Digital marketing is a vast umbrella term that covers multiple areas from SEO to blog writing and distribution channels to budgets. In this guide, we’ll help you to understand the key pillars of digital marketing, enabling you to build your own digital marketing strategy to optimize advertising through online channels such as search engines, your websites, social media, email, and mobile apps.
In this digital marketing guide, you’ll discover:
- What is digital marketing?
- How does digital marketing work?
- Why is digital marketing important?
- The differences between B2B and B2C marketing
- The benefits of digital marketing
- Types of digital marketing
- Digital marketing roles
- ROI of a successful digital marketing program
- Planning, implementing, and optimizing your digital marketing program
- Frequently asked questions
Digital marketing, also known as online marketing, refers to advertising delivered through digital channels to promote brands and connect potential customers using the internet and other forms of digital communication such as:
- Search engines
- Social media
- Mobile apps
- Text messaging
- Web-based advertising
In-short, if a marketing campaign is using any of the above online media channels, it is digital marketing.
Consumers today rely heavily on digital means to research products. Some 77% of customers research a brand online before engaging with it, according to HubSpot Research. Meanwhile, 51% of consumers say they use Google to research products before buying.
Digital marketing uses a range of strategies to reach customers, whether the aim is to tempt them into making a purchase, increase their brand awareness, or simply engage with your brand. Modern digital marketing comprises a broad system of channels, including:
- Social media
- Content marketing
- Website marketing
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- PPC (pay per click) advertising
To achieve the true potential of digital marketing, marketers must dig deep into today’s vast and intricate cross-channel world to discover strategies that make an impact through engagement marketing.
Engagement marketing is the method of forming meaningful interactions with potential and returning customers based on the data you collect over time. By engaging customers in a digital landscape, you build brand awareness, position yourself as a thought leader, and place your business at the forefront when the customer is ready to buy.
By implementing an omnichannel digital marketing strategy, marketers can collect valuable insights into target audience behaviors while opening the door to new methods of customer engagement.
Additionally, companies can expect an increase in retention. According to a report by Invesp, companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers. Compare that to companies with weak omnichannel programs and they have a retention rate of just 33%.
Digital marketing continues to evolve. For example, the increasing variety of wearable devices available to consumers affords new opportunities to market to them. Forbes also forecasts that social media will become increasingly conversational in the B2B space, video content will be refined for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, and email marketing will become even more personalized.
“Digital is at the core of everything in marketing today — it has gone from ‘one of the things marketing does’ to ‘THE thing that marketing does.’”
Sanjay Dholakia, Former Chief Marketing Officer, Marketo
You’ve almost certainly heard of B2B and B2C, but do you know the differences between them? B2B is business-to-business, while B2C is business-to-consumer, so your marketing activity needs to be adjusted for and targeted to each audience.
Language and messaging.
With B2B marketing, you’re focused on reaching out to other businesses directly and trading with them, while with B2C you’re marketing to consumers and customers instead.
For example, with B2B marketing you’re more likely to focus on messaging to educate your potential prospects, with language that is professional and uses industry terms — you can be formal and direct. With B2C marketing, the focus may be on enticing customers, creating brand awareness and telling a story.
Another key difference is the decision-making process. With B2C, the customer could make a relatively quick decision to buy from you. Of course, you first need to earn their trust through your digital marketing strategy.
But one person is often the sole decision-maker, especially if you’re retailing an item like clothing or kitchen gadgets. Things can become more complex with bigger ticket items like vacations. But the purchase journey is quicker and less complicated.
With B2B marketing, a business may have to convince several stakeholders — you could be selling building materials directly to large construction companies and in competition with similar providers.
Ultimately, it’s all about knowing your target customers, and tailoring your marketing accordingly.
Digital marketing can help you get to know your audience, learn important information about them, and provide metrics that will give your marketing team credibility. The benefits of digital marketing include:
1.You will get to know your audience.
Digital marketing offers the perfect way to get to know and connect with your audience. You can test offers and messages and get an insight into the peak times they visit your website. If you have a social media strategy — and you really should — you can build relationships with them faster and more easily. Attune yourself to your audience and you’ll build credibility that can set you apart from the competition.
2. It doesn’t cost much.
Compared to traditional marketing methods, digital marketing is cheap. There are fewer overheads. You can create a slick, professional website for a relatively small cost, using one of the many templated systems or paying more for a bespoke creation. You can create social media accounts for free, and partner with an email newsletter provider for a competitive price. Relatively cost-effective, digital marketing is suitable for even the smallest of businesses.
