What is Digital Marketing? Where do I start?

What is Digital Marketing? Good Question. Digital Marketing, online marketing, internet marketing are all words to describe marketing your company online using various platforms. Consumers today are most likely to refer to the internet before making any purchase be it checking your companies reviews, reputation and even your competition to see if they can get a better deal.

The art of digital marketing is similar to any other form of marketing – connecting companies with potential clients in order to promote a product or service…except it’s done ONLINE.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is promoting your business online through various platforms. Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click Advertising and Content Marketing are the most common form to promote your product or service. All your efforts are basically trying to convince potential customers that you are the correct choice in their search.

In order to define Digital Marketing, you must be aware of two component: Tools and Strategies

Digital Marketing Tools

Digital Marketing Tools can be defined as anything that can help your promote your product online. Some of these you may already know and are common sense. However, some of these you may not know and they can make of break your digital marketing efforts. As a rule of thumb for this article, these “tools” have to be exclusively online. Here are a few examples:

  • Your Website (Of Course..)
  • Company Assets (domain name, logos, pictures, etc..)
  • Company Content (Videos, Pictures, Reviews, etc)
  • Online SEO Tool Websites (Ahrefs, Moz, Semrush)
  • Online Analytics and Analysis Tools (Google Analytics, Oribi etc..)
  • Social media Pages (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc)

It goes without saying that the list is far bigger than what is listed on here. These are of course the most common and essential items you need for an effective digital marketing campaign. What makes the world of digital marketing unique is clever marketers like yourself always looking to ways to improve and create innovative methods to reach potential customers online!

Digital Marketing Strategies

These are the most common forms of digital marketing strategies used in order to promote your business:

Website Design (Yes..We know. It should be a tool)

Website Design is perhaps the biggest investment you can make in your Digital Marketing Efforts. Think about it…what can you promote without a proper website? Nothing. You need a fully functional, updated, and modern website in order to promote any product online. There are several platforms that allow you to build your own website: WordPress, Magento, Drupal are the most common ones. There are several other “Build your own website” companies as well such as squarespace and wix but I would highly recommend you choose one of the above platforms. The overall functionality and growth potential is significantly bigger than a website built on wix from our experience.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is arguable the most popular form of digital marketing advertising today. It is easy to use, produced instant results and gets you the burst you need to expand your operation quickly. However, in the long run, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is proven to be one of the more expensive forms of Digital Marketing. While we recommend this strategy in the short term, we would be vary of becoming to dependent on it. The biggest platforms for this happen to be Google and Bing Ads.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO Services are something every business should invest in. Regardless of the business size, SEO is proven to be one of the best methods to market your business online in the long. Search Engine Optimization is the process of ranking various pages of your website (why you should use WordPress) on search engines for potential customers to find you. You will not be responsible to pay by the click and will receive your traffic “Organically”. The downside of SEO is the time it takes to rank your business. Google does not like new website due to the lack of authority and it often takes at least 12 months for companies to see results. However, after the 12 months, you will see your marketing budget significantly reduced thanks to these increased ranking in your industry.

Social Media Marketing

Like SEO, Social media marketing is the method of attracting potential customers by posting interesting content on your company pages. There is a paid version of Social Media Marketing as well if need be. Facebook and Instagram Ads are all too common these days and are quite inexpensive compared to their Google and Bing Counterparts. However, this form of marketing is not suitable for all types of businesses. Be sure to talk to a Digital Marketing consultant to see what is the right fit and strategy for you.

Content Marketing

Content is King! Positive you have heard that before. If not, you just did! Content marketing is the grandfather of all Digital Marketing strategies. The more RELAVANT content you produce, the more pages you have, the more chances you get at being shows for various results. It is as simple as that. Content marketing is often time consuming and expensive but is statically far ahead of any other form of Digital Marketing in the long run. If you are in your business to stay and grow year over year, you would be best suited to build yourself a content marketing strategy.

Email Marketing

Does this even need to be explained? Email marketing has been around since the 2000’s where companies will spam you with their promotions or the latest article they may have written. It is quite effective and cost efficient as well. Most Digital Marketing companies and business owners alike have some form of email marketing as part of their strategy.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is essentially commissioned online salesmen. You are basically paying someone to sell your product and give them a commission based on the sales produced.

