At one time, marketing meant using such tactics as buying commercial time on TV or radio stations, advertising in a newspaper or magazine, or sending your message through direct mail.
All of those remain options today, but they are joined by a plethora of digital alternatives for reaching potential customers or clients, who spend a lot of time hanging out in the digital world.
“Websites are optimized for sharing content with others, and people are getting on social media to be educated or entertained, so delivering on those ‘needs’ is super important for any business or professional who wants to remain relevant,” says Jonathan Musgrave, owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing.
Yet, Musgrave says many businesses and professionals don’t always take advantage of what digital marketing offers, instead falling back on what worked in the past, either out of habit or due to a lack of understanding of the power of digital.
And that’s no way to move forward, he says. But choosing between digital or traditional approaches to marketing isn’t an either/or proposition. Musgrave offers a few examples of how the two can be married to produce great results:
• A text instead of a call. Musgrave says one of his clients, a financial professional, would buy TV time each month for a show in which he would talk about money issues. At the end of each segment, in an effort to generate leads, his firm’s telephone number would be displayed so viewers could call if they wanted more information. “I suggested that instead of a number to call, they should show a number that people could text,” Musgrave says. That change might appear insignificant on its face, but it proved to be extraordinarily consequential. The financial professional went from receiving about three responses per show to about 300.
• Billboards and digital calls to action. A message on a billboard provides the same opportunity to elicit a digital response from anyone who sees it. Once again, instead of urging people to call, urge them to text. You can also include your website address in your billboard ad so those intrigued by what you have to offer can learn more there, Musgrave says.
• Work digital connections into all marketing materials. Likely, you have business cards, brochures or any number of other marketing materials that people can hold in their hands. All of those should let people know how they can find you online, whether it’s on your website or on social media channels, Musgrave says. By the same token, if you have speaking engagements, you can put that information on a display poster or include it in a PowerPoint slide. “Since people always carry their phones, if they see how to find you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or wherever, they may follow you right then and there,” he says.
“The most dangerous thing I hear people say is that digital marketing is the future,” Musgrave says. “That’s not quite accurate because the future is already here. Advertisers globally spent more on digital advertising than any other medium in 2017, displacing TV at the top of the chart for the first time. If you keep kicking the digital can down the road, by the time you catch up to it again, your competitors will have already passed you.”