Marketing the Future
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
By Harrison Greenspan
While stay-at-home orders are gradually being lifted, county by county, COVID-19 has nonetheless forever changed the American landscape, notably the physical marketplace. Americans are beginning to second-guess that weekly trip to the grocery store and instead opting into using an online platform to deliver their respective grocery needs. And instead of planning on that weekend outing to the mall, Americans are turning to online shopping sprees for a more convenient way to shop for clothes, especially with the implementation of online sizing technology and easy apparel returns made at your doorstep.
To shed some light on the situation at hand, a recent Morning Consult study found that 24% of consumers will not feel comfortable returning to shopping malls for at least another 6 months, and 16% for at least another 3 months. In a recent Salesforce Research survey of over 3500 consumers, 36% of those shoppers say they won’t return to brick-and-mortar stores until a vaccine is on the market for public use.
Further, customers are looking to brick-and-mortar stores to implement social distancing measures and required personal protection equipment (PPE) for shoppers and employees before taking the risk of visiting their favorite stores. As such, 62% of the respondents to the survey require social distancing measures to be implemented before returning to the stores, and 57% required PPE for employees. And lastly, a whopping 69% of the respondent consumers say they are likely to buy essential goods online even after the pandemic has subsided. According to consulting and research firm Technomic, 52% of consumers are avoiding crowds and 32% are leaving their house less often because of coronavirus. And even when areas reopened, restaurant activity has remained low.
On the other side of the ball, e-commerce (the buying and selling of goods online), as you probably guessed, has exploded. To paint a picture regarding e-commerce sales revenue and spending, Common Thread Collective compiled data from 28 accounts at a $75 million annual spend rate. Using a one-day attribution metric between before quarantine (March 1st to 7th) versus after quarantine had started (March 8th to June 5th), e-commerce revenue saw a 91.74% increase and a spending increase of 49.73%. And lastly, “buy online, pick up in store” orders have increased 248% for the week May 25 to 31 compared with its pre-pandemic benchmark week, Feb. 24 to March 1, according to Signifyd data.
As substantiated above, e-commerce has become an even larger aspect of the American economy, not only in the present, but probably for the long-term due to safety measures implemented and quite frankly, the sustained anxiety COVID-19 has fixated upon the American psyche. Additionally, consumers are realizing that e-commerce is a more convenient way to do business (I cannot tell you how much more my parents shop online these days, even before the pandemic hit).
Now is the time take advantage of the situation, as an insurmountable amount of businesses are transitioning their services online to an e-commerce type business model to survive the pandemic and future of sales in America. In turn, these businesses will be looking to market or advertise their respective products or services, thus looking for digital marketing researchers and managers for their newly created e-commerce needs.
What exactly is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is actually an all-encompassing area of marketing in the digital space. It describes a set of marketing processes that utilize all available digital channels to promote a product or service to build a digital brand. Digital marketing has come to succeed traditional marketing practices, such as newspapers, radio advertisements, paper mail advertisements, and even billboards. However, we have now entered the digital age, as a vast majority of marketing and advertising is transitioning to what you see on your computer or mobile device. And the transition is only clearer and more obvious with the rise of e-commerce, especially during these trying times (aka the current pandemic).
The channels that make up digital marketing include:
· Social Media platforms
· Content marketing
· Banner placement
· Email marketing
· Mobile marketing
· Search marketing (SEM), which includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Paid Search Advertising (PSA)
· Pay Per Click campaigns (PPC)
· Short Message Service (SMS)
· Web TV
· Electronic billboards
· And anything else with a digital foundation.
Let’s go over each type of digital marketing, so your small business is well-versed in the world of marketing for the future, whether you’re applying these concepts for another small business idea or simply wanting to launch a digital marketing small business.
Types of Internet Marketing (or Online Marketing)
Internet marketing, also known as online marketing, is a subset of digital marketing. Essentially, Internet marketing involves building a web presence and turning the resulting traffic into sales.
Whether it’s a personal website you create (click HERE for a multitude of FREE website builders), a corporate website, or even a personal blog hosted on a shared platform (such as LinkedIn or Tumblr), for many marketing campaigns, this is the beginning or starting point, especially since most marketing campaigns and respective advertisements link you to the webpage regarding the product or service being advertised. For example, you can run a digital marketing campaign through a variety of methods or forms (don’t worry, we’ll get to most of them), which will promote your website with the purpose of getting more visitors. Further, a website is typically the perfect place to explain products in more detail and answer any questions by means of a Frequently Asked Questions section (or FAQ). The FAQ will lay out an abundance of questions, with answers, that you may think come to mind when a customer is thinking about buying your product. To analogize, think of how many questions you’d ask a car salesman when attempting to buy a new car.
