The concept of marketing as we know it came about as during the Industrial Revolution when mass production, transportation infrastructure, high demand, mass media, and increased competition created the need for marketing techniques. Advertising was critical to a business’s survival in a competitive selling landscape even in the mid-1800s! At the time, brands gained exposure through magazine editorials, newspapers, billboards, radio ads, and other forms of traditional media.
When the internet emerged in the 1990s, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for marketers, giving brands the opportunity to gain global recognition. While web design was still in its infancy, the online trends of the decade like Hotmail chains, pop-up ads, and blogging made it easier for leading companies to target their audiences across the web.
Today, you can use internet for nearly anything from shopping to social networking to online learning and beyond. Approximately 4.57 billion people around the world use the internet for these and other purposes — which, as of April 2020, is 59% of the global population. The convenience of the web has influenced consumer habits to go digital, which is why brands that want to be competitive must establish and/or strengthen their online presence — cue digital marketing.
What is digital marketing? Digital marketing is all about integrating digital channels and techniques, such as email marketing, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and other channels to generate leads and turn them into customers. Let’s dive deeper into digital marketing and discuss common marketing strategies of today and how you can use them to improve your communication with digital audiences, regardless of your business type or experience level.
Digital Marketing, Assets, and Channels Defined
Very simply put, digital marketing is any kind of marketing done on the internet. If you’ve ever interacted with a relevant Instagram ad, signed up for commercial email offers, Googled the best plumbers in your city, or read a blog on what kind of boat to buy, you’ve participated in digital marketing before.
There is an entire arsenal of tools at a digital marketer’s disposal. We refer to them as assets, which can be used to help you market your brand effectively online. These assets include (but are not limited to) online reviews, written content, social media pages, company websites, branded assets, videos, images, and so on.
Digital marketing is all about choosing the strategy and assets that will best help you to attract, connect, and engage with your target customers and convince them to buy your product or service from wherever they’re spending their time on the internet. When you turn to a digital marketer for help formulating an online marketing strategy, they will look at your presence across all the digital channels (listed below), identify weaknesses, and determine ways to fill these holes and increase your ROI.
- Content marketing: Content can include written or visual content, such as blogs, ebooks, website copy, product demos, infographics, video ads, or any other assets that establish authority, provide information to the target audience, and/or generate leads.
- Social media marketing: Everyone who is anyone these days has some form of social media presence. Social media marketing can be done on all the major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.), and you can choose to take the paid route or the free, organic route (which tends to take longer to get results). Both ways help you build brand awareness and yield affordable, qualified leads.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): A slow but cheap way to help your business appear in the top Google results for a query is search engine optimization. SEO strategies help companies increase the flow of traffic to their websites and attract new business over time through keyword optimization.
- Pay per click (PPC): If you’ve got the budget and you don’t want to wait to see results on a search engine, you can pay for your ads to appear at the top of Google’s first page. Paid search allows you to test the most effective ad words so you can implement them immediately and drive new business sooner.
- Marketing automation (MA): MA is a tool that allows a company to target customers automatically across various digital channels. This strategy is one that sales and marketing departments use to automate their campaigns to increase efficiency, generate and nurture leads, and ultimately grow revenue via social media, web, email, and text.
Digital Marketing for B2B Vs B2C
The assets and channels you focus on in your strategy will depend on your business type (business-to-business, B2B, or business to consumer, B2C), as no single strategy will work for all companies.
For example, B2C companies tend to focus on getting leads through the sales funnel by placing their brand in front of their target customer in an attractive way. As such, businesses like this tend to benefit best from paid and organic social media strategies, as it positions their product or service to be seen by those who weren’t previously aware of it and are likely to buy. The rest takes care of itself.
B2B is a bit more complicated, as B2B products and services usually have higher price points. Their marketing funnels are more intricate and their sales cycles longer, so they would do well to utilize paid search and email marketing to capture the attention of business clients and close the deal faster.
Again, no one solution fits all, so it’s a good idea to work with a qualified digital marketer to help you test a variety of strategies until you land on the most profitable for your business.
How Do I Get Started?
Before you jump headfirst into digital marketing, you need to know your goals, your budget, and your audience.
- Are you wanting to make sales, generate leads, increase clicks, or see a return?
- What kind of people fit the persona of your buyers?
- What do your sales trends tell you about the behavior of your customers?
- How much does it cost to acquire different lead types?
- How much do you have to invest in your strategy?
Knowing your general digital marketing goals will guide you as you decide how much to spend and which goals you have the budget to achieve.
If you’re feeling directionless, our enthusiastic marketing strategists are eagerly waiting to help you formulate a plan. Give us a call today and we’ll construct a custom proposal for your long-term business success.