The Who, What, Why, & How of Digital Marketing

The Who, What, Why, & How of Digital Marketing
Vlad Kovalskiy
November 16, 2021
Last updated: November 16, 2021

If your business has any online presence, you need to build a digital marketing strategy for it. It will help you to expand your customer base, raise your brand awareness, boost your sales and maximize your revenue. From this article, you'll get to know what digital marketing is and how exactly you can benefit from it. This information should come in handy for organizations of any size and industry.

What Is Digital Marketing?

The term "digital marketing" denotes all the efforts that marketing specialists apply to promote goods, services, brands and companies they work for. They rely on social networks, email, websites, mobile apps and search engines to look for new potential clients and stay in touch with their loyal ones. To succeed in digital marketing, you need to create top-notch content and deliver it to your target audience through proper channels at the right time. You should keep people informed about your assortment of products and your company's updates. You should appeal to their emotions and make them want to purchase your goods or services.

You might target your efforts to either B2B or B2C segments. If you opt for the former, online lead generation will be your main task. Your salespeople will need to talk to representatives of third-party companies. You might want to use LinkedIn as your primary channel because this is the platform where business people interact. If you prefer B2C, you might want to rely on Instagram, Pinterest and other networks where users want to have fun and watch beautiful pictures. Your goal will be to redirect these people to your website without using the help of any intermediaries. Users should be able to make the purchase without getting in touch with your sales reps. To achieve this goal, you should use strong calls to action.

Why Is Digital Marketing Important?

You might want to build a digital marketing strategy for your business for at least four reasons.

First, digital marketing is more cost-efficient, compared to conventional marketing strategies. Once you launch a campaign through a certain channel, you can monitor its efficiency in real-time. If you detect that this particular channel fails to meet the desired KPI, you stop working with it and switch to more lucrative alternatives. You fully control your budget and you can make as many pivots as you wish, as frequently as you find necessary.

Second, digital marketing enables you to precisely target the audience that you would like to sell your products to. You can show your content only to viewers with specific demographics and deliver highly personalized messages to these people. For instance, you can clearly indicate that you want your ads to be displayed to male viewers, aged 35+, living in Arab states, who are interested in modern art. You can sub-group individuals within your target audience and carry out additional research on them.

Third, thanks to digital marketing, you can efficiently compete against larger brands with bigger budgets. You won't need to invest millions in nationwide billboard campaigns. Instead, you can outperform them with your viral content and meticulously curated keywords. While sticking to this method, you'll be able to reach new audiences through influencer marketing.

Fourth, it's very easy to measure the KPIs of your digital marketing strategy. You can accurately measure your website traffic, content performance, lead generation and many other metrics. You'll need this data to evaluate your productivity and modify your workflow to achieve better results.

What Is the Role of Digital Marketing to a Company?

Digital marketing can nicely complement offline marketing — or, if your business is fully focused on online, replace physical marketing. Today, almost every business has a website and one or several accounts on social networks. Many companies also have mobile apps. Digital marketing will allow you to draw more traffic to all these resources. It will be easier for you to convince users to order your goods or services.

Digital marketing gives you new tools, channels and solutions for reaching out to your audience. To use them, you'll need to build strategies and exercise your creativity. You'll obtain a lot of insightful data that you'll be able to analyze to increase your ROI and improve other KPIs.

Some businessmen might hesitate to try their hand at digital marketing because they don't know their target audiences well enough. If this is your case, you can gather information about your customers from open sources, conduct polls on your site and social media accounts and maybe outsource someone who will teach you to collect valuable statistics. This investment should pay off very quickly.

Another common hurdle is that marketing teams might be siloed. A company might have a team that is in charge of its social media, another team that makes a monthly printed magazine and so on. For digital marketing, it's essential to build cross-functional teams. It might be tricky to reorganize your company — but again, the result will be worth it.

Moreover, some businesses might hesitate to try new online strategies because their channels aren't optimized for SEO. Well, it won't take you too much time and effort to finalize the optimization. Your clients will appreciate how well-structured and comprehensive your content has become.

Types of Digital Marketing

The broad notion of digital marketing encompasses the following spheres of activity:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Its mission consists in improving your website's ranking in search engines. This should help you to generate more organic traffic. On-page SEO features all the content that your web resource contains. Off-page SEO allows you to promote your site thanks to backlinks from other publishers. Technical SEO is focused on improving the code, structuring the data and completing other tasks that make the site more appealing for search engines.

  • Content Marketing. This aspect of digital marketing deals with generating and promoting content, such as blog posts, infographics or ebooks.

  • Social Media Marketing. You can use one or several social networks to drive traffic to your website, generate leads and boost brand awareness.

  • Pay Per Click (PPC). You place your ads on third-party resources. Each time someone clicks your ad and visits your website, you pay a fee to the owner of that source. The most well-known PPC solutions are Google Ads, Twitter and Facebook ads and sponsored messages on LinkedIn.

  • Affiliate Marketing. You use your resources to promote third-party brands or goods and get a fee for that. You might use your website and socnet accounts for that purpose.

  • Native Advertising. This term denotes ads that a certain platform displays alongside content that has nothing to do with marketing.

  • Marketing Automation. The term "automation" means installing software that will help you plan, execute and analyze the efficiency of your digital marketing campaigns — such as Bitrix24. You won't need to complete repetitive tasks manually. The system will help you to compile a contact list of people who are eager to receive your news and send emails to them at the most appropriate moment. It will schedule your social media posts for weeks ahead and make them go live at a predefined time. It will generate and nurture leads for you, track the efficiency of your campaigns and compile actionable reports.

