The number of people using the internet is increasing, and it’s going to continue to go up. There are currently about 4.57 billion internet users worldwide, encompassing about 59 percent of the global population. This is why it’s ever so important to understand digital marketing in today’s tech-driven economy. With this in mind, let’s walk through the digital marketing fundamentals and explore what digital marketing is, why you should use it, if it works for all businesses, and what elements make up the perfect digital marketing campaign.
What is Digital Marketing?
In short, digital marketing encompasses anything you do online that talks about your brand. It includes a combination of email, website landing pages, social media, and anything that utilizes an electronic device or the internet to get your point across. Each digital channel that you use contributes to your overall marketing strategy. The more connected your channels are, the more likely you are to gain engagement from your audience (and the search engines, which ultimately help send more people your way). Great digital marketing efforts can help you optimize for SEO, bringing both natural and organic traffic your way.
Why Should You Use Digital Marketing?
With billions of people online every day, it only makes sense that at least part (if not the majority) of your marketing strategy should be focused on digital strategy. Besides the fact that you’re missing out on millions (if not billions) of eyes that could otherwise be getting to know your brand, there are a few other reasons to go this route.
- Affordability. Digital marketing tends to be significantly less expensive than traditional marketing, such as direct mailers, billboards, and TV advertisements.
- Mobile Access. Did you know that more than 77 percent of American adults are on their smartphones throughout the day? Sure, they use their mobile devices for news and social networking, but they’re also engaging with their favorite brands, shopping for products and services, and doing research to make informed purchasing decisions. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on some big opportunities.
- Flexibility. The world of digital marketing includes everything from banner ads to social media posts (and everything in between). With so many options, you can easily tailor your strategies to fit both your budget and the needs of your audience members.
- Interactivity. Digital marketing enables you to closely engage with your consumers and create messages specifically targeted to their needs and buying behaviors.
Does Digital Marketing Work for Every Business?
Yes, digital marketing works well for every business and every industry. It’s built to help you understand why your customers do what they do so you can alter the content and message you deliver to your audiences. The thing is, not every business should implement digital marketing strategies in the same ways. For example, if your company is a business-to-business (B2B) operation, you’ll likely center your efforts around lead generation, ultimately guiding your audience toward the goal of speaking with a salesperson. For this reason, it’s important to attract high-quality leads that are ripe for making their way down the sales funnel once your digital marketing efforts have explained what your business is and what kinds of products and services you deliver.
On the other hand, if you operate a business-to-consumer (B2C) company, it might be more important to attract people to your website during the awareness stage of their buying journey. During this phase, customers become acquainted with the products and services you offer without ever speaking to a salesperson. When you utilize digital marketing, they can learn about product features, your company’s missions and values, and explore the reputation you’ve built for yourself by observing the digital content you provide. In a B2C scenario, you’re probably less focused on leads, and more concerned with overall brand awareness.
In the B2B world, LinkedIn is a great place to tout about the products and services you offer; in a B2C environment, Instagram or Pinterest might be the way to go.
What Elements Make Up the Perfect Digital Marketing Campaign?
Now that you know a little more about digital marketing and why people use it, let’s delve into the elements that make up a great digital marketing strategy.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is essentially the tool you use to tell the search engines who you are and what you do. When you have a great SEO strategy, Google, Bing, and other search engines will understand what you offer and what your customers are looking for, thereby bringing you together in perfect harmony when the right keywords and phrases are searched for.
SEO comes in many forms, including blogs, web page content, video descriptions, and more. The more optimized your digital marketing, the more likely you’ll be to reach the front pages of the search engines. This, in turn, will send searchers your way because people are less likely to continue to pages beyond the first page. Your goal should always be to get as close to the top of page one as possible.
2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing is where you buy traffic through paid search listings. Often, it encompasses SEO, too, as you need to have the right content and bid on high-quality keywords in order to make your investment really matter. SEM is often a combination of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads that appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) and advertisements that are often found on social media sites.
Placing ads in front of the right people with the right keywords will optimize your chances of making sales and attracting new customers.
3. Content Marketing
Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube videos are all forms of content marketing, but it doesn’t stop there. Content marketing is about storytelling. By telling your customers who you are, you’ll be more able to relate to your audience and grab their attention when you have something important to say.
4. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media marketing utilizes various social media channels to promote your products and services. It also lets you track users’ behaviors, so you can see how people found you and what content caused you to get the most attention.
Whether you’re new to the digital marketing game—or you just need a refresher on best practices—there’s a whole world of resources waiting to help you out. The one thing you don’t want to do is become complacent; digital marketing is constantly changing, which means you need to adjust your strategies and approaches to stay with the times.