At its core, inbound marketing is about communication. Your content, landing pages, and social media promotion work together to convey a specific message to your prospects. While customer communication has always been a key point of any great marketing strategy, the advent of internet marketing has meant huge shifts in how marketers can communication with customers.
Keep reading to find out the most important ways internet marketing has changed customer communication.
Customers Have More Information
Before digital marketing, customers did not have very many options for getting information on the products they might want to buy. This is true of both B2B and B2C buyers. They could look to traditional advertising or media like Consumer Reports, or they could ask friends and family for their word of mouth recommendations.
Today, customers have an endless supply of information on virtually any topic. As marketers, this means that not only are we expected to provide as much information as possible on our products and services before our sales team ever picks up the phone (or opens an email) it also means we have to be able to cut through the clutter of information online. The best way to do this is by carefully targeting relevant content and keywords that appeal to key personas and letting your site rise to the top.
Customers Are Less Willing to Listen to a Pitch
As an extension of the fact that there is more information out there comes the truth that customers are simply less willing to listen to a sales pitch. Consumers want to come to you when they're ready, not sit on the phone or in front of an infomercial waiting to be convinced to buy. On top of that, people simply have shorter attention spans than ever before. According to one study, the average attention span in 2013 was just 8 seconds.
So how can a great marketing team circumvent the fact that consumers are hardly even interested in talking to them anymore? Efficient communication. When it comes to email marketing, keep things brief. Get as much of your value proposition as possible into a Tweet. And use visuals as often as you can. A short attention span doesn't preclude looking over an infographic or watching a short - and hopefully entertaining - video.
Unified Messaging is More Important Than Ever
With the myriad platforms available for the modern consumer, from Facebook to Snapchat to Google News, it is more important than ever for marketers to craft a unified message and strong brand. When a consumer runs into your marketing, you want them to know who it belongs to. But at the same time, we need to be sure that we speak to the user in a way that makes sense for the specific platform. The way we present our message on Twitter will not look the same as what we present on LinkedIn or our company website, and it's not just a matter of changing image sizes. In digital marketing, your brand voice needs to be strong enough to stand up to the push and pull of every platform and its unique requirements.
But Segmentation is Still Essential
However, it's important to remember that, even though, your brand voice should stay consistent you can also use internet marketing tools to segment your communications like never before. This is perhaps best illustrated on Facebook where it is easy to drill down your advertising audience to very specific niches. That particular platform lets you advertise to people of certain ages, educational levels, even people with specific names. Not all platforms offer that level of segmentation, but most have some degree of the demographic information to work with. This means multiple messages - in that same voice - speaking to different target personas. From a marketing perspective, this might be more work that traditional tactics, but it can also offer much bigger rewards.
And Speed is King
Successful internet marketing means responding to things quickly. Customers expect to get fast responses to questions and customer service inquiries. They expect websites to load fast and corporate Twitter accounts to be up 24 hours a day. As a marketer, this means you have to be able to think on your toes. Marketing teams will often be expected to own social media, which means crafting real-time responses to inquiries and even public relations crises or news events involving your brand. Before the internet, there was never quite the sense of urgency and off-the-cuff capabilities as there is now.
Success in Digital Marketing Means Flexibility
Above all, the path to success in digital marketing must be flexible. Not only does a marketing team need to be able to adapt to new platforms that may arise, they need to be able to change their communication messages on a dime. Digital marketing metrics means that your company can instantly see what is and isn't working, whether that means a landing page is not converting or your call to action isn't getting any action at all. A willingness to change, be flexible and adapt has always been a valuable asset for any marketer. In internet marketing, it is not just an asset, it's an absolute necessity.