Technology is at the forefront of everything we do. Businesses are now relying on digital marketing and advertising to gain visibility and stay relevant in their market amongst competitors. Throughout this post, we will provide an in-depth look at what digital marketing means and strategies you can use to promote your company and gain a competitive advantage in your industry.
If you're new to digital marketing, you will want to follow along as I cover the following:
What is Digital Marketing (and Why Does it Matter)?
Digital Marketing, otherwise known as internet marketing, is the marketing component that relies on online-based resources and technologies such as computers, cell phones, and social media networks. This includes email and web-based advertising.
Digital marketing is often compared to traditional marketing resources that heavily rely on paper mail, magazine ads, and television. This shift from hard copy to an online format offers retailers and businesses more visibility as the recipient directly receives their message, often at the tip of their fingertips. With traditional marketing phasing out over time, the importance of understanding digital marketing is more crucial than ever.
The History of Digital Marketing
Technological advances have drastically changed modern life everywhere you look. With a surge in our reliance on digital platforms, you can communicate with a broader audience in real-time without the added expense of creating physical advertisements.
The term "digital marketing" initially appeared in the 1990s when the world first saw its advances in digital internet development. The first generation of the World Wide Web, or Web 1.0, began as an informative place for businesses to broadcast their information. Users could only search for relevant information and read it.
In 1993, the first clickable advertisement in banner format went live. This marked the beginning of the transition to the digital era of marketing. 1994 saw new technologies enter the digital marketplace. The very same year, Yahoo was launched.
By 1998, Google had launched. Shortly after, Microsoft launched the MSN search engine, and Yahoo brought to the market Yahoo web search. The digital marketing world saw its first steep surge in 2006 when search engine traffic was reported to have grown to about 6.4 billion in a single month. Information was now accessible instantaneously, changing the face of advertising.
The Benefits of Digital Marketing
One of the most appealing aspects of digital marketing is cost-effectiveness. When it comes to balancing expenses for your business, digital marketing can give you more bang for your buck. Traditional marketing used to carry a heavy price point based on products, advertising, and physical materials to reach your target market. Digital marketing offers an optimal return on investment (ROI) by reaching a larger audience in real-time at a lower cost.
The digital marketing world also offers the opportunity to reach a more targeted audience putting the control back in the hands of the business owner. With traditional marketing services, businesses were reliant on visibility from the market they were advertising. For example, when marketing through a local newspaper, the audience is restricted to those reading the publication. Digital marketing provides the opportunity to reach an audience explicitly targeted to those who are directly interested in the business being marketed, optimizing the ROI. Geographically, digital marketing offers a more expansive reach than traditional. The internet connects the world globally like never before; social media platforms allow like-minded individuals to connect within the same market.
Types of Digital Marketing
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the practice of optimizing web pages to make them reach the top position in the search results of Google and other search engines. An optimized website will increase the likelihood that a business will be seen when being searched online. SEO marketing is a great way to increase visibility organically without using paid advertising.
With platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Youtube connecting millions of people across the world, it is no wonder that social media holds an important place in the digital marketing world. Unlike traditional marketing, social media allows the audience to actively participate in the advertisement or campaign, driving engagement and increasing brand visibility. The ability to track audience participation through pages and stories has grown in popularity as an efficient and cost-effective way to market a business.
Pay Per Click
Pay-per-click refers to paid advertisements and promoted search engine results. This is a short-term form of digital marketing, meaning that the ad visibility is tied to a specific budget. Like SEO, PPC is a way to increase search traffic to a business online.
These ads consist of popups such as those you would find during Youtube videos, bordering the sides of search results, as well as advertisements on web pages when browsing the internet. PPC ads are an effective way to ensure an advertisement is not only seen but that the message is explicitly tailored to the needs of the business purchasing the ad space.
Content marketing goes beyond a general advertisement that promotes a brand or product and instead offers an informative and relationship-based experience with the customer. This works hand in hand with SEO strategies, as it relies on keywords and terms to reach a targeted audience through social media and search engines.
