Digital Marketing

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing, also known as online marketing, encourages brands to connect with potential customers using the internet and other digital communication forms. This includes not only email, social media, and web-based advertising, but also text and multimedia messages as a marketing channel.

Essentially, if a marketing campaign involves digital communication, it’s digital marketing.

Digital marketing vs. inbound marketing.

Digital marketing and inbound marketing are often easily confused, and there’s a good reason for that. Digital marketing utilizes many of the same tools as inbound marketing – email and online content being a few. Both aim to attract the attention of potential customers and convert them into customers along their journey. However, the two approaches have different views on the relationship between tools and objectives.

Digital marketing considers how individual tools or digital channels can convert potential customers. A brand’s digital marketing strategy can use multiple platforms or focus all efforts on a single platform. For example, a company can create content primarily for social media platforms and email marketing campaigns while neglecting other digital marketing avenues.

On the other hand, inbound marketing is a holistic concept. It first considers the objective, then looks at which tools would effectively reach target customers, and then examines at which stage of the sales funnel those tools should be. For example, if you aim to increase website traffic to generate more potential customers and leads, you can focus on search engine optimization (SEO) in developing your content marketing strategy, including blogs, landing pages, and more.

The most important thing to remember about digital marketing and inbound marketing is that as a marketing professional, you don’t have to choose between the two. In fact, they work best together. Inbound marketing supplements effective digital marketing efforts with structure and purpose, ensuring that each digital marketing channel works towards a goal.

Why is digital marketing important?

All types of marketing can help your business grow. However, due to the accessibility of digital channels, digital marketing is becoming increasingly important. In fact, there were already 5 billion internet users worldwide in April 2022.

There are many ways to use digital marketing tactics to communicate with your target audience, from social media to short messages. Additionally, digital marketing has minimal upfront costs, making it a cost-effective marketing technique for small businesses.

Comparison of B2B and B2C digital marketing.

Digital marketing strategies work for both B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) companies, but best practices differ significantly between the two. Here’s a closer look at how digital marketing is used in B2B and B2C marketing strategies.

B2B customers tend to have longer decision-making processes and thus longer sales funnels. Relationship-building strategies yield better results for these customers, while B2C customers tend to respond better to short-term offers and messages.

B2B transactions are typically logic and evidence-based, often guided by skilled B2B digital marketers. B2C content is more likely to be emotionally driven, focusing on making the customer feel good about a purchase.

B2B decisions often require input from multiple individuals. Marketing materials that best guide these decisions tend to be shareable and downloadable. B2C customers, on the other hand, prefer to connect with a brand one-on-one.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. A B2C company with a high-cost product like a car or computer can provide more informative and serious content. Ultimately, whether B2B or B2C, your digital marketing strategy should always be tailored to your own customer base.

Take a look at your current audience to create well-informed and targeted online marketing campaigns. Doing so ensures that your marketing efforts are effective and can capture the attention of potential customers.

Digital marketing encompasses a wide array of strategies for engaging through digital media. Here are a few key examples of types of digital marketing tactics.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is technically more of a marketing tool than a form of marketing itself. The Balance defines it as the “art and science of making web pages attractive to search engines.”

The “art and science” part of SEO is crucial. SEO is a science because it requires researching and weighing various factors that contribute to achieving the highest possible ranking on a search engine results page (SERP).

Today, some of the most crucial factors to consider when optimizing a webpage for search engines include:

  1. Quality of content
  2. Level of user engagement
  3. Mobile compatibility
  4. Quantity and quality of inbound links

In addition to the above factors, you need to optimize technical SEO, which includes all backend components of your site, such as URL structure, loading times, and broken links. Improving your technical SEO can help search engines navigate and crawl your site more effectively.

The strategic use of these factors turns search engine optimization into a science, but its inherent unpredictability makes it an art.

Ultimately, the goal is to appear on the first page of a search engine’s results. This enables those searching for specific queries related to your brand to easily find your products or services. While there are many search engines, digital marketers often focus on Google due to its dominance in the search engine market.

There isn’t a measurable checklist or consistent rule in SEO for ranking at the top of search engines. Google and other search engines constantly change their algorithms, making precise predictions impossible. What you can do is closely monitor your page’s performance and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Content Marketing:

As mentioned, the quality of your content is a significant component of an optimized page. Therefore, content marketing, a strategy based on distributing relevant and valuable content to your target audience, is crucial in SEO.

