The State of Digital Marketing in 2017

Roshan Virk, Tartan’s manager of digital marketing, recently attended the Traffic and Conversion Summit, one of the largest digital marketing conferences in the world. Here are some of his main takeaways.

1) The Professionalization of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a complex and fast-changing business. Most people don’t do their own accounting. Unless your primary business is digital marketing, it makes sense to delegate the task to a professional.

Another common misconception is that a digital marketer knows how to do everything digital. This includes website design, coding, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), copywriting, email marketing, content marketing, social media, conversion optimization, and analytics. Does your doctor also do dentistry and veterinary work? Exactly. The reality is that these skills are very different and complex in and of themselves, so make sure you hire somebody who specializes in exactly what you need.

All this has caused the salaries and job security of digital marketers to go up. As marketing platforms such as Facebook and Google become increasingly complicated, it can be nearly impossible for dabblers and generalists to keep up with all the changes.

Your best options: Add a professional digital marketer to your staff, work with an agency, or invest heavily in the training of junior staff in digital marketing.

2) Rise of the Bots

Chat bots or automated response bots are becoming huge online and can be very effective in increasing sales. What are they? Chatbots are like Siri for brands in consumer communications. They are chatty computer programs that respond to texts or digital chats, effectively carrying on conversations with your current or potential customer. They are AI chatting robots.

The key to using chatbots such as ManyChat successfully is to use them to start the conversation but not to automate the whole thing. Program it to send the first message but make sure a human continues the conversation. You want to do this because people respond much better to human-to-human contact. This will also increase the likelihood of them purchasing your product or service, as selling over the phone is much more powerful than selling via chat or email.

Chatbots can be extremely effective in driving sales. In one case study, Digital Marketer got a 500 percent positive ROI on using ManyChat to initiate conversations with its customers. The future belongs to companies that are willing to invest in real one-to-one conversations; chatbots can play a big role in doing that.

3) The Sequence of the Customer Journey Matters

The main goal of any business is to get the customer from a less desirable to a more desirable state. Business owners have to figure out the best way to move their customers through the customer journey as smoothly as possible. For most businesses the way to do this is through digital marketing:

Awareness – let them know you exist through social media posts and ads
Engage – get them engaged in your content (read your blog or watch your videos)
Subscribe – get their email or phone number in exchange for an ebook, video course or other content
Convert – get them to pay for a product or service
Excite – get them passionate about your product or service
Ascend – sell them more of your products and services
Promote – get them so excited about your product or service that they will promote it for you

If you skip any of these stages you risk turning your prospect away from the purchase. Selling—whether online or in person —is similar to dating. You don’t ask someone to marry you on the first date. The same goes for digital marketing. Generally you don’t want to drive cold traffic right to your product sales page. Romance them with your blog and offer them a free e-book before working your way to selling them on your product.

In today’s world the salesman no longer has control over information about the product. Google has enabled and empowered people to obtain information whenever they want. To succeed in business you have to give away good information before you ask for the sale.

4) Create Systems and Processes for Everything

Aircraft mechanics use comprehensive systems and processes to ensure aircrafts are safe for flight. Checklists make certain every detail has been addressed and try to eliminate the chances of human error. As digital marketing continues to get more and more complex, it is critical to have similar systems when running your digital marketing campaigns.

For example, when running an ad campaign, establish a process for researching, brainstorming the pitch, writing the copy, creating the designs, and building the campaigns. Each step should have its own checklist of items. For example, in the research step, you should look at competitors and evaluate the major aspects of their campaigns including price, hook, buyer’s journey, and unique value proposition.

Checklists are vital as digital campaigns get increasingly technical. For example, was a campaign budget cap set on the campaign? Were enough ad sets made? Was long- and short-form copy tested? Did you select the appropriate bidding type for the campaign?

To simplify the process, try a project management software such as Trello, which aids in creating steps in a process and uses checklists..

Running a company’s marketing efforts can be overwhelming. And finding the time to make changes can seem impossible. However, setting aside even a small amount of time each week to start implementing these strategies can dramatically improve the performance of your business.

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