Digital Marketing, What is it?

Digital Marketing is an umbrella term used to describe all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses can use digital channels such as email, social media, their websites and search engines to market themselves and connect with current and potential customers.

With the internet becoming more and more accessible and "constant" internet usage in adults increasing has brought about a change in the way people shop, meaning offline marketing is not as effective as it used to be.

Connecting with your audience in the right place at the right time has always been the idea of marketing. Now your audience spends most of their time online, and the marketing has to follow suit.

From the website itself to a business's online branding efforts, there are a plethora of tactics that you can leverage that are described as digital marketing. Digital Marketers will have a clear picture of how each Digital Marketing Campaign will support their overarching goals. Dependent on those goals, Marketers can support the campaign through the paid and free channels at their disposal.

For example,
A Content Marketer might produce a blog post or posts that will generate leads, taken from a new e-book the company recently produced.
The Social Media Marketer will then promote these blog posts on the company's Social accounts, using either organic or paid posts.
Then the Email Marketer might create a campaign to send to those who downloaded the e-book, giving them more information on the company.

Does Digital Marketing Work for All Businesses?

Although there isn't a one size fits all approach to digital marketing, it can work for any business. Regardless of what you sell, the procedure is the same, find out what your target audience needs and provide value to them.

B2C Digital Marketing

If your business is dealing with customers, dependent on the prices of your product the goal of digital marketing will be to get the target audience to your website to become customers eventually, without even having to talk to a salesperson.

For that reason, your focus is likely to be more focused on building a faster buyer's journey, from when they get to your website to when they purchase from you. Your content higher up the marketing funnel is used to "attract" the customer. You might need to use stronger Calls to Actions (CTA's). Channels that can be leveraged include, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. These will be more valuable than the business centred platforms such as LinkedIn.

B2B Digital Marketing

Business to Business Marketing

If your business deals with other companies. The goals of your digital marketing are likely to be based around Lead Generation, ending in someone talking to a salesperson.

For that reason, your digital marketing efforts should be focused on attracting and converting high quality leads to your salespeople via your website and other digital channels, focusing more on business centred channels such as LinkedIn, where your target audience spends most of their time.

Types of digital marketing

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

PPC is an effective way of driving traffic to your site by paying a publisher every time someone clicks on your ad. the most common types of PPCare Bing ads and Google Ads, although Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn(Sponsored Messages) ads are now considered PPC. Google Ads, in particular, place your ads at the top of the search result page at the cost per click that you'd agreed on for your link.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimisation is the free and ‘natural' listings on a search page. It was the very first development in digital marketing, where people found out how important a search engine is, and that you could manipulate the results to appear near or at the top. Google `realised people were doing this and changed the system, so you had to follow the rules, to create a more level playing field. However, there are still many ways of manipulating the results in your favour.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing on Apps

To drive traffic, generate leads and increase brand awareness you can promote your brand and your content on social media channels. The channels you can use to market on social Media include;

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat

Email Marketing

Companies can leverage Email to communicate with their customers and potential customers, sending content, promotional emails and discounts, adding value to move the buyer down the funnel. Email can be segmented so that you can assign different emails to different audiences that are at various stages of the buyer's journey. Types of email sent include

  • Customer welcome Emails,
  • Follow up Emails to website visitors that have downloaded something,
  • Blog subscription Emails,
  • Seasonal promotion Emails,
  • Tips or similar Emails to aid nurturing.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is a methodology whereby the marketer uses a"full funnel" approach to attract, engage, and delight customers.This is seen as a more passive way of marketing where you're inviting thecustomer in, by providing value to them. Rather than just interrupting their news feed with an ad.

Content Marketing

This term is used to describe the creation and sharing/promotion of content assets to increase brand awareness, Lead generation, GeneratingCustomers, and Traffic Growth. Channels that can be leveraged as part of yourcontent marketing strategy include

  • Infographics,
  • Online brochures,
  • eBooks,
  • White-papers,
  • Blog Posts.

What are the Benefits of Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing allows Marketers to see accurate results in real time, unlike offline marketing where you can't see these real time results. With Digital Marketing you can measure most if not all of the ROI on your marketing efforts.

For Example:

Content Performance and Lead Generation.