Like any marketing strategy, the goal of content marketing is ultimately to attract potential sales that convert into customers. However, it differs from traditional advertising by offering value in the form of written material for free, such as:

  1. Blog posts
  2. E-books
  3. Newsletters
  4. Video or audio transcripts
  5. White papers
  6. Infographics

Content marketing is important, and there are plenty of statistics to prove it:

  • 84% of consumers expect companies to produce entertaining and helpful content experiences.
  • 62% of companies with at least 5,000 employees produce daily content.
  • 92% of marketers believe that their company values content as a significant asset.

As effective as content marketing can be, it can also be deceptive. Content marketers need to engage with people who will read, share, and interact with the material while also ranking high in search engine results. Relevant content can build strong relationships over time across consecutive orders.

It’s important to define your target audience to create highly engaging and compelling content. Who are you ultimately trying to reach with your content marketing efforts? When you better understand your audience, you can determine the type of content to create, including videos, blog posts, printable worksheets, and more.

Regardless of the content you create, following best practices in content marketing is a good idea. This means creating content that is grammatically correct, error-free, easy to understand, relevant, and engaging. Your content should also guide readers to the next step in the pipeline, whether it’s a free consultation with a sales representative or a registration page.

Social media marketing involves engaging people in online discussions to increase traffic and brand awareness. You can use social media marketing to highlight your brand, products, services, culture, and more. With billions of people spending their time on social media platforms, focusing on social media marketing can be beneficial.

The most popular digital platforms for social media marketing are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with LinkedIn and YouTube not far behind. Ultimately, which social media platforms you use for your business depends on your goals and target audience. For example, if you want to find new leads for your FinTech startup, targeting your audience on LinkedIn could be a good idea since industry professionals are active on the platform. On the other hand, if you’re running a B2C targeting younger consumers, posting social media ads on Instagram might be better for your brand.

Social media marketing has become a popular way to attract attention since it involves active audience engagement. It’s the most popular content tactic for B2C digital marketers, with 96%, and it’s gaining ground in the B2B space as well. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 61% of B2B content marketers increased their use of social media this year.

Social media marketing provides built-in engagement metrics that help you understand how well you’re reaching your audience. Regardless of whether it’s the number of shares, comments, or total clicks to your website, you decide which types of interactions matter most to you.

Direct sales may not even be a goal of your social media marketing strategy. Many brands use social media marketing to initiate a dialogue with their audiences rather than immediately encourage them to spend money. This is common, particularly for brands targeting older audiences or offering products and services that aren’t conducive to impulse purchases. It all depends on your company’s social media marketing goals.

Following best practices is crucial for creating an effective social media marketing strategy. Here are some of the most important best practices:

Create high-quality and engaging content. Respond to comments and questions professionally. Establish a social media posting schedule. Post at the right times. Hire social media managers to support your marketing efforts. Learn about your audience and the social media channels they’re most active on. Find out how Mailchimp can help with your social media strategy by checking out our free social media management tools comparison with others.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC):

Pay-per-click, or PPC, is a form of digital marketing where you pay a fee each time someone clicks on your digital ads. Instead of paying a set amount to continually display targeted ads across online channels, you only pay for ads when individuals interact with them. How people see your ads and when is a bit more complex.

One of the most common types of PPC is search engine advertising, and because Google is the most popular search engine, many businesses use Google Ads for this purpose. When a spot becomes available on a search engine results page (SERP), essentially an instant auction takes place. An algorithm prioritizes each available ad based on a variety of factors, including:

Ad quality Keyword relevance Landing page quality Bid amount PPC ads are then placed at the top of search engine results pages based on the above factors when someone searches for a specific query.

In every PPC campaign, there are one or more desired actions for audiences to complete after clicking on an ad. These actions, known as conversions, can be transactional or non-transactional. A purchase transaction is a conversion, but so is signing up for a newsletter or making a call to your home office.

Regardless of what you choose as your target conversions, you can track them through the digital marketing channels you select to see how your campaign is going.

Affiliate Marketing:

Affiliate marketing is a digital marketing tactic that enables someone to earn money by promoting someone else’s business. You could be either the supporter or the business being supported, but the process is the same in both cases.

It operates using a revenue-sharing model. If you’re an affiliate, you earn a commission each time someone you refer makes a purchase of the promoted product. If you’re the merchant, you pay the affiliate for each sale they help facilitate.

