If you run a business that is going to succeed today, there’s one place you should be focusing on marketing: the internet. Digital marketing via the web is one of the most effective and powerful ways to reach the consumers who may want to do business with you - mostly because the internet is where people are spending the majority of their time consuming media.
While companies should be relying on digital marketing today because it is an important and potent strategy, one reason that companies should not be opting for digital marketing is because of its cost-effectiveness. In reality, digital marketing is a strategy that requires as many resources and as much thought as traditional marketing tactics - and here’s why.
What Is Digital Marketing?
If you’re new to the online marketing game, digital marketing is essentially a term that encompasses all of the outbound marketing you choose to do online. This means that when you place ads in places like social media platforms, website headers, YouTube videos and email newsletters, you’re undertaking digital marketing. Digital marketing is different than the inbound marketing you do online, which is when you create high-quality content to draw in potential customers by proving to them you are a trustworthy and knowledgeable company worth doing business with.
While there are many types of digital marketing strategies that companies can focus on, some of the most popular and effective include:
- Pay-per-click ads: With PPC ads, businesses can display ads for their company when users search for relevant keywords using an online search engine. They are only charged for the ads when consumers actually click on it.
- Social media marketing: Many social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, allow companies to buy ads that appear in the platforms’ users feeds.
- Affiliate marketing: With affiliate marketing, publishers (who can be individuals or entire companies) promote products for companies via a variety of platforms and sites in exchange for commission each time a product or service is sold.
- Email marketing: Email marketing is pretty straightforward. Companies collect the emails of potential customers, then send advertising messages to consumers who might be interested in purchasing.
Why Is Digital Marketing Important?
Digital Marketing isn’t just another way to get annoying promotional messages in front of the eyes of people who might want to buy. In fact, it’s a more effective and precise way of marketing to consumers - and it may just make the entire promotional and purchasing process more enjoyable and lucrative for both sellers and buyers. Here’s why it’s important.
People Are Spending More and More Time on the Internet
One reason that digital marketing matters is because it is choosing to advertise in the place where people actually spend time. Experts predict there will be 3.77 billion internet users in 2017 globally, which means that it’s a pretty good place to get discovered by a large number people.
Digital Marketing Is Measurable
When companies used to undertake traditional marketing tactics, like placing billboards or producing television ads, the success of those ads wasn’t exactly measurable - particularly not until a campaign was over. It is very difficult to link traditional marketing tactics to the tangible results they produce.
Alternatively, with digital marketing strategies, companies can access helpful data about how users are engaging with those efforts thanks to analytics programs, then gauge how they are doing in real time. The measurability of digital marketing means that companies can tweak and refine their marketing strategies as they are happening, so that marketers don’t waste time, money and effort on strategies that aren’t working.
Digital Marketing Is Personalizable
In contrast to traditional marketing methods, digital marketing is personalizable. Thanks to technology like programmatic advertising, AI and machine learning, companies are now able to track internet user’s behaviors and preferences, then show them ads for the right products in the right places and at the right times. Not only does personalized marketing result in more purchases and more revenue for companies, it also results in happier internet users. In fact, studies show that 77 percent of online users have chosen, recommended or bought from a brand that offered them a personalized experience.
Why Digital Marketing Isn’t (Necessarily) Cheap
So, you may think of the internet as a free medium - because it is for now. However, just because using the internet is free doesn’t mean that advertising on it is free (or cheap). In reality, a successful digital marketing campaign can cost just as much as a traditional one.
It Requires a Strategy
Digital marketing isn’t as simple as just placing a few ads in the right places. There are countless platforms for advertising on the web today - and you need to make sure you take advantage of all the right ones. For that reason, it’s essential to develop a sound online marketing strategy. This may require the expertise of an internal marketing staff member or an outsourced marketing agency.
It Requires Software/Services
To get ads in all of the right places and ensure customers are happy with the marketing content they are seeing, you need to take advantage of marketing automation software. Automation software costs money - however, the ROI for using software makes the costs worth it.
It’s Becoming More Popular
As more companies turn to digital marketing, online publishers are taking advantage of the growth in order to generate revenues. Platforms like AdWords and Facebook advertising are becoming more expensive, but they’re also necessary to use if you want to reach the right consumers.
Marketing on the internet is crucial today if you want to reach the right audiences and compete with companies in your industry. However, you shouldn’t merely think of it as a way to cut your marketing costs. Instead, re-allocate your marketing dollars to where your target audience is. If that means away from traditional marketing techniques and toward digital marketing, then strongly consider it. You’ll find that you end up with more precise, more consumer-friendly and all around more effective marketing efforts.