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Understanding The Digital Ecosystem

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The Internet isn’t Field Of Dreams. If you build it, they still may not come. The digital arena is composed of lots of moving parts and, as a marketer, you should do your due diligence and make sure all those parts are talking to each other. There are a few questions you should ask yourself and a few key things to keep in mind when embarking on a digital campaign. We’ve laid them out for you below.

What do I ultimately want my customers to do?

The desired action you want your customers to take should ultimately shape your digital efforts. Do you want users to make a purchase? Provide their information for re-marketing? Or maybe just engage with your brand?

Whatever your marketing goal may be, you need to optimize your online presences in such a manner to make it easy for customers to take action. This could mean pinning social posts to the top of your feed, properly managing tabs and navigation bars, curating appropriate content, proactively engaging with potential customers and/or identifying overlapping interests for proper desktop and mobile ad placement.

Most importantly, you’ve got to drive customers to one single hub where they can easily perform the action you desire. Landing pages, pre-populated carts for eCommerce sites, integrated Facebook iFrames and information capture forms are excellent places to direct your customers in order to drive results. All digital marketing efforts should eventually route users to this central hub. But it may require a slightly roundabout approach.

Think of digital marketing as a series of funnels. You help guide customers from the initial point of contact through to a purchase, and there may be stopovers along the way. For example, say you run a rich media ad that aims to inform users about your new product. You may want your ad to click through to a press release or customer testimonial video or landing page that houses additional information about that product. If you link directly through to the transactional phase of a customer’s path, it could raise bounce rates because users will feel like they’ve been the victim of a bait and switch. Even though your eventual goal is to make a sale, you have to keep in mind that consumers are more likely to wade in than dive in. So in our scenario, it would be best to provide the customer with the additional information your ad promised—and then be sure to include prominent and engaging calls-to-action to help convert from the research phase to the final purchase.

That brings us to the next question you should ask yourself: What does the consumer journey and path to purchase look like for my customer?

In a lot of instances, customers utilize the internet to begin their research phase. Independent reviews, consumer ratings and word-of-mouth are invaluable in the digital space for converting users into customers. But, for every brand and product, this research phase and path to purchase can look different.

Say you’re a home appliance brand. What could that consumer journey look like online? Are your customers more likely to turn to hard facts like product specifications and dimensions or look on social media to see what others are saying about the appliance they’re considering purchasing? Most likely, they’re going to want the cold, hard facts. If your business provides a service, however, like a doctor’s office or salon, your customers may be more likely to turn to peer reviews and advice to make a decision. 

How do I interject my brand into my customers’ daily lives and routine?

Digital media is pervasive. You can reach practically anyone, anywhere at anytime. And you’ve probably already compiled demographic information regarding which platforms your target audience uses and at what times they’re most active. But there’s more to human nature than then where and the when. There’s the why. Why do your customers care about the ad they’re viewing at the time they’re viewing it? Why is it relevant at this time in their day? Why are they using the site, social platform or app your ad appears on?

The answers to these questions vary wildly from brand to brand. But the key takeaway is the same: you have to identify the key human truth and moment of influence that helps your ad break through the clutter and become a pertinent and useful tool for your potential customers. Then, deliver messaging that speaks to your customers in a genuine and understanding why.

How can I use digital media to enhance my customers’ experience of my brand?

Unlike traditional marketing, digital and social media marketing is NOT a one-way street. It is very much alive. And users expect a lot more from it than they do from broadcast, radio and out-of-home. They want to be entertained, informed or assisted.

Luckily, you can use digital media to accomplish all these tasks. Video pre-roll sees more success when the content is entertaining—either through humor or heartstrings. Remember that GEICO spot with the dog eating spaghetti? Just like that.

Digital media also provides an opportunity to better inform your customer. You get a lot more than just :30 on the TV while someone’s making a sandwich or 10 seconds of attention while they zip past on the interstate. Content marketing, advertorials and sponsored or featured content reaches a more captive audience, which allows brands to impart more information to a wider range of people.

When it comes to aiding and assisting customers, digital is unrivaled. Social media provides a seamless and easy way to provide customer service. Integrated chat functionality on your website gives instant access to service agents and representatives. And email marketing provides a way to answer customers’ questions before they even have to ask.

It goes without saying that brands simply have to market online in this day and age. In fact, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ most recent Global Entertainment and Media Outlook Report predicts that Internet marketing will surpass TV broadcast next year (2017).

So, what are you waiting for? If you need help getting your brand online or boosting your presence, we do that.

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Ed Sharp

Ed brings 15 years of traditional and digital media sales experience to the agency, giving us a perspective most agencies don’t have. When he’s not working or seeking new knowledge, Ed hangs out with his wife, two kids, two dogs, one cat, and a hamster. And yes, the cat and hamster are best friends.

Chaney Given

Chaney is a talented and accomplished designer and illustrator, who has expanded his skill set to include motion graphics and video editing. With nearly a decade of experience, his client work includes Waterstep, Baptist Health, the Archdiocese of Louisville Catholic Schools, First Harrison Bank, and many more