Digital Marketing. A complete guide to understand and apply to your business.
Get latest news, tactics and strategies for your Digital Marketing, Customer Experience, Technology and Creative.
By: Rani Arsanios
Friday, October 11th, 2019
Table of content
1. What is Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing is both art and science of communicating value at scale in the digital marketplace by utilising a set of channels, tools, strategies and tactics to create and grow demand for your product in a profitable and scalable way to establish exponential growth trajectory for your business.
Digital marketing by definition is the process of generating traffic through advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, website ads, social media, email marketing, sms marketing, and mobile apps. Over the years, the digital world has become more and more complex and today, we have a range of methods and channels that help digital marketers generate demand. Not all channels and methods are born equal and not all strategies are a good fit for every business and goal. We’ll explore in the guide all the different strategies to help you create the right digital marketing strategy for your business.
While Digital Marketing is a term that covers a large spectrum of marketing activities, and there is unlimited ways of doing digital marketing, we’ll cover the channels and methods that contribute to the vast majority of sales and growth and are considered as best practices.
How most marketers view and perceive digital marketing?
What’s the difference between online marketing and digital marketing?
2. Is digital marketing effective as it used to be 5 years ago?
The short answer is yes. It is still quite effective yet more competitive. What that means is that lazy digital marketers who used to ‘plug and play’ 5 years ago and made it work, no longer get the same results. Today, digital marketers need to sharpen their tools, understand their consumers and customers on a much deeper level, explore and experiment more often and constantly find new ways to communicate their brand’s value. As large brands and businesses flocked to advertise on digital channels and poured billions of dollars in the digital advertising space, the cost per click (cpc) and cost per impression (cpm) has significantly increased and so digital marketing has certainly become more costly which proves that it works. And although many have invested in digital marketing and not seen an upside, your success is predicated on your ability to create effective conversations with your customers and your ability to execute faster than your competition.
3. How much do I need to invest in digital marketing?
Perhaps one of the best things about digital marketing is the minimal or non-existent barrier to entry. You can create an ad on Facebook or Google Ads with minimal production creative production involved and get a sense of how successful the Ad is going to be early on. Compare that to radio and TV ad production, and you only find out the results after spending hefty budgets on creative and media buying. With abundance of channels, you can experiment and test various channels, ad types, and approaches for a relatively much cheaper cost to find what works and what doesn’t.
4. Why focus on digital marketing?
Where attention goes, money flows. You simply want to be where your audience is spending most of their time. Marketing has always been and will always be about connecting with your customer in the right place and at the right time. In this day and age, that means you need to meet them where they are spending most of their time: on the internet.
If you are targeting teens, TikTok & Snapchat are great platforms. If you are targeting more mature audiences, Facebook and LinkedIn are more relevant. We spend more time on our phones and on our computers than on TV and Radio and other traditional media types.
Although traditional marketing might still be relevant, measuring your return on investment and accurately attributing sales to advertising is quite challenging. In the digital marketing world, understanding and knowing what method and channel brings better sales is much easier and more straightforward. There are endless number of possibilities for brands when it comes to including email, video, social media and automation-based marketing like chatbots.
In today’s marketing landscape, there is an abundance of tactics and strategies that are constantly evolving and becoming more diverse and engaging which only means to you as a marketer or business owner, that sky is your limit. You can get creative and experiment with a variety of marketing tactics and still be on a small budget.
5. What are the types of digital marketing?
5.1 Paid Search
Paid search is generally also referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising which typically means paying search engines like Google and Bing to show your ads on the search results page and get an advantage over the organic results.
on the top or side of a search engine results page (SERP). You only pay when your ad is clicked. You can tailor your PPC ads to appear when specific search terms are entered, creating ads that are targeted to a particular audience. PPC ads are flexible, visible, and most importantly, effective for many different types of organizations. They are also contextual advertisements—ads that appear when a person is searching for a particular keyword or term.
Hiring an excellent digital advertising agency is going to be a game-changer for your sales and business in general.
