What Is Digital Marketing?


Digital marketing is defined as a marketing approach that primarily relies on the internet to connect with the target audience through various digital media channels and platforms.

In this article, we will look at the concept of digital marketing, the key digital marketing channels, the best practices to ensure you succeed in your digital marketing efforts, and how digital marketing can benefit your brand. We’ll also look at some evergreen digital marketing success stories to inspire you. Let’s begin!

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is an all-encompassing term that consists of digital channels, such as content marketing, SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, mobile marketing and so on, to create elaborate strategies to reach and connect with prospects and customers.

An average user consumes content via the television, computer, tablet, smartphone, radio, and other traditional media. This constant exposure to various types of media has led to information overload, further complicating the buyer’s journey. Digital marketing has allowed brands to stay relevant by making themselves visible through different channels and touchpoints.

Apart from traditional marketing channels, such as television, newspapers, billboards, and so on, marketers use these digital channels to guide prospects through their purchase journey and keep in touch with their existing customers.  

Types of Digital Marketing Channels

Before we delve into other aspects of digital marketing, let’s quickly review the top eleven types of digital marketing channels:

1. Website
 

The website is often the home to your digital marketing efforts. Brands and organizations use websites to host content while using other mediums to distribute it. Most of your digital marketing activities will link back to your website, where an action is expected to take place, and the conversions are tracked. For example, the download of a file, booking of a product or a service, and so on.

2. Content Marketing
 

Content creation is the spine of your entire digitalmarketing strategy. Whether you’ve got a documented content marketing strategy or not, you’re creating content to inform, entertain, inspire, or persuade your buyers through other channels. Some of the most common formats of content include text (blog posts), videos, images, infographics, podcasts, slide decks, and ebooks.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
 

SEO acts as a jetpack for your content marketing efforts. SEO consists of on-page and off-page activities to boost your website’s visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) for your preferred keywords. Earlier, SEO was primarily text-based, but in recent years voice search has gained prominence as well, which is why your SEO activities need to have a conversational approach.


4. Digital Advertising
 

Digital advertising is an umbrella term for various online advertising strategies. The typical pricing/bidding strategies for digital advertising are cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-mille (CPM), i.e., per thousand impressions. Common formats of digital advertising are search engine marketing (SEM), display advertising, native advertising, social media advertising, and programmatic advertising.

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing is the process of maintaining a database of cold and warm contacts and sending them email alerts about your brand, products and services. It is an effective channel to communicate with your audience on an ongoing basis. Email marketing is useful to build your subscriber base, onboard new customers, retain existing ones, promote discounts and offers, and distribute content.

6. Social Media Marketing
 

Social media marketing ensure you are present on the platforms your users are spending the most time on. These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Instagram, where you can distribute content through both – organic and paid channels. Social media has also played a vital role in propagating video marketing and the ephemeral content wave. It enables two-way communication and your fans and followers can interact with you on your content through likes, comments, direct messages, or by posting on your official pages.

7. Affiliate Marketing
 

The concept of affiliate marketing is similar to commission-based sales. Organizations provide custom links to their affiliates. Affiliates earn a specific cut/commission every time someone buys through their custom link. Influence marketing could be considered a modern and evolved spin-off of affiliate marketing.

8. Mobile Marketing
 

The number of smartphone users across the world is expected to grow to 3.5 billion in 2020. To bank on this opportunity, brands connect with their users on their smartphones through mobile apps, emails, mobile-friendly websites, and social media. By connecting with users on the go, brands have been able to optimize their marketing strategies and send timely messages.

9. Online PR
 

Online Public Relations is a type of earned media. This is when a member of the press (journalist or online publication) mentions your brand through their stories, interviews, and so on. Product reviews by customers and bloggers and Influencers mentioning your brand or products whether paid or organic also contribute to your online PR.

10. Conversational AI
 

The rise of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have paved the way for more evolved marketing strategies such as conversational AI. As the adoption of voice search, chatbots, and digital assistants becomes prevalent, conversational AI becomes vital to digital marketing.

