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Digital and social media marketing

What is social media and digital marketing?

Social Media is usually made up of websites and applications that allow people to communicate with each other. This allows them to create communities / groups, share videos and images, as well as being able to send personal messages.
Digital Marketing is marketing that uses digital technologies (PC’s, tablets, laptops, mobile phones etc.) mainly on the internet and social media to display advertising. This allows them to target a large group of people or a small more targeted audience.

 

What is market research?:

Market Research is simply the gathering of information about consumers’ needs / preferences. Market Research is spilt into two different types, the first being Primary research, this is where the company carries out the research themselves through questionnaires, surveys etc.
This could be on the streets or through social media where they specifically target a wide audience based on their cookies / their interests. This makes it so that the business will get information from people interested in the product / company compared to someone who may not, like on the street. This is a huge advantage of using Social Media.
While Secondary research makes use of information previously researched by other companies and is publicly available. However, this research may be old or not applicable to your own business.
A company uses market research to market their products to people by finding out what their consumers enjoy, their needs and also their preferences. This allows them to target / tailor the product to the consumer and therefore they will be more interested to buy it.

 

Raising awareness and affecting perception of need via promotion and advertising:

Digital marketing can be used to make people aware of your products / company through a range of different methods. The first simply by paying an influencer with a high number of followers to post about your product, this will make their followers more inclined to purchase the product / learn more about the company, that their influencer is advertising. This will also generate more followers to the company’s business account, and make the product worthwhile as if their favourite influencer / celebrity is advertising it, the product must be good.
Another method is to buy ads on different social media outlets, this is usually quite cheap compared to advertising on the radio, television etc. It also reaches out to a wider number of people which is essential if you are looking to make people aware of your product / company.
Another way of making people aware of your products / company is through creating your own website, this will make your business look professional and worthwhile to buy from. Many people will judge the product based on the appearance of the website, hence why it is vital to have an attractive website layout, and good content.

Selling:

The business will make the products available to buy through their own website, as well as big e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon.com. This allows them to gain a wider number of customers which will make the business have higher profits. This allows the business to go from local to international, which will again increase the total number of customers.
The business will also have a higher profit margin as they won’t have to pay employees to work at stores to sell their products as it is all done through e-commerce. The customers will also be able to order 24/7 as the website will be running all the time, this allows the company to make profits 24/7. As well as this, it also allows customers to order in the comfort of their own homes.
The products will be made and then stored in a warehouse until an order comes through. This allows the business to easily ship out multiple products when a lot of orders have come through, the price of shipping will also be less as the company will ship out a bulk order of products at once, therefore the individual price will go down. (Economies of Scale).
Product Placement is an important marketing technique, which the company will use. As previously stated by paying an influencer / celebrity who has a lot of followers to advertise our product in one or multiple of their posts. This will make their followers be interested in our products and allow us to gain more customers which will lead to greater profit margins.

Digital marketing as a business tool, i.e.:

Business establishment

Digital marketing can be used to create publicity as 55% of the world’s population have internet access which equates to roughly 3.2 billion people. That is 3.2 billion potential customers in the eyes of a business. The best way which many business’s use is to create a social media account/page, this could be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. They can then gain followers through a range of targeted ads, and once they have a following, they can keep their followers up to date with their products / services.

Business growth

Digital marketing is perfect for business growth for small businesses as digital marketing is cost-effective, this is very important to small businesses as they will not have a lot of capital, especially not a lot to invest in marketing. Another advantage of digital marketing is that it allows you to target a specific audience, this is essential as you will want to target people interested in your product / business compared to people who aren’t.

Business continuity

Digital marketing builds brand reputation as if you deliver the same thing you promised it will gain the trust of customers and develop better relationships with the targeted audience, thus you will build brand reputation and increase your customer base. Customers who are satisfied with your actions / products will share their experience of others through word of mouth which in turn will attract more customers and make your business look reputable.
A good example of this is Apple, through their digital marketing scheme, millions upon millions of people buy and want their IPhone’s as well as their other products. Many consumers of Apple will stand and camp overnight in lines just to get the new IPhone early. This shows how loyal their customers are. I believe the reason for this is because their digital marketing scheme always portrays the IPhone as the most modern and luxurious phone (along with being easy to use – thus appealing to all ages), leading people to feel like they are a better person for having the product.

