“What is Digital Marketing?”: Here’s One Way of Looking at It
Ever since the smartphone revolution and the incredible worldwide adoption of 4G mobile networks, it is clear that the Internet is now a part of everyday life for many people across the world. Every year since the Internet’s birth, a generation of toddlers, infants, children, teenagers and now young adults have grown up with access to search engines and a new way to purchase products and services.
Whether it is to get the attention of these new generations of consumers, stay ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing innovation or simply maximize marketing efforts, companies are trying their best to bring their products/services to the digital world.
If the definition of digital marketing had to be just one line long, here is what it should be:
“Marketing products and services through digital channels and electronic devices.”
The definition is so simple yet when we begin to dig deeper into which marketing objectives need to be targeted and what kind of time, money and resources need to be utilized; this is when the question “what is digital marketing?” starts to get complicated.
Digital Marketing Activities and Approaches
The list of things that encompass digital marketing is very long, so it helps to look at some of the broad categories that are the pillars of digital marketing today:
1) Search Engine Optimization
2) Social Media Marketing
3) Pay-Per-Click Marketing
4) Content Marketing
5) Email Marketing
While there are many ways to pursue digital marketing, the ones mentioned in the list are the most widely-used activities. These methods may not be enough to see the results your business needs as the digital marketing mix, much like the traditional marketing mix, has to been put together after deciding what your marketing objectives are and how much you can spare to achieve them.
Once this is in place, the digital marketing strategy of the business can be formulated and many of these activities will incorporated into the overall digital marketing campaign. Here’s how each of these activities can work for you.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is one of the most widely used terms in digital marketing but it is often misunderstood. SEO is the process of improving/optimizing the customer’s experience when it comes to searching for and going to your website. Targeting the first page of the search engine results page is one of the key objectives of SEO as people searching for a product or service are more likely to find your business and click on it if it is on page 1. SEO is the key to improving organic traffic to your website and once you build a strong SEO base that gets adjusted over time, there will be a steady stream of traffic to your website. With good SEO, you can achieve many marketing objectives from engagement to conversion.
Social Media Marketing
Social media accounts are a great way for a brand to show their personality and engage with consumers. Not only can you use this opportunity to create a dialogue with potential customers, you can also generate a lot of good will and trust, which helps to acquire and then retain a loyal customer. Social media marketing is also about investing in and reaching out to the potential audience through each social network’s marketing tools. Both Facebook and Instagram have robust marketing tools that can help greatly with generating leads, identifying audiences and creating a positive brand reputation.
Pay-Per-Click Marketing or PPC is another immensely popular form of digital marketing as there are many services and tools that help you achieve a variety of marketing goals on digital channels. Google Ads is one of these important services that help introduce targeted digital ads and links through Google platforms such as the search engine results page. The advantage of PPC is the versatility and measurability of each service as this helps refine and track so many marketing parameters, which in turn, make your targeting even more accurate. Other services such as remarketing, display ads and so on are also available and they all have a part to play in a digital marketing campaign.
One of the more familiar methods of digital marketing, content marketing has been around for a long time. Whether it is an advertorial in a newspaper or a well-defined blog on a website, content marketing has the same purpose and that is to use the power of storytelling to get the marketing message through to the audience. Compelling content can be created and distributed in so many ways through digital means. Blogs, vlogs, videos, eBooks, podcasts and so much more are vehicles through which people can experience a brand vision, message or lifestyle and connect with your company on a more personal level. Great content can also inspire people and this is also a way to connect with your audience on a very strong personal level.
Emails have long been a way to directly communicate with individuals and much like direct mail marketing of the previous century, email marketing provides some of the same benefits. Collecting a long and deep email list of possible customers is a part of the strategy but the other component is reaching out to this audience with excellent email content. Sending the appropriate number of emails to your email list with compelling content can entice them to take part in your venture. Personalized content helps lead your prospective customer to the marketing materials you most want them to read and getting their feedback through surveys and questionnaires is another useful part of email marketing.
Execution is the Key
Great strategies will always remain ideas unless they are executed effectively. With so many moving parts in a digital marketing campaign it can be hard to keep track of what is happening without expertise in the field. Make sure you choose the right people to run your digital marketing campaign because conception to execution, effective use of knowledge and resources is the key to ultimate success. Perhaps then we can finally answer the question, “what is digital marketing?” Think of it as all the activities you need to grow your business through digital means and in today’s world, that’s most of where your business will be done in the future.