Digital Marketing. Is it just another new fancy buzzword we use to sound smart in meetings, or is it a pivotal element for business development and growth today? This article aims to break digital marketing down to basics to enable business owners and young professionals to understand how to utilize digital marketing tactics to provide value consistently and grow their businesses.
Let’s begin by answering the big question – What is digital marketing? Digital marketing encompasses the ways digital marketing tools are used to engage your audience (consumers and clients) anywhere, anytime via their digital devices. It includes, but is not limited to, all advertising content delivered through digital channels – social media, mobile applications, email, web applications, search engines, websites, or any new digital channel.
Digital marketing is any method of marketing products or services that involves electronic devices. This means that digital marketing has been around for as long as electronic devices have existed, and a balanced combination of both online and offline digital marketing methods will create a strategy that works. This is very interesting.
Having defined digital marketing, the next question is ‘Why does digital marketing matter, why should I boarder about it?’
Remember billboards? I do. As a young kid in Lagos, Nigeria my experiences from the back seat of our car mostly were, that I would see and admire gigantic billboard structures and wonder how they got there. Most times, I’d ask to visit Mr. Biggs after seeing one of their billboards.
Just think of it this way, Google and Facebook generate more revenue than any traditional media company because they control more eyeballs. That’s why digital marketing matters. It is where the attention is now and this would continue for a long while. The reason why billboards, like the ones above, die, is perfectly illustrated in a single picture of a Volvo. Because, frankly, the future of driving will look like this:
Not a single passenger will spend their time looking at the road. Do me a favor, the next time you drive and are giving a friend a ride, take a peek at the passenger seat. Just for a second. Even now, chances are they’ll be looking at their phone. Heck, in a world where 9% of all drivers are on the phone one way or the other (texting or calling), at any given moment during daylight hours, how can we think billboards have a future?
If even the driver is not looking at the road anymore, who’s supposed to see those advertisements? And, that’s not even considering self-driving cars, on which both Apple and Google are currently working. You know, it’s going to happen.
What are the pillars of digital marketing?
The 2 main pillars of digital marketing are online marketing and offline marketing. While Online marketing refers to the practice of leveraging web-based channels: email, social media, display advertising, search engine optimization, Google AdWords, and more, to spread a message about a company’s brand, products, or services to its potential customers, offline marketing refers to the leveraging of traditional media such as outdoor advertising, print media (for example newspapers, magazines, flyers, and brochures), television advertisements and radio ads to spread the message of a brand. Online advertising is typically more time-flexible and is easier to track and report on.
The article will dwell more on the leveraging of online channels to engage and persuade our audiences to act in a particularly desired way and manner. There are five big categories of online marketing. They include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): which is using the right words to ensure brand visibility on search engine results.
- Search engine marketing (SEM). Which is simply the paid version of SEO. Marketers pay Google to display ads in their search results in the hopes that they will drive traffic (especially interested people, or leads) to their product landing pages.
- Content marketing. This is where marketers try to create valuable media and content to distribute to potential future customers. This is the good guy version of online marketing where you mostly try to guilt people into buying.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM). which is where you use one or several social media channels to engage with customers, build relationships, and then send them to your products and services.
- Email marketing. The use of email within your marketing efforts to promote a business’s products and services, as well as incentivize customer loyalty. Email marketing is a form of marketing that can make the customers on your email list aware of new products, discounts, and other services.
The final question in this article is – how do you execute your online marketing to achieve the best result? You need to have a digital marketing plan. Developing a digital marketing plan can be a bit tedious but you can get help from experts like Customer Passion Point Limited. They will guide you through the process and handhold you to stand and begin the generate results.
A digital marketing plan will help you identify what makes your business unique and how to get your message out to your audiences through a variety of digital channels. An in-depth and detailed approach to laying out your digital marketing strategy can reveal new opportunities and expand your reach. Read more below.
STAGES IN DEVELOPING YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING PLAN.
- Build your buyer personas: For any marketing strategy, digital or not, you need to know who you are marketing to. Buyer personas represent your ideal customer(s) and can be created by researching, surveying, and interviewing your business’s target audience.
An understanding of who you are marketing to will help you make informed decisions when it comes to creating content and deciding which channels to exploit.
- Set your goals/objectives: This is probably the most important step of your digital marketing plan. This is because your goal/objective informs every other element of your digital marketing plan.
- Evaluate your Digital Assets and/or Competition and identify gaps: This is a very crucial step that underlines the very uniqueness of digital marketing which is the ability to evaluate and change on the go. Look inwards at your digital efforts and assets. What has worked? What hasn’t worked? What can you do differently? What should be intensified? These will give you a sense of direction.
Also, you want to keep an eye on your competition. The ones that are doing well at least. What channels are they on? What are their best-converting channels? Where is their traffic coming from? What are they doing? You want to do what they are doing or more to get ahead of them and guarantee their results.
- Decide on which Channel and Content to fill the gaps identified: Deciding where you’re to put efforts and content can be a game-changer in your digital strategy. Your audience and the gaps identified in the steps above have a big role to play in this.
If your audience is millennials, you want to spend more time on Instagram and probably Twitter. If you plan to market to professionals or business owners, you might find more success on LinkedIn than on Twitter and Instagram. Also, the type of content you put out and also your tone of voice is determined by your audience.
- Measure your results: Do not engage in digital marketing if you will not measure. This is where you adjust and re-adjust your strategy to arrive at a more refined strategy. Chances are you might not get it right the first time. This is no cause for alarm and perfectly normal, however, you should be able to study your analytics and identify gaps and faults in your strategies, this will help you come up with something better and you would have identified ways not to do your marketing.
Few thoughts to note as we conclude this discussion. When small businesses get started, their focus is often on how to get their first group of customers through the door. They may rely on traditional forms of advertising, such as print ads and coupon mailers or even big signs on the side of the road. They may trust that since they know they offer a good product or service, it’s only a matter of time until customers will find their way to them. While this strategy may bring in a trickle of business, there is a better and easier way. Small businesses should consider the huge marketplace of prospects online. No small business, no matter how new, should overlook this vast marketplace. Digital marketing is now the lifeline of a small and growing business. Learn about it and make efforts to implement it.