What is Digital Marketing?

What is Digital Marketing?

Confused by the gobbledegook that’s surrounds digital marketing? Ok, let’s get the lid of this can of worms because it means very little to most people apart from “It’s something to do with websites and the internet isn’t it?” How about a stab at a definition? Hmm.., what about…

“Digital marketing or online marketing (previously known as e-marketing, internet marketing or even web marketing) is a strategy which relies on the internet to connect with prospects and customers through various digital channels.”

Any the wiser? Nope, didn’t think so, as it goes nowhere near explaining in laymen’s terms what the wide, powerful and ever-changing landscape of digital marketing exists of, and how it can impact your company’s fortunes. For a start, what are ‘channels’ for goodness sake? Well, here are some of the digital ‘marketing channels’ I specifically deal with:

  • Website (Design & Development)
  • SEO
  • Content Marketing
  • Blogging/Copywriting
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Social Media Management
  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

They all have their niche, but what do they all actually mean and how could they apply to your business?

 

Websites

We all know what a website looks like, but what is it actually for? Think of it as a fixed reference point for things that you would like your prospective or existing customers to know about you. It communicates your products, services, information, answers and brand re-enforcement in a way that can positively influence anyone who has been pointed towards it using other marketing channels or search engine queries. Websites are open for business 24 hrs a day and 365 days a year and it can deal with many people at the same time (unlike humans). It also helps pre-qualify leads, so that if they contact you – they’re interested.

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 SEO (Search Engine Marketing)

The simple answer is that SEO is the process of improving the performance of your website to rank it higher ‘organically’ on the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages) when someone is searching for keywords or key phrases via a search engine such as Google. It increases the quantity and quality of the traffic that visits your website through search engines. The complicated answer involves the many facets that make up SEO.

Content Marketing

Content marketing needs a little time investment, but it’s a powerful way to demonstrate authority and expertise on a variety of subjects which in turn helps attract more attention to your website. It offers authoritative information, help or advice on subjects which do not relate directly to the selling of your products or services or seek to promote your brand. By becoming a creditable resource on topics which are important to potential customers, you are far more likely to get discovered by the right audience having earned their trust.

Email marketing

‘I thought email marketing was dead?’ Rumours of the death of emailing marketing have been greatly exaggerated thanks to the failure of many companies to come to terms with what it takes for it to be seen as successful. It’s a great way of getting a highly personalised message to people who are either existing customers or who have opted into hearing from you. Well crafted emails are more likely to be opened by those who see you as a trusted source of information and are a proven way of increasing sales.

Mobile marketing

Here’s some interesting stats for the use of smartphones:

  • 80% of internet users own a smartphone
  • 65% of email is first opened on a mobile device
  • 48% of users start their mobile internet sessions using a search engine
  • 56% of B2B buyers frequently use smartphones to look at sellers content
  • 95% of adults primarily use their smartphones to access content/information

Google uses the mobile version of your website as a benchmark rating for your PC version; need any other reasons for ensuring your website is mobile–friendly?

Social Media

Social media is a divisive subject for many which is not surprising as there are so many angles from which you can engage with it.

Does this sound like you? ‘I hate social media!’; ‘I don’t have time to mess around it.’; ‘It doesn’t work.’; ‘Social media is for people who have nothing better to do.’

My suggestion would be to put your prejudice, ignorance, fears and excuses aside and realise one thing – social media is going nowhere for a while and if you’re not engaging with it, the chances are, your successful competitors are. There is, however, a caveat – if you’re not using social media intelligently, making it interesting and engaging, then not measuring the results – then you might as well not be using it at all.

For most small companies, investing in a website can be a huge dilemma. Do you continue to rely on word of mouth and repeat business, or do  enter into the dark and murky world of digital marketing, of which you know absolutely nothing about?

Well, if you haven’t got a website, you’re not alone, take a look at these rather eyebrow-raising stats:

  • There are 5.9 million private businesses in the UK (Wales has 222,160)
  • Nearly 2 million do not have websites
  • 95% of these businesses employ fewer than 10 people
  • 99.9% of businesses in the UK are SME’s and they employ 60% of the working UK population

That’s a lot of companies operating under an invisible cloak to a whole new world of potential customers, and the more digital-savvy competitors will be hoping that it remains that way. Let’s take a look at the wider picture of websites and their impact on a company’s profile, brand and lead generation.

 

But do I actually need a website?

Maybe not, but if you haven’t got one, it’s probably because of one or more of the following reasons: you have too many customers; you’re making too much money; your customers don’t use computers; you know something that the rest of the digital marketing industry doesn’t or perhaps you work for the secret service?

Frivolously put maybe, but more apt reasons are likely to include:

  • Having small geographic boundaries as a local business
  • Being happy with the size of the business and the lifestyle it brings
  • Not having the infrastructure to grow the business any larger
  • Existing solely on referrals
  • Social media generates enough work for you

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

You may have heard of Google AdWords (PPC – Pay Per Click) which dominates the SEM digital marketing space to the extent that around 83% of Google’s total revenue comes from it. Be warned, it can enable you to appear at the top of the results pages against any of your competitors but not only will you have to pay for the privilege, you will burn a massive hole in your pocket if you don’t know what you’re doing. Bing and Yahoo have their own versions and tend to be cheaper alternatives, but appear in front of a fraction of the Google audience.

 

What would work for me?

There are many ways to skin a cat and there are more channels that come under the banner of ‘digital marketing’, but I prefer to stick to what I know best. A detailed look at your business and industry would reveal which channels would be more suitable to focus on before looking at any costs. As a self-dependant, self-employed consultant, I don’t charge rates that bricks and mortar agencies need to charge so don’t be frightened about discussing the inevitable.

 

Where do I start?

Before you make any decisions, I offer a free consultation where we will go through the layers of your business to examine where your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities lie. It’s no good luring new prospects if the value proposition isn’t backed up by competence, knowledge, communication, good service, quality customer care, reliability,  quality products etc.

Always do as it says on the tin as honesty will pay; you will get found out if you don’t, and the last thing you need is negativity aimed at your company rebounding around the world wide web. What can work for you – can equally work against you.

Get in Touch

Serious about getting your business to move up a gear, but not sure how to make it happen? Then please drop me a line.

But don't leave it for another day, that day has a strange knack of never arriving!