Digital Marketing is only effective when it succeeds in establishing meaningful connections with prospective customers.
Or people we don’t already know.
To do this, we aim to see the world through their eyes and create content that parallels it. Unfortunately, our own point-of-view isn’t always so receptive. When this happens, and our own outlook gets in the way, the content that’s produced is sure to go unnoticed.
And our prospects continue to be people we don’t know.
Now, that might sound like a steep barrier to entry.
Sure enough, it's exactly the kind of thing many, otherwise successful, local business owners have cited in recent years to explain their reluctance toward digital marketing.
And the truth is, that's fairly accurate.
Except for one thing.
Up to a point, digital marketing is entirely free.
It is hard work, make no mistake. But with an analytical and creative approach, regular research, and occasional engagement, the effort can easily prove to be worth its weight in gold.
With that in mind, here are 6 industries that, as a whole, are yet to take advantage of digital marketing.
I. CAR DEALERSHIPS
Forget Rolls Royce. Ask a roomful of people to discuss their most recent car-buying experience and you're apt to see at least a few rolls of the eye. As far as most folks are concerned, buying a car entails making the trek down to the dealership, talking with the sales guy, and then haggling over what they have in stock. Plenty of dealers and showroom managers think that as well.
The trouble with this thinking is that it's a failure of imagination. It's an outmoded way of thinking.
Just because that's how it's always been done, that does not mean it's the most effective or impactful way to do it today, in the year 2018 and beyond. Think of it this way: wouldn't car dealers benefit from the comfort and convenience the internet affords them, the same way other industries have? Customers too for that matter!
When the conversation starts in a remote capacity, the stakes aren't nearly as high. This can give salespeople the opportunity to establish a stronger rapport. From the customer's perspective, it levels the playing field by allowing them time to research and generate questions.
There's also this one inarguable fact: the vast majority of leads will visit your website before they interact in any other way with your dealership. For that reason, it becomes imperative to maintain a functional, semi-compelling website so that leads can research your inventory, if nothing else. In all likelihood, it goes without saying, but it must also be mobile responsive so they can navigate it on their smartphones.
In particular, car dealerships could use online marketing to do all of the following:
- Improve Lead Generation
- Drive Awareness
- Build Engagement
- Gain Referrals
- Track Interest
II. LAW FIRMS
For the layman, the legal world remains something of a mystery, if not a headache.
It's not that everyday people lack the ability to understand the law's meaning. Legalese, however, is very much its own (sometimes tedious) language and a robust digital presence could do wonders to increase a law office's retention of new clients.
Social media, blog posts, reputation management, or more simply, a new website, legal services can be demonstrated in a more accessible, less convoluted way here online.
It's quieter. There's less stress.
It's a chance to convey simple anecdotes that translate the complexities of the law into something more readily understandable. The simple can go in place of the dense, lawyerly language that pervades throughout most attorney's written communication. Rather than saying “We can give you such and such service” and then go on to talk over everyone's head, you might try something like: “We helped Client A draft a living will that helped his estate avoid a costly probate contest. Here's how.”
It's only a matter of time before more attorneys take notice of the promise of the marketing channels that are open to them. There's no time like the present!
III. FUNERAL HOMES
While funeral homes often house sad gatherings, the business itself is a timeless one. There are few things as sure as death. Besides that, burial, cremation, and funeral services seek to honor the lives they commemorate. In that case, what's wrong with putting your best foot forward, and letting prospective customers decide which home is best for them?
In the event of planning a funeral, the bereaved are typically experiencing high levels of stress and would likely welcome the opportunity to simplify one of their biggest decisions: which funeral home to choose and how to decide what makes a good funeral home.
Some may be relatively young, hoping to pre-plan their arrangements. Others are family members grappling with an unexpected event, mourning as they deal with funeral details, customary arrangements, and the full weight of grief. It can be chaotic and difficult.
But ask yourself, faced with this reality, would you rather get a sense of your options online or call around and have the added chore of needing to return phone calls?
This can leave funeral directors with a whole host of potential clients, not to mention creative license when it comes to the funnel or "buyer's journey."
All too often, we think of profitable business practices and genuine concern as being mutually exclusive considerations. But the opportunity digital marketing extends to funeral home directors is just one example where the two areas intersect—and seamlessly.
* "State of Inbound" chart courtesy of Hubspot.com
IV. MANUFACTURING, TRADES, LABOR, HANDYMEN
Manufacturers and tradesmen are among the most underutilized markets with respect to digital marketing and its rewards.
It's easy to see why that would be.
Most of their day-to-day isn't in front of a computer. They're busy fixing, building, drafting, "in the field" or "on-site." Yet, plumbers, contractors, electricians, carpenters, these are highly specialized fields. Relying exclusively on referrals, word of mouth, or even directories can be a precarious position to put yourself in.
The work itself may not lend itself to easy translation and there probably isn't any need for lengthy posts, but digital marketing offers a world of opportunity for tradesman to showcase their specific expertise and feature their specialties. Search engine optimization (SEO) will quickly follow suit and distinguish manufacturers from those without a digital presence.
Restaurants are an off-the-beaten-path addition to this list, since there’s no clear or obvious form of content for them to publish. Plus, most restaurants rely on a physical address rather than an online store, as e-commerce businesses do.
Restaurants have boundless potential when it comes to local SEO and, perhaps best of all, there are no hard and fast rules about what will work when it comes to producing regular, effective content for a restaurant.
A good rule of thumb, however, might be to give the people what they want.
That might be a bi-monthly employee profile, creative shorts on favorite dishes, or a simple monthly blog schedule. It's easy to forget, restaurants serve niche audiences. This gives them a distinct competitive advantage to rank for local searches.
VI. THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY, AGENTS AND LISTINGS
What makes the real estate industry so ripe for content marketing is the sheer amount of information that's out there. Homeowners need to do a considerable amount of research before arriving at a decision, let alone finalizing a deal, and most of them end up seeking out highly specific characteristics in their prospective new homes. Conduct a 15-minute search and you'll likely see it: online real estate agents can certainly improve their listings with more detailed, well-written content. But that's just the beginning of it, and the amount of haphazard material that exists is something of a surprise when you consider what an enormous investment a new home is.
Articulate, researched contributions, the kind that adhere to a regular editorial calendar (so people know what to expect)—these would impart a real sense of trust, and that is something that's sorely missing from today's real estate market and its corresponding digital presence. Think of the relationships that would grow out of a biweekly email. Efforts like these are bound to keep users on sites longer, which could do a lot of the heavy lifting for hardworking real estate agents.
Remember, up to a point, digital marketing is entirely free.
All it really amounts to is an opportunity to leverage the strength of your relationships. That's something you already know how to do.
And when the need for something more arises, there are plenty of agencies ready to help expand your presence.