There is a lot of hype around the subject of digital marketing, but like most things, when the hype is stripped away, it is all pretty straightforward. In reality, there are 3 vital components of any digital marketing:
- Social Media
Together these can be used to create a sustainable, joined-up brand development strategy. Let’s look at them in a little more detail.
Content – The bedrock of any strategy
Content should be the bedrock of any strategy. Great content that presents your brand in a professional, interesting way is key to any digital marketing strategy. As a minimum you should be looking to have an easily updated news or blog section on your website,The focus of this content should be about telling your story, promoting your skills and expertise, and demonstrating how you can add value to your customers. The scope of this content can be as broad as your imagination, and should include things like:
- News about new products/services
- Case studies demonstrating how you have helped your customers
- Testimonials from happy customers
As well as these “standards”, you can also use less conventional forms of content to keep things interesting.
- Quizzes – I saw an interesting idea recently for a travel company, using the “find your animal soulmate” quiz to promote safari holidays.
- Videos – In addition to the traditional video, there are now some great tools out their (eg Powtoon) for bringing your content to life with animated slideshows
- Presentations – With services like slideshare, you can turn Powerpoint presentations into engaging on-line content
- Surveys – Not only do these encourage people to engage with you, they also give some interesting insight into how your contacts think. These can easily be built into WordPress websites, or created using tools like Survey Monkey
These types of content usually require a little more thought and preparation, but definitely bring a new level of interest to your content, and really drive engagement. Whatever content you use, it needs to be regular and sustained. I recommend using a content calendar to take the stress out of keeping it coming.
Email – Great for the people you know
Generating all this content is great, but it’s a waste of time if no one looks at it! It is important to get your message out there. Email is a great tool for getting your message to those people that you already know. Most businesses will have list of contacts, both customers and prospects. Keeping in touch with these contacts is a vital part of building a strong and consistent brand, and email is the perfect medium for achieving this. The process is quite simple. Once you have your contacts in a spreadsheet, these can be uploaded into an online email marketing tool (here you need look no further than Mailchimp), which can then be used to create stylish emails based on the content discussed above. Tools like Mailchimp include flexible templates and drag and drop editing that allow you easily to create your emails. One word of warning here though. The provided templates are great as far as they go, but be sure to stick with their basic designs. Trying to customise them to your exact design requirements can get very technical and frustrating!
Social Media – Broadening your horizons
Email is a great tool for communicating with the people you know, but not so good when you are trying to engage with new contacts and widen your audience. Here the tool of choice is social media. For most businesses, especially in the B2B arena, we are talking about Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. Using a mixture of these platforms is a great way to spread the word and to develop an even wider audience for your content. Furthermore, by its very nature, social media encourages people to share and respond to your content developing a rich, 2-0way interaction with your market. Again a word of warning. Social media is all about activity and to be effective, you really need to be posting to social media accounts of a daily basis as a minimum. Obviously the content discussed earlier will be the bedrock of this posting activity, but to be sustainable you will also need to identify other sources of relevant 3rd party content that you use to augment your homegrown output. We talked about this, and the need to develop a content radar in this previous post. Brought together, content, email & social media can deliver truly joined-up and sustainable campaigns to promote and build your brand. If you would like to talk about how you could use these tools more effectively, we would love to talk to you.