Some affiliate marketers may prefer to review products from only one company, perhaps on a blog or another third-party site. Others may have relationships with multiple merchants.

Whether you’re joining or hosting, the first step is to establish a connection with the other party. You can use digital channels designed to connect affiliates with merchants or initiate a single-vendor program or join one.

If you’re a merchant and choose to work directly with affiliates, there are many things you can do to make your program appealing to potential supporters. You need to provide these affiliates with the tools they need to succeed. This includes incentives for great results, as well as marketing tools and pre-made materials.

Native Advertising:

Native advertising is disguised digital marketing. Its aim is to make advertisements less overtly apparent by blending in with surrounding content.

Native advertising was created in response to consumers’ cynicism toward ads. Many consumers, knowing that the person creating an ad has paid to publish it, will assume the ad is biased and, as a result, ignore it.

A native ad eliminates this prejudice by providing information or entertainment before reaching any promotional content, thus downplaying the “advertisement” aspect.

It’s essential to always clearly label your native ads. Use words like “Promoted” or “Sponsored.” If these indicators are hidden, readers might spend significant time engaging with the content before realizing it’s an ad.

When consumers know exactly what they’re getting, they’ll feel better about your content and brand. While the aim of native ads is to be less disruptive than traditional ads, they’re not intended to be deceptive.

Influencer Marketing:

Like affiliate marketing, influencer marketing relies on a mutually beneficial relationship where someone with a significant following (celebrity, industry expert, or content creator) works in exchange for exposure. In most cases, these influencers will endorse your products or services to their followers across various social media channels.

Influencer marketing works well for both B2B and B2C companies looking to reach new audiences. However, it’s crucial to partner with reputable influencers since they essentially represent your brand. A wrong influencer could damage consumer trust in your business.

Marketing Automation:

Marketing automation uses software to enhance digital marketing campaigns, increasing the effectiveness and relevance of advertising. As a result, you can focus on crafting the strategy behind your digital marketing efforts rather than on laborious and time-consuming processes.

While marketing automation may seem like a luxury your business can’t do without, it can significantly increase interaction between you and your target audience.

According to statistics:

  • 90% of U.S. consumers find personalization appealing to some degree.
  • 81% of consumers want brands they engage with to better understand them.
  • 77% of companies believe in the value of real-time personalization, but 60% struggle with it.

Marketing automation allows companies to keep up with consumer expectations for personalization. It enables brands to:

  • Collect and analyze consumer data
  • Design targeted marketing campaigns
  • Send out and publish digital marketing messages to the right audience at the right time

Many marketing automation tools use a specific message’s (or lack thereof) potential customer interaction to determine when and how to reach them. This level of real-time customization means you can effectively create a personalized marketing strategy for each customer without any additional time investment.

Mailchimp’s marketing automation tools allow you to interact with your audience through behavior-based automations, transactional emails, date-based automations, and more.

The concept of email marketing is simple; you send a promotional message and hope your potential customer clicks on it. However, the execution is much more complex. First and foremost, you must ensure your emails are wanted. This means having an opt-in list that does the following:

  • Personalizes content both in the body and subject line
  • Clearly states what kind of emails the subscriber will receive
  • Provides a clear unsubscribe option in the email signature
  • Integrates both transactional and promotional emails
  • Wants your potential customers to see your campaign not just as a promotional tool but as a valuable service.

Email marketing is a proven, effective technique on its own: 89% of professionals surveyed named it as the most effective potential sales generator.

Including other digital marketing techniques such as marketing automation, which allows you to segment and schedule your emails to better meet your customers’ needs, can be even more beneficial.

Here are a few tips that could help you create great email marketing campaigns:

  • Segment your audience to send relevant campaigns to the right people
  • Ensure emails look good on mobile devices
  • Create a campaign schedule
  • Run A/B tests

Mobile marketing.

Mobile marketing is a digital marketing strategy that allows you to interact with your target audience on their mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This can be through SMS and MMS messages, social media notifications, mobile app alerts, and more.

It’s crucial to ensure all content is optimized for mobile devices. According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans own a smartphone, so creating content for both computer and mobile screens can go a long way in your marketing efforts.

Benefits of digital marketing.

