What is Digital Marketing: The Ultimate Online Marketing Guide
The internet is a beautiful place packed to the brim with information and cat videos.
The sheer size and scale of the internet are immense and almost incomprehensible. But the internet is more than a safe haven for adorable puppy videos and tutorials on how to boil water: it is any company’s marketing dream come true.
On a single platform, companies are able to connect and reach millions of people, communicate with them and share their message among them.
Companies have swarmed the internet in recent years to take advantage of this, a strategy known as Digital Marketing.
Now you may have heard of Digital Marketing along with various other hype words in seminars and other marketing-related events.
As much as you may not want to believe them, people overhyping the effectiveness of Digital Marketing are often right.
So if you have been somewhat hesitant in using Digital Marketing — it can be overwhelming — this post will help you slide right into the scene.
This guide will go over:
- What is Digital Marketing
- Why your company needs Digital Marketing
- Digital Marketing strategies
- What does a Digital Marketer do
- What type of content is better for each stage of the buyer’s journey
- How B2B and B2C companies can use Digital Marketing strategies
What is Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing is any and all marketing efforts that rely on electronic devices, and in extension, the internet.
It’s the group of activities that a company (or individual) performs online to attract new business opportunities, creating relationships and developing a brand identity.
Digital Marketing is very diverse and versatile.
The sheer amount of tools, data and channels available on the internet creates opportunities for marketers to deliver effective content to specific people, through personalization.
Are you looking for a more direct advertising strategy for a very particular audience, that will help your brand to grow?
Well, Digital Marketing strategies such as using emails or sending out ads in specific social media groups can attract a very niche audience with a tailored message based on their intentions.
Are you looking forward to advertising your company to a mass market, garner massive appeal and brand awareness?
Video ads and regular ads on social media applications and search engines should put your brand in front of millions of people.
Regardless of the type of audience you want to reach and how niche your product may be, you can easily find the public that you want.
Why your company needs Digital Marketing
Not all the people that have told you that Digital Marketing is the greatest thing since sliced bread are wrong.
A single place where you can have access to unlimited information, leads, and potential customers is an offer that no one should look over.
If you are not utilizing Digital Marketing, you are giving up on an incredibly lucrative marketing space.
That said, the most important reason for why your company needs to use Digital Marketing is simple: internet.
The online world allows brands to communicate with all of their clients and possible clients. You don’t even need to be in the same country to find and engage your public.
And the technology turned simple phones, designed to make calls, in true computers with all the access the user needs to connect with other people. Apps, emails and websites are literally in the palm of their hands.
Smartphones are incredibly popular, especially among Millennials and Generation Z. With applications like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat taking up hours in their days, companies have very much found a direct link to their lives.
Facebook is a very famous social media site that has over 2 billion users and is a popular choice among companies to market their products.
Ads play before videos on Facebook, and it also has sponsored posts that appear on everyone’s news feed.
Instagram is another incredibly famous and popular social media site that companies use to market to a wide age group.
Although Instagram is mostly a photo and video sharing platform, companies are still able to make use and take advantage of it.
The best part about websites like Instagram and Facebook is that they all have a very wide and massive age demographic. So, on the same site, you can reach customers that are in their teens or customers that are reaching retirement age.
With such a massive reach, advertising for companies is often like shooting fish in a barrel.
Benefits of Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools for any company to use. And to prove our point, here are some of the benefits of using Digital Marketing.
1. The most measurable form of marketing
Let’s start with what is possibly the most obvious benefit of using Digital Marketing: you can track it.
We all know that the only way to ensure that a marketing strategy is working is to check its success over time. Since everything on the internet runs on numbers and algorithms, it is easy to keep track of just how effective a marketing strategy really is.
Although that may be a little difficult with more traditional mediums, it is very simple measuring the effectiveness of a strategy with Digital Marketing.
Digital Marketing analytics takes away the guessing games related to traditional forms of marketing.
Through these analytics, you can measure in real-time how many people are looking at your posts or ads, as well as how many users have opened your posts, along with all of the people that have replied, liked, or shared your post.
2. The most cost-effective marketing technique
Other than being able to track all of your posts, along with all of the likes, comments, and shares that it receives, it is also the most cost-effective marketing technique.
Now it is important to note that Digital Marketing is comparatively cheaper than most traditional forms of marketing.
While there was once a paywall between major companies and smaller ones in terms of advertising and exposure, that is no longer the case. Nowadays, smaller companies can get the attention of people that they otherwise could not.
