The Shocking Truth About Digital Marketing

study by Smart Insights (membership required) shows that 4 in 10 businesses don’t have a “defined” digital marketing strategy. What’s more, CNBC reported that “billions of digital marketing dollars are being wasted as online adverts miss their intended targets.”

Without a digital marketing strategy, businesses may experience everything from incorrect marketing channels and budget allocations to low organic rankings, website engagement, ROI and quality leads.

Unfortunately, since many companies don’t know where to start, they are led down a rabbit hole of online marketing scams and agencies that do not specialize in internet marketing. As a result, businesses waste valuable time responding to spam emails, irrelevant phone calls and unqualified leads.

Many of the agencies that ensure quick results at low costs neglect to define and execute a digital marketing strategy for their clients. Instead, they simply “sell” anything they can and tell the client how great the results are going to be.

One after another, these agencies execute various online campaigns without knowing the company’s target audience, marketing channels or campaign goals. Their lack of research results in companies spending thousands of dollars and time on ineffective digital marketing campaigns.

When these campaigns fail, businesses return to their old habits of answering spam emails and phone calls from other agencies that promise rapid results at low costs. They continue pouring out money to the next fast talker who promises them unrealistic results.

Once again, no target audience has been identified. The proper digital marketing channels have not been researched or determined, and the company’s goals are undefined. Fortunately, there’s a much better solution for businesses that are looking for digital marketing solutions.

The solution is a well-defined, well-analyzed and well-performed digital marketing strategy that includes researching, understanding and defining a specific target audience. It also requires understanding the company’s marketing goals, competitive landscape, channel performance and budget allocation.

A digital marketing strategy can save companies an enormous amount of time, money and resources because it defines a well-researched and predetermined path. While there are always a few adjustments to be made along the way, it is a road map that takes businesses in the right direction.

A digital marketing strategy will show what marketing channels to invest in based on industry trends. An engineering firm’s ROI may be excellent for SEO but poor in social media. A plastic surgeon’s ROI may be great for PPC but not video ads.

Each industry varies dramatically, and this is where a well-researched and focused digital marketing strategy can determine the best marketing channels, budget allocation for each channel and measurable goals.

With a digital marketing strategy, businesses can experience more quality leads; higher ROI, website engagement and organic rankings; and correct budget allocations and marketing channels.

For continuous online success, businesses need to invest in agencies that provide them with a multichannel digital marketing approach. By doing so, they can save a tremendous amount of time and money.

There are several things to consider when searching for a digital marketing agency, beginning with research. Researching an agency is critical to understanding if and how they can help your business in terms of digital marketing.

Before partnering with an agency, it is in your best interest to ask several questions. Of these, one of the most important is, “Does the agency provide a digital marketing strategy prior to partnership?”

If the agency does provide a digital marketing strategy, this is a great opportunity to determine if they are the right fit for your company.

The digital marketing strategy should include a complete breakdown of a benchmark analysis, competitive analysis, keyword research, budget allocations and case studies. To complete each aspect of the digital marketing strategy, agencies research and analyze not only your business, but your competitors as well. Detailed competitive analyses show which channels are being used by your competitors and which are (or aren’t) providing results.

Once the research is conducted and presented, agencies provide a proposed strategy highlighting what services, campaigns and channels they will use for your business, all within the available budget.

Other questions you should ask an agency include:

• Who are some of your former clients?

• How long has your agency been specializing in digital marketing?

• Will you follow up with me about my digital marketing strategy?

• Will the strategy include competitors?

• Is my strategy confidential?

Finding the best digital marketing agency for your business can be costly, time-consuming and overall stressful. Before you are led down the rabbit hole, conduct your research, and ask questions. Be sure to request an outline of the proposed digital marketing strategy. These three factors can help you determine the right agency for your business and, ultimately, lead to continuous growth.

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Digital marketing and healthcare: 5 Golden Rules

In the healthcare field, content marketing can build user loyalty and improve your company’s positioning over the competition. In this post, we’ll share five tips that marketers can follow to boost their content marketing strategy.

