If you own a startup that secured venture capital in the hundreds of thousands or perhaps in the millions, then congratulations are in order. The truth is many startups and small businesses operate on a shoestring budget. As a consequence, key business strategies such as Digital Marketing are either placed on the wayside or allocated with barely enough resources to get it running effectively. According to data collected by Small Business Trends, 82% of startups are self-funded or secure capital from personal savings or family and friends.

With limited access to capital, the small business owner becomes limited to what he/she can do to support revenue generation strategies. In this day and age where 50% of the world’s population is online everyday, it becomes more imperative for businesses to embark on a Digital Marketing campaign.

But the cost of digital marketing has been rising. Adobe Digital’s 2017 Digital Advertising Report showed that the cost of digital marketing has been increasing at a rate that is five times faster than U.S. inflation and 71% faster than the cost of television ads.

And as competition in the digital landscape continues to get tighter, expect marketing costs to climb higher.

SEO practitioners have to frequently revise optimization strategies while writers have to produce relevant, engaging and usable content for their audience on a consistent basis.   

When digital marketing costs rise, so does the pressure of generating an ROI for your efforts.

Given the capital constraints on small business owners, is it still possible for them to set up a digital marketing campaign?

5 Tips on How to Develop a Low Budget but High Performing Digital Marketing Campaign

The answer is “Yes”! The key is to set up your Digital Marketing campaign on these five principles:

1. Learn What You Can About Digital Marketing

Like what we discussed in our article, “How People Get Ripped Off by Digital Marketing Agencies”, in order to reduce the risk of catastrophic digital marketing experience, you have to learn everything you can about it. You don’t have to be an expert.

You don’t have to get certified in SEO, SEM or Social Media Marketing. All you need is to have a firm understanding of the process and how all its component parts work together to create a successful digital marketing campaign.

2. Keep it Simple

A digital marketing strategy can consist of a combination of different tools and techniques. But you don’t have to use every Internet- based platform to ensure an effective digital marketing strategy.

If you have limited funds, it only makes sense to allocate your capital to a few processes so you can maximize the return. Another benefit of small scale digital marketing is that it is easier to track performance.

3. Manage Your Time Wisely

Accounting is an important function for every business. But it is not just money that you should keep track of. You should also account for how you budget your time.

The saying is true, “Time is money”. The more efficient you are with time, the more productive you can be. As a business owner, the bulk of your waking hours should be devoted to running the core functions of your business; the activities that translate to dollars and cents in your bank account.

Digital marketing is not a discipline you can learn from YouTube or self-help books. You need more than technical and fundamental competence. You need experience. Instead of doing digital marketing yourself, outsource it to experienced third party service providers.

A digital marketing agency has the advantage of having web designers, content writers, graphic designers and specialists in SEO, SEM and SMM. Many agencies also have flexible payment options so you can stretch out your budget.

4. Be Consistent

Even if you decided to outsource your digital marketing campaign to a third party service provider, be involved by staying consistent with the strategy.

In most, if not all cases, the success of a digital marketing campaign rests on your ability to deliver results or what has been promised in your content.

If you want your audience to know that your company consistently addresses all issues and concerns, then make sure your customer service channels are on the ball at all times.

If you want your end users to remain confident on the quality of your goods and services, take the necessary steps to ensure that there is no compromise on craftsmanship or detail from day one.

Before embarking on a digital marketing campaign make sure you are committed to meet the expectations of your target audience.

5. Track Your Performance

The knock on marketing before 2004 was that it was difficult to track performance. We are referring to traditional marketing methods.

All of that went out the window when the Internet became accessible to almost everyone on the planet in 2000 and broadband technology took off in 2004.

With digital marketing you can track the performance of your campaign through web analytics. Get real time data and find empirical bases for your decision-making.

Again, this is where contracting the services of a digital marketing agency is a big advantage.

They have web development experts who can analyze data from your website and give you an orientation on how the campaign has been playing out.

They can provide you with weekly or monthly reports that you can study and use as reference for any changes in strategy. In time and with consistency, you will also become proficient in web analytics.

Now that you have the foundation of your digital marketing strategy setup, it’s time to look at the processes and techniques you can use to run your simple but effective campaign:

1. Invest in a Mobile Responsive Website

It will be difficult; almost impossible to run a successful digital marketing campaign without a website.

Even if you came up with highly-visible social media pages on Facebook and Twitter, where will the engagements terminate?