Competing with bigger companies for the ad space in most forms of traditional marketing can be almost impossible for smaller businesses.
This is something that they can cover with the help of Digital Marketing, as they can reach an audience of their choice with minimal effort.
3. Allows you to choose any audience
Speaking of choosing your audience, another great benefit of Digital Marketing is that it can be as specific or broad as you want.
You can find specific groups or forums on social media websites like Instagram or Reddit to market to a very niche audience.
You can also market to a very broad audience through internet ads or sponsored posts on Facebook and Instagram. No matter who your target demographic is, you are sure to find them through Digital Marketing.
Other than directly marketing to your audience, you can also make use of influencer marketing, that allows you to directly tap into a specific market through mediators and familiar faces.
Sometimes influencers need the support of sponsors, and to help them, users will often follow the links they provide.
Moreover, getting a respected figure in the community you are tapping into can grow trust for your brand.
4. Everyone is already there
A common problem that people face with traditional forms of marketing is the question “Will anyone see it?”.
Most crowded places in the city are very expensive to rent. With Digital Marketing, you don’t have to worry about such a thing.
With billions of people using the internet and social media daily, the question is no longer will anyone see it, but rather when.
Print ads and other forms of traditional advertising also have a limit on just how many people it can reach.
No matter how big the network might be, there is a cap on just how many people a traditional marketing strategy can connect to.
On the other hand, Digital Marketing strategies have no peak of exposure and can grow along with the company itself.
5. Customers start their buying journey from the internet
Customers depend on the internet for everything, including their buying options and choices.
For more and more customers the buying journey starts with research and insight into the product or service. What better place to find out more about something than the internet?
Since the term “Google it” has become such a common part of our language, the first instinct of most people is to search for something on the internet.
A study published by Bazaarvoice in 2018 registered that 82% of smartphone owners consult the internet on purchases they are about to make.
That is the goal of designing a great Digital Marketing strategy: you can be the answer that these people are looking for.
6. The message can be customized
Another big advantage of Digital Marketing is that this strategy allows you to customize your message to the public.
Advertising today is different from the old days. Back then, when you wanted to talk to you public, you needed a generic message, that could be used in mass medias such as billboards, TV broadcast, flyers etc.
The conversation with the public was not so effective, once you were talking to people from different genders, ages, interests.
Now, you can target groups by their similarities, customizing the message and making it more real and directed to them. Email marketing, online advertising, niche marketing: all of these strategies can be customized to reach the audience that you want.
Digital Marketing Strategies
Now that you have a better understanding of Digital Marketing and how it is important for your company, we can move onto marketing strategies.
There are various types of Digital Marketing, each aimed to help a company in a specific area.
Each type has a different objective and is based on specific channels. It’s really important to mention that they are not mutually exclusive.
Every company, before starting its marketing, has to come up with a proper marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy often consists of all sorts of planning, from the financial side of marketing to the more intricate planning of software that they will use.
A good Digital Marketing strategy can go a long way in getting your company and brand the attention that it needs.
Choosing the right Digital Marketing strategy can be very difficult, seeing how each of them has its specific utility as well as its downfalls.
Therefore, if you are wondering what some of the best marketing strategies to use are, here is a list of the most effective Digital Marketing strategies for any company.
Best Digital Marketing strategies
Let’s dive into these strategies and how effective they can be in certain situations, the best platforms for these strategies, as well as the companies and brands that use this form of Digital Marketing.
But first, it is worthy to talk about a term very used by digital marketers: Content Marketing.
Content Marketing is a broader strategy that embraces lots of different Digital Marketing strategies.
The objective of Content Marketing is to draw customers to products and services through information and trust-building.
This is done via Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Inbound Marketing, among other strategies that we will talk about below.
Social media marketing
Social Media Marketing is possibly the most popular Digital Marketing trend of the current generation. It can be very hard to ignore the sheer force that social media has become over the past decade.
Social Media provides a new level of engagement that brands can leverage to increase brand awareness, positive perceptions and, if everything goes really well, even go viral!
Applications like Snapchat and Instagram allow users to connect with their friends and even celebrities. But it is also a great place for brands to show off their products and services, seeing how both the platforms rely on people sharing short videos or photos.
Other sites like Reddit rely greatly on the power of groups that share a common interest, making it a great place for companies to know about the public’s current perception of their brands and publish content
These social media platforms only scratch the surface in terms of what Social Media Marketing can achieve. With over 2 billion people connected to each other through platforms like Facebook, social media cannot be ignored.
