In the past, companies found customers by advertising in newspapers or magazines, sending mail, making phone calls, or attending trade exhibitions. Customers expected to try the product themselves and discuss it with a sales assistant before buying it. Today’s changing technology means that marketing and its tools have to change quickly to meet the demands of customers. Customers will research and compare products on the internet, and often buy without ever seeing the product in person or talking to a salesperson. Instead of being limited to local shops, customers can easily order products from all over the world.
Email and social media have become the most popular channels for businesses to promote their products. Yet not all businesses take advantage of these channels to attract and engage with customers and generate sales volume.
Digital Marketing Principles
Focus on content
How can your products stand out on your customer’s Twitter feed or Facebook homepage? Develop a marketing strategy that will make your company seem unique, interesting, truthful, and attractive. High-impact images and headlines will attract customer attention. Choosing a unique name and logo for your product will help customers remember you. And describing the benefits and features clearly and truthfully will persuade them to buy.
Focus on the important messages
No matter which marketing channels you choose, customers will only remember a small amount of the information. Your marketing materials should focus on just one big idea, with three to five simple messages to support it. If you try to emphasize everything, you stress nothing. If your messages are clear and simple, they are more likely to stick in a customer’s mind! This OPPO ad is a good example of a focused message.
Market in multiple channels
The first step to making a sale is to make sure enough potential customers hear of your product or service. Marketing research shows that if your target audience encounters your product in several places over time, they are far more likely to make a purchase than if they encountered it once. Modern marketing strategies use many channels in combination, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google ads, and news articles.
Analyze customer data
How do you know whether your marketing campaign is effective? You need to gather and analyze data on customer behaviour. One of the biggest benefits of digital marketing is the ability to adjust and improve your campaign as it rolls out. You can use your analytics data to find out which marketing channels are a good fit, which advertisements are effective, and whether your customers are coming back to buy again.
Offer added value to get attention
People today have short attention spans and will not listen to a long presentation on a new product or service. But you can entice people to pay attention if you offer them an added value. This added value could be anything, as long as your customers want it and you can afford to offer it: a free bonus item, a discount, access to valuable information or an exclusive event. Make adding value part of your marketing strategy and you will attract more customer engagement.
Craft a Marketing Plan
Step 1: Identify Your Goal
It’s important to have a clear vision for each marketing plan. If you try to do everything and reach every customer at once, you’ll be too unfocused to reach anyone. To start, write down your answers to these questions:
What is the one main goal you are trying to accomplish?
- Directly selling products/services on the internet?
- Providing information about how to buy your product/service offline?
- Engaging with your customers and developing loyalty?
- Providing information about your company for investors and industry?
- Establishing your brand online?
Why do you want to develop a marketing plan?
- To increase overall visits to your website?
- To increase the number of website visits that lead to sales?
- To get one-time customers to come back again?
- To get the attention of purchasing decision-makers in a specific industry?
- To get your company to appear more in online searches or on other websites?
Step 2: Identify Your Customers
Your target customer for your marketing plan will depend on your answer to the questions in Step 1. It’s important to focus on only a few customer segments at one time – if you try to reach everyone, you will reach no one.
- Which customers, individuals, or businesses will help you reach your marketing plan goals?
- Where are they? Describe their location. Are they local, regional, nationwide, or international?
- Are any of them finding your service or product now? If so, which channels are they using? Is there a way to increase your visibility on that channel? Are there any other channels that these types of people prefer?
- Which social media channels do your customers use most often? Customers on Instagram will need very different content than customers on LinkedIn.
Write down as much detail as you can about your target customers for the marketing plan focus in Step 1.
Step 3: Position Your Business
Gather advertisements from other businesses in your sector and compare them. Write down a list of what they have in common, and what is different. Notice how each business sets itself apart.
What makes your business different from all the others? Write down a short list of unique qualities. This is your competitive advantage. Your brand will be developed to make people think of these qualities. A few key points from this list will create the key messages in your advertising content.
