For effective digital marketing, understand your own market well

Preeti Nirwal is a Vancouver-based Product Manager with a large cloud-solutions company. As a Product Manager, she plays an important role in formulating and overseeing execution of multi-channel digital marketing strategies for creating brand awareness as well as customer acquisition. Recently, NetMarketer asked her for her views on various facets of online marketing based on her own experience. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.

Your take on a multi-channel online marketing strategy: what works and what doesn’t?
[Preeti Nirwal]: For online marketing to be successful for you, it’s important to spend time and figure out which mediums and channels are the most effective for your business. Each medium has it’s unique characteristics and reach, and they work differently for different markets/target audiences. It is probably a cliché, but it is an important one- you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing. Test each channel to see which is right for your business.

How do you go about deciding on online marketing channel over another?

[PN]: A good place to start is to see where your competitors spend their efforts. Most businesses will implement a variety of mediums in order to reach the maximum amount of consumers. This diversification also helps in building brand equity. You should spend time understanding your target audience, who you are trying to sell to, and how they make purchasing decisions. Ultimately it’s all about connecting with your target audience.

What is a common mistake that marketers make?

[PN]: It’s extremely crucial to really understand the product/service you are marketing. I have seen a number of marketing teams that just don’t understand what they are marketing. When such a disconnect occurs, sales will surely suffer.

Could you share some key lessons learnt regarding the various marketing channels you have used?
[PN]:Sure. With pay-per-click search advertising, it is imperative to test keywords, multiple ad creative and landing pages to determine the highest conversion rate. Keyword selection is particularly important as too broad or generic keywords could result in an unprofitable drain on advertising budget. Similarly, check the effectiveness of the ad copy and whether the message is consistent with what is offered on the landing page. A creative may result in a high click through rate, but if the message is not in sync with the landing page, the clicks become unproductive.

E-mail messages are great for promoting / up selling products and services to an existing customer or opt-in prospect base. Ensure that you provide something of value, such as new features or how-to tips to this audience, each time you communicate. Keep the messages simple and have a clear call to action. Avoid multiple calls to action as people tend to get confused and often end up taking no action.

Social media is about what’s happening right now and is the closest you can get to your audience. I say close because you instantly create a mutual ‘public link’ between you and the audience. Be sincere and genuine; if your posts are inaccurate or ignorant you will be called out.

What is your recipe for getting the marketing message across to the audience?
[PN]: Pay very close attention to messaging- a lot of attention. Each word that you use to describe your product/service should be carefully selected. Remember that your target audience will have a short attention span, so you want to use relevant, concise language that will capture their attention. Keep your message clean and simple.

How do you gauge the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and different channels?

[PN]: Have clear end-goals and metrics for each medium you use. Metrics need to be set in order to measure the success of your online marketing campaigns. For example, in some campaigns the goal could be the number of impressions that your message gets, while for several others it may be critical to monitor and track conversion rates. Either way, continuously analyse results and optimize campaigns as needed.

What’s your advice to aspiring and up-and-coming digital marketers?
[PN]: Keep up to date with the latest trends and shifts in online marketing tactics. New channels grow in popularity fairly quickly, so be in tune with the trends to stay ahead of your competition. Explore, experiment, evaluate and execute new options. Ultimately, online marketing is about building trust, understanding your consumer and their preferences, and connecting with them.