ore we start tackling about Digital Marketing in the UK, allow us to differentiate Digital from Traditional Marketing. This way we can trace back the roots of Digital Marketing and how it was able to dominate the modern world right now.
Traditional vs Digital Marketing
As what they always say, one improvement could never be done without a predecessor who took all the firsts and passed on all that is good to its successor while harboring most of the bad. Traditional marketing truly paved a path to its successor, digital marketing, to do all that it cannot do while basing on what it usually do.
Traditional marketing is any method used by businesses to promote, advertise and gain more patrons via prints, broadcast, direct mail, and telemarketing. Despite being the first to exist and was able to help a lot of businesses to increase their profits, time is running out for this old school method.
Few of the reasons why traditional marketing is slowly getting out of the scene is because of it slow results, limited market area and the media used are kind of expensive. By using prints alone, one business could not fully engage with its customers. And due to its price, the content is limited. Despite this, one good side of using prints is that customers have a tangible material that they could look up to. To broadcast one’s business is another method that is costly but can easily reach the local patrons. Choosing direct mailing and telemarketing, however, requires more people to do the job and the time to market one’s business is quite long.
With digital marketing, all traditional marketing’s downfalls were eradicated and addressed. As we continuously embrace change, the value of traditional marketing and its impact on the world became lesser and lesser each passing day. To prove this, a traditional vs digital time spent survey conducted last 2016 showed the average interaction time in minutes of people, all over the United States, in utilizing traditional media against the digital media. The survey showed how little the time is spent in digital media against the traditional media during 2011 yet the projection suggests that everything will take a detour when 2018 is over.
The value of Digital Marketing
In today’s ever-changing technological advancement, various businesses are involving themselves in the trend to harbor more leads, increase their brand’s awareness and improve customer relationships by doing digital marketing. With this, they can create a more visible stand on the market they are currently in and even try to reach other leads beyond their zones to gain more possibility for an increase in both profit and revenue.
Digital marketing is a technique used by businesses to avail themselves of the benefits the web can give them. It simply refers to the efforts of companies, businesses, and institutions to advertise via digital channels such as the search engine, social media hubs, websites, emails and newsletters and mobile applications.
Businesses chose to spend on ads or digital marketing for various reasons. In a survey conducted last 2016, the total expenditure of the UK alone in ads spending amounted to 3.7% across different media with the mobile internet subcategory for means of digital marketing topping at 45.4%. These numbers mean to show the relevance of digital marketing in one of the market giants.
How it came to dominate the world
The ever fast changing pace in the digital arena accounts all, be it individuals, organizations, and businesses, to be brutally ready when a new advancement is developed. Often times, digital marketers are the most bruised in this unceasing truth.
2016 and 2017 was a year of breakthrough in the digital marketing world. There is a visible truth of how people are getting more and more interested in engaging to the online portals.
The online mobile platform is taking the competition for digital marketers to a higher level. Last 2017, a survey on mobile phone internet user penetration shows that 61.2% of people all over the world that currently owns a smartphone and this is even projected to increase to 63.4% when 2019 hits.
Another review done by Matt Lawson, Director of Marketing at Google showed how mobile phones became a new store and online product guru for consumers before heading out to go and buy the said product. Thus it is only logical and wise for businesses to focus on dominating their stand on the most common mean of reaching out to their current and potential customers, which is the mobile phone or devices in general.
In 2017 for example, live streaming offered by the different social media hubs offered their patrons another means to engage on their social media lives. While the hype is still up and the fire is still burning, live streaming is still believed to be alive for the next few years to come. What live streaming could do for businesses is to create transparency and build a more organic connection to their customers. This is truly one of the breakthroughs the digital marketing could embrace to increase a more positive customer experience.
The state of Digital Marketing in the UK
While expenditures in digital marketing efforts have been increasing for other market giants, the UK ad market has been in a somewhat different state.
Mobile advertising expenditure is accounted one in every 4 pounds spent during the third quarter last year and is expected to continuously hit a 30.7% growth each year and for the following years to come as projected by the latest report done by the Advertising Association and WARC.
The digital marketing expenditure cost percentage in the UK during 2017 was a big 32.6% but is expected to deviate to 20.7% in 2018. Upon surpassing the £5bn mark in 2017, mobile ad expenditure was seen to have been more focused on video and social media which is what was expected to hit the top of the list of digital marketing techniques.
Despite a positive quarter last year which officially became the 17th consecutive digital ad market growth in UK, growth is still expected to slow in 2018 by 2.7% with an expected spending of £22.1bn still – which is still a big enough investment.
A few of the reasons why there is a downhill for ad expenditures in the UK is due to some big companies, such as Procter & Gamble, drawing out funds for digital marketing. Admitting that they have not seen any positive outcomes for such spending, they decided to cut the funds and is not rushing to engage again anytime soon. “Clearly, we don’t need to be spending money that is seen by a bot and not a person. Clearly we don’t need to be spending money on ads that are placed in inappropriate places, and that’s why you see a significant reduction.”
