What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term ‘Digital Marketing’?
Is it Social Media? A website?
You’d be right.
But Digital Marketing is also so much more than just that.
We’ve created a quick guide to help you get started.
What is Digital Marketing?
In a nutshell, Digital Marketing is any marketing you do online and is accessed via the internet on an electronic device.
You’re probably already doing it.
If your business has a social media page or a website, or you’re sending out regular emails to customers, that’s Digital Marketing.
Traditional marketing, on the other hand, is exactly what the word ‘traditional’ sounds like. Ads on T.V. or radio, billboards, paper brochures, in-store posters, or flyers.
Digital Marketing is not here to replace traditional advertising.
Sure, traditional is “old school”, but still effective in its own right.
(There is also something called enhanced offline marketing which is a hybrid of the two, but that’s for another post.)
Digital Marketing is relatively new in terms of the age of advertising vs the age of the internet.
This is why we’ve found it’s taken some companies a little longer to catch on to Digital Marketing and the massive positive impact it can have on their business.
The only downside to Digital Marketing is if you’re not using it to market your business.
No matter how small your budget or how little time you have to dedicate to it.
Even businesses that made a household name for themselves before the birth of the internet, would need a water-tight traditional marketing strategy to ignore the massive impact a Digital Marketing strategy would have on their business.
Even then, they should look at adding some younger hires to their marketing department.
Or chat to a Digital Marketing agency.
Why is Digital Marketing so important?
Let’s have a look at a few stats.
Gen Z is members of society born between 1997 and 2012.
They don’t know a world without the internet. They’ve been schooling, socialising, and shopping online since they were old enough to hold an electronic device.
They also make up almost 30% of the world’s population.
And if you think they’re too young to influence the consumer market, think again.
In 2020, the oldest of this group were finishing university and are now entering the workforce.
Let that sink in. The generation that came after Millennials are in their early twenties. They’re earning money and have buying power.
Before the digital age, it was pretty easy to find consumers and feed ads to them and just hope that something sticks.
People were driving on highways, show them a giant billboard.
Family watching TV? Show them an ad.
They’re not likely to close their eyes or switch the TV off.
But today if you’re advertising on TV and don’t have a strong digital presence, then chances are you don’t even cross the mind of one of the world’s largest growing consumer population.
Because they’re watching Netflix, scrolling through Instagram, and running businesses on Facebook.
In other words, they’re on the internet.
And they’re not the only ones.
According to datareportal.com who collate and report on global statics using 3rd party data, 4.66 billion people globally used the internet in January 2021. Up by 7.3% from the previous year.
5.22 billion are mobile users.
4.20 billion use social media. That’s 53% of the world’s population.
Can you see why you need a strong Digital Marketing strategy?
Ignoring people who you want to buy your product is not a good idea.
What’s that you say? TV ads are still working for you?
Are you sure?
As we mentioned, traditional media has its place, but how do you really know that it’s working? How can you really know that Bob saw your ad on TV, and the next day went and bought your brand of dry roasted peanuts? How do you know he didn’t see a poster in-store? Or they were just out of his regular brand and he chose the next cheapest on the shelf?
You don’t really. Something is working because Bob bought your peanuts. But you can’t point directly to what it is.
With Digital Marketing, you can.
You know exactly where your customers are coming from. Mostly because you’ve done your research and you know where to find them.
How is digital marketing different from traditional marketing?
You can reach a lot more people. We know by the statistics mentioned earlier how many people are online. Even a small percentage of those is a large number of consumers and potential sales.
In fact, you don’t want to reach all of them. You just want to reach the ones that want your type of service or product.
If you’re selling teen clothing, for example, you can target only teens and perhaps their parents. But that leaves entire sets of demographics that you can avoid and save some marketing budget.
And yes, Digital Marketing can be much more cost-effective.
With traditional marketing, you’re paying a lot of money for airtime on TV or radio in the hopes that you reach a certain demographic. The media houses determine the cost based on when you want to air your ad, and for how long. And while it’s not entirely a ‘spray and pray’ approach, it’s still based on a strategy of hope that the right people are watching or listening at exactly that moment.
With Digital Marketing, you’re able to identify and target a fairly precise audience and then create engaging, personalised ad messaging with a high chance of a conversion.
With social media marketing, for example, you can choose exactly who sees your ads based on age, gender, interests, location, and behaviours.
And get very specific.
You can even retarget an audience on social media by sending ads to people who’ve already interacted with your website.
Did you do a Google search for 2-man tents and now suddenly ads for tents are popping up everywhere?
That’s a clever little “hey, don’t forget you wanted one of our tents” reminder.
It’s very effective.
Can small businesses compete with big businesses with Digital Marketing?
That’s the best part.
Mostly, Digital Marketing efforts come down to knowledge and strategy.
