Digital Marketing Explained (…briefly)
If you have a business that exists (partially or wholly) online then you’ve heard the term “digital marketing.”
But with an endless amount of information floating around on the internet, it can be difficult to cut through the noise to get to the heart of what you need to know. Not to mention the fact that most of it is explained in terms that frankly if you understood, you wouldn’t be looking for in the first place. Or the information is so detailed it requires you to read a book-length document and you don’t have time for that.
Well, you’re in luck because today we’re going to QUICKLY break down what digital marketing means to us as marketing professionals. We’re going to tell you what you need to know, minus the fluff, in a concise, easy-to-digest format that will take less time to read than drinking a cup of coffee.
Let’s jump right in.
Digital Marketing (The CliffsNotes Version)
First, the term “digital marketing” is very broad-ranging. Essentially, the marketing tactics you use to promote your products or services through digital channels is what constitutes digital marketing, or online marketing. The aspect of these activities occurring online are what differentiates digital marketing from offline traditional marketing.
It involves connecting with your ideal customer by marketing valuable content to them that will get them engaged with your brand, educated on your offering, and buying from you. Sounds easy right?
In essence, it is, but over a couple of decades that the internet has been around, we digital marketers have really perfected this strategy for gaining potential customers and distilled it into a more detailed methodology. That’s why every time you try to search for this stuff you get 10 pages (or longer) of documents on the subject.
Why should you care about digital marketing? Two reasons:
- The world is becoming increasingly digitized. There are currently 4,208,571,287 internet users according to Internet World Stats. Ignoring that will significantly inhibit your organization’s growth potential.
- 80% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience according to Fundera. This tells me customers don’t just want to be sold to, they want to be engaged. Digital marketing enables you to produce a consistent stream of communication with your customer base.
Digital Marketing Tactics
So now that you know, in essence, what digital marketing is and why it’s essential for your business, let’s review some of the key elements of digital marketing, from our perspective, and how they connect you with your audience, promote your business, and gain new customers.
I. Marketing & Sales Operations (The Mechanics)
Later on in this brief, you’re going to hear us refer to content development as the most important part of your digital marketing strategy. And while it is true that you need something to market in the first place, it is equally important to have a way to measure and optimize the effectiveness of your content.
Think of the content as your sports car de jour, the marketing and sales ops as the smooth mechanics that make her purr, and demand generation as a road map to get where you’re going.
List Development & Segmentation
Having an email list of leads or subscribers interested in your content is fantastic, but as your content evolves and grows in number, it’s important to know your target audience demographics and their interests in order to keep them fully engaged and converting in the long run.
Here’s how you do it.
Digital Technology: Marketing Automation and Sales Enablement
The best way to manage your leads and deliver the right content to them consistently and effectively is through marketing automation tools. Marketing automation tools include things like Pardot, Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua, Sharpspring, and many, many more.
These tools will not only house much of your deliverable content, but they will also automate your communication touchpoints based on behavior triggers (like filling out an interest form). These tools can also provide you a way to manage, grade, and segment your leads properly so that you can determine which leads are primed for sale.
A good sales tool, like Salesforce, is a critical integration at this juncture because it will help you start to turn these nurtured leads into converted customers. It will also incorporate methods for tracking metrics on your initiatives through special reporting capabilities.
As a leader in your organization, surely you understand the importance of metrics and why we repeat phrases like ROI and KPI until we’re blue in the face. If there is no way to track the effectiveness of a campaign element, then you’re just spinning your wheels.
Any strategist worth his/her salt will tell you that knowing what’s working and what’s not can enable you to double down on your effective strategies and revisit those that aren’t working well.
II. Demand Generation & Brand Awareness (The Road Map)
Customers don’t know what they don’t know. They need to be educated, both about your product or service and also why they need it. Demand generation does this with targeted marketing campaigns that drive the initial awareness and interest in your offering.
However, it doesn’t stop there. A comprehensive demand generation program will continue to nurture the customer through each stage of the life cycle and retain them afterward.
In digital marketing, you can’t just shoot from the hip, you must have a plan in place. This plan will take into account who your ideal client is, what type of content they want, how they’re going to consume, and from which channel.
