What is Digital Marketing? Why is it Important?

what is digital marketing

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This article is an overview of what is digital marketing and how digital marketing can help you, albeit you are an individual, a freelancer, a digital marketing agency, or a company.

This article and the complete series on digital marketing clubbed along with the digital marketing course is filled with insights and tips for anyone starting and hoping to succeed with their online business.

Oh yes, and lest I forget, this article and the digital marketing course is also for seasoned digital marketers looking to hone your current digital marketing skills and get up to speed on the latest in digital marketing strategies, tools, and resources.

In the day and age when technology, tools, etc., and most importantly, strategies in digital marketing change daily, we must understand the primary goal of digital marketing, which includes acquiring new leads and customers, monetizing the existing leads and customers, and creating communities of loyal customers and audiences.

Yes, technology has changed over the years, not much has changed in marketing. Or rather, nothing has changed in marketing. Marketing is still about developing a relationship with your prospects, leads, and eventually, your loyal customers.

While it is important to understand what digital marketing is and what the various elements of digital marketing are, it is equally important to understand the customer journey.

So, let’s begin our journey by understanding what is digital marketing and how digital marketing works.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing! Sounds cool, isn’t it?

So, what is digital marketing in simple words? It’s marketing. It’s as simple as it gets. It’s the means of getting your products or service in front of the right audience via digital means.

If I’ve got to elaborate on this definition, Digital Marketing is the means of promoting or selling a product or service by using various online marketing methods or platforms such as social media, email marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click ads, content marketing, etc.

Your potential customers are online on various platforms. And this number is only growing.

Based on the study conducted by Statista, almost 4.57 billion people were active internet users as of July 2020, encompassing 59 percent of the global population. China, India, and the United States rank ahead all other countries in terms of internet users.

Worldwide Digital Population as of July 2020
(Source: Statistica)

Here are some more interesting facts,

  • 97% of digital consumers have used social media in the past month
  • 84% of people with access to the internet use social media
  • 50% of the global population is using social media: that’s 3.8 billion people (an increase of 9.2% since 2019)
  • India has had the biggest increase in social media users since 2019, with 130 million new users, a 48% year-over-year increase
  • China owns the second-largest increase in social users in 2019, with 15 million (up 1.5%)
  • 90% of Americans between 18-29 use social media
  • 99% of users in 2019 accessed social media on mobile
  • The average social media user has 8.3 different social accounts
  • This number lifts to 9.4 social accounts for people aged 16-24
  • 43% of internet users use social media for work purposes
  • 43% of internet users use social media when researching things to buy
  • Finding “funny and entertaining” content is the fastest-growing reason for using social

(Source: Hootsuite)

Well, the list goes on.

I hope with the above facts, I’ve been able to drill home the fact that your potential customers are out there. Be it on various social media platforms, be it Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube, etc., or looking out on popular search engines such as Google, Bing, etc., or forums such as Quora, Reddit, etc.

And now that you know your potential customers are out there, how can you reach out to them?

How Does Digital Marketing Work?

Before we get into how digital marketing works, let me start by asking a question.

If you were to purchase a product, what is your first action step?

Chances are, you would go online, search for the product, study the features and benefits, go through the various customer reviews, etc., before you finally make up your mind. Right? Well, I do that same too.

Today, more and more purchases and purchase decisions are made online. Even if you were to finally end up going to the brick-and-mortar store to make the eventual purchase, the decision has already been made online. The visit to the store is merely to complete the buying formalities, and yes, to ‘touch & feel’ the product before purchasing.

Hence, as mentioned earlier, while digital marketing and the techniques are all very important, the key element in marketing is to understand the customer journey.

Remember, the key objective in marketing is to create Awareness, Consideration, Purchase & Loyalty for a product or service.

And thus, your marketing campaign has to be created with the customer in mind. Or rather, with the target audience in mind. There is no point in generating tons of likes and views for your advertisements if ultimately there are no leads and prospects.

You must understand your customer’s issues, their pain points, the problems being addressed, and accordingly craft your campaigns with the solutions and benefits your product or service is offering.

