Something you have to understand about digital marketing right from the start is that you are not just dealing with a single entity or channel. Instead, it’s a term that brings together an extensive list of factors, variables, and strategies that aim to reach online customers. Digital marketing also tells you that everything happens online. Just in case you haven’t noticed yet, companies are eager to use online channels such as search engines, websites, emails, and even social media to get the attention of their target markets, and it’s with good reason.
The fact of the matter is the internet keeps on growing. In other words, everyday someone new “discovers” how convenient it makes EVERYTHING, and they systematically implement it in their daily lives. There is also the matter of users spending more time online. Compared to 12 years ago, the time spent online by the average user has doubled. This has led to a major shift in shopping trends and options, rendering off-line marketing tactics less effective.
When you think about it, the principal of marketing hasn’t changed. In other words, the necessity to find and connect with a market is still in play. It’s just a lot easier than it used to be, seeing as everyone is online.
This has created what we call digital marketing – marketing strategies created exclusively for online consumers
Even though we like to go in-depth about inbound marketing and how effectively it can be used here at BizElevator, it doesn’t stop all the other questions about digital marketing pouring in. And one of them is whether there is an actual difference between inbound marketing and digital marketing?
From the view of an experienced inbound marketer, there are slight differences that are interesting to note. And while they are virtually the same thing, one gets a little more specific than the other. More specifically, more and more people are picking up on these difference the more they master the art of marketing.
Defining And Explaining Digital Marketing
Without getting too technical, digital marketing combines everything you would typically use to attract attention from online users. From the website you establish and the ads you run to sending them emails and brochures, you are really looking at a very broad spectrum of strategies. And the digital marketers who gain the most success are those who understand and effectively execute these strategies according to their goals.
Here is a breakdown of what some common strategies look like:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the practice of making your site more visible to search engines, which in turn will rank it higher in SERP (Search Engines Results Pages). Once you reach higher rankings, you’ll enjoy more organic (free) traffic.
Posting high-quality content that will engage and inform potential clients about your business, as well as make them aware that you exist. Additionally, content marketing can be crucial for closing sales.
This involves everything an effective funnel should have. From the point where a client is approached and made interested, right through to where they finally make the purchase is important here.
Social Media Marketing
As the term suggests, you utilize social media platforms to reach your desired target market, whether you want to create leads, awareness, or simply to drive some traffic to your site.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
This is a very popular tactic for driving traffic, and it involves paying a publisher (who displays your ad on their platform) everytime a user clicks on the ad. At the moment, the most popular publisher is Google AdWords.
When ads, which are fundamentally content-driven, are showcased with non-paid content, it is referred to as native advertising. BuzzFeed can be used as a good example when you look at the “sponsored” posts right next to the regular (non-paid) posts. However, some marketers also consider social media advertising to form part of a native advertising strategy.
In order to save time, marketers use software specifically designed to handle repetitive tasks, for example, sending emails. However, this software is definitely not exclusive to emails.
Building an email list puts you in direct contact with your customers. This means you can keep them updated about promotions you might be running, events, or you can even just send them useful info that doesn’t necessarily advertise anything.
Online PR isn’t much different than PR in the real world. However, it’s a lot quicker. Through articles, blogs posts, and press releases, you maintain and grow your online presence and authority.
Digital Marketing And Inbound Marketing – Defining The Differences
At face-value, you probably won’t spot the difference. Seeing as both function online, and both aim to provide digital content that will ultimately lead to conversions and business growth. But there is a difference.
You see, at the opposite end of inbound marketing, there is outbound marketing. And both of these are considered part of a bigger digital marketing strategy. So, when you say digital marketing, you are not really addressing the dynamics between inbound and outbound marketing.
Looking at digital outbound marketing for a second, the tactics involve putting ads out there for the public to see. And the public doesn’t really have a choice in whether they want to see the ad. In fact, the ad might not even be relevant to the site it’s being displayed on. Ultimately, it’s a “forced” method for promoting something and it’s never really received well.
But then you get inbound marketing, which sees users coming to you because they are interested in what you have to say or sell. One way of attracting potential clients is to provide information they won’t find anywhere else. And you can post this information on something as basic as a blog.
When it comes down to it, inbound marketing focuses specifically on gaining interest from users, engaging them in ways they enjoy, winning their trust and closing the deal. As for digital marketing, it speaks to all the other strategies and tactics that work with inbound marketing (SEO, Outbound marketing, etc.).
Can Digital Marketing Be Beneficial For All Types Of Businesses?
There is no question that every business out to make a profit can benefit from digital marketing. Because regardless of the business you are running, a marketing strategy is built on gathering consumer information and developing the strategy using this information. In other words, it takes into consideration the wants and needs of your market. However, it doesn’t mean that one strategy is going to work for everyone.
Advice For B2B Companies
For B2B based companies, online lead generations will be a critical focal point. In turn, these leads should end up speaking to a salesperson, who can handle the closing. This is why you want to create leads that are high-quality, meaning they have a better chance of converting. The best way to do this is via your website.
