The digital marketing sector is a rapidly growing and evolving beast. The nature of technology is such that virtually all new digital marketing developments, be they genuine opportunities or pointless fads, are quickly taken up. One of the reasons for this is that a large portion of digital marketing systems often come with a highly deceptive price tag - "FREE". This attracts large number of hopefuls looking to squeeze some new clients out of these systems.
It's a "digital world out there" ...
You will often hear funny statements thrown around that all marketing is now "digital". Everything else is "out of date" and "behind the times". I have even heard "it's a digital world out there" ....
The only real metric in business is ROI
If you were to do a thorough investigation and dig up some facts and figures, you will find that many companies do not get a good ROI from their digital marketing efforts. While it's easy to point out examples of how some big names are highly successful with their social media strategies that went viral (e.g. Tesla), their concepts can not be easily implemented and applied for smaller businesses. To add to the complexity, the B2B marketing sector is in its own category, and many digital strategies that work for B2C simply do not apply here.
Social media marketing and B2B
The first and biggest elephant in the room to get out of the way has to be social media marketing. A small disclaimer: social media platforms vary and offer different options to market your products and services. The statements in this article explore social media marketing from an overall psychological point of view.
I will be direct: social media marketing is just about the biggest waste of time for B2B. Virtually any other digital marketing channel is more effective. Please don't let social media "experts" fool you otherwise.
The primary appeal of social media marketing is that it appears to be "free". It isn't - your time is also valuable. If you have the time to sit all day to make promotional posts and write articles nobody responds to... there is a serious problem with your marketing strategy (and business overall).
The main issue with social media is that it wasn't designed for outbound marketing. Social media was a tool for people to connect and keep in touch. Having grown up and using social media platforms before they exploded in popularity (I was on Myspace a while back... the platform that pretty much kick-started the craze), I was always well aware of the original purpose. The whole social media marketing concept was a later add-on and is regarded as a nuisance by people that use social media platforms for their original true purpose.
Would you like proof? Just have a look at the amount of "likes" and comments photographs of couples on vacations in exotic places receive. Photos of parties, pictures of new babies and new cars... these are the kinds of posts that receive a lot of "likes". Now look at businesses posts. Not quite as popular... even in groups specifically created to connect business owners together.
Is there room for social media marketing? Some B2C products and services may benefit from paid advertising through some social media networks, however the ROI can be abysmal. Social media can be a viable tool to keep in touch with your existing customers by creating a dedicated page for your company and making regular posts (email marketing or a phone call is arguably more effective for this purpose).
What is the bottom line? Ask yourself: Do you own Tesla? Are you Elon Musk? Or, are you a small business selling professional products and services? If you are the latter, look elsewhere for your digital marketing needs.
Websites, SEO and SEM
A high quality website with a good organic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy is likely the best investment a company can make to improve digital presence.
Unfortunately, company pages on social media platforms seem to have taken over dedicated company websites. The reason is simple: it's "free" to create a page on a social media platform and you have to hire a professional web developer to create a website.
Unlike social media pages and posts, websites are very effective for generating new leads. There are always potential customers out there looking to buy your product and service via search engines. The trick is to ensure these potential customers end up on your website - not your competitors'. This is where organic SEO shines and can give your business a competitive edge.
The process of gaining customers via organic SEO isn't marketing. It is lead capture, which is a strategy that will usually generate a higher ROI than digital outbound marketing.
If you are a small business and you are offering professional services or products (especially niche industries), this is where all your digital marketing budget needs to go. Don't attempt to implement any other digital marketing strategies before your website is up to scratch.
Email marketing is an effective tool in the B2B sector. If you have invested into a high quality website, it is absolutely crucial that you also offer a way for your clients and interested parties to subscribe to an email marketing list.
Email blasts are a great option to announcing new product and service offerings and other updates.
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