What Is Digital Marketing? A Guide to Marketing in Today’s Digital World

In the world of business development and branding, going digital is all the buzz. So just what is digital marketing and how can we use it to grow our businesses?

Digital Marketing Defined

Digital marketing is the advertising and promotion of businesses and their brands through digital media channels. Digital media, at the moment, includes websites, social media, radio, television, mobile and even forms of traditionally non-digital media such as billboards and transit signs. Essentially any marketing media that is delivered electronically is considered digital marketing.

This leaves only various forms of person-to-person (P2P) marketing, print advertising and direct marketing outside of the digital marketing umbrella. Even then, print ads, direct mail, print directories, billboards and posters are all starting to connect to their digital counterparts. With items like URL landing pages, QR codes, web banner advertising, online directories and text codes, traditional marketing and advertising almost always has a digital marketing connection.

Why the Focus on Digital Media?

The shift to digital media is being driven by marketing agencies, business owners and consumers alike. The ever-increasing demand to show quantifiable results makes going digital a dream for the digital marketing agency. Most digital media, including websites, social media and mobile advertising is much easier to track than traditional marketing media such as print advertising.

For business owners, many forms of digital advertising are very low cost. Having a web presence, engaging customers in conversations through social media and e-mail marketing are low cost alternatives to print advertising and direct mail. These digital channels are available to businesses of any size, and help to even the playing field for start-ups, small businesses and independent consultants seeking new business.

For consumers, the fast pace of life makes digital advertising a must. When consumers are in need of goods and services, gone are the days of thumbing through a phonebook to find them. Now, we whip out our mobile devices or head to our computers for answers – and we find them fast.

Using Digital Media to Build Your Business and Brand

No matter what size your business is – large or small to medium sized business / enterprise (SMB or SME) – you can effectively market your business through low-cost digital channels. The foundation of your marketing efforts will be your website. Invest wisely in your website, and be sure that it does the following:

  • Adequately represents your business and brand (look and feel, messaging)
  • Adequately speaks to your target audience
  • Can be found by searchers on top search engines
  • Is up-to-date and easily navigable
  • Provides multiple channels for customer communication
  • Connects to other marketing efforts

It is recommended that you work with a professional web design firm that is skilled in web development and search engine optimization. Because your website is the foundation to and from which all other digital channels will lead, it should be considered one of your top business investments.

Once you have your website complete, the next steps would be to launch regular monthly or bi-monthly e-mail campaigns, and connect with customers via social media. If you are truly on a shoestring budget, these are efforts that can be done in-house (by someone with the proper knowledge) or for a low cost by an outside digital marketing agency. Be sure that all of your efforts lead customers back to your website where they can fully engage with your business, products and services, and choose the channels through which they contact you.

If you’re interested in getting aggressive with search marketing, you can set aside some digital marketing dollars for search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Many businesses today rely heavily on being found online to gain new customers. A common misconception among business owners is that simply having a website means that customers will find it. Not so. Your site must be built with specific key words and phrases, meta data, page content and linking strategies that will help it reach top search rankings.

Because many key words and phrases have stiff competition for top search rankings, you will need to supplement your organic search engine optimization efforts with pay-per-click advertising. Getting established with pay-per-click advertising campaigns can be a little daunting, but with a little time, effort and instruction, that too can be accomplished in-house, or for a reasonable cost through an outside digital marketing agency.

Beyond e-mail, social media marketing and search engine marketing, you can venture into a host of other digital marketing efforts. Mobile advertising, radio, television, electronic billboards and much more are available as marketing outlets. Whatever digital efforts you choose, they should all connect and tie into your foundation – your company website.

If you have the means, a wise investment would be to engage the services of a digital marketing agency to assist in your marketing efforts. Today, many digital agencies offer multiple levels of service to accommodate businesses large and small.

Source by Kris McCurry

7 Tips for Better Auto Repair Shop Advertising to Increase Car Counts

Most auto repair shops do the same advertising over and over and still expect different results. Maybe it’s the sales person that talks them up and they get ‘visions of dollars dancing in their heads’. Well, from the responses I hear about, the only visions of dollars are in the sales person’s head.

When you’re promoting your auto repair shop to increase car counts, use the following 7 Auto Repair Shop Advertising Tips as a guideline so that you get a better response.

