What Is Digital Marketing? And How Does It Work? (2020)

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In this article we’re talking all about digital marketing.

What it is, how it works, as well as diving into some of the most proven and effective digital marketing strategies available today.

Alright so let’s talk digital marketing.

Specifically we’re going to be pulling back the curtain on what is arguably one of the most complicated and yet significant and most powerful aspects of running a business and that is digital marketing.

By the end of this read you’re gonna leave with not only a better understanding of what digital marketing is and how it all works but actually how it applies in the real world because theory and academic stuff and all that kind of book knowledge is nice to have and it can play a role in helping you form a foundation and base knowledge but it’s a completely different story when we take all those concepts and theories and we actually apply them in the real world and that’s what I want to help you with here.

But, before we dive into the theoretical and academic stuff as well as the practical and actual applications of digital marketing first we need to decode what exactly we’re talking about here.

After all, when it comes to digital marketing there is no lack of confusion and I blame myself as a marketer for being part of the problem after all we’re infamous for using complicated jargon and technical words like SEO, PPC, CTA, CTR and I could go on with dozens and dozens more to make matters worse.

People often associate digital marketing with complex online software, coding or these really complicated funnels that take teams of dozens and dozens of people just to keep running no wonder there’s still so much confusion around it and so many otherwise very smart and savvy business owners still avoid it.

Now of course digital marketing does have some more complicated and technical aspects involved but that doesn’t mean you need to know what every single one of them is and how to do them all in fact even just a broad or general understanding of all the different pieces will allow you to thrive in today’s digital marketplace because at the end of the day digital marketing is actually a pretty simple concept.

1. What exactly is digital marketing?

Well brace yourself for this one but digital marketing is just marketing done digitally yep that’s kind of its meaning the same concepts and principles and theories that apply when marketing your business well these are all going to be applied but done on digital platforms like social media, through email and other online channels.

Basically, if you’re using a digital platform to communicate your business’s value to your customers then you my friend are digital marketing.

2. So how does digital marketing work?

Well the reality like we just covered is that digital marketing works much the same way as offline or traditional marketing does in fact when you hear somebody talking about digital marketing they’re referring more to the tools and the digital and online aspect of those tools rather than the underlying strategy behind it which should always be formed on foundational and really marketing fundamentals.

So now that we’ve got that covered that digital marketing is really just marketing done with digital tools well.

What are the best tools available and the best way to make digital marketing work ?

3. Identify Your market

The very first step when it comes to creating an effective digital marketing strategy is to first identify your market you see this is going to be the same whether we’re talking traditional or digital marketing but the first step is always in identifying that target market that ideal customer or prospect or potential person that you really want to connect with. Another name we use in marketing for this concept is niche.

Now the reason this is such a foundational piece of an overall strategic campaign is because without the right person in mind well nothing else is really going to matter so spend a little bit of time and do some digging into your ideal target market.

4. Identify the demographics

What are their demographic details like their age, gender, income, occupation, things of that nature, also what are their geographic details where do they live, what city, state, province, country, things like that and lastly, and maybe most importantly, what are their psychographic details, things like their attitudes, interests, opinions and behaviours.

The better you’re able to form a really clear picture of who your ideal market is well the more effective your digital marketing strategy or marketing strategy in general is going to be.

All right so once you’ve got your market clearly identified it’s time to move on to step two.

Now when it comes to creating a really effective message one of the things that I like to advise is that you take a look at your clients or your customers basically the market that you’ve just identified well take a look at their miracles and miseries.

Their miracles are going to be things like their wants and their needs, their goals and their dreams, again the better you understand your market well the better you’re going to understand their miracles and ideally your business is going to be the one that’s positioned to deliver those miracles for them.

The flipside of that of course, is their miseries what are their fears, their frustrations, their pains, their nightmares and all the things they’re trying to avoid. Again step two is going to be pretty much the same whether we’re talking traditional or digital marketing.

5. Media engagement

The third step is media and this is where things really differentiate between traditional and digital marketing because it’s here that we’re going to be making the choice for which platform we’re going to be using to communicate our message with our market.

Now when we’re talking about traditional media we’re talking about things like the newspaper or the radio or Direct Mail or any form of print really.

Digital media on the other hand is going to include things like social media, online video, email marketing, online pay-per-click advertising, things of that nature where things get really exciting though.

Where digital marketing is such an effective overall strategy to deploy is that well pretty much everyone regardless of age or gender or income or occupation, pretty much everyone is online these days which means that no matter who you’re trying to reach you can reach them with digital marketing.

Not only that but digital marketing also has some other benefits above traditional marketing namely the fact that the targeting is just so dialled in with digital platforms. Also the time to get data back is significantly reduced meaning if you create an ad and put it in the newspaper or in a magazine you’re gonna have to wait a period of days, weeks, maybe even months for your market to see your message and react or not react.

Digital marketing on the other hand, well, you can create an ad and put it out to your market in as little as a few hours and get immediate response letting you know if you’re on track or if something needs to be changed. All right, so now that we’ve got all that covered.

6. What are some of the most effective digital marketing strategies available today?

Well when it comes to digital marketing there’s no shortage of available strategies no shortage of opinions that goes along with each of those strategies either social media gurus say you need to be using more social media, email marketing advocates preach the benefits of reaching your customers directly in their email INBOX, video marketing experts say everybody needs to be creating more videos and online advertisers tell you that the best return on investment is with online ads so who’s right?

Well in reality they all are because it’s gonna depend on your market your message and your media basically we need to figure out who you’re trying to reach what the message is that you’re trying to communicate and which online or digital platform is going to be best aligned with you, your business, your industry and your customers.

Unfortunately, where many people get lost and confused is they take a look at all these different things realize that they might all work so they start doing everything and one thing I can tell you with certainty after years of being a digital marketing consultant and owning a marketing agency is that you definitely do not need to do everything.

In fact most of your results are going to come from one two maybe even three carefully selected and strategically deployed channels at most so to help you choose which one may be best for you and your business these are some strategies we use inside the agency every single day for our clients and have proven to be some of the most effective forms of digital marketing available today.

7. Social Media campaigns

The first is, of course, social media marketing. You simply can’t argue with the proven results that you’re able to achieve with a strategically deployed social media marketing campaign.

Now there are nuances between how the campaign is deployed and how we’re going to leverage it but it really comes down to using one or a combination of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn depending on the market and depending on the client and their customers.

Regardless, having a social media presence today is pretty much mandatory and doing the best you can will provide a real and tangible return on investment.

The other strategy that we consistently use is online advertising.

Again, most of the social media platforms do have the option to use both organic social media which means unpaid or just regular posting content as well as paid online advertising where you’re basically paying them for a distribution again we take a look at the market and essentially what we’re trying to get across and then make a strategic decision between Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and the Google Display Network.

As a fun fact, some of our highest ROI campaigns have almost always come from social media online advertising. Yeah, it can be a bit of a bear to learn when you’re first getting started and can be a bit of a trick to figure everything out but once you do, once you’ve got it dialled in it’s a really powerful concept.

8. Search Engine Optimisation

The other strategy we almost always deploy and certainly with our local clients is search engine optimization or SEO for short. Basically if you’re unfamiliar with SEO it involves optimizing the website to appear higher in the search rankings so when someone’s typing in a search term your business appears top-of-the-line.

Video Credit: YouTube Channel

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