What is Digital Marketing?
Essentially, digital marketing refers to any online marketing efforts or assets. E-mail marketing, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing and blogging are great examples of digital marketing – they help identify people and convince them to buy.
Digital Marketing Assets
Almost anything can be an asset to digital marketing. You simply need to be a marketing tool you use online. However, many people do not realize the number of digital marketing assets they have. Here are just a few examples:
Branded assets (logos, symbols, abbreviations, etc.)
Video content (video ads, product offerings, etc.)
Images (graphs, product shots, company photos, etc.)
Written content (blog posts, e-books, product descriptions, testimonials, etc.)
Online products or tools (SaaS, calculators, interactive content, etc.)
Social media pages
As you can imagine, this menu just scratches the surface. Most digital marketing assets will fall into one of these categories, but smart marketers always find new ways to reach customers online, so the list continues to grow!
Digital Marketing Strategies
The list of digital marketing strategies is constantly evolving, but here are some of the strategies most companies use:
A pay-per-click (PPC) ad is a very broad term that covers any type of digital marketing where you pay for each user who clicks on an ad. For example, Google AdWords is a form of pay-per-click advertising (PPC) called “paid search ads” (we’ll take it in a second). Facebook Facebook is another form of PPC ad called “paid social media ads” .
Paid Search Advertising
Google, Bing, and Yahoo all allow you to run text ads on search engine results pages (SERPs). Paid search ads are one of the best ways to target potential customers who are actively searching for a product or service like your customers.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you do not want to pay to appear in SERPs, you can also use the search engine optimization to try to sort pages or blog posts on your site organically. You do not have to pay directly for each click, but getting a page to rank will usually take a lot of time and effort (for a more detailed SEO Services).
Paid Social Media Advertising
Most social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat will allow you to display ads on their site. Advertising through social media is a great thing to build awareness with audiences who may not be aware of your business, product or service.
Social Media Marketing
Like SEO, social media marketing is the free and organic way to use social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter to market your business. Like SEO, marketing your business as a member of social media requires a lot of time and effort, but in the long run, it can deliver less expensive results.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Improved conversion rate (CRO) is the art and science of improving the online user experience. Most often, companies use CRO to get more conversions (leads, conversations, calls, sales, etc.) from the current traffic on the website.
Content marketing is a fairly broad term digital marketing. Content marketing covers any digital marketing effort that uses content assets (blog posts, graphics, e-books, videos, etc.) to build brand awareness, increase clicks, leads, or sales.
Have you ever reached the bottom of an article and seen a list of suggested articles? This original ad. Most local ads are under content marketing because they use content to attract clicks (“You’ll never believe what happens next!”). The original ad is often fairly difficult, because it’s often confused with unpaid content recommendations … but that’s the goal.
Email marketing is the oldest form of online marketing and continues. Most digital marketers use email marketing to advertise special deals, highlight content (often as part of content marketing) or promote an event.
Affiliate marketing is basically paying someone else (person or company) to promote your products and services on their website.
As you can see from the list above, there are many different ways to market your business online, which is why many companies either employ an agency to manage digital marketing efforts or pay for internal marketing team and automated marketing programs.
Does Digital Marketing Work?
Digital marketing is a great option for any business. At Disruptive, we used digital marketing to help all types of businesses grow – from mother and pop stores to internationally recognized universities and beyond. This is the beauty of online advertising. If you know who you want to target, you can use digital marketing to target anyone anywhere.
However, certain types of companies will benefit more than certain types of digital advertising. As a quick overview, let’s look at strategies that tend to work better for companies from company to consumer (B2C) and companies from company to company (B2B):
Generally speaking, B2C companies have much lower price points than their B2B counterparts. After all, it can be a little hard to sell a $150,000 drill bit (believe me, they exist) to a harried mom. But a $10 pair of kids pants? That’s a fairly straightforward sell.
As a result, the primary objective of most B2C companies is to attract people to and through their marketing path. For example, if you can get that cruel mother on your children’s clothing website and show them an exciting deal, there’s a good chance you can buy them today. You do not need to build a lot of brand awareness or trust before you can close the sale.
With this in mind, B2C companies often see great results from higher marketing channels such as social media marketing or paid social advertising. These channels do a great job of getting your business in front of potential customers who may otherwise not know you are there.
Now adding other digital marketing strategies like Paid Search or SEO is always a good idea, but if you have to choose one channel to start with, paid social ads or social media marketing are great options for B2C.
In addition, most B2B companies have a much longer and more involved sales cycle than B2C companies. If you’re selling a $150,000 drill bit, most people probably don’t come to your site, give you a call and say “I want one.” As a result, longer-term strategies like content marketing or email marketing are often necessary to close a deal.
Of course, the right mix of digital marketing methods will vary from one industry to another and from one business to another, but just comparing B2C with B2B should help you to know how different strategies can be better for some companies. Not every strategy is appropriate for every business, but with a little trial and error, you should be able to identify the most profitable approach to your company.
How Do I Get Started?
The good news is, getting started with digital marketing is fairly easy. Most online advertising platforms make it easy to sign up and create your first campaign (it is how they make money, after all). Here are a few links to beginner guides for several different digital marketing strategies:
- Paid search advertising
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Paid social media advertising
- Social media marketing
- Conversion rate optimization
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
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