What is Digital Marketing?
Put simply, digital marketing is the promotion of brands, products or services on the internet.
The digital world is a busy place, full of businesses, brands, media companies, and individuals battling it out to be heard above the constant noise.
With the average adult spending more than 20 hours a week online, if you don’t have a strong digital presence you aren’t doing yourself any favours.
Being seen online is the first step in turning a visitor into a customer – whether that is through your social media posts, being found on search engines, or through paid-advertising.
The more someone sees your content, the more of a connection they form with your brand and the more they engage, the more they trust.
But in order to build that connection, you have to have to have a strong digital strategy.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t buy from a website that looked like it was designed in the ‘90s and a little bit of my dies everytime I read a crappy piece of content.
But don’t worry, even if you don’t know your hashtags from your hashbrowns, there is always time to evolve from a digital dinosaur into a social butterfly – or you can get someone to do it for you.
With the correct strategy, you can enhance your brand, get more sales, and increase footfall.
So, what are the most popular, and effective, types of digital marketing?
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media marketing is using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and even TikTok to connect with your audience.
Social media is one of the most important tools to grow your following, increase sales, and drive traffic back to your website.
To do this, you have to publish engaging content.
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, what does your customer want to see? It doesn’t necessarily matter what you think makes a good post.
Creating successful social media posts is all about getting good engagement and creating meaningful conversations. So think about what peaks the interests of your target market and give them what they want.
While it might seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to run your business and keep up with the ever-growing list of social media platforms, don’t worry. To begin with, it’s best to focus on a few – the ones that best suit your target market.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
When you are searching for something on Google, do you ever go to the second page? Only if you’re desperate.
SEO is the art of improving your search engine rankings for certain keywords and topics.
The days of customers looking through the Yellow Pages to find a plumber in Oban are for the best part gone. Customers don’t want to pick up the phone or email to get in touch. They are going to go onto Google and ask a question and if you are not there (in the search results) you are not going to get the business.
To cut a long story short: they ask, you answer.
Content marketing is the pillar of digital. It helps boost your search engine rankings, populate and engage your social media platforms, and it helps educate your audience and turn them into customers.
By creating content in the form of blog posts, you can then use segments of that post across social media channels in the form of video, photographs, and infographics.
But to have a successful content marketing strategy, you need to think quality over quantity. If you are posting stuff on your social media/website for the sake of posting stuff, you need to stop.
What you need to do instead is create quality and educational content that helps your customer. If you are not entertaining, informing, or educating your audience, then there’s no point.
You need to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think about what would be beneficial to them.
Paid advertising is where you pay a publisher, think Google, Facebook, or Twitter, etc, to put your advert in front of a bespoke audience, which you can choose. You can target based on their interests or characteristics.
You can bid for keywords on Google, so if someone types in ‘men’s clothes’ and at the top of the rankings is a sponsored post from Asos, then they have won the bidding war for that term.
If you are selling a product or service with a lot of competition, bidding for keywords can be very successful, as when the user types in ‘men’s clothes’ he is already in the buying mindset and is looking to purchase.
Another very successful type of paid advertising in terms of return on investment is retargeting people on Facebook who have visited your website.
You can do this by installing the Facebook Pixel on your site and creating an advert thanking them for visiting, or reminding them that they didn’t follow through with their purchase. You can go as far as retargeting those who have added to their shopping cart, but not followed through with the sale.
Facebook Ads is also a great tool for targeting cold audience based on their interests. You can target people who ‘like’ your competitors page for example.
Many small businesses fail to think about Email Marketing in this day and age, however, it can still be hugely beneficial and it is unique in that you are not at the mercy of the algorithm, as you are with social media platforms.
For example, with Facebook, when you post on your page, only a certain percentage of your followers will see it organically and determining on the engagement of that sample size, Facebook decides how many others it will distribute the content to. That is why creating engaging posts and encouraging meaningful conversations is so important.
But with email marketing, you know that 100 percent of the people who signed up to your email list will receive your email. How many open it, however, depends on the value of your content and the strength of your subject line.
Why digital marketing is important for a local business
Everyone is online these days – even my Granny spends her nights glued to Facebook. So to cut a long story short, you need to be where they are.
Social media is where people spend their time. It’s where they socialise with friends, stay up to date with what’s happening and post what they had for dinner – but it’s also where they see things they want to buy or services they need to use.
Businesses don’t have to use traditional marketing strategies such as advertisements in print, on the radio, or on street banners.
In this day and age, everyone is their own publisher. There is no need for a middle-person. With a blog, social media, or an email list, it has never been easier for businesses to directly reach and engage with their customers.
With the right strategy and content, businesses can generate leads and sales for a fraction of the price of traditional marketing.
Not only that, but you can monitor everything. You can see in real-time just how many people clicked and engaged with your content.