Marketing a business or a product is about reaching the right customers. More importantly, marketing strategies are designed to connect with them at the right time and in the right place.
Every brand or business relies on marketing to advertise itself in some form. Anyone can have a great product, but if no one knows about it then it’ll never sell. That’s where marketing comes in. Basically, marketing campaigns inform potential customers about a product, and aim to influence customers to buy it.
The way that businesses market themselves has changed drastically over time. Most of us spend the majority of our day connected to the web somehow. To keep up, marketing has also gone digital.
Digital marketing refers to any form of advertising that’s done through digital or electronic channels, including social media, email, websites, mobile, or web applications.
In this article, we’re going to dive into the ins and outs of digital marketing. We’ll discuss what makes it different from traditional marketing, as well as explore the specific styles of digital marketing. Lastly, we’ll show you how you can kickstart a career in this exciting industry.
Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing
Traditionally, marketing involved print ads, phone and radio ads, giant billboards, and any other branded materials a company could think of. While these forms of marketing were effective at the time, these days physical marketing is limited in many ways.
Printed ads are only visible to a certain amount of people, and billboards are only effective for those who happen to drive by. These methods can also be expensive, and their impact on sales is hard to track. But with digital marketing, the possibilities of reaching people are endless.
Deploying the right digital marketing strategy can help a business or a brand reach millions of people in seconds. Even more impressive is the fact that the impact is easy to track through tracking tools and data collection. More importantly, digital advertising allows brands to engage with their consumer in real-time.
Digital marketing is the most effective way to reach a lot of customers, so there’s no wonder it’s become so popular.
Types of Digital Marketing
Some of the most important types of digital marketing are:
- Search Engine Optimization – When we look something up online, we get thousands if not millions of results. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process through which a business can optimize their website to rank higher on the results page of a search engine.
SEO is important because an internet user is way more likely to click on one of the highest-ranking search results. With that being said, if a business wants to be seen, they need to make sure that they are in one of the top spots. SEO can be generated using various methods, which include on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.
One of the easiest ways to understand SEO is by doing a simple google search of, well, anything. The articles that are at the top (excluding the ads) are the ones that are ranking the highest. That means that their website is Search Engine Optimized for whatever keyword, or set of keywords, that you wrote in the search bar.
- Content Marketing – Content marketing includes channels like blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, infographics, podcasts, marketing emails, and video content. Each of these mediums fulfills a particular objective. For example, blogs, articles, and eBooks can all be used to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise of a brand. On the other hand, infographics or visual forms of content will allow the business to visually explain their ideas to the user.
High-quality digital marketing content should read smoothly with no interruptions. Adding to that, no matter what style of content it is, it should be easy to understand and should capture the reader’s attention from start to finish.
Content marketing, specifically blog articles, is also a huge part of SEO. Creating strong Search Engine Optimized articles will allow a brand to rank higher a lot faster than it would without a blog. With that being said, blogs are a great way to increase traffic to a website.
- Social Media Marketing – Social media networks have gained immense popularity in recent times. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest engage millions of users every minute. It would be extremely difficult to find someone who doesn’t know or use at least one of these platforms.
Promoting a business, brand, or any form of content on social media platforms comes under social media marketing. Social media marketing is a popular way to generate traffic for a business. A strong presence on these social media platforms provides the business with an opportunity to engage with the audience outside of traditional platforms. This helps build rapport with a brand’s target audience.
- Pay Per Click (PPC) – PPC is a model of digital marketing in which each time a digital advertisement is clicked on, its advertiser will pay the publisher of the ad. Some examples of PPC advertising are Google AdWords, Twitter Ads, sponsored messages on LinkedIn, and Facebook Ads.
You’ll often see Pay Per Click ads at the top of a Google search. Those are usually the search results that appear before any of the Search Engine Optimized results. You’ll be able to distinguish between them because the Pay Per Click ads will say “Ad” in the corner.
- Affiliate Marketing – In this form of digital marketing, you can delegate the task of promoting your product/brand/services to a third party. This third party could be an individual or a business. To do this, you would pay a person or business to promote your brand for you.
For example, the third party can post your business’ affiliate link on their social media account. Every time someone clicks and purchases from their particular link, they will receive a commission.
Another popular use of affiliate marketing is on blogs. If a blog receives a good amount of traffic, they can add affiliate links to their articles. Every time someone clicks on a link and makes a purchase, they receive a commission. This is mutually beneficial for the company providing the link, and the blogger. This is also one of the main income sources for full-time bloggers.
- Native Marketing – Advertisements that are featured on a platform along with other non-paid content are called native advertisements. For example, if you ever scroll down a web page, you may find a list of suggested articles. They fall under native marketing.
Native marketing mostly uses content to attract clicks. It’s often mixed with other non-paid recommendations and can be slightly hard to spot. Some examples of native marketing are posts sponsored by BuzzFeed.