A big corporate can have ten times the marketing budget of a mom-and-pop business, but if the mom-and-pop business is smarter with their Digital Marketing strategy and watch their metrics optimise, then they stand a really good chance of reaching the right audience.
With Digital Marketing efforts, it’s strategy over money.
Unlike traditional marketing which bought you airtime and bigger billboards.
If you’re doing things like
- using long-tail keywords
- putting time and effort into the quality of your content
- creating a strong social media strategy and sticking to it
- Using cleverly sourced industry influencers
Then your formula is the winning one, regardless of the size of your business.
How does a business define Digital Marketing?
Like all good things in life, the more different kinds there are, the better (looking at your breakfast, coffee, and wine).
And several different types of marketing fall under the Digital Marketing umbrella, like
Direct Marketing is exactly what its name suggests. Direct communication with customers. The two most commonly known would be email and mobile communication (SMS or MMS).
Email marketing is still one of the fastest, cheapest, and most successful ways of reaching your target audience for leads and conversions.
It’s a mistake to ignore this valuable channel.
Recipients have quite literally signed up to receive your content.
Which, for big or small businesses, is a very valuable lead.
A clever email strategy can really elevate your Digital Marketing success rate.
Outside of a store walk-in, it’s a rare opportunity for direct information and sales pitches and must form part of a carefully constructed customer journey.
If your customer is a sports fan. Then send a sport-related or themed email when there is a big sporting event.
You can send an email that either pushes a sports-related product or uses wit and humour to add the particular sporting event into the copy or subject line and get their attention.
Collating specific data during your email sign-up process is very useful for segmenting audiences and sending engaging and relatable high conversion emails.
Oh, it’s getting better. Not all emails are the same.
There are loads of different types of email communication.
Loads of different Digital Marketing opportunities to engage within just one channel.
Keep in mind that there are laws against spamming people via email marketing, so do some research into what these are before firing off that winning email campaign and unwittingly getting your business into trouble.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a term used for actions that improve the quality of your website that increases not only brand awareness but also traffic.
And not just any traffic.
The type with a higher likelihood of wanting what you’re selling and therefore converting.
The more people interact with your website, the higher your chances of ranking on the first page of a search engine.
SEO is a specialised skill and requires technical know-how and a firm understanding of Google’s continuous updates and algorithms and what the crawlers are searching for.
But also, it requires an understanding of people and their online behaviours and their intent, as well as the type of language they use when they’re looking for a product or service online, or just why people are likely to consume certain types of content over others. It requires consideration of the problems they face in their daily lives and how they look for solutions online.
Most people think Content Marketing is what’s on your website.
And it is. But it’s also every single other piece of content you put out there via every other digital channel.
It’s defined by The Content Marketing Institute 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.”
Phew, that’s a mouthful. But it makes a strong point.
Successful content gives customers what they want so that they spend their money with you, rather than someone else.
A big difference between Content Marketing and traditional advertising for brands is that the latter is expensive.
And its targeting is mostly based on hope, not clear metrics.
Radio and TV ads are a case in point.
You’re watching or listening to something that you’re really enjoying and have to endure an interruption with an ad.
Content marketing done well is something willingly consumed because it’s entertaining, relatable, and educational.
You know this because you can research exactly what your customers like.
Then provide it in the form of
- Long and short-form articles and blog posts
- Case studies and white papers
- Videos that offer value
- Downloadable items like upgraded content, webinars, training
Next time you’re online, take note of what it is you’re consuming and downloading.
Does it feel like one long sales pitch? Or are you actually enjoying interacting with it because it’s entertaining and useful?
If so, that’s great Content Marketing and you should take note and give it a try.
Facebook arrived on our screens in 2007 just for entertainment purposes.
The marketing side started only a few years later.
Bosses who had banned employees from logging into Facebook during working hours suddenly found themselves having to hire someone to do just that.
Now, the social side of Social Media barely exists. Brands and influencers use them to create awareness and drive sales and advocacy.
To the tune of $43 billion in 2020.
That’s a massive 20% increase from 2019.
This means it’s a very important element under the umbrella of Digital Marketing.
Love or hate it, Social Media Marketing (SMM) should form a strong part of your companies Digital Marketing efforts.
And while it may seem like posting a few pictures with accompanying witty and engaging by-lines, it’s a much more complicated beast with many heads.
For example, bigger companies have entire teams responsible for their Social Media Marketing.
That’s because there are many different specialities like
This is where tools are used for consumer research to monitor conversations about a single brand and general online conversations about a product or experience. It’s great for creating content around what people are actually talking about and interested in about your business and the industry in general. It’s also vital for reputation management as you need to be the first to know if you’re trending for all the wrong reasons, (oops, Walker’s Wave campaign of 2017!)
