Understanding the Importance of Digital Marketing
Thanks to the evolution and advancement of technology businesses are forced to keep up with the constant flood of changes in order to reach their clientele and stay on top of a very lucrative and fast-moving marketplace. The same can be said of society in general; the ability to adapt is our number one way of survival, and this is especially true for businesses. If they don’t adapt, they’re left behind and other companies will take their place.
The way that companies adapt to this ever changing online marketplace is called Digital Marketing. Companies evolve along by changing their business model as they see fit and by coming up with bigger, better, cleverer digital marketing strategies to keep people interested in and aware of the brand.
What Exactly Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is a branch of marketing that makes use of today’s digital technology to advertise and sell products and services. Many people believe that digital marketing is exclusive to social media, but the truth is that brand, product, and service promotion is not only done through the Internet and the many different social medial platforms, but also via text messages also known as Short Message Service (SMS), Simple Notification Service (SNS), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), electronic billboards, and many other types of online ads.
Simply put, digital marketing is any and every form of marketing that involves electronic devices. So this can be done offline or online, and it has been around almost as long as electronic devices have been. That’s why in today’s world, digital marketing is considered simply marketing because every marketing strategy involves a digital element.
In the field of digital marketing, form follows function. This means that it can take many different shapes according to the tools that are being used (social media, SMS, etc.) and the target audience that’s being reached. However, this will depend on the knowledge and understanding of what will be acceptable and interesting to the masses. Too much advertisement might seem clogging and disruptive, and too little means not meeting the expectations of the target audience.
Digital marketing begins with high-quality content; whether it’s information, images, videos, billboards, ads, ideas, etc., and it continues with the way this content is delivered to customers in order to make them interested and get them to share it. The beauty of digital marketing is that you have to keep in touch with what’s constantly going on in the world and what people are talking about in order to figure out ways to link your brand with this buzzing of activity and be a part of the conversation.
The Main Digital Marketing Strategies
Like I said before, digital marketing strategies can take many shapes and forms, depending on what you want to accomplish. Here are the main strategies that are most commonly used today:
Social Media Marketing (SMM): As you can imagine, the main focus of this strategy is the use of social media to promote a product, a service, a company, an idea, etc. Social Media Marketing is a big part of our lives and not a day goes by that we are not a part of it. The goal of this digital marketing strategy is to not only share relevant and high-quality content, but also engaging with the customers and the public at large. Social Media Marketing is all about being a part of the conversation and standing out in order to increase the awareness and visibility of the brand. This digital marketing strategy can be tailored to suit any type of company, but the ones it benefits the most are of course Business to Consumer companies.
The beauty of Social Media Marketing is that you can reach so many different types of audiences! Every social media has a different user base and you’ll have to adapt your content to each one, but this will only increase the exposure of your brand and it will allow you to have a more intimate relationship with all different kinds of clients and potential clients.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): As you know, search engines such as Google decide which websites to show first based on the keywords that are used and the links that refer to the website. This is where SEO comes in because it’s basically just the use of all sorts of techniques to improve the ranking of your website; this is the goal. The better the ranking, the sooner you show up when someone searches for a specific keyword related to your company.
The whole point of SEO is choosing the right keywords or key phrases and place them all over your website and your content in an organic way. Remember that your content must be quality content; it must be useful and interesting to your users. SEO can’t sacrifice this, which is why keywords and key phrases must seem effortless. Almost every business needs and makes use of this digital marketing strategy; if you want to decide if this will be useful to you, just run a little keyword search and find out how many searches are done for keywords related to your business.
Pay-per-click Advertising (PPC): Pay-per-click Advertising is pretty self-explanatory; it’s a digital marketing method where marketers pay for each click on a website. If you Google a company, the first thing you’ll see is a sponsored link, that’s PPC. In other search engines like Yahoo or Bing, PPC takes the forms of ads, but the purpose is the same: getting clicks. These ads are up for as long as you keep paying for them, so you’ll have to make sure that it’s worth it so it doesn’t become a money-sucking monster. SEO makes this possible for a longer period of time and you won’t have to pay for it, but PPC is basically paying a search engine to put your website before anything else.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM): SEM is a form of PPC because, in this case, the marketer pays the search engine for showing a marketing message all over the search results of specific keywords or key phrases thus increasing traffic and visibility. So, you’re basically paying for traffic to your website. The difference between SEM and SEO is not only that you pay for one and the other is free; SEO is all about organic search results, while SEM’s goal is to successfully target the users of search engines by using paid links and SEO to steer all of the traffic to your website.
