Defining Digital Marketing

We have been hearing a lot about digital marketing these days and how it is absolutely necessary to have one for any business. Just like how internet users grow minute after minue, new and traditional business owners and brand managers are now exploring online opportunities through running a digital marketing campaign. With this exploration of online opportunities comes the basic question in the minds of business owners, brand managers and the likes – What is digital marketing?

Here comes the tricky part: so many sets of information are available online that it has become quite a challenge to filter out the good and accurate definitions, more so to arrive in one complete and substantial definition. In fact, when you type in the phrase “Digital Marketing” in Google, you will see around 504,000,000 results. That would mean millions of varying interpretations and definitions on the same subject.

A good number of blogs and websites would say that digital marketing or online marketing is a type of marketing and sales approach that invovles the use of popular and authoritative online channels and websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. in promoting a product or service; such approach increases traffic and popularity to their website and ultimately to their business. Therefore, online marketing as others would say is the type of marketing that enables a business to reach a mass audience in the shortest possible time using popular online platforms.

Aside from appearing in popular social media pages, others closely associate online marketing with a dominating online presence. A dominating online presence is usually determined by the webpage’s rank in the popular Search Engine Results Page (SERP), such approach is referred to as Search Engine Optimization.

On the other hand, other practitioners focus on the “ends” or the outcome of the campaign in defining digital marketing. They say it is one of the most convenient ways of measuring online sales and conversion of website visitors. Because of the technology involved, business owners are able to easily measure how they score with their target consumers. A lot of software and services (for free or for a fee) are being offered to accurately measure website hits, unique page views, likes, shares, comments, Tweets, and even sales. Thanks to the internet, online business owners can now conveniently measure their reach in detail, so they would know if a campaign is working as planned.

While all explanations mentioned above are correct, each is just an aspect of a greater and more complete definition:

We define Digital Marketing as a branch of marketing that makes use of integrated digital technologies to disseminate communication that is targeted and measurable with the end goal of acquiring and building relationships with new and existing customers.

If you carefully disect the definition above you will find that each word used is indispensable in determining the true essence of digital marketing. Through integrated digital technologies, businesses are able to promote their campaigns and reach the masses with just a couple of clicks. The advancement of technology, the way people react and use them at an amazingly fast rate and a business’ ability to adjust and adapt to the way technology changes the marketing landscape connects the business to its consumers like never before.

This type of marketing campaign should be integrated in such a way that multiple avenues are utilized in a harmonious manner to work towards one goal – to reach and communicate to a “targeted” online market. With the opportunity to engage and build a strong relationship with the consumers as the most important benefit of running a digital marketing campaign, businesses now are able to interact and connect with consumers real-time.

What I Learned About Digital Marketing From Having Bats In My Home

Yes, you heard that right: bats INSIDE my home. To say I’ve been creeped out is an understatement, but unfortunately, anyone who’s ever had to deal with bats knows that it’s not an easy fix. They are elusive creatures that humans have been studying for years. And when the exterminator says “I can’t help you,” you know you’re in trouble.

As I’ve reflected on this terrifying experience this summer, I’ve made a few connections between how you deal with bats inside your home, and how you manage digital marketing in today’s world.

LOOK FOR THE EVIDENCE.

You may not see bats, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. You see, in this entire process, I still have yet to see a single bat. The way our house works is that we have exposed logs as the beam structure for our roof and it’s all exposed. So, while we have bats “in” our house, they are between the ridge of our roof and the very top beam that runs along the length of our house. How did we know we had a problem? Well, guano. The [email protected]%* was really hitting the fan in our case because their guano was literally being pushed off of that top beam and falling every night onto our loft floor when the critters were moving at dawn and dusk. We never saw the animals themselves, but we saw the “evidence” of them.

In digital marketing, you may not know exactly how different strategies work. We can’t see Google and Facebook’s algorithms, or see exactly how people click through digital ads. What we can see are the results: the evidence if you will. When you are looking for proof that your digital marketing strategies are actually working, you need to look at your stats for social media, emails, website traffic, and paying customers. Are you collecting evidence or even looking for evidence in the first place?

