In the world of business development and branding, going digital is the most popular thing. So what is digital marketing and how can we use it to grow our business?
Digital Marketing Defined
Digital marketing is the advertising and promotion of businesses and their brands through digital media channels. Digital media currently includes websites, social media, radio, television, mobile and even non-digital traditional media forms such as billboards and traffic signs. Basically all marketing media delivered electronically are considered digital marketing.
This leaves only the various forms of person-to-person (P2P) marketing, print advertising and direct marketing outside the digital marketing umbrella. Even then, print ads, direct mail, print directories, billboards, and posters all began to connect to their digital counterparts. With items like URL landing pages, QR codes, web banner ads, online directories and text codes, traditional marketing and advertising almost always has a digital marketing connection.
Why Focus on Digital Media?
The shift to digital media is being driven by marketing agencies, business owners and consumers. The ever-increasing demand to show measurable results makes digital a dream for digital marketing agencies. Most digital media, including websites, social media, and mobile ads are much easier to track than traditional marketing media like print ads.
For business owners, many forms of digital advertising are very low cost. Having a web presence, engaging customers in conversation through social media and email marketing are low-cost alternatives to print and direct mail advertising. This digital channel is available to businesses of any size, and helps even the playing field for start-ups, small businesses and independent consultants looking for new businesses.
For consumers, the fast pace of life makes digital advertising a must. When consumers need goods and services, the days are gone through the phone books to find them. Now, we pull out our mobile devices or head to our computers for answers – and we find them fast.
Using Digital Media to Build Your Business and Brand
No matter the size of your business – large or small to medium business/enterprise (SME or SME) – you can market your business effectively through low cost digital channels. The cornerstone of your marketing efforts is your website. Invest wisely in your website, and make sure it does the following:
- Simply represent your business and brand (look and feel, message)
- Simply speak to your target audience
- Can be found by searchers in top search engines
- Up-to-date and easy to navigate
- Provide multiple channels for customer communication
- Connect to other marketing efforts
It is recommended that you work with a professional web design company that is expert in web development and search engine optimization. Since your website is the foundation and from which all other digital channels will lead, it should be considered as one of your main business investments.
Once your website is complete, the next step is to launch a monthly or bi-monthly email campaign, and connect with customers through social media. If you’re really on a tight budget, this is an endeavor that can be done yourself (by someone with the right knowledge) or at low cost by an outside digital marketing agency. Make sure that all your efforts drive customers back to your website where they can fully engage with your business, products and services, and choose the channels they use to contact you.
If you’re interested in getting aggressive with search marketing, you can set aside a few digital marketing dollars for search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Many businesses today rely heavily on online searches to acquire new customers. A common misconception among business owners is that just having a website means customers will find it. Not like that. Your site should be built with specific keywords and phrases, meta data, page content and linking strategies that will help it achieve top search rankings.
Since many keywords and phrases have stiff competition for top search rankings, you need to complement your organic search engine optimization efforts with pay-per-click advertising. Getting established with a pay-per-click advertising campaign can be a little daunting, but with a little time, effort, and instruction, it can also be done in-house, or for a reasonable fee through an outside digital marketing agency.
Beyond email, social media marketing, and search engine marketing, you can venture into a number of other digital marketing endeavors. Mobile advertising, radio, television, electronic billboards, and more are available as marketing outlets. No matter which digital endeavor you choose, it should all be connected and tied to your foundation – your company’s website.
If you have the means, a wise investment would be to use the services of a digital marketing agency to help with your marketing efforts. Today, many digital agencies offer different levels of service to accommodate large and small businesses.