Digital Marketing – An Overview

If you’re someone who has only used traditional marketing methods to promote your business, the term “digital marketing” may sound like a whole other ball game. But when it comes down to it, the basic fundamentals of digital marketing are the same as those for traditional methods: utilizing different channels to reach your target audience, with the sole aim of converting the prospective buyer. The main difference is that digital marketing will attract a much larger audience and increase your reach across different channels.

Of course, you’ll need to update your knowledge in order to create a robust and highly effective digital marketing campaign. It can certainly feel overwhelming if you’re looking to master the concept of digital marketing, especially since the landscape of digital marketing is constantly changing and evolving. This is why we’ve come up with a comprehensive guide to digital marketing for beginners.

So, how does digital marketing work?

There are multiple means of reaching your target audience. Digital marketing and traditional marketing both have their pros and cons. If you tend to utilize traditional marketing approaches, such as billboards, flyers, or hosting events, you’ll still be able to get your message out there. However, remember that in order to reach your target audience, you need to evaluate the best ways in which to get your message in front of them.

At a high level overview, you can use a variety of different methods and channels to reach your target audience. Digital marketing is just that – advertising by means of a channel. Whether you use radio, phone, or the internet, you should be able to communicate your message to an audience. Of course, when it comes to reaching your target audience, you’ll have to get a little bit more specific.

For example, if your target demographic consists of millennials, it’s best to utilize social media content generation, search engine optimization (SEO), blog content, paid traffic (such as Facebook and Google Ads or PPC), as well as email marketing, so that you stay at the forefront of your audience. By doing so, you’ll be able to create awareness for your business, actively engage prospects, increase sales conversions, and generate more word-of-mouth referrals for your business.

Types of Digital Marketing

There are various types of digital marketing, and it’s important to gain a basic understanding of how they all work together in order to create an effective marketing campaign. Digital marketing is an all-encompassing term used to describe all of the different types of online marketing options. Digital channels like Facebook (or any social media platform), Google search, email marketing, and electronic newsletters are all different types of digital marketing strategies you can use to get your business on the map.

Inbound Marketing

“Inbound marketing” refers to the act of generating and maintaining strong relationships with prospective buyers and sales leads. Essentially, you’re making your business more accessible and cultivating more brand awareness. There’s a variety of ways in which you can accomplish this, including content marketing (such as blogs or articles), establishing your presence on social media, and even providing quality customer service. All of these methods can greatly increase your overall engagement with your target audience.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is more specific in terms of strategy. While inbound marketing involves a variety of methods to reach your target audience, content marketing is more specific, in that it’s a strategy that involves distributing content in order to attract new prospects. By sharing insightful information (for free), you’ll be able to better establish your brand as an authority figure in your specific area of business. Credibility within your consumer base can go a long way, especially when you’re looking to generate brand awareness.

MMS vs. SMS marketing

Mobile marketing is another must-have for your digital marketing strategy. Nowadays, mobile phones are like an extra limb for many of us. In 2019, 40% of online purchases were made via mobile device. With mobile technology moving faster than ever before, it’s safe to assume that these numbers will continue to climb. There are two different types of mobile marketing: “SMS” and “MMS”. SMS (Short Message Service) marketing allows you to send a text message limited to a 160-character limit. MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) allows you to send a message containing pictures, audio, or video content. There’s no limit to how many characters when it comes to MMS messages. Depending on what type of content you’re trying to communicate and how, either of these text message options are suitable for reaching your leads, as your content is quite literally in the palm of their hands.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way for businesses to stay connected to their consumer base. From being able to promote new offers to sending out newsletters with business updates, re-engaging your audience will be easy with content that is customized to their purchasing preferences. According to Experian, transactional emails get eight times more clicks and opens than other types of email, and can generate up to six times more revenue for your business.

