At a high level, digital marketing refers to advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps. Using these online media channels, digital marketing is the method by which companies endorse goods, services, and brands. Consumers heavily rely on digital means to research products. For example, Think with Google marketing insights found that 48% of consumers start their inquiries on search engines, while 33% look to brand websites and 26% search within mobile applications.
While modern day digital marketing is an enormous system of channels to which marketers simply must onboard their brands, advertising online is much more complex than the channels alone. In order to achieve the true potential of digital marketing, marketers have to dig deep into today’s vast and intricate cross-channel world to discover strategies that make an impact through engagement marketing. Engagement marketing is the method of forming meaningful interactions with potential and returning customers based on the data you collect over time. By engaging customers in a digital landscape, you build brand awareness, set yourself as an industry thought leader, and place your business at the forefront when the customer is ready to buy.
By implementing an omnichannel digital marketing strategy, marketers can collect valuable insights into target audience behaviors while opening the door to new methods of customer engagement. Additionally, companies can expect to see an increase in retention. According to a report by Invesp, companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers compared to companies with weak omnichannel programs that have a retention rate of just 33%.
As for the future of digital marketing, we can expect to see a continued increase in the variety of wearable devices available to consumers. Forbes also forecasts that social media will become increasingly conversational in the B2B space, video content will be refined for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, and email marketing will become even more personalized.
Common problems that digital marketing can solve
To optimize your marketing strategies, digital is mandatory. Digital marketing can help you to get to know your audience, learn important data about them, and provide metrics that will give your marketing team credibility.
Problem: I don’t know my audience well enough to get started. Getting to know your audience takes time, and while your marketing team may have developed audience personas that can be of use, consumers actively spending time online may not behave in the way you’d expect. You’ll need to test different language with different targets, keeping in mind that certain descriptors will appeal to different people and their place in the buying cycle. Attune yourself to your audience and you’ll build credibility that will set you apart from the competition.
Problem: I haven’t optimized my channels for SEO. Regardless of your position in the marketing process, it’s important to have an understanding of SEO best practices. In addition to improving search engine ranking, SEO can reinforce and support your campaign testing and optimization to ensure you’re delivering high quality, valuable content that your potential customers want.
Problem: I don’t have a social media strategy. Regardless of whether you want to develop an organic social media strategy, a paid social media strategy, or a blend of the two, it’s important to have some form of social marketing in place. While social media is excellent for branding and engagement, it can also be a useful channel for digital marketing advertisement. Find a niche and a consistent voice, be patient, and as your following increases, the impact of your ads will increase as well.
Problem: My marketing teams are siloed. It’s important to break out of silos to create nimble, fluid structures. Your customers aren’t sequestered in one channel waiting for ads, so your marketing efforts must deploy cross-channel functionality with teams that bring multiple skill sets to the table to engage customers where they are. Each social network and channel includes different audiences and expectations, so marketing efforts may look completely different for each. This includes tone, imagery, offers, and even the time of day you post.
Problem: I’m under pressure from my CMO to report on metrics that support the bottom line. Digital marketing supports a vast universe of metrics that can be utilized to determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, but these metrics should be chosen with care. Each case will depend upon your audience makeup and focus on each channel. Keeping this in mind, start by determining your goals for each channel and set metrics your CMO will want to see the most.
Components of digital marketing
Digital marketing spans across a massive network of digital touchpoints that customers interact with many times a day. To properly utilize these channels, you need to have an understanding of each.
Paid search. Paid search, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, typically refers to the sponsored result on the top or side of a search engine results page (SERP). These ads charge you for every click and they can be tailored to appear when certain search terms are entered, so your ads are being targeted to audiences seeking something in particular. These ads can be extremely effective, as they rely on data gleaned from individuals’ online behavior and are used to boost website traffic by delivering relevant ads to the right people at the right time. These ads also involve retargeting, meaning that depending on the customers’ actions, marketing automation tools can craft unique, personal cross-platform ads.