The key to marketing your products or services has always been to deliver the right messages to your customers at crucial moments. For this reason, more and more business owners are asking themselves “what is digital marketing?”
The most effective way to market your products and services is to go where your potential customers are.
81% of Americans use the internet every day, so websites, social media networks, and other online marketing channels give companies the ability to successfully promote services and products while building a profound connection with potential buyers at the same time.
Despite the fact that 313 million Americans already have internet access, more users are turning to Google and other digital resources to help them find products and services in their area.
Instead of saving business cards or looking up numbers in the phone book, modern consumers pull out their smartphone or laptop and conduct a search whenever they need something.
A solid digital marketing plan can ensure that your potential customers can find your company when they need it most, transforming your online channels into lead-generating machines.
At Fannit, we’ve spent the last few years building robust digital marketing campaigns that drive more leads for our customers, so we understand the nuances of creating a solid online promotion plan.
In this article, we’ll define digital marketing, discuss its importance, and go over all the basics you need to know before you start building your online promotion strategy.
What is Digital Marketing?
Before going any further, let’s go over our digital marketing definition.
Digital marketing is an umbrella term used to describe all marketing activities carried out to promote your products or services on digital media and the internet as a whole.
For those asking “what is digital media?”, this can consist of videos, text, images and any other resource that can be displayed on an electronic device.
Companies of all sizes can implement digital marketing channels like social networks, search engines, review sites, and other platforms to help them reach potential customers at a local, national, and global level.
Even after understanding what is meant by digital marketing, you should keep in mind that there are dozens of different digital channels you can use to advertise your products.
Each one has its own set of benefits, but they need to be leveraged properly to produce the best results.
But, even though some of these digital platforms are similar and work very well together, you have to keep their differences in mind to create an effective digital marketing plan.
Resource: What Is Online Marketing
The Importance of Focusing on Digital Marketing Channels
Why is digital marketing important? Well, it mainly has to do with versatility and efficiency.
Traditional marketing like print media, phone calls, and radio spots have limitations that restrict what companies can do to market their services.
Digital marketing, on the other hand, offers an almost endless world of possibilities for businesses to build their brand, connect with their audiences, and produce quality leads.
Another reason why digital marketing is important is that consumers rely on the internet more than ever before.
Today, it’s common for consumers to look up digital resources before making a purchase.
So, companies working with an internet marketing services agency to produce awesome content will likely attract consumers who are interested in the services or products being promoted.
For companies, the three most attractive characteristics of digital marketing are:
One of the features that sets digital marketing apart from traditional marketing is its ability to reach different demographics in almost any location.
But, the reach of digital marketing goes beyond location, age, and other demographic data.
Digital channels allow you to reach consumers when they’re most responsive.
Billboards and other types of traditional marketing tactics have attempted to lure consumer attention during commutes, while taking work breaks, and during evenings.
Because people often use this time to browse the internet, you can connect with your potential customers when they’re actually interested in reading your content.
Digital users are more engaged than the average consumer because they’re actively trying to find something on an internet-capable device.
Most of their attention is focused on the screen sitting before them, so they are more likely to absorb your marketing message in its entirety.
But, the only way to retain their interest is to craft valuable content that stands out.
Besides reaching customers at crucial times, digital marketing also supports the use of high-quality images, videos, and other visual elements that help portray the quality of your products.
This, combined with the ability to create longer written content, such as blogs or ebooks, results in a highly engaging form of marketing that keeps customers intrigued by your brand.
Tracking conversions on traditional marketing channels has always been challenging, to say the least.
Besides promo-codes that inevitably have a discount attached to them, there aren’t many other ways to track the sales you get as a result of your investment.
Online marketing can be tracked and monitored from all angles, so you’ll always know how much money you spend, where it’s going, and how many leads/customers you get from promotion efforts.
The ability to monitor the performance of your digital marketing strategy also gives you the ability to make adjustments and optimize your campaign to produce more leads.
By identifying the marketing activities that are not producing results, you can re-allocate these resources to the channels that are generating the highest number of quality leads.
Types of Digital Marketing Campaigns
As we mentioned before, digital marketing is an umbrella term and it encompasses a wide list of subcategories.