5.2 SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
SEO is a critical part of digital marketing. In fact, one cannot exist without the other. Digital marketing is made better and stronger by SEO, while SEO needs the content implicit in digital marketing to thrive. Given that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, SEO has become especially critical in recent years. Working with competent SEO experts is key to your growth marketing.
5.3 Social Media
Right now, the internet has about 4.4 billion users, 3.49 of whom are active social media users. Social media is a critical tool to employ in your digital marketing and is just about as versatile as it is powerful. Use social to share blog posts, push sales and promotions, and connect more authentically with your followers.
5.4 Content Marketing
Content marketing is the golden child of digital marketing. An umbrella term that encompasses many different types of activities, content marketing involves creating digital content that engages and intrigues users organically. Examples of content marketing include blog posts, white papers, downloadable content, and eBooks.
5.5 Email Marketing
Today, 59% of B2B marketers report that email is the single most effective channel they use in terms of revenue generation. And for a good reason – consumers who purchase products after getting an email offer spend a whopping 138% more than those who don’t get email nurturing. Email marketing allows you to collect email addresses from your subscribers and then use that list to send out updates, newsletters, special offers, and more. Because email marketing is so personalized and direct, it’s a fantastic way to connect with your customers.
5.6 Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is an increasingly popular type of marketing, especially in our current social media-obsessed world. Influencer marketing takes place when brands partner with social media influencers (people who have large followings in a specific niche, such as fitness or motherhood, for example). The brands then pay these influencers to promote their products. Influencer marketing is especially effective, given that people trust the influencers they follow on social media. They are more likely to follow the recommendations of a real person they know and trust than they are to buy an advertisement from a brand.
5.7 Performance Marketing
Performance marketing is an approach and way of doing marketing that’s well you guessed it, is primarily driven by ‘performance’ metrics. There is currently a gap in the talent market of performance marketers. Now more than ever, there is a tremendous need for performance marketing especially with the ton of channels and digital media types available including Paid Search, Paid Social, Referrals, Influencers, Email Marketing, Organic Search and Programmatic. The challenge most brands face is understanding which formula works best and has the highest returns. Performance marketing has certainly changed the way business approach marketing – forever. We no longer cast a net and wait to see what fish we get. The approach to marketing is significantly more micro level than it ever was. And we are zooming-in more by the day. While large corporations can afford to spend millions of dollars on marketing and not realise necessary monetary returns, small businesses can’t survive unless their marketing works from the get-go. Regardless of size, most businesses need to focus on their bottom line to stay survive. Performance marketing enables you to connect the dots and link marketing activities to your financial performance. From budget allocations to bidding types, you have the power and control as an advertiser to get the outcomes you are after. And the best part is, and thanks to ad and bidding technology, all the different aspects are measurable so you can dig deep to understand your ad performance and make important decisions.
5.8 Conversion Rate Optimisation
Conversion rate optimization is a big part of digital and internet marketing. Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is a system designed to increase the percentage of visitors to a website and convert people who arrive at your site into customers. Good CRO encourages people to take the desired action of your web page or site.
6. What is Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is a fantastic addition to a digital marketing strategy. In addition to saving your time, marketing automation also allows you to achieve more without working harder.
Here’s a breakdown.
To put it simply, marketing automation is the process of using software to automate and streamline your marketing activities. It’s popular in marketing departments at large companies, as well as with entrepreneurs on solopreneurs. With the right software, you can automate all of your repetitive tasks, including personalizing and launching email campaigns, posting to social media, and even creating ad campaigns. Not only does this boost your efficiency possibly, but it also decreases the likelihood of manual mistakes and makes your marketing more effective.
Say you were using marketing automation software to schedule your social posts. Depending on which tool you used, you can connect all of your social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to a single dashboard. From there, you could schedule posts to each platform, include hashtags, and add images. Once the post goes live, some marketing automation tools also allow you to see metrics and analytics, which is a great way to judge which of your posts are performing well and which could use a bit of TLC.
Although there are dozens of different marketing automation platforms out there, some of the most popular include Buffer and HootSuite.
Buffer has more than 75,000 customers and is one of the most accessible marketing automation platforms to use. In addition to allowing users to draft posts, review content for quality and approval, manage accounts, and share digital content within a preset schedule, Buffer is an expensive, user-friendly, and great for new or growing businesses.
