A Short and Simple Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing
Marketing is fundamental for any business.
Whether your goals are to gain more sales or promote new products effectively, marketing keeps your business alive. It develops brand awareness, entices customers and reaps in revenue through public engagement.
But living in the era of the Internet and social media means you have to go beyond just newspapers and pamphlets – you have to go online too.
Whether you’re an aspiring student looking to stand out from competitors or an entrepreneurial spirit looking to establish your own start-up, digital marketing goes hand in hand with success.
Here’s an overview of what digital marketing is and its various aspects that make it worth your time and investment.
What is Digital Marketing?
So you know the general idea behind marketing but you don’t necessarily know what the ‘digital’ in Digital Marketing means.
To get you started, digital marketing is the promotion of products and services using online marketing tactics and strategies such as content creation, email marketing and social media marketing.
Think of all the Facebook ads and updates the businesses you follow post all the time on your home page: the discounts, giveaways and upcoming events that make you want to find out more.
Or blog articles like this one that give you all too valuable, genuine and useful advice to help you become a digital marketing pro.
These are all forms of digital marketing which aim to attract a target audience and get them to buy whatever you’re promoting and selling. If done in a compelling way, digital marketing can be immensely powerful. You create leads and dynamic customer relationships which generate ongoing sales traction for businesses.
Advantages of Digital Marketing
Unlike conventional methods of marketing (think newspapers, TV or magazines), digital marketing has the benefits of being:
Say you want to monitor how much traffic is being directed toward your website daily: analytics allows you to obtain data from the digital trails left by visitors online.
You get answers to questions like:
- “How many people actually responded to my sponsored Facebook ad?”
- “Have the new changes to my content generated more traffic?”
- “Which one was more effective in developing leads: paid advertising or social media?”
From your deductions, you’re then able to identify what you’re doing right, drop what you’re doing wrong, and readjust your tactics accordingly.
It’s no secret that digital marketing is less costly than traditional marketing.
From the mind-destroying process of printing 10,000 copies of brochures, to billboard advertising which can cost up to $3600 a month to lease (excluding print and installation costs, which reach a minimum $800 in total), traditional means can drain your finances pretty quickly – finances which could be better utilised elsewhere.
Uncertainty about ROI also makes digital marketing a more efficient and affordable solution. Why not invest more time in building your web presence, extending your email list and understanding important search engine algorithms instead?
Because of the large databases available online to track areas of business growth or stagnation, digital marketing allows room for experimentation.
If content such as videos or blog articles lack quality or value, it’s much easier to identify weaknesses and start afresh.
Similarly, if you’re losing followers on social media, or you’re getting a lower rate of clicks and shares than per usual, you can pivot your tactics and strategies to account for online demand or criticism.
Unlike the fixed nature and implementation of brochures and billboards, with digital marketing, you’re constantly testing and trying out new ways to engage people.
Types of Digital Marketing
Here’s a brief overview of the most common components digital marketers use for business:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
The term doesn’t seem as intimidating as it looks.
How often do we make buying decisions based on research online? That’s right – all the time. And often, we tend to click on what we find first.
That’s where SEO comes in. It’s basically optimising the reach, content and set-up of your website so that your pages rank higher in search engine unpaid results like Google. The whole process involves the strategic use of specific key words and terms in your content that are used by people searching for your products and services.
Effective SEO offers a huge competitive advantage in terms of online visibility, credibility and traffic. Ultimately, by creating relevant, authoritative and engaging content that makes it easy for people to share and link to your website, you’re able to get better search results via Google’s algorithm.
Rather than a direct call to action for customers to buy this or that, content marketing strategically aims to attract rather than promote.
It includes things like: blog articles, infographics, videos, how-to guides, webinars and e-books – content that expects nothing in return but your engagement.
Think of it as the stage before someone is inclined to become a full-fledged customer. As a business, you have the responsibility of communicating and providing value to your audience so that they in turn see you as valuable and come to trust you.
By itself, effective content marketing is relevant, interesting and resourceful. Combined with SEO, social media, email marketing and paid search ads, content marketing has the potential to drive a whole lot more traffic and conversion.
Many small businesses don’t realise the importance of using social media channels for promotion.
The different platforms you use will depend on the audience you aim to attract. However, typically, a good idea would be to choose one or two and invest time building your brand up. This can include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – popular sites which people –and likely your target audience– use every day.
Social media is great because it ultimately allows you to interact with customers on a daily basis. You understand what they want and need through features like the share, comment and message functions. Promotions have also never gotten more fun, bite-sized and creative with competitions, giveaways, and sales offers online.
Like many of us, your inbox is flooded with emails from your favourite clothing brands or blogs which you’ve subscribed to.
And despite more often than not, their ability to turn your day from a ten to zero real quick depending on their frequency, emails are actually one of the largest revenue-making schemes for businesses today.
This is because if someone is already subscribed to a business, they’re more likely to be a paying customer. Emails also reach customers in the quickest and most direct way compared to SEO or social media.
As a business, you can therefore rely on an email list of interested customers to send promotional offers to whilst using other marketing tactics to grow your list. The hard part though, is keeping those customers engaged – being relevant, informative and entertaining helps!
‘Paid-per-click’ or paid search advertising refers to the sponsored ad on the top of a search engine results page which drives traffic to your website. The basic premise is that you pay a publisher (for using their website/service) every time your ad is clicked – for example, Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing.
While SEO is organic and ‘earned’, paid search is the complete opposite in that it essentially buys clicks and visits.
Deciding which one to use is a matter of choice and resources (but they aren’t mutually exclusive either – you can use both!). While SEO is prone to Google algorithm changes, which could affect your website ranking negatively, PPC ensures a steady stream of traffic. PPC also simply achieves faster results, especially for competitive search engine results pages.