1.3: Social Media Types:

Social Media websites allow users to keep in touch with their friends and family while also sharing details of their lives. There are many different types of social media networks and many ways in which these can be described. The following are suggested descriptions.
Publishing – While blogging websites and wiki’s (e.g. Wikipedia) publish text, they can also publish artwork, videos, photos and music. One example of this is Fan Fiction; this is where fans write their own stories from popular films or books. They write about their favourite characters and get feedback from others. These sites provide marketing managers a clear opportunity to contact possible customers.
Sharing – This includes music, video and photos, for example, the ability to transfer from one person to another, while other sites allow the sharing of ideas. Sites that allow for discussion differ from blogging sites in that it allows a two-way discussion between contributor’s while a blog only allows the author or the owner of the site to control what is being published.
Networking – These sites allow users to make contact with each other. One example of this is LinkedIn where members can share CV’s and other information about their work skills; e.g. experience, qualifications.

Email:

Email has been a widely used and popular digital marketing tool for many businesses’, which has been around long before social media networks. Emails are electronic messages which are delivered to electronic devices using the protocol SMTP. SMTP which is commonly used stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, this is an internet standard protocol used by email clients to retrieve email messages from a mail server over a TCP/IP connection.
There is also IMAP and POP. Emails can be used to send basic text messages but can also contain images, videos, word documents, or PDF’s which would be attached to the email. Hyperlinks to websites can also be included in the email. When used as a part of a digital marketing campaign, emails can be used in many ways both internally and externally.
There is also email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, which allows you to create one email and automatically send it out to multiple people (Mailchimp claim up to 6 billion emails a week!), it also ensures that it will end up in people’s inboxes and not into spam. As well as this they also offer a free service and a paid service (The Grow service at 10$/per month or the Pro service at 100$/per month). Mailchimp ensures that it works with over 300 apps and services as well as helps customers globally in over 175 different countries.

Landing Page Optimisation:

The landing page is the first webpage that you land on from an external link.
There are five main techniques of using land page optimisation. Three are based on targeting the audience using data, usually supplied either directly or indirectly by the person visiting the site, to change the content of the page to draw the visitor in.
Associative content targeting: the content is influenced by data associated with the general profile of the visitor. For example, geographical data (using their IP) about the visitor can be used to provide information such as special offers, which are limited to geographical data.

Predictive content targeting: this method is based on information that is already known about the visitor, normally from previous sales. This information could be from cookies on the visitor’s device, or as a profile that has been uploaded when the user logs on. Information held about the visitor (from previous sales) can be a very powerful tool. However, one drawback to this is that for websites that have a lot of general products, the data may result in a wide range of suggestions that might not appeal to the user.

Consumer directed targeting: this content is based on general data, for example; reviews from customers and others. Where reviews suggest that an element is not effective, it will be removed from the site. If that item wasn’t performing a key task, a new element will be added, hopefully carrying out the task more effectively.

The other two methods are based on experimentation and use a constantly changing set of elements to measure users’ opinions.

Closed end experimentation: users are given a range of options from which they can freely choose their favourite. Following this, a final decision will be made based on the views of the users. For example, different versions of the landing page could be used and the one that that the users choose to be their favourite (measured by signups or sales) will be used as the final version.

Open ended experimentation: in this method, a final version is not settled on. The advantage of never ending the process is that the landing page continues to develop, and so changes as the needs / interests of the users change. There are different versions of the landing page but no assessment is made of which one will be the final version.