1) Your ad shouldn’t be about YOU: Most of the auto shop ads I see talk about everything THEY do; but they forget about the customer. The customer (like everyone else) is only looking for ‘What’s In It For Them’. What is their benefit? It’s not the fact that you’re family owned; It’s not the fact you’ve been in business for 25 years. You have to advertise the benefits that the customer is going to get.

2) Do you provide a solution to a problem? Why else would anyone look for an auto service shop if they didn’t have a problem? Does your ad speak to that problem? Do you provide a solution? Sorry, but being family owned is not a solution to any auto service problem that I’ve heard of.

3) How many ways to you have to contact you? Remember, there’s the internet and websites; e-mail; the Mobile Internet (for those accessing online searches from their phone); some people still use fax machines too! What about your phone numbers? How many do you have? Do you have a 24 hour help line? Do you use QR Codes to direct visitors to a Mobile Website?; Do you have a mobile website?; What about a 24 hour message line so I can get information about you before I visit? Make it easy for your customer to get in touch and give them as many ways as possible to connect.

4) Always include a non-threatening way for prospects to contact you: In some cases, people just want to get more information. Remember, they only purchase from those they know, trust and like. Do you have methods to deliver that information? What about a FREE Report that I can download from your website. What about a FREE Trial offer? Remove the risk and give people a non-threatening way to find out more about you.

5) Quit trying to sell from your ad: How many of those fancy 10% discount coupons have you ever received back? Yeah, I figured. Your ad isn’t about getting your customer to buy when YOU want them to. Your ad is about getting them to buy SOMETHING so that you have a customer; then continue to market to them with ongoing offers, discounts, promotions and specials.

6) Make your ad a way to collect leads; not to sell: This is really important as it’s the perfect way to build your ‘Sales Funnel’. Yes, people may be interested in your auto shop services, but typically they don’t purchase from those they don’t know, trust or like. Make your ad a ‘Lead Generation’ ad so that those interested will get to know you better.

7) Most Important – Create a Strong Call To Action: Nothing is going to happen unless the prospect takes an action. Buying something from you just because you placed and ad in a newspaper typically doesn’t work, right? (I am sure you can attest to that!) But taking an action can be as simple as getting them to download your report; Texting to get an offer or special; Listening to a 24 hour recorded message. There’s a lot of ways, but the important thing is that they take action.

Following these 7 tips will help improve your auto service shop advertising and let you build your business and increase your car counts!

Source by Matthew J Lee

8 Mobile Phone Facts That Will Shock You: Marketers Listen Up

• 91% of all US citizens have their mobile device within reach 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (Source: Morgan Stanley)

• There are more mobile phones on the planet than TVs. (Source: Jupiter)

• Mobile coupons achieve 10x the redemption rate as traditional printed coupons. (Source: Borrell Associates)

• Worldwide, more people own cell phones than toothbrushes (Source: Borrell Associates)

• 70% of all mobile searches result in action within one hour. (Source: Mobile Marketer)

• 85% of children own a phone while only 73% own a book at home (Source: National Literacy Trust)

• In 2008 $4.2 billion was spent on Mobile Apps (Source: Gartner 2010)

• In 2013 an estimated $29.5 billion will be spent on Mobile Apps (Source: Gartner 2010)

What can we learn from this?

Over the past 10 years, mobile phone usage has grown at relatively steady rate. From a marketing perspective, consider this: it is estimated that over 70% of people worldwide have a cell phone of some kind by 2011 (Source: ITU). This means that 70% of all customers can now be reached at any time of the day, in any country in the world, in any language. What’s truly amazing is that since we have entered into the era of smartphone technology (iPhones, Androids..etc) that growth has increased exponentially.

So how can a marketer take advantage of these trends?

Encourage customers take action instantly: It is estimated that it takes a mobile phone user, on average, about 90 seconds to respond to a text message. Compare that to the estimated 24 hours it takes for someone to respond to an email! (Source: Edge Media) As a marketer, if you send an SMS text ad, your customers will receive it instantly and read it almost immediately after receipt. If your text ads are compelling enough, you could see enormous returns.

A new way to reach your audience: Marketers who launch marketing campaigns targeted for mobile devices will increase the likelihood of capturing your audience’s attention. On average, time spent watching TV takes up approximately 16% of our daily lives as Americans (Source: eMarketer). Now consider if 91% of men and women in the US have their cell phones within reach 24/7, you now have the ability to reach your audience at all times of the day. Why spend an enormous amount of money on television ads, when the amount of time your customers are spending watching TV is diminishing? Especially if they are texting and browsing the mobile web while watching re-runs of their favorite shows.

