I previously chose to read Digital Minds as my first option based off of recommendation. As a marketing major with a strong desire to indulge into more specific career concentrations, I could tell by flipping through pages that Digital Minds was packed full of valuable information that could really open up my mind to the world of digital marketing. Digital Minds is very much so a condensed textbook. I find that I am able to take away a lot more knowledge out of books that are very concise and to the point without any filler content. The subtitle of the book is “12 Things Every Business Needs to Know About Digital Marketing”, which is entirely suitable, as there are twelve chapters, each one being a different aspect of digital marketing necessary to be successful. Prior to reading this book I was intrigued to discover if the author ranked these twelve items or if they were just random. In this reflection I will touch upon each of these twelve aspects of digital marketing and provide a bit of an explanation as to why it is valuable to keep these things in mind when operating any type of business.
The first of the twelve principals is referred to as The Digital Landscape: Framework and Strategy. The digital marketing framework consists of six key elements; discovery, Internet business analysis, build, implement, measure, and manage results. Discovery appears to be the most important and longest phase of the six elements of the digital marketing framework. Core components of discovery include identifying goals and objectives, selecting strategies and tactics, exploring new opportunities, and setting metrics and targets. It is extremely valuable to use business goals to plan the digital marketing strategy in order to ensure effective use of digital media and generation of a significant return on investment. The best way to implement a digital marketing strategy is internet business analysis. There are three specific tasks of Internet business analysis that will bring valuable information relevant to the success of a firm. The following are market segmentation, persona development, and competitor analysis. The next step of the digital marketing framework is build; build refers to resource planning and allocation. The build phase is what rolls into the implementation phase. During implementation, all the digital assets and campaigns must be scheduled for launch. Once it has been implementated a crucial action must be taken which is the measurement stage. Measuring enables you to determine which strategies work best and enhance those that are generating a positive return on investment with your marketing budget. While measuring your results is hugely important in generating ROI, managing those results is the key to effective digital marketing. By monitoring digital marketing efforts, you can make ongoing adjustments and rapid improvements to campaigns. I found myself relating these last steps to similar ideas that guest speaker David Wynn from MyWebGrocer as the product manager who had recently visited my capstone class. David ended his presentation talking about how they measure their actions in any department. Like this book, David talked about how building small ideas is the most effective way of growing so that the measuring process can be done in the most concise and efficient way so that you can then learn and continue to keep building. These six elements of the digital marketing framework all play an important role in using digital marketing effectively.
“In the past, businesses could get away with sending their messages in short bursts through traditional marketing mediums. But today, businesses are shifting towards attracting their target market with good content” (Muscat 19). This quote speaks directly to the title of the chapter, “Content Marketing is King.” Content marketing utilizes a number of mediums to get content out to the target market; common mediums include social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as blog posts and articles posted online. Social media sites allow customers to connect with you and ask questions about your products or services. Social profiles help expand the customer base by driving more traffic towards your high-quality content. Articles and blog posts have been more popular than ever for business because of the potential it gives a business to draw in customers by creating engaging content. While it does require time and money to develop high quality content, it is actually extremely cost effective when compared to other forms of advertising, such as “paid search advertising”. Paid search advertising is measured by how successful you are at driving traffic to your content or even social media platforms. This being the more expensive option does come with some benefiting options that allow you to make changes to your strategy as needed.
One of the key characteristics of digital marketing is speed. The Internet allows for instantaneous connection with businesses; as a result, paid search advertising placed on search engine results pages can be helpful in positioning a brand in a way that will make it stand out to consumers. Paid search advertising ads are driven by keywords. Meaning that when a consumer searches a certain keyword, your company’s site may come up, depending on how much thought into your keywords as well as how much of a grasp your brand has on your consumers searching habits.
“People do not read on the Internet, they scan. They see headlines, images, and bullet points. Depending on the personality type of your visitor, you have between two and eight seconds to convince them to stay on your website” (Bankoff 52). Landing pages are extremely important as a result of peoples’ nature to just breeze over online content. All landing pages need to be able to have some type of influence on the consumer so that they take a specific desire action by the company. Actions such as share content on social media, sign up for a newsletter, or make an online purchase. The image on the left is a great example of a landing page that includes testimonials, a logo, a headline, links to more information, technical specifications of products, guarantees, and relevant and appealing media.
