Digital marketing can work for any business in any industry. Regardless of the product or service your company sells, digital marketing, according to the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) still involves building your business-specific buyer personas to identify your audience’s needs. Based on these identified needs you will be able to create valuable written, visual or video online content. Saying that, remember that not all businesses should implement a digital marketing strategy in the same way. The main differences are outlined below …

For Business to Consumer (B2C) type businesses

If your company deals directly with customers, then digital marketing helps you to attract people to your business using digital marketing platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These platforms lead prospects to your website where they can purchase your products or services online, without needing scores of sales personnel.

For that reason, the centre of the buyer’s journey is your website. Your products and services are featured with all the relevant information, including price, focused on accelerating the buyer’s journey, from the moment someone lands on your website to the moment they make a purchase. In this way you can track your  visitor’s journey and the use of calls-to-action (CTA’s) strategically placed across your website.

For B2C companies, channels like Facebook (who is not on Facebook!?), Twitter (young professionals have endorsed it in Zim), Instagram (for younger audiences), and Pinterest (women seem to love it), can often be more valuable than business-to-business focused platforms such as LinkedIn.

For Business to Business (B2B) type businesses

If your company is B2B, your digital marketing efforts are likely to be centred around online lead generation, i.e. acquiring new customers, with the end goal being your prospect speaking to a salesperson. For that reason, the role of your marketing strategy is to attract and convert the highest quality leads for your sales people via your website and supporting digital channels such as a customer relations management (CRM) system. An effective CRM enables you to track the performance of your salesforce, irrespective of the size of your business.

Beyond your website, you’ll probably choose to focus your efforts on business-to-business focused channels like LinkedIn where your targeted audiences are spending their time online looking for business opportunities and to connect with like-minded individuals and businesses.

How Long Will It Take to See Results from my Digital Marketing Efforts?

With digital marketing, you can usually see results much faster than offline marketing as it’s easier to measure your Return on Investment (ROI) using tools such as Google Analytics that we talked about in the last article. However, the results from your digital marketing efforts ultimately depend entirely on the scale and effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy. Digital marketing is not a one-off event but a continuous process of creating and improving your content, tailored to your perfect buyer persona.

If you spend time building comprehensive buyer personas to identify the needs of your audience, and you focus on creating quality online content to attract and convert them, then you’re likely to see strong results within the first six months.

In order to escalate your digital marketing efforts, paid advertising on Google and/or on your key social media platforms is key. Results from paid advertising can come even quicker — but it’s recommended to focus on building your organic (or ‘free’) reach using content, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and social media for the long-term, sustainable success of your business.

I Am Ready to Invest in Digital Marketing for my Business. What next?

Most business owners think if they have a Facebook page they are doing digital marketing and then get disappointed saying digital marketing does not work. As outlined above, the actual first step is to set up your business website with professionals who are versed in digital marketing and where all your social media platforms of choice, email marketing and paid advertising are integrated with strong SEO. All of which, when used comprehensively, will grow your business. Good Luck!