Let’s face it. The Internet is the place to be. Whether you’re a travel agency, a retailer or a bank, the Internet represents the main source of data for your customers. Digital marketing is also the most influential marketing channel throughout the consumer’s decision journey.
I’m not simply asking you to believe me. Look at the facts (and stats).
Fact 1: 86 % of consumers learn about products online.
If you think about it, you know it’s true. How do you think your potential clients find you? Sure, there are your local stores/offices, but if we are really honest with ourselves, we know that’s just one of many touchpoints on the decision journey. Nobody, and I mean nobody, uses the yellow pages any more.
So what’s left? TV? Radio? Magazines? Sure, they’re still influential and widely used, and we can’t just forget about them entirely. But these are top of the funnel mediums that drive intent and awareness. The Internet is a primary decision-making medium, where consumers research products and make decisions.
As we’re being entirely honest here, we have to admit that the Internet isn’t always the last channel consumers will use. But a huge majority of consumers will research and book over the Internet.
On average, the majority of purchase confirmations in B2B industry will happen offline (meetings, phone, video conferences etc.), not over some online form. This then leads us to the question: how then to measure online success? To get the answer you’ll have to read the article 😉
Fact 2: Media consumption is shifting from TV and magazines to online
In the last few years, users have started to shift from TV to digital. Desktop and mobile usage is reaching new heights, while TV and print in particular are attracting smaller and smaller audiences.
While years ago offline mediums were the way to go to reach consumers and drive intent, now, with the drop in use of offline mediums, companies need to turn elsewhere. With digital emerging as the most widely used medium the choice is quite clear – users are already there.
Facebook, Google and the rest of the gang have been preparing for this moment for years. And they are really prepared. They spent the last few years researching online users and developing tools, apps and solutions for the new mobile-centric user. Now advertisers have so many options to reach users one has to think twice before deciding which channel to use.
Fact 3: Users aren’t stupid
The Internet has drastically changed the way we learn about products. While 15 years ago we went to a shop and asked a salesman there about the product, now we are more self-educated. We, as a society, are eager to know more, to learn – and coming online was like discovering paradise.
“How to” queries on Google have tripled since 2007. The problem is companies and their digital presence aren’t following this trend.
And here starts our journey to better digital marketing.
Step 1: Create compelling content
The vast majority of websites focus on developing only purchase-related content, that is, content that enables a consumer to make a purchase. Companies invest time and money writing better product descriptions, optimizing their online forms and advertising their new offerings.
On the other hand, however, only 1% of website visitors will convert on the website! What about the rest? Should we forget about them? Why are they even there!?
90% of visitors will visit your website while they are in the research phase. That’s why they aren’t converting/making a purchase. Their intentions are clear. They want to learn more about the product. They are not there to buy. How are you satisfying their needs?
To truly leverage the full potential of the Internet, you need to create compelling content that will satisfy users in each phase of the decision-journey. Write articles, create infographics, prepare detailed whitepapers and ebooks, develop online wizards, create comparison tables, write how-to guides etc. And don’t forget about the post-purchase experience and prepare beginner’s guides, describe best practices and develop a designated resources section on your website.
This will not only satisfy users, but also build trust and relationships between your users and your brand. And if you’re more focused on the financial side of things – yes, it will boost revenues as well (users with more than 5 sessions on your website have, on average, a 56% higher conversion rate).
Great content is a must – but it won’t matter much if users can’t find it. This brings us to our second point: marketing.
Step 2: Be there
In order to satisfy user needs, you first need to be where users are. An overwhelming selection of digital channels doesn’t make this any easier. Not all channels are appropriate for use in all phases of the decision-journey. Some are more useful and effective in TOFU (top of the funnel), others are more effective as a closing channel and are better employed in BOFU (bottom of the funnel). Select your channels based on your goals (and the content you’re promoting).
In you want to increase awareness or drive intent some of most effective channels include Facebook, YouTube and Google Display Network. In you’re more focused on closing sales Google Search Ads, search engine optimization and email marketing can help.
We often hear that a specific channel isn’t working. The reason is usually very simple – you’re not using it properly! Align your digital marketing channels with the consumer decision-journey. Use each channel where it works best.
We made a huge step forward. We created some unique and fascinating content and are reaching out to users and bringing them to our website. We are actually satisfying their needs! Or are we? How do we know?
No matter how smart you and I are, there’s no way we can know everything. Yes, there is tons of research that could help us, but in the end, the only way to really know what’s working and what isn’t is to measure and test it.
Step 3: Discover beautiful insights
As I said, digital marketing is becoming increasingly more important today. Investments are getting bigger, and with so much at stake you really don’t want to gamble with your future. Luckily, you don’t need to.
In past years we have seen huge advancements in the field of digital analytics. Using advanced tools and features you can now basically measure and monitor the complete consumer decision-journey. You can connect your marketing data with your business data and your CRM. You can even enrich your data with custom parameters and metrics like weather, customer affinity and content consumption. And of course, we can’t forget about attribution modeling, which enables you to properly attribute the value of conversion to different marketing channels.
We’re not just talking about big data – we’re talking about predictive analytics. Predictive analytics enables you to discover beautiful insights that can change your business. Imagine spending 50% less for marketing and achieving 10-times more. It’s all there, and available, for you. You just need to dive into the data. Marketing is no longer about intuition and gut feelings – it’s all about data, with just the right makeup to make it sexy. You can try and fight it as much as you want, but you won’t get far without data.
The not-so-big-secret is out! To succeed in digital you need to focus on all three areas: content, marketing and analytics. Now it’s your turn.