1. The old way – Outbound
If you love Mad Men, you know all about advertising. At least in the 1960s. You started with a great insight, created a campaign and bought adspace for that idea and those images all over town. Billboards, newspapers, TV ads, you name it.
The problem with that is two-fold:
1. Creating ads and spreading them is very expensive, so how you can you optimize costs?
2. If your competitors are doing the same thing, how can you really stand out from the crowd?
Enter the 21st century and the age of content.
2. A better way – Digital (or inbound)
Inbound Marketing is a new term, mostly associated with Content Creation and Content Marketing. Remember the Mad Men ads reference in the first paragraph? That’s what we call Outbound Marketing. Meaning you went to the consumers with an idea you had and, well, you hoped they liked it and bought what you were selling.
But what if there was another way? What if you could know what you customers wanted, what they were looking for and you could offer exactly that?
In a sense, digital marketing involves reading your customer’s brain and delivering a content solution.
For example, let’s say you’re a startup and you come up with this great app for personal finance. You want people to know about the app, use it and buy it. But most startups start small, with just a few people and little funding.
So you instead stop trying to sell the app and its features and focus more on benefits. And you start blogging, writing articles like: “The benefits of budgeting on a small salary”, “5 ways you can afford a home, when you can’t afford a gym membership” or “How we save 10.000 $ and 100 hours a year with an automated personal finance app”.
All these examples are there to help the user, show him/her benefits of using the app and educate him/her in the personal finance field.
3. Website visitors to customers
It’s not enough to just provide the education and the help. Just like an ad without a Call To Action (”Call now”, ”Visit our website”, ”Get our free sample”) is not very effective. You have to guide the user towards a conversion. That could be:
A. An email subscription to the blog;
B. A guide he/she downloads in exchange for some personal details;
C. A trial download of your software;
D. A payment made for a lower-tier version of your Software As A Service.
Conversions don’t always have to be monetary, but Content Marketing is there to elegantly nudge the website visitor towards paying for your product.
4. Digital Marketing for Dummies. Putting it all together
So how do you make sense of it all? Here’s a quick plan to get you started with Digital Marketing for dummies:
1. Know what your product/service benefits are and try to make it as clear as you can – focus on just one benefit of your brand/company/product.
2. Use dedicated tools (like Google Keyword Planner) to find out what your users are looking for. Remember – it’s all about them and their experience, not about your and the features of your product/service.
3. Craft excellent content around that – blog posts, infographics, videos, ebooks, guides, etc. Have a small in-house team work on it or outsource it on sites like Elance or Fiverr.
4. Remember the Call To Action and try to gain micro-conversions first (get them to subscribe to your newsletter, for example).
5. Spread your content on dedicated communities (forums, other blogs in your niche) and interact with your users (use HotJar insights to find out about how users are interacting with your content, send email newsletter asking users about their pain points, answer questions around your niche, on Quora).
Strive to be as helpful as you can, providing great value and Digital Marketing will help you in the long run. And you’ll get those Mad Men $$$ you crave so much!