With today’s life pace and the on-going increase access to the internet, promoting for goods and services has become easier yet more challenging.
As per marketing terms, whether you are a company manager, owner or marketing manager, you need to increase your brand’s awareness by reaching out to your targeted customers. Nowadays, offline marketing is not 100% satisfying this goal, as you need to meet your targeted customers where they, really are, online!
Here comes the affective way of digital marketing in today’s business world. However, before going further in more details, we need to clarify what digital marketing is, how it works, what are its tools and channels, and what are its benefits.
What is Digital Marketing?
The term Digital Marketing refers to the company’s marketing efforts via all use and means of digital sources and online sources, such as the internet, smartphones, website search, email, social media, online advertisements, and websites that connect to their prospective clients.
Digital Marketing includes online marketing, but it is not the same. It is a wider term that extends to the non-online digital channels as well.
Unlike the offline marketing, or the traditional marketing that can be seen in physical marketing, or print ads, phone conversations, etc.. the digital marketing has much more to offer the company as well as its current and prospective clients via its various marketing opportunities.
The Timeline of Digital Marketing
Since digital marketing is composed of electronic devised, it is logical to see that the development of digital marketing is tied up with the development of digital devices and the internet.
The first-time digital marketing was officially used in 1990, and the period of 1990s & 2000s marks the development of this novel marketing type. However, its very first use was in 1970 when Ray Tomlinson sent the very first email, and his technology allowed people to send and receive files.
During the 2000s, and with the increase in internet usage, people started making their shopping decision online. Therefore, companies who did not register their domain names faced problem in competing with other brands using only traditional marketing methods.
Later on, in 2007 marketing automation was created, and this helped companies to segment their clients, launch multichannel marketing campaigns and customized information.
Also, the launch of social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc.. urged companies to go along the new waves of communication and use these platforms as marketing channels.
The emerge of iPhone, alongside smartphones, also cause a new leap in digital marketing, and it eased the process.
As of today, the number of people using the internet is getting more and more, and social media platforms have composed the longest portions of people’s daily life. The more the people’s engagement towards technology, the more digital marketing is developed and involved in companies marketing plans.
Digital Marketing Channels
After understanding the definition of a relatively new marketing concept, we need to know how digital marketing actually works, and how it helps you reach your targeted customer in a wider, broader and faster manner through the online and digital sources.
There are several marketing channels and tools to use, and which ones suit your brand or business better depends totally on the type of your business.
Choosing and determining the best marketing channels is not an easy task, therefore you need to familiarise yourself with these tools in order to pick the best and most suitable one for your business.
1- Email Marketing
Email Marketing is highly effective and among the top marketing channels. Keeping your mail list updated, personalizing your email, providing periodically (either weekly or monthly) newsletter are highly recommended to keep your brand awareness high in your targeted customers.
It is proven that email marketing provides a high ROI (return of investments), as many studies show that around 38-42% of ROI is guaranteed by email marketing.
It keeps you connected with your potential as well as current customers, and it keeps your customer updated with your latest services, products and information.
Also, email marketing increases your website traffic and consequently will broaden your brand awareness.
2- Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
Pay-Per-Click refers to the paid ads in search engine. The most common example is the google paid ads that appears in yellow on your search page.
The way it works is like the following, as a marketing manager or marketing operator, you need to study well who your targeted customers are, what they need, and therefore build a list of your keyword search to make sure to land in your potential customer’s search results.
Once your ad appears among the research list, with every click on your ad, you are obliged to pay the search provider for this. That is why it is called a pay per click.
It is effective for two reasons, first, you will not pay unless someone actually clicks on your ad. The second reason is when your ad is good enough and it appears on the top of the paid ad, then your chances of getting click and visit are high. A visit to your website may result in a sale or purchase, thus a revenue, and differently, it is much more than what you will have to pay the search engine for.
3- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search Engine Optimisation Or SEO is increasing your website traffic by ensuring the increase of quality and quantity of your website visibility to users of web search engine.
The difference between SEO and PPC is that SEO refers to your organic appearance in the search results, not as paid ads.
However, for both PPC &SEO, you need to ensure a good keyword search study and understanding your targeted customer to receive the desired results you are seeking.
Also, both of them depend mainly on search results and the words that searchers use to get what they need (Keyword search), and this what makes PPC &SEO very effective, if done properly. That is because over 90% of internet users start their internet usage by a web search. Also, studies show that around 92% of searches end up being frequent visitors and customers to the resulted web pages.
4- Display Advertising
Display Advertising also is an effective tool to spread brand awareness and reach. It is basically displaying ads in third-party websites. Usually, marketers display ads in some blogs, websites, YouTube, etc.. that are considered useful or with high visits rates by their potential customers.
It is displaying a graphic advertisement that appears as banners, interactive ads, videos ads and other similar ads that leads to a landing page or website.
