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Where to Invest Your Digital Marketing Dollars

Whether you own a bricks and mortar or eCommerce business, a major brand or large corporation, businesses of all sizes can benefit from digital marketing.
We take a closer look at some of the digital marketing options to consider for your business and brand.
Email Marketing
Email marketing remains one of the most successful digital marketing platforms for converting leads to sales. Recent figures show for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.
Successful email marketers personalise emails to their consumers, offering real value and content of interest to engage the reader and increase that all important click-through-rate. Targeting niche consumer groups by grouping mailing list recipients into certain demographics such as age, gender, and purchase or browsing history, your company can more accurately deliver the content your customers really want, rather than sending generic mass emails to an entire subscriber list. One recent study found 81% of online consumers are likely to make a purchase after receiving a personalised email.
Websites and Landing Pages
Regardless of your industry, your digital marketing strategy should include a website, and incorporate designated landing pages to promote key offerings. In today’s digital age, your website is often the customer’s first impression of your business. So it not only needs to look great, but your website should also offer an optimised user experience (UX) and feature a call to action (CTA). Integrating easy to use CTA buttons such as ‘learn more’, ‘book now’ or ‘join my mailing list’ encourages time-poor customers to act quickly and engage with your brand.
Landing pages and CTA’s do involve an element of trial and error, as results can vary among different industries, companies and customers. Don’t let this put you off though. Capturing web traffic data from your own website through measures like Google Analytics will provide valuable information about the visitors to your site, and their online behaviour. This allows you to further develop and customise your website to accommodate your customers’ needs and organically grow your ROI.
Content Marketing and Blogs
All too often we see businesses neglect blogs or content marketing, because they can’t see the connection between words and dollars.
Content marketing is an extremely powerful, and underestimated sales tool, capable of engaging, informing and entertaining readers while influencing their purchase decisions.
Surveys have found content marketing generates three times more leads than traditional outbound marketing, and costs 62% less. While digital marketers who prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to realise a positive ROI.
Blogs and articles have the unique ability to market to a consumer, without making the reader feel like they’re being sold to. Content marketing allows businesses to position themselves as industry leaders, demonstrating their knowledge and skill in a practical manner instead of merely advertising products and services through a display ad.
Social Media
Social media can be used in a variety of ways to market your business, from simply increasing brand awareness and consumer engagement, to being the core driver of sales.
Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the milestone of two billion users on Facebook, making it by far the largest social media network in the world. And that trend is reflected closer to home too, with the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report revealing almost eight in 10 Australians now use social media, along with 47 per cent of small businesses, 49 per cent of medium sized businesses and 60 per cent of large businesses.
The report also revealed 64 per cent of Australians are more likely to trust brands that interact positively with customers on social media.
Although setting up a social media account is free, there are costs involved to maximise your page’s content, reach and engagement. You’ll need to consider how much you’d like to invest in a monthly advertising budget, and think about the time and costs involved in managing and monitoring the page, and planning and creating the content – which might include professional videos, photographs and copywriting.
You can measure the ROI by making use of built-in analytical capabilities that can provide valuable data on how people engage with your social media posts, including click through and conversion rates to your website and sales pages. Most businesses however are happy to measure their success by the growth of their followers and likes, as evidenced in the Sensis report.
When Twitter first emerged, it was famous for being the platform with the 140-character message limit. Since embracing more visual and video content, Twitter has relaxed the word count, but it’s still entirely appropriate for users on Twitter to share a brief text-only message – which isn’t suitable on any other social media platform. Twitter claims 85% of its users believe Promoted Accounts help them discover new businesses on Twitter, which is a promising statistic for businesses looking for consumers in the social media space.
Instagram is a predominantly visual medium, allowing businesses to showcase their products and personality on a digital global stage. More than 80% of Instagram users follow a business, and promoted products have the highest engagement rates of all content types.
With more than 467 million users, Linkedin is the biggest social referrer to corporate websites. The platform provides a targeted approach to digital marketing and professional networking, particularly for engaging the interest of potential investors and corporate employees. 
Podcasting
Podcasts are an innovative and influential marketing tool being increasingly used by a growing number of businesses globally. A study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edison Research showed that 65% of listeners are likely to purchase a product after hearing about it on a podcast, suggesting consumers are receptive to advertisements delivered in the right context or environment. While podcasting has been around for more than 10 years, the number of podcast listeners is increasing. Listeners tuning into podcasts come from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and interests. Recent surveys have found at least 22% of younger podcast audiences tend to listen to more than 10 hours a week, whilst older audiences aged 55 and above tend to listen to around an hour or so in the same time frame. With this in mind, companies have the opportunity to develop podcasts that target and grow their niche audiences, in order to deliver a desirable ROI. And you don’t have to create your own podcast. Brands can enjoy the same benefits from exposure in collaboration with other podcasters.
Google Advertising
Advertising through Google’s image ads allows businesses to reach all new heights of consumer targeting and engagement. Google’s highly detailed analytical features allow brands to target specific customers based on their online habits, web browser history and search information.
So if, for example you sell jewellery, fashion or car accessories in an online store, and you advertise using Google’s image ads, you can entice leads to become return customers by having your product galleries display on their web browsers, embedded as a display ad on other websites. Perhaps they visited your online store and popped a few items in the cart but didn’t check out? You can give them a gentle reminder by displaying those same items in front of them while they’re reading the daily news.
While a cost per click (CPC) element applies to this form of marketing, using Google image ads returns a 31 per cent click through rate, higher than Google’s text based ads of 23 per cent. These types of ads are displayed across sites that consumers commonly use including Facebook and other websites on Google’s advertising network AdSense, allowing you to market your business on multiple platforms with a single digital campaign.
Ultimately, all of these digital marketing measures work to drive traffic to your website, and can be used alone or in unison to build a synchronised and multifaceted marketing strategy. Web analytics allow you to track results like web traffic and sales conversions, illustrating the link between your marketing platforms like social media or blogs, and making sales. And while there are no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to digital marketing, you can certainly consider these options as some of the most popular and successful platforms for marketing in 2017.

