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What is Digital Marketing and Why is it Important

Digital Marketing

At a high level, digital marketing refers to advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile applications.

Using these online media channels, digital marketing is the way companies view goods, services and brands.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is a component of marketing that uses the Internet and Internet-based digital technologies such as desktop computers, mobile phones, and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services.

Its evolution during the 1990s and 2000s changed the way brands and companies used technology in marketing.

As digital platforms are increasingly integrated into marketing plans and daily life, and with more and more people using digital devices rather than visiting physical stores, digital marketing campaigns have become pervasive, using:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Content Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Content Automation
  • campaign marketing
  • Data Driven Marketing
  • E-Commerce Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Social media optimization
  • Direct Email Marketing
  • Display Advertising

Digital marketing extends to offline channels that provide digital media, such as TV, cell phones (SMS and MMS), call back and cell phone hanging tones.

The extension to non-internet channels distinguishes between digital marketing and online marketing.

What is the role of digital marketing for a company?

While traditional marketing may be present in print advertising, telephonic or phsycial marketing, digital marketing can occur electronically and online.

This means that there are a number of endless possibilities for branding including email, video, social media or website based marketing opportunities.

At this point, digital marketing is vital to your business and brand awareness. It seems like every other brand has a website.

And if they don't, they at least have a social media presence or digital advertising strategy.

Digital content and marketing is so popular that consumers now expect and rely on it as a means of brand recognition.

Since digital marketing has so many options and strategies associated with it, you can get creative and try a variety of marketing tactics on a budget.

With digital marketing, you can also use tools like analytics dashboards to monitor the success and ROI of your campaigns more than you can with traditional promotional content – like a billboard or print ad.

SeeHow Advertising Networks Work

How do you define a digital marketing business?

Digital marketing is defined by the use of many digital methods and channels to communicate with customers where they spend most of their time: Online.

From the website itself to the brand's online assets — digital advertising, email marketing, online brochures, and beyond — there is an array of tactics that fall under the “digital marketing” umbrella.

The best digital marketers have a clear picture of how each digital marketing campaign supports their overall goals.

Depending on the goals of their marketing strategy, marketers can support a larger campaign through the free and paid channels available to them.

A content marketer, for example, can create a series of blog posts that generate leads from a new, recently created eBook.

The company's social media marketer may then help promote these blog posts through paid and organic posts on the company's social media accounts.

An email marketer might create an email campaign to send more information to those who download the company's e-book. We will talk more about these specific digital marketers in a minute.

1. Basics of digital marketing work

  • Create an opportunity for your online business.
  • Easily enable others to find your business on the web.
  • Reach a larger audience in your local domain, on social media, or on mobile devices.
  • Reach more customers using advertising means.
  • Track and measure web traffic.
  • Selling products and services online.
  • Achieving a global spread of commercial activity.

SeeWhat are SEM Campaign Tools

2. Inbound Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: Which is Better?

On the surface, they both look alike: both take place primarily online, and both focus on creating digital content for people to consume. So what's the difference?

The term “digital marketing” does not differentiate between push and pull marketing methods (or what we may now refer to as “inside” and “external” methods). Both can fall under the umbrella of digital marketing.

Outbound digital tactics aim to put a direct marketing message in front of as many people as possible in the online space – regardless of whether they are relevant or welcome.

For example, the flashy banner ads you see at the top of many websites are trying to push a product or promotion to people who aren't necessarily ready to receive it.

On the other hand, marketers who use inbound digital tactics use online content to attract their target customers to their websites by providing them with useful assets.

A blog is one of the simplest and most powerful inbound digital marketing assets that allows your website to tap into the terms your ideal customers are searching for.

Ultimately, inbound marketing is a methodology that uses digital marketing assets to attract, engage, and delight online customers. 

Digital marketing, on the other hand, is simply an umbrella term to describe online marketing methods of any kind, regardless of whether they are considered inbound or outbound.

Does digital marketing work for all businesses?

Digital marketing can work for any business in any industry.

No matter what your company sells, digital marketing still involves building buyer personas to identify the needs of your audience, and create valuable online content.

However, this does not mean that all companies should implement a digital marketing strategy in the same way.

1. B2B digital marketing

If your company operates from business to business (B2B), your digital marketing efforts will likely be centered around generating leads online, with the ultimate goal being to have someone talk to a salesperson.

For this reason, the role of your marketing strategy is to attract and convert the highest quality leads to sales reps via your website and supporting digital channels.

Other than your website, you will likely choose to focus your efforts on business-focused channels like LinkedIn where demographics spend their time online.

SeeHow to Use Goals to Improve Your Online Business Performance

2. B2C digital marketing

If your company is a business-to-consumer (B2C), depending on the price point of your products, it is likely that the goal of your digital marketing efforts is to get people to your website and make them customers without having to talk to them.

