Introduction to Digital Marketing

Having existed before the World Wide Web was invented, I can see how this application has positively transformed people, businesses and communities. 

In this introduction to digital marketing, I outline what this method of marketing entails and the benefits that can be derived from increasing a digital presence online. This blog post is suited for individuals and small businesses.

WHAT IS DIGITIAL MARKETING

Digital Marketing is simply marketing using various online (internet-based) and offline digital tools.  Digital Marketing can be carried out on any electronic device including computers, smartphones and electronic billboards.

digital-marketing

Internet-based marketing, or online marketing, is one part of digital marketing and is the aspect I’ll be focusing on in this post.

There are several types of online marketing channels:

  1. Web marketing including websites, blogs, SEO & PPC
  2. Social Media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter)
  3. Email list
  4. Podcasts

Content featured on all of the above channels can be:

  1. In-house/self-produced content
  2. Earned content (e.g. review-based websites such as Tripadvisor)
  3. Paid content (e.g. search engine ads, influencers)

BENEFITS OF ONLINE MARKETING CHANNELS

The more you tell, the more you sell.

David Ogilvy, Advertising Pioneer

All of the online marketing channels listed above have similarities in what they can do and how they can benefit a business, which is:

  • Inform customers of basic details
  • Market self or business
  • Advertise products/services
  • Sell products/services (eCommerce)
  • Low operating costs
  • Review and/or show how products/services work
  • Target customers/viewers in a specific location
  • Announce news/updates

All of the above benefits can occur 24 hours a day on every channel. News/updates can be automated to target specific time zones.

The channels differ in a number of ways. The main difference is the audience to be targeted and the reach each channel has in that audience. Different channels have different ways of promoting content and require differing versions of content (e.g. image size) or even different types of content (e.g. video versus text). Some channels can promote content instantly whereas others channels take time to be effective.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING AN ONLINE MARKETING CHANNEL

No introduction to digital marketing, whether online or offline, can omit the phrase Content is King. Popularised by Bill Gates in 1990s in relation to online marketing, the phrase is central to Google’s strategy. Google is a huge player in online marketing, processing approximately 3.4 billion search results per day.

The following is a list of questions that individuals and businesses need to ask before committing to an online marketing channel:

  • What are the main goals I want this channel to achieve for me?
  • Can this channel achieve those goals? How can I measure this?
  • Can the channel reach my target audience?
  • What content can I place on this channel?
  • Have other businesses found this channel useful?
  • What channels are my competitors using?
  • How much will this channel cost to implement and maintain, both in terms of time and money?
  • Who will manage this channel?

IS DIGITAL MARKETING WORTH IT?

Absolutely. Online digital marketing is a cost-effective way of building brand awareness. Most online marketing channels have in-built analytics tools to track immediate and long-term progress. Online marketing channels make it easy to respond to changes in trends.

I believe every business should have some online presence. What channel(s) a business uses will depend on their unique situation and industry trends. A business will also have to look at the customers’ point of view – what channel grabs their attention and meets their needs?

Have you tried online digital marketing for your business? I would love to hear your feedback so leave a comment below.

FURTHER READING

My Social Media Review post is an introduction to the popular social media platforms.

What is a Travel Blog looks at the structure and role of blogs. My TBEX Europe post is an account of my time at the well-known travel blogging conference.

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