Thursday, September 16, 2010

The digital marketing toolkit

If you have read my recent post on The digital PR toolkit and the slightly older one about the AIDA customer acquisition process, then this one on the toolkit available to digital marketers will come as no surprise.

To quickly recap.... if we follow the AIDA customer acquisition steps as shown below, then there is a relevant role for digital PR, Marketing and Conversion specialists throughout the entire process.

The second circle shown above is what I believe is the scope of the online marketer's role in the steps to obtaining customers (I'll hopefully talk about how you keep them in subsequent postings). And taking just this circle on its own, we can show the different tools available.... again with the on-site tools shown within the sphere and the off-site ones placed outside.

The first thing you that regular readers of this blog will realise, is that there are some tools mentioned here that were also covered in my previous Digital PR Toolkit posting. This is because the roles of online PR, marketing and conversion have now blurred.

Here's a breakdown of the respective tools:

  • Online Advertising:
    Media such as animated banners and buttons may have gone out of vogue somewhat, but there is still a lot of online media inventory available out there and its now possible to target the site or demographic sector you are after reaching. With the general ubiquity of greater broadband speeds now available, other richer formats such as video or interactive adverts are now gaining greater prominence on a lot of pages.
  • Affiliate Marketing
    Sometimes seen as the murkier side of the industry, there is no doubt that paying someone a commission to grow your sales for you is of significant benefit. Yes, there are the downsides in that you could end up competing with affiliates when running your own activity, needing the obvious communication and management between both parties.
  • Search Engine Marketing
    Advertising through Google, Yahoo, Bing and the like is a directly-attributable way of growing website traffic and leads for your business. Making sure you have identified the correct keywords and setting the right budget is something pay-per-click specialists know all about!
  • Search Engine Optimisation
    Why pay for traffic when you can gain prominence in search engines results for free? If you have focused an entire marketing budget on directly measurable clicks (e.g. via PPC), you would probably have missed the opportunity to promote your site up the organic rankings as well.
  • Micro-sites (or one-page microsites)
    Sometimes you either don't want to or just cannot make changes to the main organisational website to support a customer acquisition campaign. This could be for a number of reasons, including: timescales, budget, flexibility of design or just because you want a different campaign-specific URL. Then a microsite (or even just a clever one-page site) is often the most practical approach.
  • Email Marketing
    Email was one of the first Internet applications and is still an effective tool for marketing to new and existing clients. Just make sure your email marketing campaigns area working as hard for you as they possibly can. (Hint: Just because its an older technology, it doesn't mean you should stop being innovative in its use)
  • Competitions
    Some may see this purely as a tool for gaining leads (or email addresses) and to a certain extent that's true. However a clever competition can be sponsored or contain various questions that could segment your audience better (Hint: to be able to market to them better in the future). There is also a huge opportunity missed by so many online competitions to drive customers through to websites at the end of the competition form.
  • Sponsorship
    Although many see sponsorship as a brand-building exercise rather than a marketing one, in the online world sponsorship on some sites can contain clicks through to the target website and help in the customer acquisition process.
  • Social Media Marketing
    In the last few years, advertising spend has started to follow users into social media. And with one main reason... that's where Internet users are spending so much of their time. Sure, there needs to be a mindset change in creating a two-way dialogue with consumers rather than just a one-way monologue as conventional marketers do... but the integration of paid advertising with social media engagement creates a potent mix that most online marketers will not be able to ignore.
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