What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing includes all marketing efforts that make use of the internet and electronic devices to connect with audiences and customers wherever they may be online. If you want to succeed with your digital marketing efforts, it is essential to study and understand all the channels and tactics that are available to you. Professionals can gain expertise in using their marketing efforts effectively by opting a digital marketing course.
A few of the critical parts of digital marketing are as follows.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Channels that benefit from SEO include: websites, blogs, infographics
- Content Marketing. Channels that benefit from content marketing include: Blog posts, eBooks and whitepapers, Infographics, Online brochures
- Email Marketing. Including emails that contain follow-up, customer welcome, promotions, tips for customer nurturing, blog subscription newsletters, etc.
- Social Media Marketing. Including marketing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC). For example, paid ads on Facebook, promoted Tweets, sponsored LinkedIn messages, etc.
- Affiliate Marketing. For example, affiliate links on social media accounts and video ads on the YouTube Partner Program
- Native Advertising such as Instagram advertising and Facebook advertising
- Marketing Automation. For example, the automation of lead-nurturing workflows, email newsletters, contact list updating, social media post scheduling, campaign tracking, and reporting
- Online PR. Channels that benefit from PR efforts include: reporter outreach via social media, engagement through blogs or websites, and engagement through online reviews
- Inbound Marketing. Includes a full-funnel approach to attract, engage and delight customers using online content through any or all of the methods mentioned above
Why do businesses adopt digital marketing?
Digital marketing benefits the marketer and the customer in several ways. However, businesses adopt digital marketing strategies and tactics mostly because it’s quantifiable, results-driven, adaptable and faster than any other form of marketing available to any company no matter its size.
That said, there are several specific reasons why businesses adopt digital marketing. These reasons include:
- It provides an equal opportunity (competitiveness) for all business regardless of size and available resources
- It is more cost-effective than traditional marketing
- It allows targeted conversion of audiences and prospects to leads, subscribers, supporters, and customers
- It enhances revenue growth by reaching larger and niche markets (global and local), in a more efficient way
- It facilitates interaction with targeted audiences, wherever they may be online, including on mobile devices
- It helps build brand reputation
- It allows businesses to earn their audience’s trust
- It influences prospects to take favorable action through Call-To-Action
- It quickly provides analytics that enables businesses to grow
Recent trends in digital marketing
Digital marketing trends are constantly evolving as marketers find better ways to reach their audiences and as audiences demand better ways to interact with a business. In 2019, several trends have carried over from previous years, and several others will continue to appear. That said, the most popular digital marketing trends today are as follows:
- Artificial Intelligence. AI can be used in an unlimited number of ways to power customer segmentation, push notifications, retargeting, click tracking, etc. depending on your chosen goals and channels.
- Chatbots. Companies can have basic conversations with customers through chatbots at any time and get referred to a customer care representative when necessary
- User-Generated Content like customer reviews are not only convincing to other users, but they also cost the business almost nothing.
- AdWords spending has been on the rise since 2016 and continues to grow today. With the right strategy, businesses have managed to optimize and increase their ROI on paid advertising.
- Omnichannel Marketing. It provides a consistent and seamless communication process for customers across all channels. It is an upgrade from multichannel marketing.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web Apps (PWA). These technologies provide faster loading time, better web experiences, and lower app development costs.
- Email and Marketing Automation eliminates time-wastage, minimizes error, its cost-efficient and increases collaboration between sales and marketing.
- Voice Search is increasingly being used as the technology improves and becomes more available to consumers through several gadgets including mobile devices.
- Video Audiences are spending more time watching videos. Advertisers and marketers have noticed this and are building marketing campaigns to reach these audiences.
- Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are both used by marketers in different ways to give audiences immersive experiences that will help them connect and engage with products and services.
10 ways businesses can achieve success in their digital marketing efforts
By combining the channels and tactics mentioned above, while keeping in mind recent trends and technologies that make it easier to connect, businesses can achieve success in their digital marketing in the following ways.
1. Be flexible and open to change
Embracing the fast-paced changes in the digital marketing world and tweaking the new tools, strategies, and tactics accordingly, is a must for businesses to succeed and thrive in today’s world.
2. Set SMART objectives
Setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound objectives, that are consistent with your digital marketing plan is critically important. For example, a conversion objective can be to increase the average value of orders in online sales from $30 to $40
3. Execute perfectly
Once you create an objective plan for achieving your SMART objectives, you need to execute the plan on schedule. Executing perfectly will allow you to collect data and make changes to your plan to fit customer feedback. These changes also need to be executed quickly.
4. Exercise creativity throughout the process
Right from the planning stage, be innovative and creative in using the content as well as different integrated channels (omnichannel marketing) to reach your audience and target customers. Content can include images, infographics, video, modernized websites, elegant designs, etc. Integrated channels can consist of mobile, social, web, phone and physical stores.
5. Target audience with market segmentation
Understanding your target audience and reaching out to them wherever they may be is crucial for digital marketing success. Marketing segmentation is useful in helping marketers do this by studying audience behavior/characteristics and grouping similar traits so that audience needs can be prioritized accordingly. Using AI and automation can help marketers achieve even higher levels of granularity and accuracy in an efficient way.
6. Diversify your channels, tactics, and strategies
By understanding that no single digital marketing strategy is perfect, you become open to the idea that experimenting with different channels, tactics, and strategies is a critical part of achieving success. One benefit of this mentality is that you will come across different audiences and customers that you did not know existed. These new audiences and customers can help you find new revenue streams.
7. Integrate your sales and marketing
Integrating sales and marketing allows businesses to maximize every aspect of digital marketing because these teams will be working with a focused purpose as opposed to working against each other (knowingly or unknowingly). Areas of maximization include the use of data, tools, seamless customer hand-over to different teams, etc.
8. Collect, measure, track, and analyze data
Today, data is crucial not just to provide your customers with a level of service that they expect but also to keep up with the competition. As such, collecting, measuring, tracking and analyzing data in real-time to get insights is simply a must for businesses to succeed in their digital marketing efforts.
9. Always stay connected to your audience
Customers today want to communicate and know what’s happening with their chosen vendors at all times. Businesses must, therefore, create an always-connected environment to nourish this need to be connected by not only providing up-to-date content but also by availing tools (e.g., chatbots) that make it easier to receive and send the content.
10. Collect feedback and respond to it accordingly
Use surveys, polls and comment forms to collect feedback from audiences and customers. Once you get customer input, use it to inform which strategies are working and which ones are not, and then adjust accordingly. The constant improvement will lead you to digital marketing success.
There is no one-size fits all solution for success in digital marketing. However, by incorporating different facets of digital marketing as mentioned above, and by using them as ingredients that suit your specific business, and customer profiles, you can achieve success in digital marketing. One of the smart decision towards a successful digital marketing career is to pursue a digital marketing course and gain the required skills.