Zohaib Hassan is the Founder & Partner at Lead Origin. A modern consulting firm focused on digital transformation & intelligence.
Whether you’ve been in business for decades or a day, one of the most difficult things to predict about your operations is how to most effectively reach and engage with your target audience. The most pristine product development and highly efficient logistics in the world won’t matter if you cannot get your message across to the right people at the right time.
You’re familiar with commercials, billboards, magazine ads and other traditional forms of advertising, but how much do you know about digital marketing? Many business leaders may think of pop-ups or banner ads on websites. Some are aware that a well-maintained social media presence is an important facet of digital marketing as well. But while you may know some of the tactics used in digital marketing, do you know what makes digital ads effective, especially compared to more traditional forms of advertising?
Owners and executives often think of marketing as an expense, and they aren’t wrong — running advertisements costs money no matter what medium you use. But traditional marketing has a particularly high barrier of entry; even billboards in the middle of nowhere and 3 a.m. commercial slots aren’t cheap.
On the other hand, while high budgets are encouraged and will give you more room for engagement, platforms like Google and Facebook have no minimum barrier for entry. You could run a $5 campaign if you wanted to. And these platforms will often offer ad spend credit for new advertisers as well.
More Targeted Audience Reach
When you buy out an advertisement in a physical newspaper, your audience is defined as subscribers to that newspaper. When you get a time slot on a TV channel, your audience is defined as people who watch that channel for that show at that specific time. While some demographic breakdowns can be assessed depending on the medium (e.g., readers of Golf magazine are probably golf fans), in many cases, with more traditional channels, you lack the ability to tailor your messaging to specific audiences. For example, 18-year-olds and 55-year-olds alike need to go grocery shopping, but do they respond to the same advertisements?
Without any additional cost, digital marketing channels allow you to target individuals based on age, gender, income level, location, job title, interests and more. And if you don’t know what demographic breakdown applies to your business, free analytics tools associated with platforms such as Google and Facebook show you the exact characteristics of people who follow your page or visit your website.
In using traditional advertising to promote your brand or a new product or service, you are at the mercy of hoping your target audience is physically in a position to notice your efforts. Whether that means a person taking the right freeway to work or paying attention to the brochure at your booth, you have to strongly rely on individuals being in the right place at the right time. However, most consumers are connected to the internet at least some of the time in a day.
Through digital marketing mediums, you can potentially reach your audience anytime they check their smartphone or desktop. And if you want a particular product or aspect of your brand to reach a well-defined segment of your audience, you have the ability to do that as well.
One of the biggest issues with traditional marketing is tracking your performance. Media buyers may be able to tell you exactly how many people saw your commercial, but how do you prove that the advertisement converted into a sale?
Digital ads allow you to attach contact information forms to the ads that you run. This has a threefold function: First, it tells you how many people engaged with the ad in the way you wanted them to; second, it enables you to add them to your email and phone lists; and third, it gives you the immediate opportunity to qualify the lead. And that immediate response is very important for converting a lead to a sale.
Customer Engagement And Retention
For bars or restaurants, it’s easy to stay engaged with customers — that’s one of their primary business functions. But how does a small-batch distillery stay in communication with an individual who purchased their product 2,000 miles away?
Technology gives business owners endless opportunities to engage with their customers, whether it’s through review management, social media posts or email newsletters. Through digital mediums, you can respond to a customer’s negative feedback in a public forum, which not only means you can quell their concerns, but everyone who reads the review will see your response as well. And by engaging with customers who have had a positive experience with your company, you can build a loyal community around your organization online.
Stay Connected With Your Customers
Traditional marketing is still effective for getting your message out there to people. But if you want to truly engage with your customers and know what messaging they respond to, nothing is more effective than digital marketing.
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