How much time should you spend learning Digital Marketing? What are the basic things you should know before starting a digital marketing campaign?
You’ve probably heard the term ‘digital marketing’ thrown around quite often, but what does it really mean? And why is it important?
Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of activities aimed at promoting brands through various online digital media channels.
This includes social media marketing, email marketing, SEO, PPC advertising, etc. The goal of these activities is to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and ultimately close sales.
What Is Digital Marketing, Exactly?
Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of activities including social media, mobile advertising, display ads, search, email marketing, and much more. In short, it’s everything you do online to attract visitors to your site and convert them into paying customers.
Businesses use digital marketing to reach out to potential customers, increase brand awareness, acquire new customers, retain existing ones, and deepen customer relationships.
The key to effective digital marketing is having clear goals and objectives. You don’t want to spend money on something that doesn’t work, nor do you want to miss opportunities because you’re not aware of what’s happening online.
So here’s our take on what makes digital marketing different from traditional forms of marketing.
1. Marketing is no longer just about selling products and services.
In the past, businesses relied heavily on traditional methods like print ads, radio commercials, TV spots, billboards, etc. to promote their brands. These days, people are searching for information and solutions on the web, and they’re looking for ways to solve problems. They’ll go directly to a business’ website to find out more about the product or service, rather than call up the sales department.
2. Consumers are now empowered to make purchases based on research done themselves.
Digital marketing is the process of using online channels to promote your business. It includes social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and content creation for websites, blogs, or other forms of media. The goal of this type of marketing is to reach potential customers through the internet by making it easy for them to find you. This type of marketing helps businesses connect with their customers across different platforms, providing a more personalized service, including e-commerce web sites.
Digital marketing can be broken down into two categories: paid digital marketing and organic digital marketing. Organic marketing includes any marketing efforts that aren’t paid promotions. Examples include free and natural ways to get people to know about your company. Paid digital marketing involves promoting products or brands in a deliberate effort to increase sales.
3. Digital marketing is not a one-and-done process but is a long-term commitment
The good news is that there are many low-cost options available to help you build out your digital presence. You don’t need to have an extensive budget to start building your brand’s online presence. In fact, most of these tools are free or inexpensive to use. However, if you want to take things up a notch, you may consider investing in some premium services. These services will give you access to better technology, which will allow you to create even higher quality content.
4. Instead of traditional media, digital marketing takes advantage of modern media
There is a difference between traditional media and modern media. Traditional media includes TV, the radio, and billboards. Modern media includes social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It also includes mobile platforms, mobile applications, and a plethora of other types of media in the modern world. Either way, digital marketing takes advantage of modern media to help put you in touch with your customers who are willing to purchase your product.
Why Does Digital Marketing Actually Matter?
Around the year 2015, digital marketing became a must-have for every brand. But what exactly does it mean? And how much does it cost?
The goal of digital marketing is to reach customers where they spend their time online. This includes social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and others. These channels provide opportunities to connect with consumers, build trust, and ultimately convert leads into sales.
Digital marketing doesn’t just happen overnight. You’ll need to invest in creating quality content, growing your audience, and making sure you’re meeting your goals over time. That takes resources, strategy, and hard work.
But, it matters because it’s a critical tool to really leverage business assets to reach customers efficiently.
Why Is Digital Marketing So Important?
Digital Marketing Helps Reach More People Than Traditional Methods
If you’re like many small businesses, you probably don’t spend much money on advertising. This leaves you with little choice but to rely on word of mouth referrals to spread the news about your products and services. Unfortunately, people rarely talk about something unless they know someone else who uses it. In fact, studies show that 83 percent of consumers trust recommendations from friends over advertisements. So, how do you make sure that potential customers find you online?