Nearly every company relies on social media to market their brand and for a good reason. To quote Todd Howard from Bethesda, “it just works.”
Since social media is so massive and branches out into various other platforms, it is difficult to be certain about which social media site to use.
The general rules fall into Facebook being the biggest social platform for any product regardless, while Instagram relies only on visual content and attracts more teenagers and young adults.
So, even though marketing is rarely about absolutes, we can certainly say that if you have a brand that’s targeted towards young adults, you need to be on Instagram. .
There are many more social networks around: LinkedIn is focused on professional interactions, TikTok is a brand new contender and there’s always a new one just around the corner.
The “secret” to success in Social Media Marketing is having a valuable message on the right social network and to keep the conversation with your audience alive. It’s a two-way communication platform.
And people love to chat.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Another very popular Digital Marketing strategy is using Search Engine Marketing to promote a brand.
SEM is a specific form of marketing that caters directly to people and what they are looking for. This can be done by two ways: buying ad space on search results page or by SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
When you use ad space you basically pay the search engine — oftentimes Google — for ad space on specific pages.
This means that your page will not appear as a regular search result and will be visibly different from the rest. This technique also applies to social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, seeing how both rely heavily on a search bar.
On the other hand, SEO is a organic way to attract more traffic to your blog or site by offering to the public relevant content that clarifies their doubts.
To better understand this concept, stay with us through this article.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a very powerful Digital Marketing strategy. This is a set of techniques that optimize your blog or site to rank better in search engines, like Google and Bing.
This is one of the most important strategies you can do to create authority for your brand and increase your leads and clients.
SEO biggest goal is to rank your content higher in the search engines, increasing the organic traffic your blog or site receives. This is so relevant in a world where 90% of the people who make Google research clicks on the results that are shown on the first page of the engine.
And the Search Engine Optimization technique offers a great advantage: it is way cheaper than traditional marketing strategies, such as billboard and even online advertising.
If you write relevant content, that answers the questions of the audience087, while offering a good experience at your page, you have good chances to make it to the top of the search engine.
This allows companies with relatively less funding to still compete and acquire the exposure that they want.
Content Marketing is also a great way to market to your intended audience.
This strategy is based on the education of the market towards the solution your company offers. Using relevant content, you can increase your clients and possible clients by educating and engaging them.
This way, they will trust in you and advocate for your brand, creating a bond of fidelity between brand and customer.
While most people think that written content is the only thing that companies use in content marketing, the truth is there are different types of content that you can use for Digital Marketing.
Since your entire audience is living in the information age, traditional marketing and advertising methods are not as effective as before.
Catchy quotes, eye-pleasing pictures, and incredibly detailed videos of your brand and its personality can reach them just the way you want.
Affiliate Marketing is the type of marketing where the affiliate receive a commission on every post they promote.
So an affiliate may make multiple posts and receive payments for each of these posts, based on sales they generate.
Anyone can be an affiliate: from customers to sales people.
And if you wanna crossover strategies, you can join affiliate marketing with influence marketing. This way you’ll bring new audience by the popularity of those you invited to be affiliates.
This is often an option that companies offer to smaller influencers, like smaller YouTube channels.
If you have embraced Digital Marketing as a way to get to more people and turn them into clients, you know that a website is an important tool for the process.
Blogging helps a website to do its job. By posting relevant content on your blog and using the appropriate keywords, your website will be on a higher page rank at any search engine.
The higher the website ranks, the more likely it is to be seen and the more traffic you will have. That means that business blogging helps with SEO.
Providing content through a blog that answers your customers’ questions and offers real solutions, you will turn traffic into qualified leads.
By doing that you are building a relationship with those leads and nurturing them through the customer journey, which we will talk about later.
While each of the marketing tactics mentioned has its advantages, Email Marketing is the king of content and brings in an unbeatable return on investment compared to other Digital Marketing strategies.
By using Email Marketing, you can attract and retain customers with personalized messages that promote your content, product, and brand.
In addition, you can segment contacts and use personalization techniques to deliver important messages to your customers.
The fact is that Email Marketing is effective and cost-efficient. Besides, this is an incredible tool that allows you to measure the results of your campaigns.
Marketing automation is the key to scale your marketing production. By using marketing automation softwares your department can automate basic tasks and optimize their workflow.
Email marketing, social media posting, lead generation, lead nurturing workflows and metrics analysis can all be done with a marketing automation software.