In terms of off-page channels, LinkedIn will most likely be the platform where you will find clients that fit the demographics of your target market.
Advice For B2C
In the event that you are running a B2C business, and you have your products selling at certain price points, you’ll seek to remove the salesperson from the equation and make sales directly. So, you want people to visit your website, and just by browsing around while looking the product specs, make the decision to buy.
This means you will focus more on creating a comfortable and appealing experience for the user, and putting traditional lead creation on the back-burner. Instead, you want to invest in what is referred to as an accelerated buyer’s journey, starting with the moment a user lands on your site and continuing until the user finally makes a purchase. Without a salesperson, your call to action has to be powerful and convincing, while your product specs might need to move higher up the funnel compared to a B2B company.
As for social media platforms that are effective for B2C, Instagram and Pinterest will serve you better than platforms like LinkedIn.
What Do You Gain With An Effective Digital Marketing Strategy?
One of the most obvious benefits has to be the tracking capabilities in real time. For example, if you put in a newspaper ad with a conventional newspaper, will you be able to track the number of readers that actually notice the ad? And what about the number of readers that showed interest? Gathering information with digital marketing puts you in a position to efficiently compare different strategies, and you can see the results instantly. And what about the fact that you can measure the ROI from every angle your digital marketing campaign utilizes?
To give you a little more perspective, here are some examples.
Through digital marketing, you will be able to call up the exact number of visitors to your site, and you can get the real-time numbers right now. Thanks to software like BizElevator, you’ll know how many pages they visited, which pages drew the most attention, and even the device they used to access your site. But these are just some of the great things digital marketing can help you with.
When you have this crucial information, you can look at your strategy and make the necessary changes. In fact, you can single out areas that require more attention. For instance, if you noticed that only 5% of your traffic is coming from search engines, it means you need to get your site more visible and SEO friendly.
With offline marketing, you can’t predict how consumers will interact with your product or brand before they actually use it. Whereas digital marketing can provide you with insight towards consumer behavior, and how they are most likely to experience your product or brand before they even have the chance to physically try it out. Information like this really gets you into key decision-making positions, especially where attracting new consumers is concerned.
Content Performance And Lead Generation
Using another offline marketing tactic to drive the point home, assume for a moment you deliver brochures right to the mailbox of consumers. This is content in its own right, and it is focused on creating awareness. However, you will never know how many people actually took the time to look at it, and how many simply discarded it immediately.
An online brochure featured on your website is another situation altogether. Because on top of knowing exactly how many people “opened” the brochure, you can gather additional contact information via forms when the brochure is downloaded. So, as well as seeing how your content performs with consumers, you effectively creating leads through the download process.
Everyone can agree that having information, like where a consumer’s initial interaction with your business started, can be incredibly beneficial. It will also help to know how consumers are searching for your products. Luckily, through digital marketing, you’ll have access to this information, which is called attribution modeling. It speaks directly to consumer trends and what you need to focus on regarding your overall strategy.
It’s a tough reality to face, but not being able to find the correlation between marketing and sales can mean the difference between failure and success. If you look at what the Aberdeen Group says about companies able to find this connection, and how they typically show an annual growth of 20%, digital marketing starts to make a lot of sense. They also found that companies that struggle to see the connection between marketing and sales usually report a 4% decline.
Is There Specific Content I Should Be Creating?
Yes, you should focus on creating content that is relevant and informative for consumers at their different stages during the buyer’s journey. You should make it your goal to learn and understand your consumers in order to identify when they are going to need specific content.
You also want to get the timing right for when the content is going to be consumed by the buyer. This depends on where they are in their buyer’s journey. This whole process is better known as content mapping, and it aims to achieve several different things. They include the type of consumer you are dealing with, and how close they are to buying.
In terms of the content format at different stages, here are some recommendations you should definitely experiment with:
The Awareness Stage
When used in combination with a strong SEO strategy, blog posts are effective in gaining traffic.
Informative and fun, people love sharing infographics, which means more attention to you.
Just like infographics, videos are easily shared on social media and they can quickly go viral.
With eBooks a potential customer gets more substance compared to an infographic or blog post, making them the perfect tactic for lead generations.
This is another example of high-value content users will gladly provide contact details for. However, you can also implement them during the awareness stage.
People love webinars because they are an interactive form of video content, which also makes them incredibly effective for this particular stage. Plus, they are much more comprehensive than a quick article.
Building trust, especially when it comes to the decision stage, is crucial. And by making case studies available on your site will reinforce a positive decision from the buyer.
Depending on the type of business you are running, testimonials might be more effective. For example, if you have a clothing brand, the testimonials can be based on what previous buyers did with what they bought, and it can be shown via photos.
How Long Does It Take Before Results Can Be Seen?
While digital marketing puts you in an authority position thanks to the all the information you can gather, there are many variables to consider. For one, if you are using the right strategy and execution, you can expect to see quick results. However, if you are not making the best decision, there is no telling when you’ll get a return on your investment.
Basically, everything depends on how you approach your digital marketing strategy. For example, adding PPC to the campaign will definitely speed things up, but it’s going to cost extra money.