Digital Marketing for Beginners

What is Digital Marketing?

It is extremely difficult to sell products these days without the help of digital marketing. This is the reality we live in. If you have started a business you probably can see how digital marketing can enhance the value of a product. You are probably taking steps to start setting up a digital marketing strategy to reap the benefits.

Most people believe digital marketing is something new. However, that is simply not true. Digital marketing did not start when we started using social media, and cellphones. Most people don’t seem to know what digital marketing means. Simply put, digital marketing is any sort of marketing that happens over digital or electronic channels. So those emails or phone messages you get telling you about new products are all forms of digital marketing. From this, you may think that digital marketing can only happen online. It does not. A complete digital marketing strategy has two components, online and offline.

Importance of Digital Marketing

Now that we have dealt with what digital marketing is,  let’s look at why it is important to have a digital marketing strategy at play to reap the best results. For this article, we will look at the different kinds of digital marketing.  We will then finish with a look at offline marketing. In the end, you should be able to build your own digital marketing strategy tailored to your business’ specific needs.

How much time do you spend on your cell phone, computer or other electronic devices? When you consider this question you get an idea of how important it is to use digital marketing. The technological age has people connected to electronic devices like never before. On average most people use social media at least once a day. Without a digital marketing strategy, they are an opportunity you are neglecting. Some digital marketing articles say Americans spend up to 11 hours on electronic devices. This is why digital marketing is so important. With a well-targeted digital marketing plan, your product will be able to reach a much larger audience. This is why digital marketing is so important to every business. Neglecting it will lead the business to lose to its competition. Let’s look at different kinds of digital marketing.

1. Mobile Phone Advertising

Mobile phones have taken over. In most countries, people are more likely to have a mobile phone instead of a home phone. As mobile phones are a personal item, they offer the opportunity for digital marketers to target their specific market with personalized promotions. You have probably experienced this type of digital marketing. The phone calls for phone plan subscriptions or from travel agents offering you deals on flights that we have all received are examples of digital marketing.  

However, it is important to note that not all marketing over mobile phones can be fitted into the types of digital marketing we will cover in this article. An example is SMS advertising where a company can inform it’s consumers about coupons, special offers and other news from the company. The effectiveness of these kinds of campaigns is arguably most effective for local marketing efforts.  

2. Email Marketing

One of the most important and often overlooked aspects of a successful business strategy is building a relationship with your consumers. Email marketing allows you to build this relationship with your customers. This type of digital marketing involves building an email list of your subscribers. Using this subscriber list you are able to keep track of how many people are interested in your product. More importantly, you will be able to keep your customers updated on a regular basis about news and offers from your company. This will allow your customers to have a vested interest in your company, thus fostering a relationship and brand loyalty. This is actually thought to be the most effective digital marketing technique at creating a relationship with your consumers.

Another practical use for building a subscriber list is to have the means to track any drop in subscribers. This may be based on changes in your content or company. This data is very useful.  If you know what your target market likes to hear about, you’ll be better able to give them the content they want and need, thus further building your subscriber base. It is best to create and build your email subscriber list using your content and the company ideals rather than paying for the list. When people choose to subscribe to your mailing list based on their liking your content, they are more likely to become an active buyer, which is the ultimate goal.  

3. Influencer Marketing

The age of social media has brought the influencer phenomenon. In the past companies looked to celebrities to use their influence and market products. When social media came onto the market, people started gaining major followings, even into the millions. Many people use their platform to communicate with an audience that ranges in the millions. They share their lives including the products and services they use. Companies soon realized how important and valuable these influencers were. And so began the mass exodus to social media marketing of most companies.

Now companies use these influencers who have massive reach on social media to drive sales and traffic to their products and services. The main sites are Instagram and Snapchat. There you can find many influencers promoting brands to their followers. Companies even go so far as to hire Instagram influencers to manage and control their social media platform and profile for a specific amount of time.  These are called social media takeovers. The main aim is to promote your products to the influencers’ followers and thus drive them to you and increase your following and unique views. This has opened up a much wider market as most influencers have a global reach.

However, there are risks when hiring an influencer. The main one is getting someone who seems like they have a large following when in reality,  most of the accounts that follow them are fake accounts. So before you make a deal with them, its best to do some due diligence. Verifying their Google analytics will help you see if they have a real following or merely fake accounts.   

