As someone with over 35 years of marketing experience, I can attest to the fact that the Digital Revolution has completely reshaped and transformed the way companies market to and connect with their audiences. Today’s world is driven by technology, and companies are learning that if they wish to thrive, they must be adaptable to change. For CATMEDIA, the catalyst for each endeavor has always been creativity. As a company, we are continuously working to engage and market to our clients in new and innovative ways, and digital marketing has played a tremendous role in it all. As we advance into the future with digital marketing at the helm, I believe the following strategies will be crucial to our success.
Always Perform a Target Market Analysis
Before even attempting to develop a marketing plan or communicate with your audience, a target marketing analysis must be performed. In fact, many marketing experts would say it’s the most important step in the process. A target market analysis involves asking some very specific questions about your audience. For instance, what is the average age of your audience? Is it made up of both men and women? What are their ethnicities? Where do they work? What is their education level? Even more so, what is an average day for them like? Without building an awareness and understanding of this information, companies will be ill equipped to market to or even communicate with their intended audiences. Successful marketing campaigns must always begin with a target market analysis.
Determine How Best to Reach Your Target Market
Once you understand your audience, it’s important to take it a step further, and determine the best way to engage them. Let’s start by considering the age of your audience. If your market consists of recent retirees over the age of 55, social media engagement may not be the way to go. Yes, digital marketing is the future, but don’t go abandoning those traditional marketing methods just yet. In doing so, you just may abandon your target audience all together. Take the time to carefully consider and identify ways to capture your audience’s attention. Think about what would be most effective. Perhaps your target audience is one that would still be captivated by a handwritten note. What about a brochure or even a phone call? Regardless of what is trending or most popular, you should always consider your target demographic first. Always determine the best way to reach your audience before taking the next steps.
Investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is all about making sure your organization’s online content is optimized for major search engines. It’s the process of structuring your website so that computer programs can find relevant answers to Internet queries or questions.[i] As a business looking to gain more traffic on your company website, it is important to know and understand what questions your target audience might ask in addition to developing content that aligns with their interests. This involves embedding keywords into your online content to ensure the information is searchable and can be accessed via any major search engine. For example, CATMEDIA specializes in Creative Services & Media Production, Program Management, Training, and Human Resource Management. If an organization in the southeast region or Washington D.C. metropolitan area is in need of training services, and enters the words “training,” “training management,” “organizational learning,” or “organizational design” into a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo, chances are CATMEDIA will appear in the results. This is exactly why SEO is so important. Search engine users are more likely to click on the top five results in their Internet search. By investing in SEO, companies can establish themselves within this top five, increase website traffic, and create more opportunities for the growth of their businesses.
Developing Impactful Content
No matter how instrumental SEO is in driving traffic to your website, it won’t make much of a difference if you don’t have anything compelling to say once your visitors get there. This is when content marketing comes in to play. Your online content should specifically address the questions and concerns of your target audience, and clearly demonstrate that your company has the knowledge and expertise necessary to provide the solutions being sought out. Once there is relevant content on your website, the next step would be to ensure you are not creating any additional work for your visitors. Make sure your contact information is accurate and easy to find, so that those who visit the website can reach out to further discuss your company’s capabilities. Provide links to your social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn to boost content shares and further expand your company’s reach. In today’s market and even into the future, it is absolutely critical to have a single view of your target audience across all channels. This will provide the customer intelligence needed to create impactful campaigns and heighten their customer engagement[ii].
Social Media Engagement is Key (For Some Generations)
Over the last decade, social media has completely shifted and transformed the way we communicate with one another. Believe it or not, both Generation Y and Z are all grown up, and many of them prefer to engage and communicate via social media. Because of this, a significant amount of effort has been put into social media campaigns over the years. Social media plays a key role in nearly every major trend in digital marketing, and has proven to be a rather effective business tool. It provides an avenue for companies to communicate directly with their audiences like never before. With the help of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, sky is the limit for the average consumer. Customers now have the ability to contact major corporations directly via social media and receive a response without ever having to pick up a phone or send an email. They can speak directly with customer service representatives, share videos, participate in online giveaways, share content—you name it. If your target audience has a preference for social media engagement, this presents a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate both consideration and responsiveness to your customers needs and concerns.
Companies that approach social media engagement from a holistic perspective and ensure that each blog, video, or web link is posted with intent and purpose will continue to reap its benefits well into the future.
Incorporating Live Streaming
Currently, one of the biggest trends in digital marketing is the incorporation of live video streaming into customer engagement. In addition to engaging with customers via social media, companies are now able to enhance this engagement with the help of live video streaming. This trend is fairly popular now, but I suspect it will continue to evolve and increase in popularity over time. With live streaming and podcasts, companies have an amazing opportunity to provide a level of transparency to their audiences that is not quite as easy to achieve through other forms of media. There is so much that can be done via live streaming like conducting interviews, hosting live events, demonstrating how to use or create a product, or providing a behind the scenes look into an aspect of your business that your audience may not typically have access to. This type of engagement not only allows for businesses and consumers to interact with one another on more of a one-on-one basis, but it also creates a platform for potential customers to see subject matter experts in their element and establish them as leaders in their areas of expertise.
As the old saying goes, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” Despite the many changes and continuous evolution of digital marketing, I believe that no marketing strategy will be completely successful without first attaining a fundamental understanding and analysis of the targeted audience. Once this is achieved the possibilities are nearly endless. Companies that stay abreast of the advancements in digital media will most certainly establish themselves as experts in their respective fields and continue cultivating more business in the future.
How is your digital marketing strategy going? How can we help? We look forward to hearing from you!
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
[i]Smith, Spencer X. "HOW SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION CAN BRING CLIENTS TO YOUR WEBSITE."GPSolo33.6 (Nov/Dec 2016): 34-37. Web.
[ii]Fridman, Adam. "The Future of Digital Marketing: How It's Changing in 2016."Inc.com. N.p., 5 Dec. 2015. Web.