Your best bet is to leverage digital marketing. It involves reaching more people than ever before, while also targeting those who are most likely to convert into paying clients. Here are three reasons why digital marketing is critical for small businesses today:
1. You Can Focus Your Efforts On Prospects Most Likely To Buy
With traditional advertising, you’d typically advertise on TV, radio, print publications, billboards, etc. These types of ads usually target everyone, regardless of whether they’re interested in what you sell. With digital marketing, however, you can narrow down your ad campaigns to specific audiences based on demographics such as age, gender, location, interests, and more. For example, you might want to run Facebook ads targeted towards men ages 25–34 who live in San Francisco.
2. It’s Often Cheaper Than Outbound Marketing
In addition to being able to target your audience better, digital marketing is also less expensive than traditional advertising. As mentioned above, you wouldn’t pay for a billboard near every single person in your city — you’d just put up one in front of the places where people congregate, such as coffee shops, restaurants, bars, etc. But with digital marketing, you can place ads on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn that reach hundreds of thousands of people. And since you’re only spending money on impressions, rather than actual conversions, you’ll end up saving money in the long run.
5. Digital marketing is a great way to grow your business
Digital marketing allows you to target specific groups of consumers based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and location. For example, if you sell sports equipment, you might choose to advertise on a website that caters to sports fans. If you sell health and wellness products, you could target women interested in fitness. By choosing the right target audience, it’s possible to significantly increase the amount of people who might actually buy your products compared to those who might ignore your marketing.
Digital Marketing Helps Smaller brands Compete With Larger Brands
If you work for a small business, the chances are good that you’re competing against some pretty large companies in your industry. And while it’s true that larger businesses tend to spend more money on advertising, that doesn’t mean that smaller brands don’t have plenty of options for getting noticed online.
The key to building a successful digital marketing strategy for a small business lies in identifying specific long-tail keywords that your customers use to find products and services like yours. These keywords are often less competitive than broad terms such as “digital marketing,” “social media,” or “email marketing,” making them easier to rank well for.
You can then leverage these keywords to build high-quality content around topics related to your niche. This content can include blog posts, videos, webinars, infographics, etc., depending on what medium works best for your particular type of business. You can also consider offering free educational resources or guides to help educate your target audience about how to reach your goals.
Once you’ve built up enough authority around your chosen keywords, you’ll want to make sure that people know where to find you. You can do this by creating a landing page dedicated to each keyword, or by placing relevant ads on social networking sites.
Can Digital Marketing Be Successful for All Businesses?
Digital marketing can work for any type of business, regardless of industry. But it doesn’t mean you need to use the same tactics across every channel. In fact, there are many different ways to approach digital marketing depending on how much budget you have, whether you’re selling physical products or services, and where your target customers hang out online.
Regardless of your business model, though, you’ll want to build out a plan that includes identifying your audience’s needs, creating valuable online content, and measuring the performance of each tactic. You don’t necessarily need to spend thousands of dollars per month on advertising — most small businesses can start with free tools like Facebook ads or paid social media campaigns.
The key takeaway here? Don’t limit yourself to one method of digital marketing. Instead, think about how you can leverage multiple channels to reach your audience. If you do decide to try something new, make sure you measure the success of your efforts.
About B2B Digital Marketing
If you’re in B2B, your digital marketing efforts are most likely focused on generating online leads for your sales team. This means that your primary objective is attracting qualified prospects to speak to a sales person. Your strategies aim to generate high-quality leads rather than just pushing out content.
Beyond your website, you’ll likely choose to focus your efforts primarily on business-oriented social media platforms like LinkedIn, where your target market spends their time online. But beyond those channels, there are plenty of opportunities to reach people outside of your industry.
For example, if you sell clothing, you might post pictures of models wearing your clothes on Instagram. Or, if you sell home decor, you could share images of beautiful homes on Pinterest.
In addition to posting content on social media, you should be actively engaging with your followers. Responding to comments, liking other people’s photos, replying to questions, and sharing similar content will encourage more engagement from your followers.
As an entrepreneur, you may not have the luxury of working full-time at your own company. That’s why it’s important to understand the ins and outs of digital marketing, so that you can maximize your time while still making money.
