What is Digital Marketing?
Sometimes you’ll hear marketers divide marking into two distinct fields called “traditional” and “digital” marketing. This divide is somewhat arbitrary, but to understand what digital marketing is, it helps to understand why some marketers make this divide. Traditional marketing refers to most of the pre-Internet advertising methods such as mailers, billboards, tv ads, radio ads, and all the like. These traditional methods remain vital for advertising.
However, with the advent of the Internet, marketing began to change. The Internet provided new opportunities and inbuilt advantages compared to traditional forms of advertising. Digital marketing can be thought of as using various methods to reach people on their electronic devices, such as their laptops and smartphones.
There are many benefits with digital marketing. For example, digital marketing allows for much more data to be collected. If you put up a banner on a website you can measure views, clicks, and conversions relatively easily, but if you put up a billboard next to the expressway, it’s much more difficult to measure such numbers.
Sometimes, advertising blurs the line. For example, are electronic billboards digital advertising? Not quite, they’re still traditional advertisements, albeit in a digital form. Other forms of advertising exist in a sort of gray area. Consider Spotify, which is basically a digital radio station. Running ads on Spotify firmly exists in a gray area between traditional advertising and digital marketing.
Examples of Digital Assets
Let’s go over some digital assets so you can better understand what digital marketing is.
- • Online ads- These ads will appear on websites. Viewers can usually click on them to accomplish something, such as making a purchase.
- • Your website- Your website usually acts as your “home-base” for digital advertising. It is your central asset and often where you focus on drawing and converting customers.
- • Your blog- many websites have a blog. These are great for “pulling” people in who are looking for information. They are also great for attracting search engines.
- • Social media channels- Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, and other social media platforms are now very important.
Push (Outbound) Versus Pull (Inbound) Marketing
To understand how the above digital marketing assets are used, it’s important to understand basic marketing strategies, so before hopping into specifics, we want to go over “push” and “pull” advertising. These two broad concepts are very important for digital marketers to understand.
Push, or outbound marketing, refers to pushing your way in front of the consumer; they don’t come to you, you go to them. This could be a billboard, radio ads, digital ads, email marketing, and various other concepts. Point is, you try to force the consumer to pay attention to you.
Pull refers to getting consumers to come to you. Often, customers will look for specific products or will conduct research to find solutions. Let’s say someone needs to buy a new fridge, so they head to Google and type in “best refrigerator to buy in 2018.” Ads will pop up, but this consumer is too savvy to click on the ads. She wants to find what is truly the best fridge for their situation.
Now let’s say you own an appliance store, so you write a guide “How to Pick the Best Fridge in 2018.” This guide considers features, various budgets, warranties, and everything else. The person searching for a fridge sees your guide, and then reads it. She loves your guide and you’ve now built a trusting relationship with the customer, and so they show up at your store to ask questions and to look at refrigerator models. Now you can convert them to paying customers.
Both digital and traditional advertising can be push or pull. Generally speaking, traditional advertising is more likely to be a push tactic. With digital marketing, both types of advertising are very common and often work alongside one another. However, many marketers prefer pull marketing, viewing it as more effective in the long run. Keep in mind that pull marketing is often more difficult and resource intensive.Push, or outbound marketing, refers to pushing your way in front of the consumer; they don’t come to you, you go to them. Click To Tweet
Basic Digital Marketing Tactics
You now know that marketing often falls into the realm of either outbound (push) and inbound (pull) marketing. There are many other more specific tactics that digital marketers will use. Sometimes these tactics are inbound or outbound, but often, tactics will use a mix of inbound and outbound strategies.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)- SEO might be the most talked about topic at the moment in digital marketing. The basic idea is to increase your “Search Engine Rankings” (SER) in order to get to the top of search engines, such as Google. By doing so, websites can draw in a lot of traffic. More or less, search engines are looking for great content to provide users.
Content Marketing- This refers to using content to attract readers. Content marketing can include both outbound and inbound tactics and is often integrated into SEO campaigns. Content marketing will often educate readers and have a “call-to-action,” or CTA that tries to convert them or get them to provide contact information.
Social Media Marketing- Refers to specific methods to build audiences and generate conversions on social media networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin. This can include paid ads and organic content.
“Pay-Per-Click” (PPC)- This is short-hand for using digital ads, such as banner ads. It’s called pay per click because with most schemes you pay a specific amount of money, say 50 cents, for a click.
There are many other strategies and concepts to be aware of. For example, digital marketers are increasingly using automation tools to make all the above strategies easier to implement. Data analytics is an important part of essentially every digital marketing strategy. Also, while email marketing is not as popular as it once was, it remains quite effective.
There are many other factors to consider and there are tons of digital marketing strategies that can be implemented and assets that can be used.
Wrapping Up: The Benefits of Digital Marketing
By now you know what digital marketing is; it’s using a variety of digital methods to reach people on their digital devices. This includes smartphones and computers. As the “Internet-of-Things” grows and more devices are connected, such as our cars, there will be more opportunities for digital marketers to reach customers and consumers.
There are a lot of benefits for digital marketing. It’s cost-effective, produces great results, and generates a lot of data. This makes tracking and adjustments comparatively easy. For these reasons and more, every marketer and essentially every business needs to be aware of digital marketing.