3. You can market to anyone, anywhere.
With digital marketing, your potential reach is huge. You can connect with customers on the other side of the world, in multiple time zones, as seamlessly as though you were taking out an ad in the local newspaper (easier, in fact). You can expand your market reach and grow your business in ways that would have seemed impossible before.
4. Digital marketing is adaptable.
Withdigital marketing, you can be fast, fluid and nimble in your approach. Trial different strategies, assess the results, and try something different the following month — or week. Get access to real-time data to help inform your business decisions — there’s no need to wait weeks to see the results of a campaign.
5. You can personalize by channel.
Your marketing must deploy cross-channel functionality from teams with multiple skillsets to engage customers where they are in that precise moment. For example, each social media platform includes different audiences and expectations, so marketing may look different for each. This includes tone, imagery, offers, and scheduling of your posts.
6. You can measure campaigns and set KPIs.
Digital marketing supports a vast universe of metrics that can be utilized to determine the effectiveness of your marketing. Start by setting your goals for each channel and the metrics you want to see for them. You can track the number of conversions and leads, visits to your website, and much more — giving you plenty of valuable insight to help grow your business.
Digital marketing spans a massive network of digital touchpoints that customers interact with many times a day. To properly utilize each of these channels, you need to understand each one.
Paid search — also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising — typically refers to the sponsored result on the top or side of a search engine results page (SERP). These ads charge you for every click and can be tailored to appear when certain search terms are entered.
Advantages. Essentially, your ads are targeted to audiences seeking a particular product or item. As such, these ads can be extremely effective, as they rely on data gleaned from individuals’ online behavior and are used to boost website traffic by delivering relevant ads to the right people at the right time. These ads also involve retargeting, meaning that marketing automation tools can craft unique, personal cross-platform ads based on the customers’ actions.
Disadvantages. The cons of PPC include cost and labor. Though you can choose to spend what you like, costs can add up quickly. Campaigns can be heavy on time investment, too, and often need to be monitored and optimized.
Read more about mistakes to avoid when creating PPC advertising campaigns.
Search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is the process of optimizing the content, technical setup, and reach of your website, so your pages appear at the top of a search engine result page for a specific set of keyword terms.
Advantages. Organic online traffic earned through SEO has enormous influence on search rankings and, by extension, organic site traffic. By using keywords and phrases, you can use SEO to massively increase visibility and begin a lasting customer relationship. SEO is defined as increasing a website’s ranking in online search results, and therefore its organic site traffic, by using popular keywords and phrases. Strong SEO strategies are hugely influential in digital marketing campaigns since visibility is the first step to a lasting customer relationship.
Disadvantages. You can deploy an SEO strategy on your website and not see much change immediately, so patience is required. Google algorithm updates can also affect your rankings — which could mean having to change your strategy.
If you’re thinking of outsourcing your SEO to an external company, check out these 12 questions you need to ask before hiring anyone.
Effective content marketing is not outwardly promotional in nature, but rather serves to educate and inspire consumers who are looking for information. When you offer content that’s relevant to your audience, it can establish you as a thought leader and a trustworthy source of information.
Advantages. Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising,so it’s well worth the additional effort — whether that’s creating blog posts, informational guides, whitepapers, or any other type of content.
Disadvantages. The challenges for many businesses are multiple — finding the resource, creating something that stands out from competitors, and maintaining momentum.
Read more about content marketing here.
Social media marketing.
Social media is everywhere, so your business must be active on several different platforms. However, the key to effective social media marketing goes far beyond simply having a few social media accounts.
Advantages. You must use your social channels properly and effectively — the more your audience is inspired to engage with your content, the more likely they are to share it, potentially inspiring their peers to become customers as well.
Disadvantages. It’s worth varying your content on different platforms — what works well on Twitter might not be as effective on Instagram, which is more visual. A common mistake for a business using social media is to fail to post frequently or get the tone of posts completely wrong. Again, know your audience, and what they want.
Read more about social media marketing here.
After more than two decades, email is still the quickest and most direct way to reach customers with critical information. Today, successful email campaigns must be incredibly engaging, relevant, informative, and entertaining to not get buried in your customer’s inbox.