About B2C Digital Marketing
For most businesses, the goal of digital marketing isn’t necessarily to sell products; rather, it’s to build brand awareness, increase customer loyalty and grow revenue. But for many B2C brands, the goal of digital marketing is to simply attract people to your site, and then convert them into customers.
This approach is different enough from what we typically think about as “digital marketing,” and deserves its own category. We call this type of digital marketing “b2c digital marketing.”
The term b2c refers to the fact that the primary audience for these types of sites are consumers, not businesses. These sites tend to be focused on things like fashion, beauty, health, home improvement, DIY projects, etc. They’re consumer-facing, and usually don’t include much information about pricing or ordering options.
In contrast, b2b sites are built around selling products or services to businesses. They tend to be more focused on how to buy, where to source, and how to manage relationships with clients.
What Types of Content Should You Create?
The kind of content you create is determined by your audience’s needs at specific points throughout the customer journey. This includes things like product data sheets, case studies, ebooks, infographics, white papers, videos, webinars, etc.
You should start by creating buyer persona(s), which are groups of people based on similar interests, behaviors, problems or painpoints. These personas represent your ideal customers and give you insight into what type of information they want to learn about your products or services.
Then, you’ll need to consider where along the buyer’s journey they are, and what type of content they might need at each step. There are four main phases: awareness, consideration, purchase and advocacy.
Awareness – Here, buyers will research your brand and look up additional info on your industry. They may even do some initial comparisons between brands.
Consideration – In this phase, buyers will evaluate whether your brand meets their needs, and determine how much risk they’re willing to take in making a decision.
Purchase – At this point, buyers will decide whether to buy your product or service. If they choose to move forward, they’ll enter the next phase — advocacy.
Advocacy – Your job here is to keep your prospects engaged and excited about your brand. You’ll need to provide value, build trust and show empathy.
How To Actually Do Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is one of those things you hear about every day, but it still seems like there are too many moving parts to figure out how to make it work for you. If you’re looking to do some serious digital marketing, here are five steps to take to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Define Goals From the Outset
Before you start spending money on anything related to digital marketing, ask yourself what you want to accomplish. You might be trying to increase sales, grow your brand awareness, or just generate leads. Once you know exactly what you want to achieve, you can narrow down your focus and design a strategy accordingly.
Figure Out Who Your Target Audience Actually Is
The next step is to identify your target audience. This involves determining who you’re targeting and why. Are you hoping to attract people who live near your store? Or maybe you’d rather reach people who are already interested in your product. Whatever the case, once you understand your audience, you can develop a plan that matches up with their needs.
Create a Budget for Digital Channels You’re Targeting
Once you know who you’re reaching out to, it’s time to establish a budget for each digital media channel. Think about where you’re willing to spend money, and stick to that number no matter what. If you end up exceeding your budget, don’t worry, you won’t lose everything. Instead, use the extra funds to invest in additional channels or try something different.
Make Sure You Have a Balance Between Paid and Free Digital Strategies
Digital marketers are often torn between investing heavily into paid campaigns or focusing on building up their organic presence. But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do both.
The key here is to strike a good balance between the two: if you invest too much time and money into paid ads, then you’ll miss out on the potential benefits of having a large following of engaged fans. However, if you don’t put enough effort into growing your organic reach, then you won’t achieve the same level of success as those brands who do put significant resources behind their paid campaigns.
Ultimately, it’s recommended to build up your organic reach first and foremost, and then use paid tactics to amplify the effectiveness of your efforts. This way, you can reap the rewards of both approaches without having to compromise one over another.
Don’t Forget to Create Engaging Content
Once you know your audience and have a budget, it’s time to start creating content. You might think about what type of content you want to produce — blogs, videos, infographics, white papers, ebooks, etc. — and how you plan to distribute those pieces across different platforms. Content creation doesn’t end once you’ve published something online; it’s ongoing.
