Nowadays, the majority of people go online every day. This means that, if you want to promote a service or a product, your audience will most likely be at the other end of a computer or laptop, a smartphone, or a tablet. Therefore, to reach the biggest amount of people, companies have been using more and more Digital Marketing since the term was first introduced in the 1990s.
So, what exactly is Digital Marketing? As mentioned before, it is any marketing that uses the Internet and online digital technologies to promote products and services. It specifically includes marketing campaigns that appear on digital devices. It can take many forms, for example, online videos, display ads, or social media posts. It is often compared to traditional marketing, but the latter refers to other forms of marketing campaigns, such as magazine ads, billboards, or direct mail.
Why is it important for a business to invest in Digital Marketing?
There are many reasons companies should invest in proper Digital Marketing strategies, the main one being that everything is online and it’s where it is more likely that your potential customers will find you. Your business and your campaigns need to be present in all moments of their online social activities: when they post selfies on Instagram, while they Google or scroll through their newsfeeds on social media, or even when they’re chatting on WhatsApp.
Some other reasons that may help you understand the importance of Digital Marketing are as follow:
It allows you to focus your time and money on where your customers spend their time and money.
It is much more specific and can be "hyper-customized" to a very specific target.
It is also very fast and flexible. You can easily increase or decrease the amount you spend from one day to the next and stick with an idea if it is working or stop it or change it if you see it's not generating any engagement.
Types of Digital Marketing
There are many types of digital marketing that you can make use of to increase your audience reach. Using multiple digital marketing channels can help you create a comprehensive strategy that will get you the best results.
Here are some of the most effective types of digital marketing:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is about increasing a website’s visibility in the organic results of major search engines such as Google. We can talk about two types of SEO:
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages. “On-page” refers both to the content and the HTML code of a page that can be optimized. The key ranking factors to pay attention to and optimize in your website are: targeted keywords, title and header tags, meta description, image-alt texts, URL structure, and always have good and informative quality content. There are other technical factors associated with the website itself that will be taken into account, such as page speed and mobile usability.
Off-page ranking factors have to do with entities outside of your website, such as your posts on social media platforms, your business profile in different local directories, and collaborations with influencers or bloggers for example, who will also share your link on their websites. All this will lead you to having good quality backlinks that will redirect to your website and give you more authority, increasing your visibility online and your brand’s reputation through the Internet.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)/Pay-per-Click
There are a variety of Ad types and they can be very effective if used correctly.
The most used is the classic Google Ads on search results which allows you to add Ads that redirect to your website directly on the top and at the bottom of search results.
These Ads look very similar to normal search results if not for the “Ad” text added at the beginning of the Ad. Other than that there are also display Ads that appear on banners on websites. Read this article if you’d like more information on this subject.
With rankingCoach 360 you can easily create and manage your Google Ads campaign with just a few steps.
Social Media Marketing
The different social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, Tik Tok - to name a few) are super popular nowadays and the number of people using them increases every day. That is why Social Media marketing is so important, it allows businesses to connect with their audience, build their brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. They perform the best when they are part of a complete content strategy that also includes content from your website (perhaps blog articles or promotions). Social Media Marketing also helps you improve your relationship with your customers, as they are great platforms for customer support and can help your customers engage and interact with your brand. You can find out more here.
Content marketing is defined as a technique of sharing content, particularly valuable, relevant and consistent content to increase an audience who is drawn to this content and, thus, driving profitable customer action to the business. Some examples of content marketing are ebooks, videos, infographics, podcasts, or even web pages (that include valuable information such as case studies). Having a good content marketing strategy is very important for any business. If customers find value in your content and trust you, there are higher chances they will choose your product or service. Moreover, Content Marketing provides benefits to other Digital marketing channels such as social media marketing and SEO.
