Digital marketing is the use of the Internet to reach consumers. Digital marketing is a broad field, including attracting customers via email, content marketing, search platforms, social media, and more.
Digital marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes the internet and online-based digital technologies such as desktop computers, mobile phones, and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services.
Types of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing can be broadly broken into 7 main categories including:
- Search Engine Optimization.
- Social Media Marketing.
- Content Marketing.
- Email Marketing.
- Mobile Marketing.
- Marketing Analytics.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial, or natural search results on the search engines. Simply put, it is the name given to the activity that attempts to improve search engine rankings. In many respects, it is simply quality control for websites.
The goal of SEO is to get a business to rank higher in Google search results, ultimately increasing search engine traffic to the business’s website. To accomplish this, SEO marketers research words and phrases consumers are using to search for information online and use those terms in their own content. According to leading SEO software company Moz’s “Beginners Guide to SEO,” SEO encompasses many elements, from the words on your web pages to the way other sites link to you on the web to how your website is structured. An SEO specialist can make around $59,000, according to Salary.com.
It is important to allow search engines to clearly “read” what your site content is, by doing things like adding alt text for images and text transcripts for video and audio content.
Good link structure
It is important that search engines can “crawl” your site structure to easily find all the content on your site. There are many things that an SEO specialist can do to properly format links, URLs, and sitemaps to make them most accessible to site crawlers.
Keywords and keyword targeting
Properly deploying your keywords – i.e., the search terms you want your site to be found for—in your content and headers is one of the fundamental building blocks of SEO. It is no longer good practice to “stuff” your content with as many keywords and keyword variations as possible. Writing high-quality content that uses keywords in the headers and a few times in the crawlable page content is now considered better practice and will make pages rank better in search results.
PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it is a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically. Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC.
Pay-per-click refers to paid advertisements and promoted search engine results. This is a short-term form of digital marketing, meaning that once you are no longer paying, the ad no longer exists. Like SEO, PPC is a way to increase search traffic to a business online.
Pay-per-click can refer to the advertisements you see at the top and sides of a page of search results, the ads you see while browsing the web, ads before YouTube videos and in ads in mobile apps.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing, or SMM, is a form of internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve your marketing and branding goals.
This includes everything a business does via social media channels. Just about everyone is familiar with social media, but marketers must approach social with an integrated and strategic approach. Social media marketing goes far beyond simply creating posts for social channels and responding to comments.
To be effective, efforts must be coordinated and consistent rather than an afterthought. To help keep posts consistent, there are many online tools available to automate and schedule social media posts, although marketers only should use automation as a tool, not a “set it and forget it” solution. Users will figure it out quickly if there is no real person behind the posts.
Content marketing uses storytelling and information sharing to increase brand awareness. Ultimately, the goal is to have the reader take an action towards becoming a customer, such as requesting more information, signing up for an email list, or making a purchase. “Content” can mean blog posts, resources like white papers and e-books, digital video, podcasts, and much more. In general, it should first and foremost provide value to the consumer, not just advertise the brand or try to make a sale. Content marketing is about building a sustainable, trusting relationship with your customers that can potentially lead to many sales over time, not just making a single transaction.
Content marketing works in symbiosis with other types of digital marketing: It is a way to incorporate SEO search terms into fresh website content, and the content created can be shared as social media posts and in email marketing publications. Looking at the analytics for your content marketing can tell you a lot about your customers: what are they looking for when they land on your site? What kinds of content make them stay on the site longer and keep looking around? What kinds make them lose interest and navigate away?
Email marketing is a powerful marketing channel, a form of direct marketing as well as digital marketing, that uses email to promote your business’s products or services. It can help make your customers aware of your latest items or offers by integrating it into your marketing automation efforts.
Even with the emergence of social media, mobile applications and other channels, email is still one of the most effective marketing techniques, Rogers said. It can be part of a content marketing strategy, providing value to consumers and over time convert an audience into customers.
Create a Sense of Urgency
Writing email copy that lets your recipients know that time is running out to get a special deal or that there are only a limited number of the offer available, can increase the number of people clicking through to your website.
Personalize Your Email
Setting your emails and subject lines up to incorporate the recipient’s name is a proven way to increase open and click through rates. (A sample subject line: “Katie, a special offer just for you.”)
Let Recipients Set Their Preferences
Allowing users to specify how often they want to hear from you can help keep some of your email subscribers subscribed to your list and clicking on your emails.
Mobile marketing is a multi-channel, digital marketing strategy aimed at reaching a target audience on their smartphones, tablets, and/or other mobile devices, via websites, email, SMS and MMS, social media, and apps. As technology becomes more fragmented, so does marketing. This digital marketing type is this focused on reaching your target audience on their smart phone or tablet. Mobile marketing reaches people through text messages, social media, websites, email and mobile applications. Marketers can tailor offers or special content to a geographic location or time, such as when a customer walks into a store or enters an event.
According to a recent TechCrunch article, consumers in the United States now spend five hours a day on their phones. This represents a 20% increase from the fourth quarter of 2015. Users are also spending much more of their time in apps rather than on mobile browsers. In 2017, users are spending much more time with apps than watching television. 15% of that app time is spent with entertainment apps like Netflix and Hulu, 19% of it is spent on Facebook’s mobile app, 12% on other social and messaging apps, and 11% in gaming apps, according to the TechCrunch article.
Digital analytics in the marketing context refers to the tools used to analyze and report on marketing data collected through the digital channels on which your brand holds a presence. They might also include your display or search ads, email, affiliate marketing sites, or many others.
One of the major advantages of digital marketing is that it is highly trackable and measurable. Once, the only trackable marketing pieces were coupons and similar direct mail offers. If a customer used the coupon, you knew the message resonated. Today, analytics allow marketers to track user behavior at a highly detailed level: how many times they click on a link, how much time they spend on a web page, how often they open emails, and much more. But the vast amount of information available about digital marketing performance can feel like drinking from a fire hose, and marketers must be able to truly understand what the data mean and how they should inform strategy.
Not only does this allow marketers to learn what is successful with consumers and adapt their marketing messages moving forward, it also means they can demonstrate their value to the company. Understanding all this data and using it to make strategic decisions is an important part of a digital marketer’s work, and one that sets them apart from their traditional counterparts.