Slow and steady digital marketing wins the customer, eventually

In the post-COVID world, everything digital and online is going to catch on, at least for the foreseeable future. We are already seeing evidence of that with remote working collaboration platforms, online education and with even online sale of liquor on the cards. Was never a question of the existence of these technologies or platforms, but just that it found an accelerated meaning due to the new (ab)normal.

Digital marketing has been in existence for some time now. Business leaders have taken their time to warm up to it or its potential. The pandemic and new ways of reaching out to consumers/ buyers (contactless) has just accelerated the adoption now. We are now seeing businesses enquiries around digital marketing increasing.

However, one should not get carried away by the hype. Every business needs to get their digital marketing strategy right before they get onto the bandwagon. The following factors need to be kept in mind while deciding your next steps:

It’s a marathon and not a sprint
Every digital and outreach campaign needs to be designed as a long-term initiative. At the outset itself, the expectation needs to be set that it is going to take a while before the results are seen. Initially, you need to make your customers aware that your brand exists. You need to increase brand reach and visibility. You also need to drive them to a website or a landing page for more information. So, you need to be consistent in your social media posting and your email campaigns. The engagement will be slow to pick up. It will be similar case with open rates. There is too much noise on all social media channels as brands are bombarding your prospect with thousands of messages throughout the day. You will need to be at it. Remember, your prospect needs to interact with your marketing messages at least ten times before they act.

More importantly, be clear about what you want to communicate for the first couple of months. Have a social media calendar ready and execute it to the hilt. Start by correlating the various stats – engagement, open rates, click throughs, website traffic, etc. to start seeing trends. This will define your next steps in terms of what type of messages are working, which channels are working, etc. What works today need not work tomorrow. The key is to be patient and be in it for the long run. Don’t give up, if you are not seeing results, just keep at it. And remember, it’s more of Dennis Kimetto than Usain Bolt.

Build trust with your prospects
I know it’s a cliché and certain clichés have to be respected. This needs to be drilled down everybody’s minds.

  1. Buyers won’t decide in a jiffy and especially in these trying times. They will take their time to evaluate.
  2. Even if your messages resonate with them, they might not have a need today. But you need to position your brand in their mind for future reference.
  3. Buyers need to be taken through marketing funnel – Know, Like and Trust before they decide. It takes time and effort to convince them to decide in your favour.

As your prospects keep getting bombarded with messages, they will only focus on what is of interest and discard the rest. Another thing to note is that their priorities and interests keep changing. So, in a few cases, you might get lucky when somebody interacts with your posts and messages. But the race is not over yet. They will need evidence about your claims. They will also need to verify the evidence itself. That’s where success stories, testimonials, reviews, mentions, etc. come into play.

All of these pieces of content need to be part of your content strategy, which in turn needs to be closely integrated with your digital marketing strategy. This may seem very pedantic, but it is very critical. Please note this down carefully for future reference.

Your buyers also need to emotionally connect with you. That’s where the human side of your company needs to be projected in equal measure. Celebrations, brand ambassadors, personal achievements, peek into everyday life at work, employee engagement activities, amongst others need to be highlighted for your prospects to connect with your organization emotionally. Empathy builds trust. So, ignore these types of messages at your own peril.

I know it’s easier said than done. The execution needs to be methodical and rigorous with an eye on the final outcome. It is difficult to explain this process to business leaders and clients looking for quick wins. We have come across many such situations with our clients and we have impressed upon them the need to stay the course and be consistent. There are no short cuts to success. Consistent, pragmatic, methodical and analytical digital marketing will win you your customers, eventually.