Content Marketing: This digital marketing strategy is a true beauty. It combines different types of strategies—like quality content, SEO, PR and Social Media Marketing—to create a great tool for your business. The whole point of Content Marketing is to create and distribute valuable content to attract and maintain the attention of a specific audience. The goal of this strategy is to use content your customers are interested in to encourage new sales and leads. The content can be anywhere; YouTube, podcasts, tweets, infographs, etc., but the most popular way to share this content is by blogging on your website in order to attract more traffic from search engines.
Affiliate Marketing: This digital marketing strategy is all about paying for conversions. It’s actually a very popular activity among bloggers and high-traffic websites who monetize their sites by selling other people’s products, hence “affiliate” marketing; you affiliate your company to a popular blogger or website and you sit back and let them market your product or service for a share of the profits.
Affiliates are basically sales people that you pay on commission; this commission can be a percentage of the sales they make or a flat rate per product, it depends on the company. This digital marketing strategy is most popular among Business to Consumer companies and e-commerce business because you have to be able to track the sales for it to work.
Email Marketing: Email Marketing is very straight-forward; it’s the use of email to promote products and services and, most importantly, to develop relationships with potential customers. It’s one of the best converting marketing channels because by keeping your subscribes constantly up to date with your company you can build and make a relationship grow, build trust, and eventually they will take the step and become customers. Now, email marketing doesn’t equal spam; spam is email marketing at its worst. The great thing about email marketing is that in order for it to work, it can’t be this mindless bombarding of promotional messages. The whole point is to keep customers informed and tailor messages to fit their needs in order to convert them.
Understanding Digital Marketing
One of the main things we need to understand about digital marketing is that it is meant to target a specific customer base and it’s an extremely interactive marketing strategy. The key to digital marketing is that it always creates a two-way interaction between the companies and the customers. That’s why you see so many search result ads, e-mail ads and promoted tweets or posts; companies want there to be feedback and they want you to associate a certain need with the services they provide.
Many people believe that digital marketing is the same as Internet or online marketing; but there’s a difference. Internet marketing only takes place on the Internet and all of the platforms that are available out there, but digital marketing makes use of a much wider array of tools because it involves all types of digital devices so you can find it pretty much everywhere, not just online.
Another interesting thing about digital marketing is that it doesn’t only sell goods and services; it also sells more abstract things such as companies, political parties, and ideas. Remember those SMS messages you receive about political candidates? Well, that’s a form of digital marketing that political parties use to let you know all of the positive attributes of their candidates and inform you about everything that’s wrong with their opponents. It’s as simple as that! Digital marketing can also be observed in the form of ads tailored to the audience that frequents specific digital channels, like Facebook feeds and YouTube channels.
The truth is that we spend almost every waking hour connected to our electronic devices, so the main thing you need to understand is: if you don’t apply digital marketing efforts to the growth of your company, you take the risk of reaching no one. Word of mouth has taken a whole different meaning in today’s world and if you don’t make your company shareable, it will be left behind.
Why You Should Have a Digital Marketing Strategy
You need digital marketing because it’s cost-effective, because it delivers conversion, it generates better revenues, and it makes interaction with customers a lot easier, among many other things.
Small businesses that don’t have many resources can greatly benefit from digital marketing strategies because they don’t cost as much as other methods and they will undoubtedly deliver results. You save a considerable amount of money thanks to the use of digital marketing methods of promotion. What’s more, this translates directly into conversion rates.
Conversion rates are basically how a company measures the success of their marketing efforts because it means that their strategies got more leads, subscribers, and sales. Traffic means nothing if you can’t get the potential customers to stay, shop, and share. That’s why digital marketing strategies are a priority and why each of the ones explained above are used in one way or another.
Conversion leads to higher revenues! Companies using digital marketing strategies report better revenue growth expectancy than companies that don’t. Higher revenue growth expectancy just means that these companies have better chances of expanding their business. This is how digital marketing strategies open the door for your company to reach better, bigger, and farther markets.
No one can deny the importance of digital marketing strategies and the success that they bring to big, medium and large companies. Digital Marketing is basically a life line, and your company simply can’t do without it!