DEFINE DIGITAL MARKETING:
Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet.
Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.
Almost anything can be a digital marketing asset. It simply needs to be a marketing tool you use online. That being said, many people don’t realize how many digital marketing assets they have at their disposal. Here are just a few examples:
- Your website
- Branded assets (logos, icons, acronyms, etc)
- Video content (video ads, product demos, etc)
- Images (infographics, product shots, company photos, etc)
- Written content (blog posts, eBooks, product descriptions, testimonials, etc)
- Online products or tools (SaaS, calculators, interactive content, etc)
Social media pages
As you can probably imagine, this list just scratches the surface.
Most digital marketing assets will fall into one of these categories, but clever marketers are constantly coming up with new ways to reach customers online, so the list keeps growing!
The list of digital marketing strategies is also constantly evolving, but here are some of the strategies most businesses are using:
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a broad term that covers any type of digital marketing where you pay for every user who clicks on an ad.
For example, Google AdWords is a form of PPC advertising called “paid search advertising” (which we’ll go over in a second). Facebook Ads are another form of PPC advertising called “paid social media advertising” (again, we’ll get into that shortly).
Google, Bing, and Yahoo all allow you to run text ads on their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Paid search advertising is one of the best ways to target potential customers who are actively searching for a product or service like yours.
If you don’t want to pay to show up in the SERPs, you can also use search engine optimization (SEO) to try and rank pages or blog posts on your site organically.
You don’t have to pay directly for every click, but getting a page to rank usually takes quite a bit of time and effort (for a more in-depth comparison of paid search and SEO, check out this article).
Most social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat will allow you to run ads on their site.
Paid social media advertising is great for building awareness with audiences that might not be aware that your business, product or service exists.
Like SEO, social media marketing is the free, organic way to use social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter to market your business.
And, just like SEO, organically marketing your business on social media takes a lot more time and effort, but in the long run, it can deliver much cheaper results.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the art and science of improving your online user experience.
Most of the time, businesses use CRO to get more conversions (leads, chats, calls, sales, etc) out of their existing website traffic.
Ever get to the bottom of an article and see a list of suggested articles? That’s native advertising. Most native advertising falls under content marketing because it uses content to attract clicks (“you’ll never believe what happens next!”).
Often, native advertising can be a bit hard to spot, since it is usually mixed in with non-paid content recommendations…but that’s kind of the point.
Email marketing is the oldest form of online marketing and it’s still going strong. Most digital marketers use email marketing to advertise special deals, highlight content (often as part of content marketing) or promote an event.
Affiliate marketing is essentially paying someone else (a person or a business) to promote your products and services on their website.
As you can see from the list above, there are a lot of different ways to market your business online, which is why many businesses either hire an agency to manage their digital marketing efforts or pay for an in-house marketing team and marketing automation software to cover their marketing needs (for an in-depth comparison of these options, check out this article).
Here are 5 reasons why digital marketing is the future:
1. Monitor Engagement & Time Spent
As a marketer, you need to figure out where your target audience resides. A report by We Are Social informs that people spend more than six-and-a-half hours on the internet each day. So, it’s a no-brainer that it’s easier to interact with these people and convert them into your customers.
Mobile phones continue to dominate the internet usage trends and have already equaled the traffic coming from desktop systems. For the same reason, your digital marketing strategy should also follow a mobile-first approach.
Be it the video content or the time spent on social media – the numbers are staggering and are bound to increase in the future. Take advantage of this now to prepare your business for the digital world.
2. Reach Generation Z and a Wider Audience
The generation Z population is more than familiar with the internet and are considered the best quality leads in the marketplace. They want everything to be fast, precise, and time-effective. Digital marketers know the importance of providing a memorable experience to this genre of the target audience.
The top marketers are now equally focussing on the millennials as well as the generation Z. The math is simple. Give them what they want and reap the benefits by scoring conversions, increasing your client-base. etc.
3. Build Brand Awareness with a Global Mission
While the developed countries like the U.S.A. and the U.K. have already embraced the digital setup, the developing countries like India and China aren’t far away either. Digitization is critical from a government perspective because it simplifies the process of providing public services.
The governing bodies can easily collect citizen data, roll out their messages, etc., via authorized digital channels. The same also builds trust among the masses who are skeptical of shifting to the digital modes.
So, all you need to do is be proactive and devise effective online marketing strategies for small businesses by inclining with the global mission to go digital.
