With how accessible the internet is and how quick online buying trends are shifting in today’s world, it’s important to know, what is digital marketing? And how does it work? Without understanding new media and digital marketing trends, digital marketing strategies will not be as effective. While marketing deliverables have changed, core marketing objectives have stayed the same. Marketing is and will always be about connection and storytelling. While a billboard speaks to a driver sitting in traffic or the bus bench speaks to a driver on the way to pick their kids up from school, the internet is filled with active users 24/7. Marketing is meeting your audience where they are already spending their time, which today, is the internet.
What is Digital Marketing?
Before we get into how digital marketing works and what a digital marketer does, it’s crucial to understand why digital marketing is important and answer the question—what is digital marketing? Digital marketing includes all marketing efforts online or on other digital channels. Digital marketing uses search engines, social media, email marketing, pay-per-click ads and other strategies and tactics to attract their target audiences. Digital marketing is crucial for modern businesses because the internet is an important gateway into how consumers shop these days.
Today, it is less about walking into a store and asking a sales associate for more information, and more about using the internet to help them make an informed decision and most of the time, making the actual purchase. This is where digital marketing comes in— it helps a business speak to their audience directly, no matter where they are in the digital buyer’s journey.
Unlike many traditional offline marketing efforts, the role of digital marketing allows digital marketers to see accurate real-time results and data. When companies put an advertisement in a newspaper or magazine, it’s tough to accurately estimate how many people actually flipped through that page and actually paid attention to your ad. There is no direct way to know if the specific ad was responsible for any sales at all. On the other hand, digital marketers can measure a companies’ return of investment (ROI) for pretty much all digital marketing tactics. For example, with website traffic, digital marketers can see the exact number of people who viewed the company website and where they came from.
Digital marketing is more than just a pop-up ad on social media or the side of a website. It’s a combination of tactics and strategies that are typically unique to each business. It can be a series of blog posts that generate traffic, or it could be social media promotion and sponsored posts. Maybe it is an email campaign that drives traffic to a landing page. Digital marketing is all of the above and so much more.
Since digital marketing is broad, and consistently growing, the best way to approach digital marketing is to have clear objectives. When launching a digital media campaign or a strategy, it’s important to have a specific goal in mind. Depending on the overarching goal or objective, there are different digital marketing tactics you can use.
There are many types of digital marketing tactics. Some of them are:
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Digital PR
- Pay Per Click
- Native Advertising
- Marketing Automation
Digital Marketing Definition
Ultimately, digital marketing is an umbrella term for all of a company’s online marketing efforts. Like mentioned above, many businesses use digital channels such as Google, social media platforms, email, and paid online advertising to connect with current and future customers. It’s tough to define digital marketing because there’s a huge spectrum of tactics and strategies that fall into the category of digital marketing. From a company’s online brand, to their website, to their email marketing, it all falls under the definition of digital marketing.
What Does a Digital Marketer Do?
A digital marketer is responsible for using digital channels to generate leads and build brand awareness. A digital marker uses digital marketing strategies and the tactics listed above to generate leads and awareness. In broad terms, digital marketers are in charge of driving online sales through digital channels, both free and paid. These digital channels include social media, the company website, SEO rankings, email marketing, display advertising, and the company’s blog. Each company will have its own overall digital marketing strategy which could include either one of those channels, or even all. This is why digital marketing is different for each business. The digital marketing position will depend on the type of company, their budget, resources, objective, and other factors.
Digital Marketers typically focus on key performance indicators (KPI) for each digital marketing channel and tactic so they can measure the company’s performance.
For example, if a digital marketer is in charge of SEO, they will measure the website’s “organic traffic”, the traffic that comes from a search. Digital marketers will use these results to identify weaknesses and find ways to improve performance across all channels.
Examples of Digital Media Marketer Roles
The role of a digital media marketer can look very different depending on the company. In small companies, there could be one generalist who may roll out all of the digital marketing tactics listed above. While at a large company, there could be a digital marketing specialist for each tactic. There are many different types of digital marketing roles. For example, a larger company may have an SEO specialist and an email marketing specialist. Below are some digital marketing role examples.
Content Marketing Specialist
Content marketing specialists are the digital content creators for a company. They are constantly coming up with new digital content strategies to drive traffic and awareness. This content can include blog writing, social media posts, and video. Their main KPI’s would be blog traffic, subscribers and followers, and the average time spent on a page. Content marketing specialists often work with people in other departments to ensure that products and campaigns on the business side are supported by promotional content.