Your website is the centerpiece in the digital marketing campaign because it represents your business on the Internet. The website is the terminating point for all the inbound traffic that we hope to create through digital marketing.

But it is not enough to just have a website. It must be mobile responsive or have the ability to accommodate devices with varying screen sizes. If you want to learn more about mobile responsive design, check out our article, “Why Your Website Needs Mobile Responsive Design”.

Keep in mind that 75% of all online traffic today originates from mobile devices. If your website cannot be accessed by a smartphone or a tablet, you will potentially lose business as well as industry credibility.

2. Focus on Organic SEO

Search Engine Optimization sounds so technical, most businesses think it is expensive. That may be true when it comes to paid search. But if you focus only on organic SEO, you can help your website move up the search rankings with only a few simple steps:

  • Open a Google Webmaster Account – All you need to do is register and verify your domain name. Google will point out what you need to do to boost your site’s rankings.
  • Use Keywords Judiciously and Strategically – Keywords are the words and phrases that are popularly used to launch a search query. Google prefers long tail keywords which are more descriptive. But don’t overstuff your content with keywords. The accepted ratio is 2% for every 1,000 words.
  • Write Long Form Blogs – Google rewards websites that feature long form blogs or those that average 1,500 to 2,400 words. The advantage of long form blogs is that as a longer read, your visitor would spend more time in your site. Second, if your content is informative and usable, it establishes your site as a valuable reference.

3. Build Up and Leverage Your Content

Content is the cornerstone of digital marketing. People will continue to consume more content in the coming years as they become more dependent on the Internet. Therefore you should likewise focus on building a content creation strategy.

Content isn’t just blogging or article writing. Videos are a big part of a content-based strategy.

As we wrote about in our article, “How to Use Video Content in Marketing”, the use of videos can significantly enhance your online marketing strategy. You can also leverage your content in a number of ways:

  • Share your blog on social media and link it back to your website.
  • Create an infographic or video that presents your content in a visual medium.
  • Create tiles or graphics filled with powerful quotes from your blog and share it on Pinterest.

4. Utilize the Power of Social Media

Of the 3.8 Million people on the Internet everyday, 3.03 Billion or 79% of them are on social media. While experience is necessary to be able to harness social media’s power, you can generate traction for your efforts by implementing a few simple strategies:

  • Choose no more than 2 to 3 social media platforms to start out with. These networks do not function or cater to the same audience. Focus on the platforms that are more appropriate for your business. For example, if you sell merchandise, a more visual platform like Instagram or Pinterest would offer more benefits for your business.
  • Use the analytics tool that come with the platform to track the performance of your social media efforts. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have built-in analytics.
  • Find key influencers and engage with them. Influencers have tons of followers in your industry. They present a great avenue to enhance your online presence as well as leverage your content. Share their content whenever you can and engage them as often as possible so you can establish a good relationship.

5. Engage Your Audience

When you publish content online, be prepared to receive a wide range of comments some of which may be unflattering. But in marketing, there in no such thing as negative publicity. You can still extract long term benefits from unfavourable comments through smart engagement strategies.

First, regardless of how the comment was phrased, remain professional at all times. Just tell yourself the commenter took the time to read through your content. The least you could do is be courteous and respectful.

Second, encourage the commenter to follow your page and remind him/her that all comments are welcome and appreciated. It is through engagement that you will be able to establish relationships and followers. From there you can build email lists and new social communities.

Conclusion

We only presented five strategies you can use for your low cost, high performance digital marketing campaign. The truth is there are other processes and techniques that you can use which won’t cost you much money. These include using PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising, co-hosting an online event and investing in social networking ads.

But as we mentioned earlier, if you’re getting your feet wet in digital marketing, it is always better to start out small and keep things simple. Once you’ve added years of experience on your belt, you can branch out and incorporate other methods of digital marketing.

If you’re interested in getting your digital marketing campaign rolling, give us a call or drop us an email. We have very talented people onboard our digital marketing team: web designers, graphic artists, social media experts, content writers and professionals in the fields of SEO and SEM.

By having Mountaintop manage your digital marketing campaign, you can focus 100% of your time on your business. We will keep you in the loop by providing you with regular reports and schedule time to discuss the current performance of your campaign.

We will be more than happy to guide you through the process and answer other questions and concerns you might have about digital marketing.