All of these are displayed on internet-capable devices, but they also have fundamental differences you have to keep in mind when crafting your campaign.
Understanding the subtle differences will not only help you choose the right online marketing channels, but you’ll also know how to blend these digital resources into a winning mix.
There are many different online promotions strategies, but the most common types of digital marketing are:
Out of all the digital marketing examples in this list, content marketing is emerging as a favorite because of its relatively low cost and a high potential for success.
Content marketing is a promotion strategy that focuses on creating valuable resources in the form of blogs, white papers, reports, ebooks, and rich digital media, just to name a few.
Content marketing is a great technique, but it should be used as a part of a more holistic promotion plan to yield the best results.
Not only this, but you also have to invest time into developing quality resources that you customers can use to learn about the solutions you offer and how these can be of use.
Blog posts are a crucial part of content marketing, but writing new articles on a regular basis is not enough to succeed.
Consistency is important, however, you need to develop a schedule and strategy that will help you capture information from readers, evaluate how interested they are, and gradually transform them into paying customers.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for blog development. You need to determine the ideal posting frequency, article length, and topics that will attract your audience.
In these cases, having a reliable digital media promotion agency can help you develop a blogging strategy that compliments your overall marketing plan.
In case you’re wondering “what is a digital agency?” It’s a firm specializing in marketing your products through online channels like search engines in order to drive more traffic to your website.
Resource: How to Write a Blog Post: Easy Guide
Whitepapers, Reports, and eBooks
Many users research solutions online for hours, but there are also consumers who prefer long-form pieces of writing that they can check out even when there’s no internet. Crafting white papers, reports, and ebooks that your customers can download and use on the go is another way to bolster your content marketing.
That said, whitepapers and similar resources require a significant amount of work, so you’ll want to carefully choose each piece’s topic.
If you’re not sure how to implement ebooks into your strategy, you may want to start with your blog and identify which topics get the most traffic, then create downloadable resources you offer in exchange for contact information.
Infographics have seemingly spread like fire and for good reason. These visual aids allow users to absorb large amounts of information in bite-size chunks.
In essence, infographics take advantage of the fact that some people prefer information in the form of an image. Not only this, but these resources commonly feature attractive graphics and sound color schemes that make the data available easier to digest.
Infographics work well for any industry because they often carry a set of key statistics that help deliver the point across.
For instance, if you’re running a mold and water restoration company, your customers would probably like to know the cost associated with home repairs if their mildew problem goes untreated.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) has become a synonym to online marketing for a lot of people, but it’s actually a type of digital promotion strategy that works very well with other techniques.
SEO is the process of making changes to your website in order to increase its ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Search platforms like Google rank websites based on hundreds of different factors in order to provide a list of results whenever a user performs a search.
The vast majority of users trust Google to provide them with the best results in order of relevance, so they never get past the first page of the SERPs.
If you want to get a significant amount of traffic from search platforms, then you want to be on the first page of the results pages.
And for this, you have to pay attention to the elements that the search engine takes into consideration when ranking your website.
The different ranking factors that Google and other search engines use to rank your website can be divided into on-site and off-site elements.
On-site SEO refers to all of the user-facing as well as backend elements of your website.
This includes images, text, loading time, and all other aspects of your interface as well as functionality.
It’s important to note that all on-site SEO elements are in your control, but you need to know what they are and how they interact with search platforms in order to make the right changes.
Furthermore, on-site SEO may either deal with design elements that affect the appearance of your website or backend adjustments that improve functionality and usability.
Resource: The Ultimate On Page SEO Checklist (Free Infographic)
As the name suggests, off-site SEO includes ranking factors that are not on your website.
Yes, Google takes into consideration factors that are not on your website when ranking your position in order to get a more holistic view of your company.
Off-site SEO factors include things like social media presence, review site rankings, local directories information, and backlinks quality, which refers to the websites that link back to your website.
Besides knowing what the off-site factors are, you also need to know how to manage them and what a search platform may penalize you for.
For instance, Google may penalize you for having outdated information on local directories, so you have to find the quickest and most cost-effective way to update all of these with new data.
Or, you may need to get more quality backlinks, so it’s important to know how to approach guest posting in a way that ultimately boosts your SEO.
