Digital Marketing 101—A Beginner’s Guide
Digital Marketing 101—A Beginner’s Guide
A Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing
- What is Digital Marketing
- 7 Points to Remember
- How Digital Marketing Can Help You
- Weapons of Digital Marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content Marketing
- PPC (a.k.a. Search Engine Marketing (SEM), online advertising)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Email Marketing
- Conversion Rate Optimization
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing refers to marketing and advertising using the internet to drive sales and sales leads, typically via websites and emails. It includes all the activities conducted by a business via the world wide web to attract new business, retain existing business, and develop a brand’s identity.
Digital Marketing is also known as remarketing, internet marketing, search engine marketing, and web marketing. When properly implemented, the returns from Digital Marketing can far exceed those from traditional marketing strategies—and at very little cost.
According to Google, more than 90% of consumers research products online before buying, and three out of five people use search engines as a go-to shopping resource. In such a scenario, being noticed by your prospects and customers is vital to your online success.
Digital Marketing is a high growth industry that will continue to grow faster than traditional advertising in the times to come.
7 Points to Remember
- Digital Marketing can make your online business visible to millions of people worldwide who are already online.
- Website traffic doesn’t just happen by itself—it requires time and resources to connect with your prospects and customers and bring them to your website.
- If your business is not generating more revenues than investment, you’re probably not doing your Digital Marketing right.
- Once your Digital Marketing strategy gets going in the right direction, you can increase your investment to acquire more customers and generate more sales.
- Getting paid traffic via advertising is an excellent way to kick-start your business in days, not months.
- If your marketing collaterals are of high quality, they will get noticed on the internet as well as on social media channels. The payoffs can be very rewarding.
- When you provide content that is useful, relevant, and valuable to your prospects and customers, they will seek you out and reward you both in the short and long term.
How Digital Marketing Can Help You
You can use digital marketing to:
- Access niche markets via demographics and targeting
- Expand your business globally with a smaller budget compared to other channels
- Improve your ROI
- Compete with bigger businesses more easily
- Improve your customer service
Weapons of Digital Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO helps you to get found online by your prospects and customers. You can improve your website’s visibility in search engines by developing an SEO strategy which ensures that when prospects are searching for information online, your company’s name shows up on top of the search results page (SERP).
SEO is vital for the online success of any organization in an increasingly digital-driven economy. An effective SEO strategy covers, among other things, authoritative content with keywords that are relevant to user queries. If your website is well optimized, it will most likely be ranked higher by search engines because it will typically also be fulfilling user expectations better than other websites. And search engines love to reward such websites – because like you, they too want to serve their customers better than their competitors.
- 2 Content Marketing
Content marketing is all about creating and distributing relevant and valuable content for your target audiences—by attracting, informing, and engaging with them meaningfully—while promoting your brand.
Content marketing helps you to reach audiences who may already be searching for the answers your brand delivers, and given the fact that 94% of consumers research online before buying, it’s something you can’t afford to take lightly.
Content is King…and no company is too small to participate is what Bill Gates had said in the 90s, and it remains true today—perhaps even more so. Broadly speaking, content includes the use of blogs, articles, whitepapers, case studies, infographics, webinars, videos, and social media and PR—all-powerful growth drivers for your business—in such a way that when buyers search the web for answers to their questions, your brand shows up on top. This helps increase your brand’s top-of-mind recall value, builds trust, and also strengthens relationships with prospects and buyers.
Valuable content also allows you to capture the right metrics—so vital in today’s relationship-based, consumer-driven digital marketplace.
A very useful but ignored aspect of content marketing is the glaring disconnect that so widely prevails between content and its intended audiences. This usually happens when you don’t match your audience personas to their demographics—and end up sharing your content with the wrong people at the wrong time and on the wrong channel.
When done right, content marketing is a very powerful tool to increase visibility, trust, and customer loyalty. And search engines simply love to reward good content.
- 3 PPC (a.k.a. Search Engine Marketing (SEM), online advertising)
This refers to traffic purchased through online ads. PPC helps ensure marketing success by reaching the right customers at the right time and at the right place in their decision-making process. The PPC industry is valued at hundreds of billions of dollars via media giants like Facebook, Google, and other companies.
PPC is the most widely-used business model for search engine ads. It allows for maximum exposure while giving you full control over your ad campaign budget. And it also enables you to clearly track the effectiveness of your ad campaign.
