In today’s wired world, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of digital marketing to the success of your business. Strong, successful companies are carving out virtual space to respond to customers, to create connections with industry leaders, and to tell the story of their brand in a creative, genuine, and visually-engaging way. Digital marketing offers the invaluable opportunity to assess which elements of your strategy are working – or bombing – in real time. Simple new digital marketing techniques give every company – be it a four person startup or a multinational corporation – the chance to make an impact online.
With that in mind, here are 5 new marketing tools and techniques to help you get started.
1. Content marketing techniques
One of the most frequently dropped buzzwords in digital marketing, content marketing is essentially storytelling for your brand. “Content” can be virtually anything with a clear message: a series of attention-grabbing images, videos, blog posts, or news items.
Content marketing differs from traditional marketing tools in its resistance to overt calls-to-action or purely product- or service-based ads and smart consumers have developed a nose for sussing out quality content from gussied-up advertising. Like a good story, good content is original, dynamic, and shareable. Truly effective content marketing uses an accessible voice to tell genuine stories that gain the trust of the consumer and build a positive reputation for the brand.
Content marketing is also inherently flexible. Consider ways to reframe your story or message to target different consumer groups with whom you may not have an instinctive one-to-one relationship. Once your content is in play, tools like Outbrain Amplify can help you distribute that content to a larger audience. Regardless of how wonderful your content is, it simply won’t be truly effective if it isn’t being widely seen.
2. Tools for social networking
You’re likely already using at least one form of social media as a way to connect with your customers – and if not, what are you waiting for? Social media is one of the best marketing tools for humanizing your brand and connecting with your customers in real time. A strong digital marketing strategy incorporates all social media forums appropriate to your organization, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram. These tools have different purposes: Twitter has become a virtual telephone, a way for customers to lodge complaints or ask questions, whereas image-driven social media – such as Instagram and Pinterest – are a great way to get viral with visual storytelling. It’s also vital to stay connected to new trends, such as LinkedIn’s recent Influencers program, which promotes industry insiders as thought leaders and offers them a forum to share wisdom.
3. Go mobile
More and more of us are accessing information on-the-go. Having a website that uses responsive design for various mobile formats – smartphones, tablets, etc – gives your company a competitive edge. Many marketers are now taking mobility a step further by using location data garnered by customer check-in tools like Foursquare or Facebook, or data provided by Adwords and GPS, to target marketing campaigns and build an ever more complete picture of who your customer is, where she goes, what she wants, and when she wants it. Understanding the context of your customer’s desires and behavior is key to targeting your offerings to maximize what is actually needed. These mobility marketing techniques allow you to work outside of the in-office “vacuum.”
One of the most interesting new marketing techniques, retargeting (or remarketing) tracks customers through cookie placement and continues to show them ads for products they’ve viewed in the past across a network of websites. Since only 2% of traffic converts on a first visit, retargeting is a simple, powerful way to keep your brand and product in the minds of potential customers and requires little effort on the part of the company. As the technology for retargeting improves, flexible brands will stay on top of the trend to find ever more organic ways to raise brand profile.
5. Community building
The common thread in these best new digital marketing techniques is the need for brands to cater to the desire of consumers to be seen as individuals, and not just as a number. Consider the recent viral WestJet campaign that secretly fulfilled fliers Christmas wishes. With this campaign, WestJet managed to give an airline a warm & fuzzy personality (no easy feat) and to demonstrate responsiveness. Brands need to prove a genuine interest in the personalities of their dynamic customer base and to treat communication as a way to build an authentic, like-minded community.
As we grow more digitally-driven, the physical community of neighborhood commerce is giving way to more fluid and larger communities online. Even brick and mortar companies are now global participants. Digital marketing offers a way to move beyond your field and into the world at large.