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ISM Article

How digital marketing benefits your business

1 Apr, 2012 By: Kendall Tucker, Evolved Office imageSource


laptop cloudThe Internet has inherently changed the way we can target and communicate with our clients and prospects, and provides dealers and vendors more effective and affordable marketing opportunities than ever before. This is a good thing considering that the economy is still struggling to recover, and we all have to work a little harder and a little smarter to keep our businesses competitive. This is where online marketing can make a big difference.

Unlike print marketing, which can be static and expensive, online marketing is interactive and affordable, making it a necessary component of every marketing strategy. Internet marketing is a comprehensive term that encompasses a wide range of digital marketing tools, including blogs, social media marketing, e-newsletters, video marketing, email marketing, SEO, and much more. It is both complex and rapidly changing, but it plays critical role in keeping your sales high during good times and bad —and it’s absolutely critical to the success of dealers and vendors in the crowded office equipment industry.

But for the average business, optimizing your digital marketing strategy can be a daunting task for the average business to tackle. Large vendors have the obvious advantage here, since they likely have access to an experienced team of marketing experts. But that’s not to say dealers of all sizes can’t take advantage of the many benefits of online marketing. It all starts with good content—online content that is.

The power of content marketing

Successful online marketing starts with the right content. Online marketing focuses on distributing your message in various digital formats—email newsletters, websites, online promotional videos, etc. But, the common thread throughout all of these pieces is the content, or the message itself. In the office equipment and business solutions channel, industry-specific content is key. Targeted online marketing is all about creating and distributing informative and relevant content that will convert prospects to customers and persuade existing clients to remain loyal to your company or your brand. It’s an effective marketing strategy in which you use attention-grabbing content to draw people to your products or services and keep them there.

What can digital content marketing do for your business?

Raise awareness. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits online marketing offers dealers and vendors alike is the ability to raise awareness. Raising awareness is tied to branding and is essential in today’s growing market. After all, how can a customer make purchases from you if they don’t even know you exist? This is where content marketing can really boost your brand, and it’s a great way to make initial contact with new prospects and keep the conversation going with current clients. This could be as simple as setting up a company blog or establishing a targeted email campaign so that your clients and prospects remember who you are, what you do, and how you can help them.

Build trust. How you choose to organize your online marketing strategy is up to you, but the most important thing is to deliver a relevant, informative, and engaging message to your target audience on a regular basis. Whether you do this through weekly newsletters or monthly webinars, the content you put out there establishes you as an industry expert, thereby enhancing the level of trust among your customers and prospects. Every piece of content you publish online helps to position your company as a valuable resource, and shows customers that you can expertly handle all their business needs.

Generate leads & close more deals. Once your audience is aware that you exist and they trust you, you’ll want to start converting those eyes into leads, or even better, closed deals! Remember that all of the content on your website, blog, and other online marketing pieces should answer the question “Why should my customers care?” and you should always give them a direct call to action. You need to make it exceptionally easy for your customers to contact you and tell you what they want. A simple contact form or contact link will get the job done, but more sophisticated online tracking features can prove to be even more successful, such as with Evolved Office’s track-able platforms that automatically send leads to clients every time someone clicks an email link or on their landing pages.

How to get it done

So, now that you know why online marketing is important, you’ll need the right tools to get the job done. Here’s a hint—a good website alone won’t cut it. You need customized, industry-specific marketing pieces that speak to your customer’s needs on a regular basis.

No matter if your marketing budget is large or small, there are a few basic marketing tools I would recommend to every dealer and vendor wanting to grow their business with online marketing.

  • tabletEmail newsletters provide the best, most cost-effective method of delivering your message to your prospects & customer base on a consistent basis. Email newsletters carry a perceived level of expertise and position you as the thought leader among your readers. You can deliver your most important messages while also featuring your products and services, without being too pushy. The consistency (weekly or monthly) of newsletters also helps with your branding and ensures you stay “top-of-mind” with the people that matter most.
  • Social media marketing allows businesses of all sizes to communicate and establish trust with their customers. These sites, like Facebook and Twitter, provide businesses with platforms where they can interact with a community of users and provide valuable resources and information. They also provide a level of real-time interactivity that you won’t find anywhere else. Use these sites to promote your products, get client feedback, host contests & giveaways, drive traffic to your website, invite clients to your upcoming events, and so on. A small amount of time consistently devoted to social media can result in big dividends in the long run.

The BIG Picture

The most important thing to remember with online marketing is to make sure that all of your marketing efforts are cohesive and work together. There must be continuity on what your customers see and read in your email newsletters, your social media sites, and your website, if you want your message to have a lasting effect. Take advantage of multiple online marketing tools to ensure your message is constantly being delivered through various channels.

Aim to create a continuous and engaging journey for your customers through your marketing — from awareness, to purchase, to loyalty. The power of the Internet makes this easier than is was 15 years ago, but it doesn’t mean you can fly by the seat of your pants. You’ll want to evaluate your business and select the best online marketing pieces for your business. Then, establish clear and measurable goals for your marketing efforts and decide how you will track your success. If you’re working with a marketing solution provider, communicate your goals to them and ask which marketing tools can help best help you achieve them.

At Evolved Office, we believe that by providing dealers and vendors with industry-specific, content-based marketing tools they will be better positioned to focus on their core business functions. But whether you decide to work with an experienced marketing provider, or use the tips outlined in this article to give it a try on your own, the most important thing is to get started & leverage the power of digital marketing to boost your business and your bottom line.

 




About the Author: Kendall Tucker, Evolved Office


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