Digital marketing is all the rage when it comes to business development and branding. How can we use digital marketing to grow our businesses?
Digital Marketing Defined
The concept of digital marketing refers to the advertising and promotion of businesses and their brands through digital media channels. Currently, digital media includes websites, social media, radio, television, mobile phones, and even traditional non-digital media such as billboards and transit signs. Digital marketing refers to any marketing medium that is delivered electronically.
Digital marketing does not include person-to-person marketing (P2P), print advertising, or direct marketing. Even so, print ads, direct mail, print directories, billboards, and posters are connecting with digital counterparts. Almost always, traditional marketing and advertising have a digital connection, such as URL landing pages, QR codes, web banner advertising, online directories, and text codes.
Why the Focus on Digital Media?
Digital media is being embraced by marketing agencies, business owners, and consumers alike. With the growing demand for quantifiable results, going digital is a dream for digital marketing agencies. Most digital media, including websites, social media and mobile advertising is much easier to track than traditional marketing media such as print advertising.
Digital advertising is very cost-effective for business owners. Having a web presence and engaging customers via social media can be less expensive than printing advertisements and direct mail. The digital channels are available to businesses of all sizes, helping start-ups, small businesses, and independent consultants to compete equally.
Digital advertising is a necessity for consumers due to the fast pace of life. The days of thumbing through a phonebook to find goods and services are over. Whenever we need answers, we pull out our mobile devices or turn to our computers.
Using Digital Media to Build Your Business and Brand
Small to medium sized businesses and enterprises (SMBs and SME) can effectively market their businesses through low-cost digital channels regardless of their size. Your website will be the foundation of your marketing efforts. Invest wisely in your website, and make sure it does the following:
- Adequately represents your business and brand (look and feel, messaging)
- Adequately speaks to your target audience
- Can be found by searchers on top search engines
- Is up-to-date and easily navigable
- Provides multiple channels for customer communication
- Connects to other marketing efforts
A professional web design firm that specializes in search engine optimization and web development is recommended. All other digital channels will lead to and from your website, so it should be one of your top investments.
The next step after you’ve finished building your website is to launch e-mail campaigns on a regular basis, and connect with customers on social media. You can either do these tasks in-house (by someone with the proper knowledge) or hire an outside digital marketing agency for a low cost if you are truly on a shoestring budget. You should ensure that your efforts lead customers back to your website where they can learn more about your business, products, and services, and choose how to contact you.
You can set aside some digital marketing dollars for search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising if you’re interested in getting aggressive with search marketing. Finding new customers online plays a significant role in the success of many businesses today. The misconception that having a website will automatically attract customers is common among business owners. Not so. Developing specific key words and phrases, meta data, page content, and linking strategies will help your site rank highly in search engines.
Because many key words and phrases have stiff competition for top search rankings, you will need to supplement your organic search engine optimization efforts with pay-per-click advertising. Getting established with pay-per-click advertising campaigns can be a little daunting, but with a little time, effort and instruction, that too can be accomplished in-house, or for a reasonable cost through an outside digital marketing agency.
Beyond e-mail, social media marketing and search engine marketing, you can venture into a host of other digital marketing efforts. Mobile advertising, radio, television, electronic billboards and much more are available as marketing outlets. Whatever digital efforts you choose, they should all connect and tie into your foundation – your company website.
A digital marketing agency can assist you in your marketing efforts if you have the means to hire one. Large and small businesses alike can benefit from the services offered by many digital agencies today.