Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that utilize an electronic device or the internet. Companies use digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and their websites to connect with customers and potential consumers. Considering how accessible the internet is today, would you believe me if I said that the number of people going online every day is still increasing?
The "constant" use of the internet among adults has increased by 5% in just the last three years, according to Pew Research. And, although we say a lot, the way people search and make purchases has changed - meaning that offline marketing is not as effective as it used to be.
Marketing has always been about connecting with your target audience in the right place and at the right time. Today, this means you need to meet them where they are already spending time: on the internet.
So, digital marketing - in other words - means any form of marketing that exists online.
Today, much is said about inbound marketing as a truly effective way to attract, engage, and delight online customers. An experienced marketer might say that inbound marketing and digital marketing are practically the same thing, but there are some small differences.
Digital marketing is defined by the use of various tactics and digital channels to connect with customers, where they spend a lot of time: online. From a company's website to its online brand assets - digital advertising, email marketing, online banners, and more - there is a spectrum of tactics that fall under "digital marketing."
The best digital marketing professionals have a clear view of how each digital marketing campaign supports their goals. Depending on the goals of your marketing strategy, marketers can support a larger campaign through the free and paid channels at their disposal.
For example, a content marketing professional may create a series of blog posts to generate leads for a newly created e-book. The company's social media marketer can help promote these posts through paid and organic posts on the company's social media accounts. Perhaps the marketer creates an email campaign to send - to those who download the e-book - more information about the company. I will talk more about these specific digital marketing professionals in a minute.
Here's a brief overview of some of the most common digital marketing tactics and the channels involved in each.
The term SEO comes from the acronym "Search Engine Optimization." The SEO process optimizes your website to achieve a better "ranking" on search engine results pages, thereby increasing the amount of organic (free) traffic your site receives. Channels that benefit from SEO include:
This term denotes the creation and promotion of content assets with the goal of building brand awareness, increasing traffic, generating leads, and customers. Channels that can participate in your content marketing strategy include:
This practice promotes your brand and content on social media channels to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and generate leads for your company. Channels you can use in social media marketing include:
PPC (Pay per Click) is a method of driving traffic to your website by paying whenever your ad is clicked. One of the most common types of PPC is Google AdWords, which allows you to pay for the top spots on Google search engine results pages at a "per click" price for the links you place. Other channels where you can use PPC include:
This is a performance-based advertising type where you earn a commission for promoting another company/person's products or services on your website. Affiliate marketing channels include:
Native advertising refers to ads that are primarily content-driven and presented on a platform alongside other unpaid content. BuzzFeed's sponsored posts are a good example, but many also consider social media advertising "native" - advertising on Facebook and Instagram, for example.
Marketing automation refers to software that serves to automate basic marketing operations. Many marketing departments can automate repetitive tasks that they would otherwise do manually, such as:
Given the amount of platforms and information that a digital marketing campaign generates today, it is impractical to manage it manually. Not because it is impossible, but the internet is so fast that you need to keep up with this pace if you really want to achieve good results in your campaigns.
Companies use email as a means of communication with their audiences. Email is often used to promote content, discounts, promotions, and events, as well as direct people to the company's website. Types of emails you can send in a marketing campaign include:
Online Public Relations (PR) is the practice of securing earned coverage with digital publications, blogs, and other content-based websites. It is very similar to traditional PR but in the online space. Channels you can use to maximize your PR efforts include:
Inbound Marketing refers to the "full-funnel" approach to attract, engage, and delight customers using online content. You can use all the digital marketing tactics listed above in an inbound marketing strategy.
Digital marketing can work for any business in any industry. Regardless of what your company sells, digital marketing still involves creating buyer personas to identify your audience's needs and creating valuable online content. However, this doesn't mean that all companies should implement a digital marketing strategy in the same way.
If your company is business-to-business (B2B), your digital marketing efforts will likely be centered on online lead generation, with the ultimate goal of getting someone to speak with a salesperson. For this reason, the role of your marketing strategy is to attract and convert the highest quality leads for your salespeople through your website and digital channel support.
In addition to your website, you'll probably choose to focus your efforts on business-oriented channels like LinkedIn, where your target audience spends their time online.