  • Email Marketing. You buy lists of addresses of people who might be potentially interested in your brand or products. You can send them customer welcome messages, news about promotions and discounts, special offers for loyalty program members, follow-up emails to individuals who have shown interest in your products and other types of messages.

  • Online PR. It is synonymous with conventional PR but takes place in the online space. You arrange coverage for your brands and products and you pay for that. You can ask journalists to talk about you on their social networks. Influencers might review your goods or services — and that should be an impartial review. Some entrepreneurs don't feel too comfortable with such a format because they don't want bloggers to detect any drawbacks of their products. Yet when influencers identify these minor flaws, this makes them sound more credible. People would hardly trust a person who praises a product without criticizing any of its aspects because they will perceive it as a paid ad. Honest reviews enable you to humanize your brand and enhance its reputation. Plus, you should interact with people who comment on the content that you share on your site and social networks. You should answer their questions and express your gratitude for the time they spend exploring your news.

  • Inbound Digital Marketing. At all stages of the customer's journey, you should entertain and please your clients. Let's consider, for instance, pop-up ads. They are one of the most popular tools of conventional marketing — but they irritate people so much! In terms of your digital strategy, you might want to avoid such ads and replace them with useful and aesthetically appealing blog posts. Another example is email spam: no one likes it and hardly ever opens it. Instead, you should send personalized emails to people and offer them something that they might be genuinely interested in. Respect them, avoid imposing anything on them — and they will be more likely to respond to your messages.

  • Sponsored Content. You pay an influencer or an expert to highlight the competitive edges of your brand or products.

Your digital marketing strategy doesn't need to include all of these components. You should select only those that deliver the best results for your business.

Digital Marketing Examples

Here are four examples of highly successful digital marketing campaigns.

In her notorious #InTheMorningChallenge, Jennifer Lopez launched a dance challenge to promote her new song. Her followers were supposed to dance in pajamas — and they fell in love with this idea! Thanks to a brilliant digital marketing idea, people watched the video over 13 million times.

Always attracted a lot of attention thanks to their #LikeAGirl campaign. The viewers got hardly any information about the products. But they felt inspired and empowered because it enabled them to change their attitude to the dubious "like a girl" phrase. This is a vivid example of emotional digital marketing. The brand has managed to prove that it understands the pains and values of its consumers and is ready to support its adherents.

In the Dove Real Beauty campaign, an artist drew ladies as they saw themselves and then as strangers perceived them. Again, that video was not dedicated to the product at all. But it caused a sensation because it made women feel more confident and optimistic.

Lego is known primarily as a toy manufacturer. Yet its Rebuild the World digital marketing campaign addressed very serious issues. The brand invited its audience to pay attention to global issues that impact all mankind. It made people trust Lego more and realize that this company concentrates its efforts not only on entertainment.

On the Internet, you can find hundreds of other digital marketing campaigns that deserve praise both for their message, visual aesthetics and creativity.

How to Do Digital Marketing

To make the most of digital marketing, you might want to stick to the following algorithm:

  • Establish clear goals. Choose your main priority: it might be raising your brand awareness, or boosting your sales, or entering a new market. Concentrate your efforts on reaching that particular objective and move to the next one only when you're entirely satisfied with your achievements.

  • Learn the demographics of your target audience. If you want to target your digital marketing at groups with different demographic characteristics, you should adjust your content to the tastes of each of these groups and select appropriate channels.

  • Define a budget for each channel. Inbound digital marketing costs less than outbound. The former suggests that you do something on the resources that belong to you, such as your website, mobile app and socnet accounts. With the latter, you pay to the administration of other resources to spread the word about you, purchase email lists and engage in other similar activities.

  • Try to look for free digital marketing services. For instance, if you have a team of in-house content creators whom you pay monthly salaries, you won't need to outsource such professionals. Without any extra expenses, you can impress your audience by sharing high-quality content on your social networks. You won't be able to rely exclusively on free digital marketing — but you should never forget about such an opportunity.

  • Generate engaging content. You need to do so not only for your own resources but also for guest posts, cross-promotion with channels that belong to third parties and on other occasions. Your texts, photos, videos and audios need to strike a chord with the audience from the first second. The content should be relevant to your business and offer value to people who consume it.

  • Embrace mobile digital marketing. Build a mobile-responsive website that easily adapts to displays of any size. Build a mobile app and consider offering some perks to users who download it. Adapt your content so that it fits the small screen of a smartphone and loads quickly. In mobile format, your clients should be able to access the same information and functionality as on the desktop and get an equally present experience.

  • Conduct keyword research. The most popular keywords tend to be expensive. To cut down costs, you might need to get creative. Thanks to keywords, you'll be able to personalize your digital marketing content and make your site more visible in search engines.

  • Gather insightful data to enhance your digital marketing strategy. This is a highly volatile sphere. People's preferences and Internet trends might change drastically in just a few weeks. You should constantly monitor any potential changes and react to them promptly. For instance, you might notice that people spend less time on your company's website or app than they did in the previous month. Ask yourself, what has happened? Has your content become less exciting? Have you changed the design? Do you fail to announce all your news on social networks? Otherwise, it might happen so that a channel that used to be highly efficient stops delivering the expected results. For instance, your followers' engagement on Twitter might decrease. In such a situation, you might test new formats of content on Twitter. Or, you might try to shift the focus to another social platform that performs better.

Basically, that was all you need to know to benefit from digital marketing.

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