Digital Marketing, Reaching Millions One Click At A Time.
We are several decades into the digital age now and many in marketing still find the myriad of digital marketing mediums confounding. Given the growth and rapid innovation of digital media, it is easy to see why there may be some lingering confusion.
Whatever your feelings about the new digital landscape, digital marketing and advertising is not going away. On the contrary, it’s on the verge of dominating and overtaking traditional mediums. In fact, spending on digital ads beat TV in 2017 and is projected to grow 15.9% this year.
Digital marketing refers to promotions, advertising and other sales messages delivered through digital media, such as search engines, websites and social media.
The most common digital marketing tools are Paid Search (Google AdWords), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Email Marketing and Mobile Marketing.
How old and new media differ.
The old media is designed for mass consumption. A single brand message is meant to reach as many people at once as possible. Costs are based on high numbers of reach, which is why traditional media advertising is so expensive.
New digital media is designed around silos of interest. Instead of a single brand message for all (i.e. Coke is it!) messages are tailored to specific groups or individuals (i.e. Share a Coke with “Christopher”). Digital media is far less expensive than traditional media, making it attractive to budget-conscious marketers.
Search engines – like Google and social media platforms like Facebook – not only reach assigned targets, but also track them, giving marketers the ability to test and refine their sales messaging almost in real time. This makes digital messaging a more scalable return on investment than traditional media.
Types of digital media and what they can do for you.
The first thing you need in the brave new world of digital messaging is a website. It had better be good, too, because all of your other forms of digital messaging are going to drive your customers to it. Make sure you develop a responsive website that works across multiple formats. Mobile devices require design specifications far different from desktop computers. Websites should be designed with these differences in mind.
Once you have your website, 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 a search engine. If you pay Google to include your business listing in a particular kind of search, they’ll make sure your marketing message appears on the top of the search engine’s results page (SERP). These are identified by an ad icon as shown in the accompanying image. If someone clicks on your listing, you pay Google for the click. This is called Pay Per Click advertising, or PPC.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The remaining unpaid listings shown in the search engine results are called organic listings. How high your business appears in these organic listings depends upon how well your website has been “optimized” for the words/phrase the person entered into the search engine. These are called keywords. Search engines use algorithms, which include over a hundred factors to determine how high your listing 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 have opted in to receive email promotions.
- Content Marketing. Blogs are the most well-known form of content marketing. They present industry information that helps establish your company as experts in your industry. Content Marketing should be more informational than promotional and located within your website structure to provide an important SEO benefit.
- 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) creates conversations between companies and customers, but has also become important platforms for promotions and advertising.
- YouTube is another important player in the digital universe. YouTube streams video directly to laptops, desktops and mobile devices. Marketers can upload promotional video content to YouTube. Compared to traditional TV spots, YouTube videos have no time restraints and can reach small demos.
Some Caveats about Digital Marketing.
There is no doubt that digital marketing can be inexpensive and effective way to promote your business. There are some cost considerations and risks in using the internet as your sole messaging tool.
- Digital campaigns must be well planned and looked after. This takes time and expertise. Large companies have the resources to do this in-house. Smaller companies usually have to pay outside resources to implement an effective campaign. Bottom line: there is no free lunch!
- Another concern is blocking. Just like consumers use DVRs to skip advertising on TV, internet ad blockers can stop digital messages from reaching your target audience.
- If your content uses images or songs created by others, these most likely are copyrighted and the originators of those images or sounds should be compensated. Unless the content is in public domain, it is up to you to monitor the content you use.
- 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 yourself surrounded by 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 are some things traditional media does that digital cannot do. TV, radio and print still deliver high-powered brand messages to mass audiences. This fact should not be overlooked, but should be incorporated into a well-rounded and robust media plan. Big news is still big news and the more people you can tell your news to, the better! This is true whether you’re selling toasters or multi-million dollar airplanes.