It’s common for specific industries to have their own language. What’s understood within one industry may be completely different than how another industry would describe something. For example, plumbers “speak” plumbing; engineers use terms and phrases that other engineers only understand; attorneys use legal terms, and auto repair technicians have a language all of their own pertaining to the parts of a vehicle.
Those of us in marketing are no different; we forget that those who don’t live within our world every day probably will not understand the terms that the marketing community often uses.
It’s tough to wrap our heads around how accessible the Internet truly is. Around the world, the number of people that go online daily is on the rise, somewhere around 5% in the last three years, so offline marketing is not quite as effective as it used to be.
For today’s marketers, that means that finding and connecting with the right audiences online means finding out where they are, which refers to any form of online advertising like a website, search engine, email, social media, mobile app, etc. Today’s consumers rely on digital resources and services, so we have to understand how to reach them, too.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is a massive channel system, making it difficult to get accurate results today. To be successful in digital marketing, marketers have to go very deep into this enormous cross-channel world to uncover strategies that impact the audience they are trying to reach.
When you engage customers in this digital landscape, you’re going to be able to do three things: build brand awareness, position your business as an industry leader, and place your business at the forefront when the searcher, lead, or customer is ready to buy.
In short, digital marketing includes all marketing efforts that use any kind of electronic device or the internet. It’s also called online marketing; digital marketing is the promotion of brands, and again, it’s back to email, social media, digital advertising, phone, texting, multimedia messages, and there’s really so much more on and offline. Essentially, if a marketing campaign revolves around any kind of digital communication, that is the definition of digital marketing.
How Does Digital Marketing Work?
There are many types of digital marketing, but to name a few:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is more of a marketing tool than a form of marketing or advertising itself, but it’s sort of the art and the science of making web pages attractive to search engines. There’s no absolute recipe for SEO success, a rule for ranking your web pages, or your presence online, so getting those high rankings all depends on Google’s algorithm that is constantly changing. There are no exact predictions; we can closely monitor website pages and performance and adjust according to what we see.
Content marketing has the same goal as any marketing strategy; to attract an audience that will ultimately convert into a customer.
However, content marketing accomplishes this a little differently than traditional advertising.
Instead of drawing a prospect with the benefits and potential value of a product or service, content marketing offers value for free to the viewer or the reader in the form of a blog, article, or other material like a video, download, or graphic design of some sort.
A writer who creates online marketing content has to rank that content very high in the search engine results and engage people who read that content so that they DO read it, share it, and interact further with a brand or company. If the written content is relevant to the reader, it will grow a strong relationship and fit the audience at every stage of the buying journey.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the process of driving traffic and awareness of your products through engaging people on specific platforms. We know about those – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram; the power of social media is that it involves active audience participation and can live and engage in the present moment. That’s what is unique about this particular marketing strategy; it makes it popular to digital marketers like us to get their audience’s attention.
Social media marketing also has built-in engagement metrics. These are extremely helpful by showing us how to understand your success at reaching your audience. Some of these metrics include things like “Comments,” “Shares,” “Clicks,” and “Likes” that determine whether or not our message is resonating with the right audience.
Most of the time, there’s no goal to get the audience to make a direct purchase in a social media marketing strategy. Sometimes there is, but in most cases, many brands just use social media marketing to start a conversation and connect with the audience. To encourage them to buy something right away is not usually part of the campaign strategy, but sometimes, you are encouraged to buy directly from social media; it all depends on the company’s goals.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
PPC is when you post an advertisement on a platform and are paying a fee every time someone clicks on that advertisement – thus the name, “pay-per-click.”
How and when someone might see your ad is quite a bit more complicated. When a spot is available on a search engine, and that search engine thinks your ad is relevant, you may potentially get that spot filled with your ad, which is kind of like an instant auction. The algorithm, or the platform on which you are engaging or advertising, will look at what the searcher has put in for relevance regarding keywords that match your particular ad. If they find that it is highly relevant, it matches what the searcher is looking for online, and you get shown to that audience.
These algorithms prioritize and determine whose advertisements get seen by which searcher on the platform by deciding if you have the best ad quality, keyword match, best landing page quality, and best dollar amount you were willing to bid. Overall, that ad has to serve the person who initially searched for whatever made them find you.
Some of the most popular places these ads can be found are Google search results, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. The goal of any PPC campaign is to get a conversion or get the searcher to purchase something, but it could also be as simple as getting them to sign up for a newsletter.
PPC campaigns are highly effective but can also be very expensive, and the competition is very high and complex. You need to monitor them constantly to be successful.
Another form of digital marketing is email marketing. It is not over; it is not dead – email marketing is still very, very popular. We don’t typically email our best friends just to have a conversation, but there’s still a place for email marketing to do something powerful in a follow-up.
People tend to feel that email correspondence is a little more professional and gives them more power and control over when they receive and don’t receive particular messages from certain businesses. The concept of email marketing is straightforward; you’ll send an email with a promotional message, give something of great value to your list of email recipients, and hope that your prospects open and click on it. Still, just like any other form of digital marketing strategy, the execution can be much more complex.
First, you have to make sure that your audience wants to receive the email you’re sending; this means your email list must be an opt-in list that allows the recipient to opt-in or opt-out at any time they like. That’s why you must have valuable content in your email because if you abuse that email list or you advertise to them all of the time, they will eventually opt-out; you’ll lose credibility with that audience and that list with the massive amount of emails that we all receive every single day.
I don’t know about your inbox, but mine stays full. All of us are very picky about what we allow to continue to land in our inboxes, so I recommend an email sent to your audience that individualizes the content, that personalizes the message right to that person, both in the body and in the subject line of your email, and define very clearly what kind of email the subscribers are getting.
Make sure again that they can opt-out or unsubscribe and that it can be very clearly found on that email. You want your email recipient to see your email as a valuable service, so don’t promote all the time or advertise; give something of worth and value. Email marketing has been a proven and effective digital marketing strategy, all on its own for a long time, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere. 89% of surveyed professionals said that email marketing is still their most effective lead generator, so email marketing is here to stay.
Will Digital Marketing Replace Traditional Marketing?
We’ve really only mentioned a few digital marketing strategies here, but there are many, many more online and offline digital marketing ideas that can benefit every business. We haven’t even talked about inbound marketing or gotten into local SEO, reputation management, or offline digital marketing like tabletop kiosks at your favorite restaurants.
Digital marketing should be one of the primary focuses of any overall marketing strategy for your business. Never before has there been such a powerful and effective way to engage and consistently communicate with your customers.
In the future, digital marketing will see an increase in artificial intelligence or AI; it will answer questions quickly for your audience on platforms where they choose to interact. Chatbots and messenger automation are becoming increasingly popular and will become very effective ways to communicate with an audience requiring immediate attention.
When people ask a question and nothing else provides the level of personalization that digital marketing can provide, you can’t speak to a person individually from a billboard, a radio ad, or the newspaper. No other plan offers individualized or personalized marketing for a particular person other than digital marketing.
The more you experiment, the more you find the right mix of digital marketing, and the more you’re going to realize the GROWTH potential is high for your business or organization.
Contact Local Impact
We’re thrilled you’re allowing us to answer your digital marketing questions, but if you happen to have any other questions or specific questions regarding your small business, let’s set up a consultation for personalized feedback unique to your business goals.