This tool uses CPM payment method which is a cost per impression. Compared to PPC, CPM is more cost-effective.
5- Social Media Marteking (SMM)
Social Media Marketing depends on your market, your brand, and business via social media platforms. A recent study shows that over 70% of marketers vote for SMM as they find it very effective. Also, it shows that the majority of social platforms users depend on what they see and find on these platforms to perform their decision making towards products and services.
Therefore, using social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc.. increase your brand awareness and help you reach a broader audience.
Also, SMM helps marketers to have insights and analysis about their marketing campaigns, and efforts, get in touch directly with their potential customers and provide more customer interactions and involvement.
What marketers usually do via social media to have more engagement:
-Employ tagging or sharing posts. Sometimes, clients may be rewarded for tagging or re-sharing posts.
-customize posts, products, and services according to holidays, important events, etc.
To have the most effective way, you need to choose the best social media for you. For example, if you are promoting a new brand, then Twitter may be the best for you. If you are promoting a new brand and your business is B2B, then LinkedIn will fit better here. If you are planning to increase awareness, spread your brand, and have more traffic and engagement then Instagram, and Facebook will be more suitable here.
6- Content Marketing
Content Marketing is simply presenting useful content in a persistent manner to your audience. It does not cost a thing, and it is a guarantee for you to ensure a high volume of organic traffic and generates leads.
Content marketing is the core of digital marketing because it attracts your clients, increase your organic traffic and ensure a tight relation between you and your clients without any costs. However, in order for content marketing to fulfil its purpose, the content must be valuable, relevant, and consistent.
There are different ways to feed contents about your business, services, and products such as blog posts, infographic, video content, news, checklist, case studies, webinars, and white papers.
After ensuring your high-quality content, it is advisable to promote it through your social media platforms.
7- Affiliate Marketing
It is the way to promote your business and reach a wider audience via affiliate marketers upon commissions.
This marketing tool has become very popular nowadays esp among social media influencers who act as affiliate marketers to their brands, or certain products in a way to have an income, in so many cases a high one, without an effort by simply promoting products and services for companies.
It is a win-win agreement.
8- Online Public Relations
Online PR, or public relations, is the work of communicators through online communication channels and communication tools. These channels are the online pages of classic media, social media, blogs and websites.
What online PR does is reposition brands, place them on top among others, and realign their brands. It includes also ensuring the content of your company to be of high quality, valuable and in line with SEO terms. This way, it ensures having your business well exposed to ensure generating organic traffic.
This marketing tool works alongside with content marketing.
9- Video Marketing
Video marketing is promoting your services and products by creating videos or Vblog. This tool has proven to be a highly effective and effective, as people prefer watching in action what you offer, how your products work and are important for them. It increases engagement as customers are more likely to share a video than a written post.
There are several ways for Video Marketing such as Brand Videos, Demo Videos, Event Videos, Expert interviews, How-to Videos, Explainer Videos, Animated Videos, Case Study Videos, Customer Testimonial Videos, Live Videos, Virtual Reality Videos, Augmented Reality, and Personalized Messages.
The question now is: how to choose the most suitable tool for my business?
Having a list of digital marketing tools and knowing how each one works and what it does, now you need to know which one, or ones, to select. You need to base your selection in a way that guarantees to reach your end in the most effective ways.
1- Know the reason for using digital marketing
First, you need to know why you are using digital marketing. What is your purpose, and what to expect from digital marketing? If you need to have more traffic and generate leads, then SEO, PPC, Display Advertising, Google Search Network, Content marketing, and Email Marketing may act the best for generating leads.
In case you are looking for increasing your sales, and revenue through online channels, then Affiliate Marketing, social media stores (Facebook Storefront) among many others will be the best options for you.
if your goal is brand awareness then video and visual marketing are the best. Also, using social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, etc. will help as well.
While generating traffic will be achieved best by SEO and content marketing.
2- Know your budget
You need to set up your budget before making up your decision and choosing your marketing channel. You need to keep in mind the below fees, and costs (more costs may be considered)
• The salaries or fees for your digital marketing staff and manager,
• The cost of paid advertising, content creation services and,
• The cost for freelancers such as graphic artists, photographers, videographer, and content writers.
3- Know your talents and skills
You need to analyse your work environment and look for the available skills to know what you have as in-house skill, or if outsourcing is required. In order to be successful in digital marketing campaigns, you need to have creative skills to have high-quality contents both writing and visual. Also, you need to have web design development skill, social media experts, and search marketing talented staff.
Why considering Digital Marketing?
It is out of the question to ignore the fact that we live in the digital era. The way we communicate with each other, manage our work, travel, shopping and basically almost all the daily activities via digital and online sources. Also, the importance of digital marketing has proven itself as a strong marketing method during the recent pandemic, Covid19, in which everything around us was completely paralyzed except our communication via digital sources. People managed performing their work, shopping, socializing, and entertaining through the online and digital source. The companies that are top in digital marketing and they already had their ways of promoting, and even selling their products online, their work seemed to survive longer and with fewer damages compared to others. Also, people’s engagement is stronger and they more faith in digital sources than before, knowing that it once acted as their only way to survive.
