With the recent news that South Africa is the most digitally developed country in Africa and the fourth-fastest growing digital economy in the world (after China, Malaysia and Thailand), you may start to realise that digital marketing is now more essential than ever. Gone are the days when marketing served one purpose – to sell. Today we use marketing to build relationships, maintain good rapport among customers and other brands, and to stay relevant.
Brands don’t just compete for sales, but for fans, followers, online communities, praise and all-round positive sentiment. If you’ve just stepped off the Planet of Traditional Marketing and into the celestial digital sphere, here is something for you to consider if you want keep up with the practised beings of digital marketing: A strategy.
It doesn’t matter what space you’re trying to penetrate in terms of digital marketing, you would be mistaken if you think it would be as easy as signing up for online accounts and then mentioning to people how hip you are because you’re part of the online space. South Africa’s growing digital economy is testament to the fact that we are a country that is expanding its efforts into growing greater online communities and reaching people in ways that may have been considered too far-fetched for a third world country before.
The amount of internet users around the world is set to increase at a much faster rate and, with the exceptional growth-potential South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt have shown, it is predicted that a large chunk of these new internet users will come out of Africa. So how will you stay ahead of the game? First off, here are stats worth contemplating:
When it comes to the trends that you need to incorporate into your strategy next year, it is evident from the above statistics the more digital platforms you integrate your brand into the better for your online presence and influence.Many brands and companies that have not yet broken into the digital sphere tend to believe that going digital is either too forward-thinking or effortless. This is because digital is not approached with the depth and understanding it requires. So as we head into 2015, it’s time for you to reconsider your approach to digital. The argument about whether content really is king is an ongoing one, but the fact that custom content is a royal aspect of digital marketing is undeniable.
Quality content was a significant focus in 2014 and will receive even more of a spotlight in the upcoming year. Even Facebook is planning on cracking down on content, which will undoubtedly change the game plan for many brands. If you’re planning on going into the new year with last year’s content strategy, perhaps now is a good time to go back to the drawing board. Forget click-baiting and product-pushing, focus on implementing creative content with well-crafted copy and outstanding visuals. If you’ve been neglecting that content calendar, take another critical look at it. Great content communicated effectively will give you a competitive edge.
If you place mobile marketing in Africa in the same category as scientists searching for life on other planets, think again. According to recent statistics about two-thirds of all web use in South Africa comes from mobile devices. Mobile usage in South Africa is set to increase and it is predicted that 2015 will be a year of significant growth. This is definitely something to consider for your next campaign and overall digital strategy.
Email marketing has always been a bit of a tricky marketing tactic for many marketers, because there’s a fine line between ‘inbox-worthy’ and ‘trash’. With email marketing becoming an even bigger trend in the industry, now more than ever an email marketing strategy is critical. Connecting with your customers and clients in a more efficient and dynamic way is definitely something you should focus on. A good email marketing strategy will include ways to connect with your target market in unique ways, in a way that embraces relationship-building marketing.
These are only a few big trend predictions for the upcoming year that you could incorporate into an effective overall online strategy. It’s important for your online presence that you stay on top of industry trends to ensure that you’re always one step ahead. The more you increase your knowledge of the digital atmosphere, the more you realise what a volatile and complex environment it can be. That said, there should be no reason why you can’t stay ahead of the game and the best way to do that is to have a concrete plan in place. When it comes to digital marketing, what puts you above the rest is not just innovation but also foresight, preparation and the execution of a good digital strategy