Search Marketing (SEM)
Search Marketing is known as the basis of Internet marketing and consists of two significant activities, search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PSA).
SEO is regarding optimization techniques for the purpose of achieving higher rankings in Search engines. It has two major components: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO. On-page SEO describes the manipulations you make directly to a web page to facilitate a higher ranking. It involves optimizing the HTML code, content quality, and content structure. Off-page SEO refers to all of the SEO practices that take place outside of your website, such as backlinks, link relevancy, social signals, and others. To achieve a better understanding of the complex world of SEO, click HERE for a more detailed look!
PSA is all about trafficking Internet users to your website (or preferred destination) by placing ads on search engines. The most popular approach is the Pay Per Click (PPC) and the most well-known tool is Google Ads, which lets you advertise within the Google ad network.
Content marketing is a unique and extremely effective strategic marketing approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable and consistent content that helps customers solve their potential issues within the relevant industry. Instead of the marketing strategy of trying to sell people your respective product or service, content marketing instead offers advice and ideas.
John Deere was one of the first companies to use content marketing by distributing a free farming magazine called the Furrow (est. 1895), which has gained a zealous loyalty within the farming industry for generations.
Bill Gates once said (within his own form of content marketing!) that “content is king.” And he was correct. Now in the digital age, technology companies such as Microsoft are implementing the same type of strategy, but through a digital presence such as blog written and distributed by that respective company or brand. Some other popular types of content marketing include videos (such as YouTube videos regarding the “How to…”), case studies, eBooks, newsletters, and even user-generated content! For guidance on how to make your content “king,” click HERE!
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is another component of Internet marketing and is becoming the most widely used due to its creative functionalities that are different from platform to platform. Billions, not millions, but BILLIONS of users spend a considerable amount of their Internet/online time on social media platforms.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some of the most popular social media platforms today:
There is also a form of social media marketing called influencer marketing, in which people of organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field endorse or market products and/or services. Due to their massive number of followers on social media platforms such as Instagram or TikTok, they can streamline their respective followers to websites selling the products or services they’re endorsing!
If you have a teenage son or daughter, just ask them for expert guidance on many of these social media platforms, as they are most likely already on them all day long!
Email marketing is one of the earliest forms of digital marketing and today is still effective, as it is an efficient method of converting visitors or readers into customers. In terms of marketing, email marketing is the process of gathering email addresses from people interested in your products or services for the purpose of sending them newsletters or offers.
However, business owners are unfortunately finding out how some practices of email marketing (such as spam email) are forbidden by law, thus resulting in harmful financial penalties. For expert guidance on how to avoid these costly mistakes, click HERE for expert guidance on this area of law.
More and more users use their mobile phones to search the web, engage on social media, or find products or services to buy. In fact, over 50% of Internet traffic these days is through the innerweb streets of a mobile device. Mobile marketing is about creating content or ads that are viewable and suitable for a mobile device. For example, websites should have mobile friendly versions, as an advertisement shown on a mobile device may take into account the location of the device and show the nearest shops that sell a particular product associated with the content of the website.
Further, some companies who sell mobile or compact devices themselves sometimes discount that respective device for their consumer if the consumer consents to allowing them to advertise on that device. As an example, Amazon discounts their Kindle device products if the advertisements are allowed to be run, typically in the form of banner advertising.
You can find banners throughout almost all Internet properties, whether it’s on a website, mobile website, mobile app, search engine, online newsletter or blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the list goes on and on. Digital marketers try to promote their products or services through different types of banners (static, text, animated, images, videos, clever banners) throughout different platforms.
The Future is Marketing the Future
As you can see, there are countless marketing methods and strategies within the digital world. As such, the massive influx of companies that have transitioned to e-commerce due to the pandemic, or simply due to the fact that e-commerce is becoming the conventional form of doing business, brands or businesses of all kinds and sizes are going to be looking for experts who can guide them on the various ways of navigating the digital marketing landscape. The time is now to learn the strategies and start your Digital Marketing Small Business today!
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