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Offline Business Online PIBA Mar15

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Offline Business Online PIBA Mar15

  1. 1. The BROKER 24   Issue 48 gus ryan Owner 4th Level Digital Media Your Offline Business needs an Online Presence Since leaving the insurance industry and crossing over into digital marketing the two most common statements I hear are “digital marketing is going to be really important for my business going forward” and “my business is more traditional and doesn’t need digital marketing”. They can’t both be right. Or can they? First, let’s look at each statement in isolation. Digital is growing A recent report from the Digital Marketing Institute highlighted — “Irish consumer online spending is up 51% year on year, meaning the digital economy is growing 25 times faster than the general economy, but over 60% of online Irish consumer spend (€3.6bn of €5.9bn) is being lost to overseas companies. It is essential that Irish businesses arm themselves with the skills to market and sell successfully online to halt this revenue drain.” This validates the first statement showing that a digital presence will become increasingly important to compete as the Irish consumer and economy evolve. If we look at the second statement and consider a more traditional advice led transaction, like setting up a company pension scheme, it’s impossible to imagine how this could transform into an entirely digital transaction. The need to discuss fund choice and attitudes to risk, not to mention the supporting paperwork, seems to validate the second statement. There’s more to digital than sales There’s a lot more to digital marketing than executing the final transaction. For lots of businesses digital marketing is crucial in lead generation rather than the final sale. Consumers are now using on average ten sources of information when researching aproductorservice,withmost and in a lot of cases all of these being online resources. Despite the Internet becoming more and more involved in the purchasing decision over 50% of Irish consumers prefer to walk into a shop or office and deal with a vendor face to face. So, the second statement is partially right when it comes to the final transaction. To fully appreciate the role digital marketing can play for an offline, traditional business like a Brokerage you need to think of the whole customer journey and not just the final transaction. The Internet has revolutionised the way people shop. Window shopping, browsing printed catalogues or running your finger down the Golden Pages have been replaced by online research. For the majority of consumers, the journey towards the final purchase begins by grabbing a connected device to google a keyword related to what they need. Each month there are thousands of searches for insurance related keywords in Google, even though the final transaction will take place sitting down face to face with a Broker. Digital marketing allows you and your business to be where people are searching at the moment they pick up their device. The four layers of your digital infrastructure A common misconception is that social media is digital marketing. While social media is important in pushing out your messages to a wider audience, there is a lot that needs to happen before you post on Twitter or Facebook. You need to have four layers in place to do digital marketing effectively; the last one includes social media. 1 Your Website – is your digital hub. All your content and activity should flow from your website with the express purpose of bringing people back to look around your website for more information and to get in touch with you directly. 2 Design and Speed – a clunky, badly laid out website that takes an age for the pages to load up is the equivalent of an unkempt sales man in a cheap suit that doesn’t answer your questions. Your website might be a potential customer’s first encounter with your business: don’t miss an opportunity to make a good first impression. 3 Content and SEO – your website should help customers find a solution to their problem with information about the product/service they are searching for. This is done by posting engaging content on the subject matter. SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is a way of using keywords to make it easier to be found when someone googles for help. 4 Amplification – is when you use tools like social media to share your content around to try and draw people back to your website. You could also use paid adverts on social media or search engines like Google Adwords. It’s important that your website has ‘Calls to Action’: forms or ways the customer can contact you once they’ve returned to your website. The biggest benefit digital marketing has over traditional marketing is the ability to measure everything you do. Once someone clicks on a link data is being gathered about the potential customer. It also allows you to measure what works and what doesn’t, giving you the ability to change things as you learn. ‘You have nothing to fear …’ For traditional businesses the idea of digital marketing can be complicated and daunting. But it doesn’t need to be. You can implement an effective digital marketing strategy to suit your budget and manpower with relative ease. Why not give it a try? 1% 2% 2% 9% 33% 54% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Mail E-mail Other Phone Online Store Where Did People Make Their Purchase Source: Google Consumer Barometer 2014. 3,112 shoppers are responding based on recent purchases involving the Internet. Results may not sum to 100% because of rounding, no answers and don't knows

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