4. Affiliate Marketing

This kind of digital marketing is akin to influencer marketing. Many bloggers and e-commerce website use this kind of marketing. It involves paying for conversions from links on bloggers websites. When a visitor clicks on these links they are sent to your product they then have the option to buy it. Should they buy the product, it is considered a conversion. This is what you pay your affiliate marketer for. You do not pay an upfront fee. You only pay for the conversions made from their affiliate link. Basically the same as when paying commission. This offers you some control as you are the one to determine the rate for conversions. Generally, most companies require affiliates to have a certain amount of regular views and subscribers before signing up to an affiliate program, e.g amazon’s affiliate program.  

Should you choose to use this kind of digital marketing you should have an upfront discussion with your affiliate to state your expectations. Remember they are an extension of your brand and as such, they have to be in line with your brands’ message. This includes any content they may they upload. So it is vitally important you choose an affiliate that is already a user of your products. That way when they promote your brand they do it in an expert capacity. Bear in mind you also need to make sure the deal works for the affiliate as well. The happier they are with you the better you will do.

5. Content Marketing

Content marketing is used in conjunction with other digital marketing techniques, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing, and email marketing. This means is used to drive views to your website and products. However, it has a secondary focus on educating and engaging your audience. An engaged audience is more likely to become paying customers. By using this type of digital marketing you will be able to build brand loyalty, trust awareness, and recognition. Realize that content marketing is not a one-off, it has to be part of an ongoing strategy. Many companies hire bloggers to create their content, to constantly have content ready for uploading and sharing with their subscribers.  

The content you create has to be of a high quality so that it brings value to your subscribers and users. Content marketing encompasses your YouTube channel, Tweets, Facebook posts, website blogs and all other online activities that deliver content to your users. Because it is focused on your subscribers you have to be very clear on who they are and what they like to hear about, so do your research when you are creating content. This research will help to brainstorm ideas on new and interesting content for your audience. Keyword research and SEO will help consumers find your content and help generate sales and leads. Make sure to share your content on social media as well.  

6. Social Media Marketing

Marketing is all about engaging with the consumer and driving them towards your products and services. The use of social media is a vital component of any digital marketing strategy. Having a social media presence is of tantamount importance to all businesses. Social media marketing allows you to reach a wide range of people. It even allows you to find segments of the market you may have thought inaccessible in the past.

Because of the up to date nature of social media you are able to engage more intimately with your consumers. Social media has allowed individuals to send requests and feedback to companies they would otherwise have been unable to. It has also allowed companies to help their consumers in ways never before seen. An example is when a man tweeted about being hungry before boarding a short flight to a fast food chain. When he got to the airport he had food delivery waiting for him. There are stories of companies helping out families in need after seeing a Facebook post. While these may seem small, they all create interest around your brand and will help drive followers to you. Importantly you should understand that anything you do on Social media is part of your social media marketing. So make sure to be interested in what your followers are talking about and searching for. Be part of the conversation, curate your content well. Remember every share is advertising.  

7. Viral Marketing

Going Viral is a recent buzzword. It involves a post that is so trendy, strange, funny and engaging that it is shared constantly online. An example of this is Ice Bucket Challange or the Harlem shake which took over the internet a few years back. Celebrities, politicians, students, and everyone in between participated and posted their version online. Viral marketing taps into this sense of community and purpose. Another good example of a viral marketing campaign is the Old Spice “The man your man could smell like” campaign. This kind of digital marketing will spike your website traffic over a short period of time, during which you will have the chance to get more conversions or to build lasting brand awareness and recognition. Going viral may be difficult but it has a lot of benefits especially for B2C companies.  

8. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Pay-per-click (PPC)

When you search on Google, most times you will see ads at the top of the page. These ads are a part of Search engine marketing. Search engine marketing (SEM) is digital marketing that promotes a website by making them more visible on search engine results pages (SERPs). This is mainly done with the use of advertising. SEO forms part of this kind of digital marketing. When using search engine marketing, SEO is used to adjust your content as well as your site to reach the highest possible ranking on search engine results pages. This will help to improve your sites pay per click (PPC) listings.