And once you have absolute clarity on the target audience, you can plan out every aspect of your marketing campaign, using the key elements of digital marketing.

The Key Elements of Digital Marketing

what is digital marketing

While each of these elements works independently, the fusion of all of them creates the perfect digital marketing campaign. While I will be creating detailed articles for each of the elements mentioned below, here’s a quick understanding of the digital marketing elements.

Content Marketing

Content marketing focuses on building a long-term relationship with your audience. You can offer valuable and relevant content consistently. You can nurture your audience by providing immense value and offering free content, and slowly building yourself as an authority in your niche.

Content Marketing is not just writing blog articles. Content can be in various forms. Be it blog articles, videos, images, infographics, podcasts, etc.

[Related article: What is Content Marketing? An Introduction]

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of showing up on search engines for relevant keywords organically. Which means, without paying for ads. There’s no point showing up on page one for a keyword such as “best laptops” when you are dealing with mobiles.

Anyone can land your page (website) on page 20 of the search results. But, the secret lies in getting your page (website) on the first page, and better still, on the top position on page one.

Enroll for my online course on SEO: Beginner to Advanced Course in Search Engine Optimization

[Related article: SEO Checklist To Increase Traffic For New Websites]

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing is a combination of both SEO & PPC (Paid Ads), to gain traffic and visibility.

Enroll for my online course in Google Ads: Beginner to Advanced Course in Google Ads

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service. Social media marketing (SMM) is becoming a very popular method of marketing and reaching out to potential customers, for both individuals and businesses.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically.

Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches on a keyword that is related to their business offering. For example, if we bid on the keyword “PPC software,” our ad might show up in the very top spot on the Google results page.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is the process of earning or making money online by selling someone else’s product or service. It is one of the easiest (well, almost) methods of making money online. You do not have to spend time creating your product or service. You could start from day one.

[Related article: What Is Affiliate Marketing?]

Email Marketing

Out of all the key elements in Digital Marketing, I would rate Email Marketing as the most important marketing tactic. If done the right way, using automation and sequencing, you can build a list and an audience that you own. Unlike all the other platforms, the email list is owned by you. Even if all the various platforms were to close or shut down, you still have your mailing list to fall back on.

Email marketing is a great way to nurture your clients and build a loyal audience.

[Related article: A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing (2020)]

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing

Let’s run through some key differences between traditional marketing and digital marketing.

To begin with, what comprises traditional marketing?

Yes, we do have print media, newspapers, outdoor advertisements, hoardings & billboards, etc.

And do these traditional marketing methods reach the right or rather, the targetted audience? And if so, can we have reports indicating the kind of audience viewing our ads? Not to mention, the huge costs involved in running such advertisements.

That’s where Digital Marketing stands head & shoulders above other conventional marketing methods.

Digital Marketing involves everything electronic. Methods such as promoting using websites, email marketing, social media marketing, search engines, etc. We can specifically target customers based on location, demography, age, interests, etc.

Targetting based on Demographics (such as education, income, relationship, etc.), Interest (shopping, fitness, wellness, etc.), Behavior, Location, Connection, etc., is a huge advantage when it comes to social media marketing.

Unlike in traditional marketing, your audience can interact with you in real-time. In addition to interacting with you (the brand), your audience can also respond, and share in real-time.

At probably less than 1/10th of the cost you spend on traditional marketing, you can reach a much larger and global audience using Digital Marketing.

Convinced? Or need more reasons to consider digital marketing?

I hope this article helped you with the basics of Digital Marketing and helped you understand what is digital marketing. Do come back for the upcoming articles on Digital Marketing. I would love to see your feedback on this article. Do send across your comments below.

And if you would like to outsource your Digital Marketing services, please do engage us.

Digital Marketing is more about implementing strategies. Digital Marketing, as you would have realized from this article on ‘What is Digital Marketing?’, has a number of elements. You could be a jack of all or a master of one (e.g., SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Affiliate Marketing, and so on).

If you are interested in becoming a certified Digital Marketing professional, you could consider enrolling in my online course on Digital Marketing.

Which of the above Digital Marketing elements excites you the most. Do let me know in the comment section below.

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