If you’re planning to start a business, digital marketing should be included in your budget. It is the best way to promote your products and services to your target market. However, digital marketing costs money. If like most entrepreneurs, you have limited capital, don’t worry. In this article, we will show you how to launch a digital marketing campaign for $100!

According to reports compiled from Forrester and eMarketer by Web Strategies, in 2018 businesses will allocate around 11% of their budgets to marketing. 45% will be dedicated to online marketing strategies.

But what if all you can afford is $100? Can you still run a campaign and get 100% results?

The answer to the first part of the question is “Yes”.

One of the benefits of digital marketing is flexibility. As we will discuss later in this article, it has the advantage of having onsite analytics which you can use to track the performance of your campaign in real time.

Analytics allows you to see which strategies are generating good Return on Investment (ROI) and which ones are not.

As for the second part, even if your budget runs in the millions of dollars, there are no guarantees in marketing.

Success in digital marketing will depend on the effort you put in. With such a tight budget, your margins for error will be quite small. You will have to be more strategic and purposeful in your approach.

Always keep your budget in mind. Don’t get swayed by the latest email marketing software or pushed to purchase the most expensive keyword phrases. Digital marketing opens up a treasure chest of tools and techniques. Some of them won’t even cost you a cent.

Now let’s get started!

1. No Website? No Problem!

The website is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. It is basically your office address on the Internet; the place where potential customers click on to learn more about your products and services.

We discussed the advantages of having a website in our article, “What Type of Website Does Your Business Need?”. Building a website will certainly entail an investment.

But even if you don’t have enough capital to fund a website at this point, you should still buy a domain. A domain is simply the name of your website. The costs of registering a domain name can vary. You can acquire one for as little as $10 per year.

Once your domain name has been registered, you can use it as your professional email address and have it indicated on your calling card. The domain can also forward to your social media accounts until such time that you have the resources to set up your website.

2. Promote Your Business Via Social Media

With more than 3 billion users per day, social media has become a very powerful driver of business. Social media marketing can help you generate leads, improve sales conversions and enhance your credibility in the industry.

There are a number of social media networks to choose from. The most popular platforms and their community sizes are as follows:

  • Facebook – 2.061 Billion
  • YouTube – 1.5 Billion
  • Instagram – 800 Million
  • Twitter – 330 Million
  • Reddit – 250 Million
  • Pinterest – 200 Million

Looking at the list, it may seem that the wise move would be to set up accounts with the largest networks. But when it comes to social media marketing, size does not always matter.

You should select the social media networks that have the features to support your marketing objectives and that match the platform used by your target audience.

For example:

  • Facebook, Twitter – If your goal is to build brand awareness and distribute content.
  • YouTube, Instagram – If you plan to integrate video and picture content in your marketing campaign.
  • Instagram, Pinterest – If your business deals with visual-heavy merchandise such as fashion apparel, jewelry and health supplements.
  • Facebook, LinkedIn – If you want to connect with influencers in your industry.

It will not cost you a cent to open a social media account. But you need to invest time and effort managing the accounts especially when it comes to creating content and engaging with followers.

3. Register Your Business In An Online Directory

When an Internet user wants to look for a specific product or service, the search will begin with an online query.

By registering your business in an online directory, its name could come up in the search engine’s “map pack”.

What is a map pack? This is the list of establishments or businesses that are included in the results page provided by the search engine.

For example, if an Internet user does a search for personal fitness trainers in Cardiff, Google would produce a map pack that looks like this:

(Image courtesy of https://www.totalcoaching.com/blog/seo-guide-personal-trainers)

As Google is the largest search engine on the Internet. It makes perfect sense to sign your business up with Google’s online directory.

This is very easy to do and signing up is for free. All you need is to register your business at GoogleMyBusiness.

When registering your business, make sure you are providing accurate and updated contact information:

  • Business Name
  • Business Address
  • Business Phone Number
  • Website Link
  • Email Address
  • Categories
  • Business Description

Google will send you a validation code via postal mail to confirm your business address.  

4. Identify Your Target Market

Content creation is a very important component of an effective digital marketing strategy. There are many types of content. You can produce blogs, videos and even podcasts.

But the first thing you need to do is identify the target market for your content. You have to create a buyer’s profile. This is the segment of your market with the highest probability of being converted from followers to paying customers.

