What is Digital Marketing?
Traditionally, the definition of marketing has been the activities an individual or business undertakes to sell their products and/or services to their target audience. Therefore, digital marketing is those activities, except with a focus on digital channels. This includes, but is not limited to the internet, radio, and television. As barriers to entry are reduced and consumer adoption increases, the power of digital channels is only going to grow. As of January 2021, 4.66 billion people or 59.5% of the world’s population uses the internet, which is a year-on-year increase of 316 million people or 7.3%. So, you can see why digital marketing, particularly on the internet, is crucial to any marketing strategy now and in the future.
Digital Marketing on the Internet
The digital world is in a state of continuous change. So, you can expect at least for the foreseeable future, digital marketing will follow suit. To keep this post concise, I have selected the most dominant strategies used today in digital marketing. In this, I will provide a general overview of each strategy as well as a starting point to aid your execution.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is commonly referred to as an art and science, which I must agree with. You are working against the continually changing algorithms of search engines such as Google in the hope of outranking your competitors. However, this is not to say with a little investment of time and patience you cannot successfully boost your ranking. SEO is a powerful tool and when implemented correctly can significantly amplify your organic traffic.
- Making basic edits to your SEO fields is a straight forward task, assuming you have access to the backend of your website. If you are using a website builder such as Wix, Squarespace or Shopify each page and asset allows for SEO edits natively. However, if you are using a self-hosted WordPress site, I recommend installing the Yoast SEO plugin.
- Once you have identified how to edit your SEO fields, you can begin making the necessary adjustments. My general rule of thumb with SEO is to be consistent across all of your pages and assets. In other words, make sure your SEO ties in with the content of each page and asset.
- There are four main SEO fields you want to pay attention to. These are the focus keywords, SEO title, slug and meta description. I start with the focus keywords and work my way down respectively. Ensuring that the focus keywords are used in each succeeding field.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
If you have ever searched for something on Google, there is a good chance you have come across PPC. These are the ads that make up the first part of your search result. The term PPC can technically be applied to any paid ads such as those on social media platforms. Although, more commonly it is about Google Ads. The idea behind PPC is to outrank your competitors based on keywords. There are two main forms of keywords, short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords. Each form of keyword plays an important role in where you rank in a search result.
- Do some research, identifying the short-tail and long-tail keywords you want to target. There are many ways to do this. I usually start by searching Google with some keywords that relate to the content I want to promote.
- Once I have identified at least 3 to 5, short-tail and long-tail keywords for the piece of content I want to promote I then take them into a keyword tool. Keyword tools allow you to identify keyword competition, the current bid and alternative keywords among other things. Some recommendations include Semrush, SpyFu and Google Ads Keyword Planner.
- Now you have your keywords planned its time to move over to Google Ads and create your campaign. The mains things to keep in mind when creating your campaign is the quality of both your copy and content.
Social Media Marketing
When it comes to digital marketing, there is no greater beast than social media. The major platforms in 2021 include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Each has its own way of doing things and value proposition. Both are important factors to consider when choosing which ones to use. The beauty of social media marketing is it allows you to connect with your target audience on a far more personal level. This can build your brand, increase sales, and drive traffic.
- Create a hypothetical customer, applying all attributes that would make them purchase your product and/or service. Think geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioural attributes.
- Once you have created your hypothetical customer, take them into the digital world and identify what platforms they are using. Try and use at least 4 of the major ones mentioned earlier.
- Your hypothetical customer is now looking like a well-rounded individual, it is time to test the water. Using your hypothetical customer attributes, plug them into the audience fields and run your campaign.
The one key denominator shared between almost all digital marketing strategies, is content. It goes without saying that without valuable, relevant and consistent content you are going to fail in attracting and retaining your target audience. This is where content marketing comes into play. Having a solid content marketing strategy, you are making it easier to incorporate other strategies. Furthermore, it shows your consideration of the needs and wants of your target audience. Which in turn, results in increased sales, cost savings, and customer loyalty.
- Aside from promoting your actual products and/or services you want to able to educate your target audience as well. Take a step back and consider what knowledge you can offer to educate your target audience. Through education, you are allowing your target audience to then take action in favour of your offerings.
