Digital marketing. It was the early 2000’s when this term started to become popular. It was the buzzword of that time. People were not sure what to make of it. Neither were they sure about whether or not they would be able to get a positive ROI from this new-age marketing method.
But if you look back a little bit more, you’ll realize that the term “digital marketing” has been around way longer than you previously thought. In fact, it’s been around for over 100 years.
Yes. Don’t believe me?
Check out this picture below:
That’s Guglielmo Marconi. The dude who invented the radio and demonstrated that it is possible to publicly transmit wireless signals. And no, that wasn’t the first WiFi.
Soon after his demonstration in England, morse signals were being transmitted across open waters. It was still only used by the navy and the military, and it would take another decade for the radio to reach the general public. And when it reached the general public, the first thing creators realized is that they could sell stuff through this little thing.
To try it out, the first live broadcast was made from an opera performance at the Met. This was their way of testing the waters and finding out whether people would actually buy stuff.
And guess what? People bought the show tickets!
And that’s how digital marketing was born.
At the root of it, digital marketing is basically an umbrella term for all types of marketing strategies. Whether it be search advertising through Google or offline advertising. It can be done through both.
Why Is Digital Marketing So Important?
Gone were the days when billboards were still one of the best ways of advertising. Not anymore. It’s dead.
Here’s a picture that perfectly sums up the reason why billboards and other types of offline advertising methods are dead.
Not a single passenger will spend their time looking at the road. Instead, they are looking at their Instagram feed, reading emails, chatting with friends, or just watching movies on Netflix.
And I’m not joking.
To top that off, even 9% of the drivers are looking on their phone while driving. So how do you think billboards can survive when almost everyone chooses to look at their phone.
New research suggests that on average, Americans spend more than 11 hours on their electronic devices every single day. And here’s the kicker, there aren’t many hours left in the day after that if you’re sleeping 8 hours every night.
So yes, online marketing will get you the best results because you are literally advertising where everyone is spending their time these days. But there is a place for offline marketing, and we will talk about that in a later blog post. In this post, I want to cover the basics of online marketing that every business owner should know.
Remember, there’s nothing worse than not knowing how to verify the results to determine whether you had a successful campaign or not. So arm yourself with this information.
Always follow this rule: Trust, but verify.
What Are the Basics of Digital Marketing?
These are all the basic things about digital marketing you ought to know before you jump in the game with both feet.
- Website Design
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Search engine optimization
- Social media advertising
- Social media management
- Pay-Per-Click advertising
Before we dive into each one of those topics, you should know that if you engage with any one of the above components you WILL see your business and your online presence grow. There’s no doubt about that. However, you will need to be a bit patient with some of the components because they don’t get you instant results.
To be taken seriously, you need to have a website. This will be the face of your business. There are no faceless corporations on the internet. So it’s important that you care for your website like it’s your baby.
Make sure that it looks good, has a beautiful design, great content and helps your audience improve their lives in a significant way. This will help improve the perceived value of your brand.
Optimize Your Website
There’s nothing worse than having a great website that is not optimized for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). We will go over what it is about later in this post, but you need to make sure that your website is SEO optimized.
Website Should Be Easy to Navigate
This is very important because most people create a very beautiful website. I mean stunning design, but then they mess it up by not making it easier to reach certain areas of their website. Make sure that you don’t make that mistake.
Make sure that every page on your website is tagged and labeled so that users can find what they need.
When its all said and done, content marketing is still the king of digital marketing. It has been the single constant throughout the years while every other component in this list has changed.
Content marketing is a unique marketing approach in which you focus on providing valuable and relevant information on a consistent basis so you can develop an audience that trusts you and values your opinion. Once you develop that, then you can make sure of strategic call-to-actions to drive sales.
You can provide content through several different methods: video, audio, blog posts, newsletters, white papers, case studies, research papers/reports, infographics, webinars, e-books, etc.
It all depends on how comfortable you are with which method.
So why is content marketing so important?
Well, it’s simple. People like to be more informative now. They like to make educated decisions and they take the time to research before deciding on whether or not to purchase something. This means that they are asking questions about a particular product.
Now this is where your brand comes in.
When a lead asks a question, who’s there to answer them?
Are you there or your competitor is there? Because you can forget the sale if your competitor is there to answer all of their questions.
Remember, it’s all about being visible and being able to grab the attention of your customers. If you are able to do that, you can then move on building brand loyalty and providing them with impeccable customer support.
So where do you start with your content marketing strategy?
Ideally, you’d want to have high-value content for all the different parts of the purchasing cycle. This means all the way from the research phase, down to the after-sales questions a buyer might have, you need to make sure that you have all of them covered.
Think about it, why do you think we spend hours on researching topics and then hours on writing up informative blog posts like these?