Assuming you don’t have a website, here are 4 ways to pinpoint the buying characteristics of your target market:

  • Review your current level of content in your social media accounts. Determine which posts have generated the highest levels of engagement, likes and shares.
  • Check out the social media accounts of your most active followers and observe the types of content they post. Instagram and Facebook are great sources for identifying customer online behavioral patterns.
  • Visit the social media pages of your closest competitors. Take note of the topics they frequently post or blog about. Find out the types of content that generate the highest amount of engagement, likes and shares from their followers.
  • Conduct a survey within your community. Ask them about the topics they would want you to cover in your blogs and articles.

These strategies will not cost you anything because you can conduct them through social media or email.

5. Sharpen Your Writing Skills

Blogging is widely regarded as the cornerstone in the content marketing process. A well-crafted blog that is informative, relevant and usable to the audience will surely help enhance your reputation as an expert in your industry. Blogs are proven drivers of inbound traffic.

But many entrepreneurs are hesitant to blog because they don’t believe they have the writing skills. The truth is everyone has the ability to write a great blog. All you need is practice!

Writing is a learned skill. Like shooting a basketball, hitting a golf ball or hitting a backhand return in tennis, you simply have to keep practicing in order to get better. The more you write, the better you will get:

  • Set a specific time in the day for writing; 60 to 90 minutes a day of uninterrupted writing should suffice.
  • Choose a topic that you are familiar with and related to your business. It should be relevant to your buyer’s profile.
  • Establish a structure for writing. For example, create an outline first. Then research for reference links.
  • Learn to write for your audience; this means avoid using technical jargon. Remember, you should assume that you are the expert and your readers want to learn from you. Write in a language they can understand.
  • Review your work and watch out for grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Ask 2 to 3 of your most trusted friends or family to comment on your writing.

The other aspects of content writing such as the use of keywords can be learned at another time. For now, focus on developing basic writing skills.

Once you have become more confident with your writing skills, start a blogging schedule:

Blogging takes time and effort. You have to do accurate research to make sure you are sharing facts that are well supported by reliable evidence. You also have to focus on writing original content. This means avoiding the risk of copying another writer’s content.

If you don’t have a website yet, you can use the blogging platform provided by LinkedIn then share it to your other social media accounts.

6. Track Your Performance Using Analytics

As we mentioned earlier in this article, digital marketing has the advantage of web analytics to help you track the performance of your campaign.

Web analytics are programs used to collect valuable data from your website or social media accounts. The collected data will help you better understand how your website is performing by answering these questions:

  • Where is the bulk of my traffic coming from?
  • Which pages have the highest visits?
  • What types of content are being read more often?

Analytics can identify potential problems that are hindering the campaign’s progress. It will tell you which techniques are working and which ones aren’t. This way you have solid bases for realigning your digital marketing budget. You can put more resources on strategies that result in higher ROI.

Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have built-in analytics. You can also download offsite analytics tools free of charge.

It may seem complicated at first but in time and with consistency, you will get better at evaluating analytics.

7. Expand Your Network

Networking is a proven way of building your business by connecting with key people in your industry. One of the most effective social networking sites is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the preferred social network of professionals. There are a number of ways you can build your business through this platform:

  • LinkedIn has a blogging feature which allows you to post blogs and share it with those in your community.
  • You can customize the parameters of your search so you can connect with community members who fit your buyer’s profile, target demographic or those who hold influential positions in the industry.
  • Sign up and engage regularly with community focus groups that are directly involved with your industry.
  • Post relevant content at least once a day in order to stay top-of-mind with your community.

Although signing up for LinkedIn is for free, its features for customizing search parameters will require a monthly subscription fee that ranges from $29.99 to $79.99.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are other effective social media networks you can use to connect with key influencers and expand your community.

Conclusion

Digital marketing gives you the most efficient way of reaching your target market by capitalizing on the power of the Internet. Because digital marketing primarily uses Internet-based tools to run its campaigns, it will be easier on your budget as most of these processes are free.

Finally, the benefit of having web analytics allows you to identify weak points in your campaign so you can further streamline your budget.

The biggest investment you will make in running a digital marketing campaign is time. You will have to spend time to become a more proficient writer. As your campaign gains traction, you will have to double up on your efforts.

If you want to learn more about running an effective but low budget digital marketing program, please give us a call or drop us an email.

We will gladly take you through the process of planning a well-thought out and highly efficient digital marketing campaign.

