First Things First
It’s a new decade, and that means you need a new marketing plan! Or, does it? It all depends on how your company has been adapting in the last few years to the digital world. That’s not to say that digital marketing is in any way new. In fact, some say that the first digital marketer was actually Guglielmo Marconi because he invented the radio in 1901. There are differing opinions when it comes to the actual start of digital marketing, and looking at a more complete history will be helpful in at least knowing, well, the history of it all. We are, without question, online more than we are off when it comes to how we receive our advertisements. This means that as we move forward, the tools we use need to be focused on how to manage, organize, and optimize within this thriving digital world.
Before We Get To The Heart Of It...
When we think of marketing gurus today, Neil Patel is one of the names that come to mind right away. So, before we move into our list of marketing must-haves in terms of the digital world, we wanted to give a quick nod to what Neil says about digital offline marketing in 2020. Neil breaks down his analysis into four categories: enhanced offline marketing, radio marketing, television marketing, and phone marketing. It’s an interesting read, and in his conclusion, he points out that the internet is not the only place to achieve marketing success today. Marketing can also be about diversifying, instead of investing all of your efforts in one place. That being said, online marketing is still the leader of today, and we will follow the leader that has a proven track record of consistent and growing success.
Our Favorite List Of Tools
We searched around for a comprehensive list of our favorite online tools to assist in marketing strategy and growth, and we hit the jackpot. Hubspot came through with mentions of many sites that we already use (and love), and many that we’re just discovering and very excited to explore. They aptly have their site at the top of the list (no shame in the self-promoting game), and here are the 15 tools that follow:
Check out their entire post to see supporting statements on each tool that Hubspot has chosen and why. In addition, you can quickly see which sites are free (only a couple), and which would fall within your price range, depending on the size of your company.
The Main Focus
In online marketing, there are seven major categories. If you search the phrase “major online marketing categories” on the web, you might run across a couple of different ideas, but there’s a lot of overlap. These are the categories we saw appear most, and we’re going to trust Neil again on this one because he’s a marketing genius. So, here is his list:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Content marketing
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
- Affiliate marketing
- Email marketing
Within all of these categories, we all know that social media has taken the business world by storm in the last couple of years, as not only one of the most popular forms of advertising, but also one of the most inexpensive. So, if you’re not already using it in your marketing strategy, let’s talk about why you need to and how to incorporate it.
Why Social Media Is A Must-Have
If you have customers, they have social media. It is almost a guarantee that your customers are already cruising insta on the daily, so meeting them there will be a seamless plan. When business is moving as quickly as it is today, efficiency is everything, so why not put your effort towards using marketing strategies that require a bit less time and money for the most amount of payoff? There’s also your brand. Having social media will only help build your brand awareness and connect you directly to your customers. While mailers or email blasts can be an effective way to communicate your ideas, there is no channel or invitation for customers to respond to you. Social media has become a call and response. It allows you to speak with your customers (aka, respond to their comments or likes) making the relationships more personal. Having the ability to reach you via DM also makes you more accessible to customers, which is important for them to feel when investing in you. We again found several lists of “why’s” on this subject and decided this one from Lyfe Marketing is our winner. Just some supporting material as to why your business definitely needs to be on the socials in 2020.
In The End, Stay Human
With all of these strategies being put into place (and yes, you should definitely try them out!) you have to remember that the most major part of your marketing puzzle is still your customer. Some say that 2020 is the year of the customer experience and that your marketing should focus more on building community than making sales. There’s something very important in the social media aspect of your business, beyond that your customers can communicate directly with you. The fact is, they now have power in your business, and whether it succeeds or fails is linked directly to the front-facing social channels that are the identity of your company. Check out this stat: 73% of buyers say that their customer experience is important when they’re deciding where to invest their time and money. If you think about yourself as the customer, you remember how to put things into perspective. We put our energy into places where something equal to or greater than that energy comes back to us. Similar to any relationship, consumers want to feel taken care of, seen, and understood. This year, try out many (or all) of the tools we’ve listed here. In the end, it’s all about trial and error. But keep in mind that on the other end of that computer or smartphone is a real-life consumer that wants to have an authentic experience with your business, and delivering on that can bring customer loyalty that truly lasts.