Marketing is nothing new; it’s been around for hundreds of years. But in the last decade, nearly every business has started to invest in digital marketing.

We’ll explore why this field has transformed so many different industries. Join us for a brief history lesson, followed by a detailed break-down of the many different subspecialties within the world of digital marketing.

A Brief History of Digital Marketing

The term ‘digital marketing’ was first popularized in the early 2000's. But surprisingly, it was actually around long before that - over 100 years before.

Guglielmo Marconi (yes, the guy who invented the radio) was the first person to demonstrate a “public transmission of wireless signals” in England, in 1896.

So, how on earth is the man who invented the radio connected to digital marketing?

After Marconi’s successful demonstration, Morse signals were transmitted across open waters. About a decade later, the first live broadcast happened. This was when people realized that they could reach out to far-off places and sell their stuff. And suddenly, digital marketing came to life.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is a marketing strategy that utilizes all ‘digital’ channels and methods to promote and sell your products or services. It primarily relies on the internet to connect with the target audience of a brand. This is done through various digital media channels and platforms. These include social media, mobile applications, email, web applications, search engines, and websites.

Although it may sound paradoxical, digital marketing can be done offline as well. Electronic devices like TVs, mobile phones, and electronic billboards are some examples of ‘offline’ digital marketing.

The main advantage of digital marketing is that it gives marketers more control, tools, and data to analyze the effectiveness of their approach. By using digital marketing, today's businesses are getting their messages in front of their best prospects and customers quickly and effectively.

Let’s quickly categorize the types of digital marketing for you:

Online Marketing Channels

•Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

•Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

•Online Content Marketing

•Pay Per Click (PPC)

•Inbound Marketing

•Affiliate Marketing

•Native Advertising

•Social Media Marketing

•Marketing Automation

•Email Marketing

•Sponsored Content

Offline marketing channels

TV Marketing

SMS Marketing

Radio Marketing

Billboard Marketing

Now that you have an overview of what digital marketing consists of, the next step is to lay down the most effective practices for you to follow. These steps will enhance your digital footprint.

Digital Marketing Best Practices

1) Identify the Target Audience

Before you even start thinking about the right digital marketing campaign your product, the first step is to define who your target audience is. Identify the goal of your campaign. Does it aim to acquire new customers, win back former ones, or retain the current customers?

The message of your campaign and the business offer has to change according to your target audience. Categorizing the audience correctly will make your message more relevant and specific.

2) Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

Marketing your content in the right way can attract more prospects. It can also move them through a marketing funnel to boost your sales and business. That’s why content creation has become such an essential aspect of digital marketing.

To do that, you will need to take your content outside of a blog or article. Although blogging is a useful marketing tool, it is not the complete picture of content marketing. Content marketing is a full-funnel technique that requires you to deliver quality content to the customer, throughout their journey with you.

3) Build Relevant Content

Most marketers have realized that the content you create for various audiences should be created with a solution in mind. In fact, creating relevant content is considered the most effective SEO tactic by nearly 72% of digital marketers.

Relevant content helps customers connect with the real benefits of important trends, products, or services. This content can be in the form of blog posts, articles, whitepapers, or webinars. This practice holds true particularly for the Business-to-Business or B2B service. B2B customers don’t just go looking around online for the latest machinery and gadgets. In fact, they require solutions to help them achieve their business targets, and informative content helps them find that.

4) Incorporate SEO Tactics

Online search results are the number one driver of traffic to many websites. In fact, search beats social media by more than a whopping 300%. And you thought Instagram was powerful!

As more and more people rely on Google and Bing to answer all their questions, search engine optimization (SEO) has become one of the most profitable areas of digital marketing. But improving your site’s search rankings isn’t always easy. Building an SEO/SEM action plan requires enlisting the services of trained SEO experts. But once you have ensured that your team is sufficiently trained, you will see them generate the best ROIs. Implementing SEO/SEM involves deep analytics for optimizing your search reach, understanding the nuances of search algorithms, and knowing the best content placement strategies.

5) Try Omnichannel Marketing

It might sound complex, but omnichannel digital marketing simply means advertising across multiple platforms. It creates a number of touchpoints between you and your potential customers. The general idea of omnichannel marketing is to get your business message out there on a variety of platforms.  

Research suggests that using omnichannel marketing produces:

•Higher engagement: Using a single-channel engagement in an automation workflow achieved an engagement rate of just 5.4%; whereas using 3 or more channels got an engagement rate of 18.96%.

•Increased purchase frequency: It was also found that when the customers interacted with 3 or more channels, they purchased 250% more frequently.

•Increased average order value: When customers engaged with campaigns having 3 or more channels, they were likely to spend 13% more on average.

•Higher customer retention rates: Buyers who interacted with 3 or more channels were 90% more likely to be repeat customers.

6) Use Accurate Data

Did you know that in just one year, around 20 to 30%of email addresses have become obsolete? An effective data-driven campaign is highly dependent on the accuracy of the data itself. Data cleansing requires removing inaccurate information, typographical errors, syntax errors, and more. Adding relevant information to your existing data is equally important. Successful digital marketing campaigns rely heavily on your data-cleansing techniques.

User details like physical addresses, contact numbers, social handles, and more can make your data precisely targeted and responsive. Nowadays, there are several specialized companies that can perform regular email hygiene and email appends to ensure the accuracy and integrity of your data.

7) Employ Email Campaigns

If you thought email marketing was a little old-school, think again. Email is alive and well, and it’s an essential part of your digital marketing strategy. All you need to do is use it effectively and it will provide your business with huge results.

According to a study by DMA and Demand Metric, e-mail was found to have a median Return on Investment (ROI) of a massive 3,800%-4,400%. In fact, that figure is four times higher than the ROI of any other marketing channel.

Of course, to achieve those results you would need to master the basics, such as:

•Ensure that your emails actually get delivered to your prospect's inbox and don’t go to the spam folder.

•Write a strong and personalized subject line to get your email opened.

•Generate interactions in the email so that the recipient can take the actions that you want them to.

•Automate the entire process and increase your efficiency.

8) Utilize Chatbots

Chatbots are the most convenient way for new leads to interact with your business. They’re the direct line between the consumer's problem and the solution that your business can provide. Chatbots have extensive customizable features and easy to use automation actions. Because of this, chatbots can simulate an in-person conversation between your prospects and your salespeople. They improve the user experience and streamline your sales process.

However, simulating and automating conversations using technology comes with its own unique challenges. For instance, if chatbots aren’t employed correctly i.e. scripted logically, they will fail to deliver seamless, consistent, and efficient user experiences.

Chatbots help automate your business and lighten your workload. They inevitably allow your business to flourish. Chatbots ensure that by the time your prospect interacts with your sales team, they have had most of their queries resolved.

What are the Benefits of Digital Marketing?

A powerful digital presence can help your business in multiple ways:

•It will make it easier to create awareness and engagement before and after the sale.It will help you convert new buyers into loyal customers.

•It will kickstart word-of-mouth advertisement and social sharing to help expand your presence even further.

•Lastly, it will shorten the buyer's journey by presenting the right offers at the right time, in the right place.

So, there you have it! Our comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about digital marketing.

If you’re interested in diving even deeper into the world of digital marketing, Thinkful has the fastest way to launch your digital marketing career. You can also research digital marketing careers if you have any questions about how to take your digital marketing journey to the next level.

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