It includes a strategy that follows the lead all the way from the first point of contact all the way to closed sales (aka the marketing funnel). An effective campaign will utilize pipeline planning (or how many customers you plan to gain in a specified amount of time), modeling, market research, and reporting of KPIs in order to continually adjust for effectiveness.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Management (SEM)
Search Engine Optimization and Management is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to your website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. We call these SERPs (search engine results pages).
To do this, content is optimized both on your site (on-page SEO) as well as other sites that link to you (off-page SEO) to ensure you’re ranking high on search engines.
A good SEO strategy also takes into account the functionality of your site to make sure users have a good experience and can access your site effectively on any device. The content also maps well with the keywords, topics, and funnel stages that you want to rank for.
Lead Generation & Event/Webinar Promotion
Demand gen starts with gaining leads through the advertising of gated content that captures their email address.
From there, we have an established means to deliver more, personalized content and promote events that will ultimately convert these leads to sales. This is most often done by providing valuable content through email marketing.
This might look like a series of emails that educates the customer and eventually leads them to a free webinar that will ask them to buy. Or, it may lead them to another type of event.
Digital Advertising, PPC, and Social Media Marketing
With a strong SEO strategy in place, digital ads, banner ads, and pay-per-click ads can be an effective way to scale your digital marketing campaigns and reach your ideal audience in mass quantities through popular content.
However, online advertising allocation in your marketing budget and conversion monitoring need to be in place before any paid media campaign begins. Otherwise, you can really waste a lot of time and money this way.
Aside from Google ads, some of the most common social media platforms for inbound marketing are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Other social networks to consider, depending on your business, include YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Other methods of social media channels include organic search (promotion without paid advertising) and influencer marketing.
III. Content Development (Your Sports Car)
While we may have saved it for last, content and digital media are the most important piece of your digital marketing efforts. Why? If you have no content to market, why the heck would anyone go to your site or buy from you? How are you different from any of your competitors?
Website Development, Design & UX
As a digital marketer, I’m always thinking with the end goal in mind. For you, the client, the end result is getting customers to your site to meet with you or buy from you.
So naturally, the first step in your content strategy is to have a well designed, high functioning website that is optimized for view on mobile devices as well as computers. If people have nowhere to go to buy from you, or your website is a nightmare to navigate, you aren’t going to get anywhere fast.
Some of the more intricate concepts of web dev involve UI/UX which tailors your site for a positive user experience. As well as coding, system application (WordPress, Brandcast, Shopify, etc), and mobile responsiveness.
It also involves a branding aspect which allows your business to have a cohesive look and feel that matches your identity and personality.
Content Strategy & Design
While your website, the home for your content, must be in order- it’s just an empty shell until it’s filled with all the valuable messaging that you will use to bring clients to your site. Forms of content include landing pages, infographics, video content, podcasts, webinars, ebooks, white papers, case studies, blogging, guides/tutorials/product reviews, etc.
Some can even monetize their content by creating affiliate marketing relationships with vendors who will pay you a percentage of the profit for any deals that are created via content you’ve created that promotes an affiliate product.
Through the use of SEO, market research, and subject matter experts, content can be written or recorded that will bring awareness to your offering, help you gain authority in your industry, and persuade consumers to buy from you or become your client.
A strong content strategy also includes repurposing and syndicating content to get the most traffic out of your marketing efforts.
Implementing a Digital Marketing Program
Now you have a clear idea of what digital marketing is and why it’s critical to create a digital marketing plan if you hope to operate online successfully. Still, you may be thinking you have neither the bandwidth nor the resources to allocate for this type of omnichannel initiative. We can help.
Interrupt Media is a digital marketing agency focused on helping marketing teams generate more pipelines with stronger marketing automation, content marketing, and demand generation programs. We can work with you to get you quick, short term gains while strategizing on long term plans for the future across a wide range of digital marketing channels.
Reach out today and we’ll set up a time to chat to see if we’re a good fit to create a road map for your digital marketing success.
Topics: Digital Marketing