Our routines, values, and lives have become more intertwined with technology than ever, and the trend is growing. Five billion people are now online, and almost all have social media accounts. Needless to say, making digital marketing the core part of any strategy becomes a no-brainer.
Which tools are out there, and how do you leverage them to make your marketing campaigns more successful? This article brings a high-level overview to help you see what’s out there and make the most of it!
Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Assuming you’re not just starting, your business should already have one of its most valuable growth assets – a customer base. Having one is not the same as leveraging its potential, which is where CRMs come in.
A CRM is a comprehensive platform that collects detailed information on your customers. Think about everything from contact information through likes & behaviors to the last time you interacted with them. This data is a treasure trove that helps you segment customers into groups and develop specific marketing strategies for each one.
CRMs can automate many aspects of your marketing strategy, like designing simple campaigns and following up with customers. That gives you more time to focus on creating meaningful content that will attract more customers. Moreover, having data about customers’ preferences and behaviors lets you establish a genuine bond with them and increases the chances of repeat business.
Develop your Content Marketing Skills
While not a technology, content is key to most successful marketing strategies. Think of content as unique value (potential) customers are getting from your company or brand. Let’s say your online business sells soaps. A blog post detailing the benefits of their best-selling product’s specific herbal blend is an example of good content.
Other popular forms of content include long and short-form videos. Customers appreciate educational content that explains how to use your product or highlights its lesser-known benefits. Sites like TikTok have turned the short video into a potent marketing tool that reaches and sticks with larger audiences.
Selling your product is obviously crucial. However, offering extra free value to anyone who comes across it will make people more inclined to actually go through with that purchase.
Let Management Software Help Handle Your Social Media Presence
For many, social media has become the go-to place to research new products and services. An active social media presence is a fundamental prerequisite for any online campaign. Expanding that presence to as many relevant platforms as possible is even better.
Even if you only target major platforms, juggling them all would be difficult without social media management software. An SMM’s interface lets you track account activities across platforms. Merely being able to respond to comments across all of them without leaving your current tab is a godsend. The software can do much more, though.
Establishing and maintaining your brand’s voice is much easier when you can plan your posts from a hub. Speaking of planning, SMMs make scheduling posts and even whole campaigns in advance a snap. Conversely, they also help you keep up with all current developments, which reduces the chances of making tasteless or inappropriate posts.
We already emphasized the importance of content creation, but you don’t need to do everything yourself. CMMs expose you to content others generate. Reposting and commenting on such content show your company’s involvement and appreciation for others’ meaningful contributions. Plus, it helps maintain an engaging and relevant feed while putting less strain on your content creation team.
People appreciate being heard. All the advantages we listed above allow you to automate boring and logistical tasks and focus on meaningful interaction instead. Sometimes, solving one person’s issues quickly and professionally (and publicly) can impact your reputation more positively than any campaign.
Coordinate Better with Cloud Services
The cloud has become an integral part of business operations and can augment your marketing strategies in several ways. On the one hand, some cloud services emphasize collaboration. They let you design and take control of the marketing pipeline. You can assign & monitor tasks or identify scheduling issues before they become problems.
Other services focus on communication. Think of them as super-charged chats where you can discuss the next steps, get follow-ups, or have one-on-one conversations to resolve problems. Some services favor text, while others use video chat. Either way, team members get to communicate without having to be physically present or waste time on unproductive meetings.
Cloud storage is equally invaluable for coordinating a marketing strategy. Engaging in one creates sensitive files that may contain customer data or information on upcoming products your company isn’t ready to disclose yet. Cloud services encrypt such content while making document storage accessible to the entire team.
Data you keep in the cloud serves as an off-site backup with greater protection from physical and digital theft. Doing so is particularly effective for SMBs since they don’t have to invest in infrastructure to host it locally.
AI and machine learning are still nascent in marketing, but they already have an impact. For example, many companies have already implemented chatbots that can answer most customer inquiries 24/7. This frees humans up for more meaningful engagement or other work while improving customer conversion. Artificial intelligence may be taking the world by storm, but it’s just one form of automation you should be looking into.
All the technologies and platforms we mention throughout the article work best in harmony. Automation integrates platforms and services that ordinarily don’t communicate with each other into your marketing endeavors seamlessly.
Tools exist that let you design your own automation. For example, you can set it up so that publishing a blog post generates a link to it on all your social media accounts, schedules a follow-up, and generates a report on user engagement after a set time.
Leverage Data Analytics
Several tools we mentioned have data-gathering capabilities. Structuring, analyzing, and interpreting that data sets competent marketing teams apart from the rest.
Data analytics offer insight into customers’ behavior. They can help you tailor marketing campaigns based on interests, demographics, or past purchases. Being able to measure a campaign’s effectiveness and back your claims up with ROI data will do much to convince management of your efforts’ worth too.
Safeguard Data Security & Privacy
Modern marketing methods generate both raw data and insight. It’s your duty to keep such data safe or risk reputational and financial damage. SMBs think themselves safe compared to larger businesses & corporations. Such a lack of concern is exactly what crooks are exploiting.
Data breaches happen mainly as the result of human error. Shoring up the human side of your cyber defenses is a priority. Get everyone in your team up to speed on the most common phishing scams, enforce up-to-date software & antimalware, and have everyone only use authorized devices when accessing company data.
Additionally, you should install a company-wide password manager. Colleagues concerned with marketing rather than IT are more likely to have weak passwords or variations for their myriad accounts. The manager puts a stop to this by introducing unique and strong passwords for any account. That’s what a password generator is for. Most providers also let you store sensitive info behind passwords and support multi-factor authentication for even more robust account security.
Expand Your Reach through Voice Searches
The rise of digital assistants has transformed the way many potential clients approach product searches. Why fiddle with a physical or smartphone keyboard when you can ask Siri or Google Assistant and get an instant voice response? Voice search has been around for years now, but SMBs barely exploit the trend to reach broader audiences.
Voice search relies on a more refined version of SEO. Rather than focusing on keywords, voice search-optimized results show up as answers to questions. Even then, the assistant will only read what the featured snippet says, so yours needs to always be on top!
The best way to reach it is to create quality content. Specifically, you’ll want to research the most common questions about your field and give thorough, educational, and actionable answers.
Voice searches are also more local since people are interested in the best plumbers, restaurants, etc. in their area. Seize that by anticipating their questions and structuring your content so the assistants’ answers send more business your way.
Explore Augmented Reality
AR is among the newest and most transformative marketing avenues. It blends real-world venues and products with the digital world’s power to inform, entertain, and amaze. QR codes are the most basic form of AR and the simplest to implement if you’re hesitant. Scanning one can lead potential customers to your website, a funny video, or more information about a specific product.
More sophisticated forms of AR let people envision themselves in their next vacation spot or figure out their living room’s new layout. Such services are specialized and more expensive to implement. Still, they can give established companies a leg up by providing more value to customers on the fence.
Not taking advantage of the diverse and powerful tools outlined above would be foolish. However, smart marketers realize that chasing every new trend isn’t the recipe for success either. The secret is to inform yourself and adopt the tools & practices that gel with your business’s current strategies and vision for a more prosperous future.