7.5 Ways to Profit from Digital Marketing in 2024 and Beyond

7.5 Ways to Profit from Digital Marketing in 2024 and Beyond

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.

Idea #1:  Leverage Generative AI for Content Creation

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.

What You Can Do with Generative AI

Generative AI can serve as a valuable tool in your digital marketing toolbox. Here are a few ways you can use it.

  • Idea Generation: Struggling to come up with fresh content ideas? Generative AI can brainstorm with you, offering numerous suggestions based on your initial though
  • Content Simplification and Synthesis: If you’re dealing with complex ideas or verbose texts, Generative AI can make it more digestible. I use it daily to summarize my Zoom call transcripts.
  • Visual Content Creation: Tools like DAL-E can create visuals based on your descriptions, enhancing blogs, social media posts, or advertisements with unique images.
  • Overcoming Writer’s Block: AI can assist in expanding a simple idea into a comprehensive article with new perspectives or suggestions.
  • Ad and Landing Page Optimization: By generating multiple content variations, you can A/B test headlines, copy, or calls-to-action to determine which resonates most with your audience.
  • Automate Lead Nurturing and Sales Sequences: Implement personalized lead nurturing sequences or sales outreach campaigns by leveraging AI to create engaging, relevant content that moves leads through the sales funnel more efficiently.

Navigating Generative AI’s Limitations

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

Idea #2:  Use Chatbots for Sales & Customer Service

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:

  • Quickly generating high-quality leads
  • Offering instant, real-time customer support 24/7
  • Providing immediate responses to sales inquiries
  • Reducing customer wait times
  • Efficiently scheduling meetings or registering users for events
  • Delivering personalized customer interactions

Types of Chatbots

The effectiveness and efficiency of a chatbot depends on its underlying technology. Generally, chatbots can be classified into two categories:

  • Rules-based Chatbots: These bots operate within the confines of predefined rules and set questions. They can’t generate their own responses but rely on a specific script prepared in advance.
  • AI Chatbots: These chatbots are a leap forward, utilizing complex machine learning models. This technology allows them to learn from interactions and improve over time, providing more natural and intelligent responses.

The differences between these two types of chatbots can impact your customer service experience:

  • Functionality: Rules-based chatbots follow specific commands, while AI chatbots interpret user input based on learned data, powered by machine learning.
  • Flexibility: Rules-based chatbots can only follow programmed paths, whereas AI chatbots can adapt to conversations, understanding diverse phrasing and context.
  • Development: Rules-based chatbots require less time and resources, while AI chatbots necessitate substantial effort in programming and training phases.
  • Use Cases: Rules-based chatbots are ideal for straightforward tasks such as filling lead generation forms, answering FAQs, or scheduling appointments. In contrast, AI chatbots excel in personalized support responses.
  • Learning Capability: Rules-based chatbots don’t learn from interactions but operate based on their programming. AI chatbots, however, evolve with each conversation, refining their communication skills and knowledge base.

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.

Idea #3:  Get Serious About B2B E-Commerce

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.

Make Sure Your Website Has B2B Strength with B2C Comfort

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.

Provide Rich, Detailed Product Content

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:

  • Detailed Product Descriptions: Clear and detailed descriptions of each product, including features, benefits, and technical specifications.
  • Multiple Product Images: High-quality images and videos that showcase the product from various angles and in various settings.
  • Product Videos: A visual demonstration of the product’s capabilities and features, helping customers to better understand what the product does and how it can benefit them.
  • Reviews and ratings: User-generated reviews and ratings that provide valuable social proof.
  • Pricing and availability: Clear and accurate pricing information and details on product availability, including minimum order quantities and lead times. This can be offered behind a login if public pricing is not feasible.
  • Technical Documents: Manuals and installation guides that provide detailed information on how to use or install the product.
  • Related products: Suggestions for related or complementary products.

B2B distributors can get product content for their e-commerce websites from a variety of sources, including:

  • Product manufacturers: Manufacturers often provide product content such as descriptions, images, and technical specifications. Distributors can request this content from them directly or access it through their online portals.
  • Third-party content providers: There are several third-party content providers that offer product content for B2B distributors, such as Distributor Data Solutions (DDS). These providers aggregate and offer a wide range of product content from manufacturers which can be easily integrated into a distributor’s e-commerce site.
  • In-house content creation: Distributors can also create their own product content in-house, by writing product descriptions, taking product photos, and creating technical specifications. This approach can be more time-consuming but allows you to have complete control over the content and tailor it to your specific needs

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.

Make It Easy for Customers to Buy the Way They Want

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.

  • Shopping involves finding, researching, and selecting a product, but not purchasing the product. Shopping occurs before the transaction to complete the purchase.
  • Buying involves the transaction — the actual purchase of the product

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.

Idea #4:  Craft Content Customers Crave

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:

  1. Cost & Pricing: One of the first questions a potential customer has is often, “How much does it cost?” Many businesses shy away from discussing prices upfront. They worry about scaring off customers, tipping off competitors, or they feel their pricing is too complex, given the customizable nature of their offering. However, transparency is key to building trust. Address pricing head-on in your content and explain factors that may influence the cost.
  2. Problems & Issues: “What are typical issues I should be aware of?” Every product or service can experience issues, and pretending otherwise can breed customer mistrust. Instead, use your content to address common problems candidly, presenting clear, effective solutions, and showcasing your customer support prowess. Control the narrative and positions you as an expert guide.
  3. Comparisons: “How do these solutions compare? Which is right for me?” Enhance your content marketing by offering fair, insightful comparisons between various options, including your own offering and that of competitors. Honesty fortifies trust, even when you don’t come out on top.
  4. Reviews: “What do other people say about this?” In an age where 95% of buyers read reviews before making a purchase, incorporating reviews into your content strategy is crucial. Don’t just wait for reviews to come in; actively invite honest assessments of your products.
  5. ‘Best of’ Lists: These are fantastic, shareable content pieces that attract a lot of attention. Many people search, “What is the best ___________?” Compile ‘best of’ lists related to your industry, products, or customer successes. Don’t just list products or services — provide insights, statistics, and real user feedback. Include various categories to cater to guide prospects toward informed decisions.

Where to Find Content Ideas

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.

Idea #5:  Attract New Customers from Search

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.

Search Engine Optimization

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:

  • Improving your website’s relevancy. Your website needs to stress your most important keyword phrases in a relevant and natural fashion in your website’s copy and coding.
  • Improving your website’s link popularity. You need to attract quality inbound links to your website on an ongoing basis. The more quality links coming into your website, the higher your rank will be in the search results.

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.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

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:

  • Increasing your bid amount. The more you offer to pay per click, the higher your ranking will be in the paid search results (if your ad and landing page are relevant).
  • Improving the relevancy of your advertisements and landing pages. The more relevant your ads and landing pages are based on what the person is searching on, the higher your ranking will be in the paid search results (if you are bidding appropriately).
  • Increasing your budget. The more you choose to invest in pay-per-click advertising, the better your chance of having your ads consistently displayed.

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.

Idea #6:  Use Video for Marketing & Sales

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:

  • Boost Engagement: Videos are superior to text and images in capturing attention: They enhance the impact of your messages.
  • Simplify Complexity: Videos distill complex products or services into understandable segments, utilizing demonstrations or animations to clarify features and benefits.
  • Establish Credibility and Trust: Through customer testimonials or behind-the-scenes content, videos foster a personal touch, building brand authenticity and trust.
  • Enhance Conversion Rates: Video content on landing pages or in promotional emails has been shown to increase conversion rates.
  • Revitalize Sales Communications: Traditional sales emails can be easy to ignore. Video emails stand out in a crowded inbox.

Strategies for Using Video in Marketing and Sales

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:

  • Video Product Demonstrations: Seeing your product in action can help prospects understand its value and how it fits into their lives or business operations.
  • Video Sales Emails: Use video in your sales outreach. Platforms like Vidyard or BombBomb allow sales representatives to create personalized video messages instead of standard text emails.
  • Customer Testimonials and Case Studies: Use video to share real stories from real customers sharing their experiences with your product or service.
  • Educational and How-To Videos: Position your brand as a helpful expert by providing informative content that answers common questions or offers useful knowledge related to your industry.
  • Live Video for Real-Time Engagement: Use live video sessions for product launches, Q&A sessions, or virtual tours. Real-time interaction enables immediate feedback and fosters a communal feeling, encouraging stronger relationships with your audience.
  • Interactive Video Content: Quizzes, clickable links, and branching scenarios involve the viewer directly, creating a two-way interaction that makes your videos more engaging and memorable.
  • Video Advertising: Beyond organic video content, consider leveraging video ads on platforms that your target customers use. Tailored video advertisements on social media platforms, YouTube, or relevant websites can draw in prospects.
  • SEO for Video: Just like with text-based content, you’ll want to optimize your video content for search engines. Use the right keywords in your video title, description, and tags, as well as uploading a transcript to ensure your video is accessible and indexable.

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.

Idea #7:  Enhance Your Marketing ROI Measurement

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.

Implement Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

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.

Measure E-Commerce Revenue Beyond the Shopping Cart

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:

  • Profits from shopping cart transactions
  • Profits from all digital channels (e.g., email quote requests/orders, EDI, etc.)
  • Orders that originate from the website but are completed through non-cart channels
  • The impact of omnichannel strategies
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

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:  Get a Digital Marketing Plan Customized for You

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.

Your Digital Marketing Opportunity Blueprint

Digital Marketing Opportunity BlueprintI invite you take advantage of my popular Digital Marketing Opportunity Blueprint consulting service. You’ll receive a detailed audit of your current digital marketing efforts and a custom marketing plan designed for your specific needs with comprehensive strategies and tactics to grow your leads, sales, and profits online. This program has two steps:

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:

  • Review of your website and digital marketing activities
  • Analysis of your web analytics and e-commerce analytics
  • Survey of your competitive search engine position
  • Preparation of detailed blueprint outlining the specific tactics that will be most effective to grow your leads sales and profits online (this might include things like lead generation, online sales, SEO, PPC advertising, marketing automation, content planning, email marketing and more.
  • 60-minute Zoom call with me to present your Blueprint and answer your questions

Schedule your Digital Marketing Opportunity Blueprint today!

About the author

B2B digital marketing strategist, author, and professional speaker on a mission to help B2B and industrial companies generate more leads, sales, and profits online.

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