Over the past few years, digital marketing has taken the world by storm, and has found a niche among the majority of firms and corporations. Although digital marketing has now become the go-to method business e-commerce and business expansion, for some there is still a certain level of uncertainty regarding its precise definition, and how it helps businesses grow their bottom line. To gain a clearer understanding of this exciting career pathway, read on.
How does digital marketing work?
Another term often used to refer to digital marketing is, simply, online marketing. The pace of the modern marketplace has made it necessary for organisations to have an online presence, and therefore digital marketing helps these businesses to:
- Create awareness and interest in their products and services;
- Convert occasional buyers into regular customers;
- Improve business growth and brand loyalty through customer word of mouth and online reviews.
Digital marketing involves certain principles that organisations must keep in mind while formulating a digital marketing strategy.
- Quality content: Organisations must understand that great content is vital if any marketing campaign is to succeed. Since the internet is ‘forever’ and ‘content is king’, organisations must be careful before posting any sub-standard or incorrect content online. Organisations must also take their time to prepare excellent marketing content that is useful for customers and creates a positive response to products and services.
- Keep it simple: Organisations often miss excellent digital marketing opportunities and initiatives because their campaigns are confusing and complicated. Although not always the rule, in general campaigns should be simple, concise, and to the point.
- Know your target audience: While preparing marketing campaigns, firms should keep their target audience in mind. For example, if the target audience is senior citizens, then digital advertising would not necessarily be the correct strategy. Print and television media may be better suited to this target audience, for instance.
- Contact information: Organisations should ensure their websites and social media handles include critical contact information such as the company address, phone number, and email address.
- Use video content: Successful digital marketing campaigns use video marketing to generate more direct interest. According to several recent studies, people’s ability to remember or recall a message increases when they can see and hear it, rather than just by way of reading.
- Use a combination of marketing mediums: Even whilst undertaking digital marketing campaigns, organisations should not forget about ‘old-school’ media such as print and television. Using these channels makes a marketing plan comprehensive and well-rounded.
- Competitor analysis: Organisations should conduct regular research regarding their competitors’ digital marketing campaigns to get an idea of how to make their own messaging stand out.
Digital Marketing Channels
Once organisations have taken these digital marketing principles into account, they need to focus on which digital marketing channels to use.
- Search engine optimisation (SEO): SEO is considered to be one of the best performing digital marketing channels for increasing leads or sales. In this channel, organisations need to modify the content present on their websites. This is done to include certain keywords that are relevant to the business and which are frequent terms entered into search engines by the business’s potential customers.
- Social media marketing: As the name suggests, this marketing channel is used to market business, products, and services on multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The selection of the platform depends upon the nature of the organisation and its target audience. This channel also allows businesses to build one-to-one communication with the customer base, and is a very effective platform for obtaining feedback and reviews.
- Email marketing: Organisations also make use of emails for marketing purposes. Emails are used to promote the business, products, services, discounts, and to direct consumers to the organisation’s website. There are several types of emails organisations can send under email marketing, including:
- Weekly or monthly newsletters;
- Follow-up emails;
- Emails welcoming new customers;
- Discounts and promotions for regular customers.
- Search engine marketing (SEM): Search engine marketing is also known as paid search marketing. It involves attracting traffic to a website by paying money. SEM includes three models:
- Pay-per-click (PPC): In this model, organisations pay search engines each time their ad is clicked by an internet user. PPC can be done through Google’s AdWords service, promoted tweets on Twitter, paid ads on Facebook, sponsored messages on LinkedIn, sponsored ads on Instagram, and more.
- Cost-per-click (CPC): CPC is a marketing metric that calculates the money paid for each click in a PPC campaign. CPC also helps organisations in calculating the accurate return on investment (ROI) on their digital marketing campaigns.
- Cost per mille (CPM): CPM is also known as cost per thousand impressions. CPM denotes the price of 1000 advertisement impressions on a particular webpage. It also helps organisations keep track of the cost of their marketing efforts.
SEM also includes mobile marketing, paid social media advertising, and display advertising.
- Content marketing: Content marketing is a marketing technique that involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Content marketing can include podcasts, videos, infographics, blogs, articles, and books.
- Remarketing: This digital marketing strategy allows organisations to reach out to website visitors by dropping a cookie in their browser. Cookies are temporary files that store digital information. For example, if a potential customer visits an e-commerce website and checked out the various mobile phones offered by a particular brand, but then left the site without buying a phone, the phone seller can then show ads on different websites encouraging that customer to come back to the e-commerce site and make a purchase. This, in a nutshell, is remarketing.
- Affiliate marketing: This is a digital marketing strategy that allows one person to promote and market third-party products with the intention or aim of earning commissions. This commission is based on leads, conversions, and sales.
The benefits of digital marketing for a business
Digital marketing provides a huge range of benefits to organisations. Here are just a few of them:
- Cost effectiveness: One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing is that it is cost efficient. A digital marketing strategy using multiple channels and targeting a large audience often proves to be cheaper than traditional marketing strategies in comparison.
- Results can be measured: Unlike traditional marketing, the results of digital marketing are relatively easy to measure. This helps organisations ascertain if a particular campaign was successful.
- Larger target audience: Digital marketing makes use of the internet, and this allows organisations and businesses to reach out to a much larger audience when compared to traditional marketing.
- Low entry barrier: Due to their relatively low cost, digital marketing strategies have a low entry barrier. This makes them an attractive proposition for people who are just starting a business.
- Flexibility: Digital marketing strategies can be customised or designed to suit a variety of organisations. For example, strategies can be adjusted and expanded to suit a large firm, or can be kept at a low scale in the case of a new firm that is looking out for new business opportunities.
- Communicate with consumers: Digital marketing makes it easy for businesses and organisations to interact and communicate with their consumers. This is usually done through online feedback and online reviews.
Digital marketing tips for businesses
Both start-ups and successful businesses should keep certain digital marketing tips in mind, including:
- Create a website that is simple and easy to use;
- Comply with the rules and regulations of various search engines before running marketing campaigns on them;
- Start a business blog, as this helps attract new customers;
- Examine and review any content that is being posted on the internet;
- Encourage online reviews and feedback;
- Create auto-responders to thank customers for subscribing to the firm’s newsletter;
- Optimise the company website by using particular keywords.
If you are interested in enrolling an online master’s degree programme in digital marketing, LSBF offers a Dual Masters in Digital Marketing and Social Media (Dual MSc and MA in Strategic Marketing).