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What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is an effort to reach potential and current customers through digital channels like social media, search engines and websites. Digital marketing is any marketing done using digital channels. Any efforts to generate business leads, sales or brand awareness using digital technology is a part of digital marketing. Digital marketing is also called online marketing.

What does digital marketing include?

Digital marketing involves a wide range of activities, methods or specialities. Doing digital marketing well means you are doing more than one of the following specialities. Different digital marketing activities contribute to the success in digital marketing and together they bring better results.

One of the mistakes in digital marketing implementation is taking one technique to the uttermost neglecting others. For example, many small businesses emphasise on social media while neglecting SEO and conversion rate optimization. Such a scenario makes the business lose out on the potential revenue were those three techniques been implemented well.

Email marketing

Though it is the oldest digital marketing techniques or methods, it is still one of the most effective when implemented well. Email marketing is a digital marketing technique where a business sends emails to customers seeking a specific direct or indirect response.

Not all email recipients will open. Not all will respond or take the required action. Still, email marketing has the highest conversion rate.

Email marketing is most effective when it is automated (marketing automation) and triggered by customer actions.

Marketing automation can be used to run awareness, outreach, lead nurturing and conversions campaigns.

Search marketing

Search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo) are the gates to the internet. Most people do not know where to get what they are looking for, whether information or product and services. Search engine marketing is an effort to make a business website rank high.

Search marketing can be implemented in two ways: search engine optimization and paid search ads. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the effort to rank higher naturally for specific keywords. SEO aims to generate free traffic from search engines. For much traffic, there is a need to carefully to choose the keywords to target.

Paid search ads are run to show ads when a user search for a targeted keyword. It’s also called Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC). In paid search ads, the business is willing to pay each time a search engine user clicks on their ads.

Social media marketing

There is a huge marketing opportunity within the popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp. Social media marketing is an effort to achieve different marketing objectives by becoming visible on social media channels.

Digital marketers will need to understand how to make the most of social media so as to drive business value. When done well social media can be one of the most effective digital marketing techniques.

There also two sections of social media marketing, the organic and inorganic. Producing and sharing good content loved by social media users naturally is organic social media marketing. Inorganic social media is when a business pays a social network to get their posts seen by a wider audience.

Content marketing

People are looking for solutions to their problems. When they use the internet they will be looking for information more than a specific product or service. Content marketing is the research and production of content that customers would enjoy consuming.

Producing very good content is hard work, that why most businesses chose the quick-fix options often.

Content marketing is a very profitable long term digital marketing technique.

Digital marketing strategy

Since digital marketing a wide discipline, it often requires many parts to achieve the same goal. Digital marketing strategy is the planning and mapping out how each digital marketing technique will be used to achieve business goals. Without a digital marketing plan, the pitfall is becoming carried by vanity statistics which are easy to find in digital marketing.

Website optimization

Websites are the centrepiece of digital marketing. Websites are the only channels that a business has 100% control over. It’s also where meaning actions (lead generation and sales) happen online. Digital marketer needs to understand how to make their website become a useful digital business tool.

The effort to make your website convert more visitors into customers is called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

Is digital marketing different from traditional marketing?

Digital marketing is different from traditional marketing in many ways but has similarities too. The main differences include:

Marketing channels.

Digital marketing reaches the people using digital media such as search engines, websites and social media. Traditional marketing channels include TV, radio, newspapers, billboards, word of mouth etc.

The introduction of digital marketing does not make traditional marketing channels and techniques useless. Digital marketing enhances them and helps to make the whole customer experience richer.

Two-way communication

In traditional marketing, communication is one way. The response will use a different communication channel e.g. visiting the shop.

In digital marketing, customers can respond to the business using the same channel. For example, a customer can comment on a social media ad to ask a question.

This also brings the digital dimension of immediate feedback.

Responses: now or later

Traditional marketing drives people to take action later by visiting a shop, office or make a phone call. Visitors have to remember the details and take action later. With digital marketing, the action is possible immediately.

It is advised to get people to take any action which is not the ultimate commitment first. For example, potential customers can be asked to download discount coupons before they are asked to buy.

This difference in traditional and digital marketing is very important in campaign design. Digital marketing campaigns without immediate actions which don’t cost the customers lose out on potential.

Can be measured.

Traditional data is mostly estimated. Data is very hard to generate in traditional marketing. This is one of the strong points of digital marketing, data is easy to collect, analyze.

Almost everything can be tracked and measured. This gives digital marketer so much power in decision making.

Both traditional and digital marketing push for specific business goals. They are not done for fun.

Marketing is not for games or done because it is possible. Marketing is a business activity and all business activities are measured by output.

Why digital marketing?

The world is now digital. Everything is controlled or done with the aid computers. This has changed how people interact, learn and make decisions. So digital marketing is the obvious way to make things visible to this digital generation.

The introduction of mobiles devices which are powerful enough to get people on digital media was the breakthrough for online marketing. Internet users spend more time connected now than ever before through mobile devices. Digital marketing makes it possible for businesses to be visible to potential and current customers on their mobiles.

There are many industries which are not very digital as yet. Such industries present a big opportunity for any player decides to go fully digitally. The customers are already digital elsewhere. So if they are given a chance to digitise in that industry they will.

Agility

Digital marketing campaigns are not set in stone. Anything about the campaigns can be changed on the fly. Agility is one of the biggest advantages of online marketing.

In fact, all digital marketing campaigns should be approached with an experimenting attitude. Experiment campaigns can then be adjusted for use or thrown out.