What is digital marketing? Think you have the answers? Think again!
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What is digital marketing? Think you have the answers? Think again!

What Is Digital Marketing

How much of your marketing strategy is digital?

The chances are, in today’s highly-connected landscape, you at least have a social media profile and a website. The question is, are you using your online presence effectively?

Marketing has always been about connecting with your target market in the right places, at the right times. This means interacting with your clients where they’re already spending most of their days – on the internet.

Consumers are constantly online, connected to the web by their smartphones, laptops, computers, countless other devices. In fact, “constant” internet usage among adults worldwide increased by 5% over the last 3 years. If you’re not already invested in a digital marketing strategy, then you’re missing out on a serious opportunity for sales.

So, what is digital marketing?

Most people assume they know the answer to that question, but the statistics suggest otherwise. After all, 49% of organisations don’t have their own digital marketing strategy.

The trouble is, when you’re a growing business, an ever-evolving landscape like the web can be overwhelming and confusing. If you want to have any hope of creating, and maintaining an agile marketing strategy, then it all starts with the right education.

Here, we’re going to answer your biggest questions about digital marketing.

What Is Digital Marketing

What is digital marketing? The basics on “going digital”

Alright, let’s start with the basics.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is an avenue of promotion for a product, brand, or service. It uses multiple forms of electronic media, including mobile instant messaging, SEO, podcasts, video marketing, social media, and email campaigns. The great thing about digital marketing is that it’s inherently measurable. Because your campaigns take place online, they’re easy to track and analyse, so you can learn from your results and improve your digital marketing strategies over time.

Digital marketing comes in many shapes and sizes.

There are B2C marketing campaigns, intended to help your brand connect with the standard consumer and B2B marketing strategies for businesses who want to sell to other businesses. On top of that, there is a wide spectrum of tactics that fall into the realm of “digital marketing,” for instance:

  • SEO (search engine optimisation): This refers to the process of optimising your website and blogs to rank higher in the search engine result pages and boost the traffic your website receives.
  • Content marketing: Content marketing is all about creating assets that generate brand awareness, boost customer loyalty and nurture leads. Channels that can play a part in the content marketing strategy include infographics, blog posts, articles, guides, podcasts, eBooks, and videos.
  • Social media marketing: Social media marketing is about building relationships with your audience through various real-time channels. There are different social platforms available for specific audiences. For instance, LinkedIn is great for B2B marketing, while Facebook is a more general platform.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: Digital marketing isn’t limited to solutions for organic traffic. PPC advertising drives traffic to your website by placing your ad in a space designed to attract attention. You pay for every click, conversion or impression.
  • Email marketing: With an email marketing campaign, you can nurture potential prospects into long-term customers. Email is all about strengthening brand relationships over time with everything from customer welcome emails, to subscription newsletters, holiday promotions and more.
What Is Digital Marketing

Why is digital marketing important?

Okay, now you know the basic answer to “what is digital marketing?” it’s time to explore the potential of this advertising avenue a little further.

Why is digital marketing important?

Unlike standard offline marketing solutions, digital marketing ensures that companies can see the results of their campaigns quickly. This means that you can analyse which campaigns are working best for you and adjust your communication strategies accordingly. Used correctly, digital marketing can:

  • Improve website traffic: With digital marketing, you can track the exact number of people visiting your website landing pages, homepage, and product pages with the right analytics software. You can also figure out important things about what they’re doing when they’re on your pages through things like bounce and conversion rates.
  • Improve customer reach: In the offline world, your brand reach is limited to how far you can send out your leaflets and television advertisements. In the digital world, you can connect with customers as far and wide as you like. Solutions like Facebook Insights and Google AdWords for digital marketing even allow you to adjust your campaigns according to key demographics.
  • Build brand loyalty: Because you naturally gather more information from a digital marketing campaign, you can use that data to boost your user personas and strengthen your understanding of your target market. The more you know about the people you’re speaking to in your marketing campaigns, the more you can personalise your message. The data in digital marketing makes building and maintaining brand loyalty through customised interactions much easier.
  • Reduce marketing costs: Buying a billboard to showcase your brand to a small selection of customers, or even paying for a television advert is an expensive process, with a low ROI. On the other hand, digital marketing solutions come in scalable sizes that suit any type of business, no matter their marketing budget. Solutions like content and social media marketing have an excellent return on investment, so you can spend less and achieve more.
  • Improved conversion rates: In the offline world, converting a lead into a customer is hard work. You need to convince a client to pick up a phone or drive to your store offline. With digital marketing, a conversion takes nothing but a couple of clicks. The buyer journey is far more streamlined.
What Is Digital Marketing

What is digital marketing strategy?

We’ve covered “what is digital marketing” and “why is digital marketing important?” Now, we need to start thinking about how you can use digital solutions in your marketing methods. Ultimately, the best way to launch any marketing campaign is to start with a strategy.

What is a digital marketing strategy?

In simple terms, your digital marketing strategy is an advertising plan outlining the steps you need to take towards your goals online. It’s a step-by-step guide to the tactics you’re going to use and the campaigns you’re going to build to achieve your marketing goals – whether you want increased awareness, improved engagement, or something else entirely.

