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For diamond company officials responsible for marketing, life used to be relatively simple not much more than 15 to 20 years ago. Other than direct contact between sales staff and clients, the selection of tools at their disposal was limited to a handful of printed trade magazines, and direct-mailing, typically prior to a trade show. Call centers were an option, but for the diamond sector that generally was considered to be an overly-pricey alternative.
And then everything changed with remarkable speed. With the emergence and growing dominance of the Internet as the primary communications platform, a company website, which at first was believed to be an extravagance for the bold and edgy, soon became an absolute necessity. And, where as it originally was regarded primarily as a digital display window, it increasingly became a place where real business was taking place.
But even the most attractive and functional diamond company website is worthless if it is not visited regularly by relevant people. The task of locating those individuals, maintaining contact and holding their interest, and then regularly driving them to those website pages or applications where they can do business has become the undertaking of the diamond company’s digital marketing officer.
“There is commonly-held belief that in our current digital environment work gets done automatically and it is simple to produce,” said a smiling Asaf Hirsh, MID House of Diamonds’ Vice President of Online Marketing. “That it is fair to say is gross oversimplification. It’s true that we can do things that people may only have dreamed about 20 years back, but it is labor intensive, constantly demanding and requires a steady flow of new and interesting ideas and content. However, if you get it right and you have the products to sell, you can achieve things today as an independent company that only major corporations were once able to consider.”
“In the simplest of terms, our job is to generate traffic on our website and mobile apps,” Hirsh continued, “But the traffic we produce needs to offer a reasonable potential of generating sales. So we start by understanding our product range, and from that we develop profiles of our target clients. Only then can we dip into our digital toolbox and begin selecting the items we require.”
The basic ammunition of the digital marketing officer is content. It needs to be pertinent, attractive, easily comprehensible and compelling, and all the while tailored for the specific target audiences. And in a digital environment, it should be multi-media, meaning text, photos and video. “The generation of new content is an ongoing process,” Hirsh said, “and we do it with professionals in all the various media. Also, because the Internet enables immediate communication, much of what we produce is time sensitive, and that means needs to be renewed on a consistent basis.”
Delivering the content to the targeted audience is key, and here the digital marketing officer has a variety of tools that not only make it available, but also enable an analysis of how the material is received.
At the basic website level, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is used. This involves both the technical and creative elements, like keywords, to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. MID House of Diamonds’ objective is that, each time a potential client, and particularly ones located in the vicinities where the company has physical representation, run a search for diamonds, its website should be among the first listed.
The social media have become essential tools for the digital marketing officer. “We maintain a presence on range of the social media platforms, and each in its own way provides a different layer to the comprehensive plan,” Hirsh explained. “They all need to be handled differently in terms of content, in part because each appeals to a somewhat demographic. Facebook, where we currently have 14,600 followers, provides us with the greatest degree of flexibility in terms of content, although today its appears to be strongest in the above-30 audience. Instagram, where we have more than 25,000 followers, has a younger demographic, and there the focus is primarily visual, with high-quality photos and videos. Linkedin is less hip and more business oriented, but it is used by a higher percentage of the key corporate decision makers. Google+, which is article oriented, is a powerful tool, because it gets indexed immediately and quickly shows up on search engines. YouTube obvious serves as a platform for all the videos we produce.”
“You need to remember that the digital marketing campaign is not being conducted in a vacuum,” Hirsh stressed. “At the end of the day it is a component that interfaces with and amplifies all other marketing and sales activities, taking place in our eight of brick and mortar branch offices around the world, via our online sales operations, and at the many trade shows in which we participate each year. It ensures that that MID House of Diamonds remains larger than the sum of its various parts.”