A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide To Learn The Basics Of Digital Marketing
A marketing effort that employs electronic devices and can be used by marketers to promote their brand and also measure its effects, in other words, is a digital marketing campaign. Basically, digital marketing is a series of marketing campaigns that the customers can see on a computer, tablet, phone, or any other electronic device.
Digital marketing could take many forms like paid social ads, online videos, display ads, search engine marketing, and social media posts. People often compare digital marketing with “traditional marketing” methods like billboards, magazine ads, and direct mail. Despite being electronic in nature, TV is considered to be a traditional mode.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing or online marketing is a brand promotion tactic that helps them to connect with prospects across the internet and other digital modes. This comprises of email, web-based advertising, social media, but also text and multimedia messages in a marketing channel.
In simple terms, if a marketing campaign consists of digital communication, it is known as digital marketing.
Inbound Marketing Vs Digital Marketing
People tend to confuse Digital marketing with inbound marketing. Digital marketing also employs the same tools as the latter. Both try to attract the attention of the prospective consumer and convert them into full-fledged customers. But these two approaches have different views about the tool used and the final goal.
Digital marketing sees how each tool could convert prospects into customers. A brand’s marketing campaign could be focused on multiple or one platform depending on its needs.
On the other hand, Inbound marketing is holistic in nature. It decides the goal first and then sees the tools available to determine which will be effective in reaching the target audience and then decide at which sales funnel stage this should happen.
An essential aspect about digital marketing and inbound marketing that we must know is that it is not necessary that you choose one out of the two. They, in fact, work best in tandem with each other. Inbound marketing gives the structure and purpose to ensure your digital marketing efforts are successful.
Types Of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing comprises many specializations based on the way in which you interact with digital media. Here we will tell you some of them.
Search Engine Optimization
Also known as SEO, this is a marketing tool that aims at making your web pages get a higher rank in the search engines.
SEO is a science as it expects you to research and weigh the different factors to help you achieve the highest ranking. The most crucial elements you consider when you optimize a web page are:
- The Quality of content
- Level of user engagement
- Number and quality of inbound links
If you use all these factors strategically, it makes SEO a science. But there is a lot of unpredictability involved in the same making it an art.
In SEO tactics, there is no one particular rule that you can use to achieve a high rank. Google’s algorithm changes regularly, so you cannot predict what will happen next. All you can do is monitor the page’s performance and adjust it accordingly.
SEO also figures prominently in content marketing, which involves posting valuable content to help the target audience decide.
Like any marketing strategy, the objective of content marketing is to get leads that will eventually change into customers. But content marketing does it in a different manner as opposed to typical advertising. Instead of getting the prospects by offering them value in the product, the value is in the form of written content.
Content marketing is important, and there are multiple stats to show that.
Despite being effective, content marketing could be challenging. The content marketing writers have to ensure that they rank well in the search engine results and also ensure that the customers engage with them by reading the material, sharing it, and interacting with it. When content is relevant, it could get you strong future relationships.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing implies getting traffic and creating brand awareness by engaging the customers in online discussions. The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, with YouTube and LinkedIn right behind them.
Since social media marketing comprises active audience participation, people use it to grab attention. It is a viral content medium for B2C marketers and is working up in the B2B sphere too. As per the Content Marketing Institute, 61% of the B2B content marketers have boosted their social media use this year.
Social media marketing provides built-in engagement metrics that help you to understand how to reach out to your audience. You have to decide what kind of interactions you would prefer, whether it is a high number of shares and comments or total clicks to the website.
Direct purchase may not be a goal of the social media marketing strategy at all. Many brands use social media just to have a conversation with the audience instead of asking them to spend the money in purchasing the product. This is common for brands that have older audiences to target or offer products that people do not buy on impulse. It totally depends on the company goals.
PPC or pay per click is simply posting your ad on a platform and paying for every click that you get on it.
Yet how and when people can see your ad is challenging. As soon as a spot is available on the search engine results page or SERP, the search engine quickly fills that through an auction. The algorithm gives priority to each available ad basis factor like:
- Ad quality
- Keyword relevance
- Landing page quality
- Bid amount
Every PPC campaign is designed with one or more target actions that the customer should accomplish after he clicks the ad. Such actions are called conversions, and these could be transactional or non-transactional. Completing a purchase is a conversion, but even newsletter signup or a call made to the home office could also be a conversion.
Whichever target conversion you choose, you could track them through the selected platform and see how the campaign is performing.
Affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy in which a person makes money when promoting someone else’s business. You can be the promotor or a company that works with them. The process of affiliate marketing remains the same.
Affiliate marketing operates on a revenue-sharing model. In case you are an affiliate, you will earn a commission each time any person purchases the product that you are promoting. In case you are the merchant, you will pay the affiliate for the sale that has come from their website clicks.
Some of the affiliate marketers review only one company’s products, maybe on their own blog or a third-party site. At the same time, there are few who form relationships with many merchants at a time.
In order to be an affiliate or find one, you have to first establish a relationship with the other party. You could either join a single retailer program or use a platform that is created to connect the affiliates with the retailers.
In case you are a retailer and want to work with the affiliates, there are some things that you could do to make the program attractive to prospective promoters. You must provide the affiliates with the tools they require to make sales. This includes all the incentives that you can offer for better sales and marketing materials or promotional writeups.
Native advertising can be called another name for simple marketing. Its objective remains to mix with the content such that it is not as obvious as advertising is.
The native advertising was created because of the pessimistic attitude consumers had towards advertising. People felt that the maker of an ad pays money to run, so they would just ignore it.
A native ad is way above this bias and offers the information without becoming too promotional, thus bringing down the “ad” part of it.
It is also crucial that you label your native ads accurately. You can use words like “sponsored” or “promoted” in their place. If you do not mention these indicators, readers may feel cheated as they spend time engaging with the content only to find its advertising.
When the consumers have a clear idea of what they are going to get, they are optimistic about the content and brand. Remember, native ads have to be less interfering than a traditional ads, but you cannot provide fake information.
Marketing automation uses software to propel their digital marketing campaigns, thus making the advertising efforts relevant and effective. Most marketing departments could automate any repetitive tasks, and they have been doing them manually till now like:
Email newsletters: With Email automation, you can automatically send any emails to subscribers. You can even shrink or expand this contact list as required so that the newsletters only go to people who wish to see them.
Social media post scheduling: In case you wish to make your organization prominent on social media, you must post regularly. This means that the manual posting can be stopped, which otherwise is very difficult. Social media scheduling tools can push the content to your social media platforms, and you can pay attention to the content strategy.
Lead-nurturing workflows: It can be challenging to generate leads and get them converted into future customers. You could automate your process too. Just send these leads specific content and emails that fit their interests. For example, you can give them some information when they download an eBook.
Campaign tracking and reporting: The marketing campaigns comprise of multiple people, content, webpages, phone calls, etc. By automating your efforts, you could sort every aspect of the campaign you are working on and even track the results of that campaign basis the progress it has made.
Email marketing has a simple idea- you just have to send a promotional message, and the prospect might just click on it. But the execution of it is slightly tricky. Firstly you have to ensure that all the emails are wanted. You can create an opt-in list that will do the following for you:
- It will individualize the content of both the body as well as the subject line.
- Mentions what kind of emails the subscriber will receive
- Offers an option to unsubscribe
- Combine both promotional and transactional emails
- You want that the customers should see it as a value-based email, not a promotional content
Email marketing is proving to be a relatively effective technique. It will be much better if you can use other methods like marketing automation. This allows you to segment and schedule the emails so that they are able to meet the customer’s requirements.
Online PR is the act of getting online coverage in digital publications, blogs, and through other content-centric websites. It is like traditional PR only but is done in the online space. The channels that you could use to maximize the PR efforts are:
Reporter outreach via social media: For example, you can use Twitter to talk to journalists and thus build a relationship with them. In return, you can get media opportunities for the brand.
Engaging online reviews of your company: Normally, if someone reviews the company online, we do not want to have anything to do with it. But if you engage with the reviewer, people will consider you human and receive your message loud and clear.
Engaging comments on your personal website or blog: Just like you respond to the people who respond to the company reviews, you can talk to the people who are reading the content and create a positive buzz about the brand.
How To Do Digital Marketing
1. Define Your Goals
When you initially begin with digital marketing, you have to identify and define the goals you wish to achieve as you will decide your strategy basis the goals. For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, then you will have to focus on targeting the audiences through social media platforms.
Or maybe you wish to increase the sales; then you should pay attention to SEO and optimizing content to get more buyers on the website. Plus, if the sales are what you might, you can also test out the PPC campaigns and get traffic through paid ads.
Whatever you decide, it is easy if you choose your digital marketing strategy after finding out your company’s goals.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
One of the most significant advantages that you get with digital marketing is the chance to target specific customers. But if you have not identified your target audience, you cannot take advantage of this benefit.
