What is Digital Marketing in 2017?
Many business owners hear the term digital marketing, and immediately think of keyword optimization, blog advertisements, and social media – in other words, they equate having a brand presence online with digital marketing. But the fact is that this type of marketing has a very specific definition:
Digital marketing is any type of promotion via an electronic media that allows you to analyze the campaign, and usually to do so in real time.
Being able to analyze the results of the promotion is the key feature that makes digital marketing what it is, and knowing this definition can definitely change how startups and other businesses are going to create their marketing strategy. If this is the first time you’ve asked, “What is digital marketing?”, then you are on the right track to creating a solid strategy for your product or company.
Why Digital Marketing Matters
Before we dive in to what digital marketing consists of, it’s a good idea to first understand why digital marketing matters. In a world where electronic media changes in the blink of an eye, is it really worthwhile to sink a lot of effort, time, and money into a sound digital marketing strategy?
Statistics from hundreds of studies show that consumers are more and more likely to turn to the digital world to discover and purchase products, and to interact with brands. In some niches, and depending on who your target market is, it is more unlikely that even a part of your sales and engagement will be offline at all.
However, it is also true that the Internet is inundated with content. Without the right strategy in place, your brand will be just more noise for consumers to wade through.
This is why digital marketing matters. Being able to review the results of your marketing strategy, and tweak it in real time, means that you will be better able to connect with your audience. Without those tools in place, your brand would be relying on luck to succeed.
What does Digital Marketing Consist Of?
This type of marketing relies on a mixture of marketing elements, or pillars. Within each of these elements, you will find ways to analyze the results of the specific tool you are using, which is what makes each of these part of what digital marketing consists of.
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – SEM is a method of digital marketing in which you pay for your website or online content to appear at the top of a search engine results page. Getting your content in front of users faster is one of the few ways that companies can rise above competition in the content-saturated digital world.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Optimizing your online content so that it appears as a top result on a search engine is another important part of competing in digital marketing. This lets the search engine know what your content is about, through the use of keywords or phrases, which then lets the search engine algorithm match you up with users who are searching for content like yours.
- Content Marketing – Offering any sort of content for free – including blog posts, interviews, tutorials, and more – is an important part of building your brand image for your target audience. This encourages engagement and establishes your reputation as a leader or expert in your industry.
- Social Media Marketing – Social media marketing can take many different forms, depending on your brand and what social media platforms you use. It’s important to meet your consumers where they are, and that will define your strategy. Companies that market to younger Millennials may center their strategy around social media tools like Snapchat or Instagram, while companies that thrive on lots of engagement may choose a text-based site like Twitter. Using any of these tools creates new opportunities for sharing content and engaging with your audience.
- Email Marketing – The average website visitor won’t make a purchase the first time they visit. But you don’t want to let them leave without capturing at least some of their information. This is where email marketing comes into play. Getting visitors to sign up for emailed content is primarily for creating an avenue for advertisements in the future; but the way you go about getting users to sign up for an email campaign is by offering value from the newsletter – typically, useful content and/or discounts.
- Mobile Marketing – In the past five years, mobile phone and tablet sales have drastically outstripped PC sales. Your customers are on their phones the majority of their time spent in the digital world – this means that your marketing needs to be focused on mobile-friendly experiences. Mobile apps are going far beyond a simple tool for the phone, however. A great example is a fitness bracelet, like the Fitbit or the Nike+. These use a combination of mobile apps and GPS data to present users with data on their health – the app leaps off the screen to become part of the user’s physical life. In the case of Nike, this mobile app acts as a marketing tool, building their brand as a leader in fitness.
- Video Marketing – Video marketing is a newer element in the world of digital marketing, but it can be a strong contender for a top marketing strategy, if used correctly. Video content is perfect for integrating visual content into your brand image. One great way to use video content is to offer useful how-to content, with links or clickable overlays that drive users to a sign-up page or purchase page when clicked.
Building Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Once you understand the basic pillars of digital marketing – and again, remember that each of these tools has methods for analyzing results, which is what makes them part of digital marketing – you can begin to build your strategy. In other words, how you will use these tools to meet your goals.
- Setting Goals and KPIs: In order to meet your goals, you first have to know what they are. This will depend entirely on your business. KPIs, or key point indicators, tell you what type of analyzing you need to be doing. If your goal is related to social media followers, then your KPI will be the follower count on your social media pages. If your goal is related to sales, your KPI will be quarterly or monthly sales growth.
- Lead Generation: Generating leads is simply another way of saying “attracting prospective customers”, but specifically relates to the digital world in this case. The processes you use to target specific consumers is your lead generation strategy. The goal is to lead these people to an action, such as signing up for a newsletter, or buying a product. A great example of a lead generation tool is an SEO-perfect landing page.
- Developing Calls to Action: The call to action is a more condensed version of a lead generator. This is a single bit of interaction with a consumer that leads them to take action. Typically, a sentence at the end of a blog post, a button that says “Buy Now”, a sign-up box for a newsletter, and other tools like this are all in place to get consumers to do anything at all. The faster you can get them to take that first step, the easier it becomes to lead them along the sales funnel.
- Driving paid, organic, and social traffic: When you are asking yourself what is digital marketing, many times the answer is that it is three-fold. Digital marketing can be broken down into paid, organic, and social. Paid traffic means you drew that consumer to your page through an advertisement. Organic traffic means the consumer landed on your page in an online search, or through a random link clink elsewhere. Social traffic means that consumers were driven to your main place of business through content shared by you, or by another customer of yours, on a social sharing site. Most businesses try to have a good balance of all three.
What’s New: The Future of Digital Marketing
As digital marketing becomes more and more important for a business’ survival, the future is all about a concept called brand response. Brand response means that anything you do to build your brand will drive a consumer response, and in turn, consumer response will build your brand. In other words: this is a streamlined process that combines brand-building and driving action all into one cycle.
Creating a brand response strategy is essential for any business owner who wants to succeed with digital marketing in the future. Find out how Noble Digital can assist with brand response campaigns for startups and large businesses.
Understand the Basics Before Diving In
Digital marketing is always changing due to the nature of the Internet and technology. That is why it is so important to understand the basic pillars of digital marketing before creating a full fledged campaign. When you understand what tools are available to you, and why each is important, you can create a strategy that will work for any digital culture.