Updated: Jun 21, 2021
At M&C Communications, we believe public relations and marketing are two sides of the same coin. We're revisiting a Move the Stairs podcast where our team of strategists welcomes Tatiana McDaniel, a career digital marketer and CMO for women's wellness company Happy V to a roundtable discussion about digital marketing and how it can be powerfully integrated with your current PR plan.
For an in-depth look at the conversation, you'll find a link to our YouTube Channel at the bottom of this blog.
What is digital marketing and how can you use it to grow your brand with your PR plan?
According to digitalmarketer.com, digital marketing is defined as the act of promoting and selling products and services by leveraging online marketing tactics such as social media marketing, search marketing, and email marketing.
If you have a B-to-C business, like CBD companies, or B-to-B business, like M&C, 2020 has given us an opportunity to pivot traditional PR plans to include digital marketing.
Why? On average, people spend nearly 2 1/2 hours on social media platforms, per day! Furthermore, Facebook remains the platform social media users scroll the most, with the average person spending 38 minutes per day. Facebook's 2 billion daily users continue to outpace rival social media sites as well.
By using digital marketing to place ads or place your content in front of some of those 2 billion sets of eyes can generate potential leads for your product or service.
During the shutdown and subsequent slowdown of the pandemic, our team of strategists stayed busy, polishing skills in the digital marketing realm to further reach potential clients and enhance what we offer our clients.
One of the most important things any business can do to keep their brand top of mind is to use their social media platforms. A robust, organized, and branded social media strategy will elevate your product or service.
If you're having a difficult time figuring out what you should be posting on social media, start with your website metrics. What pages are people visiting? How can you take that content and package it into a social media campaign?
For example, CBD companies can use their product pages but also informational and educational pages on their websites for a social media campaign. If your business is active in charity, that's social media gold!
Don't reinvent the wheel. Use the content your business already has (in PR speak this is called owned media) and turn it into a social media campaign. Put together your monthly content map and get posting! The key to social media sites continuing to display your page (without you spending money) is to post at least once per day.
Digital marketing strategies for beginners
Tatiana McDaniel shared her top strategies for brands looking to break into digital marketing during today's Move the Stairs Friday Chat. They are outlined below and begin at 26' in the video.
Be willing to learn: While the fundamentals of marketing and advertising may not have changed, the delivery methods to reach your customers have. Be ready to adapt.
Understand your audience: Who are you talking to? Put on their hat and understand who they are as a customer
Following up on Tatiana's suggestions, an article published by Hemp Industry Daily suggests that Boomers are the next emerging market for CBD users. If that demographic is your target audience, it's important to make sure that you're speaking to them in your digital marketing strategy. Do they live on Tik-Tok? Probably not. But Facebook? Absolutely! So your creative and copy on Facebook should be different than Tik-Tok to most effectively speak to your two different audiences.
Strategies to keep your digital marketing from getting stale
2020 has been devastating for small businesses. According to Forbes, 62% experienced a decrease in revenue directly related to COVID-19 this past spring and summer. At the same time, internet usage jumped 50-70%.
Your target audience is likely spending more time online than at any other point in their life. What can you do to make your brand stand out? Outside of digital marketing consider the best practices below to help grow your brand:
SEO: Research how you can make your business rank on search engines. Disclaimer: this will take a chunk of your time and it's worth bringing in a professional
Website facelift: If you have downtime because business is slowing down, this is a great opportunity to work on your website. If you have a host like Wix or WordPress, there are limitless customizations you can make for you site to useful and attractive to visitors.
Content creation: M&C handles PR with the PESO model (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned media.) Use the slowdown to make content that's relevant for your audience and then use the platforms available to you to deliver it online.
When you're looking at ways to engage with your audience using digital marketing keep in mind:
Don't just sell: Read the room. If people are losing their jobs by thousands, the last thing they want is to see a bombardment of sale ads from your brand.
Use email marketing: This method is cheap, efficient, and effective. Connecting with your audience via email using a newsletter or just a simple email check-in can help grow brand loyalty and a general appreciation of your business. It shows you care because you've done customer outreach that didn't include a cheesy sales pitch.
Utilize your social media: We outlined this above but your social media platforms will always be the cheapest and most effective way to reach your target audience. Post often with a purpose.
We did this for a client during the initial wave of closures from COVID. They were considered a non-essential business and because we followed trends unfolding around the country, we knew they were likely going to have to shut down for a period of time. In preparation, we devised a strategic social media campaign to keep their customers engaged with them online by sharing meaningful and engaging content. Their competitors remained dormant online. Did this generate any revenue? No. However, it did bring a bit of normalcy and comradery to the lives of so many of their customers impacted by COVID-19, which people needed at that time.