New to Digital Marketing? Then you’ve come to the right place since this article is essentially a beginner’s guide to this area of expertise.
Starting a business seems pretty easy and quick. Growing and making it reach an increasing number of people, unfortunately, is not the same. How would you expect the customers to purchase from you if they do not even know that your business exists in real life? Also, you cannot wander around, knocking on people’s doors and telling them what you sell and how it’s useful to them. And, of course, you won’t do this because this is the 21st century. The customers in this era have now become more sophisticated in terms of their lifestyle and their daily needs. They rely on the internet for every bit of information they explore. So, what should you do now? Digital Marketing – The only business arsenal you could use to win.
Digital marketing, in its purest definition, can be stated as:
A marketing technique that involves electronic or digital means to promote a company’s product or services. It works through different channels such as social media, email, search engines, mobile applications, and websites to connect with the right audience and make them aware of the market around them.
You may be thinking that advertising is not new. It has been part of marketing for ages. But, the way advertisements are displayed today is entirely unconventional. Marketing in this tech-savvy epoch has changed from print media to electronic media.
It has set up high standards for businesses to promote their products and services. It demands the customer’s satisfaction and experience above all.
To meet the norms introduced by the ever-evolving market, digital marketing incorporates various tactics to allow businesses to connect with their customers online. That is, where they are present most of the time. It has redefined the purpose of marketing, which now focuses on customer satisfaction and value.
Is Digital Marketing Important for a Business?
Businesses, small and large, need something creative and exceptional to survive in the competition. Sticking to age-old marketing techniques would lead them nowhere except for a well-established marketing strategy that makes sense.
In a world where people are not able to make a single buying decision without their mobile phones, it is not possible to persist without resonating with their demands.
On the other hand, conventional marketing techniques may work for a few brands, but they are not going to earn the real worth that you strive for in your business.
Here is where online marketing makes its place:
Engage with people where they spend their time online
Social media sites have given significant exposure to online marketing. People spend more than half of their day on social media having at least 7 different accounts on these platforms. From teenagers to older individuals, everyone integrates social media in their work, entertainment, studies, communication, outing, leisure time, etc.
Digital marketing allows you to reach these people via their favorite social networking sites. When you introduce your products and services on these social platforms, your audience gets exposed to them quickly.
They are already looking for products similar to yours. Therefore, you get to meet them at the right place and time.
A Boon for Small Businesses
Small businesses find it challenging to reach the intended audience due to the lack of budget and expensive marketing tactics.
Digital marketing works differently: It allows business owners with low budgets to effectively promote their businesses across various digital channels, which in turn costs them less than traditional marketing techniques.
Also, online marketing gives them the guarantee of accomplishment that was not possible for small-level tactics. Even if you try to invest more, you will not get the desired results. But online marketing works on the principle of low-cost efforts to earn high returns. That is, you need not spend more than you receive.
Look into optimizing your website for search engines locally so that you can engage with and capture local customers and businesses.
Specific to a Particular Audience
Your audience is not limited to one particular area. It tends to take different forms and it varies from every other aspect in terms of its nature, behavior, decision-making process, and thought process.
Two people may need the same product but are entirely different from one another. They may have their own interpretations of the product and requirements for various purposes.
Digital marketing allows you to reach these people according to their likes and dislikes, interests, and product needs.
This form of marketing allows you to understand the particular behavior of your audience and to cater your marketing strategy their concerns and needs. You then target your promotional attempts to a specific segment of the audience with a more precise objective.
People wish to know more and more about you until they trust your brand. Interaction with people is significant in building this trust and strengthening your relationship with your audience. When you listen to them, value their choices, and understand their inadequacies, they will definitely consider your services.
Do you think a personalized approach to marketing is possible with conventional methods like print ads that are displayed to the audience as a whole? Not at all. They might reach your target audience, but you will get the reaction that the untargeted sections give to your promotions.
Digital marketing allows you to incorporate personalization into your efforts to make people believe that your products are for their benefit.
With TV ads, can you determine how many people actually saw your ad with interest? How many people were interested in the commercial and were thinking of buying your product?
You may be aware of how essential these numbers are to analyze your marketing strategy. But older methods of marketing will not help you gain such a piece of useful information about your customers and your performance.
That’s when digital marketing comes into play which allows people to understand your ad, interact with it, like it, share it, responded to it, and decide to purchase from you.
Every ad you put in front of your audience is measured in terms of views, likes, shares, and comments which lets you quantify how well your ads perform.
High Return on Investment (ROI)
Marketing demands investments. But what if you do not get a significant return? You spend a lot on advertising your products on TV, radio, newspapers, billboards, etc. But do they give you anything in return?
