Digital marketing can trace its roots all the way back to the 1980s when IBM released the first personal computer. This opened up a whole new world for marketers, where they made the shift from just ‘pushing’ a product (with physical advertising) to relationship management – now prioritising customer relationships over the traditional sale.
The Financial Times Lexicon defines digital marketing as: “The marketing of a product or services using digital channels to reach consumers”. Marketing in its simplest form is the action of promoting a product of service for a company. With more than three billion people using the internet, digital marketing is a hugely powerful tool, but many companies still aren’t taking full advantage of this. Yes, having a social media presence is a start, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg, so what else is there?
As well as social media, companies should also consider the following for their in-house marketing efforts:
Public Relations (PR) is incredibly important for any business. Having your brand or product appear with an established media outlet can give any company access to an audience that it would not normally have been able to reach. The fact that the media in question has published another company’s content shows that they believe the viewpoint is valuable and that they are happy for their audience to be exposed to it.
Affiliate Marketing is similar to but is more focused on creating a mutually beneficial exchange between one promoting company and another. This is where a company or individual will receive commission for promoting another company’s product or services on their website. This is a win-win situation for both parties involve. The company hosting the content receives the commission (and quality content) and the company providing the content has access to the audience and credibility provided by the host company.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is carried out in order to ‘rank’ higher in search engine results pages. As of 2017, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, with 75% of people never scrolling past the first page of a search. Ranking in that first page is incredibly important for any company.
Inbound Marketing is an important part of the aforementioned ‘relationship management’, it involves showing potential online leads that a brand is knowledgeable in its field. Unlike outbound marketing, it is designed to attract the ideal customer by creating content that addresses their problems and needs which in turn builds trust and credibility for the business.
One of the most powerful parts of digital marketing is the data created, it allows a company to view a whole raft of significant statistics. This includes the exact number of people that have been on their website, where they came from (a referral page, advert, email campaign, etc.), which pages were viewed, for how long they were on each page and even where on the page they were viewing by looking at the mouse position.
Using this information, it is possible to identify customer journeys by analysing the trends and patterns from user data, allowing the company to design their website around a customer’s individual journey. This allows a company to make more informed decisions about how best to attract a user to a website and into their marketing funnel.
In short, digital marketing is an incredibly powerful business tool. With the potential to have your content seen by around half of the global population online, companies can use the previously mentioned methods to connect with the largest chunk of their audience possible.
There’s no reason to not have some form of digital marketing in place, it’s affordable, effective and can be used in innovative and creative ways. Most importantly, it’s an effective tool to build the reputation, and by extension the sales potential, of your business.