With all the information, tools, and advice for digital marketing, trying to figure out how to better your business's digital efforts is a lot like facing down a giant buffet. It all looks delicious, but you've only got so much room on your plate.
You have to choose wisely how you'll spend the resources you have available.
Trends and buzzwords don't help. Every week there's another new, sure-fired way to win consumers, attract attention, and promote your business. But you don't need a trend or a buzzword. You need bottom-line, tried-and-true concepts that will work, day in and day out.
Well, here they are.
Concept 1: Automation Is Good
The beauty of digital marketing is that it's digital, which means you can take advantage of the plethora of digital automation tools on the market. There are many excellent, free services and tools, and just as many more excellent, affordable options. For example, you can automate status updates (with a scheduling tool), social responses, sharing across multiple channels, data collection and analysis, email campaigns, and follow-up communication.
What you don't need to do is waste your time sifting through every option, comparing details that don't really matter. Instead, decide which digital marketing task takes up the most time, find a tool that makes it easier, and use that tool faithfully.
Concept 2: You Need People
Automation is essential, expected, and desired by consumers, up to a point. But when a customer has a question that isn't on your FAQ, or hits a bump with the purchase process, or doesn't understand how your service works, you need real people. Live people. Easily accessible people who are able to answer questions and who are authorized to solve problems.
Customer service is marketing. Bad customer service will lose customers, both potential and long-term, faster than you can say, "Let me ask my manager." Consumers know they have options, and they're not going to tolerate shoddy customer care if they don't have to.
Make getting to live customer help easy for your customers. Put your phone number in an obvious place. Keep your social media accounts and emails monitored. Equip your employees to respond quickly and, within defined policies, authorize them to solve problems without sending customers on a hierarchy chase.
Concept 3: Aim Well
Trends are always going to change. You can't keep up. Trying to keep up with all marketing trends will demolish your budget and consume your time.
The better way is to target your market, not the latest trend.
The best marketers are those who know their customers well. Dive deep into demographics. Conduct case studies. Spend the time you have for research and exploration on learning more about your customers, what they love, what they hate, what they're seeking.
Then do your best to offer them exactly that. When you produce content, avoid the generic list or the done-to-death topic of the moment, and focus on specific, information-rich posts that answer in-depth questions your particular customers have. You really can't please all the people all the time. You don't even want to; you want to attract, please, and win a particular group of people. Put your effort into knowing and learning those people rather than chasing the latest digital marketing trend.
Here's a final, bonus key concept. Make this one your takeaway: Feedback is for using.
That's right. That customer feedback you collect? It means something. It's a gold mine, and it's already there. All you have to do is start digging away, finding out what your customers think and feel, and then--here's the difficult part--acting on it with real changes that make your business better for your customers.
Consumers know they are powerful. They know they have a voice. The sooner you recognize the power of the customer voice in your marketing--and listen to it--the sooner your digital marketing will win you those customers.