06 Nov What Is Digital Marketing?
The purpose of marketing is to find ways and means to reach your target audience for the benefit of your business. In today’s highly competitive world, businesses and marketers need to tap into the right channels to effectively convey their messages to their audiences and customers. One marketing category that businesses absolutely can’t afford to ignore anymore is digital marketing. Digital marketing can give you great results for sales, a high return on your investments, and better visibility of your business online.
However, to get the most from your digital marketing strategy, you need to do it the right way. That is why it is crucial to know what digital marketing is, the benefits of different marketing channels, and why your business needs to embrace digital marketing.
Digital Marketing Explained
Digital marketing, sometimes known as internet marketing, is essential for reaching your customers, and you need a targeting digital marketing strategy in order to make your efforts see real results. Before you can embrace it, however, it’s important to really understand what is digital marketing.
Marketo defines digital marketing as “advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps.” But that’s not all! Digital marketing and online advertising goes far deeper and becomes much more intricate than just the online channels used to connect with audiences. In a general sense, businesses use online media channels to market their products, services and overall brand image.
According to Sanjay Dholakia, Former Chief Marketing Officer at Marketo,
“[D]igital is at the core of everything in marketing today — it has gone from ‘one of the things marketing does’ to ‘THE thing that marketing does.’”
To make your digital marketing effective, you need to choose the right channels and understand how to use them to connect with your target audience. Customers don’t want to feel like your brand is constantly trying to sell them something. Rather, customers want to feel truly engaged through your digital marketing channels. This is what’s known as engagement marketing, and it requires a process of constantly collecting data and reforming your strategy in order to make meaningful connections with new and loyal customers.
Choosing the right digital marketing channels, analyzing your performance and your engagements, and consistently revising your strategy is the best way to improve sales and conversions, reach more customers, and improve customer loyalty.
The Many Digital Marketing Channels
So, what exactly are the many digital marketing channels to choose from? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular channels and why you might want to use them!
- Website — Your website should be at the core of your digital marketing strategy, as it is undoubtedly the most powerful marketing channel. You need a website to carry out numerous online marketing campaigns. Since people learn about your brand, product, and services through your website, you need to make sure that your website is appealing and memorable. Your website should be mobile-responsive, fast, and easy to navigate.
- Content Marketing — Content marketing is a broad marketing strategy that helps you reach audiences through generated content. You can post your content on your website and promote it through social media, SEO, email marketing, and/or PPC campaigns. Infographics, blogs, online courses, eBooks, podcasts, and webinars are some of the most popular methods through which you can use content marketing.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) — PPC is a form of online paid advertising. You can reach many internet users through paid advertising on various digital platforms. From Google and Bing to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more, you can run your ads on these digital platforms to connect with your audience. PPC campaigns allow you to target customers based on their age, gender, interest or location. Examples of popular PPC channels include Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
- Social Media — Social media marketing campaigns help you create brand awareness and build social trust. You can use social media marketing to generate leads, as an option for direct sales (such as through Facebook and Instagram), to establish your brand authority, and grow customer loyalty through engagement.
- Email — Email marketing remains near the top of the digital marketing channels that bring the best results. Email marketing allows you to connect with your existing and potential customers who have an interest in your product or services. You can use other digital marketing channels like your website or social media to add new contacts to your email lists and then use email marketing to convert those leads into customers.
- SMS/Text — SMS or text message marketing helps you quickly connect with customers about your latest sales or promotions. Businesses and political campaigns both can benefit from the short and direct nature of SMS marketing. Of course, recipients will need to opt-in before receiving messages and be given the ability to opt-out at any time.
- Video — Video is becoming one of the most effective digital marketing methods today. Not only is YouTube the number two search engine on the internet, but social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok all have made a strong push into the world of video. To make your video marketing campaign effective, you’ll need to combine it with your existing social media marketing, content marketing and SEO campaigns.
- Affiliate Marketing — Affiliate marketing is still an effective method of influencer marketing. It works by compensating industry-relevant influencers who include links to your products or services on your website, or who promote them on other channels like social media. One of the most popular affiliate marketing programs are Amazon’s affiliate links.
Why Your Business Needs Digital Marketing
We’ve defined digital marketing and looked at some of the most popular digital marketing channels, but are you still unsure if it’s the right move for your business? A small business needs digital marketing just as much as a large business in order to bring in new customers, improve sales and make lasting customer relationships.
More reasons why your business needs a digital marketing strategy include:
It gives direction to your goals — Without a robust digital marketing strategy, it is difficult to have well-defined goals, both for your marketing and your business. When you have a strategy, you know what you want to achieve from your online campaign. Developing a digital marketing strategy makes your goals more easily attainable and trackable.
It helps you know your audience —Digital marketing allows you to learn more in detail about your buyer personas, your competition, and how they are both using online channels. There are many tools that can help you research your target audiences online for digital marketing, including Google’s Keyword Planner.
It gives you a competitive advantage — It is difficult to stay ahead of your competitors without a digital marketing strategy because you’ll always be playing catch-up. An ad hoc approach to digital marketing won’t bring you positive results, either. A digital marketing strategy helps your efforts stay focused and always one step ahead.
It improves target audience segmentation — If you want to engage with your existing and potential customers effectively, you need to target them properly. Creating a digital marketing strategy will help you target specific audiences including different buyer personas and different stages of the buyer’s journey — as well as how to connect with different audiences in different marketing channels.
It provides clear analytics data — Digital marketing strategies that include collecting customer feedback and combining it with user behaviors gathered through tools like Google Analytics or social media insights help give a fuller understanding of your audience. When you know exactly what they like, don’t like, and how they interact with your content, you can create better content and better marketing campaigns to reach them.
It allows you to integrate — There are countless opportunities to integrate your digital marketing channels together for cohesive and effective campaigns. You can also integrate your traditional and digital marketing strategies together to create a strong brand voice and to see a boost in your sales and conversions.
It makes budgeting easier — It’s impossible to start a digital marketing strategy without setting a clear budget and allocating the necessary resources first. Because you can directly track your performance and results with internet marketing, you can make quick and clear adjustments to your budget as needed.
It reduces duplication — Through integration and the ability to easily repurpose online content, your digital marketing strategy will eliminate the extra time and resources originally needed to duplicate your content and marketing campaigns.
It keeps you alert — Because the online world is constantly changing, your digital marketing strategy will always be changing, too. This helps you stay on top of the latest trends and consumer behaviors.
It improves optimization — Finally, along with keeping you alert, a smart digital marketing strategy should always leave room for continuous optimization and improvement. This means you will always be putting your best foot forward to connect with your audience and see positive ROI for your marketing campaigns.
Improve Your Online Presence with a UK Digital Marketing Agency
When it comes to digital marketing, you have two options. You can either try and do everything yourself, or you can choose a digital marketing agency to help develop and implement your digital marketing strategy. If you are looking for a professional UK digital marketing agency that specializes in helping small businesses improve their online presence, Virtual Stacks Systems UK is your answer! We are a full-service digital marketing agency that will work closely with you to connect with your customers online through website design, SEO services, PPC advertising, social media marketing and more. Contact us today to get started!