- Marketing Automation – This refers to the software platforms that are used by organizations to automate their repetitive tasks. For example, campaign tracking and reporting, scheduling the posts for various social media platforms, and email newsletters.
Some of the software tools for marketing automation are HubSpot Marketing Automation, Ontraport, SendinBlue, and ActiveCampaign.
These platforms are essential to scale a business. Digital marketing can be a lot of work, but these software tools simplify the processes. They also allow you to organize and keep track of marketing campaigns all in one place.
Also, a lot of these companies have affiliate programs. So, if you have an audience and you end up enjoying their programs, you can make extra cash by promoting them.
- Email Marketing – Email marketing is the oldest form of digital marketing. Businesses and organizations use it to communicate with their customers. Announcement of upcoming events, discounts, or special deals can be sent through email.
An email campaign can also be set up that includes customer welcome emails, blog subscription newsletters, and follow-up emails to the website visitors. Email marketing can be extremely effective for any industry, as long as it’s done right.
In fact, there are even some individuals who have created large email lists and companies will pay for those individuals to send out mass emails with their advertisements. Some companies swear that partnerships like these are how they get the majority of their sales.
Differences between B2B and B2C Digital Marketing
Digital marketing can work for any industry. It does not matter what product or service is being sold. The main goal of a business is to identify the needs of the customer and convert potential customers into sales. All of these can be achieved through digital marketing. But the strategy should vary depending on the type of business.
B2B digital marketing
For a business-to-business or B2B company, online lead generation is the central aspect of digital marketing. The end goal is for a user to speak to a salesperson.
The focus is on getting high quality leads from the website and digital platforms and converting them for the salespeople.
The focus is on business-related platforms like LinkedIn. This is because LinkedIn is where the target demographic of B2B companies are often spending their time.
B2C digital marketing
For a business-to-consumer or B2C company, the goal of digital marketing is to make people visit the website and become customers without a salesperson.
The focus is less on the leads and more on building a speedy buyer’s journey on the website. I.e., the journey from the moment a user visits the website to the moment they buy a product or service.
Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are more important for B2C companies.
What Do Digital Marketers Do?
The primary responsibility of digital marketers is to use various digital platforms, both paid and unpaid, to build awareness for brands and generate business leads. There are multiple digital channels that they use. For example, the website of a company, social media networks, and search engines.
Apart from this, a digital marketer should also be able to use measurable analytics. These analytics gauge the performance of their work. This helps in identifying weak areas of an ad campaign. Once identified, a digital marketer can improve their campaigns to boost performance across all platforms.
Smaller companies may employ a generalist who is knowledgeable in many areas of digital marketing. However, large organizations have multiple specialists who focus on specific channels of the brand’s digital marketing campaign.
Digital Marketing Job Profiles
Some common digital marketing positions are SEO manager, content marketing specialist, social media manager, marketing automation coordinator, and digital marketing manager.
There are also many new positions emerging in digital marketing all the time. This is because the digital space is evolving constantly. If you choose to pursue a career in digital marketing now, you’ll definitely have tons of opportunities for growth throughout your career.
Also, depending on the industry, similar job profiles could have completely different tasks and creative responsibilities. So, you should consider which industry interests you. And, if you end up working in digital marketing but you don’t love your job, keep searching. There are so many roles that you could fill once you have the necessary skills.
But, how do you get those skills?
How to Become a Digital Marketer
Today, digital marketing is a highly sought-after career. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in digital marketing, you’re going to need the right skills. We recommend that you follow this short list we’ve created if you want to gain the skills necessary to start your career in digital marketing.
- Research – First, you should thoroughly research the digital marketing world. This can help you to identify which areas of digital marketing interest you the most. It will also help you decide it’s actually the career path you want to pursue.
- Enroll in a training program – Find someone to teach you the ins and outs of digital marketing. Thinkful’s online digital marketing course is an ideal option for anyone who wants to kickstart their digital marketing career, fast.
The course has been designed to specifically land you a job you’ll love post-graduation. You’ll also have access to a 1-on-1 mentor, and you don’t pay a cent towards your education until you’re hired in the field. It’s the best route to go.
- Earn a certification – Get certified to gain an edge on the competition. This is another reason that taking a respectable course should be a priority for you. Employers want to know that you have all the skills it takes to help their company thrive.
- Continue learning – Even after landing a job, continue to upgrade your knowledge in the industry. Digital marketing is a quickly evolving industry, and you’ll need to keep up. Take mini-courses whenever you can, listen to podcasts from experts, and find good books to read.
If you’re still unsure of the direction you should take, Thinkful’s team is ready to help you. Everyone on the team is trained to guide you in the right direction to help you ultimately land a job you’ll love.
You can also take a look at more useful digital marketing articles to get a better feel of the industry. There’s a lot to learn, but it’s definitely a career worth exploring.