In a previous post, we talked about how the combination of marketing and healthcare in Italy can be a very delicate topic for marketers. On the one hand, health is a personal issue that relies on sensitive and private individual needs that directly affect a person’s dignity and quality of life. On the other hand, industry regulations, although very strict, are not as clear in outlining what can and cannot be discussed without being subject to sanctions.

Over a series of regulations (first the Bersani Decree and then the Budget Law number 145 of 2018), current Italian law has generated confusion among professionals because it distinguishes between “health communication” and “health advertising” without explaining the difference and authorizes healthcare marketing without defining its limits in a way that is easily understood. 

Despite this, healthcare marketing remains an interesting market segment to watch and companies in the sector, public or private, are investing heavily here. While marketing, in general, is important for all industries, it is particularly important for healthcare, especially in terms of how individual habits and the doctor-patient relationship have changed with digital transformation. 

Excuse me Dr. Google…

As techniques and knowledge have evolved over the years, so have patients, who are increasingly inclined to use digital technologies to manage their health.

Research by Tech4Life from Confindustria Medical Devices shows that, thanks to the spread of digital solutions, internet users have consulted the web for health reasons at least once. This is mainly young people: four out of five young people between the ages of 18 and 34 have searched the web for opinions or in-depth studies on health. This habit seems to decrease with age, where only 38% of over-55-year-olds use the internet to learn more about their health. The majority of users, 57% of respondents to be exact, use the internet for self-diagnosis, 54% use it to deepen their knowledge about specific treatments or therapies (54%) and, about 45% use it to learn about new health technologies and devices.

Here is another interesting statistic: 7% of all the searches made daily on Google concern health in some way, where around 70,000 health-related web searches are carried out every minute.

Who’s searching, what are they looking for? 

These numbers are impressive and something that professionals in the field cannot ignore. When dealing with today’s patients, doctors must anticipate that they have already done their own research on the topic, albeit superficial. Therefore, patients will have specific questions and expect equally specific answers.

At the same time, health marketing professionals must be able to see this as an opportunity to intercept these habits and use it effectively. To do so, marketers should cross-reference this data: the large number of searches and the type of searches carried out. From this cross-reference a trend emerges: those who search the internet for “health” do so with the goal of learning more about a topic that is relevant to them, but which they know little about.

Therefore, people are searching for detailed information with the goal of obtaining clear and reliable results. 

However, Google is not always the perfect place to get the right answers. Often, users aren’t able to find what they’re looking for, or worse, they could “find” fake news that provides misleading or wrong information that could lead patients to adopt behaviors that are harmful, even dangerous to their health. 

It is in this context and space that companies, whether public or private, must intervene and implement a marketing strategy that provides individuals with the relevant content they’re looking for.

Healthcare Content Marketing: not the only way, but the best way 

That is why content marketing can be especially effective. A content marketing approach aims at creating and distributing relevant, consistent and valuable distributed content to attract, and entice a certain type of target to take a certain action.  In other words, content marketing is a form of indirect marketing since it does not directly aim to sell a product or service but to inform the customer through relevant content in a way that also enhances the customer’s positive perception of the brand.

In the context of healthcare marketing, this approach is particularly effective as it combines the need for authoritative information with the need for companies to position themselves to build a relationship of trust with users. Of course, this is not the only advantage for companies in implementing a content marketing strategy.

The advantages of content 

A content marketing strategy helps a company create a much more stable and continuous relationship with customers. In a way, you activate the same mechanism that you have when you go to a doctor: patients will return to a doctor who is able to respond to their needs and resolve their issues. The same goes for a healthcare company: the more clear, reliable, and relevant the content it provides, the more often users will return for relevant information.

In other words, healthcare content marketing supports user retention.