To succeed, your marketing emails should satisfy five core attributes. They must be:
- Coordinated across channels
Timing and scheduling are important — don’t bombard customers’ inboxes with repetitive or irrelevant messaging, or they could hit the unsubscribe button.
Here's our blog on why email marketing still rules.
Mobile devices are kept in our pockets, sit next to our beds, and are checked constantly throughout the day. This makes marketing on mobile incredibly important — two-thirds of consumers can recall a specific brand they have seen advertised on mobile in the last week— but mobile is also very nuanced considering its intimate nature.
Advantages. SMS, MMS, and in-app marketing are all options to reach your customers on their devices, but beyond that, you must consider the coordination of your marketing efforts across your other digital marketing channels.
Disadvantages. Privacy remains an issue — be careful with how you treat customer data.
See how mobile marketing can boost your campaign results.
Marketing automation is an integral platform that ties all of your digital marketing together. In fact, companies that automate lead management see a 10% or more bump in revenue in six to nine months’ time. Without it, your campaigns will look like an unfinished puzzle with a crucial missing piece.
Marketing automation software:
- Streamlines marketing tasks and workflow
- Measures results
- Calculates the ROI of your digital campaigns
Marketing automation can help you gain valuable insight into which programs are working and which aren’t. And it will provide metrics to allow you to show digital marketing’s efforts on your company’s bottom line.
The digital marketing industry incorporates several different jobs and roles, each requiring contrasting skillsets and characteristics — though some do complement one another. Key digital marketing roles include:
- SEO. Responsible for search engine optimization, analysing the performance of websites, scoring against competitors, creating a data-based strategy to improve rankings.
- Content. Including copywriters to create copy for websites, and strategists to plan campaigns, blog calendars and more.
- Social media. Writing posts for various social media channels, planning and managing a calendar, responding to replies from customers.
- PPC. Managing pay-per-click advertising campaigns, which includes overseeing budget and spend, tracking performance and recommending new approaches.
- Lead Gen. Generating new leads for the business, whether by managing an outbound strategy or dealing with inbound queries.
Digital marketing ROI (return on investment) involves much more than the up-front payback of standard banner ads. Organic content marketing is also a major player in the digital marketing space.
- Digital marketing reaches customers beyond advertisements. Some 70% of internet users want to learn about products through content versus traditional advertisements (MDG, 2014).
- Digital marketing drives content marketing.The top five B2B content marketing tacticsare social media content (92%), e-newsletters (83%), articles on your website (81%), blogs (80%), and in-person events (77%) (source).
- Digital marketing is vital for SEO.The first organic search results on Google account for 32.5% of traffic share for a search term (Chitka)
Begin the launch of your digital marketing program by first determining your audience and goals, and then putting in place metrics to ensure you’re always improving.
1.Identify and segment your audiences.
Today’s buyers expect a personalized experience across every touchpoint. To do this, you must understand their demographic, firmographic, and technographic attributes as well as how to address their questions and pain points.
2.Establish goals and measurement strategy.
Use audience information to determine personas and get a clear view of their sales journey to establish your goals and measurement strategy.
Important metrics include:
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Engagement rate
- Cost per lead (CPL)
- Effective cost per thousand impressions (eCPM)
There are also the back-end metrics like return on investment (ROI), return on ad spend (ROAS), first- and multi-touch attribution, and lifetime customer value (LCV).
3.Set up your adtech and channels.
Ad technology can take time to navigate, so make sure you have the right elements in place before you get started, including:
- Data management platforms (DMPs)
- Demand-side platforms (DSPs)
- Supply-side platforms (SSPS)
- Ad exchanges
Align your team, communicate everyone’s objectives, and show how their channels fit into the big picture of digital marketing.
4.Launch and optimize.
Digital marketing can be used for acquisition, nurturing, building customer loyalty, and branding. Review metrics regularly, so you know where you are excelling and where you need work to become a leader in this high-impact, high-demand space.
Learn more about how to get digital marketing working for you in our co-authored white paper with Harvard Business Review (HBR),Designing a Marketing Organization for the Digital Age.
If you’re looking for further inspiration, read our guide to 8 Essential Digital Marketing Strategies here.
What skills do you need for digital marketing?
This depends on what job role within digital marketing you’re interested in. Generally speaking, a sharp, incisive mind with an eye for detail is really useful for analytical roles — such as SEO — as is an understanding of data. Creativity and imagination are great for content, social media and strategy positions.
