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Digital Marketing – An Introduction

September 19,2017

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Digital marketing is an umbrella term for all of your online marketing efforts. Businesses leverage digital channels such as Google search, social media, email, and their websites to connect with their current and prospective customers.
Nowadays people spend lot of time online and subsequently the way people shop and buy really has changed, meaning offline marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be earlier.

Marketing has always been about connecting with your audience in the right place and at the right time. Today, that means that you need to meet them where they are already spending time: on the internet.

The Term Digital Marketing - in other words, is any form of marketing that exists online. .

So What Exactly is Digital Marketing

From your website itself to your online branding assets - Digital Advertising, email marketing, online brochures, and beyond -- there’s a huge spectrum of tactics and assets that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. And the best digital marketers have a clear picture of how each asset or tactic supports their overarching goals.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common assets and tactics:
  • Your website
  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Interactive tools
  • Social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Earned online coverage (PR, social media, and reviews)
  • Online brochures and lookbooks
  • Branding assets (logos, fonts, etc.)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process of optimizing your website to ‘rank’ higher in search engine results pages, therefore increasing the amount of organic (or free) traffic that your website receives.

Content Marketing

The creation and promotion of content assets for the purpose of generating brand awareness, traffic growth, lead generation, or customers.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing refers to the ‘full-funnel’ approach to attracting, converting, closing, and delighting customers using online content.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

A method of driving traffic to your website by paying a publisher every time your ad is clicked. One of the most common types of PPC is Google AdWords.

Affiliate Marketing

A type of performance-based advertising where you receive commission for promoting someone else’s products or services on your website.

Native Advertising

Inbound marketing refers to the ‘full-funnel’ approach to attracting, converting, closing, and delighting customers using online content.

Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions.

Email Marketing

Companies use email marketing as a way of communicating with their audiences. Email is often used to promote content, discounts and events, as well as to direct people towards the business’ website.

Online PR

Online PR is the practice of securing earned online coverage with digital publications, blogs, and other content-based websites. It’s much like traditional PR, but in the online space.

Does Digital Marketing Work for All Businesses? B2B and B2C?

Digital marketing can work for any business in any industry. Regardless of what your company sells, digital marketing still involves building out buyer personas to identify your audience’s needs, and creating valuable online content. However, that’s not to say that all businesses should implement a Digital Marketing Strategy in the same way.

For B2B

If your company is B2B, your digital marketing efforts are likely to be centred on online lead generation, with the end goal being for someone to speak to a salesperson. For that reason, the role of your marketing strategy is to attract and convert the highest quality leads for your salespeople via your website and supporting digital channels. Beyond your website, you’ll probably choose to focus your efforts on business-focused channels like LinkedIn where your demographic is spending their time online.

For B2C

If your company is B2C, depending on the price point of your products, it’s likely that the goal of your digital marketing efforts is to attract people to your website and have them become customers without ever needing to speak to a salesperson.

For that reason, you’re probably less likely to focus on ‘leads’ in their traditional sense, and more likely to focus on building an accelerated buyer’s journey, from the moment someone lands on your website, to the moment that they make a purchase. This will often mean your product features in your content higher up in the marketing funnel than it might for a B2B business, and you might need to use stronger calls-to-action (CTAs).

For B2C companies, channels like Instagram can often be more valuable than business-focused platforms LinkedIn.

What Are the Main Benefits of Digital Marketing?

Unlike most offline marketing efforts, digital marketing allows marketers to see accurate results in real time. If you’ve ever put an advert in a newspaper, you’ll know how difficult it is to estimate how many people actually flipped to that page and paid attention to your ad. There’s no sure-fire way to know if that ad was responsible for any sales at all.

On the other hand, with digital marketing, you can measure the ROI of pretty much any aspect of your marketing efforts.

Here are some examples:
Website Traffic

With digital marketing, you can see the exact number of people who have viewed your website’s homepage in real time by using Digital Analytics Softwares. You can also see how many pages they visited, what device they were using, and where they came from, amongst other digital analytics data.

This intelligence helps you to prioritize which marketing channels to spend more or less time on, based on the number of people those channels are driving to your website. For example, if only 10% of your traffic is coming from organic search, you know that you probably need to spend some time on SEO to increase that percentage.

With offline marketing, it’s very difficult to tell how people are interacting with your brand before they have an interaction with a salesperson or make a purchase. With digital marketing, you can identify trends and patterns in people’s behaviour before they’ve reached the final stage in their buyer’s journey, meaning you can make more informed decisions about how to attract them to your website right at the top of the marketing funnel.

