People aren’t just watching cat videos and posting selfies on social media these days. Many rely on social networks to discover, research, and educate themselves about a brand before engaging with that organization. For marketers, it’s not enough to just post on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You must also weave social elements into every aspect of your marketing and create more peer-to-peer sharing opportunities. The more your audience wants to engage with your content, the more likely it is that they will want to share it. This ultimately leads to them becoming a customer. And as an added bonus, they will hopefully influence their friends to become customers, too.
I became a digital marketing expert on my own. My first project BikeAdvice.in started with the steps mentioned above. I kept scaling it up to a point where it reached more than 1 million page views per month and it was one of the leading motorcycle portals in India at that time. It became a fully operational business with 5 team members, significant revenue from display advertising and deep relationships with leading motorcycle manufacturers in India. As of now that project has been acquired by a big media company.
The new digital era has enabled brands to selectively target their customers that may potentially be interested in their brand or based on previous browsing interests. Businesses can now use social media to select the age range, location, gender and interests of whom they would like their targeted post to be seen by. Furthermore, based on a customer's recent search history they can be ‘followed’ on the internet so they see advertisements from similar brands, products and services, This allows businesses to target the specific customers that they know and feel will most benefit from their product or service, something that had limited capabilities up until the digital era.
Although online marketing creates many opportunities for businesses to grow their presence via the Internet and build their audiences, there are also inherent challenges with these methods of marketing. First, the marketing can become impersonal, due to the virtual nature of message and content delivery to a desired audience. Marketers must inform their strategy for online marketing with a strong understanding of their customer’s needs and preferences. Techniques like surveys, user testing, and in-person conversations can be used for this purpose.
There are many entities that need Internet marketing, but only budget a small amount for the work. If you’re willing to volunteer or offer a discounted rate, you can find projects. Non-profit entities and political campaigns need marketing help, but don’t have much money budgeted for the work. These types of organization may present an opportunity for you.