Due to the extreme power of the Internet, we now have more possibilities when it comes to marketing than ever before. The problem is, understanding those possibilities can be difficult if you don’t have the skills and experience. If you simply hit and hope, you’re missing the mark by a mile and you’re also waving goodbye to potential business as a result.
The good news is that digital marketing is not as complicated as the name might suggest. Of course, this also plays a huge role in the success of a business and if you choose to ignore the power of digital marketing, you run the risk of being left behind. That’s never a good thing!
So, to help you out, consider this your quick reference guide to everything digital marketing-related, helping you to overcome hurdles and begin your road to success.
First Things First, What is Digital Marketing Exactly?
Most of us spend an endless amount of hours every single day on our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, so it makes perfect sense that marketing via these mediums is going to reach more people, more effectively. Technology is the way forward when it comes to reaching more people than ever before, both personally and professionally.
So, digital marketing is, therefore, a range of actions that are undertaken by a business in order to grab the attention of their customers via the online medium. This can be attracting customers to your website, making sales online, accessing company information, signing up to a newsletter, or downloading an app. The range of scope available when it comes to digital marketing is extremely far reaching.
Of course, the plus point of digital marketing is that it’s ultra-measurable. By using real-time analytics you can measure the success of your digital marketing campaign at any time; that’s not something a regular billboard or paper-based marketing campaign allows you to do. As a result, you can make changes as necessary as you move through your campaign, rather than waiting until the end to realize that you feel short of the mark and having to reinvest more cash to get it right the second time around.
The main types of digital marketing include:
- Social media usage, e.g. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It’s entirely possible to use these platforms for digital marketing for a very low cost, if not for free. You can also enlist the help of reputable influencers to further boost your profile and coverage, via guest posts and you can also encourage shares of your business pages to reach more people. Using social media as a marketing tool really is a snowball effect, gaining momentum as the ball rolls down the hill.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how you attempt to get to the stop of the search engine rankings. Let’s be honest, nobody looks past the first page or two of Google search results! By using SEO you can boost your profile and ensure that you’re higher up on the results list. You can also use a blog and have it SEO’d to work alongside this. SEO tends to revolve around the natural and strategic placement of high-demand keywords. This means you need to research keywords first of all and then know where to place them; handily, it’s all very easy to do once you start.
- Pay Per Click (PPC) is a way of advertising online that encourages customers to click on an ad and therefore learn more about it. You only pay for this method of advertising when someone clicks on the link, but obviously the hope is that click would translate into a sale. As a result, the money you spend on marketing is very small compared to the profits you make from the sales it brings.
- Email marketing is a very simple way to reach a lot of people. Basically, you collect email addresses and you send out mass mail notifying them of deals and offers you have on at the moment, or any other useful pieces of information you want them to know about. You find these email addresses by getting people to sign up to your newsletters and doing surveys on your site and asking for email addresses in order to leave a comment, etc.
- Affiliate marketing is often linked with blogs but it’s a very useful way to make cash for a business. In this case, a blogger would advertise a product on their site and they would highlight the plus points of it, of course with a link on where to buy it. They would earn commission for every purchase made as a result of that click referral and you get extra customers from their follower list too.
These are the main ways that digital marketing takes place. You can either use all of them, a combination of a few, or you can opt to just try one at a time. They’re all very effective, but as with anything technologically related, they need to be done properly in order to attract people. Identify the one which calls out to you the most and start there. Social media is a huge one and this is somewhere you need to be present heavily in order to be noticed by almost anyone these days. The good news is that most people already know how to use social media from a personal point of view, so upgrading to business use isn’t that difficult for most.
A digital marketing plan is key, so sit down, work out what you want to achieve and decide which digital marketing method is best for you. Some people find it useful to hire a digital marketing expert to get things rolling but that’s not always necessary, especially for a small business wanting to save cash.
Whilst bricks and mortar stores will always have a place, the sheer number of people who shop online these days is mind-boggling. That means if you don’t get on the digital marketing train, you’re seriously missing out!