Another controversy surrounding the digital marketing sector in the UK is the Brexit, which is a shorthand notation for “Britain” and “Exit”. Brexit was born when the majority of the people in the UK voted to allow UK to leave the European Union. This decision made a huge toll on the economy of the UK affecting quite a number of businesses. Nonetheless, countless of reasons still exist allowing the digital to continuously strive and drive for growth over the market of the UK.
Current Digital Marketing techniques in the UK
Despite the recent talks about Brexit, businesses are still engaging in digital marketing techniques to keep up with the technological hype and UK is no different.
Hitting the top of the list of the best and most effective digital marketing strategy includes content marketing, search marketing, social media marketing, marketing automation and other lead generation strategy. What all of these strategies aim is to help increase profit, revenue and brand awareness.
While in most numbers social media marketing via video is topping the list of the most preferred digital marketing techniques all over the world, another technique was found to be profoundly used as well over UK since 2013, which is content marketing.
In a survey conducted on most effective digital marketing techniques, it was expected that content marketing will hit its peak this year according to marketers worldwide. While on another survey on content marketing conducted last 2013, content marketing gained most of UK’s preferred marketing technique. This means to show that customers and clients are now getting hooked up with businesses who offer well-written contents on their websites as a digital marketing strategy. There is indeed true power in words.
Allow us to discuss how these digital marketing strategies and other strategies differ from one another to help you decide which strategy suits your needs.
#1 Content Marketing
Content marketing is described by Forbes as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” Various businesses, from small to big businesses, are utilizing this digital marketing technique.In 2017, a survey on content marketing strategy in the United Kingdom shows that as much as 38% of marketers in UK alone are reported to have been using this digital marketing technique and is believed to be the most effective digital marketing technique to be used in 2018 according to worldwide marketers.
#2 Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a strategy used by businesses to gain more attention and leads by using the different social media platforms. This is a timely strategy in this generation due to the increased usage of mobile devices and a great number of people engaging and creating accounts from one social media platform to another.
In a recent study, marketers are spending an average of 16-20 hours per week doing social media marketing. While on another study showcasing the benefits of social media marketing in businesses, 69% of the respondents which are all marketers stated that they have gained a number of loyal patrons by doing social media marketing alone.
#3 Marketing Automation
Marketing automation involves the use of software and platform to do automated marketing and automate repetitive tasks. This includes, but not limited to, sending emails, social media posting, and other digital marketing actions. The main goal is to generate more while lessening the tasks done by marketers to focus more on what truly matters, which is to gain more and more profit.
Marketing automation can be used predominantly for campaign efforts. For example, instead of allotting people to send emails in a timely manner, it can now be automated and thus allowing that employee to focus on another job which requires more human engagement. This is one digital marketing strategy that can save both your time and effort.
#4 Search Marketing
Search marketing, or otherwise known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM), is another digital marketing technique that makes use of the web’s search engines. This strategy can be both done via unpaid and paid efforts.
Unpaid SEM includes the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technique which is a mean of manipulating search engine results by making use of SEO keywords. While SEM, when done via paid efforts, includes Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing. This involves the showing of ads in the results and utilizing a few keywords to gain potential leads’ attention. And when the potential lead clicks the ad, payment is sent to the advertiser by the business customer.
#5 Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is described by MOZ as “the systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take the desired action — be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise.” CRO is like another stimulus to transform potential leads into business partners.
This digital marketing strategy is a part of a lead generation strategy that is focused on increasing businesses’ market prospects. Aside from targeting leads of the same interest, this strategy can even grab others’ attention and motivate them to try the business themselves.
How websites and contents changed the game
As we tackled above, the content writing was considered to be one of the most chosen platforms by businesses in the UK. But writing good content is not enough to gain more leads. Aside from adding landing pages on websites to do the job, having a well-designed and performing website is the key to get your business growing.
Website design service in the UK has become a great source of investment for most businesses, small or large scale. Last 2015, a total of 30% of ecommerce traffic came from mobile devices. With this, businesses engaged in developing their websites where all their customers worldwide can easily access. Just in 2015, 52% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have created mobile-optimized websites over Europe.
There are currently a great number of agencies offering website design services businesses in the UK which has an average revenue of $5 million. Having such great profit from UK businesses, there is indeed no doubt that UK businesses take pride in using digital marketing techniques to leverage gains and outcomes.
The application of Digital Marketing all over the UK
The main reason for the application of Digital Marketing all over the UK is caused by the increasing number of people going into mobile devices. Not just in the UK but all over the world, mobile devices are dominating the scene.
In a study, it was forecasted that the digital advertising revenue in the UK by mobile is expected to be higher than PC. With an estimate of 10.353 billion U.S. dollars of revenue, mobile ousted PC which only has expected revenue of 7.15 billion U.S. dollars. This means to show that the usage of digital marketing in the UK is rampant and timely.