Your Career With (& Without) Digital Marketing Expertise

Expertise in digital marketing may make or break your career today. As for tomorrow however, unless you’re looking to become an avocado farmer, being analogue in a digital world could well prove to not be your smartest career move.
The signs are already clear. What’s the biggest marketing talent shortage today? Senior executives with digital experience.
And it’s going to get worse.
According to the Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey:
More than half of businesses surveyed anticipated hiring more digital specialists over the coming 12 months. Currently, 30% of the digital talent in Australia are, in fact, expats.
In other words, we’re not growing enough local digital talent to keep up with demand.
Why?
Researchers are quick to blame either the education sector for not adequately preparing students or the business community for not developing talent – and skills – to meet industry needs.
Attention marketers looking to advance your career: the same survey saw an increased demand for some very specific digital marketing skills: programmatic advertising, performance media and marketing, social media and content, search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and data analytics.
Digital marketing experience and expertise can help to propel your career forward in ways other than just looking good on your resume. The ability to understand and leverage digital platforms and strategies will help you to justify budgets, quantify customer engagement, improve business processes and boost profits/ROI. Compelling skills for most potential employers.
So, what’s behind this seismic change?
Digital is an essential component of marketing.
According to recruitment company Hays Sales & Marketing, the way digital marketing is evolving is set to keep growing, and employers are set to take notice and prepare for its growth.
Peter Noblet, Senior Regional Director of Hays Sales & Marketing said “As the business landscape shifts, marketers must evolve with the times to fully connect with their customers and drive business growth.”
 “As marketing becomes more technology-based, harnessing and mastering ‘big data’ will be key to achieving competitive advantage. If companies are to remain market front-runners, they need to integrate their digital and social marketing channels into one customer journey. To do this, they require candidates with integrated offline and online channel experience.”
So, you need digital and online channel marketing experience. The downside is that marketing education in Australia tends to be very broad and is still in the process of evolving to meet these digital demands.
Formal education isn’t necessarily the answer, however. Consider further developing your skills in the digital realm through industry conferences, online workshops or through mentorship with another professional who may have more senior experience.
The other option of course is to do what several of our clients have done which is to volunteer to be the ‘digital contact’ within their organisation. There’s no better way to get digital experience than by jumping in at the deep-end; particularly when none of your peers are willing to move out of their own comfort zones.
The bottom line: digital skills aren’t just important for your employer, they’re important for you too. A background in digital marketing will prepare you to connect digital campaign efforts with business revenue and growth, making you an essential member of your team.
To keep up, the business world is looking for talent abroad.
Over the past few years, the education sector in Australian has looked overseas for cues on how to further educate their marketing students. There are reports of institutions looking to the UK for marketing direction.
The good news is that we Australians have a good track record for quickly adapting to new market trends. Australia has one of the highest social media and internet penetrations in the world, but we haven’t been fast to adopt this trend in business—yet.
For a current or future marketing leader looking to shape his or her career, it will be key to build your digital marketing business case from overseas trends and case study success modelling. The research suggests that once you do, you’ll find the support you need:
According to Ethos BeathChapman, compared to other countries across the region, Australian marketers reported stronger support for digital marketing from company leadership. In Australia, 44% of senior managers provided very strong support, which compares to just 29% a year ago.
As leadership becomes more open to adopting digital strategies and programs, a key part of your job is to build the business case for your organisation to implement them, as well as to invest in your education in the digital marketing arena.
The business case for digital is sound; as long as it’s integrated with traditional marketing.
The good news is that integrating digital with traditional marketing means that you don’t need to learn your job all over again; you’re simply adding to your existing skill sets.
As of right now, however not many marketing leaders in Australia feel prepared:
According to an Economist Intelligence Unit survey on digital marketing, most marketers lack the skill sets needed to understand and glean insights from digital data. 82% of marketers state that career skills have changed, with 37% indicating they don’t have the skills required to analyse and understand the vast amount of data available to them.
With data, you can move mountains. You can attribute revenue to certain streams, refine your audience targeting, and reach potential buyers in real-time. Adding an analytical mindset to your arsenal of marketing skills is the most important thing you can do to move your career forward, and ensure the success of digital marketing in your organisation.
Digital marketing will (not) go away if you ignore it
Even now, on the verge of 2017 – some 22 years after the notional start of the commercialised internet – many companies and the people who run them are pretending that the world hasn’t changed.
The problem, of course is that it has. And if you don’t embrace the now not so new digital changes, your career may prove to be very ‘interesting’ in the future.
Having said that, prove me wrong! Perhaps being a digital luddite may just work for you and your career. Just like it worked for the marketers who said that new fangled radio, television and, heck, even computers wouldn’t catch on.
You never know though, you may turn out to be the smart one and prove all of us digital zealots wrong. If not, well, get out the shovel, pull on your boots and start planting those avocado seeds!
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