Create a QR code for your business: Anyone can do this and it’s a great way to connect people with your business through mobile phones. These codes can translate into any marketing message from coupons to business cards to directions to your store. All a customer has to do is scan the QR code image with their camera and the corresponding information can be uploaded to their mobile device. There are so many fun applications for this tool, and it’s a great way to capture customers while they are in the purchasing state of mind.

Be visible when customers are ready to purchase: This may be one of the most important reasons to focus on mobile marketing. Most marketers know that being ranked well in search engines is important for customers to be able to find your website online. But what most marketers don’t realize is that these days, more people are searching online for product information while they are in the car driving to the mall, walking down the street or at the office while they sit on the toilet (don’t worry, I do it too). If a customer is ready to purchase, your business needs to be visible online during that mental state. Being visible online in a way that can be effectively received by mobile devices is now equally if not more important than being found online through laptops and desktop computers.

Optimize your website for mobile devices: Optimizing your websites to be viewed on mobile devices will make a phenomenal difference for your business, and can put you ahead of your competitors-at least for now. Almost everyone who browses the Internet with a smartphone can probably remember a time when they visited a website that was not formatted for a mobile browser. Links are so small they can’t be clicked, pictures so small they can’t be viewed, and sometimes the pages are so distorted you can’t tell if you are on the right website. Optimize your site to allow easy browsing for your customers and you will get rewarded immediately.

If there’s not an app for that, make one: This last tip is as much about marketing as it is about the productivity of your own business. Today companies of all sizes are using mobile apps for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is simple: to save time. According to a poll-study conducted by AT&T, approximately 72% of small businesses use mobile apps to increase the productivity of their employees.

I would be curious to know exactly how much time is spent each day by people checking their cell phones while they should be doing more important tasks, like working or spending time with their kids. I bet half of you have checked your cell phones at least once while reading this article! My point is that we are all aware of the power that the cell phone has over each of us. We are, whether or not we choose to admit it, addicted to new content and cell phones give us a dose whenever and wherever we need it. Companies today will go bust if they fail to realize the marketing potential brought on by mobile media consumption. The facts don’t lie – mobile is taking over all other forms of media consumption. Take advantage or get left behind. Can you hear me now?

Source by Michael D Welch

Digital Marketing in Today’s World

A lot is being said about digital marketing these days. This article attempts to see what it is all about and how we can use it to further our business.

Digital marketing – Definition

The advertising and promotion of a business through digital channels or media is called digital marketing. Digital media includes the radio, television, mobile, social media platforms, websites, etc. Any marketing that is delivered through electronic means is called digital marketing. However, any person to person marketing and print marketing is not considered digital marketing. Most items of today are connected to the digital world through QR codes, URL landing pages, text codes, bar codes and online directories.

Digital Media – Why The Focus?

The shift to digital media has become very popular because of the easy personalized access that every business owner has, and also because it is easier to track the progress and results of an advertising campaign at every stage. Another reason is the low-cost, engagement of customers allowed by the media, availability of the channel to businesses of any size and it is helpful for any owner of a new business.

For consumers, Internet marketing is a boon amidst their fast paced routines. Any consumer reached out to their mobile phone to seek out the products and services that they want.

How to Build Your Business and Brand with Internet Marketing?

You can effectively build a business of any size though digital marketing at a lower cost. The foundation of all digital marketing efforts of a business is its website. Ensure that your website has the following characteristics:

· Adequate representation of the brand

· Relates to target audience

· Is at the top of search engine listings

· Is easy to navigate

· Is up-to-date

· Provides channels through the customer can communicate

· Able to connect with other marketing efforts/channels

Build a business website using a firm that has expert knowledge in website building and search engine optimization. This is the most important investment of your business. Once the website has been made live then managing the content is most important. Timely email campaigns, publishing of blogs, reaching out through social media platforms, etc., assume more importance than ever as they can make or break your business. Use search engine optimization to attract your clients with the right words and meta phrases. It would also remain at the top of the search engine listings thus ensuring a good amount of traffic to the website.

Because of the stiff competition that the keywords have, it is a good idea to support SEO with pay-per-click advertising. This may be difficult in the beginning but will settle down with some diligent work. The cost can be reasonable for this campaign too. Beyond any of these you can reach out to your targeted audience through any other channel. But ultimately, they should tie into your business website.