Bill Gates was a true visionary when he wrote the essay, “Content is King” in 1996. Gates believed the Internet would provide consumers a low cost medium to publish and access information. He even foreshadowed the coming of video content as a key component for online marketing.

With more than half of the world’s population online everyday, the Internet has become the premiere battleground for businesses to vie for the consumer’s attention.

For businesses, the challenge is to come up with the most efficient way to reach their target audience and consistently deliver quantifiable results.

Does such a low cost, high reward marketing technique exist?

Yes and that is why you need to include video content in your marketing tool box.

5 Benefits of Video Content for Your Business

Video content or video marketing is simply the process or strategy of using videos to promote your brand, product or service.

Text content remains a powerful vehicle for delivering your branded value proposition but it will not match the efficiency of video content.

Put it this way, would you rather spend seven minutes reading a 2,400 word article on the 10 best smartphones in the market or 2 minutes watching a video on the same topic?

In 2015, Microsoft came up with a groundbreaking study that showed people have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. The marketing takeaway being if you don’t capture the attention or interest of the consumer within 6 seconds, you may lose him or her at that moment.

One of the best tips we give our clients at Mountaintop is to add an explainer video on their homepage.

An explainer video is a great way to hook a potential customer because everything they would need to know to convince them to explore your site further can be done in 1 or 2 minutes.

And studies show, videos extend the attention span of the consumer by another 10 to 20 seconds.

Here are 5 other benefits of video content for your business:

1. Video is an excellent medium for delivery.

Video engages with at least two of your senses: sight and sound plus the added bonus of empathy if it is a well-executed production. A study by HubSpot showed that 80% of consumers remember the content of a video they saw one month earlier.

2. Video content can significantly boost your website’s SEO.

In the same Hubspot study, it revealed that 65% of decision makers will visit a website after viewing its video content. Also, vendors of products report 39% of inquiries come from businesses that have seen their marketing videos.

3. Video content delivers on all devices.

Responsive design has become the norm in website development since 2014. Videos will perform well on mobile devices. Whether you are using a tablet or a smartphone, videos will continue to enhance and influence User Experience or UX.

4. Video content enhances your branding efforts.

As we mentioned earlier, video has the advantage of appealing to your senses of sight and hearing. The smart use of color, voice, music and imagery can strongly influence the perspectives and opinions of your viewers and enhance your branding efforts.

5. Video content has a higher probability of going viral.

Another interesting statistic from the HubSpot study is that 92% of mobile users who watch videos will share them with others. Another study by Single Grain showed that video is shared 1,200% more than links and text content combined.

Believe us when we say there are still more benefits of video content for your business. Adding video content as part of your Digital Marketing strategy is not just because “Everybody’s doing it”.

Below is a chart from HubSpot which shows the type of content Internet users most want to see from brands and businesses. You can clearly see the wide, significant gap video content has over other types of content:

If you want to reach out to your target audience in the fastest, most effective and cost efficient way, you should invest in video content marketing.

12 Types of Video Content to Consider for Your Business

Before you start filming, you should know what type of video content would be most beneficial for your business. There are 12 types to consider and each one will have its own set of advantages depending on your goals:

1. Demo Videos –

Show your audience how your product works. This will be effective for businesses that have products which need assembly or have several features. Examples would include kitchen appliances and smartphones.

2. Brand Videos –

The purpose of brand videos is to introduce yourself, the business, products and services to a target audience. This is a great way to build relationships with your target audience.  

3. Event Videos –

If your business is hosting an event, business forum, trade show or roundtable discussion an event video is the way to go. Take video snippets of the most important and relevant activities such as keynote speakers, product shots and audience turnout.

4. Expert Interviews –

One of the best ways to gain credibility and trust with your audience is to have a video interview with a respected and acknowledged expert in your industry.

5. How-to Videos –

This is a type of video that will help the audience find the answer to the question, “Why do you need my product or service?” For example, at Mountaintop we could produce a video on this article.

6. Explainer Videos –

We discussed this type of video in the previous section but we should also note that it can be done similar to a How-To video by simply shooting it from the perspective of the end user.

7. Animated Videos –

Do you want to show your audience how bitcoin miners calculate complex mathematical formulas in the blockchain? Animated videos can greatly simplify information that would otherwise be too complicated to explain.

