Did you know that 79 percent of Americans are shopping online? People prefer to go online to find better prices and to compare costs. This trend places the online experience at the center of the value proposition that most brands offer. Any successful business needs to use online marketing campaigns as well as a digital marketing platform to fulfill this new value proposition.
How Do Businesses Reach Out To Internet Users?
With 84 percent of Millenials not trusting traditional ads, businesses have to find alternatives. Most businesses use several online channels for their marketing campaigns while still relying on traditional channels such as TV ads or print ads.
Using different channels allow brands to make information easier to access and to create deeper connections with their audience.
Social media is an obvious choice for many brands. These platforms give consumers the possibility to communicate with brands and to receive interesting updates. For brands, social media is also a valuable platform for increasing brand awareness through paid ads and social shares.
Email marketing is another popular marketing channel. The main purpose of promotional emails is to generate traffic to a website, for instance by sending a newsletter or emails with personalized recommendations based on the products recently seen or purchased by a shopper.
Video content marketing is a channel that brands shouldn’t neglect. There are over 500 million hours of videos viewed on YouTube each day, and video content often allows Internet users to retain more information than they would if they were to read an article.
Besides using social media, emails, and videos, businesses often use paid ads to increase awareness, reach out to new customers, and drive traffic to their website. Depending on the ad platform used, ads can be displayed in search results, in apps, on websites, on a user’s social media feed or even before a YouTube video.
Because Internet users tend to develop ad blindness, native advertising is often a preferred channel. What is native advertising? This practice consists in presenting promotional content that won’t disrupt a user’s browsing experience.
Native advertising could be a promoted post on social media that wouldn’t interrupt a user scrolling through their feed, or a blog post or article on a popular website. Native advertising is becoming more popular since the experience Internet users have with a brand online will shape their opinion of the brand and influence their purchase decision.
A business’ official website is probably its most important marketing channel. A successful website should deliver a positive experience to visitors, make information easy to find and provide a visitor with everything they need to make an informed purchase decision.
The number of mobile users surpassed the number of desktop users back in 2014. Businesses have adapted to this new environment by developing official apps, creating a mobile version of their website, or simply by optimizing their official website for mobile use.
Delivering a good experience for mobile users is a crucial aspect of a brand’s online marketing strategy since 40 percent of consumers will give up on a brand after a single negative experience on mobile.
New Marketing Challenges
Marketers need to deliver content on multiple channels. This environment is creating new challenges that businesses have to acknowledge and address.
It is important to define the expectations that Internet users will have for each channel. A user who connects with a brand on social media might want to be entertained, find out about sales, and get a chance to voice their opinion about the company’s products. However, the same user would expect to find a different type of content on the brand’s official website.
It can be difficult to choose the right channel for an online marketing campaign. For instance, a WeChat marketing campaign would be relevant for a Chinese audience since this social media platform is popular in China. Marketers can identify relevant channels by gathering data on their audience and using different research methods to create detailed personas for the audience they want to target.
Delivering a message that is consistent across all the channels used for marketing is another challenge. More businesses are using digital marketing platforms to manage all their campaigns from a unique interface and deliver a more consistent message and experience across the different channels they use.
Deriving value from an online interaction can be challenging as well. Businesses need to define some goals for each campaign and should determine what is considered as a successful interaction with an Internet user. Using a digital marketing platform allows marketers to gather data and insights and get an idea of which campaigns and interactions result in sales.
Marketers also need to find an online voice adapted to the audience they are targeting. Messages and interactions need to inform users and deliver value without being disruptive or pushy.
What Is A Digital Marketing Platform?
Digital marketing platforms are management tools designed to help marketers plan and implement campaigns across several channels.
Here are some of the features you would typically find in a digital marketing platform:
- Instagram and Facebook integration to directly post on these websites from a centralized interface.
- Email campaign management to schedule newsletter or send out emails with personalized content.
- A/B testing to see how different ads or email copy perform in terms of conversions.
- Automation tools to deliver content that is targeted to a user’s interests or to their current step in the buyer’s journey.
- Website optimization features to improve the design or content shown on the homepage.
- Targeting tools to better understand users and reach out to different personas.
- Ability to manage different types of content such as videos, articles, blog posts, social media posts, and emails from one interface.
- Analytics based on data gathered from several marketing channels and sales.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter offer their digital marketing tools. Marketers can plan their posts and use advanced audience targeting features thanks to these platforms.
However, most businesses use third-party applications that support integration with several channels to save time. Sprout Social is a popular platform for social media campaigns, Mail Chimp is a common option to manage email campaigns, and AdRoll is one of the best platforms for PPC ad campaigns.
Getting The Most Out Of A Digital Marketing Platform
Using a central tool to plan and implement online marketing campaigns has its advantage, but digital marketing platforms also come with a few challenges. You will probably have to rethink the way you design your marketing campaigns and distribute tasks among your marketing department.
Look for a platform that has some built-in communication and collaboration tools unless you will be managing marketing campaigns by yourself.
Schedule regular reviews of the data collected by your digital marketing platform and use it to make decisions. This data could help you develop more relevant content, improve your sales funnel, and eventually generate more sales.
Make sure you choose a digital marketing platform that supports integration with the channels you want to use.
Customization features are a plus, but you need to fine-tune them to display content that is relevant to the interests of each user. Integration with the tool you use to manage sales or with your customer relationship management solution would be interesting since you could use data from these systems to customize your marketing campaigns.
A lot of platforms include some automation features. You should review these features and decide which actions you will automate. Automating your campaigns allow you to show content relevant to each user, and to stay present as they go through the buyer’s journey.
The key is to develop content that is relevant for each step of the buyer’s journey and decide how frequently a user will see content from your brand. Don’t hesitate to organize your target audience into different groups and develop different automated campaigns for each persona.
If you decided to use a digital marketing platform with A/B testing functionalities, use these features to test every piece of content you create for your marketing campaigns. This is the best way to figure out how you should deliver your message to your audience.
You might also want to compare the costs of different platforms. You can choose to use a free tool or pay a monthly subscription to use a platform with more features.
You should also take scalability into consideration. Migrating to a different platform is time-consuming and could be disruptive.
If you plan on expanding your online presence by using more channels in the near future or will need advanced analytics capabilities to find new markets, look for a platform that either comes with all the features you will need or that will let you upgrade to a more advanced version.
Digital marketing platforms are changing the way marketers manage their online campaigns. Being able to manage several channels from a single interface is helping brands share messages that are more consistent, and features like customization and automation are delivering a better experience for Internet users.