The next step is to find out where your target market spends most of their time. If you don’t already have a good idea of which platforms are popular among your customers, you’ll need to do some research. A great place to start is with Google Trends.
Google Trends can help you see what people are searching for around the world, including keywords related to your industry. You can even compare trends over time to identify shifts in consumer interest. For example, if you notice that searches for “best dog food” spiked in January 2018 compared to January 2017, there could be a reason why.
You can also look up specific terms by location, such as “dog grooming near me,” or “dog training near me.” These types of queries give you insight into local interests, which helps you develop content that resonates with your audience.
Be Sure to Optimize Your Digital Assets for Mobile Devices
The digital landscape is changing rapidly, and marketers are having to adapt accordingly. Mobile device use is growing exponentially, and the number of people accessing the Internet via smartphones and tablets is increasing every day. As a result, consumers’ expectations around how brands interact with them digitally are evolving.
In addition to making sure your website is optimized for mobile viewing, you must ensure that your advertising campaigns do as well. Digital ads are often viewed on smaller screens, such as smartphones and tablets, and require different layouts and features than traditional print or TV ads.
For example, many mobile ad formats include buttons that allow users to “tap” or “click” on the advertisement. These types of interactions are difficult to perform on small touchscreens, so most mobile advertisers opt for text-only advertisements.
Another important aspect of mobile marketing is ensuring that the customer experience is consistent across platforms. Users expect consistency across channels, whether it’s on mobile phones or desktops. For example, they want to see the same product information no matter what device they’re using.
Don’t Forget About Doing Keyword Research
Digital marketing is all about reaching your target audience through customized content. But how do you know what words are most likely to attract those customers? You need to conduct keyword research. This is where you analyze the data you already have about your product or service, including the terms people use to describe it online.
Keyword research helps determine whether certain phrases are worth targeting. For example, you might notice that someone searched “buy shoes,” but didn’t specify which brand of shoe they wanted. If you sell athletic shoes, you could try adding “athletic shoes” to your list of potential keywords.
You can also check out competitor sites to see what types of keywords they’re focusing on. Doing so can help you identify similar keywords to include in your own content strategy.
Additionally, you can look into popular search queries related to your industry. These can give you insight into what people are looking for and what type of information they’re seeking.
Once you’ve identified your best keywords, you need to make sure they’re relevant to your products or services. Longer, broader keywords tend to perform better because they’re easier to rank for. However, shorter, more specific keywords are usually more desirable because they provide searchers with exactly what they’re looking for.
Create Ideas Based on the Analytics That You Measure
The old adage “If you build it, they will come,” doesn’t apply to every type of content marketing. If you want to grow your brand online, you’ll need to adapt your strategy based on the data you collect about your audience.
For example, let’s say you’ve been working hard to promote a blog post on Facebook. After several weeks, you notice that people aren’t clicking on that link. This could mean one of three things:
- Your audience didn’t like the article
- They don’t care about your industry
- They just haven’t seen the post yet
Based on this information, you could make some adjustments to your strategy. Maybe you should try promoting another piece of content that appeals to your audience better. Or maybe you should look into whether there’s something else you could do to help encourage people to read your articles.
You can use the same approach to analyze your social media posts. Perhaps you noticed that people weren’t liking the photos you uploaded on Facebook. This could indicate that your audience wasn’t excited by the images you shared. Or perhaps they simply weren’t seeing them because they were buried under dozens of other posts.
Digital Marketing Is Not Dead; In Fact It Is Here to Stay
There are some who believe that digital marketing is dead. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, digital marketing is here to stay.
So long as there is some form of a digital audience, there will always be somebody to market products and services to in digital form.
Digital marketing will never go away. It may change and shift in terms of scope and how it’s iterated.
But, for the most part, the digital marketing evolution is here and you need to adapt and become digital marketing ready if you hope to be successful online.
When do you plan on creating and executing your next digital marketing campaign?