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According to one recent study, global spending on digital marketing will reach an enormous $389 billion by as soon as the end of 2021. If you needed a single statistic to underline the importance of this modern communication channel when it comes to making a connection with the members of your target audience, let it be that one.

Yet at the same time, while it's certainly true that the technology behind digital marketing is growing more sophisticated all the time, and the techniques themselves are in a constant state of evolution, one core fact remains as consistent - and as straightforward - as ever. Success here is all about getting the right message in front of the right person at exactly the right time. Your goal doesn't get much more straightforward than that.

Having said that, there are certain best practices that you can leverage that will make achieving those goals significantly easier. They're not necessarily complicated ideas, but they do require you to keep a few key things in mind.

Digital Marketing: Making a Connection, Making an Impact

By far, the most important thing you need to understand about your digital marketing efforts is that one of your top priorities needs to involve creating empathy and building trust with your target audience members. Everything that you do needs to be informed by this core idea.

Really, you're trying to get consumers to see you as more than "just another brand." Creating empathy is a great way to build brand loyalty, and building trust is a perfect chance to establish yourself as an authority. Both of these things instill something far more powerful than your products and services ever could on their own.

This is a big part of the reason why social media marketing has become so effective. You're not strictly "selling" to your customers or hitting them with traditional advertisements all day, every day. You're having conversations with them. You're answering their questions. You're addressing their concerns on their terms. You're forging a legitimate, human connection with them - one that makes them want to learn more about what you have to offer in a way that also separates you from your competitors at the exact same time.

This segues into another one of the most important best practices of modern digital marketing: personalization. Using the data that you've already collected about the people in your target audience, send messages that are optimized for who these people really are. Leverage your website to offer personalized product recommendations based on past purchases (and up-sell opportunities, of course). Send out different emails to different demographics that let people know you understand them and care about them on a base level.

According to another recent study, a massive 71% of consumers say that they feel frustrated when their shopping experience is cold and impersonal. Even making a modest effort to create a more intimate, personal customer experience will pay huge dividends over time - which is why this is one investment that will always be worth making.