What is digital marketing and why is it so important?
There are always new advancements in any discipline and marketing is no different. With the world going digital, it is no wonder that traditional methods of marketing have fallen behind. Digital marketing has taken over and pretty much rules the marketing world. Every business is expected to have a digital marketing strategy in place, and a darn good one. Otherwise, they will expect to fall behind their competitors.
But what exactly is digital marketing – and why is it so important to us all?
SAS describes digital marketing as simply ‘the promotion of products or brands via one or more forms of electronic media’. Electronic media mainly means the internet, but it can also mean mobile phones, tablets, email marketing and various other digital channels.
Digital marketing is such a wide term and people mean different things when referring to it. There are a ton of branches of digital marketing, such as:
- Search Engine Optimisation, which is the process of getting your site recognised by Google and ranked higher in search engines.
- PPC advertising, or Search Engine Marketing, which is “paid-per-click” advertising. This is where you pay for traffic to be directed to your site.
- Mobile marketing, which is vague terminology for digital marketing directed towards mobile devices. It could refer to ad placements within apps.
- Social Media Marketing, which is different to social media management. This is using things like Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, InMail Campaigns in LinkedIn, Instagram Ads to market your products/services.
- Email marketing, which uses services like MailChimp or Aweber to send out email campaigns to help drive sales.
- Blogging, which doesn’t seem like a form of digital marketing in itself, but can help boost your SEO and in turn help your marketing.
- Banner Ads, which are graphics that can be used in display ads on websites all over the world.
…and many more. Digital marketing is essentially an umbrella term for all of these methods.
Digital marketing has become essential to all businesses, purely because of the sheer number of consumers using social media and search engines nowadays. Research has found that 6 in 10 shoppers would stop buying from a retailer if they were unable to meet their digital needs and expectations. A study by Propeller found that 93% of online adults have at least 1 social media account, and the average adult online has 6 accounts on different platforms. Branding Bricks report that, for the first time, the average person now spends more time browsing online than they do with all other types of media. That includes TV, newspapers and magazines.
Cost is no longer a factor
Affordability is also another factor in the rapid growth of digital marketing – and one of the crucial reasons why it’s so important for businesses. In the past, taking out an advert in a magazine, or funding a direct mailshot could be costly. This would leave smaller businesses to struggle to reach their target audience without splashing the cash. Now, with the rise of things like social media and email marketing, reaching wider audiences and communicating your messages to them is more budget-friendly than ever before.
The use of analytics is a major plus
One of the biggest benefits of digital marketing over traditional marketing, is the use of analytics. It was extremely difficult to understand how successful a marketing campaign was before. Yes, you could tell if your sales and performance figures increased, but was that because of your marketing, or other factors? Now, whenever a company launches a new digital marketing campaign, they have an almost limitless array of metrics to browse. They can track exactly how successful each campaign has been and where it can improve. From email opens and clicks, to social media engagement and time spent on page, the marketing statisticians out there have more to sink their teeth into than ever before.
Digital marketing is unavoidable. With consumers moving on from traditional forms of media en masse, the future lies in the digital world. Businesses which still don’t have a comprehensive digital strategy could find themselves being left behind.