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The rise of digital marketing

Never has it been more important for brands and businesses to have an online presence. Here’s why.

Attracting clients in the digital space requires creativity and a value- adding perspective. “Consider how you can reach the right people. Then, forge a relationship with them that’ll allow both of you to gain from the skill, talent, product or service you’re offering,” explains social media strategist, and the voice of marketing in South Africa, Lebo Lion. But how do you ensure your value statement’s successful? Lebo has the answer.

Social media technologies

By having a presence on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, you could potentially reach all 3.79 billion social media users in the world. The more people see you, the higher the likelihood that one of those people could be a prospective client. Aim to be seen, build strong relationships, and facilitate conversations that’ll eventually lead to commercial gain.

Share content

Bombarding your customers with a sales pitch straight away will discourage them, which is why you should forge a relationship with them using good content and conversation first. It’s the most effective way to attract prospective customers, especially in a saturated environment. Engaging content always has one or more of the following properties: it’s sharable, educational, entertaining and it tells a story the customer can relate to.


Identify other companies, brands or individuals in your industry whom you see yourself working with. This allows you to be seen by another company or brand’s audience, and you’ll appear more credible if you’re endorsed by someone else in your industry. You could conduct Instagram Live interviews with industry peers. If a clothing brand releases a range of face masks in collaboration with a celebrity, both parties can use the synergy to reach each other’s audiences.

Engage and socialise

Plug yourself into the communities and spaces your target audience is most likely to visit to learn about your industry, skills or talents. If your prospective client is a small, medium or micro-size enterprise, it’d serve you well to join social media communities created by workspaces and incubators. To be seen by the right people, engage in the conversations happening in these communities.

Times of crisis can either make or break a brand or business. Many owners struggle to embrace the wealth of opportunity that comes with it: you could create solutions your market needs, diversify or reduce your product offering, and identify and resolve inefficiencies in your business.

The best way to identify opportunities during a crisis is to:

Familiarise yourself with the latest trends and changes in the market. Identify which of them will affect your business and how. A good understanding of the environment that your business participates in allows you to mitigate risks and identify lucrative opportunities. You can do this by watching the news and monitoring trending hashtags on Twitter.


Interacting with stakeholders during times of crisis is imperative. Ask your customers what they need, want and how they feel. Gather data that’ll help you understand how to cater to your audience and retain it. Customer insights guide the strategic direction you take as a business, and ultimately what you offer the market.

Think outside the box

In times of uncertainty, businesses must imagine a new normal and find creative ways to exist and compete within it. They must think and do things in a way they’ve never done before. Opportunity awaits on the other side of what we know.

Things to consider when navigating the digital space as a new or existing business

Only great content and strategic thinking stand out online because it’s noisy and competitive.

Every marketplace has a currency...

...anything you can use as a means of trade. Attention is social media currency, as an example. You can gauge how successful your digital efforts are by the amount of engagement you receive from your audience. The more people engage with your content, the more they reward you with attention.

Native’s best

The content you create or curate should match the form and function of the social media platform you want it to appear on. A content form that converts to sales on your website might not yield the same result when you post it on your Instagram profile.

Be mindful...

...of what you share on social media. Once something’s online, it takes on a life of its own. If it isn’t well-received, it can leave a permanent stain on a company’s reputation. Lebo says there are a myriad of digital growth strategies that exist for business owners and brands. The key is to identify which ones match your goals. “One of the greatest benefits of digital marketing is that it usually costs less than traditional marketing channels,” she adds.

Social media marketing

More people are either exploring or involved in commercial activities on social media than on any other digital platform, which makes it one of the most powerful digital tools to emerge from the 21st century. In a nutshell, it’ll help your business reach far and wide. To build your authority on social media, you need to create high-quality content regularly, post consistently and engage with your audience. The benefits of using social media include increased exposure and traffic, the opportunity to develop loyal customers through media marketing, an improved search ranking and lead generation. Social media also promotes thought leadership and helps to increase sales.

Influencer marketing

Despite the scepticism that many business owners have about influencer marketing, it continues to grow and expand as more people have access to the internet and social media. Employing influencer marketing is especially useful for brands in the fast-moving consumer goods industry because its products are usually easy to use, readily available, and tend to be affordable for consumers who’re after an impulse buy.

The benefits of using influencer marketing are:

• Today, customers value it more than traditional marketing channels.
• It’s less expensive than other promotional strategies.
• It’s easy to implement.
• Word of mouth builds trust for your brand.
• Customers are more likely to engage with brands endorsed by influencers they consider authentic.

Content marketing

You must tell a story that best describes and authenticates your identity, and has your target audience in mind. Your content strategy should follow the different stages of your customers’ journey. Not only should it be entertaining; it should understand their problems and provide a solution to them. Showing you understand what your customers need gains their trust and increases conversion rates.

It also helps you:

• Build lasting relationships with your customers.
• Boost brand recognition.
• Build credibility and authority. • Encourage thought leadership.

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