In broad terms, SEO managers help the business rank higher on Google. They use a variety of different approaches to make this happen. They may work directly with content creators to make sure they produce keyword heavy content, or they may do the writing and editing themselves. An SEO manager’s main KPI is organic traffic.
Social Media Manager
A social media manager manages social networks for the company. Their main responsibility is to create a posting schedule for all of the company’s written and visual content. They may write and produce the content or they could work with a content marketing specialist to develop a strategy for which content to post on which social platform. A social media manager’s main KPI’s are follows, shares, and impressions.
Email Marketing Manager
An email marketing manager is in charge of creating email campaigns that inform consumers of new products, events, or updates. They spend much of their time assembling and organizing large email databases and typically send information daily or weekly, depending on the company. An email marketing manager’s main KPI’s are click-through rate, site traffic, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates.
How Online Marketing Works?
So, now that you have an understanding of what digital marketing is, it’s now time to learn how online marketing actually works. It’s important for business owners and anyone working in digital marketing to understand how online marketing works so they can make smart decisions when brainstorming and rolling out digital marketing campaigns. We will go through several digital marketing tactics and explain how each one can be used for businesses.
What is a Digital Marketing Funnel?
Before diving into digital marketing tactics and how each one works, it’s crucial to understand the digital buyer’s journey and the digital marketing funnel. A digital marketing funnel is a group of tactics and techniques that help businesses get more exposure and gather more leads.
The reason a business should build a digital marketing funnel is to help their business reach a particular goal or objective. To create a successful digital marketing funnel, businesses have to understand the different funnel stages, the digital buyer’s journey. The modern online buyer’s journey has four steps.
- Awareness – the “See” stage
- Consideration – the “Think” stage
- Purchase – the “Do” stage
- Post-purchase experience – the “Care” stage
Top of Funnel Marketing:
The ultimate goal with top of funnel marketing is to encourage users down the funnel to the “think” stage. At the top of the funnel, people are in the “see” category. The people in the awareness or “see” category are a company’s largest audience. They either don’t need your product or service yet, or they don’t know they need it.
There are two great strategies that work well with top of funnel marketing – social media and pay-per-click ads on Google. Marketing on social media can be inexpensive and fun. It’s a business’s chance to show off their band and develop a cohesive brand story. The other powerful top of funnel marketing strategy is pay per click (PPC) Google ads. The Google Display Network is a great way to reach target audiences.
Once your target audience is aware of their needs, they move on to the consideration (or “think”) stage. This is the stage where consumer research happens. Maybe they begin to search Pinterest for ideas, or search Google for suggestions. During this stage, consumers can be overwhelmed with options. It’s crucial for businesses to build authority and get their target audiences on their website in this stage.
The best digital marketing strategies for middle-of-the-funnel consumers are: SEO, video marketing, pay-per-click search ads, and email marketing.
And now, we have finally reached the final stages of the buyer’s journey, the purchase stage (or “do” stage), and the post-purchase experience stage. This is the part of the funnel where the buyer actually converts from a prospective customer to a paying customer.
A few successful bottom of the funnel marketing tactics are: SEO, pay-per-click ads, and emails.
Once a company has a loyal customer, they have to consider how to keep them. One main thing to consider is investing in current customers. The most ideal way is to treat your customers well so they want to re-purchase or, even better, they become a brand advocate and start selling the product in the form of recommendations.
How Digital Marketing Works:
Digital marketing can work for any business in any industry. Regardless of what the company sells, digital marketing identifies audience needs and creates valuable online content to increase sales of a product or service. Digital marketing is and can be extremely valuable to a business, but it does not mean that every company should implement the same digital marketing strategies and tactics. Like mentioned above, there are many digital marketing strategies a company can implement. The role of digital marketing changes depending on the objective.
Digital Marketing Strategies/ Tactics:
Now that you know how digital marketing works, it’s important to consider different social media strategies before moving into the implementation stage. Below are some digital marketing examples to use when rolling out your next digital marketing campaign.
Let’s begin with search marketing, a very large and successful tactic used by digital marketers in all industries. Think about the last time you typed something into the search bar on Google. Based off of what you search, thousands of search engine results show up. So, how does Google determine who gets to be at the top of the search? Well, that is all thanks to search marketing.