Digital marketing has stood out largely because it reaches such a vast audience. However, it also offers a host of other advantages that can enhance your marketing efforts. Here are a few of the benefits of digital marketing:

  • Broad geographic reach: When you advertise online, people can see your ad no matter where they are (if you haven’t restricted it geographically). This expands your business’s market reach and makes it easier to connect with a broader audience across different digital channels.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Digital marketing not only reaches a wider audience compared to traditional marketing but also comes with lower costs. Expenses for newspaper ads, television spots, and other traditional marketing opportunities can be high. Additionally, they offer you less control over whether your target audience sees these messages in the first place.

With digital marketing, you can create one piece of content that attracts visitors to your blog as long as it remains active. You can create an email marketing campaign that delivers messages to targeted customer lists on a schedule, and if needed, it’s easy to adjust that schedule or content.

Combined, digital marketing gives you much more flexibility and customer engagement for your advertising spend.

  • Measurable results: To know if your marketing strategy is working, you need to know how many customers it’s attracting and ultimately how much revenue it’s generating. But how do you do that with a non-digital marketing strategy?

Asking each customer, “How did you find us?” is always an option.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work in every industry. Many companies don’t have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with their customers, and surveys don’t always provide complete results.

With digital marketing, tracking results is straightforward. Digital marketing software and platforms automatically track the number of desired conversions you’ve received, whether it’s email open rates, visits to your homepage, or direct purchases.

  • Easier personalization

Digital marketing allows you to collect customer data in ways offline marketing cannot. Digitally gathered data tends to be much more precise and specific.

Imagine you offer financial services and want to send special offers to internet users looking at your products. If you personalize the offer according to the individual’s interest, you know you’ll get better results. So you decide to create two campaigns. One is for young families looking at life insurance products, and the other is for millennia-old entrepreneurs evaluating retirement plans.

How do you collect all this data without digital marketing? How many phone calls do you have to look at? How many customer profiles are there? And how do you know who read your brochure and who didn’t?

With digital marketing, all this information is already at your fingertips.

  • More connection with customers

Digital marketing allows you to communicate with your customers in real-time. More importantly, it allows them to communicate with you.

Consider your social media strategy. It’s great when your target audience sees your latest post, but it’s even better when they comment or share it. This not only means more interest in your product or service but also more visibility every time someone joins the conversation.

Interaction benefits your customers too. As they become active participants in your brand’s story, engagement levels rise. This sense of ownership can create a strong sense of brand loyalty.

  • Easy and convenient conversions

Digital marketing allows your customers to take action immediately after seeing your ad or content. In traditional ads, the best result you can hope for is someone calling your company shortly after seeing your ad. But how often does someone have the time to reach a company while doing dishes, driving on the highway, or updating records at work?

With digital marketing, they can click a link or save a blog post and immediately progress down the sales funnel. They might not make a purchase immediately, but they’ll stay in touch with you and give you the chance to interact with them more.

How to create a digital marketing strategy?

For many small businesses and novice digital marketers, starting with digital marketing can be challenging. However, you can create an effective digital marketing strategy to increase brand awareness, engagement, and sales by using the following steps as your starting point.

Set SMART goals.

Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals is crucial for any marketing strategy. While there may be many goals you want to achieve, try to focus on those that will move your strategy forward instead of keeping it stagnant.

Define your audience.

It’s best to identify your target audience before starting any marketing campaign. Your target audience is the group of people you want your campaign to reach based on similar characteristics such as age, gender, demographics, or purchasing behavior. Understanding your target audience well can help you determine which digital marketing channels to use and what information to include in your campaigns.

Create a budget.

Budgeting allows you to effectively spend your money toward your goals rather than overspending on digital marketing channels that may not deliver the desired results. Consider your SMART goals and the digital channel you plan to use when creating a budget.

Choose your digital marketing channels.

From content marketing to PPC campaigns and beyond, there are many digital marketing channels at your disposal. Which digital marketing channels you use often depends on your goals, target audience, and budget.

Refine your marketing efforts.

After your campaign ends, be sure to analyze your campaign data to identify what worked well and areas that need improvement. This allows you to create even better campaigns in the future. With digital technologies and software, you can easily access this data in a user-friendly dashboard. Mailchimp’s digital marketing analytics reports will help you track all your marketing campaigns from a single centralized location.

Digital marketing creates growth.

Digital marketing should be a primary focus of almost every business’s overall marketing strategy. There has never been a way to stay in such consistent communication with your past customers, and nothing else can offer the level of personalization that digital data can. The more you embrace the possibilities of digital marketing, the more you can realize your company’s growth potential.

Take your business to

How can we help you today?

Schedule your free consultation.

You cannot copy content of this page