According to the dictionary marketing is “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.” In contrast, the term “digital marketing” has yet to make the official dictionary. However, according to the Financial Times, digital marketing is: “The marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers. The key objective is to promote brands through various forms of digital media. Digital marketing extends beyond internet marketing to include channels that do not require the use of the internet.” In short, digital marketing is a huge component to modern businesses and the way they reach consumers. Having a “marketing” strategy is no longer good enough. You have to have a digital marketing strategy to be able to keep up with competitors and expand your product’s reach.

Businesses have always understood that marketing was an important component to reaching customers and increasing sales or revenue. With the onset of the dotcom era, this term evolved into something much more complex, called digital marketing. The only problem with digital marketing is that the way to reach consumers is constantly evolving. Marketing strategists recommend revisiting your digital marketing strategy every six to 12 months, so that you are truly in the know of what are the most effective modes of reaching consumers.

Digital marketing follows a basic framework of digital pathways to reach consumers. These originally included: web development, email campaigns, digital advertising, social media and Blog publishing. These basic pillars are geared towards getting unique visitors to a businesses’ website, so that that website can turn that lead into a sale. The problem with this basic framework is that it doesn’t take into account the need to establish lead qualifications. You want to get unique visitors to your site who are most inclined to make a sale.

As you gain meaningful leads, you want to offer your consumers what they’re looking for. There are four basic principles of what consumers find to be meaningful engagement:

  1. Interaction. Consumers want to engage with products, businesses and brands in a meaningful way. This means more interaction, at a fast pace and in a convenient way. Apps are a great way to do this, as well as social media, but now with the ability to access text messaging streams, cell phone number are becoming one of the top ways of convenient and easy engagement.
  2. Sensory-Inspired Content. Users want to be thrilled. They want to interact with something popular and inspiring. Video-streaming is becoming more common because of this. Consumers are allowed a behind-the-scenes perspective of a brand or business or product. Virtual Realities are now being introduced as well. Digital marketing strategies must take these ideas into consideration.
  3. Choice. Customers want to be able to choose information and customize it according to their needs. A good digital marketing strategy takes this into consideration and allows the consumer to be able to sort, organize, categorize and arrange a businesses’ products or services. The great thing about the internet to the current generation is the fact that it allows for endless choice. Instead of just a few books available at a library, they have an infinite amount of information available at their fingertips. Digital marketing needs to keep this in mind and show people what sets their brand apart.

So how do you know if your digital marketing strategy needs to be revamped? See if any of these points hit home to you:

  1. Do you have a clear strategy when it comes to gaining new customers, or building a stronger relationship with your current customers? Oftentimes company don’t feel they have the time to create a strategy. But without one you have no baseline to measure your failure or success. You have to start from somewhere, and that somewhere is your digital marketing strategy or framework.
  2. Do you evaluate the effectiveness of your digital marketing outputs and modify them based on their strengths and weaknesses? Do you do this every six months? Digital marketing is always changing, and you need to be on the ball with it. Evaluating your online presence and your access to your customers via digital marketing is essential. The greatest part of digital marketing is that it is very measureable.
  3. Have you researched your target market and the best ways to engage them online? The more customized you get to your target audience, the better your chances at gaining new customers and keeping them for the long term. The best ways to do this are to use online tools such as Google Keywords or a basic search gap analysis.
  4. Do you know your customers well? Sometimes what’s is lacking the most in a company is what is most readily available, namely, the information of current customers, their preferences, their consumer trends and other sales data. Make sure you have gotten to know your customers. They have the most to teach you and will help direct your digital marketing strategy.
  5. Is your digital marketing strategy disconnected? Many times companies will split up tasks between different employees, creating a fragmented digital marketing team. In reality an integrated approach and team is better to keep the messaging on target.

The more you understand digital marketing, the more clear its influence in the current day and age is strong. As you continue the good work of your business, develop your understanding of this marketing area. There is always more to learn.