Affiliate or influencer marketing
There are three parties involved in affiliate marketing, which is a technique of advertising that uses referral to sell a product or a service. The affiliate (1) is the blog or social media profile that hosts a link to a product or service and advertises it in order for the users (2) to see it and make a purchase. The merchant (3) is the person who actually offers the product or service and gives a percentage of the benefit to the affiliate when a sale is made. This is why this can also be called “influencer marketing” since nowadays there are a lot of brands using well-known influencers to advertise their products or services.
Email Marketing allows you to reach your customer via their email address, specifically to send them a commercial message. You can offer promotions and keep your customers up to date with the latest news from your company, share a blog post on an interesting subject or offer them discounts on a product they recently viewed.
Emails are free so they have a high return on investment (ROI). Read more here to find out further details about Email Marketing.
How to build a digital marketing strategy
Now that we have established that digital marketing is a very important asset for your business, and you know the different types, you might ask yourself: where do I start? Well, the first thing you need to do is to plan your own digital marketing strategy.
A digital marketing strategy is the planning of certain steps to reach defined objectives through online media. Depending on the stage your business is in, different digital marketing strategies will serve you better.
For example, companies that are starting and are looking to expand their audience reach can use SEM, social media, and affiliate/influencer marketing to help them reach new audiences quickly. Once an audience is established, they should focus on creating valuable content and increasing brand loyalty through channels such as email marketing. This content should always be created with SEO in mind so that their websites continue to attract new organic traffic.
Here we present you with the different steps you should follow to define and plan your digital marketing strategie/s and skyrocket your business’s online presence:
Set an objective or goal. To do that, you have to ask yourself what it is that you want to achieve. You can use the SMART criteria (Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely). This means your goal cannot just be “Get more visits or traffic” because it’s too generic. It has to be more specific: “Get 5% more visits to my website through Facebook in the next month”. This would be a SMART goal.
Analyze how your current digital marketing presence is doing. It is important to acknowledge what you have already achieved, even if it’s not that much at the beginning, because it will help you understand where you need to focus your efforts. For that, you also need to understand your different marketing channels and rank them from the ones that are being the most effective to the least effective.
Understand the digital sales funnel. The sales funnel is all the steps or stages of the entire buying journey a consumer goes through, from awareness to purchasing. This means that the marketing funnel has a top, middle, and end.
This includes the very start when prospective customers learn about your brand until they become customers, or in other words, they make a purchase. That is why you need the right marketing channels to create awareness, raise interest in your brand, product, or services, engage with people and create relationships and ultimately do business.
Understand who your audience is. You have to understand who is buying your product or service. Which age range? Gender? Demography? You can also go deeper and understand what your audience is interested in, what they like to read or know about and where they like to see their content, which social media platform they’re most likely on. This way you can easily connect with them and create a message or narrative that resonates with them.
Locate your customers at the different stages of the funnel. Some can google about your product and find an article that talks about your brand; other ones can see an ad on Facebook or Instagram about your product or services; or simply some others have already made a purchase from your shop so you can include them in your email marketing campaign and offer them a discount for the next purchase. Locating them and understanding them is the way you can target different groups of people through different channels.
Make a content plan. Now that you know who your audience is and you know where to find them, you need to create a targeted content strategy to attract customers and achieve your goals for each of the channels. For your content, you need to develop a keyword strategy and improve your SEO - which we will see later in this article. Also, create a calendar and schedule the content (posts) you want to share on the different social media platforms which should also include articles from your blog on specific topics. Also, remember to use calls to action to encourage people and redirect them to your website or a specific product you are selling.
Analyze your performance. How are your customers interacting with what you’re sharing? Are you reaching your goals? You can find tools that can help you analyze your progress in different ways. For example, rankingCoach can help you analyze what is happening in your social media and if your keyword strategy for your content is progressing. Also, each social media platform will offer you insights into how your specific posts are doing. Once you have analyzed all your goals and see how you’re doing, you can readjust your strategy accordingly, there is always room for improvement!
Are you not working on it already?
After reading our article, we hope now you know the importance of Digital Marketing and why it’s essential to make your business more successful in the digital era. If you find the steps mentioned above too difficult to implement and need a bit of help getting started, make sure to check out our application rankingCoach 360.