Working with these tools, your team will be able to increase sales and leads, as well as decrease the customer acquisition cost.
All of this while having more information on your clients and potential clients, mapping all steps of the buyer’s journey and having more time to think about your marketing strategy instead of doing the manual work.
What does a Digital Marketer do
Even though Digital Marketing might seem easy in theory, it is quite complicated and requires a lot of knowledge as well as experience.
If you feel like having to learn the ins and outs of digital marketing is too much for you, then hiring a digital marketer might be just what you need.
A digital marketer — or a Digital Marketing Manager — is responsible for crafting a marketing strategy, as well as implementing and managing it.
These marketers have plenty of experience in their respective fields and can bring in an impressive amount of leads or customers to your business.
They use training and experience to find the most suitable marketing channels to promote your brand and products.
To put it simply, a digital marketer is responsible for the success of your Digital Marketing campaign.
They will accomplish the goals of the campaign while keeping in mind budgetary restrictions and other important aspects of the business.
They will also use their knowledge and experience to decide the best strategy to adopt for promoting a specific brand or product.
Although a marketing manager can be quite the lifesaver in certain situations, not every marketing manager may know what they are doing.
So if you are looking to outsource your Digital Marketing, here are a few tips on what to look for in a proper marketing manager.
What to look for in a good Digital Marketing manager
Digital Marketing can be quite challenging, especially when you are new to the whole affair.
You can learn a lot about Digital Marketing through online resources, courses, and training, but nothing quite matches the experience and knowledge that a dedicated professional has.
Professional marketing managers see that your strategy is successful throughout, with minimal expense.
However, you cannot just choose someone that claims to be an expert in Digital Marketing, which is why you should know exactly what to look for in a good digital marketer.
Here are a few traits that make for a great digital marketer.
Can use analytics and data effectively
One of the core characteristics of a good digital marketer is that they can use various quantitative data to their advantage.
Since the internet is completely based on numbers and algorithms, a good digital marketer will track the results of their strategy.
This means that they can actively track the success of their marketing strategy and make changes accordingly.
In other words, it is by keeping track of the performance of the strategy that digital marketers will gather data to their advantage, allowing them to make well-informed decisions.
Are true leaders
Digital marketers are much more than managers of your Digital Marketing campaign; they are proper leaders in their own right.
Since they will be leading an entire marketing team, they must have proper leadership skills as well as qualifications to lead your team.
Most importantly, they should be able to communicate their ideas very clearly with the rest of the team.
They should be understanding and sympathetic towards problems that their team members may be facing and should help them in overcoming such issues.
Finally, by setting up tangible goals and making sensible and fair decisions, they should be able to easily promote your brand in the most effective way.
What type of content is better for each stage of the buyer’s journey
The buyer’s journey is the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to their purchase.
It follows them through four stages: becoming aware of a need, considering different solutions to fulfill that need, making a decision between the different solutions and becoming loyal to a brand.
The buyer’s journey is a very intricate process filled with doubts and many hassles for the customer.
To help your customers make more educated decisions through every step of the buyer’s journey, here is a small guide to what is relevant and engaging content at each of the steps.
Stages of the buyer’s journey
To better understand the different types of content that you should use through every step of the buyer’s journey, we will go over each step of it and the solution that you can use.
Awareness is the first step in every buyer’s journey, as they start to identify the problem that they are facing and the possible solutions to it.
This step often includes extensive research by the customer, as they are not quite sure what they want.
So, this is where you step in to help them make a much smarter decision.
Since your customers will be researching the problem, they will need content that is precise and helps them better understand their situation.
You can provide them with this information through various social media posts, research studies, eBooks, and even blog posts, among other things.
Of course, your priority in each of these cases should be to inform your customers of their situation, and not sell your product or service.
You must give the impression that you genuinely care about your audience, and this content is less like marketing a product and more like informational content.
Consideration is the next step in the buyer’s journey, and by now they have graduated to buyers that know the solution for their problem.
That means they are now looking for sellers that can provide them with solutions. In this case, the buyer may know about your company but are looking at other options, or may not know your company at all.
For the buyers that got into the consideration stage, you will have to change the perspective of the content as well as the type of content that you are sending their way.
While in the awareness stage you were referring to people that did not know much or anything about the source material, here your target audience knows what they want and are now looking for potential opportunities.
You will have to use videos, comparison papers, case studies, and expert guides to explain their best options.
The time has come, these customers are now willing to buy a product after doing plenty of research on its utility and more.
But now they are not just looking at products; they are looking for companies and brands that are willing to offer what they want.
