The digital landscape is in a constant state of flux, with innovations continually reshaping how your customers want to conduct business. As we enter into 2024, the stakes are higher than ever, and the digital marketing tools and strategies that served us well in the past might not be sufficient for the future. How, then, can you stay ahead of the curve and ensure that you’re harnessing the full power of online marketing?
This journey is not just about understanding the trends; it’s about implementing solutions that help you achieve your business goals. To that end, I identified 7.5 digital marketing ideas you can leverage to profit in the coming year and beyond.
Generative AI is at the forefront of artificial intelligence, designed to emulate human-like content creation. It takes cues or prompts from human inputs and generates entirely new creations, spanning the written word, music, videos, and art.
Several tools have gained popularity in harnessing Generative AI, including ChatGPT, Google Bard, Bing’s conversational components, Jasper, and OpenAI’s DAL-E. These platforms vary in their capabilities but share a common thread, leveraging AI to inspire, create, and optimize content. If you are just getting started, I recommend you give ChatGPT and Bard a try.
Generative AI can serve as a valuable tool in your digital marketing toolbox. Here are a few ways you can use it.
Despite its revolutionary capabilities, Generative AI isn’t without its limitations. It can’t conduct original research or analysis, meaning that while it can synthesize provided information, it cannot source new data or insights. In addition, you much fact-check AI generated content, as AI might replicate factual inaccuracies.
Additionally, AI lacks personal experiences. It can mimic human writing styles and emotions but cannot provide a true human perspective. Human quality assurance is also crucial to maintain your brand’s voice, tone, and quality standards.
Finally, there’s a potential risk of copyright infringement. Since Generative AI learns from existing content, it may inadvertently generate content that closely resembles others’ intellectual property.
Generative AI marks a transformative shift in digital marketing; however, its effective use requires a balanced approach. As we enter into 2024 and beyond, marketers armed with both Generative AI tools and strategic human oversight will undoubtedly lead the digital frontier
One of the most innovative solutions in the modern digital marketing space is the use of chatbots for sales and customer service.
Chatbots are AI-driven computer programs capable of simulating interactive human conversation. By integrating them into your business platforms, they can significantly enhance customer experience by:
The effectiveness and efficiency of a chatbot depends on its underlying technology. Generally, chatbots can be classified into two categories:
The differences between these two types of chatbots can impact your customer service experience:
Various tools are available to develop both types of chatbots. For rules-based chatbots, platforms like Chatfuel, ManyChat, and Botsify allow you to create chatbots that follow scripted conversations without any need for complex coding. For AI chatbots, solutions such as Drift, Tidio, and Kommunicate can understand and respond to user inquiries with personalized, context-aware messages.
Integrating chatbots into your strategy will provide a competitive edge, enhancing customer satisfaction and, ultimately, driving sales.
If you are a distributor, you need to sell online. You can no longer put it off because today’s buyer expects it of you. Through my work with industrial and construction supply distributors over the past 25 years, I’ve found that distributors often have many misconceptions about how to achieve success with e-commerce. To ensure you are on the right path, embrace the following concepts to sell successfully online.
Many B2B e-commerce websites miss the mark by being overly complex and clunky, offering product listings with little to no content, very little education, and a lack of real sales support. However, there’s an opportunity here: your website can stand out by achieving efficiency and user-friendliness, much like the best B2C storefronts online.
The goal is to offer straightforward navigation, ensuring customers can find what they need without a hassle. It’s also about enriching content — more than just product specs, providing useful details that customers can use to make informed decisions. And sales support shouldn’t be an afterthought; quick access to live chat or phone assistance makes business personal and efficient. Finally, a smooth, uncomplicated checkout process is essential to seal the deal.
To be successful, your e-commerce website needs to offer detailed product content. Many distributors make the mistake of having the content on their product pages driven by the limited information held in their ERP systems. This puts them at a disadvantage because most ERP systems only store a limited set of content for each product, such as the product name, product code, a limited product description and a product photo (if you are lucky).
This is not nearly enough for your customers to make an informed purchasing decision and will put you at a disadvantage. To be a strong competitor, your website’s product pages need to supplement this basic product information with the following:
B2B distributors can get product content for their e-commerce websites from a variety of sources, including:
To make this process manageable, I recommend applying the 80-20 rule to prioritize your products. If 80% of your sales are generated from 20% of your products, focus your energy on enriching content for that pivotal 20%. By strategically enhancing these listings, you’re optimizing resources while significantly impacting sales and customer satisfaction.
B2B e-commerce transactions are very different than B2C e-commerce. With B2C e-commerce the customer’s entire transactional experience, from product research to product selection to product purchase, occurs online via an online transaction. With B2B e-commerce, it’s very different.
In its State of Buying & Shopping in Distribution report, Distribution Strategy Group points out with B2B e-commerce there is a distinct difference between shopping and buying.
The research detailed in the report uncovers B2B customers prefer to shop online, but their buying preferences vary. When shopping, B2B customers prefer to go online using search engines, distributor websites, and manufacturer websites.
However, when they are ready to buy, only 36% will complete the transaction online. The vast majority prefer to use tried-and-true methods to complete the purchase, including emailing an order, calling a sales rep, or visiting a branch location.
To be successful with e-commerce, offer customers an omnichannel experience where your customers can engage with your company across multiple channels, such as online, mobile, social media, telephone, and in-person, and have a consistent and personalized experience across all of them. Train your salespeople to leverage your e-commerce website as a strategic sales tool, not a threat to their commission.
