How digital marketing can build awareness and drive leads for your business
Digital marketing allows businesses to increase reach and track success better than its traditional offline counterpart. In fact, over 75% of marketers use reporting to show how campaigns directly impact revenue. To succeed in digital marketing, it is essential that you set proper goals, use effective tactics, and select the right tools to increase marketing-influenced revenue.
What are the goals of digital marketing?
According to marketing expert Philip Kotler, marketing is simply “the art of finding, developing, and profiting from opportunities.”
That means that digital marketing is using digital tools (e.g., online advertising, social media, blogging) to:
- Find opportunities: You’ll do this by reaching consumers across the country and around the world.
- Develop opportunities: You’ll do this by cultivating one-to-one relationships with your audience at scale. In other words, you’ll build relationships with hundreds or thousands of people without employing hundreds or thousands of marketers.
- Profit from opportunities: You’ll turn your national or global brand audience into paying customers by meeting them wherever they are, whether that’s on their computer, their tablet, their mobile device, or in-store.
In digital marketing jargon, these stages are all part of the marketing funnel and are known as the awareness stage, consideration stage, and decision stage.
- Awareness stage: You’re building your brand and attracting your target audience to your online presence.
- Consideration stage: You’re demonstrating how your brand can solve your audience’s problem.
- Decision stage: You’re positioning your product or service as the obvious solution to your customer’s problem compared to other solutions on the market.
Digital marketing helps businesses go beyond the decision (or purchase) stage as well. It helps re-introduce buyers to the funnel for upsell and cross-sell opportunities. This means you generate a continuous return on investment by turning one-time customers into repeat, lifetime customers.
Which digital marketing tactics are most effective?
There are dozens of digital marketing tactics out there. Everything from publishing a blog post to recording an Instagram Reel to sending a Whatsapp message can be considered digital marketing.
With so much to choose from, where should your business focus its efforts?
Start by understanding the most popular digital marketing methods outlined below.
Online advertising is the promotion of your product through paid digital channels. This includes paid ads on search engines and social media. Most online advertising is performance-based advertising. Your business only pays when your ad meets a specific goal, such as a purchase or a click to your website.
You can use online advertising to meet all of the digital marketing goals outlined above.
- Awareness stage: Build brand awareness among a key demographic quickly. A company that sells an enterprise accounting application would use LinkedIn ads to generate brand awareness, specifically among senior finance executives.
- Consideration stage: Establish your brand as a thought leader among marketing leaders for your customer relationship management tool. You would create a Twitter ad campaign promoting your recent whitepaper about minimizing administrative work and maximizing one-on-one conversations with prospects and target it to senior sales leaders.
- Decision stage: Be the first name people see when they make a query related to your business. You would purchase Google search engine ads that show your meal delivery service whenever someone searched for a restaurant in their area.
According to Hubspot, 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. Content marketing shares educational materials with a brand’s target audience. eBooks, blog articles, infographics, explainer videos, and case studies are all types of content marketing. Content marketing helps you build awareness and credibility, especially when you’re selling something that has a long buyer’s journey.
- Awareness stage: You want people to start associating your brand with the solution to their problem. You publish infographics and blog posts about how companies streamline their operations and become more competitive using the right technology without including a hard sell for your enterprise accounting software.
- Consideration stage: You want the people reading about inefficient business practices to start thinking about how their organization can streamline operations. You publish a whitepaper on how enterprise resource planning tools allow companies to share data between business units and collaborate more effectively. You ask prospects for their email address in exchange for this high-value piece of content.
- Decision stage: You want the people that you’ve been engaging with in the consideration stage to make a purchase. You publish case studies, product specification documents, pricing information, and sell sheets that they can review before hitting “Buy” or while speaking with one of your sales representatives.
While there are many effective content types, video marketing is worth a special mention. 70% of YouTube views come from people watching “how-to” videos for help with a personal, work, or school-related problem. Video marketing is a golden opportunity for you to build your credibility. You can create an explainer video on a common problem in your industry (awareness stage), detail a technique for solving a particular problem (consideration stage), and share product demos showing how to use your solution (decision stage).
A content upgrade, also known as gated content, is content that comes with a non-monetary ask. At a minimum, that’s an email, and at maximum, it’s completing an entire form that asks for a prospect’s name, job title, email, and phone number.