HootSuite is another incredibly popular digital marketing automation tool. Particularly useful for managing several social Accounts at once, buffer allows you to keep all your prospects in one place and flex your marketing as much as possible. Serving 800 of the country’s top Fortune 1000 companies, HootSuite has a reputation for quality and reliability. Plus, it features a 30-day free trial which means you can give it a test run before you commit.
If you want to learn more about other digital marketing automation tools, ask around. Everyone has one that they love, and you’ll get some great recommendations by merely putting your feelers out. While social management tools are a great portion of marketing automation, they only represent a tiny fraction of what’s available to you.
There are also other types of marketing, like email marketing, chatbot marketing, and more. Email marketing, for example, can be automated to trigger certain email drip campaigns depending on client actions, while chatbot marketing can extend the capability of your customer service department and promote stronger relationships with your clients. This is especially critical, given that live chat software has a 73% satisfaction rate as a way for customers to interact with businesses.
7. Reporting and Attribution
There is an essential concept in the world of digital marketing known as reporting and attribution. Essentially, digital marketing attribution is a critical duty, which allows companies to understand how successful and productive each of their various digital channels is. Why does this matter? Because what gets measured gets managed. If you don’t know which of your channels are performing and which aren’t, it’s going to be impossible to adjust your marketing strategy to make the most of your budget and manpower. When you track your outcomes, though, you can focus your time, attention, and resources on the platforms that are the most productive for your brand.
This is essential, given that quantifying the impacts of marketing can have a significant effect on your company’s bottom line. In fact, understanding the performance of your marketing endeavors is crucial to your budgeting and success. Back in 2014, Forrester conducted a survey that found that 50% of B2B marketing executives find it difficult to attribute their marketing activities to revenue results and, thereby, justify budgets.
When you dive into marketing reporting an attribution, you’ll find that the process is essentially a signing credit to the correct traffic sources from your various marketing channels. If you use various digital marketing tactics, like a combination of email marketing, social media, content, and influencer marketing, you’ll likely use a multi-channel attribution model. This may sound complex, but it’s the only thing that can accurately account for all the various arms of your marketing funnel. It’s also the only thing that can allow you to optimize your marketing by understanding the actual value of each channel.
8. Marketing Attribution Models
If you use a tool like Google analytics for marketing attribution, you’ll find that there are several standard attribution models. These are as follows:
8.1 Last touch/interaction
Under this model, the attribution structure allocates 100% of the credit for any given conversion to the last known touchpoint.
This model assigns each touchpoint an equal conversion status. For example, if there were two unique touchpoints, which would account for 50% of the conversions.
8.3 First interaction.
As the name would imply, this attribution model is completely opposite from the last touch/interaction model. Instead of attributing the value of a conversion to the last known touchpoint, this model assigns the value of any given conversion to the first known touchpoint.
8.4 Last non-direct click
This is a unique attribution model; in that it allocates credit to the last known touch before a lead converts. For example, if somebody clicks on a Facebook ad and then goes to a website and converts, the Facebook ad would be granted 100% of the credit for that conversion.
8.5 Time decay
This model is general and can seem vague to some people. It gives credit to recent touchpoints.
Although marketing reporting an attribution might sound a little complex, it’s a critical responsibility for any company that wants to understand the allocation of its marketing budget and how to make it work smarter, not harder.
9. Does Digital Marketing Work for all Businesses?
The answer to this question is yes. Unlike so many other marketing or advertising approaches, digital marketing is super flexible. Because of this, it can be adjusted and altered to suit the needs of any company, including B2B, B2B, and ecommerce brands.
Say, for example, you run a dental office in a city. Your brand could benefit from Facebook advertising, social media, and a big focus on content creation. If you run a marketing company in a rural area, you do well with content creation, some marketing automation, social media, and maybe a bit of influencer marketing. When it comes to digital marketing, there is no glass ceiling. Instead, Brands can play around with it, find what works, release what doesn’t, and create a customized system that genuinely takes their needs and priorities into account.
