IV. Use of promotional campaigns with coupons.
V. Participation in online and offline events.
B. Lead Generation – One of digital marketing’s biggest capabilities is connecting with potential customers to create funnels and generate leads.
Digital marketing channels that are good for lead generation include:
I. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
II. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
III. Display Advertising
IV. Google Search Network
V. Blogging and other content marketing channels
VI. Email marketing
C. Sales Generation – ABS data shows 3 out of 4 people are involved in some form of e-commerce, statista data places Australian e-commerce revenue of $ 16.7Bn in 2018 and a growth rate of 8.9%.
If you have an online store, e-commerce site, or have products and services to sell online, the following channels can be used for digital marketing:
I. Amazon Resellers
II. Facebook Storefront
III. Google Shopping Feeds
IV. Google Search Network
V. Google Display Network
VI. Affiliate Marketing Networks
D. Educating and Informing – It’s all well and good to have a promising new product or service, but without an established market segment that is familiar or even knows that the product exists its potential is limited.
If you are at this stage then educating your targeted customers first, especially on what the products/service does and how they help resolve problems, is your primary focus.
Blogging, press releases and content marketing will be ideal for this purpose.
Infographic by Clix4u
B) Setting your budget allocation
Knowing what channels, you will use also helps to identify the budget required for implementing these campaigns.
Budget allocations may need to cover the following:
I. Fees for digital marketing manager and staff
II. Paid advertising budgets
III. Payment for content creation services
IV. Fees for graphic artists, photographers and videographers
C) Identify Your Available talent
Digital marketing campaigns require personnel with certain skills and knowledge on your channels.
You need to identify if these skills exist in-house or will there be a need for outsourcing.
These skills should include:
I. Development Skills – for your website design and development needs.
II. Creative Skills – includes both writing and visual creation skills.
III. Search Skills – talent needed for search marketing.
IV. Social Skills – talent needed for engaging potential customers through social media.
Managing your digital marketing channels is a complete marketing effort.
It’s not just a set-it-and-forget-it, if you do not have resources with the time and skills to manage them, then you should outsource.
Trying to do it on the cheap inevitably will lose money.
5) Types of Digital Marketing Platforms
Sometimes it’s hard to perform a clear comparison between all the digital marketing platforms that exist on the market.
Many people often confuse digital marketing tools with digital marketing channels, to assist you in familiarising yourself with the various channels available we have identified some of the key ones below:
A) Email Marketing
Email has been around for more than two decades, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
The reason is simple: consumers are very attached to their emails.
For example, how much time have you all spent on your email today?
But your emails must be well constructed, engaging and entertaining or they will simply be treated as spam.
The five core attributes:
• Be coordinated across channels (Make sure the information in your emails are consistent with websites, social media, etc.)
Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing channels that can give businesses ROI of up to 4,300%.
This is why many businesses have said that they are planning to increase email-related marketing activities.
Examples of emails sent include emails for brand building, conversion, and newsletters.
B) Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
Pay-Per-Click advertising can deliver highly targeted traffic to your website within a very short period of time.
You can think about the PPC as a funnel.
It drives traffic to your website, but it’s your responsibility to convert this traffic into sales.
The key for this channel is how much you are willing to invest in bidding and placing ad placements, this is known as the Customer Acquisition Cost or CAC.3
Importantly though your advertising budget is still within your control, allowing you to set how much you wish to spend for a day, a week or a month running your PPC ads.
PPC ad effectiveness can be impacted by a number of variables, from how well you choose your keywords, optimizing the visual and contextual information in your ads, and finally the landing page experience.
C) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Up to 93% of all online interactions usually begin by using a search engine.
People use search engines to look for information about a brand, product or services, with many of those searches resulting in finding a local business to satisfy a particular need.
Improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or non-paid, organic search results is what SEO tries to achieve.
In general, the higher ranked and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.
SEO experts consider how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience.
Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.
Components of SEO include:
• Incorporating selective keyword naturally into title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, alt text, etc.