- There are many different forms of content you can create around the knowledge you wish to provide your target audience. However, the key is to create content relevant to your offerings. In doing so, you are setting the foundation for your target audience to choose you over a competitor.
- Once you have a solid content marketing strategy it is important to continually evolve it. Taking into consideration the changing needs and wants of your target audience. Keep in mind, consistency is key and if you are not educating your target audience, your competitors will.
In a world where people spend a large portion of their waking life behind a mobile device, you can quickly recognise the importance of mobile marketing. The goal of mobile marketing is to optimise the marketing experience for mobile devices. Such devices include smartphones, tablets and other handheld equivalents. The school of thought has changed from creating for the desktop and optimising for mobile, to creating for the mobile and optimising for desktop. This includes, but is not limited to websites, content and advertising.
- There is a lot of work in creating a fully optimised mobile marketing experience, especially if you have catered to the desktop platforms for so long. I would recommend getting your website optimised for mobile, to begin with. This may require a completely new theme or optimisation from your developer. If you are creating a new website ensure the website builder or theme you choose is mobile optimised out of the box. This will save a lot of work in the long-run and future proofs your website.
- Optimising your content for mobile is fairly easy for new content. However, bringing your old content into the mobile world can be a painstaking task. It may be a good time to look at any old content and if it is worth keeping optimise it, otherwise delete it. Less is more.
- Finally, you have advertising. Ads are getting more sophisticated, especially on mobile devices. So, when creating your ad campaigns, make sure you are considering its function and appearance on mobile devices.
Ever since its inception, email marketing has been highly underrated and looked upon as a means to spam. Although to some extent this is still the case, nothing can take away its power. When used correctly it beautifully complements your overall digital marketing strategy. If you have not already started growing an email list, this is your cue to do so. An email list is a dataset that enables email marketing to execute its predetermined tasks. Without an email list, you simply cannot take advantage of email marketing.
- As I mentioned earlier if you have not started to grow an email list, please do so as a priority. It can be as simple as adding a form to your website either statically, as a pop-up or a checkbox during checkout. If you have already established an email list, its now time to put it to work.
- Choose a platform that provides the tools necessary to put your email list to work. I recommend either Constant Contact, Mailchimp or Sendinblue as a starting point. Each of these platforms offers a free option in the way of a trial or basic package.
- Upload your contact list to your chosen platform, ensuring each contact field transfers over correctly. Most platforms will aid you in this. To make things easier in the future I recommend linking your website form to the new contact list. Finally, create a campaign, making sure you have a clear intent and desired action. Whatever you do, do not spam.
This is one of my personal favourite strategies. In its truest form marketing automation is predominantly used by large businesses. This is due to its cost and demand for big data. In a nutshell, marketing automation brings together the various marketing processes a business may have and automates them for scale and efficiency. Some of the major platforms are Abobe Marketo Engage, Salesforce Pardot and HubSpot. For small to medium businesses, the general focus in regards to marketing automation is email marketing and social media marketing.
- Decide which marketing processes you want to automate. For this example, I am going to focus on email marketing and social media marketing. Both of which should be automated to some extent no matter the size of your business.
- The email marketing space has a large number of platforms offering essentially the same service. Some considerations to take into account when making your decision are contact list size and monthly send limit. Again, I recommend either Constant Contact, Mailchimp or Sendinblue.
- When it comes to social media marketing you want to reduce the pain points such as posting content and responding to comments. Hootsuite, Buffer and Sprout Social all offer the ability to schedule posts and manage comments as well as several other features such as performance reporting, trend analysis and automatic message responding.
Digital Marketing Now and In the Future
The world is quickly moving towards becoming completely digital. Although there will be a place for traditional methods in the short-term, their long-term value is diminishing. To me, the digital landscape has allowed marketing to be implemented in its purest form. That being, building truly personal relationships with your target audience. The future of digital marketing is nothing but exciting. With each innovation, its power and value to individuals and businesses are only going to be amplified. I can already see a future where the most dominant digital marketing strategy is augmented reality marketing. Now that is some food for thought.