This refers to social media advertising like sponsored content, as opposed to organic content that you don’t pay to promote. Each time someone clicks on your ad you pay, known as Cost-per-Click or CPC. This is how Facebook and others generate their vast income and is necessary due to algorithms that push this content to a highly targeted, custom audience.
Social Media Strategists are responsible for taking all the information available and developing a creating and implementation plan for a company’s Social Media efforts that are designed to meet goals and objectives set against KPIs. They’re also responsible for monitoring and optimising a Social Media strategy based on ongoing performance metrics.
Community Managers are the heart of a brand’s social media presence. They monitor engagement, answer queries, create opportunities for memorable and personal interactions. And if anything goes wrong, they manage and monitor the company’s online reputation with the skills of a political mediator.
That really great video ad that everyone is sharing across all Social Media channels? That was the work of a skilled designer with a clear understanding of Social Media content formats with a side of psychology of what gets audiences to perform a certain call to action.
PPC and SEM
These two common Digital Marketing acronyms are often used interchangeably.
Pay-per-Click (PPC) is a type of online advertising and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to paid and organic practices of improving traffic to a website, which includes PPC.
If it sounds complicated, don’t worry.
Simply put, SEM and PPC are both concerned with advancement through search engines.
Digital PR is an umbrella term for a lot of what makes up a Digital Marketing strategy.
These could be
- Online press releases
- Blogging and guest blogging for backlinking
- Speaking at online seminars or webinars
- Online reviews and interviews
- Featured product releases in online publications
- Working with Social Media influencers to promote your brand or product
Having a strong omnichannel Digital Marketing strategy is one thing.
Implementing it consistently is something else entirely.
It requires a lot of time and effort.
Let say you have an email list of 1000 people. And you’ve segmented those into different types of users. You have 5 groups of 200. Depending on the seasonality of a product, you need to send 200 emails to the right group at the right time.
But not at the same time as the other groups.
But sending the mail is just one task.
What about conversion tracking and A/B testing?
Then you need to send any warm leads to your sales department.
And that’s just one Digital Marketing channel.
It requires super-human organisational skills and time management not to drop the ball on this.
This is where Marketing Automation comes in to make the job a little easier.
Marketing Automation uses tools to streamline your Digital Marketing efforts which means they’re easy to track, making them far more effective than any manual process.
Now, how do you create a Digital Marketing Strategy using all these?
A Digital Marketing strategy doesn’t need to be complicated.
And you don’t need to use every online marketing channel we’ve mentioned here.
You just need to understand a few simple things about your business and your strategy will practically write itself.
Start with who you are marketing to.
- Create a buyer persona
- What do they do?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- Where do they shop?
- What problems do they need to solve?
- Where do they find solutions to these problems?
- What are their online behaviours?
- Are they more likely to shop in-store or online?
Now keep going.
Be as detailed as possible. The more detail the better your chance of targeting exactly the right audience.
- Identify your goals
A strategy is worth nothing if you aren’t properly measuring its success. And how do you know what success looks like?
By having a strong set of goals.
What do you want your Digital Marketing efforts to achieve?
Just writing “improving awareness and conversions” is not a goal.
That’s called hope. And we all know that hope is not a strategy.
Saying improving awareness by increasing the annual Share of Voice by 5% and conversions by 10% is a goal.
In fact, that’s two goals.
That’s a good start.
- Define your budget
Remember what we said earlier about the mom-and-pop business with the clever strategy?
Regardless of whether your budget is corporate or small-business sized, if you are clever with it, you can do great things.
But be realistic.
If your budget is tiny then start small, with the things you can easily implement. Like optimising your website, writing regular blog posts, or sending well-crafted emails to your existing clients.
These are small, positive changes you can make for almost no money.
Starting with nothing is better than not starting.
- Do a content audit
What’s currently working and what isn’t? Does your Social Media get a lot of engagement but your website gets no traffic?
Stick with what’s working (Social Media) and find ways to drive that audience to your website.
What’s missing from your marketing efforts that are not too difficult or expensive to implement?
Can you build a lead generation form on your website and start crafting clever, personalised emails to drive sales?
- Make small changes and track your progress
Now take everything you know and start your Digital Marketing journey.
Start with small changes.
But the most important thing is to track them.
Watch what is happening on your website.
Monitor where your traffic is coming from.
Do A/B testing.
Send out emails with two different headlines. Which one gets opened the most?
Try different types of images on your social media channels. What gets the most engagement which has a lower CPC and higher conversion?
Get the gist?
Now that you have the answer to what Digital Marketing is and why you need it, you’re all set to get started.
With the perfect mix of time and effort, you’ll soon be the conductor of a perfect Digital Marketing orchestra.
Where everything works beautifully together to increase conversions.
And, of course, increases those golden profits.
So, tell us what’s a clever Digital Marketing tip that’s worked for you?
If you need help creating a digital marketing strategy for your business, don’t hesitate to contact one of Lilo’s consultants.