Step 4: Draft Your Campaign and Get Feedback
Craft your messages. You will need:
- A clear, focused message consistent with your brand, one message per advertisement;
- Images or video that will grab attention and reinforce your messages; and
- An “added value” or reason for the customer to contact you or visit your website.
As you develop your messages and advertisements, you can start testing them with free postings on social media. It’s a good idea to test several variations on the same message with different words and images.
You can also “focus group” your draft content with a few trusted advisers, customers, or friends.
Ask them for feedback on:
- Whether the advertisement fits with your brand;
- Whether your words are clear, impactful, and true;
- Whether your images and video have visual appeal and get attention; and
- Whether the call to action is clear and the offer entices customers.
Step 5: Launch Your Campaign, Track Analytics, and Adjust
Once you have your campaign finalized, you will need to:
- Set up your posts and co-ordinate schedules on each platform;
- Monitor comments and respond if there are questions; and
- Respond promptly to customers who contact you.
Check analytics in real time, evaluate results, and adjust:
- Study the data that the social media platforms collect for you;
- After each post, evaluate it for success and evaluate the strategy as a whole; and
- Revise and adjust your content depending on your results.
In summary, on any social media platform, to have a successful marketing campaign, remember to:
- Identify your goal.
- Identify your target customer.
- Position your business.
- Craft a focused message.
- Launch your campaign and adjust based on results.
Online Courses and Learning Resources
Google’s Online Marketing Challenge
If you are a digital marketing beginner and looking for online courses and real experiences, Google’s Online Marketing Challenge may be the right choice for you. Learners may use the digital marketing course as a self-study training guide.
In addition, this course provides a unique opportunity: with a $250 AdWords advertising budget from Google, learners develop and run an online advertising campaign for a business or non-profit organization over a three-week period. This allows you to test your learning on a real-life campaign.
PPC University is a free, online, self-learning source developed by WordStream. PPC stands for “pay per click,” a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked on. PPC University provides lessons for both beginners and those who have experience in marketing, helping them build and develop digital marketing and PPC skills.
Learners can also access a number of webinars and white papers to enhance their learning.
Social Media Quickstarter digital marketing course
Constant Contact’s Social Media Quickstarter provides step-by-step lessons utilizing the popular marking channels of social media and email. Through this online course, people can learn about marketing tactics used for popular social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube. The lesson structure on this site is perfect for beginners, with components such as “Get the Guide,” glossaries, and practical examples of each lesson. In addition, learners can also find tips and blogs providing good marketing advice.
Alison is the world’s leading provider of free, certified, and standards-based online courses, sharing high-quality skills and knowledge. The online learning community currently has more than six million registered users.
Among Alison’s thousands of online courses, the free Diploma in E-Business is a unique opportunity for business owners. It helps you enhance your digital marketing knowledge and skills, and increase your understanding of implementing a successful online marketing strategy. The course will show learners how to write ads that attract customers, choose the right keywords, budget for online advertising, and use Google tools (such as Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and more).
Similar to Alison, Coursera provides more than 1,800 online courses from the top American universities such as Stanford, Princeton, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Courses on Coursera usually span 4 to 12 weeks and require two to eight hours of studying time per week. In particular, many courses on Coursera have Vietnamese subtitles.
The Digital Marketing Institute is a good resource for examples of social media marketing. For example:
- The best global social media campaigns of 2017 so far
- The top 10 most prominent social media campaigns in the first four months of 2017
Other marketing information references
- Innovative Marketing Communication Strategy
- The Most Emotional Marketing Campaigns of 2016
- Trello Online Marketing Checklist
- The Top 5 Free Online Courses for Digital Marketers
- 6 of the Best Free Open Source eCommerce Software Solutions
- Extremely Effective New Product Marketing Tips
- How to Reply to an Automated Message on Facebook
- Top 10 Tips for Using LinkedIn for Marketing
- LinkedIn – The Ideal Social Network for B2B Marketing