by Tony Vidler
If I had to guess a particular number then I would guess 50%.
Probably 50% of professionals today still would say they do not use digital marketing – and a fair proportion of those who say they don’t also say they don’t ever intend to use it either.
If I had to guess another particular number, being for how many professionals do actually use digital marketing every working day then I’d guess it to be 100%.
The largest digital marketing channel in the world is also the one professionals use every working day. We use it on the run via our phones and tablets, and we actually use it when we are supposed to be relaxing at home too. It is email…and we use it a hundred times or more per day typically.
Somehow though it seems to fall between the cracks and be ignored by many as a marketing medium. It is simply not thought of as being a marketing tool, and yet it is the most intimate marketing medium we have and we are using it in ever increasing volumes. Email is more than a 1:1 communications tool to assist with servicing work…it can carry our branding and positioning and deliver our value proposition to hundreds of customers, influencers or prospects daily. That same individual message to any given recipient can also carry campaigns and promotions and subtle reminders of services in the form of banner advertising, hyperlinked buttons and calls-to-action. All of those things can be prepared and templated well in advance, so that when it comes to actual day-to-day use of email you are simply typing and sending a plain text message in Outlook (or whatever) as far as you and your keyboard are concerned. All the marketing parts can be added on at server level after the message has left your machine, and then the message which arrives in the recipients inbox is the beautiful email with branding, value proposition and so forth.
And all that is just one element of digital marketing of course. Then there are websites – which pretty much everyone has too, although they are more often than not some static “billboard” on the side of the super-highway. And most professionals have a LinkedIn profile…which may or may not be completed, but it IS another digital presence. So when we get down to it, most professionals already have multiple tactics at work in digital marketing. However, many professionals are not using any of those marketing tactics to their potential it seems. There is a tendency to dabble with a medium rather than fully exploit it, and the result is multiple poorly executed marketing tactics.
As with most things in business it is helpful to step back and develop a plan to begin with, and when planning how to use digital marketing well the areas that professional advisers should consider as a suitable array of digital marketing tactics would include the following:
With email being the medium used most frequently, and with having the greatest degree of personalisation, it is the logical medium to focus upon first. I have written before about creating effective email as a marketing tactic so won’t repeat myself here (but a link is provided at the end of the article).
The next area which deserves particular attention is “search”. Understanding and defining what the relevant keywords and phrases are which will resonate with, and be found by, your target market is critical. Furthermore, those keywords and SEO tactics become critical to the successful execution of other online presence tactics. Incorporating the SEO strategy into areas such as LinkedIN, websites and About.Me pages, blogs and digital advertising will actually be a key factor in their success.
It follows that professionals then integrate those tactics into how they are positioned on their selected social media channels. The relevance goes beyond just the positioning though, it helps determine themes and content areas that help drive the building of expertise and authority with the target market as well as creating conversations with prospects.
Only then should we seriously consider the Pay-Per-Click tactics, or online advertising and campaigns as forms of lead generation or direct product sales.
In today’s wired market place professionals are already using digital marketing on a daily basis. What they are not often doing is thinking about it strategically to begin with, and determining the logical sequence of execution and incorporation into the overall marketing plan. The key change which is typically required to make digital marketing effective is really to focus on one area at a time and get that right. Begin with the digital channels already in use and figure out how to use them better – or more effectively – before considering other digital tactics.
The bottom line is that a poorly conceived and executed marketing tactic – such as jumping into a PPC campaign when we haven’t quite finished building our own website presence – will generally provide a poor ROI. So if you are already using digital – and you are – in some form it makes sense to get the existing channels being used well before moving onto the next cool idea.