You need to set up the right systems in order to collect data to see if your marketing strategies are working. Set up your website analytics to track your web traffic. Monitor your social media analytics and you email analytics. It takes time and work to check these, but by doing so on a regular basis, you can begin to inform future digital marketing efforts.

GET THE RIGHT TOOLS.

We are still building our arsenal of tools, and when we decided how we were going to seal off the interior of our house from these bats, we knew we needed a few more tools. This included a heavy-duty ladder to reach the top of our ceiling. We also had to purchase tinted caulk specifically for log homes. We also needed some rock-climbing gear for extra safety measures, but luckily we already had those! The tools allowed us to solve our problem, but we could not have done the project without the ladder, caulk, or even the rock climbing gear.

In the same way, you need tools to make your digital marketing work well. You need analytics tools to measure your platforms. You also need research tools to curate and inspire great content. You need tools to protect your websites from hackers and to keep them healthy. Sometimes the best tool you can have is an expert who truly understands content marketing so that you don’t waste time on worthless efforts. But perhaps the best tool you can have when you are doing digital marketing is your content plan. We are big believers in having a content strategy that directs all of your efforts from your web copy to your social posts and tweets, to your blog topics.

TRY SOMETHING.

We had two different exterminators come out to consult on our bat problem. One said they couldn’t help, but referred us to a bat expert. This expert came out and gave us a wealth of information we needed to understand bats a little bit more. We discussed a ton of possibilities of what might be happening and then created a plan for how we would handle them. The problem, as I alluded to earlier, was that bats are still very much unknown. This meant that our planned course of action did not necessarily guarantee that we would resolve the bat issue. We may need to try something and then try something else until we found a solution.

Digital marketing is a similar situation. With an ever-changing digital landscape, and organic behavior by fickle humans online, it can be hard to know if a marketing campaign will be fully successful. That’s where research, A/B testing, strategic filtering, and monitoring campaigns comes in handy. What you do at first may not be the ultimate successful solution. However, you can learn from that first attempt and make smarter marketing decisions moving forward.

Fortunately, (knock on wood) we have been bat free for a while now and our interior seal off seems to be working. Little by little, we are working to improve this house that we bought, and sometimes that includes “adventures” like this one. These experiences help build a stronger structure to our homes, and also to our digital marketing. Whether you are evicting bats from your home, or working to improve your digital marketing, you can make progress! We’re living proof of that!

What Is Digital Marketing and What Does It Mean to My Business?

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is the use of digital technology to deliver your marketing messages and to allow your customers to interact with your business.

Traditionally marketing has been about pushing your messages to your customer. With technology, now you can enter into a dialogue with your customers and deliver what they actually want and not want you think they want. Often there is quite a gap and digital marketing is what allows you to communicate one to one with your customers and on a mass scale.

So what areas does digital marketing cover?

For me Digital Marketing includes:

