What is Digital Marketing?
In a recent article, we spoke in detail about Search Engine Optimisation and provided a downloadable SEO checklist to help you do it yourself. However, SEO is just one factor within the vast Digital Marketing spectrum.
Today we are going to take a step back and provide a broader look at all the components of Digital Marketing. We are also going to provide examples for each of them and explain how they effect each other.
What is Digital Marketing?
Marketing is all about creating, finding, and meeting your brand's as well as your clients' needs. The difference between Marketing and Digital Marketing is only the medium.
The marketing tools have evolved drastically in the past decade, but the definition of marketing hasn't. We live in a digital world where everything happens online. Digital Marketing was born for the growing need for every business to always be wherever its consumers are - on their phone, tablet, laptop, etc.
The most common goals of Digital Marketing are:
- Increase brand value/awareness
- Increase sales
- Increase website visits
- Increase customer engagement
- Increase customer loyalty
- Inform potential and current clients about new products/services
- Communicate brand objectives to customers
- Manage advertising in a cost-effective way
As you’ve probably noticed by now, most of the above revolve around customers and without their engagement, such goals aren't reached. This is no big news - customers have been the centre of businesses for ages. Below we are going to explain the main components of Digital Marketing and how they work.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM includes all the activities aimed at increasing the visibility of a website on search engines.
SEM is one of the main elements of Digital Marketing. According to its original meaning, SEM consists of two fundamental disciplines: Search Engine Optimisation; and Search Engine Advertising.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is a set of strategies and practices aimed at increasing the visibility of a website by improving its position in the rankings of search engines, in the unpaid results, called "organic" results. Popular search engines include Google, Youtube (yes, Youtube), Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, and Yandex.
To see a first-hand example, type "pineapple" in the Google search bar and you'll see that the first result is probably Wikipedia’s definition of the fruit, right?
Now try to type "apple". What is the result? Well, it's Apple - the company not the fruit though. The difference between those two results is - you guessed it - Search Engine Optimisation.
Search Engine Advertising (SEA)
While SEO measures focus on organic search, SEA targets paid advertisements on search engines and partner sites with a Pay Per Click (PPC) method.
The largest PPC platforms are Google Ads and Facebook Ads. The difference between them is that Google Ads is more focused on sales conversion, while Facebook Ads is more focused on marketing the product/brand to potential customers and building a community of followers.
How does Pay Per Click work? The concept is pretty simple. Once you have defined the set of keywords for the product, service, or event you want to advertise, you create a compelling and relevant ad copy. Finally, you set the price you are willing to pay when a user clicks on your ad. If this prevails over competitors' bids & offers, your ad will appear higher/first on the search engine ad positions. Competitiveness will vary depending on the industry, budgets, and many other factors.
Content Marketing is the element of Digital Marketing that includes a set of techniques to create and share relevant textual and visual content around a brand, product, or service. It aims to create engagement and it can also boost the purchasing process of users.
A Content Marketing strategy can be defined in three steps:
1 :: Develop a business case or mission
Identify the differentiation factors of your company's products and/or services, expectations in terms of redemption, and consistency with respect to the overall marketing plan.
This step involves thorough understanding of your company and answering questions such as “who are we?”, “where are we?”, and “where do we want to go?”.
2 :: Find your target audience
Identify one or more types of user personas. This will help you find the customers that are interested in exactly what you have to offer.
3 :: Tell your story
Develop a story capable of expressing the challenges, passions, and identity of your company. A compelling and engaging story is the only way to an effective content plan. To do it right, consider hiring a professional writer.
With the right content marketing plan, all your advertising / social media marketing strategies will have a more positive effect on your brand.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is the series of promotional and relational activities that is carried out on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, TikTok).
Social networks connect people and brands directly, which allows you to have immediate feedback on your business and on your products. This creates a sense of belonging in the users that encourages them to interact and take specific actions (share, like, rate, purchase).
Social networks are the best free marketing medium to make use of and in today's day and age, all business must be sharing their content on them.
Affiliate marketing is a marketing channel that is based on performance: the publisher is rewarded only for the sales it generates on behalf of the advertiser. Here’s an example:
If you’ve ever searched for a cheap flight you’ve probably come across a page like Skyscanner. Once the desired flight is found, the user clicks and is redirected to the corporate website of the airline in question. In this example, Skyscanner is the publisher, while the advertiser is the airline, i.e., the site on which the purchase is completed. In this example, the airline will then give Skyscanner a commission as that particular sale was generated thanks to their help.
Why do companies choose affiliate marketing? Put simply, affiliate marketing is like word of mouth - a form of marketing/recommendation that must be earned or paid for, but its here to stay! So do consider including affiliate marketing in your overall digital marketing strategy.
As the name suggests it, Email Marketing is a marketing strategy that uses e-mail services to create a direct contact between companies and consumers.
It can be divided in 4 types (before you read on - we highly recommend that you ensure GDPR compliance before sending any emails of any sort):
- Direct Email Marketing (DEM) includes mass mailing campaigns with the aim to advertise a product, an event, or a service. DEM campaigns are mainly used for conversion or lead generation and are sent to cold contacts.
- Newsletters are emails that are sent to contacts already on your mailing list. They are either already customers or potential ones since they have previously left their email address with you. The main objectives of newsletters are sharing useful information for your audience and creating loyalty.
- Nurturing Flows are emails sent to contacts that have been collected through lead generation campaigns. These flows serve to stimulate and nurture leads, which is known to improve sales conversions if done right.
- Automatic Emails are emails that start when a previously set event occurs. The most striking example is happy birthday emails. The main purpose of automatic emails is to show care for the customer, with sale as an indirect objective (i.e. discount code attached to the greetings).
Like in an orchestra, all marketing instruments follow their own script, but all must work together to produce a harmonious and successful Digital Marketing strategy.
Digital marketing is a necessity for all business, no matter if you're already a household name or a start-up. However, digital marketing strategies must be tailored for each brand. Do experiment with choosing channels and testing engagement, but choose the ones that you believe best suit your needs whilst keeping the customer/user in mind at all times. Should you require assistance down the line or don’t know where to start, our marketing team is here for you! Request a free consultation by filling in the form below: