Partial map of the Internet based on the Janua...

Image via Wikipedia

My co-author, on Understanding Digital Marketing, Damian Ryan, is speaking at Internet World 2010 in London tomorrow on things businesses can do to enhance their online marketing. He asked me for my 2c worth of input as he prepared his presentation. So last night I jotted down five key points in a quick email. Today I thought I’d share them with you here:

  • Digital marketing isn’t about technology: it’s about people. Digital technology just allows people (marketers / businesses / brands) to communicate with other people (customers / prospects / markets) in more relevant, engaging and interactive ways. Don’t jump from bandwagon to digital bandwagon, make informed and considered decisions on the best ways to reach out and engage with your particular audience.
  • Measure, listen, learn and adapt: your best source of intelligence on exactly what makes your customers tick is… your customers. Measure everything that you can and use the data intelligently to refine your offering based on your customers’ online behaviour. Even when direct measurement is more difficult (on other people’s online real estate, like social media sites), listen to what they’re saying, learn from it and deliver what they’re looking for.
  • Don’t expect something for nothing: You have to invest if you want success… time… money… both. If you “rolled your own” newspaper ad and ran it in a low-cost or free local newspaper for pennies you wouldn’t expect the same response rate as you would from a professionally produced ad strategically placed in a national newspaper or magazine. It’s the same online. While you tend to get more “bang for your buck” on the internet, you still need to invest if you want to make a bang.
  • Don’t be afraid to lose control: control is an illusion in advertising… it always was, only now the illusion is exposed for all to see. Now we’re not pushing a message, we’re participating in a conversation. Try controlling a conversation in the real world. Force someone to listen to your one-sided diatribe and pretty soon you’ll find they’ve moved on to talk to somebody more interesting.
  • Be relevant, be engaging… be useful!: people want to be delighted. They want the brands they love, and the company’s they choose to do business with to engage with them in a meaningful way… they want you to deliver timely, relevant information that’s genuinely useful to them. Imaginative use of digital marketing offers brands countless and exciting new ways to delight their customers, foster brand advocacy and build enduring, mutually beneficial relationships. It just takes a bit of imagination, commitment and drive!

What are your top tips for businesses looking to connect with their customers online? Please share them in the comments below.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]