Benefits of digital marketing are numerous and getting started is simple for any business willing to invest in its own future. We say simple and not easy by no mistake. Experience has personally shown me that businesses and people run to digital as a quick fix to business challenges.
Why digital/online marketing?
Digital/Online marketing is growing in its importance to businesses both large scale and the SME by the day. A report by PWC puts the growth rate of internet advertising to be in the double digits of 13.8% CAGR for the year. This is only rivalled by TV and Radio that are the leading advertising media in the country.
With over 23 million unique smartphones registered and active as at 2018. A further estimated 90% of Kenya’s population is connected to the internet as per data from CAK. It’s thus a no brainer that businesses should not be caught off-guard in servicing their clients at their points of convenience.
In our article: Digital Marketing for Businesses: The Beginners’ Guide, we go over the options available in using digital platforms to enhance your business. Which we recommend you should read if you haven’t done so yet. It will enable you to appreciate and get a wholesome picture of the benefits we are about to delve into.
What Are The Benefits Of Digital Marketing To A Business?
Having interacted with numerous clients while consulting, a common question that many people ask is,
‘What benefits does going digital/online marketing bring to my business?’
To start this off I normally go back, in a mild fit, to what has now become my go-to question:
What is Digital Marketing? I know, but really what is digital marketing or if you prefer online marketing?
Which we have defined in our previous article as simply being: Marketing using digital platforms. This has now become a mantra, not only to me personally but also here at MwanaBiashara.
Without this clarity, it is easy to get side-tracked on what digital marketing is or isn’t. What it means and the expectations that anyone could have towards the field. We are going to focus on the 5 key benefits of digital marketing to your business. The following are some of the benefits that a business gets from digital marketing.
The 5 Key Benefits of Digital Marketing to Businesses
1. You can reach a targeted audience
Have you ever placed a TV or Radio advert, or thought of doing it? Okay! Well let me throw in another question, have you ever printed posters or brochures. Did you go ahead to hire some people to help you in their distribution? You know just as well as I do that you couldn’t be able to quantify the return on investment on that marketing activity. Furthermore, what were the criteria you used to distribute the marketing materials?
Simply put, offline marketing does not give you control of market information as to who was reached. And that hole, that is the hole that digital marketing seeks to fill. And fill it tightly.
Compared to other traditional (offline) marketing media, digital marketing allows you to target audiences. This is achieved by narrowing down to certain specific attributes that your potential customers have. This way, your business can communicate with an audience that is most likely to convert or perform an action that gets them closer to converting.
2. Measurable results
You remember the questions from the first point above? Well, they will be handy as we go on.
When we talk about measurable results, what we are simply asking is; can you account for marketing/advertising budget spent? Do you have the business intelligence to show you how effective or not-so-effective a marketing campaign or project is? Having these answers are important if your business is going to thrive and compete. Marketing is not a pure science, it’s hugely affected by people that make it also have art elements.
Before launching a digital marketing campaign, you should set goals. Which still a good number of businesses do not. You then evaluate these at the end of the campaign to gauge whether your business was able to achieve them or not. This way, your business can prepare the next campaign with foresight. You want to avoid previous mistakes that led to prior campaigns not being as successful as had been forecasted. If a previous campaign was successful or failed, you can choose to give certain goals less or more priority.
3. It levels the playing field
Digital marketing is the great equaliser for businesses. Traditional marketing channels such as OH (Out of Home) advertising, TV and Radio commercials still remain exclusive to companies with huge advertising budgets. Large scale businesses have the ability to even hire international agencies to carry out their marketing initiatives. Does your business have that financial muscle?
Online marketing, especially gives an edge to SMEs to reach their target audiences and position their businesses to solve their customer’s needs. It does not require a huge budget (It would cost you more than a million shillings a week to run a TV ad) to set up a digital marketing campaign. This way, even small businesses can promote their goods and services online and therefore compete at a level playing field with established businesses.
With Facebook’s advertising costs starting at a minimum of 101/= per day per ad, the field is getting levelled to help MSME businesses to compete alongside giants of brands out there. With proper planning to account for resources available to you and your business, digital can deliver business results.
4. It is cost-effective
There is a popular misunderstanding that has been doing rounds about digital marketing. And that is that it costs nothing to utilise digital platforms. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
This is why we always go back to the definition of what digital marketing is: Marketing using digital platforms. And just like any marketing initiative or media there are costs associated.
It is true that during the advent of the digital scene it was possible to get immense value by using organic content (unpaid for posts and statuses and or stories). But algorithms of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and their counterparts have changed. And for a truly consistent account on these platforms, the reach will be in the range of 1-3% of the following the business/account has.
This, however, should not set gloom to businesses in the MSME sector. When we talk about digital being cost-effective, we mean it is relatively cheaper compared to any other traditional form of marketing.
When we do combine the cost savings due to the availability of metrics and focus on a targeted audience, businesses can set their ad budgets to a level that suits them. By doing this, even businesses that are cash-strapped can use the small budget for marketing their products online.
We have worked with clients who have gotten tremendous results from small adverting spends of 5,000/= a month (exclusive of production costs). It all depends on proper planning and clarity of objectives.
5. You can easily test and optimise campaigns
Have you ever seen a billboard or a commercial that made you question the professionalism of the agency involved?
Well, now imagine that it was an advert for your business or company. That automatically means an ineffectiveness of the campaign. Money down the drain and most painfully a hurt brand and loss of contribution to the bottom line.
Digital marketing accords and affords you the tools to cheaply test out different campaign ideas to a small audience. You can test out different images, copy (text) and even the call to action to find the combination that best resonates with your target audience.
It also allows you to change aspects of the campaign given the real time data that is being collected and the response received so as to maximise the conversion rate or performance of the action being sought from the ad.
Digital marketing at its base is simply: Marketing using digital platforms. It abounds in its benefits that could accrue over time as a consequence of adequate planning and execution. Benefits do range from cost effectiveness to metrics, targeted audiences and to testing and optimisation. Nonetheless, it requires commitment and planning.
Just like any other arm that supports your business, the plan of how you will exploit the benefits of digital marketing to your business is critical to the success of the organic and paid campaigns that you will be launching.
To digital campaigns that deliver results!