8. Testimonial Videos –

Client testimonials are one of the most powerful ways to build trust for your product and service. This is often the final push to get your audience to patronize your business. A testimonial video is perceived as honest and sincere because it discloses actual results and the genuine response of an end user.

9. Live Videos –

Streaming live videos are a great way of getting your audience involved in your business. Show them what a day is like in the office. If you’re into product manufacturing, stream a live feed on how your merchandise is made. People in the fitness industry often stream live workouts to their followers.

10. 360 Degree and Virtual Reality Videos –

360 degree and VR videos give your audience a bird’s eye view of your business. These are particularly effective for hotels, resorts and restaurants. These types of videos are also entertaining for the audience because they allow them to control their own experience.

11. Augmented Reality Videos –

Augmented reality videos add another digital layer to your content. This is great for those in the interior design and architectural business.

For example, a viewer can point his or her camera phone to a chair and see how it would fit in your video layout.

12. Personalized Messages –

You can customize your content by producing a personal message in video format.

For example, if you are selling a fitness tracker, you can make a video message to a follower whom you have previously communicated and send him/her an update on the latest models.

Personalized message videos are effective in pushing a prospect further down the sales funnel.

How to Create Your First Video Content

When you finally decide to include video content as part of your marketing strategy, it doesn’t mean you should take out a loan from the bank and buy the latest and most advanced film equipment.

In the first place, your smartphone camera may be enough to film a high quality video. Smartphones like the iPhone 7 have amazing filmmaking features that are comparable with top-of-the line cameras.

Secondly, the video alone won’t cut it. You need a message to deliver to your audience. The content of your message will determine how your video will be shot.

If you haven’t done video content before or have but with little success, here are four simple steps on how to create one that will enhance your overall marketing campaign:

1. Revisit and Update Your Content Marketing Strategy.

Before producing your first video, review your current content marketing strategy. Whenever you introduce a new element to your campaign, its entire dynamic will change.

You may have to revise your content marketing strategy to open up a section that can be addressed more effectively through video content.

The marketing budget may have to be adjusted in case your revised strategy will require investing in production equipment, renting a studio, acquiring talent, scriptwriters or the assistance of film professionals.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Why did I decide to create video content?”
  • “What is the primary objective of my video content?”
  • “How would my audience benefit from my video?”
  • “How would I go about producing the video?”
  • “What would be my distribution strategy for the video?”

It will be difficult to maximize the effectiveness of video content unless you can get it to fit into your content marketing strategy.

2. Prepare a Profile of Your Audience.

If revisiting and reviewing your content marketing strategy provides the “Why” to your video content, then preparing a profile of your audience is the “Who”. Unless you develop a keen understanding of who your target audience is, then your video content may not be seen by the people expected to get the most value from it.

Where to begin?

Look back at your past content and analyze which ones generated the highest levels of “likes”, “shares” and levels of engagement.

Which distribution channel accounted for the largest viewership? Where do the bulk of your followers come from? What issues were commonly raised or commented on by your audience?

Once you’ve come up with a profile of your audience, you will be able to fine-tune the content of your video and identify the most effective channels for distribution.

3. Produce Videos According to Scale.

The advice “start out small” applies to producing your first video. Don’t pull out all the stops and come up with a Hollywood production number when you are testing the marketing waters for the first time with video content.

Again the best place to start would be your past content. Pick out high performing blog posts and create a short video which would further augment its content. For example, we at Mountaintop could produce a video for our blog post “Why Your Website Needs Responsive Design”.

You could also start out by producing an explainer video like one on your products and services and embed it on your Home Page or Services page.

If your video content generates higher returns, slowly scale up the production schedule. You may have to expand your budget but at least you will be more reassured of your investment.

4. Subject Your Videos to Frequent Testing.

Even if you’ve done your homework and followed your content marketing strategy to the letter, do not get complacent and allow yourself to believe your video content will deliver positive results.

Video content like all forms of content should be subjected to testing before getting published or distributed. Content seen through the eyes of another will give you filters you won’t have because of personal biases.

Take note of their comments and assess which ones should be considered as a basis for revising content.

And even once you’ve uploaded the videos, the evaluation should not stop.

Establish benchmarks to measure how your videos are performing and be prepared to introduce  improvements in content whenever necessary.

Conclusion

Numbers don’t lie. If you want your marketing campaign to meet or surpass its goals, you must invest in video content production.

It is a proven and time-tested approach to successfully delivering content to your audience. And demand for video content will only increase as mobile technology continues to evolve and the Internet becomes accessible to more people around the world.