Here you can take a more advertising approach to your customers so they can buy your products.
You will have to use content that perfectly represents your brand and the personality around it.
Content that works well with this specific step in the buyer’s journey are testimonials, product comparisons, product demonstrations, and even product reviews.
These types of content can be very effective in convincing your audience to get your product because of its unique selling point.
Once the customer purchases a product from you, this is a big win, especially with all of the competition in the market. However, your marketing to them does not end with their transactions.
In fact, this is the start of a new type of content marketing that will entice them to come back and make another purchase.
It is true some businesses do not follow up on their old customers, but these are often bigger companies like Amazon or Steam.
These larger companies have such a dominant market presence; it is often more convenient for customers to shop there exclusively.
On the other hand, smaller companies have to rely on these marketing techniques to make sure their older customers come back to shop.
Moreover, keeping in touch with your customers after their initial purchase is a great way of showing that you care.
This care can generate loyalty among buyers, making them more compelled to spend on your site.
How B2B and B2C companies can use Digital Marketing strategies
Digital Marketing plays a major role in every company’s marketing strategy. In fact, most companies only rely on Digital Marketing strategies to promote their brand as well as their business.
Although we have gone over the buyer’s journey and all of the essentials of Digital Marketing, we have one last thing left before we conclude this guide: the difference between B2B and B2C marketing.
Digital Marketing is immense in its scoop as well as its application. Companies and individuals can use Digital Marketing in plenty of ways, each to a varying degree of success.
Therefore, two very major types of companies — B2B and B2C (Business to Business and Business to Customer) — use Digital Marketing in very different ways.
So depending on your business model and your potential audience, your Digital Marketing can be informal, outdated, or just ineffective.
Let’s look at some of the major differences between B2B and B2C Digital Marketing strategies.
Major differences between B2B and B2C
These days, B2B and B2C marketing are somewhat similar. While traditional marketing methods were different for B2B and B2C companies, social media and the internet have bridged this gap.
Thanks to channels such as social media, companies can now advertise to both companies and customers alike with the same platform and the same strategies.
The difference between these strategies comes in how the company uses them and the type of content you should address them with.
The biggest difference between these two types of businesses is their target audience. This is the first thing you will have to consider when implementing a marketing strategy.
Customers in the B2B businesses include business owners and managers. In other words, people that know a lot about the industry that you are operating in.
Companies will have to make sure their content does not talk down to these professionals and instead talks to them.
On the other hand, B2C companies deal with customers who know a lot about the market but do not know the intricacies of the said market.
Companies will be able to market to them in an informative way, which will help them make more educated decisions.
Another big distinction between B2B and B2C customers is that one is looking for a product or service that has plenty of utility, while the other is looking for the best value.
B2C customers are often looking for products that give them the most utility for a lower price. However, B2B customers are rarely concerned with the price of a product and look more to its functionality, versatility, and utility.
Platform and tone
Another important distinction between the B2B and B2C companies is their marketing platform.
It is safe to say that social media plays a vital role in every company’s Digital Marketing strategy. The major difference between the two comes in the platform that they are using as well as the tone they choose.
B2C companies will often choose a very friendly, inviting and often very casual tone to attract their target audience.
This tone is also a reflection of the brand’s personality, which is why it is essential to every B2C business.
These companies will also use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and even Snapchat — casual and relatable social media suites — to promote their brand.
B2B companies tend to have a more serious tone and a very straightforward message. These companies use very specific social media platforms like LinkedIn and AngelList, which are all business platforms.
People that are on these sites have a business mindset, allowing you to connect with them on a more professional level.
Size of the market
The size of the market is also a major differing factor in both types of businesses’ Digital Marketing strategy.
B2C companies are effectively advertising to a massive market with millions of possible customers.
On the other hand, you have B2B businesses that are always catering to a very specific niche of owners and managers.
Relationship with customers
B2B and B2C companies are also very different in the relationship that they form with their target audience through their marketing.
In other words, these two different types of businesses have very different business objectives.
B2C companies are more concerned with creating brand loyalty and increasing revenue.
B2B companies have a much more specific criterion that takes higher priority over increasing revenue.
Although that is not to say that increasing revenue is not one of their priorities, they are more focused on creating long-lasting relationships with their customers.
And with that, we come to a close.
This guide goes over what is Digital Marketing as well as everything revolving around it.
With the help of this content, you can now better implement Digital Marketing in your advertising strategy and use it to its fullest potential.