What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is the use of digital technology to deliver your marketing messages and allow your customers to engage with your business.
Traditionally, marketing is about pushing your messages to the customer. With technology, you can now engage in dialogue with your customers and deliver what they actually want, not wanting to think they want. There is often a big gap and digital marketing is what allows you to communicate one-to-one with your customers and the masses.
So what are the areas of digital marketing?
For me, digital marketing includes:
- Websites that include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Finding on Google etc.
- Pay Per Click (PPC) – Paying for someone to find you on Google etc.
- Banner Ads – Pay for banner ads to visit your site
- Ecommerce – The ability to buy and sell products, services and information online.
- Consumer Reviews – Consumer reviews are a powerful way to get users to your ecommerce site as they make the purchase decision easier because the reviews are from users who purchased the product. The whole business is built around this concept as TripAdvisor.
- Blogs. Personal websites with stories, expertise, etc. that you think 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 conscious people. They can also generate revenue for your business and so can be routes to the market for your business. These can be great ways to connect with people you may not otherwise be able to reach. Twitter can be a great source of publicly available real-time information and report on major world events before the world press.
- Social media. Mashable is the largest social media news site.
- Online PR. There are specific websites that provide press releases. Prlog.org and helpareporter.com are examples.
- Webinars / Events – Webinars are one to many seminars distributed on the Internet. This allows you to represent a large number of people, regardless of location. Events are traditional meetings or seminars, but are marketed through social networks like Linkedin.
- Email marketing – Send bulk emails that you think are relevant to the people you send the message to.
- Lead Nuturing – This is where potential gives you your email address in exchange for something for free. This is usually an ebook (in pdf format), a video, an email course on how to do something.
- Viral Marketing – Sending a message that is so captivating that people forward it to other people who are unknown to you. A great way to send a message if you do it right.
- Video – An increasingly popular method for sharing ideas, transmitting information and selling online. Great for selling more sophisticated products or services. YouTube is the most popular currently, but the video is embedded in more digital media.
- Music / Podcasts. Spotify is becoming the most popular legal file sharing system because it gives you access to a large range of music. Podcasts are voice recordings for a specific topic. They can be downloaded for listening to your computer or MP3 players at a later date. Great for relaxing or exploring a new subject while traveling.
- Chat / Instant Messaging / Skype. Chat and instant messaging are real-time keyboards. Ie one person introduces something and the other answers. Both need to be present online to do this. Facebook, Bebo, etc. users they 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 a very low cost and is becoming more popular for business use and will grow now that the video version is available on Facebook.
- Smartphone or mobile applications. Smartphone or mobile applications (or software applications that originate the term) are small pieces of computer software that run on your phone that allow you to do the things you normally do on a computer. The need to work everywhere and at any time means that they will become more and more popular in the business systems that are beginning to emerge in them. Great for anyone working away from the office, including executives, technical and sales staff. Also, watch an increasing number of users use their mobile phones for online purchases as they fill their time in anticipation of something.
- Cloud file storage / sharing. Cloud is, for most purposes, another name for the Internet. So cloud-based storage is the ability to store information on the Internet, including archiving and sending large files to customers and suppliers. DropBox and Yousendit are examples of large file sharing systems between unrelated users. There is already a wide range of remote backup system providers, with most corporations incorporating them into their backup strategies. Personal file sharing is also available for two or more computers that are connected together to share information, including music and video. Personal file sharing is not usually a business tool for larger corporations.
- Cloud based systems. These are systems that allow you to work anywhere. Google has Google Docs, Microsoft has Office 365. Many third-party software vendors are moving their systems to the cloud so customers can access them from anywhere and not worry about their own IT infrastructure. Businesses move their IT infrastructure to the cloud to reduce costs, as all infrastructure is managed by a third party.
- Extranets / Web based systems. Companies are now looking to provide customers and suppliers with access to their information (via Extranets) and their systems (via web based systems). This allows customers and suppliers to have access to relevant information for them and allows them to perform any DIY processing, saving you time and money, such as entering and progressing orders and checking inventory levels.
- Remote access. Being able to work anywhere means that sometimes you need access to your computer at home or work. Remote access through websites like Teamview and Logmein are a great way to get critical documents away from your computer. Some of these systems allow you to make online demonstrations of your product and service. This saves you and your client time and money.
- Online Games / Games More gaming companies transfer their operations online so that their services can be accessed anywhere at any time. Also, notice that more custom applications have built-in game technology or ideas to make the purchase more fun. The term is called gamification. This can be a challenge for parents as the line blurs between buying something and playing a game.
In an age where systems are everywhere, businesses need to understand how to use digital marketing as it is a means of improving the service for your customers, reducing costs and making your organization more flexible.
All organizations, large and small, need to understand digital marketing and have a strategy for how they can take advantage of the opportunities that digital marketing has to offer.