Before digital media came along, marketers had to rely on print, radio and television advertising to reach customers. All of these channels are essentially one-directional modes of communication, requiring clever thinking to generate a response and ensure customer engagement. With the advent of mobile telephones, the Internet and other forms of interactive communication; marketers can today enter into a two way dialogue with the customer.
Print advertising of the past utilized a strong call to action and typically a voucher to be redeemed or a tear off coupon to be posted back. In addition to the hit and miss nature of this approach, not representing a true picture of customer interest, paper based campaigns can be costly and require a high level of administrative management. Where print advertising is utilized, the buyer incurs additional media placement costs on top of the agency fee for the development of the advertisement. Radio and television offer phone in opportunities from time to time, but like print they are essentially single-direction communication channels.
Digital technology and information capture
Internet and mobile telephone technologies have revolutionized the marketing industry, providing the means to track consumer interests and obtain an inexpensive link direct to the customer. A form on a website can capture customer details and ask key questions to assist with market profiling. The voluntary provision of email or mobile telephone contact details allows the marketer to ‘get in front of’ the customer without breaching privacy regulations.
Customers are often drawn to relinquish personal information through the offer of free materials and giveaways, or the opportunity to enter a competition. The more closely consumers become connected to digital technologies, the greater the power of the information channel for marketers. With mobile telephones and other electronic devices kept on the person, the rate of ‘hits’ is likely to be far higher than the scattergun approach of traditional media.
When the immediacy and accessibility of digital media is combined with metrics, analysis and customer profiling / segmentation, the online world becomes even more powerful for marketing purposes. Today we can reach the customer when we want to, losing no time as an issue or leveraging opportunity arises, send targeted information that reflects the profile we have gleaned online and reasonably expect a fair percentage to engage in two way communication.
Keywords and internet marketing
Internet marketers utilize popular search terms to isolate what potential customers are interested in and to ensure that content is available online which meets a customer need but also serves the purpose of engaging the customer with the marketer’s brand.
Poor internet marketers do this badly, overestimating the value of keywords and underestimating the importance of providing value to the customer. Customers resent hollow content which is designed purely to drive web traffic to a particular site, and search engines such as Google develop tools to seek out poor quality sites and reduce their ranking. Poor copy online can often mean a low search engine ranking, meaning when the customer types in your keyword, many other sites will appear before yours in the results list.
The process of getting a website ready to attract the most traffic possible and maintain a good search ranking is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Online marketing experts can assist a business in raising their ranking and keeping it high and ‘Google friendly’.