It is a good idea to tie up with a digital marketing agency to help your business have the right kind of effective online presence.

Source by Swadesh Rohilla

QR Codes: What’s the Marketing Buzz About?

In the hot space between the tech and marketing worlds there has been some considerable buzz of late about the efficacy of QR codes. QR — short for Quick Response — codes are black patterns in a square shape on a white background. These are the codes used by many airlines to check-in for flights using your smart phone.

The information encoded can be a text, a URL or almost any other form of data. When these bar codes are posted in public or private spaces they can be scanned by smart phones so users can get fast, direct access to websites or other online data resources to promote businesses, offer deals, deliver information or just plain advertise. The advantage is the speed and efficiency that smart phone scanning can offers users who may not have time to remember or write down a website address or surf the web to get to the site that features the information that is being promoted. Huge in Japan (where they were conceived in the 90s to as a manufacturing tracking device) and quickly catching on in Europe, QR codes are just making their way to America. It’s hard to tell whether this will be Beatlemania Stateside or if this is just another techie trend that won’t play in the Peorias between cities like New York and San Francisco.

Not surprisingly, some of the “hippest” industries in the country — fashion and rock music — have been some of the first to take the QR code buzz to maximum levels of exposure.

The Music and technology festival South By Southwest, held annually in Austin, TX, is known for introducing the latest technology to the mainstream (like it did for Twitter in ’07 and FourSquare in ’09) made a headliner out of QR codes. There were QR codes all over the festival, including on the official festival badges. According to Evolver, “QR Codes will be even more ‘everywhere’ at SXSW 2011 than they were last year, with good reason. As the smartphone-toting throngs stream past posters for bands and tech startups, plenty of potential exists to coax them into linking to websites, apps, videos and free stuff using the codes, which have grown significantly more popular since the crowds last surged through the streets of Austin.”

Obviously there are some great advantages to the technology. It’s fast and it’s made for people “on the go.” It integrates web technology and the virtual world with real, physical space. It’s eye-catching and it’s great for businesses who want to attract new customers or markets that wouldn’t otherwise find them.

What QR Codes Can Do For You

Bookmark a website, Make a Phone Call, Send an SMS, Send an E-Mail, Create a vCard, Create a vCalendar Event, Google Maps, iTunes App URL, Foursquare Venue URL, Play a video, send a tweet, and many other forms of data delivery. You are only limited by your imagination.

From erecting a whole new paradigm of marketing and advertising to being an over-hyped false alarm in a tech era that’s already peaked, those Americans who even know what QR codes aren’t all in agreement about how valid a marketing tool this kind of technology can become in the States. Defenders say it’s an absolute necessity for America to keep up with her Eastern and European counterparts on the technological scene; if we aren’t going to lead, we best stay in the game as followers, as peers. And then others point to the fact that America is an overwhelmingly automotive commuting country and that QR codes perform best in places with heavy foot traffic like Tokyo, Paris, London… and New York and San Francisco, two of the most atypical American cities in the country in almost every category.

Others still say the smart money is on context. No, there’s no purpose of posting a QR code on a billboard alongside a highway in a Midwestern suburb. But what about that Midwestern mall? Small businesses without major brand recognition can bring in new customers by being the first to add this exciting new technology in a small town or suburb that doesn’t see a lot of edgy, cutting-edge ideas in action. And by attracting the youth market, which is most likely to be turned on by QR codes in areas where they may not otherwise get a lot of lip service, mall-type stores selling sneakers, cellular phones and concert tickets can get a lot of business with this group, one of the advertising and marketing world’s most coveted — and, sometimes, fickle — demographics. With time and reputation-building, one can expect older users and less edgy businesses to follow suit, using QR codes to offer deals on every and any thing from the banal to the novel, from auto services, grocery coupons and public service information to movie trailers, music downloads and recreational events. They may even replace basic business cards.

Not to mention the fact that from a business owner’s perspective, QR codes are relatively simple, free and painless to create. There are numerous “creation tools” that can create the analytics of your QR codes like MyOR.co and QReateBuzz. Some of these will even offer tracking devices to see how many people are scanning your business’s codes, how often, in what location and with what devices. You can also brand them with style and color. Phone apps like QR Droid and QR Code Scanner Pro for Blackberry are already in the game for some smartphone owners with these features.