Although creating a digital marketing strategy can seem like hard work, it’s impossible to learn from your past and optimise your future without a solid plan.

One of the biggest reasons “What is digital marketing strategy” is such a common question, is that many companies confuse digital marketing strategies, with advertising campaigns. Although the two overlap, there are differences between them.

So, what is a digital marketing campaign?

While your digital strategy is the series of actions you plan on taking to achieve your overarching goals, your campaigns are the smaller building blocks within your strategy that help you to reach your targets. For instance, if your goal is to get 25% more customers to your online store, then your strategy may involve using social media to drive engagement and conversions.

A digital marketing campaign, on the other hand, would dive deeper into the type of social media tactics you’re going to use. For instance, you might use videos on Facebook Live to show your human side or start posting images on Instagram to appeal to a younger audience.

What Is Digital Marketing

How to build your own digital marketing strategy

A good way to get to the bottom of the question: “What is a digital marketing strategy?” is to start creating your own.

The first thing you’ll notice when you begin building is that there are two forms of advertising online: inbound and outbound.

Outbound marketing campaigns are defined by the steps a business takes to reach out and connect with their target audience. For example, you might use banner ads, or send countless emails to potential prospects. Unfortunately, outbound marketing simply isn’t as effective as it once was. Most 18 to 34-year-olds will ignore traditional advertising whenever possible. What’s more, the rise of GDPR means that it’s more difficult to connect with people without their permission.

Inbound marketing campaigns are far more effective because they draw people to your company with the promise of value. While inbound marketing can drive better loyalty and higher conversions from your campaigns, it also requires more planning.

Here are just some of the ways you can start building your digital marketing strategy.

1. Create your user personas

Whether you’re working on inbound campaigns or outbound strategies, the first thing you need to know is who you’re speaking to. One good answer to the question: “What is digital marketing?” is: a way to connect with the right people, through the right platforms. Before you even begin to think about what kind of marketing campaigns you’re going to launch, make sure that you have a few solid buyer personas in place, complete with:

  • Demographic data: Age, gender, hobbies.
  • Geographical information: Where is your ideal customer located?
  • Pain points and motivators: What problems do your customers face, and how can you help them?

2. Know your value proposition

Another critical component of any digital marketing strategy is a USP, or “unique value proposition.” The only way to truly stand out in today’s cluttered marketplace is to find a way to resonate with your audience. Ask yourself what you can offer your clients that no-one else in your industry has. For instance, do you:

  • Have a completely new or updated product?
  • Offer a great customer experience and fantastic service?
  • Provide products at a lower price than your competitors?
  • Deliver unique packages that aren’t available elsewhere?

3. Identify your goals and the tools you need

Like any marketing strategy, digital marketing works best if you have pre-established goals in place to guide you towards success. The key to success in most digital marketing strategies is trying to make sure that you don’t push yourself too far, too soon. Stick to one goal at a time and find a way to measure your success.

There are plenty of great tools out there that can help you to measure the performance of your campaigns over time. You might use a digital marketing tool like Google Analytics to find out how much traffic you’re driving towards your website. There are also solutions like Facebook Insights to track your social media campaigns.

4. Evaluate possible digital marketing assets

One of the things that make the question: “What is digital marketing strategy?” so difficult to answer, is the fact that there are so many different campaigns out there to choose from. You may end up having multiple digital marketing strategies at once depending on the goals you’re trying to achieve. For example, you can look at:

  • Inbound advertising strategies like content marketing: This is a great way to build relationships with customers and show your value.
  • Email marketing strategies: As an email marketing agency, we believe that email is a fantastic solution for nurturing leads and turning them into long-term customers.
  • SEO (search engine optimisation): SEO is all about attracting organic traffic to your business and improving your sales potential long-term.
  • PPC and paid marketing: Paid digital marketing strategies can help to boost your traffic and conversions initially while you’re waiting for your SEO to kick in.
What Is Digital Marketing

What is SEO in digital marketing?

One of the great things about digital marketing is that there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy.

Depending on your existing online presence, and the goals you want to achieve, your digital marketing strategies can move in a lot of different directions. However, it’s fair to say that there are a few things that remain important, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish online.

Even if you plan on building most of your brand initially through PPC or paid advertising, you’ll still need SEO to help you figure out which keywords you need to target, and where you can create the most conversions.

This leads us to another major question in the online advertising space: “What is SEO in digital marketing?”

Most people know that SEO is a crucial part of running a successful online business. In fact, 61% of marketers consider SEO to be a huge inbound marketing priority. However, a lot of companies still aren’t sure how to use SEO in their marketing plan.