Content Performance and Lead Generation

Imagine you’ve created a product brochure and posted it through people’s letterboxes -- that brochure is a form of content, albeit offline. The problem is that you have no idea how many people opened your brochure or how many people threw it straight into the trash.

Now imagine you had that brochure on your website instead. You can measure exactly how many people viewed the page where it’s hosted, and you can collect the contact details of those who download it by using forms. Not only can you measure how many people are engaging with your content, but you’re also generating qualified leads when people download it.

Attribution Modeling

An effective digital marketing strategy combined with the right tools and technologies allows you to trace all of your sales back to a customer’s first digital touch point with your business. We call this attribution modelling, and it allows you to identify trends in the way people research and buy your product, helping you to make more informed decisions about what parts of your marketing strategy deserve more attention, and what parts of your sales cycle need refining.

Connecting the dots between marketing and sales is hugely important. If you can improve your customer's’ journey through the buying cycle by using digital technologies, then it’s likely to reflect positively on your business’s bottom line.

What Kind of Content Should I Be Creating?

The kind of content you create depends on your audience’s needs at different stages in the buyer’s journey. You should start by creating buyer personas to identify what your audience’s goals and challenges are in relation to your business. On a basic level, your online content should aim to help them meet these goals, and overcome their challenges.

Then, you’ll need to think about when they’re most likely to be ready to consume this content in relation to what stage they’re at in their buyer’s journey. We call this content mapping.

With content mapping, the goal is to target content according to:
  • 1:The characteristics of the person who will be consuming it (that’s where buyer personas come in).Your website
  • 2: How close that person is to making a purchase (i.e., their lifecycle stage).

In terms of the format of your content, there are a lot of different things to try. Here are some options we’d recommend using at each stage of the buyer’s journey:

Awareness Stage
  • Blog posts.Great for increasing your organic traffic when paired with a strong SEO and keyword strategy.
  • Infographics. Very shareable, meaning they increase your chances of being found via social media when others share your content.
  • Infographics. Very shareable, meaning they increase your chances of being found via social media when others share your content.
Consideration Stage
  • Ebooks. Great for lead generation as they’re generally more comprehensive than a blog post or infographic, meaning someone is more likely to exchange their contact information to receive it.
  • Research reports. Again, this is a high value content piece which is great for lead generation. Research reports and new data for your industry can also work for the awareness stage though, as they’re often picked-up by the media or industry press.
  • Webinars. As they’re a more detailed, interactive form of video content, webinars are an effective consideration stage content format as they offer more comprehensive content than a blog post or short video.
Decision Stage
  • Case studies. Having detailed case studies on your website can be an effective form of content for those who are ready to make a purchasing decision, as it helps you positively influence their decision.
  • Testimonials. If case studies aren’t a good fit for your business, having short testimonials around your website is a good alternative. For B2C brands, think of testimonials a little more loosely. If you’re a clothing brand, these might take the form of photos of how other people styled a shirt or dress, pulled from a branded hashtag where people can contribute.
How Long Will It Take to See Results?

With digital marketing, it can often feel like you’re able to see results much faster than you might with offline marketing due to the fact it’s easier to measure ROI. However, it ultimately depends entirely on the scale and effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy.

If you spend time building comprehensive buyer personas to identify the needs of your audience, and you focus on creating quality online content to attract and convert them, then you’re likely to see strong results within the first six months.

If paid advertising is part of your digital strategy, then the results come even quicker -- but it’s recommended to focus on building your organic (or ‘free’) reach using content, SEO, and social media for long-term, sustainable success.

Budget Considerations for Digital Marketing

As with anything, it really depends on what elements of digital marketing you’re looking to add to your strategy.

Presuming you already have a website, if you’re focusing on inbound techniques like SEO, social media, and content creation then the good news is you don’t need very much budget at all. With inbound marketing, the main focus is on creating high quality content that your audience will want to consume, which unless you’re planning to outsource the work, the only investment you’ll need is your time.

With outbound techniques like online advertising and purchasing email lists, there is undoubtedly some expense. What it costs comes down to what kind of visibility you want to receive as a result of the advertising.

For example, to implement PPC using Google AdWords, you’ll bid against other companies in your industry to appear at the top of Google’s search results for keywords associated with your business. Depending on the competitiveness of the keyword, this can be reasonably affordable, or extremely expensive, which is why it’s a good idea to focus building your organic reach, too.