What is digital marketing? It encompasses marketing that targets the digital environment where your customers and prospects live, work, and play. It makes use of electronic devices, such as personal computers, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and more. This type of marketing can also involve apps, email, social networks, and websites. Stop and look around for a moment. Did you check your email? How about your phone? Did you post a picture of the burrito you just ate to Facebook while you were having lunch in your new favorite restaurant? Did you Tweet about a new pair of headphones? Or maybe you played some Candy Crush or whatever the hot mobile game du-jour is at the moment? Essentially the entire world has gone digital and uses mobile devices. As such, marketers have too for the obvious reason that is where their customers and prospects reside.
The fact is the world is a digital one and will remain that way for the foreseeable future (and perhaps beyond). Marketers who want to be successful should wisely to focus their efforts on all things digital. Now, of course, there is much to it than that, starting with having the ability and knowing how to deliver a cross-channel marketing experience in the digital space. But make no mistake about it. Marketers need to become, if they are not already, true masters of the art and science of digital marketing.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Almost everyone is on social media. For years, people and businesses have had profiles on Facebook to stay in touch with their friends and contacts. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, and Snapchat are both finding success with younger audiences. Youths seem to enjoy taking photos or recording brief moments of their lives to share with others. LinkedIn gives work professionals a place to connect with colleagues and business associates online. People love compiling photos and images that reflect their tastes and hobbies on Pinterest. Twitter gives a chance to briefly sum up your thoughts and share them as well as any links to stories and things you find intriguing. Google+ has also emerged as a social media platform for people to connect on and share their thoughts, lives, and news with each other.
With SMM, companies promote their products and services by sharing news, information, and engaging with followers, customers, prospects, fans, partners, and even competitors on social media platforms. SMM can increase your brand awareness and give your marketers a place to connect with highly-targeted prospects. You can even engage with these prospects directly by conversing with them online.
Understand that each social media platform is different, and they all have their unique features and strengths. Instagram and Pinterest, for example, rely upon visuals. Facebook allows you to highly target customers based upon the groups they join and the pages they follow. Twitter gives you only a limited amount of space to make a point, but the right hashtags can help your Tweet show up in multiple streams.
The old saying goes that content is king. It is the beating heart of every marketing campaign. Content marketing gives you the chance to connect with prospects and customers and tell them the story of your brand. Hopefully, you can reach the right prospects and customers with the right content at the right time. The more personalized your content is the more likely it will interest, intrigue, and hold your audience’s attention. However, your content must provide some sort of value for its audience. They need to take something away from it, as that builds up your brand in their minds and increases the likelihood of them interacting more with you and doing business with your company.
Content can take a variety of forms, including but not limited to emails, landing pages, infographics, ebooks, white papers, banner ads, videos, texts, radio and TV commercials, newsletters, press releases, articles, blogs, and digital postcards. It can be used across a variety of channels. It is important that all of your content, regardless of its format or type, uses a consistent voice and messaging that properly reflects your brand and business. With content, you are having a conversation with customers and prospects. Think hard about the impression you wish to make.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO refers to the process of optimizing content and websites so that they appear more frequently in search results for search engines. It depends heavily upon using researched keywords and keyword phrases in your website copy and the content that will show up in a search. However, the process also involves organic link building and creating linkable assets to place in your content.
PPC advertising refers to paying for each click on a link to a website. Search engines and most social media site offer opportunities for PPC. Your ads will appear in the feeds of the prospects and customers that you target. The more effective an ad the more success you will achieve.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a type of PPC, though many marketers set it apart in its category due to how important it can potentially be. It involves paying a search engine for showing marketing messages within its search results for specific keywords.
Place relevant ads on third-party sites to reach more prospects. Such ads can include banners, boxes, video ads, and interactive ads that link back to one of your websites.
Affiliate marketers earn a commission for promoting your products and services. It is a performance-based type of marketing, as the more visitors and customers these marketers bring in the more you will earn. Note that many bloggers are also affiliated marketers, as they use their blogs to promote different products and services.
This is one of the oldest and best-known forms of content marketing. Through various interactions with your customer base, you collect information about their preferences, permission to contact them, and their email addresses. You can build an entire email mailing list, or perhaps more than one.
You can email prospects and customers offers, information about your products and services, news about your company and events, about webinars and conferences, customer success stories, links to case studies and white papers, and more. You have to strike the right balance and not send customers too many emails but also not too few. Also, like all content, emails need to provide some type of value and be as personalized as possible to increase their chances of being read and not deleted right away.