It is essential that you reap the benefits of your marketing endeavors. But if your strategy fails to win the minds and hearts of your audience, how could you get the response you wished for.
Digital marketing never lets you down. With targeted marketing and personalized selling, it allows you to get a substantial Return On Investment (ROI). Hence, you would not hesitate to implement the same again.
How Does Digital Marketing Work?
Digital marketing is not a single tactic. It consists of several elements that make it work for a business. These elements make up the channels through which you can reach out to your audience quickly.
A marketing strategy is a combination of various methodologies that stand behind its success. A particular section of the audience is approached, keeping in mind its availability, comfort, and suitability. Taking care of these aspects involves incorporating several means to understand and then keeping up with the demands of the audience.
The following is a list of lead players of a robust digital marketing strategy that will be vastly beneficial for your business:
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) stands at a notable position for online marketing. Everyone who uses the internet looking for particular information clings to search engines like Google. They enter their queries into the search bar, and their most preferred engine comes up with some results in response to their question.
The user, without wasting time, clicks on the top-most search result or the snippet that Google flashes on their screen.
Search Engine Optimization enables you to show up in the first-page search results of Google (and other search engines) or, narrowing down, get the snippet position.
SEO tweaks your website for the search engines to gain organic traffic around it. This traffic is necessary to boost your brand awareness and be available to the people who search for services similar to yours.
SEO is a vital component of digital marketing as it focuses on bringing the right leads for your business. It exhibits its work by pushing up your website rankings on the top of the search engine results pages. You just have to put in the right SEO efforts to make it function properly for you. Your website must be easily accessible and interpretable to the web crawlers that rank your website according to its performance.
SEO operates fundamentally on keywords, phrases that your audience uses to search for some information. You need to master the technique of consolidating the right keywords into your website content along with suitable topics. Because that way, only you can match the criteria set by the search engines to rank a site on the SERPs.
Aside from basic and local SEO, there is also voice search optimization which caters to people who use voice recognition to look for web content. This is a powerful new trend that you must look into if you want to keep up-to-date with new digital marketing trends.
A digital marketing strategy includes the best SEO practices that allow a business to show up when a potential customer looks up for them. It indeed improves your online presence and let you connect with your customers directly.
2. Content Marketing
SEO acts fine if the keywords are inserted naturally into the content. Yes, the content.
Where would you embed those keywords to improve the search engine rankings of your website? For sure, you need some content on your webpage that includes those keywords.
Content marketing means just that in a digital marketing strategy. You add some information on your webpage in the form of text, graphics, visuals, audios, etc. and frame this information in the pattern of relevant keywords. You target these phrases in your SEO strategy and prepare your website to represent on the top of the search results.
Content does not restrict itself to just one form. Keywords can be included in the content in several ways.
And, each type of content has its relevance in content marketing. The style and nature of the content are decided on the basis of customer preference.
Think about what your audience likes to read, watch, or hear. Before you curate a piece of information for your prospects, keep in mind their interests and demands. This is what an ideal digital marketing strategy would be for your business.
Research on what class of content your audience favors the most. Frame your solutions, precisely the same way.
You must try these content types for digital marketing:
- Blog posts – An excellent means to build your brand reputation.
- Social Media posts – A source of entertainment and information at the same time.
- E-books and Whitepapers – Serve as answers to the questions of the audience.
- Case Studies – Kind of your success stories.
- Testimonials – A word of appreciation from your happy clients.
- Videos – Great entertainers and attention grabbers.
- Podcasts – Creative content for active listeners.
- Webinars – Facilitates interaction with the audience.
- Ad content – Clickable content with the promotion of a product/service.
- User-generated content – This is the type of content that you have no direct control over. It is created by your audience and has significant impact on engagement.
3. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Have you curated your content? Ready with useful information pieces?
Time to promote!
Yes. If you will not let your readers know that you have something precious for them, how are they supposed to read your blogs, ebooks, whitepapers, or watch your videos, attend webinars?
You have to make your people aware that you have created creative pieces of information for them.
Social media, a hub of entertainment, more like a driver for the success of digital marketing, is your content channel.
Social media marketing is the core of every online marketing strategy that promotes your content through various carriers like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
You can leverage SMM for many purposes like,
- Boosting brand awareness
- Generating leads
- Engage with your audience, and
- Entertain your people along with providing value to them.
Digital marketing best practices involve a firm social media marketing strategy that drives real traffic to your website. The exciting thing is, it connects you with people that are likely to buy from you and actively look for your services.
