What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing, also known as online marketing, is the promotion of brands, products and/or services online. This can be done by leveraging multiple channels including search engines, social media, online content, and paid advertising depending on business objectives.
Lets dig a little deeper...
The digital world is a busy place full of brands battling to be heard over the babble of advertising and multimedia. Digital marketing services have grown out of this to help brands to get noticed by ultimately elevating their online presence. Having greater online visibility, achieved by leveraging organic search engine results, social media, PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, or content marketing helps drives your target audience to your web pages, increasing the number of potential customers.
Marketers describe this process as 'the conversion funnel'. Getting your brand's name seen in the digital space (the wide part of the funnel) is the first step which starts the user on the journey to becoming a customer. Once your brand has been seen, whether that's in search engines or through paid advertising, users are more likely to visit and revisit your website (the middle section of the funnel). This helps them form a connection with your brand through engaging content, and with a little help from CRO, leading them to eventually purchase your product or service (the narrow section of the funnel).
A brand with a strong digital marketing strategy will utilise advertising, SEO and content marketing to target users at all stages of this journey to ultimately convert punters into paying customers. If you've ever asked yourself, 'what is digital marketing?' then look no further - we've got all the answers right here...
Types of Digital Marketing Services and their Roles
Search Engine Optimisation
Pay Per Click
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is the collaborative use of techniques to leverage organic search engine rankings. ‘Organic’, in this sense, refers to the search results that are not sponsored (see PPC for paid search results). For a brand, having its website ranking on the first SERP (search engine results page) vastly improves its online visibility and, therefore, click-through rate. Ranking in the top three organic search results is the ‘holy grail’ of SEO. Techniques used in SEO include link-building, site auditing, improving site speed, keyword targeting, and generally ensuring websites are fully optimised for search engines.
Facts & Figures
The first 5 listings on SERPs receive 65% of all clicks. It pays to be at the top for your main search terms. Source: Search Engine Journal
PPC stands for ‘Pay-Per-Click’. This is a type of online advertising where brands pay a fee every time their adverts are clicked on. It is the job of the PPC advertiser to create these ads. There are two main types of PPC adverts, the ones that appear in SERPs and ones that appear on web pages. Search engine advertising is the most popular form of PPC with the role of the PPC marketer being to bid for search terms relevant to their client’s customers (mostly on Google Adwords). This ensures them a place in the sponsored links at the top of the SERPs.
E.g. if you type in a keyword like ‘running shoes’ into Google and the first advert that appears is asics.com, then this means the PPC marketers working for Asics have won the bidding for the term ‘running shoes’. If Asics are 'outbidded' for that particular keyword then they will lose their position at the top of the results.
Facts & Figures
The top three paid ads on the search results page receive 41% of clicks.
Source: Cheeky Monkey Media
Content marketing is the strategic and creative approach to the production and sharing of content with a view to satisfying business objectives.
Content can vary in terms of location and format. It can take the form of video, image, copy, articles, blogs and graphics. Content is usually divided into two categories, onsite and offsite. Onsite could be the copy on your website or a describer video your website‘s homepage, whilst offsite might be a byline created for your favourite online publication. Depending on the brands digital marketing objectives, content marketing is used to increase brand affinity by engaging new customers and encouraging existing customers to return (supporting SEO and leveraging Social Media), maintain regular content output, and PR.
Facts & Figures
47% of all online buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before purchasing. So your content needs to be relevant, targeted and of excellent quality. Source: Hubspot
Social media marketing is comprised of two crucial elements. Paid social, and organic social. Using paid social media enables brands to put their social media posts in front of the right audience. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter track a wide range of demographic and interest data of their users. This information can then be used by paid social media specialists to ensure a brand’s post is seen by the people more likely to be interested in it and therefore click, engage or convert (depending on the objective).
Paid social media posts are always marked as such. Organic social involves posting about news or products on your social channels for free. It provides a means by which organisations can showcase their content to an engaged community producing a high turnover of easily consumed, quality content.
Social media marketing also plays an important role in retaining existing customers. It allows brands to respond to queries and complaints which is a critical part of audience retention.
Facts & Figures
71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy
You’ve asked the key question, ‘what is digital marketing?’, but before you go ahead and invest time and money into the implementation of a fully-fledged digital marketing strategy, you need to be aware of a few things. Ask yourself what you want to achieve from all this work. For most organisations, the answer is most often increased sales or enquiries.
If this is the case for your business too, then have a scroll through the checklist below and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is there actually demand for my service?
If competitors exist, then the answer is almost certainly yes.
If you’re doing something brand new, however, a look in Google Keyword Planner would be advised, to show you how many people search each month for related products/services.
If very few are, the value of being highly visible in the search results will clearly be limited, so your money may be better spent elsewhere educating people.
2. What does success look like?
Do you have a number of sales you need to hit?
Would you love to appear prominently in the Search Engine Page Results for a certain group of search terms?
Do you need to have more visibility than a rival in your industry?
3. Do you have correct tracking taken care of?
You need to be able to track whether or not traffic from any source actually converts by completing a certain action on-site.
Have you set this up in Google Tag Manager / Analytics?
Items to track should include enquiry forms, sales, phone calls etc. – be as granular as you can be.
Digital marketing is comprised of a number of very different types of online marketing services and often a combination of services is required to suit your business objectives. Whether the aim is to gain greater online visibility on SERPs, advertising through PPC, content creation/social media, or all of the above, the results of online marketing remain the same; increasing awareness of your brand and driving relevant traffic to the right pages.
Asking yourself, ‘what is digital marketing?’ is the first step along the road to creating your digital marketing strategy!
Hopefully, we’ve given you a basic understanding of what digital marketing is but if you’re hungry to find out more details, then please get in touch!