If your company is business-to-consumer (B2C), depending on the price of your products, the goal of your digital marketing efforts is likely to be to attract people to your website and turn them into customers without needing to speak with them.
For this reason, you're less likely to focus on 'leads' in the traditional sense and more likely to focus on building an accelerated purchase journey, from the moment someone accesses your website to when they make a purchase. This often means featuring product resources higher in the marketing funnel than would be the case for a B2B company, and you might need to use stronger calls to action (CTAs).
For B2C companies, channels like Instagram and Pinterest can often be more valuable than business-focused platforms like LinkedIn.
Unlike most offline marketing efforts, digital marketing allows marketers to see precise results in real-time. If you've ever placed an ad in a newspaper, you know how hard it is to estimate how many people actually saw that page and paid attention to your ad. There's no surefire way to know if that ad was responsible for any sales.
On the other hand, with digital marketing, you can measure the ROI of almost any aspect of your marketing efforts. Here are some examples:
You can also see how many pages they visited, what device they were using, and where they came from, among other digital analytics data that provide a level of understanding about your audience and strategy that no other medium can generate.
This intelligence helps you prioritize which marketing channels to spend more or less time on based on the number of people those channels are driving to your website. For example, if only 10% of your traffic is coming from organic search, you might need to spend some time on SEO to increase that percentage.
With offline marketing, it's very difficult to tell how people are interacting with your brand before they interact with a salesperson or make a purchase. With digital marketing, you can identify trends and patterns in people's behavior before they reach the final stage of the buyer's journey, meaning you can make more informed decisions about how to attract them to your website at the top of the marketing funnel.
Imagine that you created a product brochure and sent it out in people's mailboxes - this brochure is a form of content, albeit offline. The problem is you have no idea how many people opened your brochure or how many threw it away without reading it.
Now imagine you had this brochure on your website. You can precisely measure how many people viewed the page where it's hosted and can collect contact details of those who downloaded it using forms. Not only can you measure how many people are engaging with your content, but you also generate qualified leads when people download it, for example.
An effective digital marketing strategy combined with the right tools and technologies allows you to track all your sales back to the customer's first digital point of contact with your company.
We call this attribution modeling, and it helps identify trends in how people research and buy your product, assisting you in making more informed decisions about which parts of your marketing strategy deserve more attention and which parts of your sales cycle need refinement.
Connecting the dots between marketing and sales is extremely important - according to the Aberdeen Group, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20% annual growth rate, compared to a 4% revenue decline for companies with poor alignment. If you can improve your customer's journey through the buying cycle using digital technologies, it's likely to reflect positively in your company's bottom line.
With digital marketing, you often can see results much faster than with offline marketing, as it's easier to measure ROI. However, it ultimately depends on the scale and effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy.
If you're engaged in reaching an engaged audience and focusing on creating quality online content to attract and convert them, it's likely you'll see good results within the first six months.
If paid advertising is part of your digital strategy, the results will be even quicker, but it's advisable to focus on creating an organic reach using content, SEO, and social media for long-term sustainable success.
As with anything, this really depends on which elements of digital marketing you want to add to your strategy.
If you're focusing on inbound techniques like SEO, social media, and content creation for an existing website, the good news is you don't need much budget. With inbound marketing, the main focus is on creating high-quality content that your audience will want to consume.
With outbound techniques, such as online advertising and PPC investment, there is undoubtedly some expense. What this costs comes down to the type of visibility you want to receive as a result of the advertising.
For instance, to implement PPC using Google AdWords, you'll bid in an attempt to be featured alongside other businesses in your industry at the top of Google's search results for keywords associated with your business. Depending on the competitiveness of the keyword, this can be reasonably affordable, or extremely expensive, which is why it's a good idea to also focus on building your organic reach.
If you've already understood the importance of digital marketing for the health of your company, the next step is to delve deeper into the subject. Despite the clear examples above, we know it's very difficult to think, in practice, how this would work for your business. And for that, we are available to hold a meeting, answer all your questions, and think together about the best solution for the current moment of your company. After all, it's no use wanting to do everything without a budget, it's better to analyze case by case and identify which are the best strategies according to your current budget.
I hope I've helped you with this very important topic! Good business to all of us! :)