Digital Marketing 101: Your Complete Guide
Think about the course of your typical day. How many times do you engage with brands through online platforms such as social media, email, and websites? The answer is probably higher than you might think.
Digital marketing is a key marketing strategy for modern businesses because people spend a lot of time online. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about digital marketing, the strategies involved, and how to create a successful digital marketing campaign for your brand.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing refers to any type of marketing that takes place online. Whether you are advertising on Google, your favorite social media platform, or a website, if it takes place online, it is considered digital marketing. Because there are so many potential marketing venues in the online world, digital marketing is quite varied, and you will need to understand the different strategies and tactics to use to make your digital marketing effective.
Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing
The difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing is the medium the marketing message is sent through. In traditional marketing, marketers use magazines, newspapers, radio, and sometimes television to market their products. Digital marketing uses digital media, including anything available through the Internet.
Both digital and traditional marketing have merit. People still interact with print publications, watch TV, and browse the Internet, often all within the same day. You need strategies to target both options.
Why Digital Marketing Matters
Digital marketing is essential for the modern business because people spend many hours of their day online. Across all devices, the average person ages 16 to 64 spends just under seven hours a day online. If you are not marketing to people digitally, you are missing a huge avenue for reaching your target audience with your marketing message.
Aspects of Digital Marketing
Another important aspect of digital marketing is the varied platforms and components that go into this type of marketing. If you are not utilizing it, you are missing out on many opportunities to reach potential clients. In addition, because there are so many channels, a business has multiple opportunities to connect with the same potential client, rather than having to rely solely on one or two traditional marketing venues. Here are the various aspects of digital marketing you will want to embrace:
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, refers to optimizing your brand’s website to reach people when they search for the product or service you offer. This involves a series of techniques, including keyword marketing, page structuring, tag creation, content creation, and indexing.
Pay-per-click advertising, or PPC, involves paying for ads using keywords of your choice. Those ads show up as paid results on search engines and send people to a landing page designed to gather contact information or make a sale. The ads can also appear on social media and websites with advertising.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing involves marketing through social media pages and channels. It reaches people where they spend time, creates conversations, and engages with current and potential customers and clients.
Content is king in the internet world, and content marketing involves writing and creating content with a marketing message. This content goes on blogs, social media pages, and websites where it builds authority for a brand while also encouraging readers or visitors to make a purchase decision.
Email marketing sends a series of emails to a person’s inbox to encourage them to take action, whether it be making a purchase or visiting a website. These emails can also build authority by providing helpful information to readers.
Affiliate marketing involves paying a commission to someone else to direct traffic to a brand’s website. Affiliate marketers create content to place links on while also advertising on behalf of brands directly. Brands pay the marketer every time someone clicks the link or buys a product.
Influencer marketing is a somewhat new type of digital marketing. Influencers are people with large followings on social media platforms or blogs. Influencer marketing involves sending free products to influencers for them to review and promote or paying influencers for advertising on their social media pages.
Mobile marketing involves advertising on mobile devices, such as tablets or smartphones. Apps that have paid components or ads, push notifications, and SMS marketing all fall into this category.
Though content is king in online marketing, video content is quickly overtaking written content. People spend a lot of time watching videos online, with an average of 103 minutes a day in 2020. Those people are a potential marketing opportunity. 87% of marketers report a positive ROI from video-based marketing.
At the core of a digital marketing strategy will be analytics. Web analytics involves gathering and analyzing data about digital marketing efforts, then adjusting based on how your different marketing channels are performing.
How to Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy
For digital marketing strategies to be effective, brands must have a plan. Developing a digital marketing strategy takes time, but the rewards make the time investment worthwhile. Here is how you can do it.
Identify Your Goals
The starting point of your digital marketing strategy is your goals. Each business will have its own specific goals, but they should be measurable, attainable, and limited in time.
Your goal may be to increase revenue through online sales sources by a specific number, or you may be trying to gain leads through your online marketing efforts. Perhaps you have a goal of increasing traffic to your website or growing your subscriber base. You are in charge of goal creation, so make it specific to the business and your overarching marketing goals.
