When approached by small businesses, one of the most common questions we receive is, ‘What is digital marketing?’ And, while most business owners have some level of familiarity with the Internet, they aren’t always acquainted with the intimate details. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that, well, the Internet is complicated.
You see, online marketing incorporates a vast range of techniques, tools, and services. There are techniques to drive more traffic to your website, such as pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization. There’s also tools to better engage with your customers, such as marketing automation and email marketing. And then, of course, there’s base-level services that every business needs to survive, like an informative website and local listings management.
Taken together, all of these things comprise your company’s digital marketing strategy. Your strategy determines how you position yourself on the Internet. It defines a clear set of procedures that you – or your team – follow to get found, create opportunities, and be successful online.
Okay, but really, what is digital marketing?
For now, let’s set all the industry lingo aside. Because, in truth, there are a lot of different ways to answer the question, ‘What is digital marketing?’ But, to truly understand what it is, we’ll need to look at the actions it asks you to take.
As we’ve said, digital marketing is a collection of efforts that you use to market your products or services to online customers. At heart, it incorporates many of the skills associated with traditional marketing. But, it uses these disciplines in new, Internet-oriented ways…
- Copywriting. Almost every form of marketing requires writing. In digital marketing, you’ll need to write PPC ads, social media posts, and newsletters. But, the most writing you’ll do will be for your website’s blog, where you’ll want to create regular, longform posts to improve your site’s search rankings.
- Customer outreach. Whether you’re using a simplified email marketing platform like Mailchimp or an intricate customer relationship management system like SharpSpring, digital marketing requires you to stay in touch with – and consistently engage – your customers.
- Graphic design. The Internet is a visual medium and, as such, all of your online materials will require graphics. You’ll need to use graphic design skills to create website banners, remarketing ads, infographics, and compelling email blasts.
- Market research. In addition to monitoring your online reviews and feedback, you’ll need to perform research to inform your marketing efforts. By sending out digital surveys, running polls on social media, and driving website form fills, you don’t just engage with your customers, you learn what they want.
- Messaging. After you know what your customers want and have a team in place to provide copywriting and graphic design, you’ll want to work on your messaging. At this point, the market research you’ve done should inform the strategies you use to position yourself online.
So what are the benefits of online marketing?
Beyond keeping you on pace with your competitors, digital marketing offers a host of benefits. It’s agile, targetable, and profitable. It allows you to go toe-to-toe with the biggest companies in your industry. And, according to the Digital Marketing Institute, which performs a rigorous analysis every year, very few forms of advertising are as cost-effective as digital marketing.
Here are some of the advantages of digital marketing
- You can precisely target your marketing efforts so that you’re only spending money targeting prospects who are interested in your offerings.
- With most techniques, you can set the budget that you’re comfortable with and test the efficacy of new methods with a minimal spend.
- Because you’re driving traffic to your website or ecommerce store, digital marketing is extremely measurable using simple, free tools.
- You can easily adjust your strategies on the fly by changing your campaign’s target demographics, budget, landing pages, and more.
- Because you’re able to track your site’s visitors, you can re-engage lost customers in ways that are more likely to lead to conversion.
Does a business really need digital marketing?
If you’re a business that exists in the twentieth century, you need some form of online presence. Whether you’re interested in a simple, five-page website or you’re eyeing a full suite of digital marketing services, you should be planning for the future. Without digital marketing, you’re being outperformed – and outsold – by your competitors.
Were you aware that over 80% of people do Internet research before making any kind of purchase? Did you know that over half of the world’s population is on social media? Your company’s digital marketing efforts don’t just drive online sales, they drive growth in all areas. To truly grow your company to its fullest potential, you need to leverage every marketing channel available to you.
So, in short: yes, every business needs online marketing. But, more importantly, they need to realize that digital marketing strategies aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. If you’re a startup, you need to focus on getting found fast, which means pay-per-click ads and social media. If you’re an existing brand, you’re probably looking to grow, which means using automation tools to engage with existing customers.
In reality, the best thing you can do is partner with a professional team that can help you build your marketing strategy. Most business owners simply can’t be expected to act as writers, designers, marketers, and analysts. They don’t have the time. By partnering with an experienced agency, you’re able to keep your eye on the big picture while your team handles all of the intricate, technical details.
Want some help building your digital marketing strategy?
By now, you’re probably no longer asking yourself, ‘What is digital marketing?’ Instead, you’re likely wondering how to get started. Well, since you’re here, you’ve already answered that question. At Creative Marketing Group, we’ve worked with companies in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, and all throughout Southwest Michigan to amplify their online presences. We have all the qualities you’re looking for in a web design team. We can help you.
Our digital marketing services are geared toward helping businesses of all sizes. No matter what marketing methods you’re currently using, you can be confident that our team can work to optimize and expand upon them. So, if you’re interested in driving traffic to your website and boosting your online reach, contact us today to get started.