What is a digital marketing strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is the creation of an overarching plan to achieve certain goals and aims for a business. It will draw on cross-channel planning — PPC, social media, content creation, SEO — across a period of time to deliver the best results for your business. It can be flexible if you need to tweak plans.
Why do I need digital marketing?
If you haven’t yet embraced digital marketing, what are you waiting for? Businesses that don’t use digital marketing run the risk of missing out — it’s where your customers are, and definitely where your future customers are. According to research from RetailDive, 87% of shoppers start looking for products online.
Engagement. This has been the keyword in the marketing world for some time. In the Digital Marketing context, the term refers to how consumers interact directly with the brand through different actions, such as clicks, likes, comments, and shares.
- Create a Realistic Framework. ...
- Identify Appropriate KPIs at the Outset. ...
- Know How to Build an Effective Funnel. ...
- Understand What Makes for Effective Content. ...
- Plan Strategically but Flexibly. ...
- Create a Library of Evergreen Content. ...
- Visualize a Clear Direction.
- Content Marketing. ...
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ...
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) ...
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
The 5 P's of marketing are part of what is often referred to as a “marketing mix”. A marketing mix is the actions brands take to market their products and services by using a specific framework with the five biggest components of successful marketing: product, place, price, promotion, and people.
A customer engagement strategy is a plan for creating an ongoing positive experience that keeps customers coming back to your product or service. Your plan will include the actions you'll take, and the resources needed to implement them.
- Contextual engagement.
- Engagement of convenience.
- Emotional engagement.
- Social engagement.
Above the Line, or ATL Marketing, refers to generally untargeted, massive campaigns to raise brand awareness and reach more people; below the Line, or BTL Marketing, refers to the much smaller and highly targeted world of ads, aimed at individuals and with easy to track returns on investment and a definitive audience; ...
At its highest level, digital marketing has three main components: Lead Generation, Lead Capturing, and Lead Nurturing.
It enables you to better understand your market share
Without a clear strategy, you could easily underestimate the demand for your digital services. Moreover, it's likely that you won't fully understand the dynamics of the online marketplace including customer behaviors, competitors, and customer profiles.
What are the 4Ps of marketing? (Marketing mix explained) The four Ps are product, price, place, and promotion. They are an example of a “marketing mix,” or the combined tools and methodologies used by marketers to achieve their marketing objectives. The 4 Ps were first formally conceptualized in 1960 by E.
Digital marketing strategy involves an assessment of specific goals that are achievable through online channels. In an era when many consumers transact business on their mobile devices, a well-executed digital marketing strategy can be crucial to organizational success.
While there is no end-all-be-all “best” digital marketing strategy – search engine optimization, better known as SEO, should be a requirement. SEO is the process of using keywords and phrases related to your business that your ideal audience is searching for.
There are five basic tools that all goal setters should equip themselves with to increase their odds of success: Passion, Persistence, Planning, People and Positivity. Most of us give up on our New Year's resolutions within two weeks.
The division of production management functions in to 5 p's (product, plant, programme, processes and people) will provide useful conceptual framework for the various activities performed by production or operations manager.
They are Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position, and Perspective.
- Connect learning to the real world. ...
- Engage with your students' interests. ...
- Fill “dead time” ...
- Use group work and collaboration. ...
- Encourage students to present and share work regularly. ...
- Give your students a say. ...
- Use mixed media. ...
- Get your students moving.
Customer engagement is the ongoing cultivation of a relationship between the company and consumer that goes far beyond the transaction. It's an intentional, consistent approach by a company that provides value at every customer interaction, thus increasing loyalty.
What is it? A Communication and Engagement Plan is a written document that describes who you need to communicate your improvement work to, the purpose of communication with them, the communication method you will use, how often you will communicate and who will communicate with the audiences identified.
Digital engagement examples
Customers interacting with each other via a community forum. Customers asking questions to an interactive chatbot on your website or social media pages. Customers calling your customer support team to get help. Customers completing a customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey.
As Donors: People who will contribute to your efforts. As Loyalists: People who are committed to seeing your effort succeed. As Happy Employees/Customers: People who are excited to be a part of your effort. As Volunteers: People who spend their free time supporting your effort.
Engagement in the classroom falls within three categories: behavioral, cognitive, and affective (Fredericks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004). These three types are distinct yet interrelated.
