Love it or hate it, the internet is now where people are spending a huge amount of their time. From engaging with social media to searching for information and seeking out entertainment, it seems that almost every need – or want – is just a few clicks away.
And because of our heavy reliance on the internet, it is virtually impossible to succeed as a business without a robust online presence.
According to the Q1 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report, American adults spend over 11 hours per day consuming media of some kind, with around 50% of that consumption occurring on an internet connected device. And depending on your target audience, that number can be even larger, with younger adults spending even more time online.
This is why having an understanding of digital marketing is crucial to the success of your business. Even if you aren’t handling your online presence personally, having a basic knowledge of what digital marketing is and staying on top of the latest trends is paramount.
Digital marketing includes any marketing that is delivered via an electronic device, which means it covers a lot. There are the obvious things like display advertising, search engines, email marketing and social media, but there’s also a lot more. Read on to learn about some of the main channels and tactics that make up digital marketing today.
One of the most common and easy to understand online marketing tactics is display advertising. From static ads to animated banners and video, this is the advertising you see on many of the websites you visit online. This type of advertising is very effective in driving brand awareness when used with the right targeting metrics.
Although native advertising could be considered a subset of display advertising, it is a little different in that the ad is designed specifically to not look like advertising. These content-based ads looks almost identical to the other non-paid content served on the page: hence the name, “native”. You can usually spot them by looking for the “sponsored post” tag.
Pay Per Click Advertising
This type of marketing describes advertising where you pay for each click your ad receives. The most common type of PPC advertising is search advertising, where your ad is served on search engines like Google when people search for terms relevant to your advertising campaign. Pricing is often based on a bid system, and you only pay for the clicks your ad receives.
Social Media Marketing
Social media advertising is one most people are familiar with. These are the ads that inundate your feed on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels. However, social media marketing means more than just placing paid ads on social platforms. It also includes organically building audiences by posting content and interacting with other users. It is a way to connect with people interested in your brand through relevant content and storytelling, giving potential customers more insight into who you are and what you do, helping to build an even stronger brand. Another tactic for social media marketing is influencer marketing. This is where profiles with large followings market your brand for you via their social media accounts, vlogs and blogs.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) has been very important in online marketing for a long time, and it remains just as important in 2019 – if not more so – as search engines like Google seem to constantly update their algorithms. SEO covers all of the tactics used to increase your website’s ranking on search engines, including:
- Website: creating an optimized site to ensure your website receives the best possible ranking in search results. Some of the specific components of SEO for your website include ensuring you have a professional looking, high-quality website that uses best practice design, using relevant keywords in your metadata and across page content, making sure your content is relevant, and establishing site authority through tactics like backlinks.
- Content marketing: creating content that promotes your business and drives traffic back to your site. This is such a large part of the digital marketing plan for many businesses today that it has its own section below.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s unlikely that you haven’t heard of content marketing. But what does it mean? It means creating valuable content to increase brand awareness, build authority and connect in a more meaningful way with consumers. It involves choosing the right platforms, developing a content strategy and creating the right assets to support your marketing goals, whether that’s growing brand awareness, generating leads or sales conversion. The types of content that might make up a content marketing program include articles, blogs, infographics, e-newsletters, videos, e-books, PDFs and other downloadable content.
Digital Public Relations
Similar to how public relations works offline, digital PR is media coverage from online outlets. Online publications, websites, blogs and review sites are all places where you can receive media coverage through efforts such as press releases and developing media relationships.
With so many outlets for business listings and online customer reviews or comments, implementing a reputation management program can be critical for many businesses today. From managing listings to responding to reviews (both positive and negative), this type of activity is important to manage your company’s reputation as well as the customer experience.
Email marketing remains one of the tried and true methods of online marketing. It is an incredibly valuable way to build and retain customers. Why? Because when people sign up for your emails, it means they genuinely want to hear from you. That means you have an exclusive opportunity to market directly to an audience that is interested in your brand.
This is why a smart email marketing program is just as important as the initial email acquisition effort. To keep subscribers, your emails need to be timely, relevant, and bring value to the recipient. Although email marketing can now be automated via email management systems, ensuring your emails are set up for maximum effectiveness can have a huge impact on the success of your marketing efforts.
Affiliate marketing is a commission-based form of advertising, where people promoting your product or service online receive a commission if a sale comes through their affiliate link. Most affiliate marketers have built their own audience and market your products through email, blogs, video, and social media content.
Just as important as understanding the basics of digital marketing, is keeping on top of trends. From the huge increase in the consumption of video content, the death of Facebook and the rise of Instagram, the growth of smart devices, artificial intelligence and chat bots, there’s a lot changing all the time.
And that’s just for starters.
Learn more about what to watch out for in 2019 with this great article by the Digital Marketing Institute or this one from Entrepreneur. Or for an in depth look at the current state of the ever growing influencer marketing sector, check out the latest report from Influencer Marketing Hub.