UPDATED: What is Digital Marketing? [FAQ]

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What is Digital Marketing

A lot has changed in marketing over the past decade. Traditional mediums of promoting and advertising are still (relatively) rampant, but the introduction of digital marketing options has shifted the landscape. Technology has ushered in a new age of digital marketing, and it’s proven itself as one of the most effective avenues thus far.

However, people who have been in the business for a long time may find it hard to handle this transition. After all, digital marketing—at first glance—is drastically different from traditional marketing.

If you’re one of them, you probably find yourself missing the “good ol’ days” where it was possible to get by with just referrals and not much else.

Your frustration is understandable, believe us.

But here’s the silver lining:

Digital marketing offers a lot of benefits to businesses of most any size, scale, or industry. Regardless of your market and marketing objectives, digital marketing gives you the ability to run campaigns that are easy to track, manage, and implement. These campaigns also have a much higher ROI in comparison to many of their traditional counterparts.

We’ll get into the other benefits in a minute. For now, let’s start with the basics.

Digital Marketing: An Overview

Digital marketing is a pretty broad term, but it generally refers to the promotion of brands and products through different forms of electronic media. Compared to traditional marketing, it utilizes methods that allow an organization to evaluate campaigns and check what works and what doesn’t – all in real-time.

The list of tasks digital marketers do is a heady one. It includes monitoring sales conversions, checking what gets views, knowing what kind of content works, and so on.

Digital marketing is closely associated with the internet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s exclusive to it. Some other avenues include mobile apps, digital television and radio channels, electronic billboards, wireless text messaging, podcasts, etc.

Digital Marketing: The Importance

By leveling the online playing field, digital marketing offers equal opportunities for all kinds of businesses. Way back when, when traditional marketing was only really achievable by big businesses and multinational corporations, small businesses typically struggled with the cost and manpower of a simple marketing campaign.

Needless to say, digital marketing evens the odds.

Now, small- and medium-sized firms have the chance to compete against well-established companies – in terms of marketing – and attract their own share of traffic. In addition to better conversion rates from successful campaigns, digital marketing also offers great revenue. This means further support for digital advertising strategy optimization.

Another benefit is wider reach. Digital marketing makes it possible to connect with more people using digital avenues (versus traditional channels). Through electronic means, feedback and comments from satisfied customers can be utilized to attract new clients.

But! Be aware that it works both ways. One very unhappy and very vocal customer can ruin all your hard work. Remember to provide good, highly responsive customer care service for potentially unsatisfied clients.

Examples of Digital Marketing

All that said, what procedures can be considered “digital marketing” processes?

Search Engine Optimization

If you’re an online business owner or digital marketer, you’re no doubt familiar with Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. But if you haven’t yet heard of it, SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that it ranks better on the search engine results page (or SERP)—hence the name.

A higher SERP rank can translate to a marked improvement in many of your website metrics: organic traffic, leads, click-through rates, and—most importantly—sales. Most users take search engine results at face value; the first thing Google recommends must be the best possible result. So if you rank on the front page of Google’s SERP, people will have very little reason to doubt your validity and credibility.

SEO can be bucketed into three categories: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.

On-Page SEO refers to optimizing elements that exist on your webpage; textual content (like blogs and FAQs), media and interactive media (like videos, images, and downloads), and the page’s layout. Off-Page SEO, on the other hand, is optimizing elements that take place outside of your website (or “off” your page). This includes optimizing social media posts, backlinks (or inbound links), and possible guest posts.

Lastly, Technical SEO refers to the process of optimizing the technical aspect of your page. Backend processes, image compression, CSS files, page speed—as long as these “technical” elements can potentially affect your ranking, they fall under SEO.

Emails and Automations

Email is an extremely versatile form of communication that can be used for a myriad of situations. They can be written and adapted to suit most any marketing strategy and, when done right, can achieve a number of outcomes.

Emails are most commonly used for:

  • Announcing promotions
  • Introducing a brand
  • Subscription newsletters
  • “Welcome Wagon” emails
  • Nurturing customer relationships

However, it isn’t very efficient for a marketer or business owner to sit at their desk for hours at a time, just manually sending emails. It may seem doable if you’re a fairly new business with just 100 to 150 subscribers, but anything beyond that can take up a lot of time.

Being in business, you know how precious your time is.

That’s why marketing automation is so important.

Marketing automation is using software to automate basic digital marketing operations—like sending out emails. This eliminates the need to manually perform repetitive tasks, consequently saving you time and effort. You can automate:

  • Sending emails and email sequences
  • Scheduling social media posts
  • Onboarding/nurturing leads through emails and downloads
  • Tracking and analyzing marketing campaigns

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is still under the huge umbrella that is digital marketing. It refers to any marketing strategy that you use to attract, engage, entertain, educate, or otherwise delight consumers—both existing and potential—throughout the buyer journey.

Unlike outbound marketing, where you’re actively reaching out to potential clients, inbound marketing passively draws new prospects towards you. It encourages people to approach you on their own accord rather than you approach them.

Inbound marketing strategies are characterized by how they create a customer experience that works with the customer. Some samples:

  • Content:
  • Inbound Marketing: Blogs
  • Outbound Marketing: Pop-Up Ads, On-Page Ads
  • Promoting/Announcing:
  • Inbound Marketing: Social Media Videos, Weekly Vlogs, FAQs
  • Outbound Marketing: Commercials, YouTube Video Ads
  • Contact
  • Inbound Marketing: Nurturing Emails, Personalized Email Sequences (with options to opt out)
  • Outbound Marketing: Spam Emails, Bulk Emails (addressed to “Hey, you!” or “Hello dear!”)

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

If you’ve ever searched for something on Google, you might have noticed that some results (especially the top ones) will have a little green box next to their link that says “Ad.” This of course tells you that the brand paid for that spot.

Unlike regular paid advertising, however, the beauty of the Pay-Per-Click, or PPC, method is that you’re only charged whenever someone actually clicks on your link. Instead of paying a set price to stay on that spot with no guarantee that someone will actually visit you, you only pay an agreed amount per actual visitor.

Other channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have similar setups.

Content Marketing

This is perhaps one of the most popular forms of digital marketing.

As the name suggests, content marketing is all about content.

(Yes, we know it’s obvious. We’re just being thorough.)

Content marketing is when you create and promote different pieces of content assets in order to achieve any (or all) of the following:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Organic traffic growth
  • Nurturing consumers
  • Brand promotion

What counts as content?

It can be textual, visual, audio-visual … you have multiple options at your disposal.

Here are some of the more common types of content used in digital marketing:

  • Textual Content
  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • eBooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Newsletters
  • Interactive Content
  • Quizzes
  • PDF downloads
  • Livestream videos
  • Audio
  • Podcasts
  • Visual
  • Social Media Posts
  • Infographics
  • Charts & Graphs
  • Audio-Visual
  • Videos

Finding the Best Digital Marketing Company

If you have digital marketing needs, your best course of action would be to source them to a dedicated digital marketing company. And while we know that you’ve got a lot of options—especially given the state of the digital landscape right now—we recommend doing some thorough research before picking a partner.

Look for a digital marketing company with a decent amount of positive (and verified!) reviews and testimonials—this speaks of quality and credibility. Also, look for one that has a client-first policy, which will ultimately make it easier for you to ask questions and make requests.

And, finally, try to look for one that values simple and straightforward communication. This assures you that you’ll always get a straight answer from them when you need it—no sugar-coating, no fancy jargon, just good, solid facts.