People don’t choose to do business with you just because you offer the right products at the right price. They choose you because you have a team who shares valuable, specialized knowledge with customers on a regular basis. To succeed online, lead with your specialized knowledge by offering a digital educational resource center with valuable content that answers key customer questions.
In his book, They Ask, You Answer, Marcus Sheridan identifies “The Big 5” best business blog topics to drive traffic, leads and sales. The Big 5 include:
Stuck in a content rut? Inspiration is closer than you think! Start with your internal team; the sales and customer service teams are often a treasure trove of insights and inspiration. Find content ideas in feedback forms and surveys, where direct customer responses reveal pressing topics. Similarly, incorporate social listening, where you monitor mentions of your brand, products, or industry on various platforms, to uncover trending topics and burgeoning issues your content can address. Consider a competitor analysis to see what conversations they are having with similar audiences. Lastly, leverage Generative AI tools to brainstorm topics and titles that will appeal to your customer.
Search engine marketing helps attract potential customers to your website by increasing your website’s presence within the search results. It’s not a new digital marketing tactic but continues to remain extremely important in 2024 and beyond.
According to Search Engine Journal, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, making search engine marketing the top driver of visits to your website. Unfortunately, many B2B companies struggle to wrap their minds around actually profiting from search.
Effective search engine marketing begins with a thorough understanding of the keyword phrases your customers are searching for most often, and then leveraging a combination of Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click Advertising to be found in search.
Organic search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is the ongoing process of making your website’s pages attractive to search engines. According to research, approximately 75% of searchers will click on organic, “unpaid” or “natural” results over paid results.
The goal of an effective SEO campaign is to get your website listed as close to the top of the first page as you can for your keyword phrases. You can accomplish this by focusing on two tactics:
Search engine optimization is very similar to public relations – It requires an ongoing, consistent effort to achieve results. Significant results can be achieved within a three-to-six-month timeframe, and you will continue to build from there.
With pay-per-click Advertising, or PPC, your company pays a fee per click to have advertisements listed in the paid search results. You will only be charged when a searcher clicks on your ad and visits your website. Research shows approximately 25% of searchers will click on relevant paid search results.
Paid search ads can take a variety of forms, including text ads, image ads, video ads, and shopping ads, and can be targeted to specific geographic regions, languages, demographics, and interests. Your ranking can be optimized by focusing on these factors:
Pay-per-click advertising is immediate, and you can begin driving targeted traffic within minutes of launching your campaign. However, it requires attentive management to ensure you are receiving the highest return on your PPC advertising investment.
In digital marketing, where content is king, video reigns supreme. It’s a dynamic, engaging medium offering an immersive experience. Incorporating more video content into your marketing and sales strategies is a powerful tactic to enhance communication, engagement, and conversion. Here’s why and how you should be leveraging video content:
Marketing with video is not just about keeping up with current trends; it’s about harnessing a powerful tool to communicate more effectively, connect with your audience on a deeper level, and guide them through the sales funnel with content that informs, entertains, and converts. Here are some strategies you can put into action:
To enhance the impact of your videos, use analytics to track the performance of all video content. Insights into view count, engagement rates, and viewer behavior are valuable for understanding what’s resonating with your audience and what’s not.
To succeed in digital marketing, having a comprehensive understanding of your marketing strategies’ performance is crucial. Beyond you return on investment (ROI), you want to understand how your digital presence influences buyer behavior and drives sales across various channels. Here’s how you how you can better measure your marketing and why ROI measurement is essential.
If you haven’t already, install Google Analytics 4 (GA4) on your website. GA4 is the latest iteration of the platform and offers integrated tracking that aligns with the customer journey across devices and platforms, providing valuable insights into user behavior.
GA4 introduces new metrics and more flexible data tracking than its predecessor. Take advantage of features like scroll tracking, file downloads, and video engagement to understand how users interact with your content.
With more comprehensive data sets, you can utilize GA4’s analysis hub to perform more complex analysis, helping you understand the nuances of your customer journey, identify the most effective marketing channels, and assess customer retention.
Measuring e-commerce success can be a challenge for distributors. As mentioned above, even though B2B customers shop online, only 36% of customers will complete the order on the website with no human interaction. They want an omnichannel experience, where they can conduct business across multiple channels and have a consistent and personalized experience across all of them.
So, if you are measuring e-commerce ROI just based on shopping cart sales, you are missing the big picture of how e-commerce is growing your sales. Many B2B buyers will spend hours on your website researching and selecting products to build an order, only to complete the transaction offline by emailing a quote request, calling your salespeople, or visiting your branch location.
To obtain a comprehensive understanding of your e-commerce website’s ROI, it is crucial to consider various elements, such as:
To give your website credit for influencing offline sales, have your salespeople ask the customer: Did you use our website to select the products for this order? If the answer is yes, your e-commerce website contributed to the sale.
Idea #7.5 is the “half step.” Why? Because it involves me working for you personally to fill in the crucial details making these digital marketing ideas effective for your business. Let’s dive into how this works.
In digital marketing, there’s no one-size-fits-all. What sends one company’s sales skyrocketing might barely cause a blip for another. The cookie-cutter approach is a dead-end road. This is where I come in to show you the path to success.
Step 1: The Consultation
You and I will have a 1:1 conversation to discuss your specific business, product and service offerings, target customers, and the current marketing efforts you are using to achieve your sales goals. In addition, you can ask your toughest questions about all things digital marketing and industry best practices to make sure you know what works online.
Step 2: The Audit & Blueprint
I will prepare your Digital Marketing Opportunity Blueprint, which will consist of the following steps: