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What is Digital Marketing?

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Digital marketing uses various digital tactics and channels to connect organisations and an audience. From a website to online brandings such as social media, digital advertising and email marketing; there is a range of options and tactics that fall into the field of digital marketing.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)​​

Social Media Marketing promotes a brand and content through various social media channels to improve, for example, brand awareness and website traffic. Channels include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.

 

Email Marketing

Organisations can use email marketing to communicate with their audience. Email is often used to promote content, provide discounts and highlight events, as well as to directing people to a website. Types of email marketing campaigns include:

  • Newsletters
  • Content, for example, a checklist requested through an email signup
  • Welcome emails for new customers
 
 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is the process of optimising your website to rank higher in search engine pages; this, in turn, should increase the amount of traffic a site receives.

Brian Dean, in his Google ranking factors paper, describes over 200 ranking factors Google use in their algorithm.  Below is a list of the most important Google ranking factors:

Content Marketing

The Content Marketing Institute describe content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

blackboard showing switch on a content ideas lightbulb

Content marketing focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted online audience. It is often used by organisations to amplify brand awareness, generate leads, increase online sales and engage with a community of users.

Channels in content marketing include:

  • Blog posts
  • Ebooks
  • Infographics
  • Online brochures

Marketing Automation

Automation is provided by software that serves to automate your basic marketing operations. Many marketers automate repetitive tasks they would otherwise do manually, such as email newsletters and social media posting.

 

What do Digital Marketers do?

Digital marketers drive brand awareness and, in business, generate leads, through free, and paid for, digital channels. Channels include for example social media, the website, search engine rankings, email, and online advertising.

Digital marketing focuses on different goals for each channel to measure the organisation’s performance. For example, marketers may measure the organic traffic arriving at a website, or the number of shares a social media post receives.

 

Does Digital Marketing Work for all Organisations?

B2B Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is likely, but not always, centred on lead generation, with the goal being communication between a prospective customer and someone in the sales team. The role of the marketing strategy, in this case, is to reach out and convert the high-quality leads for your salespeople via a website and other support channels, such as a business-focused social media like LinkedIn where the audience is spending time engaging online.

 

B2C Digital Marketing

Depending on the price point it’s possible the goal is to attract people to your website and convert them to become customers without ever needing to speak to the sales department; if indeed the department exists. For that reason, the focus will probably be on accelerating a customers journey, from the moment someone lands on your website (or social media platform) to the instant they make a purchase.

For B2C organisations social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are often more valuable than LinkedIn – a business-focused channel.

 

Digital Marketing – the Benefit?

Digital marketing allows marketers to see real-time results. With traditional channels such as newspaper adverts, it’s difficult to estimate how many people viewed a particular page, and even if they did, did they pay attention to the advert. There’s no absolute way of knowing if an advert was successful for any sales. As John Wanamaker is credited with saying “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”.

It’s possible to measure a Return on Investment (ROI) of a digital marketing campaign; for example:

Website Traffic

You can see the exact number of users (new and returning) visiting website pages, which device they’re using, when they visited, where they are in the world, in real time, and for free, by using Google Analytics. This data helps prioritise actions and investments based on actual and accurate data.

 

What Types of Content Should be Created?

It depends on audience needs, and that is different for all organisations and at the various stages of the buying journey. Ideally, start by creating buyer personas (Hubspot provide free persona development) to identify what your audience’s pains and gains are concerning the organisation. On a basic level, online content should aim to help them avoid the Pains and reach the Gains (goals).

To understand the pains and gains, we suggest using a Value Proposition Canvas developed by Strategizer.

In terms of the intended application of content, there are a lot of different things to try. Here are some options we’d recommend, based on RACE, a model which looks at each stage of a buyer’s journey:

Reach Stage

Reach builds brand awareness of the organisation, products and services to drive traffic to the different web presences such as a website or social media.

Related:  6 reasons to use social media marketing to grow your organisation

Reach targets audiences via, for example, blogs, social media posts, and search engine results; it’s known as inbound marketing and includes:

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Public Relations (PR) and media outreach
  • Press Releases
  • Paid Ad Campaigns (Google Adwords, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)

Act Stage

Act (short for InterACT) focuses on encouraging interactions on websites, and in social media, by persuading visitors to take the next step.

For Business-to-Business, this will usually mean generating leads or allowing the visitor to discover out more about an organisation, its products or services.

Encouraging participation is also Act and can include the sharing of content via social media or other digital media such as WhatsApp. Specific goals need to be defined for the organisation. It’s about engaging the audience through relevant, high-quality content and with a clear path to other content so that they don’t hit the back button or leave the site.

The Act strategy is usually via the website and uses various interactive tools, including:

  • Forms
  • Email marketing
  • Live online chatting
  • Newsletters

Convert Stage

For a business, this is a conversion to sale. It involves getting the visitor to take the step which turns them into a paying customer.

Convert leads to sales with an effective e-commerce process, price, product, pitch, and promotion.

Engage Stage

This is the long-term engagement and relationship with a customer. It’s about developing loyalty and as a business, receiving repeat purchases. Communications, such as comments on the website and social media, responses to email and direct interactions, will boost customer lifetime value.

The goal of engagement is to capture the attention of, and interact with, visitors and customers in a way that triggers emotion; this can be developed through the use of:

  • Blog marketing
  • Video marketing
  • White papers
  • Newsletters
  • Story-telling web copy
 
 

How Long to See Results?

You can see results much faster than you might with offline marketing. However, it ultimately depends on the effectiveness of the strategy.

If there is focus on creating high-quality, relevant online content to attract and convert visitors, then you’re likely to see results within months rather than years.

If you use paid advertising is part of the strategy, then the results come quicker. However long-term, sustainable success, it’s recommended a focus on building ‘free’ organic Reach using content, SEO, and social media.

blackboard showing types of business analysis

Do I Need a Big Budget?

If the focus is on techniques like SEO, social media, and content creation, the good news is you don’t need a large budget. So, unless you’re planning to outsource the work, the only investment you’ll need is time.

With paid options, such as online advertising, there is some expense; it eventually comes down to the visibility you want to receive, and of course the budget you’re willing to provide.


What about Mobile Marketing?

Another increasingly critical component of digital marketing is mobile marketing. Smartphone usage is increasing. So, it’s essential to optimise digital images and text for mobile devices. Those engaging with your organisation online need to have the same positive experience as they would on a desktop.

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