11. Web Analytics
 

Web analytics is the practice of collecting, measuring, analyzing, and reporting data. This is commonly tracked through Google Analytics, but websites could also build their analytical tools. The data collected could be quantitative or qualitative. Web analytics helps marketers understand the sources of traffic, what's working and what's not, the return on investments (ROI), and how they can enhance their digital marketing efforts.


Best Practices for Digital Marketing in 2020

1. Go Omnichannel
 

Successful organizations have adopted the omnichannel marketing approach to guide their prospects through the funnel. Omnichannel marketing is an evolved form of multichannel marketing that helps you provide a holistic shopping experience to your buyers. It’s about delivering the right message at the right time on the right marketing channel.

Being omnichannel means delivering a consistent experience throughout the buyer’s journey. This means your strategy should revolve around the customer rather than specific channels. To build an omnichannel strategy, create a consistent brand voice across different channels. A cohesive omnichannel marketing strategy should take into account all digital marketing channels and map their utility at each stage of the buyer’s journey and work on the messaging accordingly.

Example: Starbucks is known for leveraging digital media to improve customer experience (CX). In this particular instance, the Starbucks app lets users find stores, order through the app, pay using the phone, track Stars and Rewards. Users also get reward points for ordering through the phone and with their collaboration with Spotify, users can also identify the songs playing in their stores.

2. Leverage AI in Digital Marketing
 

AI and ML have enabled marketers to reach out to their target audience with precision like never before. Using AI and ML-powered applications, you can connect with your buyers in the following ways:

  • Conversational AI: Conversational AI such as digital assistants and chatbots have become ubiquitous to communicate with prospects and customers. They are capable of delivering content, gathering customer requirements, providing customer support, helping customers buy an item or make a reservation, and keeping them updated on their orders.
    For example, the Wall Street Journal has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to deliver content right into subscribers’ inboxes.

 

  • Personalization: The success of omnichannel marketing depends on how well you personalize CX, and AI can help you do that. AI-based tools are capable of understanding and predicting user behavior. This can further help you deliver a personalized experience by creating segments of users that share similar characteristics.

 

3. Don’t Ignore Email
 

Email marketing is still a potent digital marketing channel. If you have a sizable subscriber base, you can communicate a message to your subscribers without spending a penny! You can use email marketing to send drip campaigns, onboard new users/customers/subscribers, promote new content, offer exclusive discounts and offers, ask for feedback through surveys, and so on.

For successful email marketing initiatives in 2020, use user-generated and interactive content to generate engagement, keep your emails mobile-friendly, and build an exclusive email community that can act as your tribe. 

4. Emphasize on Video Marketing
 

According to the State of Video Marketing 2020 survey by Wyzowl, 85% of businesses use video as a marketing tool. People prefer videos as they make it easy to comprehend information, and they’re an effective medium to tell stories.

Use videos in your content marketing initiatives to boost engagement and widen your reach. A great way to achieve that is to create videos in diverse formats. For instance, most social media platforms allow you to put ephemeral/short-lived video content. So, while you’re creating standard video content, experiment with ephemeral, vertical, and live videos to see what generates engagement and double-down on that.

Example: Moz has a weekly instructional video series called Whiteboard Friday that delves into the various aspects of SEO.

5. Create a Cohesive Content Experience
 

Apart from running ongoing digital ad campaigns and other activities, creating cohesive content experiences can help you get the eyes on your brand. Creating cohesive content experiences means diversifying your content marketing efforts. Create content in as many formats as you can. Dabble into text, podcasts, infographics, videos, gated content, and so on. Each content piece you create should support each other, and that’s where content repurposing comes into the picture.

You can turbocharge the content strategy by supporting it with a smart distribution strategy. If you’ve written a 2000-word blog post, convert it into an infographic, create a podcast episode, and record a whiteboard video. When you do this, you are diversifying your presence across different platforms and creating content according to the user’s convenience.

Example: Leadpages has created a cohesive content experience strategy that covers various content formats.


As an expert-integrated marketing agency, we have helped organisations optimise their websites, drive traffic, and manage a range of other (non-digital) initiatives that have seen their brands grow from a small single office to national brands outperforming their largest competitors. Let us show you how our results-oriented approach can grow your business.


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