How businesses in the UK make use of Digital Marketing
The audience is the most important variable in doing marketing. To get one’s business going, on should get to know their customers then start the marketing play.
A market, as defined by Investopedia, “is a medium that allows buyers and sellers of a specific good or service to interact in order to facilitate an exchange.” Basically, it is the place where businesses gather, be it small or big businesses, and buyers.
Despite having a greater and wider range of audience, big businesses still invest in marketing. With a recorded 5.7 million private sector businesses last 2017 in the UK, only a small number of it are big businesses. By this fact, many might believe that they do not need to do any marketing activities at all. But as what they always say, just because you are currently on the top does not mean you will continue to do so. Thus no matter how big they are currently now, they will still invest and play the marketing game but just on a totally different level.
SMEs on the other hand, play the game of digital marketing well. Thus it is considered to be Digital Marketing’s most loyal patron. By being the 99.9% of the private sector businesses in the UK and having a much tighter budget for marketing than big businesses, most SMEs’ success is being laid on how they play the game of digital marketing well.
How big businesses and SMEs play differently
However we look at it, there is a huge difference between big businesses and SMEs. The size itself is one factor, but there is a lot more and deeper reason why both businesses do marketing differently.
First difference involves the allotted budget. When one closes a deal with some big company, it gives great fortune but requires one too to successfully land it. Therefore, when big businesses play marketing, they spend a lot more and they spend it too on big ad companies. SMEs, however, have a tighter budget yet they know where to invest by understanding their market more and how they can manipulate a few before heading and hitting it big.
Second is the difference in the market. Because SMEs cater a smaller audience, they have the upper hand in terms of customer service. They can be more intimate and nurture their patrons well to be able to keep them for a long business plan.
Third is the creative difference. While big businesses spend millions in one ad, SMEs can only spend a few hundred bucks to get the awareness they desire. Both might still use creativeness but the way it is to be used is totally different. SMEs desire to get their money’s worth as fast as they could so the means to do it has to match the speed as well, which is why they tend to lean on digital marketing more.
Digital Marketing offers the fast pace and timely marketing solution SMEs desire. By being able to match the world’s current trends, SMEs can be versatile in letting the world know about their products and services which in turn increases the chances of luring more leads.
Why SMEs adapt well to digital marketing
SMEs are truly ahead of other businesses with the use of digital marketing. Since SMEs are local in terms of area catered, SMEs can manipulate their digital marketing techniques by using location-specific keywords that will lead their business leads to their online portals such as their website.
SMEs are usually known for their specific products and services. This again can be used to their advantage since digital marketing can be made easier with specific products rather than collective and whole. Digital marketing is found to be more effective when it is targeted to focus on marketing a single category product, but that does not mean that it cannot be implemented with big businesses. To cater big businesses, a more advanced formula will be needed to fully make use of the capabilities of digital marketing and get the same or more outstanding results.
Due to its defined customers and patrons, SMEs can find ways through their digital marketing techniques to become more personal and intimate when dealing with their customers. SMEs have a greater tendency to create a more user-oriented website with the use of automated analytics. Due to their smaller client base, the automatic analysis of what leads need from you via your website can be precisely understood and carried out.
The future of SMEs in the UK with Digital Marketing
When 2017 first started, it was found out through a survey that 77% of SMEs are making use of digital marketing specifically engaging in social sites and apps for marketing. In the UK alone, more than a quarter of the total population is engaging in social media making this platform a good area to implement some digital marketing techniques. Facebook accounts the most number of users in the UK followed by Instagram then Snapshot. With this alone, the social media portal creates more opportunities for SMEs to go in to and present their business via digital marketing. Since social media utilizes the digital portal, there is nothing more fitting than making use of digital marketing techniques as well. On a recent study conducted on Content Marketing in the United Kingdom this year, about 39% of the total respondents including various types of businesses in the UK have said that they are already on the mature state of their content marketing strategy, 26% are in the adolescent state and 34% are currently on the early state. These numbers promise a good future for content marketing as a strategy to be used by SMEs in the UK. Any time soon, we will not be stunned when content marketing dominates the marketing world in the UK.
Another but a more advanced strategy the digital world could offer to SMEs in the UK, where they can truly benefit from, is the video marketing or live streaming. This strategy feeds the desire of today’s generation for having real-time outputs of events and activities. While this might not be new for other media and businesses, incorporating this strategy as a digital marketing technique can address current issues the world of digital marketing is currently facing right now.
Lastly, for the coming year, it was foretold that a more advanced technology will be introduced that can bridge the gap between data science and execution. This can help alleviate the current lapses of converting lead into potential business partners. This technique is called the Artificial Intelligence (AI) marketing. Only a few things about this strategy are currently known, but SMEs in the UK can fully make use of this in the following years to come.