Content marketing is more about building a relationship over time than making a one-click sale in a single transaction. Content marketing also offers an alternative to paid advertising strategies. This is otherwise known as a long-term strategy. Typically in these situations, marketers build up an index of content over time consisting of texts, videos, blogs, etc., which will work with SEO to direct users through search engines to their advertisement.
Affiliate marketing, sometimes known as influencer marketing, is an incentive-based form of advertising reliant on the relationship between a business and an affiliate who promotes the company on their behalf. Affiliates are often compensated on a commission or exchange for goods and services.
The popularity of affiliate marketing has increased rapidly over recent years. Platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube give influencers an outlet to market products or services which can potentially reach a global audience. The business and affiliate partner come to a mutual agreement to determine how the affiliate will be compensated for their contribution. Affiliate marketing places the power in the hands of the business owner, allowing them to market to a large audience cost-effectively.
Email marketing has stood the test of time for good reason. Email allows you to directly connect with your contact list to share updates and promote products or services. Creating personalized messages helps businesses connect with existing or potential customers while driving traffic to their website or social media pages. Email software programs often provide analytics reports, allowing a business to keep track of unopened, read, and clicked emails.
Mobile marketing is advertising for a business to connect with their network via tablet or smartphone. This form of marketing reaches people through text messages, social media, websites, email, and mobile applications.
An article by TechCrunch states consumers in the United States now spend five hours a day on their phones. Due to ease of accessibility, users are spending a significant portion of their day browsing internet-based platforms and applications from mobile devices providing businesses a direct connection to consumers.
What are Digital Marketing Campaigns?
A digital marketing campaign involves executing a marketing strategy across multiple digital networks to increase engagement with the consumer market. This allows companies to connect with current clients while expanding messaging to potential leads. Digital marketing campaigns can lead to increased sales and productivity.
Campaigns can take a variety of forms. Email campaigns, such as monthly newsletters, engage the consumer with regular updates, increasing the value of a brand by providing the consumer with helpful information.
Social media campaigns take advantage of various forms of digital marketing, allowing a business to connect with its target audience directly. There is no shortage of campaigns, from product announcements to promotional content, that a company can use to increase its visibility and market value.
Text campaigns allow businesses to engage with a targeted audience. As society grows more reliant on mobile devices and communication, having access to a customer base through text communication allows a business to remain relevant and updated with its consumers.
Common Digital Marketing Mistakes
Digital marketing has replaced traditional marketing in many ways; however, common mistakes should not be overlooked.
Neglecting to offer discounts or promotions
Discounts and promotions help incentivize customers to continue purchasing or signing up for goods and services, allowing businesses to stand out among competitors in a given market. Failing to do so can cause consumers to look for alternative options.
Prioritizing mobile visibility
With the demand for mobile marketing increasing rapidly in today's market, having mobile-friendly access is crucial in securing consumers' attention. If your marketing strategy is not accessible from a mobile device or is not formatted correctly, your user will seek the information elsewhere.
Avoiding Social Media
Social media can be intimidating for those not familiar with algorithms or navigating engagement and advertisements. However, with the ever-increasing popularity of social media networking, a business needs to utilize these platforms to stay relevant amongst its competitors.
Targeting potential consumers
To garner the attention of any potential customers within a given market, it's important to access them across all digital marketing platforms. Whether it is emails, social media, etc., people will naturally gravitate to their preferred method of receiving information. As a business looking to expand its reach, all forms of communication and visibility should be utilized to reach a broader audience.
Digital Marketing Ideas
Here are several strategies a business can use to get started with digital marketing:
Facebook/Social Media Class
Monthly Newsletters via Email
Educational Email Series
Digital marketing offers businesses the opportunity to advertise their goods and services cost-efficiently while reaching a broad market, in many cases replacing traditional marketing tactics. With the internet being at the forefront of daily interactions, digital marketing allows businesses to take advantage of instant connections with new and existing consumers in their market. For these reasons, many companies gravitate towards digital marketing to improve their ROI and connect directly with potential leads like never before.
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