The Founder and CEO of WSI-eMarketing recently visited Estonia to give a talk about digital marketing and attend a book signing in Tallinn, whilst there Rob Thomas shared some insights with the gathered audience and sat for an interview. The interview was written up in Estonian, the original can be found here, this article will summarise that interview and the video of the talk at the book signing which will be posted within the coming weeks.

How does Digital Marketing compare to traditional marketing?

When we talk about Digital Marketing we like to split the traditional buying process into 3 distinct stages.

Awareness – You are aware you have an issue, but maybe you don’t know what the specific problem is, here you are simply gathering information.

Consideration – Now you know what your problem is and you are looking for specific solutions, you are looking for tailored and targeted information to help you solve your problem.

Decision – You know the options available to you and now you are trying to decide which solution/product/company to go with.

Digital Marketing gives us some really unique tools and the ability to meet customer needs as never before. The perfect piece of Marketing, the holy grail so to speak, is to provide the perfect bit of information at the perfect time that situates your product or service as the best solution to a problem. Trying to do that in Print or via a Radio Ad is next to impossible, it’s still very difficult with all the techniques and tools available to us digitally, but we can get closer to that goal than ever before.

The next advantage Digital Marketing has is that it’s measurable. There is a saying anyone in Marketing or Advertising will be familiar with.

‘I know half of my advertising is working, I just don’t know which half’

When it comes to digital you can measure everything, attribute ever Euro spent and accurately determine ROI. Using pieces of code and unique tracking numbers you can know exactly which add a customer clicked, which emails they opened and even track every page they click on your website. In this way every customer is in effect part of your own focus group, you can see in real time what is working and what isn’t.

Is there a way to know how much your company should be spending on Marketing?

The answer to this question depends on a few key factors. First and foremost you have to consider what ‘stage’ your company is in. Start-Ups for instance regularly spend 60-90% of their turnover on Marketing. If those sound like crazy numbers you have to remember that the best product in the world can’t be a success if no-one knows about it. Building momentum can be the biggest challenge for a Start-Up and inability to market themselves is one of the biggest killers of new businesses.

With that said if you’re a company that’s been around for 20 years and you have a solid customer base you might only need to dedicate 1-2% of your turnover to Marketing. The average spend hovers around 10-11% turnover but also depends heavily on your business area, growth goals and other such issues. To help clarify where your marketing budget should be you can ask yourself these simple questions.

‘If I’m spending this much on Marketing, why am I spending it?’

‘If I’m not spending much on Marketing, why not?’

If you can answer both reasonably well you’ll be halfway to the basis of your Marketing Plan!

Can Digital Marketing lead to better Sales & Marketing integration?

Integration between Sales and Marketing teams has been a problem for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately they often naturally form adversarial relationships. Luckily Digital Marketing has helped to ease these tensions in a number of ways.

First and foremost through the use of CRM systems and Marketing Automation we know have more information on our prospects available than ever. These same systems allow for much better attribution for both Sales and Marketing. You can easily have a record of everything interaction the prospect has had with both Sales and Marketing making it far easier to pass on high quality leads. With measurement and attribution being so much easier along with allowing for feedback loops and lead nurturing there should never be a cold lead passed on. Equally Sales can’t just claim the lead was not good enough, if a lead isn’t closed they can be passed back for more nurturing.

Marketing Automation Estonia

Marketing Automation platforms also allow for dynamic Lead Scoring, every action a lead takes that you can measure can be given a unique score. Over time this score will accrue and once a lead reaches a critical point, a ‘High Score’ they are automatically flagged as ready to be passed to sales.

What Digital Marketing methods should all businesses be using?

When it comes to Digital Marketing you can’t just take a ‘cookie cutter’ approach. Depending on your target customers, your product and your business size a variety of different methods may be best suited to your goals.

With that said there are some key things that you must be doing correctly to avoid hurting your brand.

First and foremost ensure you always ‘fishing in the right ponds.’ Ideally you should have Buyer Personas well defined and be able to use these to find out where you should be looking for new customers. Spending time and effort looking for new customers in the wrong places is not only a waste of your budget but can also bring in the wrong type of customer that will only cost you money in the long run.

Your website and email communication must be mobile friendly! The majority of email is now first opened on a mobile device and the amount of time spent browsing on mobile devices is set to exceed that of computers in the next year or two. A simple rule of thumb to remember is that if it looks good on a mobile device then it will be fine on a computer, but the same isn’t true the other way around!

Estonia Mobile Responsive Web Design

Manage your digital presence pro-actively. This takes two forms, one is claiming all the space you can via techniques like SEO, make sure people looking for you can find you. The other is pro-actively managing your reputation. Trying to damage control if someone leaves negative feedback is infinitely easier if you already have a heap of positive feedback. If you wait until you feel you need positive feedback for some reason you’ve already left it too late.

Is Digital Marketing something a small business owner can conceivably do on their own?

Definitely, learning the basics of SEO, PPC, Email Marketing and lots of other techniques is something almost anyone can do. Whether you need the help of an expert or agency depends on your goals, your budget and those sort of factors.

Whilst it’s easy to ‘do Digital Marketing’ to some extent it takes a lot of work to be really good at it, just like anything in life! For a small business owner or employee I’d always advise to start small and with things that don’t take much capital investment. Starting your own blog to learn about SEO in a hands on fashion and add value to your business is one example. Email Marketing is another channel that you can start with quite cheaply and is forgiving.

When you might think about bringing in some outside help is if you have a specific goal in mind, you can’t make something work for you or you’ve got to a certain point and don’t have the expertise to progress to the next level.

A final note on DIY Digital Marketing is to remember that once something is on the internet it’s there forever essentially. Mistakes you make whilst learning can come back to haunt you, for instance getting your domain blacklisted as spam because you weren’t using an Email Marketing client.

Digital Minds: 12 Things Every Business Needs to Know About Digital Marketing

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