You do not have to go behind every section of the audience to convert them into potential leads. SMM directs you straight towards the right prospects.
The 5 lead players of social media in digital marketing are:
- Facebook – With 1 billion users, Facebook is a primary social networking site allowing a business to promote their services via the business page feature.
- Twitter – Following Facebook, Twitter rules the social world with content updates wrapped up in tweets of not more than 140 characters.
- Pinterest – It is a great platform to showcase your products in the form of images, crafts, and DIYs.
- LinkedIn – The largest meeting place in the world, LinkedIn allows professionals from across the globe to interact and advertise.
- Snapchat – Based on humorous content, Snapchat has emerged as the most entertaining advertising platform.
4. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
Organic SEO does play a vital role in a digital marketing strategy, but the power of paid media cannot be underestimated.
SEO takes time to show up significant results. On the other hand, paid ads are something that drives in the outcomes quickly.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is one such form of marketing that allows you to draw visitors to your websites, social media posts, or other content. The thing is, you have to pay for every click that your ad secures for you.
In simple terms, you actually buy page visits to your website.
It may sound a little weird to you to try paid ads when you have other marketing tactics for free.
But, performance matters. And, what is more important, is the time a particular marketing strategy takes to raise conversion rates.
PPC ads offer you the best route to reach the top of the SERPs by targeting the most relevant search phrases.
PPC ads, when created for digital marketing, is strategized as follows:
- Select relevant keywords, specific to your business, to target for your ads.
- Start bidding for visibility.
- Whenever your ad gets a click, pay for it.
The other PPC tactic that is prevalent today is CPM (Cost Per Mille), where you pay for every 1000 views on your ad.
Whichever method you use, both are going to drive massive traffic to your website.
Google Ads, the most successful PPC advertising platform in the world, has proved to be the best digital marketing vehicle.
Using Google Ads, you can create effective and high performing ads for your audience. These ads are displayed on Google’s search engine (as the name suggests) and the other products of Google.
You bid on the keywords and pay to Google Ads for each click.
For this, your ad content needs to align with the guidelines set up Google Ads.
5. Email Marketing
Emails are not new but very efficient digital marketing tools. Email marketing allows you to send customized emails to a specific set of audience to promote your services.
People will never stop looking at their inbox. It makes email marketing a powerful medium to reach a massive audience. You directly deliver your message where people wait for you.
Also, emails are meant to target a particular group of people with content crafted according to their interests and behavior.
An exciting aspect of email marketing lets you bother only those people who show interest in your products and services. You are not confused amidst potential and irrelevant leads.
How does this work?
Before you contact people or actually communicate with them, they are required to provide you with their email address. Only attracted audiences are likely to submit their details.
Email marketing is an excellent digital marketing practice that helps you create email lists for various purposes. You can segment your audience on the basis of these lists and then run your marketing campaigns.
For effective email campaigns, you need to take care of three things:
- Curate personalized content that gives value to a specific audience. Include attractive images to make it look appealing and engaging.
- Optimize your email design and content for all devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, desktops, etc.
- Don’t forget to add a clear CTA (call to action) that tells people exactly what to do after they read your email.
In digital marketing, email campaigns can be categorized into two models:
- Newsletters – To give general information about your business to the audience. They are targeted at a broad audience section. Interested people subscribe to your newsletters, and you get the contact details of your leads.
- Lead nurturing – Targets potential leads to convert them into customers that buy from you. These emails are targeted at a small but selective audience and provide them with detailed information about the products and services.
6. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is entirely based on strong relationships between affiliates. The fundamental working principle of affiliate marketing is performance.
It depends on how well the affiliate group advertises your product to drive sales for you. Every customer or lead brought to your website the result of marketing efforts put in by the affiliates.
When seen from the perspective of digital marketing, affiliate marketing involves paying to publishers who provide you a space to advertise your products and services.
What happens is, the reputed publishers allow you to gain some section of their pages and place your advertisements there. When you acquire conversions, you pay them for their offer.
Payment is based on the performance of your ads. You can measure it in terms of conversion rates, sales, lead generation, active promotions, etc.
Digital marketing gains a significant profit from affiliate marketing tactics.
The concept revolves around four major players:
- Merchant – The merchant is the advertiser who places ads on the pages. They can also be referred to as retailers or brands.
- Network – It creates opportunities for the affiliates. It provides them with attractive offers to choose from.
- Publisher – The affiliate who allows the merchants to place their ads is referred to as the publisher.
- Customer – The main target for whom these arrangements are made.
Affiliate marketing is often confused with referral marketing. Although digital marketing involves investments, referral marketing has its focus on relationships and trust. No doubt, it takes help from third parties for advertising like affiliate marketing, but the latter purely works on financial terms.