For this reason, you are less likely to focus on “leads” in the traditional sense, and more likely to focus on building a quick buying journey, from the moment someone arrives at your website, to the moment they make a purchase.

This often means that your product features in your content higher in the marketing funnel than would happen in a B2B business, and you may need to use stronger calls to action (CTAs).

For B2C companies, channels like Instagram and Pinterest are often more valuable than business-focused platforms LinkedIn.

What is the role of digital marketing for a company?

Unlike most offline marketing efforts, digital marketing allows marketers to see accurate results in real time.

If you've ever placed an ad in a newspaper, you'll know how hard it is to estimate how many people have actually flipped to that page and paid attention to your ad.

There is no sure way to know if this ad was responsible for any sales at all.

On the other hand, with digital marketing, you can measure ROI to pretty much any aspect of your marketing efforts. Here are some examples:

SeeKeyword Match Types for SEO and AdWords

1. Site movement

With digital marketing, you can find out the exact number of people who viewed your website's homepage in real time using digital analytics software, available on marketing platforms like HubSpot.

You can also see how many pages they visited, what device they were using, and where they came from, among other digital analytics data.

This information helps you prioritize which marketing channels you spend more or less time on, based on how many people those channels lead to your website.

For example, if only 10% of your traffic comes from organic search, then you know that you probably need to spend some time on SEO to increase that percentage.

With offline marketing, it is very difficult to know how people will interact with your brand before they interact with a salesperson or make a purchase.

With digital marketing, you can identify trends and patterns in people's behavior before they reach the final stage of the buyer's journey, which means you can make more informed decisions about how to attract them to your website right at the top of the marketing funnel.

2. Content performance and lead generation lists

Imagine you've created a product brochure and posted it through people's mailboxes - this brochure is a form of content, albeit offline.

The problem is that you have no idea how many people opened your brochure or how many people threw it directly into the trash.

Now imagine you have this brochure on your website instead. You can measure exactly how many people viewed the hosted page, and you can collect contact details for those who downloaded it using forms.

Not only can you measure how many people interact with your content, but you can also generate qualified leads when people download it.

3. The formation of proportions

An effective digital marketing strategy combined with the right tools and techniques allows you to track all of your sales to a customer's first digital point of contact with your business.

We call this ratio shaping, and it allows you to identify trends in the way people search for and buy your product, helping you make more informed decisions about which parts of your marketing strategy deserve more attention, and which parts of the sales cycle need improvement.

Connecting the dots between marketing and sales is very important - according to the Aberdeen Group, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve an annual growth rate of 20%, compared to a 4% decline in revenue for companies with poor alignment.

If you can improve your customer's journey through the buying cycle with digital technologies, it will likely impact positively on the bottom line of your business.

See5 Ways a Website Helps Your Business Reach Its Goals

What types of digital content should I create?

The type of content you create depends on the needs of your audience at different stages of the buyer's journey.

You should start by creating buyer personas to identify the goals and challenges of your audience in relation to your business.

At the most basic level, your online content should aim to help them achieve these goals and overcome their challenges.

Next, you'll need to think about when they are most likely to be ready to consume that content in relation to where they are in the buyer's journey.

We call this content mapping. With content mapping, the goal is to target content according to the following:

  • Characteristics of the person who will be consuming it (where the buyer persona comes into play).
  • How close is this person to making a purchase (ie the stage of their life cycle).

In terms of formatting your content, there are a lot of different things you can try.

Here are some of the options we recommend using at each stage of the buyer's journey:

1. Awareness stage

  • Blog Posts. Great for increasing organic traffic when paired with a strong SEO and keyword strategy.
  • Graphs. It is highly shareable, which means that it increases your chances of being found across social media when others share your content. (Check out these free infographic templates to get started.)
  • Short videos. Again, these are very shareable and can help your brand get found by new audiences by hosting them on platforms like YouTube.

2. Thinking stage

  • Electronic books. They are great for generating leads because they are generally more comprehensive than a blog post or infographic, meaning someone is more likely to exchange their contact information to receive it.
  • Research reports. Again, this is a high-value piece of content and is great for generating leads. Research reports and new data for your industry can also serve on the awareness stage, as it is often picked up by the media or industry journalism.
  • Webinars. Being a more detailed interactive form of video content, webinars are an effective staged content format because they offer more comprehensive content than a blog post or a short video.

3. Decision stage

  • Case studies. Having detailed case studies on your website can be an effective form of content for those who are ready to make a buying decision, as it helps you to positively influence their decision.
  • Testimonials - Recommendations. If case studies are not a good fit for your business, getting short testimonials about your website is a good alternative. For B2C brands, think of testimonials a little loosely. If you own a clothing brand, it may take the form of images of how other people have designed a shirt or dress, taken from a hashtag that people can contribute.

SeeHow to Market Your Business Online

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