4. Measure ROI with SEO, Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics
Digital marketing has found its best friend in artificial intelligence (A.I) doesn’t only automate various processes for you, it also helps you make educated decisions. The leading example of it is programmatic advertising.
This smart technology decides the best audience category for you and also configures the entire advertising space with rigorous data analysis. A report by Pubmatic informs that around 86% of the total digitized ads would be presented via automation in the near future.
The ROI associated with digital marketing is always positive because of such technological integrations that mitigate risks and reduce business costs.
5. Track Your Results with KPIs and Cost Effective Tools
You can track your efforts and evaluate them on various grounds in digital marketing. There are many generalized KPIs that help you with the same and you can also set strategic KPIs to monitor your digital marketing strategy.
These quantifiable goals help you measure the success rate of your marketing campaigns and offer a direct “expectation vs. reality” comparison.
You can continue to improve your digital marketing strategies by exploring this data to bridge the gap between target values and accomplished results.
5 Predictions about the future of digital marketing:
Earlier, gamers were socially distant outcasts, or introverted teenagers. But today, the gaming industry has grown rapidly with AI and Augmented Reality (AR), and the extensive use of mobiles, and mobile-first marketing and technology.
Deloitte Insights give a picture of people’s preference towards gaming during the lockdown, and it is only set to increase.
This (2020) is the ideal time to convert casual gamers to long-term paying customers. Mary Meeker’s 2019 report confirms how the global interactive gaming players have changed the marketing landscape.
For marketers, there is lot of potential in this industry. Leverage this by:
- Using gaming influencers
- Catering to a mobile-first world through gaming solutions
- Targeting the right audience (45% of gamers are women!)
- Creating YouTube videos (48% of gamers spend time watching others play)
Instagram, and many other social apps provide businesses with the opportunity to sell easily. Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users (MAUs) and the number of US adults who use the app has increased from 35% to 37% in just 2019. According to Facebook’s insights, 70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery.
Shoppable tags on Instagram are now a thing of the past. Quite recently, the company introduced Facebook Shops and is beta testing it with some known brands.
Google’s Shoppable ads on Google Images are technology have been designed to inspire shoppers to spend more time looking at products and nudge them to the checkout stage.
The advantage for marketers – if your user can buy a product without leaving their social app, that’s great. Even better if auto-generation puts together a look for them.
Less scope for shopping cart abandonments. Snapchat and other areas of social media are great for event-based marketing, and sales.
Businesses have reinvented themselves or have had to shut down entirely during the pandemic. The virtual fitness industry has seen a massive jump, and people seem to be watching and learning from micro-influencers in fitness, and lifestyle areas.
A micro-influencer is someone with a medium following such as 10k to 30k followers, but can evoke responses from people, and sell products. Unlike celebrity influencers, their posts are not loaded with sponsorships.
The influencer marketing consumer survey during the pandemic reveals that more than 63% of US customers spent more time on social channels. Ergo, more scope for micro-influencer marketing!
Digital marketing teams can capitalize on micro-influencers whose posts have a better engagement rate and can individually respond to follower queries – both personal and business-related. As marketers who want to engage and influence, a constant dialogue is important.
Predictive and augmented analysis means data mining and using predictive technology such as machine learning to predict the future. The idea seems to have taken off, especially in marketing trends. It is being used to minimize customer churn and predict business intelligence.
Gartner, in their 2018 research report said that Augmented Analytics is the future of business analytics, and truer words could not have been spoken. Some systems let the marketers trigger a purchase or launch a marketing campaign, along with the data insights.
With augmented analytics, marketers can take decisions without depending on an analytics team to feed them information.
5) Augmented Reality
From a marketing perspective, AR is a great tool. This is very much different from the usual virtual marketing. AR is interesting, far easier to implement, and drives sales significantly. AR has replaced stores and transformed shopping experiences.
For eg, Sephora’s Virtual Artist app gives the best 3D experience of picking the right shade of makeup for your face without having to directly try it on, which is a terrific marketing strategy.
Apple has taken this up a notch higher and integrated AR in their software with the Measure app, which lets you measure anything around you without using a physical measuring tape.
Augmented Reality makes it easy for potential buyers to try out a product without having to go to a shop. This puts marketing departments at ease, as they can convey exactly what they want to, irrespective of the size of the project or product.
Is digital marketing the future AI and automation, technology and personalization, social media, and analytics are some marketing trends that are going to change the way businesses function in the near future.
What doesn’t change is how you create and market your content, how you capture your leads and close new deals, how you retain and engage your customers as we step into this new digital marketing future.