In the world of business development and branding, digitization is a big buzz. So what is digital marketing and how can we use it to grow our business?
What is Digital marketing ?
Digital marketing is the advertising and promotion of companies and their brands through digital media channels. Digital media currently includes websites, social media, radio, television, mobile and even traditionally non-digital media such as billboards and road signs. Basically, any marketing media delivered electronically is considered digital marketing.
This leaves only the various forms of person-to-person (P2P) marketing, print advertising and direct marketing outside of digital marketing. Even then, printed advertisements, direct mail, printed directories, billboards and posters begin to merge with their digital counterparts. For example, with URL landing pages, QR codes, web banner advertising, web directories and text codes, traditional marketing and advertising almost always has a digital marketing connection.
Why focus on digital media?
The transition to digital media is driven by marketing agencies, business owners and consumers alike. The ever-growing need to show measurable results makes digitization a digital marketing agency’s dream. Most digital media, including websites, social media and mobile advertising, are much easier to track than traditional marketing media such as print advertising.
For business owners, many forms of digital advertising are very affordable. Online presence, engaging customers in conversations on social media and email marketing are inexpensive alternatives to print advertising and direct mail. These digital channels are available to companies of all sizes and help level the playing field for start-ups, small businesses and independent consultants looking for a new business.
For consumers, the fast pace of life makes digital advertising essential. When consumers need goods and services, gone are the days of searching the phone book. Now we show off our mobile devices or head to our computers to look for answers – and find them fast.
Using digital media to build your business and brand
No matter what size your business is – large or small or medium (SMB or SME) – you can effectively market your business through affordable digital channels. The foundation of your marketing efforts is your website. Invest in your website wisely and make sure it does the following:
- Adequately represents your company and brand (appearance, communication)
- Speaks sufficiently to your target audience
- Applicants from the most popular search engines can find it
- Is up-to-date and easy to navigate
- Provides several channels for customer communication
- Related to other marketing activities
It is recommended that you work with a professional web design company that is skilled in web development and SEO. As the foundation and from which all other digital channels lead, your website should be considered one of your most important business investments.
Once your website is ready, the next steps would be to launch regular monthly or bi-monthly email campaigns and engage with customers on social media. If you’re on a really tight budget, these are efforts that can be done in-house (by someone with the proper knowledge) or at low cost by an outside digital marketing agency. Make sure all of your businesses drive customers back to your website where they can fully engage with your business, products and services and choose the channels through which they contact you.
If you’re interested in being aggressive with search marketing, you can allocate your digital marketing dollars to search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Many businesses today rely heavily on being found online to get new customers. A common misconception among business owners is that just having a website means customers will find it. Not so. Your site must be built with specific keywords and phrases, metadata, page content, and linking strategies that will help it achieve top search rankings.
Since many keywords and phrases have strong competition for top search rankings, you need to supplement your organic SEO efforts with pay-per-click advertising. Establishing yourself with pay-per-click advertising campaigns can be a little scary, but with a little time, effort and guidance, it too can be done in-house or at a reasonable cost through an outside digital marketing agency.
In addition to e-mail, social media marketing and search engine marketing, you can venture into many other digital marketing. Mobile advertising, radio, television, electronic billboards and much more are available as marketing tools. Whatever digital activities you choose, they should all relate to your foundation – your business website.
If you have the means, a wise investment would be to employ the services of a digital marketing agency to help with your marketing efforts. Today, many digital agencies offer different levels of services for large and small companies.