Digital marketing, according to the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI), is the use of new media or digital technology to achieve marketing goals. The digital marketing era started in earnest with the creation of the internet. This amazing technology has enabled us to build websites with relevant and useful content, and to leverage digital channels such as Google search, social media and email, to connect with current and prospective clients.
As the popularity of the internet and its related functions grow, people are spending more and more time online, actually twice as much as we did even five years ago, and therefore offline/traditional marketing effectiveness is decreasing.
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 shop or a store to where they are already spending a significant amount of their time: on the internet!
The important point to remember is that digital marketing is about pulling your potential and existing clients towards you. So, instead of going out and shouting to the world, “Buy from me, buy from me,” digital marketing is about attracting those people who already have an interest in the problem or need that your brand can solve, at the time when THEY are ready to buy your product or service.
What Exactly is Digital Marketing?
As already mentioned, 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, starting from your website to your online branding assets: digital advertising, email marketing, social media marketing and online brochures. Each one of these contributes to the overall marketing and business goals.
Some of the most common assets of digital marketing are:
- Your website
- Blog posts
- E-books and whitepapers
- Social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
- Earned online coverage (PR, social media, and reviews)
- Online brochures
- Branding assets (logos, fonts, etc.)
Basic tactics most used in Digital Marketing are:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
To increase the amount of organic (or free) traffic to your website, you need to optimise your website so it ranks higher in a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, result’s pages. This process is called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. Why do you need SEO? Well, who looks at the second page of Google results?
When you implement a content marketing strategy, you will create content to generate brand awareness about your products and services, grow traffic to your website and convert more potential clients to actual customers.
Promoting your brand and content on social media channels to increase brand awareness and generate leads for your business is already very popular amongst Zimbabwean businesses. Nevertheless, the goal posts of social media platforms constantly change, so be aware of how much effort you put into this type of marketing. Don’t neglect other channels that offer a much higher return on your investment …
Email marketing is one of the most neglected forms of online advertising in Zimbabwe, but it is the one that brings the highest ROI to your business. Businesses should use email marketing as a way of deepening their relationship with the audiences that gave them a permission to communicate through this channel in order to promote their newest website content, promotions, discounts, events, as well as general useful information about product and services they offer.
PPC is a method of driving traffic directly to your website by paying a publisher every time your advert in the Google search results is clicked. One of the most effective types of PPC advertising is Google AdWords platform.
If you have a high traffic website, you can use this performance-based advertising for promoting third-party products or services on your website, for which in turn you receive a commission.
Online Public Relations
Online PR is like traditional PR, but it is done online through production of digital publications, blogs about your industry, services and products.
I’m ready to try Digital Marketing. What next?
If you’re already doing digital marketing, it’s likely that you’re at least reaching some segments of your audience online. Think about some additional tactics outlined above to enhance your brand awareness and reach wider audiences. Also, think about the skill set of your employees and what kind of knowledge they require to upgrade their skills in digital marketing in order to enhance your online business presence and ultimately increase your bottom line.