• Blog posts and page copy that is written and optimized with quality
• Clean and formatting page URLS
• Optimized page load speed
• Google authorship incorporated
• Social sharing integration within your content (Facebook, Twitter, etc. links)
• Creating a high quality, natural backlink profile (aka having other high quality/authoritative sites link to your site naturally). Great opportunity in a Traders Association to build links between sites, especially the main site
• Social bookmarking using a centralized online service which allows users to add, annotate, edit, and share bookmarks or web documents (Stumbleupon, Reddit)
D) Display Advertising
Display advertising is where a company’s promotional messages appear on third-party sites or search engine results pages such as publishers or social networks.
The main purpose of display advertising is to support brand awareness as well as generating highly targeted traffic that may convert into leads or sales.
Payments for these display ads are usually based on Cost-Per-Impression (CPM) which is usually more cost-effective compared to the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) scheme typical of PPC advertising.
Types of display advertising include banners, boxes, interactive ads, video ads, interstitial ads, overlays and other similar ads that are linked to a landing page or website.
E) Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media is a great tool to create awareness and spread the word when you launch your website or new content (or products).
In order for your social media campaigns to be successful, you need to have a large user base -(fans, followers, and friends) and you also need to have good content.
I always get asked should I be on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.?
There are a few things to consider before jumping on a new social media.
• Who is your audience?
• What is your company culture?
• What are your strategic marketing goals for the year?
• Do you have the resources to manage an additional social media account?
If you have slightly older clients and your staff is relatively shy, Snapchat would not be a good fit.
Companies that do great on Snapchat usually have a younger demographic (about teens-34 years old) and because this platform is great for showing a behind-the-scenes or raw unpolished content, it relies heavily on the personality of the staff running the account.
Whatever you choose, stick to it and do it well.
You will have more success “going deep” with one or two types of social media rather than “going wide” with many that you can’t manage well.
You do not need to be all things to all people.
6) Top social digital marketing platforms 2018
That’s a list of some of the biggest Top social digital marketing platforms in 2018:
• Pinterest – Useful for your posting of ideas that users can then click through to your website, 80% users female. Most “Pinners” use Pinterest to save things that inspire
• Youtube – Share videos of your business, products, events, etc.. 82% of users are teens with an average viewing time of 40 minutes
• Google PLUS – Build “Circles” or networks for sharing specific private content to that circle, i.e. if you have a VIP Customer group with a special offer, 51% of users are men, average monthly time on the app is 7 minutes
• Reddit – Good for awareness building by sharing content and links which can then be voted (live feedback), 8% of users are 14-17, average monthly time on the app is 85 minutes
• Instagram – upload photos and videos of your business, which can be edited with various filters, and organized with tags and location information, 90% of users are younger than 35
• Snapchat – similar to Instagram however content is designed to be viewed once and then it is inaccessible. 71% of users under 34
• Twitter – Great for sending quick online news/updates on your business to which users post and interact with, Tweets are restricted to 280 characters. 29% of millennials on Twitter. 44% read and comment only
• LinkedIn – used for professional network, including employers posting jobs. Good to create links for B2B selling. 79% of users older than 35. 57% of companies have a LinkedIn page
• Facebook – Great for creating awareness, posting rich content (Videos). Can be used in lieu of website but has restrictions. 91% of millennials on Facebook, Average daily usage 20min per day
7) Content Marketing
We’ve all heard, “Content is king., so here are few examples.
If not, you have now. Great content is the fuel that drives your digital marketing activities:
• It is a key pillar of modern SEO
• It helps you get noticed on social media
• It gives you something of value to offer customers in emails and paid search ads
Creating educational and inspirational content, that is not promotional in nature, is tough but well worth the effort.
You want content that is relevant to your audience so that they see you as a valuable trustworthy source of information.
Many potential customers rely on social networks to discover, research, and educate themselves about a brand before engaging with that organization.
The key is to weave social elements into every aspect of your posts to create more peer-to-peer sharing opportunities.
The more your audience engages with your content, the more likely it is that they will want to share it, not only leading them to become customers but hopefully influence their friends to become customers, too.
If you’ve found this content useful and you have any question, please leave a comment below. 🙂
I try to answer to everyone as soon as I can
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Thank you Andrea 🙂
Andrea is the Digital Marketing and Content Leader at Clix4U, a Melbourne based digital agency. With 6 years of practical experience in SEO, SEM and Social Media, Andrea loves to share his knowledge by publishing useful guides and comprehensive articles about the digital marketing world.