Incidentally, and here comes the second benefit, it does so by activating an advantageous circle. Every company is better off retaining its customers-users, since, according to research by Bain & Company, a 5% increase in the retention rate corresponds to a 25% to 95% increase in profits. This is because a loyal customer (but also a patient) tends to return and make more purchases. 

The third advantage of a content marketing strategy for the healthcare sector is precisely this: in the long term, the content produced allows you to generate leads and eventually convert user traffic through CTAs, which can even serve to collect data to do retargeting later.

Another benefit that we cannot underestimate is that health content marketing not only builds user loyalty, it also creates engagement. A content relevant to user-patients, focusing on their needs, involves them much more than a classic functional communication. Feeling directly interested, users will respond, share content, interact with each other, add value to what has been produced, and make it relevant for others.

This contributes to increasing the awareness of the company or brand, which automatically becomes an authoritative reference point for others who have specific needs or requirements. As a direct consequence, the perceived distance between company and user is reduced and a relationship of mutual trust is created, from which both parties can benefit. The patient feels treated as a person and not as a simple communication “target,” and the company is certain to have distinguished itself from other competitors and to have found not just a customer, but a real ambassador.

5 Golden Rules for Digital marketing in the healthcare sector

To achieve the benefits of a healthcare content marketing strategy, there are a series of best practices that marketers can employ to ensure that the approach you adopt provides the expected results. Here, the first golden rule is to get to know and listen to your audience to intercept insights and issues. It does not make sense to publish content that isn’t relevant to your target audience or that is only self-referential because it will certainly and systematically ignored. Instead, provide content tailored to users.

In addition to this, remember to actively listen to your audience.

The issue of health, after all, is sensitive and can trigger reactions and comments that are not always positive, especially on social channels. The worst thing, in these cases, is to pretend not to hear the problem. On the contrary, every complaint can and should be turned into an opportunity to respond quickly in order to resolve the situation.

Listening and properly stimulating your audience is obviously not enough.

Upstream, there must be a much more complex and articulated strategy: here is another best practice to follow. Start by identifying your target audience and get clear on the type of content that best meets their needs. Secondly, set precise macro-objectives for smaller targets and use this as a basis for producing content. In this way, each piece produced and disseminated will have a specific function, consistent with your strategy both in terms of the topics dealt with and the channels activated. In this way, we will move from an ad hoc editorial creation to a cascading content strategy where each element is born as a logical and coherent consequence of a broader set of content.

The third rule to follow when building a healthcare content marketing strategy is to subsequently monitor the results. Without data, it’s impossible to know if your approach is correct or if it needs to be modified. Start from the outset by understanding what you want to measure and identify objectives (for example, conversions, scroll depth, etc.). 

These steps will help you define the type of content you need to produce, and you’ll also want to make sure that all content is SEO optimized. 

While it’s true that users frequently seek healthcare content, it is also true that it is not easy to stand out from the flood of results available online. For this reason, it is necessary to make your content “readable” not only for your users but also and above all for search engines, by carefully selecting a few relevant keywords. The choice is not trivial: it is not enough to use keywords related to the scope of treatment. On the contrary, it is necessary to be able to anticipate patients’ needs and predict what they might search for. Perfect SEO optimization also requires that your web content is continuously updated and fresh. In this way, your pages are more likely to be “noticed” by the search engine; visitors will also notice this and will be more willing to return when they find content of value. 

Finally, make sure you keep an active presence on social networks, participating in those that are most suitable for the audience and the content. 

Being on such platforms doesn’t just mean repurposing your website content on Facebook. In our next post, we’ll go deeper into what it means to be active on social networks. 


4 Easy Steps to Mindful Digital Marketing

In mindful practices like yoga, with every pose, we bring our mind, body, and breath in alignment to stretch out of our comfort zones.

The process of continuous improvement in yoga is rooted in objective introspection rather than a focus on the external.

The focus is on finding purpose, staying positive, building empathy, and expanding perspective.

The same principles can be applied to excel in digital marketing.

