You hear the term “digital marketing” now almost daily, but what does it really mean? In its broadest sense, digital marketing is any form of marketing that exists online. However, most people use the term to refer to more specific marketing activities, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM), e-mail marketing and other types of online marketing.
The digital marketing era started in earnest with the creation of the internet. This amazing technology has enabled us, marketers and business owners, to build websites with relevant and useful content pertaining to our businesses and to leverage digital channels such as Google search, social media platforms and email, to connect with current and prospective clients.
As the popularity of the internet and its related functions grows, people are spending more time online, which reduces the effectiveness of traditional forms of marketing.
Any marketing professional will tell you that marketing has always been about connecting with your potential and existing clients at the right time and at the right place. But the places to meet your clients have changed and moved from a physical shop to where they are already spending a significant amount of their time – on the internet!
The important point to remember about digital marketing is that it is about pulling your potential and existing clients towards your business offering. So, instead of going out and ”shouting”, “Buy from me, buy from me,” with endless special offers and price cuts, digital marketing is about attracting people who already have an interest in what problems or needs you can solve for them, at the time when they need it most.
The best digital marketers know how to use both digital and traditional marketing techniques to get the best results.
Why Should You Care About Digital Marketing
If you’re still not convinced that digital marketing is worth your time and attention, consider these statistics;
64% of people say that watching a brand’s videos makes them more likely to buy from that company (HubSpot)
78% of people watch online videos every week (HubSpot)
81% of businesses say that their social media efforts have increased exposure for their business (Clutch)
As you can see, digital marketing is an incredibly powerful tool—one that any business owner would be wise to leverage.
There is a wide spectrum of assets and tactics that are at the disposal of business owners and marketers when it comes to digital marketing; your website and any other online branding assets such as digital advertising, email marketing, social media marketing and online brochures. Each one of these should contribute to the overall marketing and business goals.
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Let’s now take a closer look at some of the most common types of digital marketing:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The goal of SEO is to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). When users type keywords into a search engine like Google or Bing, they’ll see a list of relevant websites. The higher your website appears on that list, the more likely users are to click through to your site.
Therefore, to increase the amount of organic (or free) traffic to your website, you need to optimise your website pages so it ranks higher in search engines. This process is called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. Why do you need SEO you might ask? Well, who looks at the second page of Google results?
But let’s also mention here that there are two types of SEO: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO refers to optimizing your website’s content and structure so that it’s easy for search engines to find and understand.
Off-page SEO refers to building backlinks and increasing your website’s authority so that it can rank higher in SERPs.
Social media platforms like Facebook/Meta, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, to mention just a few, are incredibly powerful tools for reaching potential customers. In fact, over 3 billion people around the world use social media regularly.
When used effectively, social media can help you build relationships with customers and create brand visibility and identity that resonates with your target audience. Effective social media marketing requires a mix of interesting content, engaging visuals, and strategic paid advertising.
At this point it is also worth mentioning that the ”goal posts” of social media platforms constantly change through their updates, so be aware of how much time, money and effort you put into this type of marketing. Therefore, don’t neglect other digital channels that offer a much higher return on your investment.
Email marketing is one of the oldest and amongst many, most neglected forms of digital marketing, but it’s still one of the most effective. By collecting emails from potential customers and sending them relevant updates (like this one) about your product or service, you can keep your brand top-of-mind and encourage potential leads to convert into customers.
Did you know that email marketing is one form of marketing that brings the highest ROI to your business? Businesses should use email marketing as a way of deepening their relationship with their target audiences that gave them permission to communicate through this channel in order to promote their newest website content, promotions, discounts, and events, as well as general useful information about the related industry, products and services they offer.
When you implement an overarching content marketing strategy, you will create content across various digital channels to generate brand awareness about your products and services, with the aim to grow traffic to your website and there convert more potential clients to actual customers. Seems simple and it is but it does take some time, effort and money.
Paid advertising platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads allow you to place ads on SERPs and social media platforms respectively. When users see your ad and click on it, they’ll be taken to your website where they can learn more about your product or service.
Paid advertising is an effective way to reach potential customers who are already interested in what you have to offer.
The most used model of paid advertising is Pay-Per-Click or PPC. It is an advertising model in which businesses pay a fee every time their ad is clicked. The most common form of PPC is found in Google Ads, which allows businesses to bid on certain keywords in order to have their ad appear in Google’s search results.
PPC is effective as it allows businesses to target consumers who are already interested in their product or service. Additionally, PPC ads can be customized to target specific demographics, locations, and even devices.
If you have a high-traffic website, you can use this performance-based advertising to promote third-party products or services on your website, for which in turn you receive a commission.
Digital marketing is an important and cost-effective tool for any business that wants to reach a wider audience and build trust with potential customers. By understanding the most common types of digital marketing, you can start incorporating them into your own marketing strategy.
However, keep in mind that digital marketing has many different facets, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.
As technology continues to evolve, digital marketing will also continue to develop and adapt to new trends and innovations.
We hope this blog post has helped you understand what digital marketing is and why it’s so important for businesses today.
Nikolina is a DMI-certified digital marketing trainer and bespoke mentor.
She is a provider of internationally certified digital marketing and UX design programs.
She trained over 500+ managers, marketers and business owners across many industries.