We are now living in the world of the 21st century. Too cliché to mention, but still, our lifestyle, from literally all the perspectives that are present there, is highly influenced by the existence and continuous development of technology. With that, our life online has been really common for almost all of us in such extension that sometimes we cannot even remember how many hours we spend there everyday.
Now imagine being a marketer. In a traditional way, you are supposed to advertise your product or your service through print media or billboards. But do you think you should do the same, or depend only on these thoroughly for marketing your product, when you know that the people for whom your product is being created, spend more time online than outside in the real world, maybe walking down the streets to see your billboard?
There is no denying the fact that our lifestyle is no longer the same as it was before. So is not the traditional way of marketing being very effective or efficient, considering the real-life situations.
And here comes the idea of digital marketing. Let’s get to know about this issue a bit:
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is basically the use of the internet to reach consumers. And while saying internet, include other digital platforms or mediums as well in the scenario, like, mobile devices, social media, search-engines and so on. Marketing experts, nowadays, would really tell you that, digital marketing is something that should be considered as totally a new way of approaching customers and understanding the new ways in which these customers might react or behave compared to digital marketing.
What is the Role that Digital Marketing Plays to a Company?
We know traditional marketing exists in print ads, phone communication or physical marketing, whereas for digital marketing, it happens through electronics and online.
The stage that we are at right now, this is actually pretty hard to maintain your business if you are entirely absent in the virtual world. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small startup or a large enterprise, almost all of them nowadays try to be present in the virtual world as much as possible for the sake of their business. When these companies can represent themselves to the customers, then the customers can interact with and learn about the companies.
In the severe competitive situation that is prevailing in the business world, you must embrace some aspects of digital marketing to keep your business running. Digital marketing is something that is going to be an opportunity to get really creative and experimental about your marketing ideas and insights and to bring enormous scopes to stand out from the crowd.
Types of Digital Marketing
Here’s a rundown of some of the most common digital marketing tactics or types on which we should better have some basic ideas before entering into the world of business and marketing:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This is basically the process that enables contents regarding your products to show up when someone is trying to search the keywords about it. The aim here is to draw the greatest amount of traffic possible to a website, by bringing it to the top of a search engine’s results. When businesses and individuals use it, they can maximize the visibility of their websites and content in order to boost traffic and therefore business. Since naturally you want to reach out to more people and let them know about the existence of your product, you need to focus on SEO, and develop new strategies based on it.
To raise brand awareness, generating traffic growth and lead, and most importantly, connecting to the customers, you have got to create different forms of content. There are multiple channels that might contribute to assisting you to develop and make work your content marketing strategy:
· Blog Posts:
The company website that you have, you should try to publish articles written about topics and issues relevant to your industry. At the same time, of course these articles will incorporate various criteria about the products or services that you offer to the consumers. By doing so, you might be able not only feed your website visitors some useful insights but also demonstrating yourself as industry expertise, ultimately giving you the opportunity to make it possible-the conversion of these visitors into leads for your sales team.
· Ebooks and Whitepapers:
E-books, whitepapers or the other similar long-term contents will enable you to further educate the website visitors. As an extra benefit, it might also help you gain a reader’s contact info, which you can use to communicate with him/her later, in exchange for the contents.
Not all the visitors are going to be very patient and willing to spend some time to go through some content that consists of hundreds or thousands of words. So, for their convenience, you might want to provide them with infographic or other visual contents like this, which is very easy to acquire the concept from and also bringing variation to your collection of contents is never going to fail you achieving more and more visitors for your site.
Social Media Marketing
There are so many social platforms out there where a huge number of people are active and spending their time. So, why not try to get connected with them as well? By being present in social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat or Pinterest, this is going to be more convenient and effective stuff for you to create more and more interaction with your customers and to get to know them, their preferences and their opinions. Also, it actually ensures that you can reach out to the most number of people possible.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
It’s nothing but a method of driving traffic to your website by paying a publisher every time someone clicks your ad. While talking about PPC, the first thing that pops up in my mind is Google Ads, being the most common type of PPC. It allows you to pay for top slots on Google’s search engine results pages and the price that you are going to pay google is ‘per click’ of the links you place. There are some other channels out there as well, which are getting popular day by day, like:
· Paid Ads on Facebook:
Here, the thing is, Facebook will customize your business product’s or service’s video, image post, slideshow etc. and show it to the people who are likely to be your business audience, by publishing it to their newsfeed, and to make it happen, you will pay Facebook for it.
· Twitter Ads Campaign:
The case is quite similar here, being a user, you pay, and in exchange, you get the opportunity to place a post or a series of it to the newsfeed of a specific audience. The purpose is obviously to accomplish more customer engagement through increasing Twitter followers, tweet engagement, app download (if you offer any) and so on.
· Sponsored Messages on LinkedIn:
As LinkedIn is considered to be the gathering of all the professionals, there is no way you can skip this sector. What you can do here is basically paying up, which is going to result in letting the professionals from your industry background know about you and get connected with you as well, by sending direct messages to the user accounts of those individuals.
This is a performance-based advertising type, where you will promote someone else’s products or services on your website and for this, that person will provide you with a commission. Affiliate marketing channels include hosting video ads through the YouTube Partner Program or posting affiliate links from your social media accounts.
There are few basic marketing operations that we have to do repetitively. By using marketing automation software, you can automate the whole process of it, which is absolutely easier and less time-consuming as well. Some ways of doing it are:
· Email Newsletters:
Email automation’s one and only job is not sending emails automatically to all of your subscribers. Rather, it can determine that who are ones that are actually interested about the contents that you supply and then it will shrink or expand the contact list of your subscribers as needed and thus the newsletters and other contents are only going to be sent to the people who want to see them in their inboxes.
