The Nuts and Bolts Of How Digital Marketing Works
Time for some jargon-busting: as companies have move over to marketing on the internet a host of labels and jargon have grown up around the industry. As tastes and trends have changed so has the jargon. We’ve had e-marketing, web marketing, internet marketing and digital marketing, but they all mean much the same thing. Digital marketing is just another way for your business to connect with potential new customers, and influence their purchasing decisions. We hope this marketing guide sheds some light on things.
What digital marketing all boils down to is managing a company’s online presence. This will typically include the company’s web site page and social media pages. Incorporated in to this will be all internet-based marketing activity, such as social media marketing (including influencer marketing), online and email direct-marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) or search engine marketing (SEM) ad campaigns, e-commerce, and any mutually beneficial co-operation with other web sites. Digital marketing also includes non-internet based marketing channels that provide digital media, for example, TV and mobile phone technology (SMS/MMS, call back, on-hold ring tones). There is no need per se for digital marketing to be separated out from a company’s marketing department but it does require a very specialised expertise and understanding of digital market dynamics to be successful.
Digital Marketing Guide To Research
When it comes to market research we have some great tools available. Leading the way is Google Analytics. This is the tool we use to keep an eye on your campaign to make sure everything is on target. We’ve prepared this guide on digital marketing research for you to get more information on how we can use Google Analytics to help you further your marketing aims and maximise your ROI.
Your Assets and Strategic options for Digital Marketing
Your digital assets are the tools you use online to market your goods or services. For example:
- A web site
- Social media business pages
- Any form of branding, logo design work
- All content assets, e.g. videos, e-books, graphics/infographics, icons, photography, written material, testimonials, customer/media reviews, interactive content, product/service information and demos etc.
The best digital marketing strategy is to make use of the most suitable digital marketing channels.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising – PPC
(also known as Search Engine Marketing/SEM)
The term Pay-per-click advertising (PPC/SEM) applies to running ads on platforms whereby you pay the platform when a visitor clicks on an ad that takes them to your website. This form of advertising can positively boost sales conversions and awareness of brand recognition. About a third of users who use search engines to locate products/services will click these ads. PPC/SEM can be broken down in to two main groups:
1. Paid Search Advertising
The major search engines like Google and Bing allow individuals or businesses to run ads on their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This is a highly effective to market your product to your target audience. Google’s system is called AdWords, and the basic model is that advertisers bid against competitors for ‘keywords’ relating to their product; the higher you bid, the more prominently your ad will appear when that keyword is used in a search by a potential customer. The highest bidder’s ad will appear in the most prominent spot, which is usually at the top of the SERPS page, above everything else.
2. Paid Social Media Advertising
Social media platforms can also be used to market your business in an organic, unpaid way. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin allow brands to target their advertising by selecting the location, age range, gender and interests of their target audience, so it’s an effective way of introducing your brand to a wider audience. Money is not wasted displaying ads to the wrong group. It can be time-consuming to set up, but possibly worth exploring as it’s not going to hit your finances too hard and can be effective. It all helps to build brand awareness.
Social media marketing also includes influencer marketing. ‘Influencers’ are high-profile social media personalities who have world-renowned expertise in their field. They offer product endorsement, and with an influencer behind you whose background is relevant to your product, they can enormously boost its credibility. Influencers connect brands with the huge audiences they capture on social media platforms and can strongly influence the purchase choices of their followers. Influencers can be reached through paid advertising campaigns.
The benefits of social media marketing
- Your company can promote itself to huge audiences that would otherwise be unattainable.
- It’s relatively cheap. Accessible to any size business. Something of a leveller!
- Allows for direct marketing to your targeted demographic.
- Ease of engagement with your customers, to get feedback and resolve problems.
- Great for your market research.
- Easy to research your competition to help gain an advantage.
- Ideal for promotion of your brand’s news.
- Easy to hold customer loyalty with discounts and points.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
As an alternative to the PPC/SEM model, you can save your money by trying to get a prominent position in the SERPS though an ‘organic listing’. These are the web sites/pages that have been added to the search engine’s database through its organic process of crawling the web and indexing the pages that it finds. It’s what search engines do, and with organic listings you don’t have to pay for each click. The process of optimising a site through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to rank well is complicated and time consuming. Market dynamics mean SEO is normally an on-going process.
Other Digital Marketing Channels
An important way you can create more leads and sales is content marketing. This is simply digital marketing that employs the use of personalised content to attract users to click links taking them to your site and/or product pages. Some take the form of link text inviting readers to click and ‘find out more’, and although paid for, can be mixed in with free content, and less obvious to identify. Content marketing makes use of articles, social media posting, interactive elements, brand-linked guest blogging and videos. It all improves the engagement and loyalty of your visitor, and improves their brand awareness and recall of your business. Content marketing will help you:
- Increase the awareness and credibility of your brand
- Reach new customers and expand your customer base
- Engage with social media users and online communities
- Attract more attention and generate possible leads
- Generate sales and increase the potential for conversions
Email marketing has been around almost as long as email itself. This is still useful for the promotion of special offers or an upcoming event. Unfortunately, huge volumes of unsolicited marketing emails from unscrupulous traders have exploited this method, i.e. spam, and in recent years the method has got a bad name.
Affiliate marketing involves paying another entity, business or individual, to use their own website to promote your business. Affiliate programs are fairly wide-spread on the web. The affiliate usually signs up to join the program, and will earn commission from any traffic or sales they help to generate.
The data-trail left by the browsing public is a potential gold mine for your marketing endeavours. Without exposing a customer’s private user data, or sensitive account information, data can be collected when a potential customers visits your website, reads an email, or uses a mobile app, by sophisticated software algorithms to locate and target that audience. A potential customer’s recent search history can be followed so that they are delivered only relevant advertisements, for example, ads from similar brands, so advertisers can connect with those who they deem might be most interested in their products.
The bottom line here is visitor engagement. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) aims to create a positive user experience for new or existing visitors/traffic, which in turn increases the likelihood of more leads and sales.
The new digital era has enabled brands to selectively target potential customers based on previous browsing interests. Businesses can now use social media to select the age range, location, gender and interests of whom they would like their targeted post to be seen by. Furthermore, based on a customer’s recent search history they can be ‘followed’ on the internet so they see advertisements from similar brands, products and services. This allows businesses to target the specific customers that they know and feel will most benefit from their product or service; something that had limited capabilities up until the digital era.