THE BEST DIGITAL MARKETING TOOLS FOR MAKERS
Digital Marketing (DM), also called Internet Marketing or Web Marketing has been around since the 1990s. It has become a hot topic in the handmade industry in the last few years. Over time, the definition of digital marketing has evolved. Today DM is described as:
“The marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers.” (Financial Times Lexicon)
Some makers are apprehensive about digital marketing. People stay away from what they don’t know or don’t understand. On the other hand, some exploring will quickly demonstrate that DM is not rocket science. It can be learned and applied effectively as long as makers build it on a sound overall marketing strategy.
Despite misconceptions, DM alone is not the be all and end all of promoting an artisan business. It is only one element of an artisan’s promotion toolbox. The other four are
· Personal Selling
· Public Relations
· Sales Promotion
DM has 8 main elements:
· Content Marketing
· Online Advertising
· Social Media
· Online Influencer collaboration
· Search Engine Optimization
As a small business owner you should make DM part of your overall promotion strategy. Direct Marketing may not have an immediate impact on revenue and profits. Still, DM will help you connect with a larger consumer base, provide better customer service, build more precise customer profiles and support your branding.
You can begin with DM any time after you have built and written down your business strategy. Then you can create a specific DM plan as a component of your overall business plan.
The next step focuses on identifying people who are buying your creations, or products similar to yours, or who clearly express a desire to do so. Without a customer profile, you can’t build your digital marketing. To clarify, this is not about who you want to buy your creations.
From there you should determine where in the digital world your customers hang out. Don’t worry about some generalizations often made about where and how people spend their online time. People say that Facebook is for 18 – 45-year-olds, women favour Pinterest and Instagram is the channel of choice for millenials.
On the other hand, over 20% of North American Facebook users are over 55 yrs old. That amounts to a consumer pool of millions of people older than 55; plenty to build your business. About 80% of Pinterest users actually are female. That means some 40,000,000 consumers that use the channel are male. Where your potential customers may or may not hang out does not matter much, as long as you find them.
Among the many elements of DM, makers should consider online advertising, select social media and e-mail first. Google and Facebook have simplified building on-line advertising campaigns and made them very affordable. Both also provide good tools to monitor your effort. Keep in mind, however, that the number of “likes”, “views” or “eyeballs reached” is not revenue. You can’t take them to the bank or buy pizza with them. The metric that really counts is sales.
Within the social media tool kit, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are a maker’s best initial choice. All of them are excellent for showing the world your products. Facebook is a versatile, multifunctional combination that provides both a visual experience and text-based communication. Pinterest and Instagram are great channels for sharing images of your work, but less effective for person-to-person or person-to-group exchanges.
The downside of Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest is that your marketing efforts are subject to algorithms. These formulas control the ordering and presentation of content. In other words, they dictate who sees what when and how many times.
E-mail puts you in control. With e-mail, you are able to ensure that all your content reaches all the intended recipients. It’s your show and does not belong to the social media platforms.
Whether you use social media marketing or not, e-mail should be part of your toolbox. Most experts agree that this is the digital marketing tool with the best return on your investment of time and money. Data published by digital advertising guru Neil Patel suggests that for each $1 invested into e-mail marketing a business can get back $40 in revenue.
To put this into perspective, the overall return on investment (ROI) for digital marketing is $2 - $6 for every dollar spent. Related to that, according to global research agency Millward Brown e-mail is also the digital channel for which one can measure ROI most easily. Therefore, you will have a clear view of your results and can adjust your tactics as needed.
In summary, DM is very doable for makers. No need to hesitate. DM can contribute to your business success. For that to happen, makers should identify their target customers, set relevant goals for their digital marketing campaign and measure their progress against these goals.
“Authenticity, honesty, and personal voice underlie much of what’s successful on the Web.”
Rick Levine – Co-Author of The Cluetrain Manifesto