It does not matter if you are a large-scale corporation or a small business owner. Video content will help your current marketing strategy gain more traction.

Are you interested in creating your first video content? Give us a call or send us an email and we will help you get started!

 

 

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the article, one question deserves to be asked:

“Is there a difference between digitalization and digitization?”

We ask this question because in the course of our research for this important topic we came across references on “digitization” although we used “digitalization” for our keyword search.

Upon reviewing their content, it appears that many writers interchange the meaning of digitalization and digitization. The two terms are treated like a synonym of each other.

And this confusion may be validated by a chart courtesy of Google Trends.

As you can see the gap of the search volume differential between both terms have been decreasing and moving along a similar trend. Digitization is still the leading search term but the increase in searches for digitalization shows that more users are discovering what the term means.

The truth is, the two terms are related but not mutually dependent of one another because their definitions are distinct. We will be very accurate by using the textbook definitions of each term.

Digitalization is defined by Gartner as the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value producing opportunities.

Digitization is defined by Gartner as the shift from analog to digital form.

Gartner ties in both terms in the concluding statement of its definition of digitalization:

“It is the process of moving to digital business”.

With this in mind, let us come up with Mountaintop’s definition of digitalization:

Digitalization is the process of using digitized tools to increase business efficiency by using technology to engage with markets, identify their problems and address their needs.

A company that frequently scans documents and emails has digitized the way it transmits communication. But a company that uses technology to introduce highly efficient, cost reducing and productivity enhancing workflows and processes is digitalizing its business model.

So now that we have made the distinction between digitalization and digitization, let’s find out how and why digitalization has become the biggest driver of business.

The Evolution of Digitalization

We know technology is in a constant state of evolution. Inventors, scientists and innovators will always look for the next great idea; a product or service that will improve efficiency and increase productivity.

Those who were born in the new millennium will have a hard time comprehending how the Internet changed everything. Talk to someone who grew up in the 1960’s or 1970’s. They experienced how it was to transition from the typewriter to a desktop Personal Computer.

But as fast as digital technology has evolved, the process of digitalization has not. The word “process” implies there is a time element involved.

There is a development schedule that needs to be followed because the learning curve when it comes to technology and how it can be applied to improve business processes must be respected.

Digitalization is not intended to introduce change; it is a process that is long-term and transformative.

Change is a temporary condition. You change your diet if you want to lose weight. You change smartphones to benefit from the latest technological advances.

Transformation is a commitment to undertake a long-term journey for improvement and progress. If you want to keep the weight off, it is not enough to change your diet. You have to transform your lifestyle.

In business, if you want to remain competitive and profitable, your modeling must constantly evolve and adapt to new developments in the industry because markets are likewise evolving.

Digital technology has given consumers more access to information now than ever before. Tastes, demands, consumer preferences, desires, wants and needs are shifting because they are easily influenced by a wide range of resources and references.

It has also provided the means for businesses to thrive in the face of adversity.

Digitalization and the Growth of Business Process Outsourcing

The new millennium ushered in a great period of difficulty. Events such as 9/11, the 2003 collapse of the global equities market, the fall of Iraq and the 2008 Eurozone crisis led to massive corporate shutdowns and layoffs with many losing their homes.

Businesses had to change their modeling from rigid processes to one that offered greater flexibility and mobility.

Enter outsourcing.

Outsourcing grew exponentially in the new millennium. From an industry valued at US$45 Billion in 2000 it hit a high of $104.6 Billion in 2014.

The Internet made it possible for companies to outsource services to regions where comparative cost advantages and economies of scale existed. The biggest cost advantage is labor which is why preferred outsourcing destinations remain countries located in Asia.

At first companies were outsourcing business processes that were categorized as non-essential tasks or non-core functions. By capitalizing on lower costs of labor, companies were able to streamline operations and remain profitable even if revenues were not up to par.

Eventually client-service provider agreements grew into strategic partnerships. Outsourcing was no longer limited to non-essential tasks. Companies started to outsource core business functions.

A good example would be the companies located in Silicon Valley which is the technology hub in the United States. Companies were outsourcing services to India primarily to save costs. But they soon discovered their partners had talented people in I.T.

From a cost savings solution, outsourcing became a business model for improving deliverables, quality of products and service.

But the benefits of digitalization of business processes are not limited to large companies with complex systems.