The list can go on and on when it comes to marketing your business. Most businesses choose to hire an agency in order to manage their digital marketing efforts. While the list looks fairly simple, it is far more complicated than it looks. There are several intricate details involved with marketing your business online.

Is Digital Marketing Effective?

Short Answer – OF COURSE. Digital Marketing is a great option for any business. of any size in any continent. As the world continues to grow and become more digital by the day, online marketing is quickly becoming an essential service needs for businesses to survive. Over the past few years, we have helped businesses of all shapes and sizes continue to grow at exponential rates thanks to Digital Marketing. We have worked with everyone from small brick and mortar stores to international E-Commerce giants and have successfully built their brands.

However, that being said, the types of digital marketing strategies vary from business to business. Some business benefit more from SEO while the others do through Social Media. Here is quick breakdown of the types of business and what strategies we have used in the past.

B2C Companies

Most businesses in general work on the B2C (Business to Consumer) model. In General, it is much easier to sell directly to the consumer than it is to sell to businesses. Why? Several Reasons. Businesses tend to have a monthly budget, overhead and will only purchase a product if they absolutely need it. Consumer on the other hand have access to capital and do not have monthly overhead pressures on them. This theory of course does not apply to all situations but most of the time this happens to the scenario. Example – You would not sell a $300,000 crane to a consumer but would rather sell a furnace service call for $150.

If your business is selling directly to the consumer, chances are that your product or service is fairly inexpensive. B2C companies therefore do not need large sales teams or complicated marketing processes. Simple Products deserve simple processes. The only responsibility of the B2C company is to put their product in front of the correct consumer and the rest is simple up to chance.

So in order to succeed as as a B2C Company, you want your website to appear in as many relevant searches as possible. For example, the HVAC company wans to get as many homeowners to their website to promote the furnace cleaning service. Chances are if it is a cold day or fall time, people are more likely to purchase your product. .

As you can see with the example above, B2C Companies usually tend to see good results from high traffic digital marketing funnels like Social Media and SEO Services. Both of these strategies are often cost effective, put your product in front of a large audience which in turn gives you higher chances for more revenue.

B2B Companies

B2B Companies on the other hand tend to sell products that are a little more expensive and need specific audiences to see their product or service. Since they tend to be more niche oriented, targeting those individuals from a large audience like Social Media becomes difficult. Therefore, Paid search is one the best options for B2B Companies . Imagine you are selling that $300,000 crane. Chances are your audience happens to be construction companies. Your overall cost to market it will be higher than a B2C strategy but it will definitely be well worth it.

Since they tend to involve more serious decision making, B2B companies have a longer and more involved Sales process than a B2C Company. If you’re selling a $300,000 crane, most construction companies will not be lining up to purchase one simply by coming to your website and ordering it online. Chances are they will want more information and see what makes your crane special from the crane they may get for $250,000. Sales processes are longer for B2B companies and therefore justify the more expensive forms of digital marketing like PPC and Content Marketing Services.

These example listed above are just example of the different forms of Digital Marketing needed for various businesses. The right strategy will differ from industry to industry and company to company. While we cannot give you a generic solution, we hope these guide you in the right direction. It will always take a little trial and error before coming up with what is best for your business.

Where Do I Start?

You can start right now by a very big decision. Are you looking to hire a digital marketing agency? OR are you looking to manage the digital marketing campaign yourself? Either way we can help you. Getting started in Digital Marketing is fairly simple. Most platforms mentioned above (SEO Excluded) have fairly easy setup process for your first campaign. In order to help you out, we have outlined a few beginner guides to all the different digital marketing strategies we had listed above:

At the core of all successful digital marketing campaigns, is a stable strategy in place that can be used over the long run. We have simplified it for you by breaking it down into 4 simple questions before you start with digital marketing:

1. How many sales are you looking to do?

As with any business, how many sales are you looking to do this week? quarter? or year? The answer we all want is infinite. However, ask yourself…are you truly prepared for that type of volume? Digital Marketing Strategies are all fun and games until you have too much demand and not enough supply. You risk your business name and reputation if you are unable to deliver a promised service. Once you have this number figured out, it is time to build your digital marketing strategy.

The ultimate goal is any digital marketing effort is the Return on Investment (ROI). You want to spend as little as possible but the maximum amount of benefit from those marketing dollars. After all, if your digital marketing budget is not very profitable, why even market your business online? Clicks are great. So are conversions. However, you make no money from them (actually…you spend money on them).

