Life may have been simpler back in the days when phones were not smart, but many today can’t imagine not having an entire library of knowledge in the palm of their hand.
Over the years, digital technology has grown at exponential rates. It impacts is in every sphere of our lives. This is especially true for digital marketing. Less than a decade ago, sending email blasts with a responsive design was cutting edge. Today, a quick Google search will lead to ads appearing for items you didn’t even know you wanted.
Digital marketing encompasses:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Web content
- Social media
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Online videos
This list is not exhaustive, and it will not end here. Innovations in augmented and virtual reality will open up new worlds, literally (think metaverse). Wearable technology will give us a new perspective, and smart cars will drive us to new horizons.
The digital world is daunting, but some core principles will guide us through this vast network. To better understand digital marketing, I obtained my certification for the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing by Google Digital Garage.
Here are three key takeaways from that class:
Content is still king
In my life, I found that what you say (i.e., content) and how you say it (i.e., delivery) is the most essential principle of any form of communication. This is very true in business relationships. Despite the evolution of mediums, channels, and platforms, content is still content. Regardless of how or where the content is delivered, the most essential thing to have content of substance.
We tend to pay more attention to articles, blogs, and eBooks. We expect these to have good, accurate content. Short, written forms of content are harder to craft. Social media posts, emails, and website content fall into this category. Focusing on quality over quantity is crucial here. It is easy to overlook the quality of content used in social media. However, those eight words used alongside a meme are significant. Usually, this form of content in marketing leads to more in-depth web content.
We also need to consider visual and audio forms of content. These include videos, images, and audio recordings. Remember that there is most likely some form of written content behind each of these formats of communication that must be outlined.
What you say in any form of marketing is primary. You can then tailor it to how you want to say it so that the content is relevant and engaging to the audience you are trying to reach.
Plan and set goals
Entrepreneurs are stereotypically seen as free spirits. These visionaries innovate and can disrupt entire industries. When things do not work out, they pivot and explore the market again.
One of the recurring questions across all digital marketing methods is, “what are you trying to achieve?” If you want to start a social media campaign, what is your business goal? If you create a blog for your start-up, how does it align with the company’s overall strategy? If you send a hilarious meme, does it work well with your brand narrative?
Plan and set goals that are SMART:
By doing so, you generate valuable data that lead to actions. It may feel good to get 100 likes on a social media post. However, if those likes do not achieve a business goal, the post only provides a temporary high. It is not necessary to use or master every platform available. On whatever platforms you choose, be sure to plan and set a goal.
Agility, Adaptability, Flexibility
These traits were not mentioned in the course. Still, I believe they will be necessary as the story of digital evolution unfolds. Few people actually welcome change, but it will be easier for those who do? I believe agility, adaptability, and flexibility are traits that can be nurtured. It is a mindset that requires training. It may not seem a good use of time, especially when so much else needs to be done. I believe those who invest the time to nurture this flexible mindset will be better equipped to adapt to changes in the future.
I mentioned how responsive design was a novel technology less than a decade ago. It is now standard practice. Mobile technology has grown to be a beast that is now difficult to tame. Data has grown so much from measuring single megabytes to exabytes of data. One exabyte is equal to 1 billion gigabytes.
The existing tools and products available to entrepreneurs and business owners are overwhelming. Yet, new products are being developed, and digital technology will continue to evolve, resulting in new standards of practice. Having an agile mindset will make it easier to get your bearings straight now. Being flexible and adapting well will make it easier to pivot when the time comes.
The digital world is getting increasingly complicated. Thankfully, there are courses to help us make sense of it. Regardless of what innovations come our way, I believe it will always be necessary to focus on what we say and how we say it. Then, we plan and set goals that will help navigate the unknowns. Lastly, nurturing agility, adaptability, and flexibility will make the whole process a little easier.