ATL Marketing Definition: Above-the-Line Marketing – widespread brand-building advertising. BTL Marketing Definition: Below-the-Line Marketing – highly targeted direct marketing focused on conversions. TTL Marketing Definition: Through-the-Line Marketing- integrated ATL and BTL marketing campaigns.
ATL marketing involves the use of primary mediums such as TV, Radio, Print media, Internet, etc. to promote a brand and create awareness among the audience. In contrast, BTL marketing uses offbeat mediums such as mailshots, telemarketing, sponsorships, etc.
The 4Cs for marketing communications: Clarity; Credibility; Consistency and Competitiveness. What is it? The 4Cs (Clarity, Credibility, Consistency, Competitiveness) is most often used in marketing communications and was created by David Jobber and John Fahy in their book 'Foundations of Marketing' (2009).
- Exposure. Ensuring the web visitor is exposed to the website for long enough to absorb the content or the ad. ...
- Attention. ...
- Comprehension and perception. ...
- Yielding and acceptance. ...
- Retention. ...
- Exposure. ...
- Attention. ...
- Comprehension and perception.
- Revenue of digital market :
- Five Key factors for successful digital marketing.
- Understand the customer.
- Flawless Communication.
- Choosing appropriate media.
- Media Strategy.
- Engage with your content.
The 7 Ps of Marketing
These seven are: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people. As products, markets, customers and needs change rapidly, you must continually revisit these seven Ps to make sure you're on track and achieving the maximum results possible for you in today's marketplace.
- Your customers are online. ...
- Your competitors are online. ...
- Compete with global corporations. ...
- You can target ideal customers. ...
- You get to know your audience and allow them to know you personally, which can help to create brand loyalty and a community.
Essentially, any business that wants to increase their online presence and attract more customers online can benefit from digital marketing services. This is the case for an increasing number of businesses, as more consumers are relying on the internet to find the products and services they are looking for.
A digital strategy, sometimes called a digital media strategy, is a plan for maximizing the business benefits of data assets and technology-focused initiatives. A successful digital strategy requires a cross-functional team with executive leadership, marketing and information technology (IT) members.
Customer engagement is the means by which a company creates a relationship with its customer base to foster brand loyalty and awareness. This can be accomplished via marketing campaigns, new content created for and posted to websites, and outreach via social media and mobile and wearable devices, among other methods.
Depending on your audience, here are some alternative content ideas to consider that can help with engagement:
- Limited-time offers.
- Exclusive insights.
Engaging customers and adding value to their experience will keep your brand at the front of their minds. The better engaged they are, the longer you'll be able to retain them, and the more loyal they will be to you.
Step 1: Initial Look-See
It also serves as a semi-formal introduction to 7C Consociation and is the first step in developing a relationship and shared understanding between us and the client.
Digital engagement is important because it can help manage customer expectations, improve the customer journey, and lead to more conversions. When your customers are engaged throughout their journey down the sales funnel, they are more likely to align with your brand and share additional information.
Accounts engaged highlights the total number of accounts that interacted with your content in a given time period.
Want to increase your online consumer engagement?
- Create an email newsletter.
- Personalize your communication.
- Respond to each new interaction.
- Ask for feedback.
- Send out surveys.
- Be active on social media.
Finally, you can become part of your customers' daily digital lives on social media and through responses to customer reviews. By using these marketing tactics, you can boost loyalty to your brand. Connect with a top-rated digital marketing agency on Clutch for peak customer experience benefits.
- Describe a scene or a character.
- Tell a story.
- Share a personal experience.
- Relate to a recent event.
- Piggyback on a previous speaker's remark or theme.
- Point out something important about the audience or the current setting.
- Determine which platforms your buyers are engaged with. ...
- Create consistent — but tailored — content across all your social media platforms. ...
- Utilize paid advertising on social media. ...
- Promote and host live streams. ...
- Launch polls or surveys. ...
- Measure your results.
What are the 5Is? The 5Is stand for the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence an individual has with a brand over time. The concept was based on research conducted by Forrester where they concluded that the traditional marketing funnel was dead and they proposed 'engagement' as a new metric.
Brand engagement refers to the creation of attachments between consumers and brands. These attachments may be emotional or rational, and they produce brand loyalty over time. This solidifies the brand and helps to improve the customer experience.
Target engagement (TE) in drug discovery is generally defined as the interaction of ligands with their target biomolecules. Understanding TE allows research teams to design and interpret quality in vivo experiments, providing a more refined assessment of target validation.