If you have been following the news in the field of marketing, then chances are you have read about or heard of “digital transformation.” You may be wondering, “What is digital transformation? Perhaps you are wondering what impact (if any) it has on your business.
Recent events including the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the business landscape in unprecedented ways. As customers spend more time at home, they seek contactless ways to do business. Some are also taking more time to research potential purchases.
What is digital transformation?
Marketing SaaS leader HubSpot analyzed key performance metrics over the past six months and identified trends resulting from the pandemic. One evolution HubSpot noticed is traditional sales strategies have been less effective over the past six months while inbound marketing continues to yield results.
In summary, HubSpot states: “Buyers are more in control than they've ever been, and companies delivering a great digital customer experience are winning.”
These findings line up with other trends reported in the business press. Forbes recently reported on a survey that indicated that 97% of executives said that COVID-19 accelerated “digital transformation.” The Forbes article used the term in a broader sense, but one key area included finding new ways to engage with potential and existing customers online.
A recent Harvard Business Review analysis also covered how businesses may “harness the digital transformation of the COVID era.” HBR also used the term broadly encompassing automation, artificial intelligence, robotics, technologies to support remote staff, and the increased need to communicate with clients and customers online.
While these three articles each covered different aspects of the rapid digital transformation seen across sectors, all share similar themes. Providing customers with a great experience is more important than ever. Sales and advertisement fatigue seem even more prevalent than it was pre-COVID-19. Yet consumers seek information and how-to guides to make their current lifestyle better. What is the answer?
HubSpot also offers a popular Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) app that salespeople and marketers use to manage their workflows. Their analysis found that traffic was still high for brands that publish high-quality resource pages such as recipes, educational articles, or tutorials. However, sales calls and overtly sales email messages had lower open and response rates. More educational or informative marketing email newsletters still enjoyed a high open-rate. As people felt ready to purchase products or services again, some of the sites with a strong inbound presence received sales.
The inbound marketing model focuses on publishing content that is genuinely useful to your ideal customer and that closely aligns with your brand. Education focused content continues to drive traffic, social media follows, newsletter subscriptions, calls, and even purchases. It focuses on sustainable growth that may endure in uncertain times.
Of course, nobody knows what will happen next. In times like this, businesses who quickly adapt have a distinct advantage over those who do not. Those who embrace modern communication technology and invest in quality content have the opportunity to build relationships with potential customers all over the world.
How digital transformation relates to marketing?
The outbreak forced many brick and mortar businesses to rapidly build an online presence and shift their marketing to online strategies. Those who were not able to keep up struggled to survive and in some cases had to shutter their business.
Twilio chief customer officer Glenn Weinstein told Forbes and the TechFirst podcast. “One silver lining on this very, very dark cloud has been that it has accelerated companies’ impetus to do digital transformation, to make a change, and specifically to accelerate communications through digital means.”
Brands who found ways to transform their offline commitment to building customer relationships and education to a digital environment. Whether small or large, businesses that do this well have an advantage over their competitors who haven’t adapted to the rapidly evolving environment.
Ask Yourself: Are you ready for the digital marketing transformation?
1. How has COVID-19 affected your business?
Start by evaluating the current state of your business. What are your pain points? Have you noticed any areas of sales growth?
2. Does your website provide an excellent user experience?
An attractive, mobile responsive website is essential. Last year, businesses were at a competitive disadvantage without an engaging website, but this rapidly changed.
3. Are you publishing engaging content that offers genuine value to your customers?
Educational and helpful content is at the heart of most inbound marketing strategies. Google has long rewarded brands that publish useful content over those who only publish sales content. Now content is more crucial than ever.
4. What questions do your customers typically have?
These topics are great starting points for creating unique and engaging content that attracts future customers to your website.
5. What systems do you have in place to transform website visitors into leads, prospects and customers?
Effective inbound strategies involve setting up workflows to help nurture your website’s visitors as they make the “buyer’s journey” from strangers to loyal customers.
Next steps: Are you ready for your digital transformation?
An effective digital inbound marketing strategy requires a mix of skills, strategy, defined workflows, and the right technologies. In many cases, the transformation is easier and more effective when working with an inbound marketing agency.
As a HubSpot Gold Solutions Partner, we help our clients navigate the technology and strategic planning required for long-term and sustainable growth through inbound marketing. Book a call to learn more about how an inbound strategy may help you grow your clientele.