Another reason for PPC’s popularity is its cost-effectiveness. i.e., you pay only when someone clicks on your ad, and not otherwise.
PPC ads appear prominently both on top of a search engine’s results page (SERP) and along the right-hand side. Their ranking is based on an auction model to determine which ads will display in what positions.
Your PPC marketing strategy should be tailored to support your business model and add value to your website. An efficiently managed PPC campaign will not only bring more traffic to your website but also maximize your conversions and returns on investment (ROI).
Since every business is different, PPC campaigns tend to be unique and are based upon individual goals, business environment, competitive landscape, and so on.
- 4 Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media marketing is a highly potent customer engagement tool and traffic driver. If you are not already interacting with your target audiences through social media, you may be hurting your brand in terms of (i) disappearing from their minds (ii) failing to reach out to new audiences (iii) missing out on important conversations.
A well-designed social media campaign helps to expand your brand’s reach—by turning prospects into customers and customers into repeat customers.
Since every business is unique, social media needs will vary from business to business. One organization may need SMM to generate more sales, while another organization may use it to improve customer service levels or build their following. The type of social media marketing campaign your organization runs will depend largely on your business goals and your target audiences, as well as your Digital Marketing plan.
Getting found on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn is no longer an option but a necessity. A good social media plan can help you to optimize your social media presence by (i) locating the places where your audiences are active online (ii) creating a social media strategy that reaches them at the right place and time by identifying the social media platforms where their participation will produce the greatest dividends.
- 5 Email Marketing
Email marketing is an important part of your Digital Marketing and communications strategy. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing brings in about $40 for every $1 you spend – and I’m sure similar figures will apply in other countries also. That’s one of the highest ROIs you can get for your marketing! But despite this impressive statistic, most email marketing campaigns end up being spammy.
However, if you do email marketing the right way, you can continue to engage your customers for years after the first conversion. Email marketing helps you to build trust, establish a long-term relationship and improve your brand’s top-of-mind recall value—via emails and newsletters that provide valuable information to your target audiences with regard to your product, service, or industry—at a global level.
Another great thing about email marketing is that you can start seeing the results within minutes of sending the email. Unlike print and broadcast campaigns where you typically have to wait for weeks or days, you can pretty much organize a 24-hour flash sale in minutes, and start seeing the results within hours. Good email campaigns also tend to be shared more – not only because they are good but because all it takes is a click to share them.
Since most email marketing software allow you to track their effectiveness, you can quickly and easily know how your campaign is performing, thereby allowing you to fine-tune your campaign in real-time.
- 6 Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Driving traffic to your website will not earn you any money if your visitors aren’t converting into customers. Industry-wide conversion rates are typically as low as 3%. This means that 97 out of 100 people visiting your website will leave without taking any action. And almost 70% of your visitors will abandon your shopping cart before buying. It is for this reason that conversion rate optimization (CRO) is necessary for your business.
Conversion rate optimization is all about knowing your audiences and studying their browsing habits (by testing and analyzing them) so that you can get them to convert by giving them what they need.
CRO is more about what actually works than what you think should work. It calls for research that typically starts with web analytics to study visitor behavior on your website—such as who your visitors are, how they reach your website and navigate within it, what action they take, or fail to take; and it also requires competitive research. You can then use this information to your advantage by optimizing your landing pages and creating a sales funnel that is fine-tuned around your target audience’s needs—and eventually lead to more conversions.
In a hypercompetitive digital economy, ignoring CRO can cost you dearly.
- 7 Analytics
Website analytics, as defined by the Web Analytics Association, is “the objective tracking, collection, measurement, reporting, and analysis of quantitative Digital data to optimize websites and marketing initiatives.”
Analytics help you to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts with the help of useful data with which to fine-tune your website and improve your return on investment (ROI).
A successful Digital Marketing strategy relies heavily on web analytics because it provides valuable information that you can use to (i) reach your audiences and learn who your typical customers are in terms of age, gender and behavior (ii) measure your conversion funnel and learn where you’re losing out (iii) maximize your ROI by evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing methods and how keywords are performing, whether your website is optimized for the right search terms, and how your social media is helping your business, and much more.
A successful Web analytics strategy is not a one-time affair—it is an ongoing program that you simply have to use to gain a competitive edge over your rivals.