It’s because we want to make sure that you have all the information you need to make the right decision, which is becoming our client 🙂
Email marketing is the holy grail of digital marketing. This is one component that has the potential to generate instant cash if you are able to build trust and rapport with your subscribers. It is one of the most popular methods of marketing.
In fact, 82% of B2B and B2C businesses use email marketing today.
But Nabil, if everyone’s using it, doesn’t that mean that people won’t be able to read my emails?
That’s true, but only if your emails are dull and boring.
You need to understand that people have a very finite amount of attention span. If you are able to grab their attention, then it’s your job to make it worth their while. This means that you will have to make your emails stand out.
You can use a ton of techniques to do that. But like everything in digital marketing, you will need to test it out yourself and see what works for your audience and your niche.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
So you followed what I said in the Website Design section, and you made sure that your website is SEO optimized. You even made sure that it is mobile optimized because every single user is important to you.
Now all you need is let the target audience find you. This is where the exciting stuff happens.
Because almost every person searches about the product before purchasing it. Now, the intent of their search differs depending on which part of the purchasing cycle they are in.
But before we move on, let’s first talk about what search engine optimization really means.
So the process of SEO optimizing your website means inserting several keywords, structuring content and overall making the website in such a manner that ensures that your website will appear within the top results whenever someone enters your target keyword(s) in the search bar.
This image perfectly sums up what I’m saying.
So how do you go about SEO-ing your website?
Find the Right Keywords.
This is the first step. You need to research your industry, get your hands dirty and find out what people are searching for. Then check out what keywords are your competitors already ranking for. And make sure that you’re choosing the right keywords because this is the step that will determine whether your SEO campaign will be successful or not.
Use the Keywords in Your Website’s Domain Name OR URL.
One of the best ways to make sure that Google recognizes your website and what it’s about is by incorporating your keywords into your domain name or your URL.
Search engines have bots that go through each and every line of text in your website. They are essentially reading your website, trying to figure out what it’s about. And by optimizing your website, you are giving them pointers that help them determine exactly what your website is about and whether or not you should be ranking highly for that particular keyword.
Use Keywords in Title Tags & Header Tags.
This is another method of giving pointers to the search engine bots that tells them what your website is all about.
Take our website for instance. When you search for our domain name in Google, you will see this:
The text you’re seeing on the top of the listing is the Title tag.
If you want to increase the relevance of your website for a particular keyword, incorporate them in your title tags.
Header tags are the HTML tags (H1, H2, H3, H4,… H6). These tags are used to structure the content of a particular page. Header tags are also ranked by importance. The higher the number of header tag is, the lower its importance is. So the importance of an H6 tag is lower than the importance of an H1 tag.
Again, if you want to increase the relevance of your website to a particular keyword, incorporate that keyword into your header tags as well.
Social Media Advertising
As the name suggests, it means using social media platforms to promote and sell your products/services.
If you’re just trying out digital marketing and want to learn the basics, this is a great way to quickly go through the learning curve. The biggest advantage of social media advertising is that you can select your audience and create ads that are laser targeted to them. Let’s say that you wanted to advertise your SEO services to dentists in San Jose, California.
You can do that.
Not only that you will also get instant feedback about whether your ads are performing well or not. This gives you the ability to tweak and optimize your ad almost immediately.
You can use different social media platforms to target the same audience as well. This also helps you gain the mindshare of your audience because if they see you almost everywhere (not in an annoying way), your brand will always be on top of their mind.
Social Media Management
I know social media advertising and social media management sound the same, but they’re not.
With social media management, you are managing all of your social accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) on a single platform. Companies like Hootsuite make this possible and easier for business owners like you so you don’t have to open 6 different tabs in your browser to share the same content.
You can do that from a single platform and even schedule posts so that your profile keeps getting updated regularly.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
PPC is a form of advertising in which you only pay when a user clicks on your ad. There are several different platforms that offer PPC advertising. The most popular ones are Google Ads and Facebook Advertising.
You might be asking, “Why do advertisers use PPC when they have social media advertising?”
That’s a good question.
The reason why they use PPC, especially from Google Ads is that they want to get pre-qualified traffic.
What do I mean by pre-qualified?
It means that the lead is already interested in your product, they are ready to buy but they just need a little nudge to get over the fence. Obviously, I’m simplifying this, but that’s what it essentially means.
And the best way to get pre-qualified traffic is through Google Ads because you can target specific keywords for which when the user searches, your ads will show up. This is very similar to SEO, but you’re paying for every click you receive.
Now that you know the basics of digital/online marketing, you can start searching for different strategies that you can use, or you can even come up with your own. For every component, I’ve provided you a big picture. There’s a heap of information and strategies that you can learn for each of those components. And no single person can be the expert for all the components. It very hard to be.
Either way, the main benefit of knowing the basics of each of these components is that you now have the overall idea of how each of them work and now you can decide which component to choose and go with.