We are officially in the digital age. Everyone and everything is attached to a screen and, for marketers, advertising through that screen is fast becoming the only way to grab consumer attention.
While the concept of digital advertising isn’t uncommon to the majority of us, influencer advertising is still alien to some; though this is quickly changing. While both marketing methods share a common goal – to promote products or services to new consumers – their implementation into your marketing strategy differs depending on your brand’s size, goals and values.
So the question to marketers is this:
What is influencer marketing, how does it differ from digital marketing and how do you decide which is best for your brand’s strategy?
Influencer Marketing 101
Taking the traditional concept of celebrity endorsement and putting a modern twist on it, influencer marketing is all about influencing a consumer’s purchase decision. But how exactly is this done? Simply put, by tapping into current consumer behaviour.
70% of people trust a product review from a complete stranger than from a brand itself. Now replace that stranger with a favoured online personality. The likelihood of a consumer being guided through to the purchase phase is a lot higher if it’s done by someone they know – or, in this case, feel like they know. Influencers are unique players in the digital marketing sphere and are targeted by brands hoping to collaborate due to holding the key to the exact target audience that they are looking to market to.
Examples of influencers include, but are not limited to:
Their relationship with their audience, authority and knowledge hold them in powerful positions within their fields making them the go-to for consumers looking to find information about the products they wish to invest in.
Influencer marketing benefits
Expanding your digital marketing efforts to collaborate with influencers allows you to tap into new customers, markets and niches; however, this is not the only benefit. Here are a few noteworthy others:
It makes your marketing efforts less disruptive to the user experience – we’ve all been there, scrolling down our feeds and being bombarded with ad after ad after ad is not a pleasant experience and even marketers themselves agree that it is off putting. Influencer marketing places these ads within organic content, making their presence much more discreet.
Simplifies content creation – influencers have worked hard to create their personal brand and will want to create content that is in line with this. They know what their audience responds to and so the content you put out will reach an engaged audience. Letting them create the content – with your approval, of course – will also allow your brand’s creative team to relax a bit more.
Digital Marketing 101
The definition of digital marketing is as follows:
“the use of digital channels to market products and services in order to reach consumers”
Becoming popular after the birth of the internet in the 1990s, digital marketing utilises websites, mobile devices, search engines, social media and other similar channels. It takes the traditional principles of marketing and places them into a digital landscape in the hope of making online consumers aware of what a brand has to offer.
Unlike influencer marketing, the promotion of a brand and its products is not done by anyone specifically. Instead, it is the actions the company chooses to take to create and enhance an online presence.
Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used digital marketing methods:
PPC (pay per click) – often used to increase website traffic and engagement through targeted ads, PPC hinges on efficacy and economy. The cost of this is dependent on how many clicks you get and how much these cost, though there have been many successful examples in the past.
SEO – as Google and other search engines have evolved, so has SEO. This allows people to see your website in their search results.
Content Marketing – to reach potential customers through the use of content which is published on a website and promoted through social media, emails, seo and ppc campaigns.
Email marketing – still one of the most effective methods to date, this allows brands to get in touch with anyone interested in them. Many people confuse email marketing with spam emails, but this is not the case; digital marketers use other channels to create leads and add them to their mailing list, which, then, can be turned into customers.
Digital marketing benefits
Consisting of both organic and paid content, digital marketing can help a brand promote themself on their own platforms, but this is not all. Other benefits include:
An increase in brand credibility – having a strong digital presence gives your brand credibility and helps customers see you as a resource they can trust. Nowadays, your digital footprint solidifies your standing within your niche.
Improves customer relationships – digital marketing provides brands with an opportunity to personally engage with customers. This gives your brand a voice, humanising it and establishing loyalty and trust among customers as a result.
Allows your brand to stand out from its competitors – done right, digital marketing content can give your brand a personality, differentiating you from your competitors.
The million dollar question…
So, influencer marketing or digital marketing?
There really is no right or wrong answer to this question. Instead, the answer to this should be based on the answer to a further question; do you already have an established digital presence online? If the answer to this is yes, then you should consider stepping into the world of influencer marketing to enhance your brand’s online presence and reach new customers. If the answer is no, then it would be wise to establish an online presence first, otherwise influencers will have nothing to go off of or anything to link back to when promoting your products to their followers.
Ultimately, finding the perfect balance between utilising influencer marketing and digital marketing is what will ensure consistent success for your brand.
What is the difference between digital marketing and influencer marketing?
Digital marketing is a brand promoting itself on its platforms, whereas influencer marketing utilises established social media profiles to promote a brand’s products and services to their engaged followers.
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