Know Your Audience
In digital marketing, creating a buyer persona is a key component. A buyer persona is a made-up person who is an ideal customer for your business. It shares details about that person’s personality, interests, motivators, and pain points. To create this buyer persona and truly understand your audience, you must do thorough market research.
Your buyer persona should contain some key factors about your target audience. These often include:
- Location – Where does this person live? This can be a specific geographic location, or it can be more general, such as urban or rural.
- Age – What age range does your business target?
- Income – What is the income bracket you are targeting?
- Job Title – Where does this person work?
- Challenges or Pain Points – What is bothering your potential customers enough that they will start searching for your product?
- Hobbies and Interests – How does your target audience enjoy spending their free time?
- Motivators and Goals – What really drives this person, and how can your product or service speak to that?
- Priorities – What are the most important things in your audience member’s life?
Depending on the type of brand you are marketing for, you may not include all of these, but answering these questions after doing research into your target audience will help you fine-tune your buyer persona.
Evaluate Your Resources
What existing digital assets or channels do you have? Take time to evaluate them and see what is and is not working. Make sure you know what digital media you own, so you can pour your efforts into marketing those items.
Digital assets come in one of three categories. These are:
- Owned media – Your blog, website, social media pages, and similar channels that you have complete control over are your owned media. Digital content you publish elsewhere but still control, such as something posted on a third-party blog, is also owned media.
- Paid media – Your PPC campaigns, paid social media posts, advertising you sponsor on other websites, or anything else you pay to publish is part of your paid media. Here you need to plan carefully to ensure you are using your advertising dollars well.
- Earned media – The word-of-mouth marketing you have done, such as getting an influencer to promote your brand without paying them or having customers singing your praises on your Google My Business page, is considered earned media. Mentions in major publications are also earned media.
Plan a Cohesive Digital Campaign
Once you know who you are marketing to and what digital assets you own, you are ready to start planning. The key to an effective digital marketing campaign is keeping it cohesive. Every asset and channel need to work together to create a cohesive plan.
For example, if you post a blog post promoting one of your products, it should carry the same marketing message as the TikTok video you publish to do the same thing. If you use a slogan on social media, it should carry through to your email marketing and PPC campaigns. Keeping your digital campaign cohesive and connected will improve your brand recognition within your target audience.
To create a cohesive marketing strategy, you will need to audit all three types of media: owned, earned, and paid. Then, you will need to make a plan for each one. Your buyer persona and your digital marketing goals will drive that plan, but make sure your plan ties all three types of media together.
Execute Your Strategy
Once you have a plan, put it into practice. Some strategies that can help you execute your strategy include:
- Publish blog posts
- Launch advertising on Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Instagram Ads
- Offer educational resources to your audience through email marketing
- Apply SEO principles to all digital content
- Host a webinar or organize a giveaway
- Publish a new video or podcast
No matter what channel you choose, make sure you collect data about your results.
Evaluate Campaign Results
Use the data you collect about your advertising campaigns to evaluate their success. Make sure you are moving towards the goals you set, and if you are not, adjust accordingly. Sometimes, digital marketing is trial and error before you find what works, but it is worth it to spend the time learning and practicing.
Learn and Adjust for Your Next Campaign
After launching your first campaign and analyzing the results, you will see some things that work and some things that do not. Try not to get frustrated when something fails. Simply adjust your marketing strategies to focus on what is working and spend less time on what is not.
Remember, social media and online marketing is constantly changing. What works right now may not work in the future, so you must constantly learn and adjust. Be willing to make changes when your analytics show they are needed, but do not give up on online marketing. The rewards of a well-run campaign are simply too great to ignore.
Get the Right Training for a Career in Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is the wave of the future, and brands are going to need trained marketers who can help them develop, grow, and analyze their digital marketing campaigns. If you are interested in this field, a digital marketer has many lucrative career options available. Getting training in digital marketing from a qualified university can help.
Interested in a career in digital marketing? Earn your bachelor’s degree in digital marketing & social media online from Johnson & Wales University. For more information about completing your degree online or on-campus, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email email@example.com.