· Social Media Post Scheduling
We already got the fact that how important it is to make a perfect social media presence and engagement. To materialize it according to this understanding, you have got to post frequently on the platform to grow your organization’s presence there. However, doing this stuff manually is surely something not easy and time-friendly. So, to save you from the hassle, there are social media scheduling tools, that push your contents to your social media channels for you, and in this way, you get more time to focus on more important stuffs like content strategy,
· Campaign Tracking and Reporting
While arranging a marketing campaign, we all know how much work-load we’ve got there to deal with, that includes so many people, emails, contents, webpages, phone-calls and much more. But if you can use a marketing automation tool, it will certainly decrease your pain here, by sorting everything you work on by the campaign it’s serving and then tracking the overall performance of the campaign too.
We have already got some idea about it. Companies usually utilize email marketing as a way of communicating with the audience. Also, its usage includes promoting contents, discounts and events, directing people to the company’s website. While conducting an email marketing campaign, you might want to send these types of emails:
- Blog subscription newsletters
- Follow-up emails to website visitors who downloaded something
- Customer welcome emails
- Holiday promotions to loyalty program members
- Tips or similar series emails for customer nurturing
Online PR is basically not something very different from the traditional PR, it’s more like securing online coverage that has already been achieved, and this is done by digital publications: might be blogs or other contents-based websites. The channels that might be used to maximize your PR efforts online include:
· Reporter Outreach via Social Media:
You can simply message journalists of Twitters and let them know about you and your company. It is really great to develop a relationship with the press in this way that has the potential to produce earned media opportunities for the company.
· Engaging Online Reviews of Your Company:
People, when they give a review to your company, doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad, even though it might feel like not to touch at all that stuff, actually, the case is completely different. Instead of leaving it that way, you should rather share the reviews that you get from the consumers online. In this way, not only your company is going to be a more humanized one, it will deliver a powerful message to people that will contribute to protecting your reputation.
· Engaging Comments on Your Personal Websites or Blogs:
By enabling it for the readers of your company blog to put a comment, just the way they are getting the chance to share their reactions and insights, you are also going to create a very fruitful and effective interaction with them by replying to them.
While you are doing digital marketing with sponsored content, you are supposed to play the role of a brand who will pay another company or entity to create and promote content that portrays your brand or service in one way or the other.
What is Going to be the Budget for Digital Marketing?
It depends. If your focus is concentrated on stuff like SEO, social media or content creation for an already existing website, in most cases, the budget doesn’t need to be a huge one. However, in some cases like online advertising and purchasing email lists, there is no denying the fact that you must spend some dollars this time. But still, there are plenty of resources that will help you out a lot by providing cost-free stuff that will surely contribute to your company’s well-being.
Advantages of Digital Marketing
The true benefit that we get from conducting digital marketing is the fact that we can reach a targeted audience in a really cost-effective and measurable way. No need to mention the progress it makes in case of brand loyalty and online sales.
Some other benefits are:
· Global reach:
Just imagine having a website, through it, you can literally connect with the market prevailing in the whole world, even the investment you make is small, you get access to reach out to people from all the corners of the world.
· Lower Cost:
If you can ensure a properly planned and well-targeted digital marketing campaign, it can be assured that this campaign will reach out to the right customers at a much lower cost than in the case of traditional marketing.
· Trackable, Measurable Results:
Since you can easily measure your online marketing with web analytics and other online metric tools, it becomes so convenient for you to determine how successful and effective your campaign has been and you can also obtain information about how your customers are using your website and responding to advertisements.
In case of your customer database being linked to your website, you can get to know when one is visiting the site and so you can greet them with targeted offers as well. The more they visit or buy from you, the more you can refine your customer profile and market effectively to them.
As already mentioned, when you get involved in social media and interact with your audience regularly, this helps you build customer loyalty and also create a reputation for you being easy to engage with and of course, ensures reliability and transparency.
· Social Currency:
Sometimes while doing digital marketing, often you are going to get involved in lots of engaging campaigns, using content marketing tactics. In those situations, chances are there that the quality contents will be passed on from user to users, get viral and thus earn social currency.
· It’s Just So Easy for the Buyers:
Unlike the traditional ways, your customers are mostly only a few clicks away from actually purchasing from you, instead of getting up and making phone calls or going to the shops. It’s super easy and super convenient for the buyers, and ultimately super-efficient for the business.
Disadvantages of Digital Marketing
There are some downsides in the context of digital marketing about which you should better be prepared of from the very beginning:
· Skills and Trainings:
Unless your staff have the right skills to navigate your business and relevant tasks properly and effectively, no matter how strong your digital marketing strategies are, chances are high that you are not going to be able to make it. Also, finding the right skillful person is not an easy thing as well.
· Time Consuming in Specific Cases:
Optimizing online advertising campaigns or creating marketing content or stuff like these, are time consuming if you want them to be effective. In such cases, be sure you are measuring the results to ensure a return-on-investment.
Don’t forget that as soon as you are entering a global market through digital marketing, yes, you get connected to the global audience, but, at the same time, engage yourself in the global competition as well, which, obviously, is very difficult and challenging.
· Security and Private Issues:
There are certain legal issues that must be kept under consideration and supervision, while, specially, collecting and using customer data for digital marketing purposes. Being careless about these rules and regulations regarding privacy and data protection is going to result in serious damage to your company.
Digital marketing is undoubtedly an idea which is really vast in size and we do not expect anyone to be highly efficient in conducting digital marketing overnight. But do remember the fact that sooner or later, you must use digital marketing for your company if you want to survive and make profit in the competitive business that is prevailing right now. We must try our best to make the best use of it and apply it in real life business, to turn our companies or startups into success.