Gone are the days of relying solely on billboards and print ads. In the dynamic world of business, digital marketing has emerged as a game-changer, revolutionising the way companies connect with customers and drive sales.
Businesses can use social media, search engine Optimisation, and captivating content to create tailored campaigns that will appeal to their target audience.
In order to understand how digital marketing can influence sales, we sat down with the senior marketing manager.
How has digital marketing changed over the years, and how does it help businesses sell more products or services today?
Simply put, digital marketing is basically businesses reaching their customers through the internet and platforms thereon.
Increased internet and phone penetration in the country has led to an explosion and implosion of social media with mobile phones being the greatest cause of disruption.
This is backed by the Communication Authority (CA) latest report that the number of mobile (SIM) subscriptions in the country now stands at 66.1 million as at 31st March 2023 with 58.3 per cent being smartphones.
Through the smartphone, people can access markets and social media at the touch of a button.
Naturally, the growth of e-commerce businesses has been exponential because businesses have been able to beat advertising barriers to reach many customers at a lower cost, therefore substantially growing their businesses.
Just seven years ago, the most notable digital marketing tool was email marketing. However, this has drastically changed with brands now adopting social media marketing, SEO, affiliate marketing, pay-per-click and the influencer frenzy that we see today.
The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown accelerated digital marketing, and many businesses were able to generate their revenues without having any physical contact with their customers, after which we never looked back.
What are the main advantages of using digital marketing instead of traditional marketing to increase sales?
You can be sure to reach a larger audience at a lower cost on digital marketing platforms compared to traditional marketing channels.
Essentially, for a business, the lifetime cost of customer acquisition is greatly lowered with digital marketing. It can be as simple as having a smartphone and rolling the camera, and this speaks to the flexibility and agility it brings to a business. One can also quickly respond to, say, market feedback informed by data and analytics.
Perhaps the most pertinent advantage of digital marketing is the ability to target an audience with exact specificity.
This could be a demographic or specific behavior, and it allows personalisation of content. Such measures lead to conversions into sales. That, coupled with the fact that you can measure results in real-time makes certain that impact is maximised.
Can you share some examples of digital marketing campaigns that have successfully increased sales? What made those campaigns effective?
In my role as Marketing Manager at Standard Media Group, we have embraced digital marketing in our Digger Classifieds e-commerce platform, which is a one-stop shop for motors, real estate, and jobs.
The now popular Digger Motor Show was born from this brand. Digger Classifieds journey started with the establishment of a product that offers real solutions in the market. Once the platform was up, our task was to create compelling content to drive traffic to the platform. So we actualised SEO to ensure that we got organic traffic by constantly re-engineering the keywords search.
We also use paid media such as Google ads to generate traffic to the platform. We have been aggressively pushing the product on social media through paid and organic campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok, and our conversions have been remarkable.
A digital marketer must always be on the lookout through social listening tools such as Google Alerts, Meltwater, Hootsuite, and others to understand how their brand is mentioned and portrayed.
In our social media execution, we use trend jacking to pick popular trends our brands can ride on, and we also use memes to portray the fun side of the Digger brand.
Our retention strategies have sustained the campaigns. Additionally, we have strived to improve our product offering so that they are repeat visitors to the platform, with a longer engagement. This has been informed by the analytics we undertake on the platform on a real-time basis to quickly identify customers’ nuisances and promptly fix them.
With so many digital marketing options available, how do businesses decide the best for reaching their market and making more sales?
Whenever I meet a startup business owner, and introduce myself as a digital marketer, I always get the same question: “Which digital and social media platform, be it Google, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tiktok, is best for my business?’’
My response to this is always the same; there is neither a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach nor a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to digital marketing. One has to undertake a test on all platforms and see what works for their product and brand. Whereas different industries would work better or be more inclined toward certain platforms, every platform certainly has its purpose, and this creates the need to test them differently.
How can businesses use social media to boost sales and build relationships with customers?
My advice to small businesses is to start simple by having social media pages and developing a content plan for what to post. They should at the very least set up the business profile on Google My Business if creating a website is still a long shot for them. Slowly and steadily, this will help them build personal brand awareness for what they do.
My recommended guide to running a successful social media campaign for a small business or established brand is to try both Google ads and social media platforms. But first, it’s advisable to identify your niche and target audience.
Generally speaking, and from my experience as a marketing manager, I would say Google ads are a sure bet for any business.
TikTok would be best for quick sales, Twitter is renowned more for brand awareness and necessary conversions to sales, and Instagram is possibly the best platform for customer retention.
But if your primary target audience is diverse and includes people from different age groups, then Facebook may work best for your business.
On the other hand, if your target audience mostly consists of younger people, then TikTok would be the most desirable platform to use. As a matter of fact, it is reported that members of Generation Z, who are in their 20s, prefer this particular platform to YouTube in so far as consumption of video content is concerned.
People often talk about “content marketing.” What is it, and how does it help businesses sell more?
Content marketing, explained in its basic form, is the curation of creative materials such as posters, videos, articles, and blogs shared on online platforms to speak to a preselected target audience.
The goal is to generate demand for the consumption of a particular product. In marketing, we say ‘content is king’, meaning there must be intentional aspiration to create compelling and impactful content all the time.
While creating a marketing campaign, you must have ‘’a big idea’’ upon which your strategic communication oscillates.
A small business or a big brand must always endeavor to create a disruptive campaign that passes the tip-of-the-tongue test and is able to translate to market penetration.
A well-thought-out and crafted campaign will organically go viral.