7. Influencer Marketing
Why do people advertise on TV via celebrities and well-known personalities?
Because the general audience admires them as models, they are likely to follow what their idols say.
The same concept works with influencers in digital marketing when it comes to increasing traffic around your website and increasing brand awareness.
According to its definition:
“Influencer marketing is the practice in which you connect with well-established people of your industry and persuade them to promote your brand.”
You typically ask the influencer to share the links of your website or content with their followers and other influencers that they know. You have to create informative content such as a solution to a specific problem, an infographic, audio content, and other forms of media tailored to their audience.
Having done with content creation, you share it with influencers. You cannot directly ask them to do a favor for you.
Send them personalized emails or contact via social media networks. Appreciate them for their work and express how well they are performing in the industry.
Then ask them to share your content with their followers. This way, you acquire an entirely new section of the audience. Your content generates more views automatically when you share it with the influencers.
As an effective digital marketing technique, influencer marketing provides you a large pool of customers for your business. Some of them may be leads which you can retarget to convert.
Influencer marketing may also work as a third party solution. Here, the influence does not signify arguments. It just encourages the purchasing behavior of customers.
Customers love to hear the people whom they admire. And, they are likely to accept the advice of those people. Hence, influencers play a vital role in building a reputation for your brand. Their word of mouth means a lot for a specific section of the audience.
8. Web Analytics and Mobile Marketing
Web analytics is a creative, analytical technique for digital marketing. It uses internet data to create a website that resonates with user behavior and demands.
Web analytics is a complete process in which you optimize your website by measuring, collecting, and analyzing internet data. It helps you to understand the user behavior on a particular site, track the activities of the user, and observe their actions on a specific website.
When you have such information, you can incorporate marketing intelligence in your website optimization practices. It allows you to design web pages that meet the set targets and examine how they meet those requirements.
Analytical information serves a great deal in digital marketing as it gives rise to innovations and provides the scope of improvement in your advertising efforts.
User sessions and cookies are two different types of tools that web analytics uses to record user behavior for further analysis.
Mobile marketing is, again, a revolution in the age of digital marketing. It has further geared up the evolution process.
People prefer to use mobile phones more than desktops or laptops. Reaching out to them on these particular devices is referred to as mobile marketing.
But, to rule over with mobile marketing, it is necessary that you optimize your content for mobile devices. Every device has a particular screen resolution. You cannot display your apps and websites on mobile phones in the same way you did for desktops or laptops. Doing so will result in losing potential prospects who primarily rely on mobile phones for their buying decisions.
Even your emails, social media posts, website articles, posts, and other content, whether visual or textual, must be optimized for mobile-friendly behavior.
When people view your content on mobile screens, they should not feel irritated or confused. Effective navigation is also one of the crucial aspects of mobile marketing.
9. Video Marketing
Although video marketing is a creative form of content marketing, it has a separate fan base concerning a robust digital marketing strategy.
People pay more attention to videos in comparison to textual content. This does not mean that written content like blogs and articles have less impact.
It is just that every form of content if appropriately created, has its own importance in the market.
It depends on a particular segment of the audience which content type does it prefer. Some people find videos more appealing, and some people consider long forms of content for deep understanding.
Videos are an excellent way to tell short stories to your audience about your brand. YouTube proves what is known as an interactive and entertaining digital marketing channel that rules over the internet with fantastic video content.
You can include many things in your video. Just keep in mind they should be interesting and appealing to the audience.
You can add product descriptions, how to use guides, promotional content, tell your brand story, or add infographics with interactive audio sessions to make your video engaging.
When content is in motion, it creates a high impact on the minds of your people. They start feeling those events to be real and happening in front of their eyes.
As long as digital marketing holds importance, video marketing will continue to be the best content creation tool that matches audience requirements and expectations.
Apart from YouTube, you can also showcase your video content on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, to connect with your dear audience.
Videos are more popular over these platforms. Moreover, these videos can lead them to your YouTube channel, too, if they like your promotional content. This way, you can utilize videos to add new subscribers to your channel. You just have to play in the right direction.
Final Thoughts on Digital Marketing
There is no limit to creativity when you start thinking about digital marketing strategies. It is your knowledge, understanding, and analytical skills that determine the success of your strategy.
You can apply various tactics to make it work, but unless you realize the real sense of online marketing, you fail to do so.
Digital marketing aims at improving customer experience and buying behavior of people while providing them the value that they expect from you.
If your marketing policy adheres to the solemn purpose of online marketing, you’re on the right track.