Over the past couple of decades, buying behavior has changed drastically. For the majority of consumers these days, the buyer’s journey begins (and often ends) online.
Regardless of your industry or size, if you want to compete in today’s marketplace, you need to focus your attention on developing and executing an effective digital marketing campaign for your business.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at the different aspects of digital marketing in the modern world.
We’ll look at how those different elements impact each other and the ways in which you can leverage that knowledge to get maximum results from your online marketing efforts.
But first things first:
Before we can try to understand exactly how digital marketing works and use it as part of our marketing campaigns to reach and engage our audiences, let’s define what it actually is.
Digital Marketing Defined
Digital marketing is simply a way of promoting products and services online as well as through various other digital avenues. The main goal behind this process is to attract, engage, and convert leads into paying customers.
The majority of businesses have specific audiences that they are trying to reach.
With digital marketing, they are able to target those potential customers via the Internet and other digital channels. There are many different technologies they can use these to get their marketing messages across to their target audiences.
Marketers use their websites, PPC ads, display ads, social media marketing, email marketing, mobile marketing, and various other mediums at their disposal to attract, connect with, and engage their target audience.
Ever since the advent of the Internet, there has been a significant shift in the way consumers make their buying decisions.
The Internet has also impacted the way consumers actually make their purchases of products and services. Because of this, every business that hopes to succeed these days has to have a solid presence online.
Digital marketing is a great way of boosting your visibility on the Internet as much as possible. It’s a great way of helping you reach your customers wherever they are on the buyer’s journey.
Now let’s look at how all the different aspects of digital marketing work.
How Does Digital Marketing Work?
In this section, we’re going to go through a quick explanation of each section before looking at some examples of how the different elements of digital marketing work together to create a cohesive digital marketing strategy for your business.
By understanding how digital marketing works, you’ll be able to make better-informed decisions for your business concerning your overall marketing efforts.
The secret to truly understanding how this all works is by learning about each section and recognizing how you can leverage them to reach your business’s marketing objectives.
So, without further ado, let’s get right to it!
1. Website Marketing
The reason why this is first on the list is that your website or blog is the cornerstone of your business’s digital marketing plan. It’s where the majority of your target audience gets their first impression of your business or brand.
And for the most part, this is also where your leads will be converted to paying customers.
As I mentioned earlier, the goal of digital marketing is simply to attract, engage, and convert leads. Ultimately, a lot of the tactics you use to achieve this will lead your target audience to your website so they can make a purchase or find out more information.
Sometimes your site is your business’s only opportunity to make a great first impression with the people in your target market, and that’s why it’s imperative that you pay attention to your website’s layout as well as specific graphics and colors used in the site design.
An unattractive website content layout is one of the top reasons why people stop engaging with a lot of sites.
Just keep in mind that your website is at the center of a lot (if not all) of your digital marketing campaigns, and as such, it’s vital to ensure that its design is optimized for conversions.
Here are a few steps you can take to achieve this:
- Make sure your site is easy to navigate
- Check that there is clear guidance for your visitors’ next steps
- Optimize your site for mobile devices
2. Search Engine Optimization
Another element that plays a massive role in the way digital marketing works is search engine optimization or SEO. All your efforts to reach your ideal customers online have to start with Google and other major search engines.
There’s no way around that!
SEO is a process which involves optimizing your website’s content to make it appealing to the search engines so that it’s ranked higher in the (SERPs).
This helps to boost your business’s visibility online significantly making it a lot easier for your target market to find you.
The higher your rankings on the SERPs, the more traffic you’ll be able to drive to your website organically.
The vast majority of consumers these days start their buying journey on the search engines. This means that if you’re not doing your best to improve your website’s SEO, then you’re probably, scratch that, definitely losing out on loads of powerful opportunities to reach countless leads for your business.
With SEO, you’ll not only be able to drive more traffic to your site, but you’ll also ensure that the majority of the leads you’re bringing in are of higher quality.
For digital marketing to be successful, you need to be attracting the right customers for your products, and SEO plays a vital role in accomplishing just that.
3. Content Marketing
This aspect of digital marketing is one that all marketers are aware of, but creating a successful content marketing plan is another story altogether.
Content marketing involves creating and promoting various content assets aimed at attracting, engaging, and converting your target customers.
