What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is a broad term that refers to all marketing channels and methods one can use to promote their products and services on the internet including electronic devices such as television, radio, mobile phones (smartphones inclusive) and electronic billboards.
The main difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing is that digital marketing campaigns are executed exclusively through digital channels and this gives marketers more opportunities, control, tools, and data to analyze the effectiveness of any given campaign.
Types of Digital Marketing
In this comprehensive guide, we shall be examining the several components that come together to make up digital marketing.
Basically there are two (2) broad categories of digital marketing, they include:
1. Online Digital Marketing and
2. Offline Digital Marketing
The major difference that exists between the two is that, while online marketing channels are based solely on the Internet, offline marketing channels have to do with digital devices that are not necessarily connected to the Internet.
However, generally, digital marketing could be enumerated into the following types;
- Website Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Inbound Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Offline marketing channels
- TV Marketing
- SMS Marketing
- Radio Marketing
- Billboard Marketing
- Website Marketing
Overtime, websites have become the basic and major point of all digital marketing campaigns. It is a very powerful channel but it’s also the medium to execute most of the other online marketing campaigns.
Firstly, your website should represent your brand, product, and services in the most possible way. It should be fast, its theme and templates should be mobile-friendly and easy to use and navigate.
Once you have a website your next step is to come up with a digital marketing strategy or plan and promote your website and content with the purpose of driving more traffic and potential customers.
Many hear about Search engine optimization (SEO) very often but know little or absolutely nothing about what it means. SEO is the process of optimizing your website for search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo Search etc.
The main goal of SEO is to help a website rank higher in the search results and in the process, drive more organic traffic from search engines.
SEO has a number of sub-processes. The main ones are: Technical SEO, On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO.
PPC advertising gives you the ability to reach internet users on a number of networks through paid ads.
You can set up PPC campaigns on Google, Bing, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook and show your ads to people searching for terms related to your products or services.
PPC campaigns can segment users based on their demographic characteristics (age, gender, etc) or even their particular interests or location.
Every time a user clicks on your ads, you pay a fee to the provider (and thus the term pay per click).
The most popular PPC platforms are Google Ads (AdSense) and Facebook.
PPC Campaigns and SEO make up what is known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) in digital marketing.
Content marketing is all about developing and monetizing digital contents.
The digital world is a huge collection of contents in different forms like audiovisual and multimedia formats such as text, images, audio, and video.
The goal of a content marketing campaign is to reach potential customers through the use of content.
Content is usually published on a website or blog and then promoted through social media, email marketing, SEO or even PPC campaigns.
The difference between having a blog versus running a content marketing campaign is that the later has specific goals as to what content to publish and when to publish it, who to target, and how to monitor the effectiveness of your content campaigns.
The main tools of content marketing are: Blogs, eBooks, Online Courses, Infographics, Podcasts and Webinars.
Regardless of the increased use of social media networks, email marketing remains one of the most powerful, effective digital marketing channels, even though it is mostly considered to be unsolicited and intrusive ads.
Many people confuse email marketing with the hundreds of spam email messages we all receive on daily basis, but that’s not what email marketing is all about.
Email marketing is the medium to get in touch with your potential customers or the people interested in your brand and this entails that these people want to hear from you and you are not hijacking their inbox.
In fact, many successful online businesses and marketers use all other digital marketing channels to add leads to their email lists and then through email marketing they create a number of funnels to turn those leads into customers.
Social media marketing has to do with reaching people in the various social media networks either through content marketing campaigns (postings), paid ads or both.
The primary goal of a social media marketing campaign is brand awareness and establishing social trust but as you go deeper into social media marketing, you can use it to get leads or even as a direct sales channel.
Take for example Facebook. Facebook sales funnel consists of 3 major steps.
The top of the funnel is awareness. This is the stage where you can use Facebook ads to introduce your brand to Facebook users. Your target at this stage is to get your ad in front of as many people as possible and gain new customers, patronage or followers.
The second step is a consideration. At this stage, your goal is to get people (that showed an interest in your brand) and pass them through the middle of the funnel and get them to visit your website, engage with your page, install your app, send you a message, etc.