1. Finding Purpose

Pratyahara is the process of consciously going inward to focus the mind on self-knowledge rather than the external sensory world.

Pratyahara empowers us to find purpose by aligning with our core values and beliefs rather than external pressures. This principle, when applied to marketing strategy, enables inside-out thinking.

Our most inspiring leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Steve Jobs practiced inside-out thinking.

They led with their sense of purpose. They inspired with the power of their beliefs that in turn challenged us to excel and overcome.

Very often as digital marketers we focus on the what rather than the why.

We focus on the cool features our products and services offer rather than the ultimate value we wish to provide to our customers.

Pratyahara can help facilitate starting with Why to create messages that resonate and compel your audience. It also teaches continuous improvement.

It requires constant self-motivation to stretch our physical bodies, focus our minds, and harmonize the breath.

Similarly, by constantly assessing our strengths and becoming aware of our weaknesses, we will be better positioned to take advantage of new industry trends and find the best channels to connect with our audiences. 

Apple’s Think Different campaign is the best example of purposeful marketing in action.

In the years leading up to the campaign, Apple had lost market share to the Wintel ecosystem which offered lower prices, more software choices, and higher-performance CPUs.

Think Different marked Steve Job’s return to Apple and cemented Apple’s renaissance as a tech superpower.

However, finding brand purpose requires lasting commitment and sustained follow-through.

Nike’s recent Dream Crazy campaign showed us that standing for something, no matter how polarizing, can help boost sales in the short-term but needs to come alive as marketing or product truths for lasting trust and long-term loyalty.

2. Staying Positive

Santosha refers to contentment, acceptance of others, and circumstances as they are in order to overcome or change them.

As marketing managers, we are often at the center of several customer-driven activities. When juggling multiple conversations, it’s easy to get caught up in execution.

Taking the time to visualize the best outcome at the onset can help drive better responses and decisions along the way. This also helps ensure that we handle mistakes with humility and humor.

The recent example of Tesla’s truck botched debut is a great example of humor in action driving viral conversations and subsequently sales.

Staying positive requires constant reflection, flexibility, and resilience but produces lasting dividends. Positive marketing helps build emotional connections with your customers.

Another evergreen example is McDonald’s #Imlovinit24 campaign. In March 2017, after their worst sales in over a decade, McDonald’s launched a new version of their popular “I’m lovin’ it” campaign.

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The original campaign showcased some of the happiest user stories while dining at McDonald’s.

The #Imlovinit24 campaign took this one step further, bringing new and unexpected “moments of joy” to 24 cities all around the world.

It was hugely successful in rebuilding the McDonald’s brand and helping customers associate feelings of joy and trust with McDonald’s.

Staying positive also infuses compassion – from loving ourselves to loving our community.

It helps us practice empathy, as well as understand the world and the landscape in which we operate.

3. Developing Empathy

Karuna is the Sanksrit word for empathy and compassion. Any good marketing strategy is rooted in seamless experiences that speak to customer pain-points and ways to overcome them.

By practicing Karuna, we can effortlessly uncover the unique goals and motivations of our target audience to guide them through the marketing funnel.

We can then determine the most optimal message for each persona or even personalize it down to the individual.

For example, if we find that customers are increasingly searching for ways to stay healthy, we may launch Thanksgiving exclusives focused on lean and low-calorie alternatives.

The best examples of empathetic marketing are LUSH and Home Depot.

LUSH delights its customers by featuring videos with colorful details on its beauty products that have natural and ethically sourced ingredients.

Home Depot delights the ardent DIY-er with world-class customer service and growing body of DIY ideas and inspiration – presenting a human face promotes peace of mind and fosters repeat connections.

4. Expanding Perspective

Pratipaksha Bhavana is an effective technique used to build perspective by aligning to goodness and positive energy.

It starts by seeing the opposite point of view in every situation to find harmony and balance. When we gain perspective, we build humility.

Practicing humility is table stakes as search and social media have made it easier than ever for consumers to observe brands and their messages.