In addition to the fact that it’s flexible, digital marketing is also the single most potent form of marketing. E-commerce companies and brick-and-mortar stores alike can use it to increase sales, engage leads and customers, generate organic traffic through SEO, and Target consumers more effectively than ever before.
10. Do I need a big budget for digital marketing?
No! Digital marketing is very cost-effective, which is part of what makes it clear why it is so popular among companies across the board. Let’s not forget: digital marketing costs 62% less than traditional, outbound marketing, but it is about three times as effective at generating leads.
Today, brands across the board are using digital marketing to grow their businesses. These Brands come from all backgrounds and walks of life, ranging from one-person startups to major Fortune 500 companies. Affordability is a massive factor in digital marketing. And thanks to advancements in tech, it’s become more accessible than ever before.
Right now, for example, you can create an effective marketing email and send it out to hundreds of people without spending virtually anything. As long as you’re willing to learn a bit about digital marketing and put in some sweat equity, you can get started with the process for pennies on the dollar.
Not only is digital marketing affordable, but it also offers a great ROI. The average yield for email marketing, for example, is $44.25 for every dollar spent.
11. How to Hire the Right Digital Marketing Company
Don’t quite feel comfortable DIYin your digital marketing? You are not alone! Fortunately, there are few excellent digital marketing agencies out there to help you. The question, then, is how to choose one you trust.
Here are a few of our top recommendations:
11.1 Look for a Marketing Agency with ample experience
Digital marketing is not something you want to dive into as a novice. With that in mind, look to hire a digital marketing agency that has been working in the industry for years. They should have a portfolio that demonstrates their expertise and ability to generate results, as well as a long track record of happy customers.
11.2 Ask about Services
Life gets easier if you hire a full-service digital marketing agency. With this in mind, look for somebody that offers services ranging from social media content creation to SEO and account management. Not only will this help you keep track of your marketing efforts, but it will save you from having to juggle several different Freelancers and agencies.
11.3 Make sure you feel comfortable with the company
It’s great to work with a highly skilled company, but it’ll still be unpleasant if you don’t feel comfortable with the people that run it. Because of this, it’s important to look for a brand that you trust and feel comfortable with. You should be able to ask questions without feeling stupid, and the founders of the company should go out of their way to make you feel heard.
11.4 Ask for references
One of the best ways to see what a company is capable of in the real world is to look at the work they’ve done for previous clients. Ask the company you are considering hiring to provide you with some references. They should be able to give you a list of happy clients that would be pleased to talk with you about the company’s services. If a company is hesitant to provide you with references, look somewhere else.
If you’d prefer to hire a freelancer rather than a comprehensive digital marketing agency, this is a great option as well. Follow the steps listed above, adjusting each for a freelancer rather than an agency. You should still make sure that you feel comfortable with the freelancer, that they have an ample portfolio of work they can show you, and that they’re willing to provide you with references for work they’ve recently completed.
12. How to Make Digital Marketing Profitable
This is the Holy Grail of all digital marketing questions. After all, why undertake all of this if it’s not going to be profitable? You want to see results for your effort, and good marketing should be expected to generate ROI. The easiest way to make your digital marketing profitable is to track and analyze everything. We talked about this a bit earlier in the assessment section of this guide, and the same principles hold true now. The more data you collect on your digital marketing efforts, the easier it will be for you to adjust and pivot your strategy accordingly. If something is not working, tracking all of your channels allows you to pick up on it quickly. If you could get a better ROI by doing something else, watching your metrics will help you change course easily. This level of vigilance, combined with professional help and a multi-channel marketing approach, will go a long way toward making your digital marketing efforts profitable, productive, and streamlined for everybody involved.
13. Digital Marketing: the Key to Exponential Brand Growth
In this post, we have broken down the ins-and-outs of digital marketing. We’ve told you what it is, explain how to do it, giving you some key performance indicators to consider, and shared a couple of our favourite tools. Our hope, now, is that you go out into the world and make digital marketing work for your brand. While getting started can seem like a tall order, digital marketing is not something you have to be an expert to do. With some commitment, a bit of guidance, and knowledge about the best current practices, you can transform your brand, grow your base, and or in the new customers you deserve.