In simple terms, digital marketing is the promotion of products and brands through the use of electronic media. It is the use of digital technology to facilitate targeted and measurable communications with customers, with a view to building and maintaining interactive relationships with them in order to increase brand loyalty.
Where digital marketing differs from traditional marketing is in its ability to reach customers and obtain nearly instant feedback and results. While traditional marketing is able to target customers via geographic locations and through interest groups, digital marketing is able to target individual customers anywhere in the world, learn their shopping habits and interact with them on a personal level. More importantly, it allows customers to find you. With the use of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and well thought out social media campaigns, customers who are in the market for your services or product can be guided to your website and encouraged to become involved with your business. This combined with the fact that traditional methods are usually a lot more expensive and that data from non digital ad campaigns are collected long after the fact and is not as accurate, makes that digital marketing the ideal way to build a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your customers.
There is a common misconception that digital marketing is just the technical term for social media, but there is much more to it than that. While social media is indeed a big and highly useful part of digital marketing, digital marketing covers a wide range of online marketing tactics that that encourage customer acquisition and retention such as:
The ability to send out inexpensive, customisable and relevant updates and offers on a mass scale via email is one of digital marketing’s most powerful tactics. It allows businesses to target individual customers and provide them with the kind information that they want to receive. With the use of email marketing software like MailChimp, businesses can see the results of their efforts in real time and use that information to tailor future emails to each individual.
What separates online advertising from traditional advertising is its ability to be tracked and interactivity. Customers can choose to click on an advert and find out more about your product or service or choose to ignore it. By giving customers a choice, in an age where people are constantly bombarded with unwanted information, businesses are able to avoid the kind of negative publicity that destroys brand loyalty. Advertising is about raising brand awareness and increasing brand loyalty and letting customers approach your business on their own will build trust make potential customers more receptive to future communication.
Offering subscribers a reward or finder’s fee for customer referrals is a highly effective way to acquire new business. By providing existing customers with a quick and easy way to share your business with colleagues, friends and family online, you are able to increase brand awareness and sales at very little cost.
Search Engine Optimisation
Nowadays, it’s not enough to have a great looking website. A site that hasn’t been properly SEO’d won’t be rank high enough in a search engine results page to be immediately visible to prospective customers. Properly search engine optimised websites are clear, up to date and well designed and that encourages customer acquisition and retention with relevant content and good usability.
Pay Per Click
The best thing about PPC advertising is that you only pay when a prospective customer clicks on your advert. It is used on search engine results pages and banner ads and is based on customer keyword searches which enable businesses to target the right people at the least possible expense.
While online advertising, SEO and email campaigns are about raising brand awareness and driving customers to your website, social media is about getting them involved with your business. It gives your existing and prospective customers a voice and enables them to openly discuss your business and products/services with you and other likeminded individuals. Careful management of social platforms like Facebook and Twitter will go a long way to building an emotional and trusting relationship with your customers and will encourage them to spread awareness of your brand.
Online Reputation Management
Through the use of ORM tools, businesses are able to monitor what the public is saying about its brand, products and services online. By listening to what its customers are saying, engaging with them on a personal level and then providing them with the service that they require, businesses are able to better their brands reputation.
While traditional PR focuses requires the passing on of press releases to journalists, web PR can be done in house and posted on company websites with ease and is there for anyone to see.