Digital media offers a high level of customization that paves the way for building relationships with stakeholders. Customers/prospects may have an account of their own that provides for a personalized experience. And sites can be crafted such that they are relevant for curious browsers as well as existing customers; novices as well as experts.
A company’s website is its business hub in cyberspace, the place where the company interacts with all stakeholders. From a commercial standpoint, for products and services that are suited to digital marketing, the website is the most valuable digital asset that a company possesses. Described frequently as a “conversion engine”, it is the place where the company gets to move interested browsers down the prospecting funnel, converting leads to inquiries, inquiries to prospects, and prospects to customers.
Conversion is aided by the use of web analytics to personalize customers’ experiences, and by various calls-to-action — e.g. encouraging visitors to subscribe to email newsletters, add your blog to their Real Simple Syndication (RSS) reader, fill out a form to request for a call from a sales representative, or purchase something.
As a hub the company website becomes the source of information on products and services, press releases, advertising, promotional information and so on. It also links visitors to all of the company’s other online assets — blogs, social media networks etc.
A blog (web log) is a web page or site that one or more authors maintain and update like a diary. From a marketing standpoint it offers the opportunity for companies to demonstrate thought leadership within their domain of expertise.
It is an ideal place for marketers to converse with customers about topics of mutual interest. To facilitate the dialogue, blogs should let readers leave comments and allow them to subscribe by RSS or email.
It is beneficial for companies to integrate their blog with their website. This enhances the content within the website and provides a seamless, cohesive experience for visitors.
Internet forums are sites where people can converse with one another by posting messages. They are ideal places for communities to congregate, discuss issues and seek help from one another. Companies like Microsoft are blessed with forums where experts connect with one another to resolve technical issues and seek guidance. Customers around the world are able to support each other, instead of relying solely on the company to do so.
Consumers are creating content and uploading it on a variety of online media platforms. These platforms are increasingly becoming the “places” where people get together and converse. All over the world they are communicating online on social networking sites like Facebook and Google+, microblogging services like Twitter, content sharing services like YouTube and Instagram, and LinkedIn, the business and employment-oriented networking site.
From the consumer marketers’ perspective, since this is where their consumers are hanging out, it is where they should engage with them. Most networking sites provide the means for doing so. Facebook for instance allows users to create a fan page that may serve business objectives.
The wide range of facilities and features that sites like Facebook offer, make it easy for users to expand their network, and create and share content with friends. Social is highly conducive to viral marketing; it can fuel and propagate campaigns to generate considerable buzz and awareness for a brand.
Pop musicians and movie stars, unsurprisingly, top the list of the most popular Facebook pages. Among brands, Coca-Cola tops with 91 million fans (December 2014), followed by McDonald’s (55 million), Red Bull (45 million), Converse (41 million), Samsung Mobile (40 million), PlayStation (39 million), Oreo (38 million), Nike Football (38 million), Starbucks (38 million), KFC (36 million),Walmart (35 million) and Pepsi (34 million).
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