Today’s business and commercial world is to a large extent based around online activity.
Where the internet was once mostly informational only, now all kinds of everyday things are done at a computer, tablet, or cell phone screen from ordering groceries to controlling air conditioning.
This means that all businesses looking for growth, need to utilize technology by appealing to and communicating with internet users as potential clients and customers. This is where digital marketing comes into play.
What is Digital Marketing?
In short, digital marketing is promoting a business’s product or service through online channels using a variety of marketing methods.
Today, it is crucial for businesses to be connected to their customers, Toll-free numbers and “contact us” forms are no longer enough to maintain loyalty and generate growth.
Applying more modern methods is essential for any company that wants to grow its customer base and increase its revenue.
Popular Digital Methods of Marketing
1. Pay Per Click Advertising:
Successful marketing efforts might include pay-per-click (PPC) promotions on prominent search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Google Ads is hugely popular. These ads are seen at the top and bottom of the results when users perform search queries. Microsoft Advertising (Bing) and Verizon Media (Yahoo, AOL) are more cost-effective but do not have the same reach as Google Ads.
Regardless of the avenue used, PPC involves one of several intentions.
- The end goal may solely be to create awareness of a brand or service to the general public. An example would be a recent startup or a company that has poor sales or low visibility for a specific product, and thus, brand development is key to its marketing strategy.
- Conversely, marketing practices might include ways to convince or encourage users to buy something immediately. Companies, in this instance, are looking for sales, and ultimately brand loyalty.
- Another goal is the identification of a target market, thereby allowing the business to create more broad marketing campaigns with the intent of warming up potential leads and selling to them later on when they are more receptive to the idea of purchasing. This sales funnel is typical for items that are quite expensive.
2. Social Media Promotions
Another type of popular marketing campaign is social media marketing where sites such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, What’s App, Tik Tok, Pinterest, and the like are used. They appeal directly to potential customers and allow one-on-one direct interactions.
Often consumers are encouraged to leave comments, offer suggestions, and even register complaints for a quick resolution.
By interacting publicly and openly with customers, business owners have a better way to gauge brand loyalty, and at the same, time fix inadequacies in their products, services, and support systems.
In addition to maintaining social media web pages, businesses can choose to buy advertising on the same channels with the hope of gaining even more exposure to a larger, more relevant audience.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing can be a valid form of digital marketing, as long as the business can keep its recipients engaged by offering substance in their messages.
Typically, there should be a good balance of both value-adding content marketing and direct or indirect selling.
4. Search Engine Optimization
Many businesses are unaware of the huge opportunity that comes from search engine optimization (SEO) as a form of digital marketing.
By focusing on both off-site practices and on-site optimization, websites can benefit from free organic traffic from search engines for months and even years, as such providing an excellent ROI.
For example, by building links from related websites to a company’s website, it can rank higher in the Google search results, which brings in more free visitors. (This process is called off-site SEO or backlinking).
On-site SEO refers to the proper placement of relevant keywords and phrases in order to increase relevance which can then increase the site’s position in the search engine rankings or results pages.
Each webpage or blog post might be built to target a specific search query. Again, the goal is to add exposure and attract more visitors to a site.
It goes without saying, that with all these forms of advertising there are advantages and disadvantages of each type of digital marketing.
Advantages and Disadvantages of SEO
- By honing in on specific cities, regions, or states, businesses benefit locally from search engine results (SERPS). For example, a baker in a certain town does not need to rank globally, as doing so does not bring customers to their bakery. But they could maintain a prominent local position in the SERPs, and even have customers call straight from their mobile phones directly from the listing, simply by doing proper SEO.
- Top search engine rankings are a huge asset to any online entity. Being listed in the first or second position means that the cost of acquisition is very low. Search engine traffic is free once you are ranking and it keeps on coming.
- Excessive use of SEO in a way that is deemed manipulative can result in serious penalties, particularly from Google.
- There are many bogus services out there just waiting to take money for practices that are not healthy or advisable for any website, sadly the SEO industry is full of scammers.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Paid Ads
- Easier to access a target market. Customer data is important in today’s marketing environment, and by buying advertising through any of the major channels. Marketing campaigns can be precisely directed because the traffic source has plenty of information about its users and the devices they use.
- Depending on the platform, it can be quite effective and inexpensive to add more users to an email list, create awareness about a brand, or establish some form of engagement with new readers.
- Can be quite costly for someone that doesn’t have an effective strategy in place. It is imperative that marketers know and understand their ultimate goals of an advertising campaign. They should also establish how much they are willing to spend (and potentially lose) if those goals are not met.
- In order to achieve profitable conversion rates, advertisers need to be able to read reports and make decisions based on key performance indicators (KPIs). Each aspect of all advertising campaigns is documented and includes factors such as the age of the user, the device used, operating system and version, browser and version, as well as language and country.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Free Social Media
- Since it is free to create most of these pages, there is no reason why any business shouldn’t want to gain more exposure, and offer their customers another way to interact with them.
- People love to be online and the more they can engage with a brand online, the better.
- Provides another form of credibility for potential customers when they are conducting research. They can see relevant product images, get ideas, read reviews, as well as gain information about the company, its values, and its history.
- Businesses can supplement their SEO efforts by sending positive signals to search engines (such as Google) with social media marketing.
- The basic cost of using this type of marketing platform is only the time and labor to complete the task.
- It can be very difficult and time-consuming to build up a big enough following to make any difference to a business. In fact, it can be detrimental if social media pages have little to no engagement as people may see that as off-putting.
- Social media accounts need to appear active They require constant updating, and queries must be answered consistently, and within a reasonable time frame.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Paid Social Media Ads
- Because there are so many social-type sites available, a business can pick and choose the ones that are most likely to appeal to their target audience for increased profitability.
- Social media marketing will provide faster access to potential customers than waiting for organic traffic from SEO or organic social media marketing.
- Paid advertising is about volume and dollars spent. Competition is fierce for ad placements, and as such, it is often tricky to gain any traction from advertising. The bigger players dominate the positions, both by being prominently displayed and by being shown more often due to large budgets.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Email Marketing
- For companies that have established email lists, advance notice of promotions, as well as issuing coupons are a great use of email newsletters. It provides a positive rapport with readers and nudges them to action.
- Emails also give companies quick access to customers by letting them know about product updates and recalls. This marketing area is fast, efficient, and simple to do, yet has long-term brand building and direct sales benefits.
- Email marketing can be hard to do well. It is a complicated sales funnel. Potential customers need to trust the company behind the email. They need to stay engaged long enough to receive the emails and finally buy something. The company needs to manage its lists, and they need to employ resources to produce appealing ads through email.
Internet marketing is a key part of what any good marketing agency does on a daily basis for their clients.
In general, the advantages of digital marketing far outweigh the disadvantages – assuming the right principles are followed and implemented into the planned marketing strategies.
New digital technology is here to stay, and advancements appear at lightning speeds. Marketers need to keep up, as well as run the day-to-day operations of their businesses.
This means that a marketing agency is all that more useful, removing the obstacles that are unfamiliar to business owners and adding value to their client’s bottom lines.
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