Pay-per-click (PPC) management services is the type of digital marketing strategy where companies place different types of ads throughout a publisher’s network.
As the name suggests, companies that advertise through PPC only have to pay when a user clicks on the ad.
PPC is a type of performance marketing, which means that you only get charged when a person interacts with your ad.
However, running a PPC campaign is more complicated than creating a few ads and paying when you see traffic.
There are dozens of statistics you can analyze to improve your PPC campaign, but not all of them give you a realistic idea of how your campaign is performing.
As part of your digital marketing plan, you need to identify metrics that provide actionable information or work with an agency that can manage your paid campaigns right away.
There are thousands of publishing platforms out there, but Google has the largest and most reliable network available.
Known as Google Ads, this platform allows you to run multiple ads to reach consumers in different locations.
You can also set a specific schedule to reach your audience when they’re more receptive to your ads and apply different targeting settings to get the most out of your budget.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the practice of promoting your services through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social networks.
Social media networks have ingrained themselves as part of our identity as humans, so users now rely on these platforms to connect with friends, stay up-to-date with the latest news, and find out information about local companies.
In the US, the average user spends 1 hour and 57 minutes on social media every day, giving companies a significant window to engage their potential customers with good content using a social media marketing agency.
But, this also means that you have to develop valuable resources and attractive content as well as a social media digital marketing strategy designed to attract new customers.
As with search engines, social media networks offer the chance to market your products organically or through paid campaigns.
Organic social media marketing refers to non-paid activities that get customers on to your profile, and eventually, onto your website.
Social media channels often allow the sharing of images, posts, links, and other types of content.
To attract organic content, these posts need to be optimized with certain keywords, posted at certain times, and meet a certain quality standard.
One of the keys to organic social media marketing success is to be customer-centric.
Instead of making your profile about your product, you should attempt to create a platform that helps customers. You can do this by providing resources, honing in on your branding, and serving as a valuable communication channel with your company.
Social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn also offer paid marketing in the form of PPC campaigns.
Consumers willingly provide a huge amount of information to these channels, so you can use this to your advantage by boosting your posts and targeting users who have a high chance of becoming customers.
Like Google Ads, paid social media ads campaigns need to be monitored and optimized on a regular basis.
It’s also important to understand how consumer behavior varies between search engines and social channels to craft the right type of ad.
For example, users conducting a search on Google probably want to find out more information or buy a product.
Social media users may be scrolling down their feed looking for something interesting when they see your ad, so it should not be crafted in the same way you would create a search ad.
Affiliate marketing is another type of performance-based marketing where companies work with third-party advertisers.
In these scenarios, the affiliate marketer is in charge of generating conversions, either in the form of lead or sales, in order to receive payment.
Because the digital marketing activities are left up to the affiliate, advertisers don’t have any control of how the leads are obtained.
This leaves a lot of room for error and it may compromise the quality of the lead, so it’s always best to have a digital marketing agency monitoring your affiliate program if you choose to run one.
Native advertising refers to the ability to buy spots on content-rich websites and making your ads appear as part of the page’s components.
Although it’s technically a form of performance-based marketing, native advertising is unique because, if successful, they connect with your audience and deliver your message without feeling like an ad.
Native ads need to be content-led, so you need to develop a promotion piece that reads like an article, post, or blog and links back to the product you want to market.
Email marketing is one of the oldest types of digital promotion, so many companies have discarded it and labeled it obsolete.
However, email campaigns have remained a staple at our digital marketing agency because they can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including customer communications, content promotion, and lead generation.
To use email marketing at its full potential, you have to create a detailed campaign and create a set of different messages that nurture and move customers down your funnel.
In other words, you need to create engaging emails that highlight how your product can help without coming off too strong.
It’s a good idea to create sets together, like welcome emails for newsletters, follow up messages, holiday content, and blog promotion emails, just to name a few examples.
Marketing automation and email marketing are closely related because they’re a match made in heaven. By combining both, you can create intricate email sequences that follow a specific order or are sent based on the actions your potential customers take.
Although promotion emails among its most common uses, marketing automation can actually be applied at a large scale to different parts of your plan. If you automate basic marketing activities and repetitive tasks, you’ll save a significant amount of resources and allow your team to focus on complex tasks.
