What Is Digital Marketing?
Owning a business today is not what it used to be. On the one hand, there’s more competition. On the other, democratized access to technology has lowered the barrier to entry. However, at its core, the principles are still the same—keep your costs low and your profits healthy, grow sustainably, and reinvest in your business. The difference between twenty years ago and today is that today, you have a sophisticated tool in your arsenal—digital marketing. So, what exactly is digital marketing?
Digital Marketing is any marketing that occurs online through digital channels and touch points. As a broad category of marketing, it includes everything from search engines to social media, email, display advertisements, and more. Its edge lies in the ability to leverage the efficiency of technology and the power of data to grow and scale your business. With the increased need to maintain a healthy business, digital marketing is rapidly becoming a core of businesses today.
The way we shop and communicate have changed dramatically in the last decade. As new generations of consumers (“Millennials” and “Gen Z”) enter the marketplace, the need to incorporate a digital strategy to reach them has become paramount. “[In] the space of 5 years, more than 40% of [18-24 year old’s] traditional TV viewing time has migrated to other activities or streaming” (Nielsen). Younger consumers (with increasing spending power) are using newer channels of communication, which means that they need to be reached in innovative ways.
What are some digital marketing channels I can use to reach new customers?
Social Media Marketing
The strategic use of social media platforms (such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, etc) to promote a product, service or message. Today, the digital world is exploding with a growing user base, and if you’re a DTC (direct-to-consumer) business, you’ll find that most of your audience is actively engaging with regularly scheduled content on social media.
Email marketing is the use of email to promote your products or services. Many e-commerce brands are able to segment their customers by using email to track shopping behavior and optimize their marketing messages. Segmentation based on purchase behavior also allows businesses to increase their ROI by offering products are are relevant.
A type of marketing where individual sources receive a commission for promoting someone else’s products/services. Some affiliate marketing strategies pay out affiliates on a commission basis (where the affiliate gets paid a percentage of sales that are made). For brands/businesses that are bootstrapping, this can be very beneficial because you only pay for the sales that are made. However, there is a lot of competition in this area so it’s important to use it as one part of a larger strategy.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Marketing is the use of search engines to display text, image and video advertisements. These types of campaigns allow you to own a considerable amount of screen retail space when people search for your brand online.
Short Message Service / Multimedia Message Service Marketing (SMS/MMS)
SMS/MMS marketing (more commonly referred to as “SMS Marketing”) is the use text messaging to market your products or services. Depending on the sophistication of the platform being used, you can also use images and video to up-level the experience.
What are the advantages & disadvantages?
Launch a digital campaign and almost immediately you have access to data that tells you everything from demographics (age, income, education) to psychographics (attitudes, lifestyles, behaviors, interests). Incorporate more tools into your strategy and you gain a deeper insight into what drives your customer’s behavior.
Depending on who your ideal customer is, you need to create a specific approach in your digital strategy that provides both value and a personalized experience. This requires a detailed media plan for your advertising efforts, as well as an outline of your goals to track the progress of your marketing campaigns.
From an outsider’s perspective, digital marketing doesn’t seem very complicated. After all, you just post a picture on Instagram or a text post on Facebook, right? Wrong. While it may be easy to shout into the grand abyss of the Internet, there’s no point to it if no one can hear you (not to mention that what you say needs to be engaging, relatable, and personalized in order to drive valuable action). So while it’s seems simple enough, it requires research, constant testing, and creative innovation. It needs an intuitive understanding of human nature, psychology, strategy, and the ability to form knowledge from information. It requires the ability to connect the dots, to think in both macro and micro terms and to leverage the synergy of its simplicity and complexity.
Do you want to
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