These are some of the factors that should go into your decision to decide on a digital marketing budget. How much revenue do you want? How much money do you need to spend for it? What is the most efficient method of spend to maximize that ROI?

2. Who is your target audience?

B2B? B2C? Who is your target audience? Specifically, are you marketing your product to the correct decision makers? In order to maximize your digital marketing budget, you need to identify who you are marketing too. Why is this important? Because different buyers react to your product differently. You need to have sales processes setup to meet their expectations in order to make that sale.

If you are a large operation, chances are you have a sales team. Asking them about the different types of buyers is the best way to target the best potential buyers of your products. In case you dont, it will take some trail and error to determine the best types of buyers for your business.

If you are lucky enough to actually have customers (you would be surprised), give them a call and ask them how they came across your business. Since you went ahead and convinced them to use your product or service, you should start by doing more of that. This information is crucial in determining your next move and planning out your digital marketing campaign.

3. How valuable are your customers to your business?

How valuable are your customers to your business? The answer of course varies. Chances are you sell various products and services and the price will vary. However, calculating the life time value of a client helps put your digital marketing budget into perspective.

For example, imagine we are Ahrefs (We are not) and we have highlighted their 4 pricing plans for business owners.

In this situation, you’re probably targeting 4 different buyer personas:

  1. Entrepreneur “Edward”
  2. Small Business “Bob”
  3. Small Agency “Sandra”
  4. Marketing Agency “Mark”

As you can see, it is in the best interest of Ahrefs to try and position themselves with a product that can appeal to various types of people. Entrepreneur “Edward” is perhaps a landscaper and just wants to try and position himself well for the upcoming landscaping season while Marketing Agency “Mark” wants all the help he can get in order to help out his business.

Let’s assume that each client on average stays one year for simplicity.

Lifetime Value

  1. Entrepreneur “Edward” – $1,188
  2. Small Business “Bob” – $2,148
  3. Small Agency “Sandra” – $4,788
  4. Marketing Agency “Mark” – $11,988

Fantastic! These numbers look amazing. However, not all the money seen here is profit. Ahrefs has expenses that they have to meet while providing their fantastic service (We use them ourselves). Let’s assume their overall costs total about 50% for simplicity. That means the profit margins are half that amount per client without deducting the digital marketing budget. Based on that math, the maximum cost ahrefs would be willing to spend would be

Maximum Acquisition Cost

  1. Entrepreneur “Edward” – $1,188 /2 = $594
  2. Small Business “Bob” – $2,148/ 2 = $1,074
  3. Small Agency “Sandra” – $4,788/ 2 = $2,394
  4. Marketing Agency “Mark” – $11,988/ 2= $5,994

At this rate, Ahrefs would break even. However, the customer may really like the service and decide to stay an additional year. The Client Retention rate is also something all business owners must consider.

4. What do you need to spend to reach your goals?

If you made it this far into the article, you have a good idea on what to expect from your Digital Marketing Campaign. Of course, it is a lot easier said than done. Now that you have everything in place and all the numbers jotted down, you know what is the ideal spend for your company.

It is important to not get discouraged if the campaign does not go as planned initially. Digital Marketing campaigns take time and they are not easy to implement and execute. Keep in mind that all your numbers have to accurate when planning out the campaign. Be sure to account for the Cost per click as accurately as possible along with your sales projections.

Is Digital Marketing Different on Mobile?

Mobile Digital Marketing is the same as desktop. However, your web developer does need to make some changes to the content of your website to work properly. As you can imagine, the images, videos and animations are all compressed in your mobile phone. You want the mobile experience to be as smooth as possible. Today, mobile searches tend to be more than that of desktop thanks to easy access to Data plans.

Based on our experience, more than 60% of the internet searches tend to be on mobile. It is a good idea to get all your content optimized and mobile friendly. In addition to optimizing your content, always be sure of several other factors such as site speed and landing page experience. We cannot start on the amount of time a website looks amazing on the desktop and completely crashed when it came to mobile friendliness.

Conclusion

Digital marketing is here to stay. It is the future of all marketing campaigns. The benefits of digital marketing are endless and tracking all the results are going to be crucial for the success of your campaign. Incidentally, if this article has convinced you that you need digital marketing (or need to up your digital marketing game), but you’d like some help identifying the right approach, let us know here. We love helping businesses grow with digital marketing.

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