Some of the most common ways you can use marketing automation include:
- Social media post scheduling
- Newsletter and other email communications
- Lead-nurturing campaigns
- Retargeting, cross-selling and upselling
Like digital marketing, inbound marketing refers to a wide set of tactics designed to attract customers, engage them with great content, and delight them during the buyer’s journey and thereafter.
The buyer’s journey is the decision-making process that ultimately leads to a customer making a purchase from your website.
Remember, the length of the buyer’s journey varies from one company to the other, so inbound marketing can be a great tool to help you understand this process a little better.
Inbound marketing services are compatible with all marketing tactics listed in this section, so you can build a tailored campaign fit for your specific needs. However, the main thing you should keep in mind is that inbound marketing is customer-centric, so your content, social media profiles, and other channels should be geared towards improving customer experience.
Moreover, there’s a big difference between the tools used for inbound marketing and traditional media found.
Inbound marketers steer clear from pop-ups, commercial advertising, and email spam which tend to hinder experience and create a negative connotation around the business being promoted. Instead, it’s better to opt for blogging, quality video content, and nurturing emails that deliver value.
Online Public Relations and Reputation Management
Whether you planned on using digital channels or not, there’s a strong chance your business has an online reputation.
Review sites and local directories help consumers leave reviews and evaluate companies independently.
The thing is, many of these platforms allow the creation of profiles without informing the businesses being rated, which means you can have a bad rep and not know about it.
For this reason, it’s important to proactively focus on digital reputation management.
To manage your business online reputation, you need to find all relevant directories and review sites, claim or create your profile, and monitor the feedback you receive very closely.
Additionally, you may also want to include online public relations in your digital marketing plan.
This will ensure that you get the digital media coverage you deserve on blogs, ebooks, and other published content, plus it also provides a nice boost in backlink traffic.
The Roles of Your Digital Marketing Experts
The digital market is almost limitless, but you have to make sure your website is visible in order to claim your slice of the pie.
In addition to understanding the different marketing tactics you can leverage, you also have to understand the roles of the members in your team.
As with digital marketing specialties, there are different areas of expertise your team members can focus on.
Each one plays a unique role, and even though overlap and close collaboration are to be expected, you have to value team members’ contributions based on their own set of metrics.
It’s important to note that digital marketing can be performed by a variety of different roles in your company.
Depending on the size of your organization, you may have one expert who manages all parts of your campaign or a team with a dedicated specialist for each type of marketing.
Digital marketing specialists commonly found in a company include:
The SEO specialists breathe search engine optimization expertise and their main goal is to help achieve high rankings on Google’s results pages.
Your search engine optimizer should work closely with content creators, designers, and other creative specialists to guarantee that all the content produced aligns with good SEO practices.
The main metric that SEO experts go by is organic traffic as well as the leads, conversions, and sales generated through good search engine rankings.
Additionally, your optimizer will also work closely with other parts of your marketing department, including social media experts and other members.
Content Marketing Expert
The content marketing expert usually manages whatever goes on the website and ensures that all published content follows a logical schedule.
They’re in charge of developing the content marketing strategy, producing the blogging calendar, and finding ways to implement video into the promotion plan.
Content needs to be amplified through social and paid channels if you have them available, so these specialists often work with and manage other parts of your marketing team.
For content specialists, the main statistics you need to focus on are bog traffic, time spent on each page, and other content indicators.
Social Media Manager
The role of the social media manager is perhaps the easiest to understand.
As a matter of fact, the most challenging aspect of managing your company’s social efforts is identifying the most effective channels based on industry trends.
There are dozens of popular channels that require dedicated content, but you have to allocate resources to the channels that compliment your marketing.
Social media channels like Facebook and Instagram work wonders for B2C companies, while LinkedIn may be more suitable for B2B and industrial providers.
Who Can Benefit from Digital Marketing?
Before choosing the areas they want to focus on or thinking about their goals, some managers and owners ask themselves if digital marketing is right for their companies.
And, the short answer is a resounding yes.
Regardless of the product, location, or industry, digital marketing is a suitable option that can help promote your brand.
The internet has become an integral part of our daily lives and with more than half of the world’s population already online, it’s safe to assume that a large portion of your audience is already looking for your services on the web.
