1 October 2021

What is digital marketing?


Can you remember a time before the internet? Even though it might feel like it’s been around forever, the number of people accessing the web every day is still increasing.

That means that everyday more people are using the web than ever before. The truth is that the internet has changed how we shop, how we watch television, and even how we work out. Almost every business has some sort of online presence, in part because they know it’s expected. It is also through seeing the benefits it brings in the form of new leads and customers.

As a result, more money is being allocated than ever before to online marketing – a.k.a. digital marketing.

That being said, the world of digital marketing is still somewhat of a new thing, with digital marketing experts being in demand.

So, what is digital marketing and how can your business benefit from using it as part of your strategy?

What is digital marketing?

To put things as simply as possible, digital marketing is just that: Marketing. It just happens to take place online.

This includes email, website, search engines, and social media.

Any good marketer will tell you that you need to be where your audience is. In a modern world, that means being online.

Whether it’s hanging out on social media or sending out a weekly e-mail newsletter, it helps you to get to know your audience and lets them get to know you.

Types of digital marketing

  1. Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO can feel quite technical and there is a lot to understand.

What it involves is optimising content in a way that makes it rank higher in the search engine results pages, or SERPs for short.

When your business is at the top of the results for a certain search term, there is more chance of driving visitors to your website.

In fact, research shows that moving up one position in the search results improves your click-through rate by almost a third.

What this creates is something called “organic traffic”.

All this really means is that it doesn’t cost you anything to generate and doesn’t require any additional money or effort on your part.

The thing that benefits most from SEO is your website, but you can also use it on YouTube descriptions and Social Media Posts.

Some steps you can take to improve your SEO are:

Researching keywords that are relevant to your niche and writing blog posts or web content targeting them. Following this strategy long term will help you to “rank” for these keywords and bring in organic traffic.

Building backlinks to your website. These are incoming links from other websites to yours and they help to build your authority as a trusted source of information. You might think there’s nothing you can do to influence this but there is. Guest posting on another website, writing good relevant content that others find helpful enough to reference, and networking with other content creators are all good ideas.

Making sure your website is mobile friendly and loads quickly are also important SEO factors that are often overlooked.

2. Social media marketing

Social media marketing means using your business’s social media accounts to promote your brand, drive traffic to your website, and create leads.

Some of the social media channels you can use are:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Businesses will often employ a Social Media Manager to handle their accounts for them.

There are also tools you can use that help you automate the process of posting suh as Hootsuite. You can create content in batches without having to worry about doing it every day. These tools often come with in-built analytics to help you see how well your content is doing.

3. Pay per click advertising

Pay per click, or PPC, is the process of driving traffic to your website through paid-for advertisements.

Google Ads is a good example of this. If you’ve ever Googled something, you’ll often see that the very top results say “Ad”.

That means that a business has paid Google to be in the top spots of the search results. You then pay for these ads on a per-click basis. I.e. every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay for it.

How much this will cost varies significantly based on how competitive the keywords are that you are targeting.

Other forms of paid advertising you may be familiar with are:

  • Instagram/Facebook ads
  • YouTube Ads
  • Sponsored Messages on LinkedIn
  • Pinterest advertisements
  • Twitter Ads

4. Email marketing

Email marketing is an incredibly valuable medium to use in connecting with your audience. If you decide to use email marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy, you will need to encourage people to sign up to be on your email list. There are many ways you can do this such as offering a free download on your website or promising a discount code for signing up.

When you have built up your email list, it is like gold dust if you nurture it well.

Statistics show that it still provides a higher return on investment than other forms of marketing.

The people on your email list have chosen to be there. As a result, you have hundreds or even thousands of potential customers that you can contact directly. There’s no other form of marketing quite like it.

How can you use email marketing to engage with your list?

  • Sending a regular newsletter
  • Offering promotions or discounts to both new subscribers and on special occasions
  • “abandoned cart” follow-up emails
  • Affiliate marketing

5. Content marketing

Content marketing involves creating and then marketing content to grow your traffic, generating leads that hopefully turn into customers.

It’s content that you provide for free. You do so because you know it’s valuable to your target audience and want them to engage with it.

The marketing of this content should also hopefully help you to build a brand image and awareness as a result.

The content you can use in your strategy include:

  • Blog posts on your website
  • Infographics
  • Ebooks

Content Marketing is made most effective when you combine it with SEO as mentioned above. After all, creating great content is pointless if no one is seeing it.

The benefits of digital marketing

  • It helps you to reach a wider audience than would otherwise be possible through traditional marketing methods.
  • You can take a much more targeted approach. With digital marketing, you can identify a specific audience and target them with personalised messaging. As an example, you can utilise the features in PPC or social media advertising that allows you to choose who sees your ads based on many different variables.
  • It’s usually more cost-effective than traditional marketing as you can track the success of your campaign daily. if a campaign isn’t working, you can change or pause it instantly without having to first wait for it to end. This helps you to be more vigilant with your spending and avoids wasting money on things that aren’t working.
  • With a good digital marketing strategy, you can compete with big businesses. By utilising SEO in your content, you can start to rank in the search engines for keywords you’re targeting. This could mean your content ranks higher in Google than one of the big players in your niche.
  • Digital Marketing gives you quantifiable results. You can analyse the information you get from your campaign as to how people are finding you, how many are opening your emails, who is visiting what pages on your website, etc.
  • It allows you to connect with your customers in real-time and lets them communicate with you directly. This interaction benefits both you and the customer.

A digital marketer

Many businesses employ a digital marketer to, well…handle their digital marketing.

The general purpose is to build up brand awareness while also generating leads.
The role of a digital marketer is incredibly varied and where they focus their time will often depend on the strategic goals of the company.

As an overview, the role might include a mixture of the following duties:

  • Managing the company social media accounts
  • Preparing and posting SEO content on the website
  • Creating email marketing materials such as a newsletter or promotional offer
  • Maintaining and analysing any ongoing advertising campaigns

In large companies, businesses will often employ a team of digital marketers.

It is almost impossible for one person to do all of the above and each task will require a level of experience and expertise. A digital marketer will usually specialise in one of two areas. For example, social media managers, SEO specialists, and email marketing experts are all examples of digital marketers.

While they may have different job titles, the goal will always be the same: Increasing the volume of traffic to the company’s website and generating new leads.

Digital marketing has many different components, making it a great career choice

So, do you need a digital marketing strategy?

With nearly 5 billion people worldwide on the internet, the question should really be can you afford to do without a digital marketing strategy?

It helps you to reach a larger audience than is possible with traditional marking techniques. Not only that but the audience you do reach is more likely to buy your product from you as they are already interested in what you’re selling.

If you don’t have a solid digital marketing strategy, you’re missing out on hundreds, thousands, if not millions of potential customers. Instead, they’re going to the businesses that are reaching them online.

In addition to the above, having a digital presence helps you to build a brand image and awareness. Customers look for you online. They expect you to have a website and/or a social media account.

If you want to stay competitive in your niche business area, you’ll need to invest in digital marketing.

A growing industry

Digital marketing should be at the forefront of any business’s overall strategy. It allows you to be where your customers are and to engage with them in “real life” and real-time. More easily than ever, you can personalise your message and ensure you’re reaching the right people at the right time, which has never been possible before.

Embracing digital marketing is key in growing your business and building up a trustworthy brand presence online.

Keen to find out how to become a digital marketing expert? Get in touch with us at the Digital Academy today or check out our online digital marketing courses here.

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