Content upgrades are not for the awareness stage. They are most effective at the consideration stage when you’re trying to get in touch with prospects who are ready to buy. You can offer an eBook or a recording of a past webinar as a content upgrade.
Email marketing is sending emails to your customers and prospects with valuable information and offers. It’s a highly effective digital marketing strategy that generates a whopping $38 in revenue for every $1 spent. It can be used for turning prospects into buyers and buyers into lifelong customers.
- Awareness stage: Email marketing isn’t usually an awareness stage activity for new customers, but it can be an awareness stage tactic for making current customers aware of new products. Otherwise, be warned that sending content to people who haven’t opted in is spamming.
- TIP: Build your email list through the gated content we mentioned above.
- Consideration stage: You want the people who provided their email addresses to remain aware of your solution. Send them emails related to the content they downloaded. For instance, if they swapped their email for a research report, send emails about the latest industry trends and news, so they keep thinking about your brand.
- Decision stage: You want to draw attention to offers and promotions and encourage customers to purchase. You’re sharing emails with discounts and promotions.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing allows your brand to interact with a broad trends audience with a fraction of the resources used in traditional marketing. E-marketer reports that 90% of millennials, 77.5% of Generation Z, and 48% of Baby Boomers use social media. That’s an enormous opportunity to segment your message to different audiences through user-friendly social media tools. Plus, you can practice social listening by observing your industry’s social media conversation and using those insights to guide your social media marketing efforts.
- Awareness stage: You want to build awareness of your brand. Post useful, shareable content like graphics with facts, tips, and educational blog posts and increase your followers.
- Consideration stage: You want to encourage your growing following to engage with your content by liking, retweeting, commenting, and favoriting. Share user-generated content and polls that encourage people to participate and share their content with a branded hashtag.
- Decision stage: You want to make users aware of your promotions and encourage them to act on them. Use your social media channels to introduce limited-time discounts and promotions.
Webinars have become indispensable. They allow brands to build one-to-one relationships with their customers at scale. They’re also a fraction of the cost of a physical event.
- Awareness stage: Webinars are a high-investment marketing activity. They require social media marketing, content marketing, paid ads, and more, so they are not the best choice for awareness stage goals if you’ve got limited resources. On the other hand, if you’re educating an existing customer base about a problem, then they can be a worthy investment.
- Consideration stage: Webinars are best for meeting consideration stage marketing goals. They help your audience better understand the different ways to solve a pressing problem. Plus, they require both an email sign up and actually showing up to the event, so they’re an effective way to identify which prospects are serious about buying.
- Decision stage: You want to provide your prospects with an answer to every question that’s preventing them from making a buying decision. Instead of a scripted webinar, like in the consideration stage, you can hold a Q&A style webinar that gives prospects a chance to ask the technical team questions about the product.
Lead generation campaigns
Lead generation campaigns take some or all of the content marketing tactics detailed above and use them to bring customers to you. Customers come to you because you offer value before asking them for any money. This is the opposite of outbound marketing, where you spend your time persuading customers that they should buy from you.
A buyer profile, a semi-fictional narrative of your ideal customer, helps you create an integrated marketing campaign. Translation: Instead of randomly choosing which digital marketing tactics to use, you select the best channels and the best content types for your target audience.
Suppose one of your ideal buyers is a VP of Marketing at a medium-sized financial services company. They prefer using LinkedIn and Twitter and dedicate time to reading one or two eBooks a month to understand the latest trends in marketing management technology. You might decide to do the following at each stage:
- Awareness stage: Set up an awareness ad campaign through paid ads on Twitter and LinkedIn that focuses on getting your brand name in front of as many individuals who align with this buyer profile.
- Consideration stage: You write a whitepaper about productivity trends that guide readers to conclude that they need to purchase an integrated marketing tool like yours instead of using multiple software with lapsed subscriptions.
- Decision stage: Using the email you received in exchange for the book, you send targeted offers for demos and free trials using email marketing.
Digital marketing offers countless tools for generating business
Digital marketing can feel overwhelming at first, but once you articulate your business goals, it’s easy to get started. As you memorize the different stages in the buyer’s journey and empathize with your customers, understanding what kind of content to share and through which channels becomes intuitive, fun, and above all, lucrative.