With so many people online at any given minute, it’s vital for your business to be online as well.
We cover the definition of digital marketing, its history, and the benefits.
What You’ll Learn:
- What are the benefits of digital marketing?
- The different types of digital marketing
- The history and evolution of digital marketing
Definition: Digital Marketing
What is digital marketing? In short, it encompasses all things that involve electronic devices and the internet.
Over the years, businesses of all types have switched gears to leverage digital channels like search engines, social media, email and other websites, for many reasons.
Most commonly the goal of investing in digital marketing is to boost engagement, increase sales and profits, create brand awareness and connect with their current and future customers.
In this article, we’ll explore what digital marketing is and more in-depth information on the different constituents.
How Does a Business Define Digital Marketing?
While the terms digital marketing, internet marketing, online marketing and e-marketing are used interchangeably, digital marketing is what’s most often used today.
So exactly what is digital marketing?
In practice, digital marketing involves managing various forms of a business’ online presence such as websites, mobile apps, and social media company pages. This is in conjunction with online communication methods including search engine marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing.
These techniques are used to support the objectives of growing your customer base and providing services to existing customers that help nurture the client-company relationship.
Why Digital Marketing? What are the Benefits?
Regardless of size and industry, digital marketing offers businesses of all stripes an affordable and efficient way to obtain leads that rivals traditional marketing methods.
Take pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, for example. Whether you’re looking to spend $500 or $5,000, you define the budget that works for your company. This is a unique benefit of digital marketing.
With digital marketing, you are also able to easily track the results of your campaign in the form of measuring impressions, clicks, likes, comments, shares, and conversions. These performance metrics give you valuable insights, allowing you to make informed decisions about your business.
And unlike the olden days of marketing, where you couldn’t alter a billboard or flyer once it was up, digital marketing enables you to modify your campaign as you go. This means you can adapt as needed to drive the best possible results.
Types of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is multi-faceted to say the least. With so many types out there, you may be tempted to “wing it.”
However, doing so means you could miss out on the opportunity to make the best digital marketing decision for your brand.
To ensure you have the tools to create a successful strategy that works for you, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 of the most powerful types of digital marketing to consider:
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM is one of the more effective marketing methods in the B2B space and aims to optimize the brand presence and conversions of a business using paid methods.
In other words, SEM earns traffic by purchasing ads on commonly used SEM services like Bing Ads and Google AdWords.
These paid ads are almost indistinguishable from organic search results in Google, with the exception of the “Ad” label. They appear at the very top of the page before you even have a chance to scroll through organic results, giving you instant visibility and brand awareness.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is usually the first thing that comes to mind when discussing anything related to digital marketing. With most online businesses operating at the mercy of Google and other major search engines, SEO is the art of optimizing your content to ensure that your website is featured as a top result when relevant keywords are searched.
After all, 75 percent of users never visit the second page of search engines, so refining your SEO strategy is crucial if you want to generate more business from online searches.
Content marketing one of the broader digital marketing terms you might come across. With the ultimate goal of persuading your audience and building credibility, content marketing typically covers content assets like blog posts, infographics, eBooks, videos, white papers, and webinars.
Users can interact with the content by reading, sharing, and commenting on it, which in turn, leads to more clicks, leads, and ultimately, sales.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay-per-Click (PPC) falls under the SEM umbrella when it applies to ads on search engine results pages, but it can also extend to affiliate marketing and ads on other websites.
When following this type of model, you only pay for the number of clicks that you receive on your ad, making it an attractive option for businesses that have tighter budget constraints.
Despite being one of the oldest types of digital marketing, email marketing still receives ROIs as high as 3,800 percent. It offers a way for you to promote your products or services, develop relationships, increase brand loyalty, and elicit useful feedback from your customers.
Plus, the possibilities of the types of emails you can send are limitless. Choose from newsletter campaigns, confirmation emails, thank-you emails, follow-up emails, and email notifications about product updates.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Without a doubt, social media has become the ultimate game-changer in marketing over the last decade—one that brands cannot afford to overlook.
Thankfully, there are a variety of social media platforms you can choose from, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and many others. Depending on your niche and target audience, you can choose whichever one(s) is most relevant to your business.
With affiliate marketing, you can decrease your marketing workload by outsourcing it to external service providers.
One of the more lucrative types of digital marketing options, affiliate marketing involves partnering with an online retailer that promotes your products or services on their website. You then earn a commission from each sale or lead that you bring in. That’s right—you’re only paying for conversions. No upfront costs!
The goal of inbound PR is to drive traffic to your website via content creation. Content in inbound PR needs to add value to the reader, or it will end up lost in search engine and social media algorithms.