According to the book there are three typical online behaviors; surf, search, and social. “Consumers are now spending more than half of their media time surfing popular news, entertainment, and lifestyle sites on the Internet” (Chenoweth 71). Since surfing the web is such a lengthy experience for people it is important to display your advertisements in a way that will create top-of-the-mind awareness for your brand. Through a number of types of targeting, including geo-targeting, site specific targeting, behavioral targeting, and demographic targeting, you can essentially pinpoint where your ads will be seen and by who will the help of cookie tracking.
When I search for anything on Google I cant help but to naturally hit the link that appears on top of the list. Companies that have links to their sites at the top of the Google search results page accomplish this by having good SEO, search engine optimization. If done correctly, SEO can provide companies with outstanding return on investment. In order to achieve a “good” SEO, it is necessary to create content that is valuable, and people genuinely want to read. At the end of the day SEO is content driven, taking that extra bit of time to develop great content is key.
Social media is quickly climbing its way to the top of digital marketing. While it is a constant battle of keeping up with the ever-changing trends on social media, businesses that stay on the ball and have a strong following on social media are reaping the benefits. There are currently four main social platforms that offer businesses unique opportunities to create brand awareness and draw in customers; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Businesses can pay to have their posts promoted, which will ensure that the posts are seen by a large number of people. In order to be successful in using social media, brands need to be consistent in posting content, encourage engagement (whether its liking, commenting, reposting) and direct traffic to their site as well as their social media pages. In order to be successful in digital marketing, companies need to embrace social media, because it is here to stay.
A great way to get consumers familiarized and interested in your brand is to create video content. Youtube, which began in 2005, has now flourished to the second largest search engine on the Internet, only topped by Google. Over four billion hours of video are watched each month on Youtube (Gill 124). Video marketing can be immensely helpful for businesses in certain industries. For example, I am currently working with my client Boyden Valley in improving their digital marketing as a whole. There is one thing that they are lacking in production which is video taking. There is an immense amount of knowledge on wine making they can share especially being a family owned business. I feel as though they could expect to see a high level of engagement if they were to post at least one video a month their YouTube channel. Creating videos enable you to really display the details of your product or service, and create value for the consumer. Videos should be posted on the company website as well as on all active forms of social media so that they can easily be stumbled upon.
“One of the best ways to generate new leads and nurture existing ones is by implementing a carefully planned and engaging email marketing strategy” (Baldwin 137). Email marketing is a campaign that spans over a period of time and involves a specific call to action. When customers make a purchase, whether online or in the store it is crucial ask for their email so that it can be processed into a data sheet. By doing so you now have accumulated useful data as well as ways to contact them so they can stay updated with your brand.
Since customers are often accessing your website or social media platforms on a variety of devices, it is important to be sure that you utilize responsive web designs. You want your content to look the same across all devices; this way, customers interact with a page they are familiar with and comfortable with.
Mobile marketing is currently exploding in both popularity and importance to a successful digital marketing strategy. The book states that as a business owner, it is crucial to realize the fact that at any given time throughout the day, even throughout the night, that a person’s mobile device is more than likely within arms reach. Between 2008 and 2012, time spent on mobile devices increased by nearly three hundred percent (Cook 162). People often use their mobile devices to access social media platforms, as well as surf the web. Businesses are beginning to use QR codes, which is a code that your phone can read and will then direct you to a particular online page. As mobile is ever-growing, it is of utmost importance for companies to utilize mobile marketing to connect with consumers.
The final of the “Twelve Things Every Business Needs to Know About Digital Marketing” is the importance of analytics. Analytics enable you to measure exactly how effective your digital marketing efforts are by displaying the number of clicks each link has gotten, as well as where those clicks are coming from. By looking at analytics, businesses can make adjustments to their digital marketing efforts in order to maximize ROI and achieve business goals.