Digitalization and the Rise of the Telecommuter

Digital technology also made it possible for small businesses to establish systems that had smooth workflows and efficient processes. The availability of apps and Internet-based programs allowed entrepreneurs to organize operations even with limited capital.

Project management tools like Asana, SalesForce, WebEx and GoToMeeting made close collaboration a reality. Skype, Slack and Viber were highly effective for communication. You didn’t have to rely on landline and mobile phone calls which could drive up costs of business.

Small business owners could likewise outsource services to individual freelancers like virtual assistants or telecommuters. All they need is a project management platform for collaboration, a cloud- based file sharing program and an app for communication.

Unless the entrepreneur wants to upgrade the quality of services, these programs do not carry a monthly subscription fee.

In 2014, several companies in the United States integrated telecommuters into their workforce in order to improve productivity.

Studies conducted by Stanford and the University of Minnesota showed that incorporating home-based workers or telecommuters resulted in a productivity increase of 13.5% and a cost savings of $1,900 per employee. The telecommuting business model also reduced the level of workplace attrition.

More businesses are migrating toward Internet- based models because the world has become increasingly dependent on mobile technology since 2014. It is projected that by 2020, there would be 6.1 Billion smartphones operating in the world.

Thus, it should be no surprise that e-commerce has become the force it is today.

E-commerce: The Slayer of Retail Giants

“Stagnation is death. If you don’t change, you die. It’s that simple. It’s that scary.”

American theologian Leonard Sweet was responsible for that quote. And although he meant it in the spiritual sense, the principle has been applied to business. Some have come up with their own version such as “If you don’t adapt, you die.”

Regardless of the choice of synonym, the message rings loud and clear:

If you remain oblivious to the changes that are taking place in your industry, you will not thrive, much less survive.

2017 may be remembered as the year where e-commerce slayed the retail giants.

For years online retailers like Amazon, Alibaba and eBay were on the horizon growing their market as consumers began to realize the ease and convenience of Internet-based shopping.

Since 2014, global e-commerce has been growing at a rate of 20% per annum. It is projected to hit $27 Trillion by 2020. The rise of e-commerce has not come without casualties. In the case of retail, the victims are traditional brick-and-mortar stores that refused to acknowledge the warning signs.

As early as 2012, industry analysts were already speculating mobile devices would become the primary source of online traffic. Expectation became reality when 2014 data showed 60% of online traffic originated from smartphones and tablets. The percentage has increased to 65% in 2016.

In the United States, e-commerce had hit $414 Billion in 2014, not many took it seriously or viewed it as a reason to sound the alarm bells for traditional retail. Business writers from reputable publications believed traditional retail would still account for the bulk of the American consumer’s hard earned dollar.

Fast-forward three years later and 18 traditional retailers have either filed for bankruptcy or closed several outlets. The casualties include:

  • Sears
  • Macy’s
  • J.C. Penney
  • Sports Authority
  • Payless

Traditional retailers like Lululemon, Urban Outfitters and American Eagle still remain popular but all have reported multi-year lows in sales.

On the other hand, one giant decided to stray away from the path of the other dinosaurs. Wal-Mart aggressively invested in e-commerce after a poor 2016 annual report.

Wal-Mart acquired e-commerce sites such a jet.com, shoebuy.com and moosejaw.com. Since the acquisitions, Wal-Mart’s fourth quarter earnings report for 2017 shows a 29% improvement for the same period the previous year.

Conclusion

Digitalization is not a phase. It is the way businesses will run over the next few years. Consumers will continue to depend on mobile technology to manage their daily affairs. This means technology companies will stay on course in finding solutions to make life and work easier and more convenient.

In an interconnected world, you should also expect that whatever happens in one part of the world has repercussions in other regions as well. Changes in political ideologies has led to shifts in global alliances.

The United States under the administration of Donald Trump has taken a nationalist “America comes first” approach while China has become the unexpected globalist.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has embarked on his ambitious “One Belt One Road” initiative which seeks to invest trillions of dollars in infrastructure to develop trade routes that will traverse Asia, the Pacific, Europe and Africa.

This shift in global dominance will certainly have an effect on business as markets demand preferences and opportunities continue to change. Business conditions will become more unpredictable and perhaps volatile.

By digitalizing your business processes you can effectively manage costs and scale the growth or direction of your enterprise with less risk.

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