Digital Marketing is the promotion of brands, products or merchandise using electronic media. This media could include the Internet, mobile phones, electronic billboards, digital television and digital radio channels. Digital marketing doesn’t necessarily have to be online marketing.
A business’s digital marketing strategy could include the use of search engines, social media, email, websites and apps across all or some of these media to connect with current and prospective customers in a way that, properly used, is more effective than traditional forms of marketing. Before delving too deep into the myriad aspects of Digital Marketing, let’s have a brief look at the traditional methods businesses have been using to entice people to buy their products or services.
Traditional Marketing includes:
The debate on the efficacy of each of these forms of marketing is ongoing. Which is superior? The answer is very much dependent on the industry sector and the type of business in which an enterprise is engaged. While clearly some businesses thrive using traditional marketing, more and more businesses are finding compelling reasons to embrace Digital Marketing.
Digital marketing is the use of various tactics and channels in the digital arena – both free and paid - to drive brand awareness and lead generation.
When corporate values, branding, and customer care are vital, digital marketing delivers.
Here are some of the most common Digital Marketing tactics and the channels they enhance.
SEO ensures that your website has the criteria websites demand for it to be promoted in search engine results pages (SERPs). Good SEO that results in a higher ranking increases the amount of organic traffic the website receives.
Contents – words and images that get your message to your audience, your potential customers. Use good quality, knowledge-packed content to promote brand awareness, generate leads/customers, increase traffic to all your marketing assets, and give you an overall competitive advantage.
Content marketing channels include:
Social Media is one of your most important marketing assets. Properly used it will increase brand awareness, generate leads and drive traffic to your business. The most important platforms are:
PPC is a cross-platform method of driving traffic to a website by paying the platform owner every time the ad is clicked. The most well known of these is Google Ads (Previously known as Google Adwords) where you ‘bid’ for selected keywords – allowing your message to always be in the top position on Google's search engine results pages. You then ‘pay per click’ - a very measurable way to spend your marketing dollar.
Other platforms where you can use PPC include:
Affiliate marketing is where an advertiser pays website owners or technology partners a commission for directing website traffic that converts into sales.
Affiliate marketing is a low risk, high reward marketing strategy, particularly for startups.
Affiliate marketing channels include:
Native advertising is a gentler, more modern version of an advertorial.
The Harvard Business Review tried to define what differentiated native advertising from an advertorial and concluded that there was ‘not much’.
The main difference is the way the user experiences the advertisement. Native advertising aims to make the reader feel like they’re gaining some valuable knowledge rather than feeling as if they have to buy at the end of the article. Call-to-actions are subtle with the content being more focused on educating the reader rather than selling them something.
Ultimately, it’s about the promotion of your message, your brand.
Email marketing is used to communicate with existing customers or people who have yet to purchase from your business but have interacted with it some way - for example, downloaded a free eBook.
Email may be used to promote discounts, highlight specific content, give notification of events and direct potential customers to your website.
An email marketing campaign could include:
Online PR is the practice of securing positive online coverage with digital publications, blogs, and other content-based websites. The channels to maximise your PR efforts include:
Inbound marketing is a combination of any or all of the strategies discussed above (content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimisation and PR) as opposed to outbound marketing (traditional forms of marketing such as television and radio commercials, newspaper and magazine ads, flyers, brochures, catalogues, trade shows, outbound sales calls, and email).
Inbound marketing is a proven way to generate leads, drive sales and grow your business. And it is less expensive than traditional marketing.
The main advantage of digital marketing over traditional forms of marketing is that it allows a business to deliver its message in a personalised form to a targeted audience in a cost-effective manner that is measurable.
There are numerous other benefits to Digital Marketing including:
High ROI/Low CPA
A strategically planned and effectively targeted digital marketing campaign will produce higher ROI (return-on-investment) and lower CPA (cost-per-acquisition) than traditional marketing methods.
Increased Brand Loyalty
Digital marketing strategies, such as those discussed in this article, are highly effective in acquiring new customers and they are also very effective in increasing loyalty among existing customers.
Above all, you must provide your customers with trust, quality, and service.
Traditional marketing, by its very nature, is generic, however, if you can satisfy customers’ needs in a personalised and customised manner you will win out.
This is where digital marketing shines because it enables a business to use the preferences and interests of an individual client to send them a unique marketing message. Tailored, personalised messages for different groups of customers is the most effective tactic you can use to make clients feel special and engage with your business (get them to buy your stuff).
By linking your customer database with your website and social accounts you can interact with customers in a very specific way with targeted offers. The more a customer buys or interacts with your online presence, the more their profile can be refined, and the more effectively the marketing message can be conveyed.
Digital marketing allows you to identify and then aim specifically created content, connections and platforms at the needs and concerns of an identified demographic, psychographic and/or geographic audience.
Without a target in mind your marketing attempts are along the lines of "Ready, Fire, Aim!” rather than the strategic “Ready, Aim, Fire!”. Be professional. Know who you want to market to.
Trackable, Measurable Results
The main reason digital marketing is supplanting traditional marketing is because it offers measurable results.
When you employ digital marketing strategies, analytics software allows you to see the exact number of people who have viewed your website's homepage, checked your email or even clicked on a specific link. You can also see how many pages they visited, what device they were using, and their physical location.
Web analytics and other online metric tools make it easier to establish the effectiveness of your campaign. They can be configured to show your return from each digital tactic.
With this information, you can prioritise which marketing channels to spend time on, based on the number of people those channels are driving to your website.
With traditional marketing, it's very difficult to tell how people are interacting with your brand before they speak with a salesperson or make a purchase. With digital marketing, you can identify trends and patterns in people's behaviour before they reach the final stage in their journey to purchase, meaning you can make more informed decisions about how to attract them to your website right at the beginning of the marketing process.
Improved Conversion Rates
If you have a website, then your customers are only a few clicks away from completing a purchase. Unlike other media that requires potential customers to make a phone call, or visit a shop, digital marketing is seamless and immediate.
Together, all of these aspects of digital marketing have the potential to add up to more sales.
It takes only a couple of clicks to convert a customer online. People don’t have to come to your shop or pick up the phone to become customers. With the use of right strategies they can find out everything about your business and its offerings right from the comfort of their home and can easily be converted into customers.
A well constructed, properly managed website allows you to find new markets and trade globally for only a small investment, something that traditional marketing, by its very nature being limited to a specific geographical area, cannot do.
If you want to trade globally a professionally crafted digital marketing strategy allows you to compete with the ‘big boys’.
Let your Competitors Help You
Monitor your competitors' marketing strategies and:
Assess where you can improve and never be complacent with your current market position.
Social currency is the digital marketing term for ‘word of mouth’ advertising (on social media) – arguably the single most important investment that any marketer can make. Social currency can be profound, powerful and profitable.
Low Barrier to Entry
Television ads, billboards, newspaper and magazine ads are expensive. Prohibitively so for many small businesses, especially startups. This gives bigger businesses an edge straight away.
However, digital marketing products are available in a scalable size for every kind of business. With the advent of digital marketing, every business regardless of its size can reach a larger targeted audience.
Used correctly digital marketing is the most valuable asset a business can employ.