Social media has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for businesses as well…
In Case You Didn’t Know, Digital Is the Future of Marketing
The face of marketing has changed dramatically in recent years, and we can expect even more changes in the future as technology evolves and new possibilities emerge.
Traditional marketing techniques such as direct mail, print ads, and television advertising are still around but are increasingly becoming less popular options, particularly for small- and medium-sized businesses with limited marketing budgets.
On the other hand, digital marketing revolves around the Internet, digital platforms and devices. It makes use of online channels to reach a wider audience and build brand recognition and is composed of several disciplines including:
- Social media marketing – Communicating with customers and publishing content on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
- Content marketing – Creating or curating content such as videos and blogs that are not directly promotional, but drive customer interest and action.
- SEO and SEM – Search engine optimisation(SEO) and search engine marketing(SEM) increases the visibility of websites in search engines leading to more visits.
Most businesses are now starting to realise the potential of digital marketing, but some still downplay or even downright belittle its role. This is certainly a short-sighted way of thinking. While traditional methods may still be effective currently, there’s mounting evidence that it won’t work quite as well in the near future for new generations of consumers. For example, research shows that Millennials are increasingly being turned off by old-style marketing, with 84% of them saying they don’t trust traditional advertising.
As such, relying solely on traditional marketing methods is certainly not advised in this day and age of digital connectivity and interaction. So, why should you focus your efforts on digital marketing as we move towards the future?
It’s simple – people are spending more time online.
The average Australian spends a whopping 10 hours every day using internet-connected devices including computers, smartphones, and tablets. Most of this time is spent on mobile devices, which have now overtaken desktops and laptops in terms of internet usage worldwide. This increased time online has had a knock-on effect on the activities that traditional marketing uses as advertising channels, with one in seven Australians watching no commercial television at all and magazine sales declining year on year.
This does not mean that marketing opportunities are decreasing, only that a shift in strategy is needed to take advantage of these changing habits. In fact, Australians are now watching more videos and TV show content than ever before, but choose on-demand and online content over traditional broadcasting.
It’s clear that small- and medium-sized businesses need to take advantage of this growing online screen time and place their advertisements where the most eyes are going to see it. Social media is one channel, in particular, you should pay attention to, with over half of Australia’s population checking in on social networking sites at least once a day.
Digital marketing offers an impressive return on investment (ROI).
In terms of return on investment, digital marketing is hard to beat. Print and television advertising are astronomically expensive compared to engaging in content marketing or maintaining an active social media profile, and in many sectors, digital methods have been able to offer a higher conversion rate.
If you own a small business, it’s likely that your marketing budget is limited. While bigger brands may be able to risk shelling out thousands or even millions of dollars for television advertising without a second thought, for smaller companies the result of wasting the majority of your marketing budget on an unsuccessful campaign could be devastating.
On the contrary, effective digital marketing campaigns can be set up with much smaller marketing budgets. For example, posting on social media is free, requiring only time commitment, and marketing emails can be sent out for just a few cents per recipient. Even if these campaigns are not as effective as hoped, much lesser is lost in terms of investment.
ROI will, of course, vary widely between different business sectors, audiences, and campaigns, but there is plenty of proof that digital marketing offers better returns overall.
There’s simply no doubt about it; digital marketing is not going anywhere. Small- and medium-sized businesses still relying solely on traditional offline marketing methods will need to change their strategies or risk being left behind by the competition.
The benefits of digital marketing over traditional marketing does not end there. In my next Smallville article, I will share more on why you really should be focusing your marketing efforts in the digital area as you move forward.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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