You can measure how many people viewed your content, for example, a brochure, by considering the stats for the page its hosted on, you can collect the information of who downloaded it, via forms. Not only are you measuring how many people are interacting with your content but you're getting leads from it. Compare that to non-digital marketing where you couldn't be sure how many people kept your brochure let alone read it, and the only way you'd get a lead was if they had contacted you.

Website Traffic.

You can measure the exact number of people who have viewed your homepage of your website in real time using digital analytic tools available on the internet.

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

This intelligence based on real data will help you prioritise which marketing channels to spend more or less on, based on which channels are driving traffic to your site. For example, if ‘organic search' is only contributing to 10% of your traffic, it would be a good idea to invest in your SEO a bit more to increase that percentage.

It is complicated to tell how a person is interacting with your company before either speaking to a salesperson or making a purchase offline. Digital Marketing can help you identify patterns or trends in a customer's behaviour before they purchase so you can make educated decisions as to how to attract them to your website at the top of your marketing funnel.

How long will it take to see the results from my Content?

 Results can feel faster with Digital Marketing, and it is much easier to measure ROI. However, it ultimately depends on the size and effectiveness of your Digital Marketing Strategy.

If you spend time getting to know your buyer personas, to better understand the needs of your customers, letting you create focused quality content that attracts them and eventually converts them. Then you should start seeing strong results within the first 24 weeks.

If Paid Advertising (PPC) is part of your strategy, then you're likely to see the results a lot quicker. However, it is recommended that you concentrate first on building the organic (free) reach using content, social media and SEO, for sustainable and long-term success.

What type of Content should I create?

There are many types of content you could produce, but which kind you do, or should, produce is mostly dependent on your audience's needs based on where they are in the buyer's journey. First, you should start by creating a‘Buyer persona' to identify the goals and challenges of your audience. At a basic level, your content should help them meet these goals or overcome their problems.

Secondly, you should think about content mapping, where you think about when they're most likely to be ready to consume your content, at what stage of the buyer's journey. The goal is to target content according to:

How close that person is to making a purchase.

The characteristics of the person who will be consuming it, Based on your buyer personas.

For the format of your content, there's a lot of different things to try.

Here are some options I'd recommend based on the stage of the buyer's journey:

Awareness Stage

  • Infographics – these are very shareable, increasing your chances of being found on social media when others share your content,
  • Blog Posts – Paired with a Keyword Strategy and Good SEO Blog Posts are great at increasing organic traffic to your site,
  • Short Videos – These are also very shareable, increasing brand awareness, using platforms like YouTube.

Consideration Stage

  • Research Reports – High-Value Content is excellent for generating Leads. New Data and Research Reports can also work for the awareness stage as they are often picked up by industry press or the media,
  • eBooks – Great for Lead generation, they are generally more comprehensive than content found in the awareness stage. Meaning someone is more likely to part with their information in return for one,
  • Webinars – Again more extensive than a blog post or short video. Usually more detailed and interactive.

Decision Stage

  • Testimonials – these can positively influence decisions along with,
  • Case studies – Having these on your website is a good idea as they can positively influence decisions.

Inbound marketing vs digital marketing

There are quite a few similarities between the two, both occur online, both focus on creating content for their audience to consume, so what is the difference?

Digital marketing doesn't differentiate between inbound or outbound marketing efforts; in other words the push and pull efforts both are technically digital marketing.

 Outbound efforts aim to put a message usually marketing, in front of as many people as possible, regardless of if it's relevant, wanted or not.

On the other hand, Inbound Marketing concentrates on using online content to attract potential customers to their websites. The best way to do this is by providing assets that are helpful to them, and the simplest form of doing so is via a blog which allows your website to capitalise on keywords that your target customers are searching for.

In conclusion,

Inbound marketing is a marketing method that uses content to attract, engage and delight customers online. Digital Marketing, on the other hand, is just a term used to describe marketing tactics done online whether it's inbound or outbound.

Wikipedia defines Digital Marketing as: -  

Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium. ... The term digital marketing has grown in popularity over time, particularly in certain countries. 12 Jan 2018

With average spend in the US about to overtake spending on traditional marketing methods. It's clear to see how important Digital Marketing is becoming. With it's real-time results, reach and lead generation capabilities, can you afford not to be investing in Digital Marketing?

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