  • Web Sites which includes:
    • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Getting found on Google etc
    • Pay Per Click (PPC) – Paying for somebody to find you on Google etc
    • Banner Adverts – Paying for banners to get visitors to your site
    • Ecommerce – The ability to buy and sell products, services and information over the Internet.
  • Consumer Reviews – Consumer reviews are a powerful way to get consumers on to your eCommerce site as they make the purchasing decision easier as the reviews are by consumers who have purchased the product. Whole businesses are built around this concept such as TripAdvisor.
  • Blogs. Personal web sites with stories, expert opinion etc that you believe will help your readers, customers and stakeholders.
  • Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Google+, Ushi, Xing etc. These are web based systems that allow you to connect and share information such as ideas, links, photos, videos with like minded people. They can also generate income for your business and so can be routes to market for your business. They can be great ways to connect with people who you may not be able to get to by any other means. Twitter can be a great source of publicly available real time information and has reported major global events ahead of the world’s press.
  • Social Media News. Mashable is by far the biggest social media news site.
  • Online PR. There are specific web sites for making press releases available to the press. Prlog.org and helpareporter.com are examples.
  • Webinars/Events – Webinars are one to many seminars distributed across the Internet. This allows you to present to a large number of people independent of location. Events are traditional meetings or workshops but are marketed through Social networks such as Linkedin.
  • Email Marketing – The sending out of bulk emails which you believe are relevant to the people you are sending the message to.
  • Lead Nuturing – This is where a prospect gives you their email address in exchange for something free. This is usually an eBook (in pdf format), video, course of emails on how to do something.
  • Viral Marketing – The sending out of a message which is so compelling that people forward it on to other people unknown to you. A great way to send out a message if you get it right.
  • Video – Increasingly popular method of sharing ideas, passing on information and selling on the web. Great for selling more complex products or services. YouTube is the most popular at the present but video is becoming embedded into more digital media.
  • Music/Podcasts. Spotify is becoming the most popular legal file sharing system as it gives you access to a large range of music. Podcasts are voice recordings about a particular subject. They can be download for listening to on computer or MP3 players at a later date. Great for relaxation or for learning about a new subject whilst travelling.
  • Chat/Instant Messaging/Skype. Chat and Instant Messaging are systems for conversations using a keyboard which are done in real time. I.e. one person types something and the other responds. Both need to be present and online for this to work. Users of Facebook, Bebo etc use this, especially the younger generation. Skype is an internet based video and phone system that allows Skype users to call each other for free or at lot low cost and is becoming increasingly popular for business use and will grow now that the video version is available on Facebook.
  • Smartphone or Mobile Apps. Smartphone or mobile apps (or software applications which is where the term is derived from) are small pieces of computer software that run on your phone that allow you to do things that you would normally do on a computer. The need to work anywhere, anytime means that these will become increasing popular with business systems starting to appear on them. Great for anybody who works away from the office including executives, technical and sales people. Also watch for a growing number of consumers using their mobiles for online purchases as they fill their time waiting for something.
  • Cloud based storage/File Sharing. The Cloud is for most purposes another name for the Internet. So Cloud based storage is the ability to store information on the internet including backups and sending large files to customers and suppliers. DropBox and Yousendit are examples of systems for sharing large files between unrelated users. There are a wide range of suppliers of remote backup systems now with most corporates including them in their backup strategies. Personal File sharing is also available for two or more computers to be linked together to share information including music and videos. Personal File Sharing is generally not a business tool for larger corporates.
  • Cloud based systems. These are systems that allow you to work anywhere. Google has Google Docs, Microsoft has Office 365. A lot of third party software providers are moving their systems onto the Cloud so that customers can access them from anywhere and don’t have to worry about their own IT infrastructure. Companies are moving their IT infrastructure on to the Cloud in order to reduce costs as all the infrastructure is managed by a third party.
  • Extranets/Web based Systems. Companies are now looking to give customers and suppliers access to their information (through Extranets) and their systems (through Web based systems). This allows customers and suppliers to access to information relevant to them and enables them to do any processing on a DIY basis saving you both time and money such as the entering and progressing of orders and checking stock levels.
  • Remote Access. The ability to work anywhere means that you sometimes need access to your computer at home or work. Remote access through web sites such as Teamview and Logmein are a great way to get at critical documents away from the computer. Some of these systems allow you to do on line demonstrations of your product and service. This saves you and your customer time and money.
  • Online Games/Gaming. More gaming companies are moving their operations on to the web so that their services can be accessed anywhere anytime. Also notice that more consumer applications have games technology or ideas built in to them in order to make it more fun to buy. The term is called gamification. This could be a challenge for parents as the line becomes blurred between buying something and playing a game.

In an age where systems are everywhere businesses need to understand how to exploit Digital Marketing as it is a means to improving the service to your customers, driving down costs and making your organization more agile.

All organizations large and small need to understand Digital Marketing and have a strategy of how they are going to exploit the opportunities that Digital Marketing has to offer.