Banners and Popups:

Banners: A banner ad is a form of advertising / digital marketing tool commonly used on the internet. This entails embedding an advertisement into a web page and is used to attract traffic to the website by linking the banner to the website page.
Banners have been around since the 1980’s and one of the first digital marketing tools; even being a pioneer in the rapid development of paid advertising on the internet. The banner ads enabled any websites to sell advertising through systems which allowed the companies to track their advertising; for example, the number of people clicking the banner (Clickthrough rate).
Popups: A popup ad is a form of online advertising, which focuses on getting web traffic. They normally create a new browser window using either JavaScript or Adobe Flash. These ads tend to be quite popular and one of the most used advertising tools however they are not popular among people on the internet as they tend to be very annoying. They can also be easily disabled through extensions to your browser like Ad Blocker.
One annoying feature about Popups is that you need to close them before they can continue with whatever they were doing, the benefit of doing this is that it forces the visitor to read the message. A popup may also contain a video or a game to entice the visitor.
In digital marketing, popups are far more effective and visible to the visitor than banner ads, this is because popups are quite versatile and you can use them for any type of advertising; this leads them to be one of the most popular methods with the click-through rates being the highest compared to other digital marketing tools.

Search Engine Optimisation:

Search engine Optimization or SEO is the process that affects the online visibility of a website/webpage in a search engine’s (E.g. Google) unpaid results. Search engines are specialist websites that allow the user to find certain websites based on criteria that the user enters. The list that is returned is called “organic” or “natural”.
Research suggests that users only look at the first three pages of any search they make through a search engine. So if the website is not on the first page, then it will be very unlikely to attract visitors to the website.
There are two main areas of focus when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation; the first is using data on how people search for items on the internet. The second is to do with how search engines rank websites, and therefore a lot of SEO work requires a technical understanding of how different search engines work. For example, some search engines will rank sites based on how many sites link to it, thus a lot of work will be done maximising the number of links to the site.

Organic search results:

Organic search is based on unpaid, natural rankings determined by search engine algorithms. They also tend to be based on relevancy to what the user searched. Organic search results tend to have a slower ROI however after an extended amount of time, they will increase.

Advantages:

• The cost is quite low therefore your ROI will be higher.
• Trust and credibility, consumers are more likely to trust your business / products.
• Once you get high rankings, it is very easy to maintain them.
• CTR or Click through rates while they aren’t immediate are quite high. Which is very important for any business with an online presence; as it will lead to more sales which leads to a bigger profit margin.

Disadvantages:

• A big disadvantage is time; it could take months or years to get high rankings. Therefore, there is no guaranteed timeline.
• Another disadvantage is that it drains resources, this is because to get high rankings, it requires both creating content and using search engine optimisation tactics.
• Results may vary, this means that you could do incredibly well or fail miserably. Therefore, Organic search results might be a bit of a gamble as it tends to be out of your control.

Paid search results:

Paid search refers to any search process where results are dictated by payment from advertisers. It is based on pay-per-click advertising.

Advantages:

• If you spend money, you will get results.
• It’s measurable, this means you can see how many clicks you are getting, the geographical location of the clicks etc.
• The time it takes is immediate compared to Organic. These paid results are placed at the top rankings.
• With paid search ads, it allows you to target a certain demographic, therefore you can tailor your ads to a specific audience. The benefit of this is that if you target towards people who are more likely to buy your product, you will achieve more sales thus a higher profit margin.
• Another advantage of this is that the CTR or Click through rates are quite high for high purchase intent searches.

Disadvantages:

• The main disadvantage is cost, this is because depending on the keyword; paid search ads can cost a lot of money, which will lead to a lower profit margin.
• Another disadvantage is that as soon as you stop paying for the ads, they disappear.
• Often consumers don’t trust paid ads and might avoid them. They tend to place more trust in organic rankings.
• While the CTR is high for high purchase intent searches, other paid search rankings will be clicked on at a lower rate than organic search rankings. Again, this is due to organic rankings having more credibility / trust.

Conclusion:

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In conclusion, I believe using a mix of Paid search results and Organic search results is the most effective approach. This is because you get the benefits of both; better credibility with organic while gaining the immediate top page results / greater click through rates with paid.

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