Of course, it is necessary that your target audience could change as per the goal you have for a particular marketing campaign.
For example, maybe you noticed that all your Instagram audience is young and fond of memes and videos, but the LinkedIn audience is the older professionals who want more practical advice. You will have to modify the content so that it appeals to all types of target audiences.
3. Establish A Budget For Each Digital Channel
Just like other things, the budget you choose depends on what aspects of digital marketing you want to add to your campaign.
If you want to focus on techniques like social media, SEO, and content creating for an old website, you do not have to spend much. With inbound marketing, your aim should be to create valuable content that the audience wants to read. Unless you are going to outsource this work, the only investment here would be your time.
You may start by first hosting a website and then creating content for it. For those who have budget issues, you can start by using WordPress hosted on WP Engine. Or you could use a simple theme from Studio Press and build a website without code by using Elementor Website Builder for WordPress.
Suppose you use outbound techniques like purchasing email lists and online advertising; you will have to spend a decent amount. The advertising brings down the costs to match up to the visibility you are looking to get.
For instance, if you wish to implement PPC by using Google AdWords, you would have to bid against the other companies to try and remain at the top in Google search rankings for the keywords that match the business.
Depending on how competitive the keywords this process could be affordable, reasonable, or very expensive. Hence it is crucial to focus on building the organic reach.
4. Strike A Good Balance Between Paid And Free Digital Strategies
In order for any digital marketing strategy to be successful, both paid and free aspects need to be used.
For example, if you spend a decent time identifying the buyer personas and understanding the needs of the customers and also create quality content to convert them, then within six months, you will see a boost in sales despite not investing enough money.
But if you include paid advertising to the same, then you might get results before that time period. Ultimately it is suggested that you should work on building an organic reach using content, social media, and SEO and gain long-term success.
If you are still confused, use both of them and see which of the paid or free methods perform better in your case.
5. Create Engaging Content
Once you have identified the audience and decided the budget, you can focus on creating the content for all the channels that you will use. This includes content for social media posts, PPC ads, blog posts, sponsored content, etc.
But you must remember that any content that you create has to be valuable and engaging. Any type of marketing content is successful only when it increases brand awareness and leads to more conversions.
6. Optimize Your Digital Assets For Mobile
An essential aspect of digital marketing is mobile marketing. Smartphone usage these days accounts for 69% of the time that people spend in consuming digital media in the US. On the other hand, desktop-based digital media consumption is around less than half of that. This is when the USA is not a big mobile usage fan as compared to other nations.
Therefore it is vital that you optimize the digital ads, web pages, social media images to suit your mobile devices. In case your company already has a mobile app that helps the customers to interact with the brand, then that will come under the digital marketing scenario too.
However, those who engage with you on mobile devices should get the same kind of positive experience that they would get on the desktop. This implies that you employ a mobile compatible or responsive website design so that browsing on the mobile is easy.
You could also reduce the length of the lead generation forms so that people can even download the content if they are on the move. As per the social media images, you must think of a mobile user when you create them. This is because the image dimensions are small on mobiles, and the text that is written could easily be chopped off.
There are multiple ways in which you could optimize digital marketing assets for mobile users. When you implement any strategy for digital marketing, you have to think about how that would appear on a mobile device. By ensuring this is always practiced, you create experiences that suit your audience and get the results that you want.
7. Conduct Keyword Research
Digital marketing is focused on reaching the target customers through content targeted at them- and this cannot happen without proper keyword usage.
Conducting keyword research guides in website optimization and creating SEO content and ensures that people are able to find out the business when they search on the search engines. Apart from that, social media keyword research could be helpful in product marketing on other social channels too.
Even if you don’t get a full-time SEO person, you can still do keyword research. Just create a list of keywords that work best for your product and find long-tail variations for them to add to your content.
8. Understand The Analytics
In the end, if you want to create a successful digital marketing strategy that works, then your team should know how to understand the analytics.
For example, maybe after some months, you find that the audience does not like your content on Instagram. However, they appreciate you more on Twitter. This means you should re-analyze the Instagram strategy and start working on the new channel that your audience is liking.
Or maybe you find an older web page is not getting any significant traffic. You could think of updating that page or removing it so that the visitors get only fresh and relevant content that fits their requirements.
Digital marketing offers businesses many chances to attain continuous growth, but you have to know how to utilize them in the best way possible.