Usually, SEO does not include traffic to search engines that are paid. This is where SEM comes in. As a company, you would buy advertising space on the results page, like when you search a subject on Google. Google Ads is the most used platform, due to the popularity of the search engine. Bing Ads is a close second. You will pay a predetermined fee to use this digital marketing technique. You will then be able to have an advertisement displayed on keyword specific generated search engine results pages. The placement of these ads may vary.  

PPC or pay per click advertisement is a good example of search engine marketing. Recently, social media has started adopting PPC ads. PPC means the marketer is charged for each click on its adverts. You may have noticed ads showing up on your social media timelines. This illustrates the point that different digital marketing techniques have to work together in order to form a complete digital marketing strategy. Some people have been led to ask which is better SEO or SEM. The answer is they are both very good when used effectively. While SEO is for optimizing and raising your website’s search engine results ranking. SEM encompasses this and goes further by incorporating other digital marketing techniques to improve traffic to your website.

9. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization is the digital marketing technique used to improve your website’s ranking on search engines such as Google. SEO is not to be confused with SEM, as it involves only unpaid or organic search engine results. These are the results you get when you Google a specific keyword or phrase. Organic results are usually a different color, while SEM results are clearly identified with the word “Ad.” When you search on Google you are given search results that are tailored to your keywords, location, search time as well as your browsing history. All of this information is gathered so as to give you the best search results possible.  

Google uses different algorithms to rank search results. These algorithms are derived and adapted based on how users use the search engine and how they engage with content. Usually, the more people visit a website that site is seen as an authority on that keyword and that website will then rank higher in the results list. So effectively the better your website ranks on these search results the more traffic your site will enjoy, thus the greater your chances of making conversions.

The importance of SEO is to online businesses and websites is illustrated by the fact that it has created a completely new field of study called Search Engine Optimization. The main aim of this field is to help websites achieve higher search engine results page rankings, which is done by optimizing website with SEO. SEO encompasses a range of techniques. These can be classified as On-Page and Off-page.

On-page SEO is everything you do to optimize your website for SEO. These can include keyword targeted content and various other methods. Off-page involves everything else you do away from your website to drive your SEO strategy. This may include forming relationships with other people in your niche to get them to link to your website.

SEO is also not once and done. You have to continuously keep on top of SEO trends as the algorithms constantly change over time based on user needs. SEO may be aimed at improving your rankings but a bigger aim of SEO is to create the best user experience for your user.

11. Offline Digital Marketing

As mentioned earlier no digital marketing strategy is complete if it does not include an offline component. The most effective digital marketing strategy will incorporate both online and offline digital marketing strategies. You are probably wondering what offline digital marketing looks like. Think of the restaurant that has electronic tablets for its clients to make orders. Put simply offline digital marketing involves the use of digital devices to enhance users experience of your brand. Examples of this type of digital marketing are television, radio and phone marketing.

How to Create your own Digital Marketing Strategy

What is a digital marketing strategy?

A digital marketing strategy encompasses the overall actions that your business takes in order to reach its objectives. This is done by carefully selecting online marketing channels that are best aligned with these goals. A good strategy incorporates paid, earned and owned media to support an overall campaign aimed at a specific product or service offered by the business.  

What Steps Can You Take To Build a Digital Marketing Strategy?

  1. Know your audience, create a profile of your buyers

  2. Identify the strategic goals as well as the digital marketing techniques you will need

  3. Evaluate your current digital marketing capabilities

  4. Audit and plan your owned earned and paid media campaigns

  5. Incorporate everything to form a complete strategy

It is nearly impossible to create a digital marketing strategy that will fit every business. This is because each strategy should be tailored to the specific business, it’s needs as well as its goals. The aim of this article is to create a plan for how you can get from point A to B, achieving your business goals over time.

Using The Types of Digital Marketing To Benefit Your Business

We have gone through different digital marketing techniques, both online and offline. We have also looked at the basics of building a digital marketing strategy. You should be able to now go out and create your own strategies to enhance your website or business’s online visibility and profile. It is important to keep in mind that the main aim of digital marketing is to improve your customer engagement by making sure they have the kind of user experience that keeps your brand at the forefront. Remember you are offering a product or service to improve your customers’ lives, so quality marketing practices benefit not only your brand but also your audience. Knowing your audience and engaging with them is the key.  

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