The third step is conversion. This is the final step where you try to convince people that enter your funnel to convert. A conversion can be anything that has value for your business like the sale of a product or service or a visit to your store.
Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing that has grown considerably with the rise of Internet usage.
Basically, with affiliate marketing, you promote other people’s products and you get a commission every time you make a sale or introduce a lead.
Many popular companies like Amazon, Jumia and Konga have affiliate programs that pay out millions of money per month to websites that help market their products.
When designing your digital marketing strategy, you should include affiliate marketing as a way to get people involved in your brand and sell your products for a commission.
In other words, when you have a product or service to promote online, you should consider setting up an affiliate program where people can sign up and find resources and material they can use to promote your products on the Internet.
They will get a commission as a reward but the benefits for you as a provider are much more.
Your affiliates cannot only drive more sales but they can become the best representatives of your brand and positively influence other people to buy or connect with your company.
Inbound marketing is another simple term that refers to how you can use various digital marketing channels to reach new customers mainly through the process of content creation and how to ‘push’ them through a funnel until they convert.
Inbound Marketing Costs Per Lead
The main components of inbound marketing are content, attention, engagement, trust, and satisfaction.
All these components or elements have a single goal; to help businesses connect with their potential customers and establish a channel of bi-directional communication with them that will lead to more sales.
All digital marketing channels have similar sales funnels. What differs in many cases is the terminology used to describe each stage of the funnel. In general, a digital sales funnel has 3 main goals: to get people learn your brand, to get them engage with your brand (either through your website or app), and to get them to convert.
Mobile marketing refers to the process of reaching customers in the different mobile applications stores such as Google Play Store, Apple app store or Amazon marketplace.
These app stores have thousands of apps and millions of users per day. With mobile marketing, you can promote your apps either through paid advertising or through other methods (cross-app promotions, etc.), so that they can be seen and installed by more users.
Kindly note that Mobile Marketing is not the same as having a mobile friendly version of your website. Making your website mobile friendly is a must and necessity otherwise your website won’t show up for Google searches performed on mobile.
Mobile marketing is about creating an app and uploading that app to Google Play Store or other app stores for users to download.
Video marketing is somewhat relatively new but recently it has become so popular that you simply cannot ignore it.
YouTube has become the second most popular search engine and a lot of users are turning to YouTube before they make a buying decision, to learn something or just to relax.
YouTube is just one of the media you can use to execute your video marketing campaign. There are so many other platforms like Facebook Videos, Instagram, VSkit, TikTok, Vimeo to use to run a video marketing campaign.
The best way to take advantage of video is to integrate them into your SEO, content marketing and social media marketing campaigns.
Running standalone video campaigns can be costly and does not always create a positive return on investment, but when the video is used as part of your other campaigns, the return on investment is justified.
We will examine some examples of how to use video marketing as part of a digital marketing strategy.
Offline Marketing and Channels
The channels described above are the most important components of digital marketing. These are the channels that can be executed through the Internet (thus the term online marketing channels) and in many cases; it’s the only ones you need to use to have a strong online presence.
The offline digital marketing channels described below are still used but they are not suitable for all companies. For example, a small business does not have the funds to advertise on TV or electronic billboards.
Television (TV) marketing is not dead, on the contrary, is a marketing channel that will experience a boost in the coming years.
Currently, TV advertising is not 100% targeted. Marketers can only make assumptions based on the statistics they have from a limited amount of people.
The adoption of Web TV will change this dramatically. Marketers will be able to target audiences based on a number of factors and make informed decisions as to what content to produce.
SMS marketing is still an option to get in touch with potential customers, although not among the most powerful.
There are better alternatives these days like push messages on the web and mobile and also on Facebook messenger.
Nevertheless, SMS marketing can be used to get more visits to your local community store.
Radio marketing is another digital media marketing type and tool you can utilize but not so effective as other methods. The main issue with radio marketing is that you don’t know exactly the return on your investment.
When you pay for a radio ad, you can only assume on the number of people that heard the ad, based on the number of listeners the particular radio station has.
Radio marketing is still good for local businesses though and small communities that are not so affected by the social media boom.
Billboard marketing is considered to be part of digital marketing. Electronic billboards are available in a number of public places and it is another more traditional channel in your digital marketing arsenal.