By using programs like Google Analytics and social media analytics, PR professionals can determine what their reach is for different forms of content.
Sponsored content refers to a form of content marketing in which advertisers pay to publish their material consistent with the medium’s normal format—whether they be articles, photos, social media posts, video, etc.
This type of digital marketing is usually denoted with phrases like “brought to you by” or “sponsored by.”
While mass media outlets such as press, radio, and television were once the main channels to distribute information about a business, online PR uses blogs, social media, and websites to connect with audiences.
Online PR also seeks to generate quality content that’s not introspective or overly promotional.
The History of Digital Marketing
While it’s easy to remember a time before digital marketing, it’s hard to picture a world without it now.
But, we can trace the beginnings of this groundbreaking form of consumer engagement all the way back to the late 1800s.
Who is the Father of Digital Marketing?
This is a bit of a trick question as there’s no single father of digital marketing.
Some argue that Gugliemo Marconi who invented the radio in 1896, was the world’s first digital marketer.
Others will say that computer engineer Ray Tomlinson should be credited with the birth of digital marketing because he sent the first-ever email in 1971.
While there are several marketing luminaries that have made sizable contributions to the field, few have had made the kind of lasting impact to the marketing world like Philip Kotler.
This well-known American professor has penned more than 60 marketing books and is praised for his efforts of establishing marketing as a field of academic study.
Kotler also argued that marketing was an essential part of economics and proposed that demand for goods and services was not only influenced by price, but also by advertising, promotions, direct mail, retailers, and distribution channels.
The Evolution of Digital Marketing
While marketing is evolving at a pace faster than ever before, the truth is that it has always been evolving. The progression of modern marketing can be broken up into the following stages:
The Sales Orientation Era
The competition was the hallmark of this era. Following the Industrial Revolution, businesses were struggling to sell their mass-made products. As a result, branding and sales became important pillars as supplies surpassed demand and companies had to compete for customers.
The Marketing Orientation Era
From the second half of the 20th century onward, markets became heavily saturated, leading companies to give marketing professionals the opportunity to hone their skills on a more strategic level. These marketers would receive more of a say in what the company produced, its distribution channels, and pricing strategy.
The Relationship Marketing Era
During this time, the focus of companies shifted towards customer loyalty and building a long-term relationship with consumers. Marketers were starting to realize that generic marketing campaigns, hard sells, and one-size-fits-all messaging were an outdated approach to earning a customer’s trust.
The Social Marketing Era
This era marks where we are now. With the proliferation of social media, companies can more easily interact with their customers in real-time. With Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn becoming reigning forms of networking, engagement has become a critical success factor to businesses.
In the Social Marketing Era, it’s nearly impossible to maintain one-to-one relationships with your customers unless you automate your tasks. Enter marketing automation.
This technology allows companies to increase operational efficiencies and grow their revenue, without any manual work.
Techopedia defines marketing automation as “the use of software and web-based services to execute, manage, and automate marketing tasks and processes. It replaces manual and repetitive marketing processes with purpose-built software and applications geared toward performance.”
Offline Digital Marketing: Billboards, Radio, and TV
Some of the most common offline media channels for advertising include billboards, radio spots, and television ads.
Just because online marketing has become a permanent fixture in your business plan, that doesn’t mean offline digital marketing can’t also help reinforce your brand strategy.
But, don’t just take our word for it. Here are some stats to back up our theory:
A total of 3 out of 10 drivers feel more inclined to visit a shop, business, or restaurant after seeing a billboard advertisement.
Over 92 percent of Americans over the age of 12 listen to radio each week, resulting in an audience of more than 235 million listeners.
Senior citizens spend nearly 50 hours per week watching television, which means running commercials is likely to effectively influence their shopping decisions.
Why Work with a Digital Marketing Partner?
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to pass the baton over to you.
What types of digital marketing are you ready to implement? How do you think your business would benefit?
No matter how you slice or dice it, the reality is there’s no limit to what your business can accomplish when you have a strong digital marketing strategy in place.
And partnering with a digital marketing agency can help you elevate your online presence and forge lasting connections with your customers.
Ready, set, market!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing refers to the use of the internet via mobile devices, social media, mobile devices, search engines, and other channels to market to consumers.
2. What is the role of digital marketing?
The role of digital marketing is to market to people looking for products and services related to your business by gaining leads, sales, new traffic and exposure, which is oftentimes done heavily online.
3. What is the next big thing in digital marketing?
The next big thing being talked about by many marketers is the power of AI in the forms of augmented reality and voice search systems. These innovations are already on the rise and expected to be even more integrated into digital marketing.