Satya, the Sanksrit word for “truthfulness”, when combined with empathy can elevate our brands to new heights. The same humility and truthfulness can be carried over into our marketing strategy.

For example, before an important launch, we can assess our customer journey from an omnichannel perspective:

  • How good is product selection?
  • How diverse is the showroom experience?
  • What is the quality of social conversations?

Disney is perhaps the best example of omnichannel marketing in action.

Starting with mobile-friendly ticket-booking sites all the way through to wait-optimized mobile apps to help navigate the parks, Disney nails even the tiniest details.

Disney’s innovative marketing experience goes well beyond the parks themselves, with a cohesive and concerted set of memorabilia products and cadence of movies to support constant innovation and fandom through the ages.

The Takeaway

When we embody empathy, humility, and truthfulness at all levels of the organization, from pre-sales, through customer service representatives, all the way to the C-suite, we can truly delight audiences and provide long-term value.

2020 Trends In Digital Marketing

Globally, the amount spent on digital marketing in 2020 is expected to reach $1.3 trillion.

Should you use the same marketing strategy as you have in previous years? A new year brings new marketing trends, and it’s essential you follow them to appeal to consumers and keep up with the competition.

Streaming Video Ad Engagement

Video will continue its reign in 2020. While businesses should still focus on creating engaging video content, it’s essential to create a video ad strategy.

This includes knowing your audience and identifying and presenting your brand image. You must warm up your audience initially, so that they get to know you and your brand before you can ask them to take any action. Then, if your audience targeting is accurate, hopefully they will like you and your message so that they will trust you well enough to act upon your call to action.

Experiment with different video styles, tones and scripts as you segment your audience and videos.

Social Media Influencer Marketing

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Influencers take followers into their daily lives, sharing content about their passions, hobbies, daily activities and even their loved ones, relating to their audience. According to research, 70% of teenagers trust influencers more than celebrities.

Reach out to an influencer that makes sense for your brand. Establish them as affiliates, promoting your products and services on their social media channels.

If you have never partnered with an influencer before, find one that you are comfortable representing your brand. Remember that they are essentially a spokesperson for your company, so what they say and how they act reflects on you. From there, contact them — most influencers have a business email you can reach out to.

Interactive Content

Moving forward, it would be smart to focus on interactive content as opposed to traditional content. The user controls interactive content, controlling the experience and personalizing the content they consume.

There are many examples of interactive content:

Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR): AR and VR are taking over. More industries, from real estate to mobile gaming, are utilizing these tools. You can implement VR and/or AR into your marketing strategy, something Starbucks started experimenting with in 2017.

Shoppable Posts: Shoppable posts allow customers to shop at your store directly from a social media app. Instagram now offers a convenient integration, so businesses can tag their products from an e-commerce platform, such as Shopify.

Polls and Quizzes: People love interaction, especially if you can create a poll or quiz that is fun and speaks to them. It is also a great way to bolster your email list for future campaigns. Create interactive content that’s engaging, shareable and helps your audience remember your brand.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI can help enhance the personalization of your marketing and advertising efforts. Modern marketing methods will be able to collect better customer data and AI will continue improving the way we use that data.

For example, brands can use AI to create better video content. This can help them analyze viewer behaviors and know what videos they want to watch. AI can also help to improve the sales pipeline. Not only will we be able to better market to customers, but we can better predict their next move. This helps improve the customer journey.

Voice Search

Twenty percent of searches conducted on Google are voice searches. With the popularity of smart devices, such as Alexa, this trend will only continue growing. Optimize your content for voice search. Use long-tail keywords that are worded more like phrases. These are phrases people are more likely to speak rather than type.

This includes long-tail search queries for local SEO. Instead of optimizing your content for a term such as “vegan restaurants Chicago,” optimize your content for a long-tail keyword such as, “What are the best vegan restaurants in Chicago?”