Of course, like any other marketing tool, the hard part isn’t finding a place to park your ad but knowing to whom it speaks. Without getting bogged down in the technological aspect of QR codes, it’s important to remember that this is just another marketing device and that knowing your brand, how to speak to your customer in terms of voice and place and what they’re looking for still apply as they would if you were erecting just another billboard on the side of the road. Will QR codes bring new customers? Probably. But will they change the demographic that your business already speaks to? Well, that depends on you and your business. What the window of newness offers right now, unlike any other quality when it comes to broadening a customer base, is that the glean and shine of the new is only effective when it’s new. So if that uniqueness and cutting-edge buzz of the QR code is something you think could attract customers who may not otherwise be interested in or exposed to your product but like the edgy cache that QR codes offer right now, it’s best to strike while the iron is hot.

Source by Joshua Tukel

Appmakr – Create Your Own Smartphone App!

A custom app and mobile website is not just for business. It’s perfect for associations, organizations, families, and yes, even to keep in touch with your friends instantly. With a professional appmakr you can utilize this powerful tool in many ways.

The smartphone industry is quickly replacing PC’s and laptops as the communication method of choice. If you are marketing anything or just building a brand for your own personal services, you will want to get your customized app on as many phones as possible.

Creating an app also acts as a mini website with up to 6 pages to fill with content of your choice including pictures. Included within the mobil app is the ability to text message your customers. Text messaging is critical to your mobile marketing strategy. Right now today, and the stats are there to prove it, 95% of all text messages are read within five minutes if receipt.

You can even let people subscribe to your text messages without having to download your app by the use of Free QR codes (quick response). With a mobile appmkr you have access to a free qr code generator to help assist in advertising your product or services. All your customer does is “scan in” the QR code using his or her smart phone… no need to type in an address, and no need to type out a text to subscribe to your service! Just imagine having a simple QR graphic on your business cards, or a storefront window, or in all your print advertising… even your stationery, inviting your customers to simply scan it in for immediate access! This way you can integrate all of your offline marketing and promotion with your Mobile Marketing strategies!

Best part of a mobile app is the ability to customize it..Once your phone application is built, you will be given special access to your own control panel and it’s simple, really. This program has been designed not for the technogeeks, but for everyone. Most mobile app creators can build an app in minutes. All you have to do is submit content, graphics, and pictures and you’re done. Promote your app and make money.

Your custom phone app will set you apart from everyone else. It has a “Wow!” factor. It has a sizzle factor. You simply must be part of the ‘in’ crowd, and with our unique program, you’ll be way ahead of the curve.

Source by Cameron D Huck

Microbrewries/Wineries and Mobile Text Marketing

Are you trying to expand awareness of your brand? Do you have a new product to introduce to your fans? Are your running promo nights the old way still? I think you’ll find that Mobile Text Marketing will have an immediate and direct impact on your marketing efforts.

By contacting a local bar and scheduling a “tasting event” you can post some flyer’s and a banner showing that your brand will be there on an upcoming date. The bar owners will welcome the opportunity to have the extra business you will be bringing in. Now, do you want to increase your sales and have bar owners begging to put your kegs on tap or bottles on their shelf? Here’s how to utilize text marketing: at each event announce, and have flyers posted inviting fans to subscribe to your VIP list. They will text a keyword like “yourwinery” to a short code (a five digit phone number like 12345). By doing so, they are opting-in giving you permission to send future notifications. It’s also best to give them something as an enticement to join your list. Maybe it’s a percentage or dollar amount off on any purchases that night. You’ll be building an ever increasing database of customers at each event. Now, you’ll be able to text this list of customers every time you release a new product or are having special events or tastings at another location.

Think about the power of this for a minute. Consumers carry their cell phones with them everywhere they go. Industry studies verify that 94% of texts are opened and read within minutes of being received. And 22% of recipients forward inviting texts to their friends. As your list continues to grow, you’ll be packing bars (they’ll love it), increasing your sales and have an ever increasing number of fans that feel a real and genuine relationship with your brand. You should also consider putting your “call-to-action” to join your list on your labels and in every other form of marketing that you do. We can even create a unique QR code to make it simple for customers to scan and join. Continually building a responsive list of customers will help you gain market share against your competition. Don’t hesitate on this as others are jumping into this simple, cost effective and highly effective form of marketing.

The New York Times called mobile marketing “the most powerful advertising medium of all time”. This is the most cost effective, highest ROI form of marketing you can do for your business and it’s all easily accomplished right from your desktop.

Source by Michael Saum