Digital Marketing – Reaching Thousands One Click At A Time.
We are several decades into the digital age and many involved in marketing still find the myriad of digital mediums confounding. Given the growth and rapid innovation of digital media, it is easy to see why confusion remains.
Whatever your feelings about the new media landscape, digital marketing continues to grow in importance and since 2017 it has overtaken TV advertising in total amount dollars spent, with digital advertising projected to continue to grow as a percentage of overall marketing budgets.
Digital marketing refers to advertising, promotions and other sales messages delivered through digital media – the most common digital marketing tools are Paid Search (Google AdWords), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media and Email Marketing.
How Traditional and Digital New Media Differ.
Traditional media, such as TV advertising, is designed for mass consumption – a single sales message meant to reach as many people at once as possible. Costs are based on the large number of eyeballs reached, which is why TV advertising is expensive.
Digital new media is designed around silos of interest. Instead of a single brand message for mass audiences (i.e. Coke Is The One), as with traditional media, digital media messages are tailored to specific groups or individuals (i.e. Share a Coke with Cathy). Digital media is less expensive than traditional media, making it attractive to budget-conscious marketers.
Search engines (i.e. Google) and social media platforms (i.e. Facebook) not only reach specific target audiences, but also tracks them, giving marketers the ability to test and refine their sales messaging almost in real time. This gives digital marketing a more scalable return on investment (ROI) than traditional media.
Types of Digital Media and What They Do.
The key component in the brave new world of digital marketing is your website – and it had better be good one too, because all of your digital marketing is going to drive your customers to it. Make sure you have a responsive website that works across multiple platforms and devices. Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, require design specifications that are different from your desktop computer’s browser. Websites should be designed with these differences in mind so your website can be easily viewed on any device.
Once your website is launched, you’re ready to take the plunge into web related marketing. Here are the major digital marketing tools to consider implementing:
- Paid Search or Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Google is the dominant search engine for online search queries. If you pay Google to include your business website for an online search using specific keywords/phrases, they’ll make sure yours appears on the top of the search engine’s results page (SERP). These are identified by a small ad icon as shown in the accompanying image. If someone clicks on your listing, you pay Google for that click. This is why it’s called Pay-Per-Click advertising, or PPC.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The remaining unpaid listings shown in the search engine results page are called organic listings. How high your website appears in these organic listings depends upon how well your website has been “optimized” for the words/phrase someone entered into the search engine. These are called keywords. Search engines use algorithms, which include over a hundred different factors, to determine how high your website appears in the search results. Knowing how to optimize your website for these factors and implementing them correctly is called Search Engine Optimization.
- Email Marketing. This may very well be the best value in the digital universe. It costs little to implement, but can pack a big return. The catch? Email Marketing requires an up-to-date database of customers and prospects, who opt-in to receive email promotions. Otherwise your emails are considered SPAM and excessive abuse can get your company blacklisted!
- Content Marketing. A blog is the best known form of content marketing, which presents relevant information for your industry and helps establish your company’s expert bona fides. Blog content should be more informational than promotional and located within your website structure to provide an additional SEO benefits. This content can also be leveraged to social media, emails and other marketing tools.
- Social Media. Facebook and Twitter both started out as platforms for people to share thoughts and views, but they quickly evolved into important marketing tools as well. Social Media Marketing (SMM) main objective is to create engagements between companies and customers, but has also become important platforms for promotions and advertising.
- YouTube. Another big player in the social media universe is YouTube. Marketers can upload promotional video content to YouTube, which then streams them to laptops, desktops computers, mobile devices and even TVs. Unlike your traditional 30 second TV spots, YouTube videos have no time restraints and can reach targeted demographic audiences.
Some Caveats About Digital Marketing.
There is no doubt that digital marketing can be an inexpensive and effective way to promote your business. There are some cost considerations and risks to using digital marketing as your sole messaging tool.
- Digital campaigns need to be well planned and monitored. This takes time and expertise. Large companies have the resources to do this in-house. Smaller companies may have to pay outside marketing firms to implement an effective campaign. Bottom line: there is no free lunch to effective digital marketing!
- Another concern is blocking. Just like consumers use DVRs to skip advertising on TV; internet ad blockers and SPAM filters can prevent your digital messages from reaching your target audience.
- If your content uses images, videos or songs created by others, they most likely are copyrighted and its creators should be compensated, or you could be flagged for copyright infringement. Unless the content is in public domain, it is up to you to monitor the legal use of content used.
- Sometimes your messages may appear on websites with unsavory content. In this age of programmatic media buying, where robots choose placements based on algorithms, you might find your message next to subject matter you don’t want to be associated with.
None of these caveats should stop you from taking advantage of the numerous opportunities provided by digital marketing, but every digital marketer should be aware of them.
Lastly, A Word About Traditional Media.
There one thing that traditional media (TV, radio and print) does much better than digital marketing is to deliver brand sales messages to mass audiences. This fact should not be overlooked, but should be incorporated into a well-rounded and robust marketing campaign. Big news is still big news and the more people you can tell your news to, the better – that’s true whether selling toasters or multi-million dollar jets.