We work with a lot of companies that are new to digital marketing–either because they are startups just launching a marketing program or because they are in businesses that pre-date the digital revolution and have not seen the need to update their marketing strategies until they started to see sales slide and competitors take market share.
Digital Marketing Defined
Digital marketing involves using online communication tools and channels to build brand awareness, to generate and qualify leads, and to increase sales. This is primarily done through building websites optimized to attract people searching online for solutions to business and personal problems.
Why Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is critical for any company–old or new, B2B or B2C. This is because the search engine and the internet have fundamentally changed the way people shop for the products and services they need. Some 94 percent of shoppers now research online before contacting a company including 92 percent of B2B buyers. Most make multiple searches and inquiries before deciding what supplier to contact. This means that if you are not engaging buyers as the search for solutions online, you are unlikely to be on their short list of suppliers.
Importance of Search
Search engines constantly change what they look for in deciding what websites to deliver when people search for products and services. Without getting into the details, the reality is that if your business built a website 10 or even five years ago, it has probably fallen behind in the SEO game. Take for example mobile search. Five years ago, most people searched on desktop or laptop computers. That changed in 2015. Now Google and other search engines penalize sites that are not optimized for mobile search.
Then there is website performance. Five or 10 years ago, people accepted sites that were slow to load. Now, they don’t. Sites that don’t load in under two seconds are abandoned by users and downgraded by search engines.
Search is so important to businesses being found and contacted, that digital marketing best practices are essential more most businesses that aim to reach beyond local markets.
The Role of Social Media
Five or 10 years ago, it was common for businesses, especially B2B businesses, to say “my customers don’t use social media.” That may have been true then, but it’s not true now. More than 90 percent of businesses use social media for marketing, according to a report by Social Media Examiner. Social media has shown to help even the most arcane B2B businesses build better relationships, shorten sales cycles, and grow sales through social media marketing. Examples include using videos to show customers how a products or service works–which can eliminate a need to visit a company to see a product demo.
24/7 Inside Sales
Digital marketing enables businesses to create a 24/7 inside sales process using online tools–from a website with content that answers questions, to landing pages that qualify leads, to emails workflows that nurture leads into customers. We’ve just covered the tip of the iceberg of what digital marketing can do for a company, and how the lack of a digital marketing program can hurt a company.
For more information check out The Alaniz Guide to Generating Website Traffic, Leads and Sales.