You can craft these pieces of content for different purposes, such as increasing brand awareness, boosting website traffic, or retaining customers. Ideally, you need to create content to correspond with each stage of the customer’s journey. This means that your content will need to support whatever tactics you choose to use as part of your overall digital marketing strategy.
The content you create can be as short as a simple ‘thank you’ email to your email subscribers or it can be as long as a detailed e-book describing and providing information about the biggest challenges your target customers face.
Listed below are some of the different types of content that you can create to support your business’s digital marketing goals:
- Web Pages
- Blog Posts
- Social Media Posts
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Ad Content
The secret to creating awesome content assets that will work to support your marketing campaigns is choosing your topics strategically to ensure that you craft content that appeals the most to your audience.
4. Social Media Marketing
Social media is yet another tactic that helps to support your digital marketing campaigns.
This marketing tactic is all about promoting your content, engaging with your prospects and customers, and marketing your products on various platforms including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.
You can use social media to increase awareness of your brand, generate more leads for your business, and improve your level of customer engagement.
If you don’t have a strategy for reaching and engaging customers on social platforms, then you’re missing out on massive opportunities to generate new leads.
The biggest appeal of social media is that it allows businesses to reach a much wider audience online.
With almost 80% of Internet users being active on Facebook and other social media networks, it’s easy to see why this is such a powerful means of connecting with your audience and driving more traffic to your site.
While social media works very well on its own, you can really leverage its true power when you use it as part of a more comprehensive campaign.
For instance, say you create an informative e-book for your audience.
You could use social media for promoting the book and driving traffic to your landing page where your visitors can download the book.
You can also re-purpose snippets from the book as future social media posts to generate even more interest for your e-book.
5. PPC Advertising
The goal of most digital marketing strategies is to bring in the most organic traffic possible, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore PPC (pay per click) ads. There’s a lot of value to be gained from this marketing tactic.
PPC is the type of advertising where you pay the publisher every time someone clicks on your ad (hence the name).
Google Ads is one of the most popular types of PPC ads these days, and it’s the one a lot of marketers opt for when they want their businesses to appear on Google’s first page.
Although you may be wondering why you should pay for ads when you’re already working so hard on improving your SEO, there’s a very simple answer. While search engine optimization is vital for your website, it takes a long time to start seeing results.
Conducting PPC ad campaigns at the same time is a great way of seeing results more quickly while the SEO magic is brewing.
With properly planned PPC campaigns, you’ll be able to put your website right at the top of the search engine results pages for search terms that are relevant to your business.
Appearing on Google’s first page gives your business a lot of new visibility and makes it more likely that searchers will click on your website.
This type of marketing tactic not only helps bring more traffic to your website but it also helps to ensure that those leads are qualified.
The people clicking on your PPC ads will be potential customers searching for the particular topics that are relevant to the products or services offered by your business.
6. Email Marketing
This is yet another piece in the digital marketing puzzle.
You can effectively communicate with your target audience using branded emails. Marketing emails can help you increase brand awareness, promote events, establish industry expertise or leadership, and generally provide value to your audience.
The content inside your marketing emails is obviously going to be dictated by your business’s marketing objectives, but here are a few examples of the types of email content you might create to support your marketing campaigns:
- A welcome email for new subscribers giving them information on what to expect from your emails
- Emails to deliver promotional content on upcoming sales or discounts
- Periodic newsletters updating your subscribers on the latest content or industry news
- Thank you emails for leads who downloaded content on your website
- Emails to suggest additional content assets or products based on your subscribers’ browsing or buying behavior
The Importance of an Integrated Digital Marketing Approach
In order to understand how digital marketing works, you have to go beyond knowing how each of the tactics works on their own.
You need to see how they all work together in support of your business’s overall campaign goals.
Integrated multi-channel digital marketing combines all these (and other) tactics to create a smooth experience for your targeted audience.
Your aim should be to coordinate your marketing message across the various digital platforms and to use different tactics to support each of your campaigns.
This will allow you to create a brand message that is more unified as well as improve the success of each of your campaigns, thereby mastering the way digital marketing works!
Just remember to keep your marketing message consistent across the various platforms as you work to develop an integrated marketing strategy for your online business.
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Updated: Originally published April 13 2019