So, to answer a question we often get at SPARKS! – “what exactly is digital marketing?” – here’s a quick-and-dirty summary of the key elements.
Businesses and organizations must rely on some type of marketing in order to grow. Traditional tactics – advertising and trade shows, for example – are stalwarts and an important part of the overall recipe. But a key element that many small businesses overlook is to optimize what is perhaps the easiest gateway to their audience: their digital assets.
Digital marketing refers to the use of online (aka digital) channels, such as search engines, social media, email, mobile apps, and websites, to promote a product or service. It is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of techniques and strategies, all of which are designed to reach and engage with a target audience in a digital environment.
For most organizations, an informative, engaging, mobile/user-friendly website lives at the center of the digital universe. But what about the other spokes in the wheel? Digital marketing can be broken down into several different elements, including:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO involves optimizing your website and content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) like Google and Bing for relevant keywords and phrases.
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC): PPC advertising involves placing ads on search engines or social media platforms, and paying a fee each time a user clicks on one of your ads. These ads can reach a prospect at the most important time of the sales cycle – when they’re searching!
- Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing involves promoting your brand or product on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But the world does not run on posts alone. Social advertising can be an effective, low-cost method of reaching your targeted influencers, users, and decision makers.
- Email Marketing: Email marketing involves sending targeted messages to your customer and prospect databases with the goal of driving engagement and sales. We could write articles that delve deeper into the specific strategies, but the most important is to motivate the recipient to take action – visit the website for more info, follow on social media, or make an inquiry.
- Content Marketing: Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and engaging content with the aim of attracting and retaining a clearly defined audience. And creating a “clearly defined audience” is critical – know your audience and provide relevant and authoritative content.
- Analytics: Often overlooked, capturing some type of data is the only way to measure effectiveness and ROI. Free platforms such as Google Analytics, Search Console, and some CRMs are the easiest way to track traffic, user behaviors, referral sources, and measure user interest. This information can guide the strategies and execution of your digital marketing plan.