The Basics of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the practice of using digital channels to reach customers. It is a practice marketers use to spread awareness, capture leads, and drive sales.

Difference Between "Digital" and "Traditional" Marketing

"Digital marketing" refers to marketing online, whereas "traditional marketing" is any form of marketing that does not occur online.

Three key benefits of digital marketing:

1. Reduced Cost – You can start marketing online with a very small budget, unlike traditional marketing. With as little as $5 you can start advertising on platforms like Google AdWords.

2. Instantly Measurable – Arguably the biggest benefit of digital marketing is the fact that it is easily to measure. With Digital marketing, you can measure the performance of every effort – unlike the black box of traditional marketing where you have zero insight into the performance of an effort (such as a print ad, tv commercial or highway billboard). This means you can refine each marketing effort (in real-time), improving performance and return on investment (ROI).

3. Targeted Exposure – With paid online advertising, you can isolate who sees your ads, which allows you to be efficient with your marketing budget. Your ads can be isolated to people based on specific characteristics, such as location, language, gender, age group, interests, and much more.

Two Categories of Marketing

1. Organic – Which consists of content marketing, SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, and PR. The pros of organic marketing is long term gains and authentic following/user base. The cons of organic marketing is that it can take a long time to build.

2. Paid – Paid marketing consists of PPC campaigns and online ads. The pros of this style of marketing is that it can produce quick results, the down-side is it can be costly if people don't convert on your ads and you may also lead to high churn rate if you don't have proper targeting.

Six Types of Digital Marketing

1. Content Marketing – Content marketing is the melting pot of the organic types of digital marketing: SEO, PR and social media. Content marketing has major advantages such as ranking on search, longevity, and authenticity.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – 94% of all clicks on search go to organic listings, not paid ads (i.e. PPC). This is why SEO marketing is still one of the most important types of digital marketing. Essentially, SEO marketing involves optimizing your web content for search engines. Ultimately, improving all of your content to follow best practices for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

3. Pay Per Click (PPC) or Paid Search – PPC or paid search marketing are the “sponsored” posts you see at the top of Google search and other search engines. This type of digital marketing is temporary. When you stop paying for your content to be sponsored, the content no longer appears as a search result. SEO marketing and content marketing are about appearing in search results organically, whereas PPC marketing is about paying to appear in search results. Ranking organically with SEO and content marketing takes a bigger investment, but takes longer. With PPC marketing, you can appear at the top of search results for specific keywords you wish to target. Be careful though, it is easy to misjudge people’s intent with keywords you are targeting – this often results in burning through cash fast.

4. Social Media Marketing – Social media marketing is the best way to connect with your customers and spread your company’s lifestyle. Typically, this type of marketing is used by B2C companies, however it can be used by B2B ones as well (just take a look at HubSpot boosting almost 1 million twitter followers). Today, many people rely on social networks to discover, research, and educate themselves on a brand before they make a purchasing decision. For marketing, this means interleaving content marketing and PR marketing content, as well as company lifestyle content to help customers connect with your brand. Social media marketing also has the side-effect of increased brand exposure because the nature of social media involves liking and sharing content. If a brand’s content engages their customers, then their content will more likely be shared and spread amongst new networks of people.

5. Email Marketing –  Email marketing is the oldest form of digital marketing; it has been around for more than two decades. While it is constantly evolving, it is still the quickest and most direct channel to reach your customers. Emails have incredible power. But with great power comes great responsibility. It is easy to overwhelm people with email and to get labelled as spam. This is very bad. Successful emails engage, inform, and entertain.

6. Public Relations (PR) – One of the biggest hurdles small companies and startups have to overcome is getting noticed. PR is a strategy used to cut through the noise and gain exposure for a business. For startups, pitches or workshops are great opportunities to write a press release and craft a landing page to host it. This lets you to get easy traffic to your website and increase exposure.

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