Even before the pandemic we face, Digital marketing has its advantages that shape its important. I will try to mention briefly, the most important advantages and benefits of digital marketing.
The Benefits of Digital Marketing:
1- Cost-effective: Marketing your company via digital and online sources is considered to be low cost especially if we will compare it with traditional or offline marketing.
2- Broader Reach: or Global reach. With Digital marketing you can easily reach out to every single customer all over the world immediately and effectively with simply an ad, post, affiliate marketer, and many other digital marketing tools.
3- Increase awareness: as mentioned above, almost all digital marketing channels and tools play a great role in creating and increasing customers awareness towards your brand, or products. Also, since via online or digital sources customers can share your posts, ads, campaigns, or videos, they promote your brand and increase awareness.
4- Constant Online Presence: this will ensure customers loyalty, generating more leads constantly, and of course more traffic.
5- Easy and immediate access to measure your marketing efforts: Also, it gives an instant analysis which allows you to figure out which sources work best for you, which are not. What you need to consider for your next campaign, and what you need to avoid.
6- The ability to amend and adjust: As the previous point states that you will have access to you measure your performance, this will help you modify your promoting. Also, with being able to interact with your targeted clients, you will be able to reach their feedbacks and do necessary amendments in your services and products.
7- High return on investment (ROI): as many digital marketing tools provides and guarantees a considerable ROI.
8- Ensures direct and easier communication between you and your customers: It helps you understand your market, segment, and customer better.
9- Reach out to potential customers at earlier stages: In offline marketing or old marketing methods, this is not achievable.
10- Real-time interaction with your targeted clients: Especially, if you have a strong and active social media presence.
11- Easier to customize and personalise your products: As a result of your interaction with your customers.
12- Helps in targeting your customers: For example, in digital marketing customers will be able to receive a customised service, especially designed information or services. This is clearly achievable through email marketing.
13- Brand development: This can be part of adjusting your services and products according to your marketing efforts measures and results, or your customers’ requests and feedback.
How to Improve Your Knowledge About Digital Marketing?
Knowing the importance of digital marketing in today’s market and its huge impact on the company’s performance, image, grow and awareness makes it a must to have excellent knowledge in digital marketing to ensure getting the best out of it.
There are different ways to improve your business in digital marketing such as hiring digital marketers’ experts or outsourcing for digital marketers. For either, you need to be an expert yourself, or at least to have an excellent understanding of how digital marketing works.
For this reason, many websites provide guides, briefing or online courses. Below, I have mentioned a few, I think, are the best.
1-Google Analytics Academy:
Google Analytics Academy offers six different courses depending on the student’s level of experience, knowledge and the purpose of learning.
Each course is provided by an expert teacher, and the duration of each course differs. The length ranges from 4 to 7 modules.
All these courses are free of charge.
2- Hootsuite Academy
Hootsuite is a social media platform that offers different courses and certificate via its platform.
It offers different course various from basic to more sophisticated ones. These are provided by professional trainers. The basic courses are free, but the advanced ones are priced.
3- Udemy Digital Marketing Masterclass
you can find over 30 courses online with over 30 hours on-demand videos,
articles, guides and checklists which all are available to download.
It covers the most important topics on digital marketing such as how to use digital marketing strategies, ways to improve brand awareness, and much more.
What is best about Udemy is that you can take and download the curriculum of the classes using your mobile phone, PCs, or even the TV.
4-SkillShare digital marketing training
Skillshare offers excellent courses in various digital marketing topics upon signing into their course.
You will have access to free courses, as well as 2 months free trial period on other paid courses.
Main topics covered by SkillShare: Instagram Marketing, SEO, LinkedIn strategy and much more in content, social media and advertising.
5-Hubspot content marketing certification & Inbound digital marketing course
HubSpot is a great option for content marketers or whoever would like to improve the quality of his website, blog or etc to improve the traffic, thus increase the revenue.
It offers an online course free of charge consists of 12 individual courses. Students will be awarded by certificates upon completion.
6-Google Academy for Ads
It is one of the best online options. Google Academy for ads offers free online courses on googles’ online advertising strategies.
It is also free of charge and can be accessed on laptops, PCs, or mobile devices.
7-Alison Diploma in E-Business
It is a well-designed program that does not only teach the students about digital marketing but how to use it in real business life.
It is free of charge program. But payment is required to receive a certificate that proves you have passed the course.
8- LinkedIn learning marketing training and tutorials.
LinkedIn learning offer great options of training and tutorials videos on digital marketing tools and how to implement them. It is provided by experts in the same industry, and provides courses in various levels.