If you own a business, you may be spending quite a bit of time trying to reach customers. It’s no simple task; however, the digital era has made it easier than ever to reach a larger audience. You can connect on social media, send targeted emails, retarget individuals that have visited your website, boost posts, etc. Digital opportunities are endless, and most companies are marketing online. I recently read an article on Hootsuite’s blog, and I was astonished that social media advertising revenue was forecasted at $51.3 billion USD for 2018. I think we can all agree that’s a lot of money!
Many businesses I’ve spoken with want to put their marketing dollars to work online. Before I ever agree to assist a client, I want to understand why they want to advertise online. Simply put, we need to determine if a digital strategy is the right strategy for their company. I think some companies feel like they have to market online because it seems like the thing to do. I would argue it’s not always the best strategy depending on your brand, industry, target audience, and budget. Companies in heavily regulated industries can get into trouble if they don’t understand their industry’s marketing rules. Your marketing strategy shouldn’t necessarily be based on what other companies are doing either. If you’ve conducted a thorough analysis and all signs point to that, then, by all means, get to it. Your strategy should be as unique as you are.
Online Might Not Work
So why wouldn’t you spend money online? Think about it this way. Do you open every email you receive? How many sponsored ads on Facebook do you actually click? Do you even notice some of the ads on your screen? I currently have 44,828 unread emails…I’ll probably open 10 of those. The rest will sit there until my wonderful husband deletes them. Most of those emails are from companies trying to sell me a service or product. Even if they sent that email for free, it wasn’t free. They had to pay someone to create that email. Do you get what I’m trying to demonstrate? The short version…you may be wasting money.
Are you tracking value?
The key to a successful digital marketing strategy is setting goals and understanding ROI (return on investment). Are you getting value for each dollar spent? We are bombarded by ads and messages all day long. It’s been said that the average American sees or hears up to 4,000 ads per day. So you aren’t just competing with your direct competitors but everybody else targeting your audience. That’s why it is imperative you understand your audience, set realistic goals and expectations, track everything as best you can, and determine the return on your investment. If something isn’t working, get rid of it.
I’m by no means saying you shouldn’t have an online presence or spend marketing dollars online. What I’m saying is that you need to be very specific and track everything. Your customers may even prefer a call or a note in the mail. You should conduct enough research to determine how your customers prefer to be contacted. In my opinion, word of mouth will always be a great way to reach customers. People talk, it just might be via Yelp or social media. So figure out ways to incentivize people to talk (positively of course) about your company online. At the end of the day, you should understand all of your options and track everything. It’s never too early to restrategize if something just isn’t working.
In conclusion, make sure you’re spending your dollars wisely. Digital marketing is fantastic, but like everything else, it has its limitations.