SEO starts with finding the right keywords into valuable content, to increase your web presence and boost your revenue. However, that’s just one layer of the SEO conversation. SEO is also a component of creating a data-driven marketing plan that allows you to both attract new customers and retain existing clients too. While SEO is most commonly connected with content marketing, it actually spreads all the way across your digital marketing campaign. Here are just some of the places you’ll need to look at SEO:

1. Web design

These days, customers expect better experiences from the companies they visit online. Using SEO in your web design strategies doesn’t just mean adding keywords to your pages and meta descriptions. You’ll also need to look at things like:

  • Page speed: Customers expect web pages to load quickly. In fact, a 10-second page load time comes with a 123% higher bounce rate than a loading time of 1 second.
  • Backlinks: Links have a huge part to play in SEO. Backlinks from authority websites show the search engines that you have valuable information to offer, while internal links make your sitemap easier to navigate.
  • Responsiveness: To give your customers the best possible experience, you need to make sure that they can use your pages on any device. Mobile responsiveness is critical to SEO and digital marketing today.

2. Content and social media marketing

Most people already know that they need to use the basics of SEO in their blog posts and content marketing strategy – but they forget that social media is a part of content marketing. When you’re creating posts for your website blog, you choose specific keywords and links to make your post stand out. The same rules should apply to social media.

Using the right keywords, links, @Mentions and even branded tweets on social media can boost your SEO strategy and give you more authority. Keywords can even attract the attention of influencers to help with your digital marketing campaigns.

3. Paid search and conversion

Finally, when answering the question, “what is SEO in digital marketing?” it’s important not to forget about your paid advertising campaigns. A lot of people assume that SEO is reserved for organic marketing strategies. However, you still need to make sure that you’re reaching the right audiences with the right keywords when you’re investing in paid search.

Combining SEO with your paid marketing tactics can help to boost your results, and ensure you’re getting the right ROI from your advertising campaigns.

What Is Digital Marketing

What is A/B testing in digital marketing?

SEO is just one of the concepts that apply to all aspects of online advertising.

Another thing that you’ll need to think about when you’re asking, “What is Digital Marketing?” is how you’re going to measure the success of your campaigns, and – more importantly, improve them over time.

This brings us to the next question that companies ask about web-based advertising: “What is A/B testing in digital marketing?”

A/B testing is probably the best-known method for optimising your promotional campaigns based on what you learn about your target audience. Essentially, it’s all about comparing the standard version of your digital marketing strategy, to a slightly altered version, to see whether certain tweaks make a difference to your conversion rate.

A/B testing does take time, but it can make a huge difference to your results. Something as small as a change to the words you use in your blog titles can make or break your online campaigns.

You can test pretty much anything in a digital marketing strategy, all the way from your call-to-action to your content copy, and your headlines too. For example, on a website, you can look at:

  • Headlines.
  • Call-to-action text and buttons.
  • Graphics and brand photos.
  • Sales copy and product descriptions.

As you continue to work on your digital efforts, you’ll start to learn new things about your audience, and what they want to see from you. Your social media marketing tools, for example, could show that your customers respond better to a conversational tone of voice. Using that information, you can adjust your marketing copy and switch out pieces of formal tone for something more fun. With A/B testing, you can track these changes, and make sure that you’re getting the best ROI on your digital strategies.

Ultimately, the best marketing campaigns are always driven by data. The more information you can gather from online tools and A/B testing, the more precise and effective your strategies will be.

What Is Digital Marketing

What is a digital marketing agency?

Finally, we come to the last question on our list of top queries to cover about online advertising.

What is a digital marketing agency?

Hopefully, by this point, you can see that digital marketing is a comprehensive, and far-reaching term. Digital marketing expands to cover everything from PPC paid campaigns, to organic content marketing and social media strategies. With so much covered under the same umbrella, it’s difficult for any business to constantly keep track of the trends.

For most companies, it makes far more sense to work with a digital marketing agency that specialises in delivering the results they need. Digital marketing agencies:

  • Let you focus on running your business: It’s hard to run a thriving company when you’re constantly worrying about social media trends and SEO algorithms. A digital marketing agency can take that stress off your shoulders, so you can focus on other pressing parts of running your company.
  • Gives you up-to-date expertise: As the digital marketing landscape continues to change, it’s hard for the average person to stay up-to-date. However, a digital marketing agency is constantly learning about the latest evolutions in the marketplace. That means that you’re always on the cutting edge with your campaigns.
  • Offer an outside perspective: Sometimes, you need someone new to give you an insight into your company that you never considered before. Digital marketing agencies provide out-of-the-box thinking that can boost your creativity and get your brand back on track.
  • Provide measurable results: Most digital marketing agencies give their clients a broad selection of great marketing metrics and statistics to track. This means that you can measure the ROI of your digital marketing strategies, without having to worry about investing in analytical tools.

Digital marketing is complicated.

However, it’s also a crucial part of getting ahead in today’s competitive landscape. Digital marketing can be the ultimate way to grow your organisation, reach new customers, and accelerate your profits. All you need is the answers to the right questions.

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy these too:

— Bridging the digital divide between B2B and B2C

— Promotional practices to perfect your online presence

— Sharing is caring: How to integrate social advocacy

— Web design trends 2018: Tips to stand out online

William Baker
Digital producer
William Baker
Digital producer
As our digital producer, Will regularly contributes to the pages of Brand Fabrik, our online publication dedicated to branding, marketing and design. Will enjoys relaying his enthusiasm for technology and its impact on the creative services sector. He also relishes the opportunity to review the latest design-related products and gadgets.

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