Social Media Stories

It’s still essential to have a social media marketing strategy moving forward. However, I’d recommend focusing on social media Stories more than posting.

Stories are a carousel of uploads that last 24 hours. You can include text, images, video and even URLs, depending on the social media platform and how many followers you have.

One major benefit of posting Stories? We’ve found that Stories can better help brands get in front of younger audiences.

Smart Bidding

Google Ads is getting smarter. Google implemented an update called smart bidding.

This optimizes your bids using machine learning. You can set your bids automatically, especially during sales; you have different conversion actions to choose from; and you can use these actions toward different campaigns simultaneously.

Position Zero

What’s position zero on Google? It’s technically not a position at all. Rather, it’s a snippet.

Users will no longer open your content on a Google search unless they really want to read your content. They may not even read your title or meta description.

What they want is to search for something and receive an answer immediately.

This is where the rich snippet comes in. A rich snippet is a part of the content that corresponds to the inquiry and is shown at the top of the search results.

To rank for a snippet, research trending keywords that rank for snippets. Optimize your content for these search terms.

Consumer Privacy

GDPR is moving to the U.S. California is developing a new law, and it’s predicted that all U.S. businesses will have to comply with consumer data privacy.

Comply with consumer protection standards and inform your customers about their rights. This is more of a marketing benefit than you realize, and your customers will appreciate the data disclaimer. The data privacy disclaimer can develop more trust between you and your customers. It may even cause customers to switch to your brand, away from competitors.

In summation, keeping your brand hip while also finding the best ways to reach your audience should be your main goal in 2020. These tips can help get you where you need to be moving forward.


Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing [Infographic]

A top-notch marketing plan is one of the most important methods for businesses interested in reaching a large audience and growing the bottom-line. Bigger companies spend well into the thousands, some even millions, to reach their target audience in order to convert them into paying customers.

However, most small to mid-sized businesses don’t have unlimited resources to dump into marketing. Requiring an educated decision on how to market. Some businesses do very well with traditional marketing strategies and ignore digital marketing completely. Some businesses find that digital marketing works best for their business.

Deciding the best marketing plan requires a bit of understand of each and how each strategies work, and how they can work together.

Digital Marketing Defined

The promotion of products or brands via one or more forms of electronic media. For example, advertising mediums that might be used as part of the digital marketing strategy of a business could include promotional efforts made via the Internet, social media, mobile phones and electronic billboards. (Business Dictionary)

Digital Marketing Makes Sense (and Cents!)

The majority of people today are spending most of their time online. Connecting with consumers via Social Media, Blogging, Email, just makes sense. Digital marketing allows consumers to find you, thus the more online exposure and visibility your business has the better.

Digital Marketing is also relatively easy and inexpensive to use. Most online sites are free to use, and paid methods can provide great exposure for a small budget.

Traditional Marketing Defined

Traditional Marketing refers to a kind of promotion, advertisement in which companies used this method in the early period to market their product. This Marketing includes print advertisements, billboards, flyers or pamphlets, TV, newspaper, radio, etc. (QuoraIn addition to direct mail postcards, brochures, fliers sent through the postal mail. (Marketing Schools)RECOMMENDED FOR YOUWebcast, November 27th: Why Podcasting is the Ultimate ABM Strategy

Traditional Marketing Has Its DrawbacksTraditional marketing provides very little interaction with your audience and can be very costly.

Traditional marketing does allow you to broadcast a message to a targeted audience (mailers by zip code, print publications by industry or interest, etc.) However, it is more of a one-and-done, where it is only seen while people are viewing that publication or reading their mail before tossing it into the recycling bin. Many experts think traditional marketing high risk and low reward.

What Should You Do?

If your business isn’t using digital media for marketing, it’s time to start marketing in 2019! However, don’t give up on traditional marketing efforts if they work and you have the budget. A good marketing plan will coordinate your online and offline efforts, using both digital and traditional media to get your business the exposure it needs to succeed.


Image showing differences between digital marketing and traditional marketing