Digital Marketing is an all-encompassing term that describes the many different ways you can market a business, blog or brand online. This includes SEO, it includes social media marketing and it includes a range of different methods.
Digital marketing essentially means 'marketing online' and using digital mediums. The term is used synonymously with other phrases, including internet marketing. This means that it is aimed at enabling you to be able to use the vast potential of the internet to be able to spread your marketing message to as many people as possible. The whole point of the internet, the thing that makes it so amazing, is that it connects everyone together and allows us to get information from one another when we need it. Of course, this is perfect from a marketing perspective as it also gives you countless new ways to spread a message that you want spread to all those people.
Imagine being a door to door salesman, except you have a door that opens up to an auditorium filled with billions of people. That is internet marketing. If you run a business and you want to maximise your exposure and reach as many people as possible, then it is not enough anymore to simply have a website. As well as running a website, you also need to know how to promote that website and to make sure that people can find it. What use is a website that never gets visited after all?
But how does internet marketing work, and what does it entail? If like many businesses you are still a little behind in this very important area, then read on to start getting a grip of the basics so that you can start promoting your company more effectively and increasing business by taking advantage of smarter tools.
What is Online Marketing?
So, what is online marketing? Essentially of course it just means promoting your business online and trying to ensure that the maximum number of users find your website and thus learn about your company. An added aim is to make sure that the people you contact the most efficiently are those who are most likely to use your services or buy your products: your target demographic.
Internet marketing can also be used for brand visibility and reputation management to a lesser extent – for ensuring that people know about your business and are talking about it: and that this conversation is a positive one. To do all this you will use a number of common methods which together make up the bulk of internet marketing.
Types of IM
Social Media Marketing: One of the most useful tools of all when it comes to promoting a website is social media marketing. Essentially this means using sites like Facebook or Twitter where you can directly speak to your connections, and then trying to build a larger network of followers by offering deals and providing general entertainment for those that tune in.
It's more complex than that of course. Social media marketing means providing some real value to your audience; enough that they are likely to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your brand. It also means creating the impression and the image that you want, and it means getting people to share your content and links among their own networks.
Advertising: Of course, it's also possible to advertise the good old fashioned way online, and here there are two main ways to go ahead. The first is using 'PPC' which stands for 'Pay Per Click'. PPC means your site will show up on Google and on other related sites but that you'll only pay when someone actually clicks on your link. The other option is to simply pay for banner ads by contacting other websites directly and paying them a monthly fee. Of course, there are other options too such as advertising on YouTube videos, or getting sponsored testimonials from bloggers. You can pay for sponsorships, or you can pay for an solo ad and have your marketing message delivered to an email marketer’s list.
You can also use something called CPA as a digital advertising strategy. CPA is ‘Cost Per Action’ which means that you only pay when the user carries out a certain target action, such as buying a product from your brand, signing up to a mailing list, downloading an app, or liking a Facebook page.
Email Marketing: One of the most fundamental forms of digital marketing is email marketing. This means that you are building a list of contacts – usually via a sign-up form – that you will then manage through an auto responder. You can then send messages to anyone on that list, in order to contact them and promote your products and services. Again, the most important key is to provide value, ensuring that people have a real reason to want to receive messages from you.
SEO: SEO means 'Search Engine Optimisation' - that is optimising your site and your promotion in order to make sure that your site shows up in search engines like Google. You do this through a combination of on-site elements (using the right content and designing your site well) and off-site elements (building links to your website from other high-authority pages). Other important factors include the quality of your content, the use of keywords and the load speed of your website.
Content Marketing: Content marketing is a broader concept that feeds into several items on this list. Essentially, content marketing means building a website and filling it with high quality content. This is beneficial for SEO (because it allows you to add more searchable content laced with keywords onto your domain) and for social media optimization (because it gives you content to share through those channels). However, it is also valuable in its own right because it allows you to build an audience of people who come back to your website because they are keen to read more of what you have to say. Content marketing lets you build trust and authority over time and then make a sale based on that. It is what allows you to create ‘true fans’.
Note that content marketing can also include other forms of media – such as podcasts and videos.
RCS: RCS stands for 'real company stuff' - a term used by SEOs to refer to the 'old guard' of doing traditional marketing. That means running events and promotions to gain media coverage and generate buzz - something that is still very effective online, especially when combined with the other forms in order to go viral.
There are many other forms of digital marketing besides, which include but are not limited to:
- Affiliate schemes – Offer commission to other marketers to promote your products
- Influencer marketing – Finding established brands in your niche/industry that are willing to promote your products
- Video marketing – Any form of marketing including video. This might mean creating a YouTube or Vimeo channel, but it can also mean embedding video onto web pages
- Live Video – Live video streaming services include the likes of Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and
- SMS marketing – Like email marketing, but with text messages. This is used to send messages to people in a format that they are likely to read. It is closely linked with WhatsApp/IM marketing and emoji marketing.
- App marketing – Mobile apps can be used as marketing tools in themselves. If a user downloads a free app onto their phone, you’ll then be able to send them notifications
Another new type of digital marketing that is likely to be huge in the next few years is marketing in 'augmented reality'. Augmented reality is anything that combines real world data with digital information to elaborate on or enhance the experience. So, you might use an application then that shows you the street you're on but with additional information such as the shops with special deals on and the photographs people have taken in the area. This then allows you to target your digital marketing to people based on their location, giving you a huge advantage.
Digital marketing is changing all the time and new methods are constantly being introduced. This is just one reason that it is so important to stay up-to-date with the latest digital advertising and marketing methods. The best internet marketing campaigns will be those that combine all of these digital marketing strategies into a single cohesive plan that addresses the audience on multiple fronts.