PPC and aid Traffic

“PPC” (Pay-per-click) and paid traffic both go hand in hand. In both cases, you’re essentially paying for digital traffic to your website or business. There are a few different types of paid traffic, but all of them are there to help you accomplish the same goal for your business. With PPC, you’re paying for each click your ad gets when placed on popular websites and search engines. These types of ads are usually determined by bids placed on specific keywords on search engines, and will appear at the top of the first page of search results. Ads on websites, however, will have a set cost as opposed to having to bid on its placement. Other forms of paid traffic include social media ads, Google ads, and any other kinds of display ads that will reach your target audience and ultimately expand your reach.

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Optimization (also called “SEO”) is exactly what it sounds like. Technically, it fits in under the umbrella of paid traffic, but it’s also an effective strategy in and of itself. You are essentially paying for visibility for your website on search engine results pages (aka “SERPs”). It’s a critical strategy for expanding your reach just like paid traffic, however it’s also very cost-effective in that you are paying for impressions, resulting in visitors to your website. As a matter of fact, a vast majority of new visitors to a website are led there through typing specific keywords when performing a search. Keywords are important, as search engines use algorithms to identify the most relevant results for the user. The most relevant results are often paid to appear at the top of the page, making it so that the user is far more likely to click on them.

That’s great – but how do I implement these strategies?

Many of these initiatives encompass other tactics that are effective on their own, but in combination they can make a digital marketing powerhouse.  In terms of implementation, coming up with a well-thought-out data-driven strategy will be absolutely fundamental when it comes to driving measurable results. In order to come up with an effective strategy, you first have to think about why you’re doing it in the first place. Why do you want to drive traffic to your website? Why do you want to generate leads through social media ads? The “why” will dictate how you execute your plan moving forward. Here are three important steps you’ll need to take if you want to see a successful turnout:

Step 1: Get to know your audience well 

Being well-acquainted with your audience’s demographics and lifestyle preferences is essential to delivering a message that will resonate with them. It’s wise to contemplate who your ideal customer is, and even come up with a fictional character that encompasses the traits of your buyers. For example, if you’re running a child care business, you’re most likely dealing directly with parents on a regular basis. It’s important to note their main concerns and the reasons why they chose to place their child in your care. In this case, your standard customer would probably be a busy and protective parent. This is just one example, as there are plenty of different types of audiences to which your business could be catering. The important thing is that you identify your customer base’s demographic, personality types, and best ways in which to reach them.

Step 2: Set a realistic goal

Setting a measurable and realistic goal is one of the first steps when it comes to figuring out how you can reach that goal. Next, you’ll want to make sure that you understand why you’re setting that goal, and the steps it will take to achieve it. This is where metrics come into play. Reviewing your metrics on certain initiatives can paint a visible picture of what’s working and what’s not. Digital marketing analytics can give you a comprehensive view of your efforts thus far, and help you determine where you need to adjust some of your efforts. For example, if your leads from Facebook ads are beginning to decline, you may want to change up your ad copy, change up your target audiences, or increase your ad spend. If you’re able to pinpoint where your efforts are successful and are still driving your results, you’ll know where to focus your attention and amplify your efforts accordingly.

Step 3: Keep your friends close, but keep your competitors closer

There are different types of competitors, but every business has to deal with them. Direct competitors refer to businesses that have the same services or products as you do. Indirect competitors are businesses that compete for the same budget type or audience type as you. There are plenty of ways to stealthily research your competitors so you can compare what you’re both offering. For example, you may search key terms and see who pops up on one of the first results. Pay attention to where they are funneling their ads. You may even look into online tools that can analyze your competitor’s performance, as this will give you much needed leverage.

It’s important to note that utilizing these methods will take time, patience,  and consistency. When you’re first starting out, more often than not, don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get everything just right. However, the more you keep up on moving the needle with your metrics and keeping a close eye on which of your efforts are most effective, the better your results will be in the long run. All things considered, setting expectations and having an attainable goal in mind will set you up for success.