Search marketing is an important digital marketing tactic because millions of people search every single day. To be exact, Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. That is a lot of people. Now, imagine having prime real estate at the top of Google when it comes to your product or service category. That is where search marketing comes in to play. Whether it’s to find a new restaurant or to purchase a new product, most businesses want their company to appear at the top of the page and can do this if they implement search marketing strategies.
Let’s discuss two main tactics that can help companies improve their search engine presence.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
The search engine results that are unpaid are known as organic results. Organic results are typically found right below the paid search ads. Paid search ads will say “ad” and will typically be shown at the top and bottom of the search page. Search engines, like Google, find organic results by crawling the internet with “spiders” that review website text, PDFs, docs, and other website content. Google also considers data and meta tags when searching for organic listings. For Google, the main goal is to always provide the best results for their users.
The best way to having your website ranked high organically is by rewriting content to match keywords users are searching, write meta tags to match those keywords, create more content more often, and have other sites link to your content.
PPC (Paid Search Marketing)
While organic traffic is cost-effective and important, businesses should not disregard the important of pay-per-click advertising. Paid search marketing allows companies to have larger control when it comes to their ranking. With pay-per-click advertising, companies can pay for top slots on search engine pages. Instead of paying per keyword, the company only pays when a customer actually clicks the advertisement and visits the website. One of the most common types of PPC are Google Ads.
Social Media Marketing Strategies
Social media marketing promotes your company’s content and brand on social media channels to drive traffic, generate leads, and create brand awareness. The channels a digital marketer can use are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Pinterest.
Each social media platform will typically have its own social media strategy. When brainstorming your social media marketing strategy, consider who your target audience is and what you are hoping to achieve with the campaign.
There are several strategies you can use on social media such as content marketing and influencer marketing.
One growing and popular digital marketing tool is content marketing. Simply put, digital content marketing is the creation and sharing of online content such as videos, articles, blog posts, and social media posts that does not explicitly promote a brand, but is intended to stimulate interest. The ultimate goal of content marketing is to attract and retain an audience, which will ultimately lead to profitable customers who take action.
Digital content marketing is a very popular digital marketing tool for online marketing strategies with a focus on social media channels. To run a successful content marketing plan, you have to be creative and consistently coming up with new ideas to promote your product or service. For example, digital content marketing could be as simple as using user-generated content to boost your brand on Instagram.
Online marketing campaigns can become pricey, but what if they don’t have to be? If you are a small business or working on a tight budget for your digital marketing strategy, consider influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is a mix of old and new marketing. It is typically a collaboration between a brand and influencers. Rather than thinking big and only thinking of celebrities with large followings, influencers can be anyone. It can be a fashion blogger on Instagram or it can be a successful marketer on LinkedIn. No matter what industry you are in, there are influential people – you just have to look for them. Once you research and find the right influencers, reach out to them and ask them if they would be willing to promote your brand. Every influencer is different, some may have PR media kits and have a fee, while others may do it for product exchange.
If you choose to run an influencer campaign, remember to be organized and have an objective. Have a strategy, a budget, and be patient. Be sure to track your results to know your return of investment. For example, you can do this by offering specific promotional codes to each influencer.
Email Marketing Strategies
Email marketing is a great tool in a digital marketer’s toolbox. Companies use branded emails to directly connect and speak to their target audiences. Email marketing is typically used to increase brand awareness, establish leadership, discuss and promote events, and talk about updates and special promotions. The strategy and content of a company’s emails completely depends on the campaign goals. It’s important to remember that email marketing is mainly used to nurture leads once they have interest. It is not necessary used to generate new leads. Here are some common types of email marketing strategies to support an overall digital marketing campaign:
Welcome Email – Companies can send welcome emails when new customers subscribe to their email marketing list.
Promotional Content—Companies can send promotional content about upcoming sales to their email database. This is great because upcoming sale and promotional codes are sent directly the consumer’s inbox.
Newsletter—This type of email goes out to email subscribers periodically. Depending on your objective, the newsletter will deliver updates and latest content from the business.
Understanding how digital marketing works goes beyond just knowing how each digital marketing strategy and tactic works on its own. Now that you understand several digital marketing elements, it’s time to discuss how the above tactics can work together to support your overall digital marketing campaign goal.
An integrated approach to marketing is a smart way to create a seamless experience for target audiences. By placing and spacing marketing messages across digital platforms and using a selection of tactics to push each campaign, companies can create a strong brand message and improve the success of each campaign. Before starting an integrated marketing approach, it’s important to know how channels work together while keeping the digital marketing campaign’s overall objective in mind.
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