This is the reason why using digital marketing as part of your entire promotion plan is the only way to stay competitive.
Consumers are well aware of the advantages and quick solutions the internet has to offer, so it has become their go-to place when trying to find a product or service.
Consumers are used to making snap decisions and purchasing products on a whim.
A B2C business can use its website, social media profiles, and other resources to highlight the quality of its products, forging a strong bond with the audience while also giving them value in the form of a positive experience.
What’s more, these companies can leverage big data in their favor to identify behavioral patterns that lead to a sale.
Once they spot these patterns, businesses can design a plan to contact potential customers at key moments during their decision-making process, increasing their chances of turning into a customer right away.
The products and solutions from a B2B company are usually more expensive than B2C goods, so it’s normal for clients to have a longer decision-making process.
On top of this, most B2B decision-makers won’t purchase a product without speaking to a sales rep and doing thorough research.
So, your business-to-business marketing strategy needs to take this into consideration and usher potential clients in the form of
Advantages of Having a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy
Print, television ads, and other conventional forms of marketing don’t allow tracking, monitoring, or improvements after the spot has been released.
Even when using promotion codes to track your different sources, it’s almost impossible to know how many customers and sales you generate thanks to traditional media advertising.
The good news is that digital marketing can help you see the performance of your campaign in real-time, evaluate which areas are producing the best results, and improve your content once it’s already live.
Unlike conventional advertising, a good digital marketing strategy requires ongoing work, but your online channels can become a consistent source of good business in return.
Some of the best business benefits of digital marketing include:
Increase Web Traffic
You’ll probably hear your digital marketing specialist refer to your business website as your digital storefront.
This is because your potential customers will carefully examine your website and evaluate the quality of your business based on their overall experience, just like they would in a physical location.
If implemented properly, your marketing digital strategy will attract more users to your website, which is the equivalent of attracting walk-ins to your store.
This gives you the ability to capture contact information and start educating customers about the benefits of working with your company. Plus, you’ll also collect a good amount of data you can use to optimize your website later on.
Improve the Performance of Your Digital Content
In addition to attracting a high number of visitors, your marketing digital strategy also aims to improve the performance of your content.
Through a constant process of monitoring and new content development, the quality of your resources will steadily increase. If executed correctly, your plan may even boost your marketing website’s reputation and transform you into an industry leader.
Companies that produce top-notch resources tend to see the best return on their marketing investments. Consumers and potential customers in the B2B space notice when a business is producing exceptional content, so it’s a great way to generate prospect data from your website.
Generate Quality Leads Online
In the early days of the internet, companies would simply create a site, post a few articles, and hope they would get something in return.
The way consumers use the internet and the methods to reach them have changed a lot since, turning websites and other digital platforms into reliable sources of high-quality leads.
Now, you can produce detailed plans to acquire visitors and design clever ways to deliver value in return for information that allows you to qualify each lead before they are transferred to the sales team.
Resource: Online Lead Generation Services
Manage Your Digital Reputation
Internet users trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations, so you need to keep a close eye on your online reputation.
If your business or website has a bad reputation, it may affect the rest of your digital marketing efforts.
This means that you probably won’t get good rankings or a traffic boost if you have a bad reputation, even if you do everything else right.
Your marketing digital strategy should include an online reputation management plan that supports the rest of your promotion efforts and ensures you get notified if you receive any negative feedback.
Track, Monitor, and Optimize Your Efforts
When switching to digital marketing, one of the biggest adjustments that companies have to do is tracking and optimizing the performance of their campaign.
Digital channels allow extensive tracking, so you can see where your traffic is coming from, what pages users are visiting, and make changes based on the information you collect.
The two most important parts of optimizing your digital marketing campaign are setting up a consistent schedule and waiting until you have enough information to make significant adjustments.
Both of these will vary depending on your industry, how well your website is performing already, and other specific details.
So, you need to put in the time to figure what’s best for you or work with a digital marketing agency that can develop and manage your campaign.
Defining the Type of Content You Need to Produce
You’ve probably noticed that content is a recurring theme in digital marketing,
The reason behind this is that the content on your website directly affects the way visitors behave.
Therefore, having the right type of content in place is the best way to transform your website into a consistent source of business.
The type of content you produce will vary significantly, but it generally falls in one of three categories depending on where visitors are in the buyer’s journey.
According to inbound marketing, the three stages of the buyer’s journey are:
During the awareness stage, customers know they have a problem, but they are not sure what the best solution is.
The awareness-level content on your website needs to be a bit more general and describe all of the solutions a customer may have available while highlighting your products as the best alternative.
In the sales funnel, awareness-level content should be directed towards top-of-funnel leads.
These users are in “research mode,” so attempting any aggressive form of marketing will probably scare them off for good.
Instead, your awareness content should be friendly and helpful, with a sprinkle of authoritative on top.
Examples of content you want to produce in the awareness include blogs, infographics, and short videos.
Leads in the consideration stage are aware of their issue as well as their options, so they are evaluating your services against other solutions.
Content for this stage should be assertive and explain why your company poses the best short and long-term answer to the problem at hand.
This content should also be rich in calls-to-action (CTAs) that encourage leads to leave contact information and ask questions about your product.
You’ll want to focus on organizing webinars, creating research reports, and developing ebooks to help customers understand the services you offer.
In the final decision stage, your leads have narrowed down all the options and are prepared to talk to your sales team.
At this point, your potential customers understand your products, so having case studies or testimonials on your site can help reassure them of their decision.
Setting the Right Results Expectations
As with any other part of your company, setting up the right expectations will give you an idea of what to expect from a successful digital marketing campaign.
This is the same whether you’re working with an in-house marketer or a seasoned digital marketing agency like Fannit.
Some decision-makers are under the impression that digital marketing provides faster results than conventional advertising.
This may be true in most instances, but it heavily depends on how well your campaign is managed, the scale of your efforts, and other variable factors.
There are many steps you can take to boost the performance of your digital marketing campaign and potentially see faster results.
Creating buyer personas, focusing on creativity, and opting for PPC digital marketing can help you collect leads that turn into customers after a few months.
Digital Marketing Budget Requirements
The beauty of digital marketing is that it’s suitable for budgets of all sizes. Granted, you may have to pick and choose which specific techniques you implement.
Small or financially-limited organizations can focus on practices like SEO, social marketing, and content production that are relatively low-cost but have good potential for return.
Some companies opt for keeping everything in house, but developing quality content takes time.
Working with a trustworthy marketing firm can help relieve some of the pressure and produce better results down the line.
Is Mobile Marketing Necessary for Success?
A few decades ago, computers were the only digital device widely available to consumers.
Modern users can now access the internet via different digital devices, with the most popular being smartphones.
More than half of all digital search queries occur on a mobile device, so you need to have a responsive website that adapts to the user’s screen size.
Mobile apps may still have their uses, but they’re not always the best solution for service or product-based companies that want to focus on digital marketing.
Mobile apps take time to develop, plus you have to find a developer, hosting, and figure out other details.
Instead of opting for mobile apps, responsive sites simply improve parts of your already existing website to fit the user’s device.
Some of the elements that are enhanced through a responsive design include:
Site navigation is essential for all types of digital marketing, especially mobile. Consumers are limited by screen size compared to a computer, so your navigation needs to be intuitive and optimized accordingly.
Optimal Image Size
Like other forms of advertising, digital marketing relies heavily on images and other creative elements.
Images on your site add to the visual appeal while allowing you to show off your goods and services. Responsive sites also adjust images to fit onto the user’s device while retaining as much as possible in terms of quality.
Contact Form Length
SEO and other types of digital marketing rely heavily on forms to capture information from your visitors.
However, users will answer fewer questions on a mobile device. Fortunately, responsive designs also reduce the length of your contact form, so users will only have to fill in a few fields to enter your digital marketing ecosystem.
Ready to Get Started with Digital Marketing? We’re Here to Help
The answer to the question “what is digital marketing?” may not be simple, but it will help you build a better campaign and get more lead from your business website.
At Fannit, we’ve spent the last decade helping companies develop digital marketing plans that produce results.
Our team of digital marketing experts has collaborated with businesses in a wide variety of industries, so we’re familiar with the different strategies and what each one has the ability to produce.
Now that you know the answer to the questions “what is digital marketing?” you can evaluate your current set up and start choosing the best channels for your digital marketing strategy.