Digital marketing refers to a collection of techniques and assets that are employed in the marketing of products and services mainly on the internet but also integrates other forms of digital technologies such as mobile phones and display advertising among others. As such it is an “umbrella term” meaning it covers a broad set of items that all fall under one common category and this will be clearer as we go along.
Recall we said that digital marketing is a form of marketing. Marketing in this case is aimed at reaching out to a broad audience and trying to create that prospective customer into a loyal customer that a business can keep. Thereafter, businesses benefit by selling their products and services to these gained customers while striving to satisfy them whilst growing their customer base through the recruitment of new customers. It is an endless process once started, with the aim of making your customer base as large as possible and ensuring that these customers remain loyal so that they are always coming back to purchase whatever goods and services that they need and that they know you offer and that they trust.
Simply put, Digital marketing is any form of marketing that is done online.
But why digital marketing? Well it all comes down to the numbers. It is estimated that around 40% of the world’s population has access to an internet connection. And out of this, 9.3% constitute users from just Africa alone.
The reality check is that, people have since doubled the time they spend on the internet in a decade. So it is safe to say, that greater number of prospective customers can be reached through online platforms via some of the digital marketing strategies.
The techniques employed in digital marketing can either be in the form of assets (what a business has ownership of) or tactics and channels of digital marketing.
Assets of a business include a wide range of components. These include as listed by Hubspot:
- Your website
- Blog posts
- Ebooks and whitepapers
- Interactive tools
- Social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
- Earned online coverage (PR, social media, and reviews)
- Online brochures and lookbooks
- Branding assets (logos, fonts, etc.)
- Social media posts.
The channels and Tactics of Digital marketing
A number of tactics are usually employed in digital marketing
- Website Design
Having been listed as the number one asset of a business, websites represent an online point of interaction between businesses and their customers. It is a business’ online presence. Therefore website design is a crucial tactic when it comes to digital marketing.
- Search engine Optimization (SEO)
This is the process of improving your website so that it “ranks” well on results pages of popular search engines such as Google, Bing or even Yahoo. This ensures that a greater number of people see your website when they are searching for a relevant service you offer improving the number of free (organic) traffic that your website receives.
- Content Marketing
This entails creation, distribution and promotion of certain content assets for example blog posts, social media posts or infographics etc in order to create brand awareness, increase traffic growth to your website and eventually convert all leads into customers.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
The use of various social media platforms such as Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram Google+ among others to create brand awareness, drive traffic to your site and increase your customer base. Moreover, social media platforms now represent point of interaction where business’ and customers interact and where goods and services are sold. Social media represents a crucial tactic of digital Marketing. Moreover, with the introduction of ads across the different social platforms social media has become an important tool for reach when it comes to new customers.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
This is also sometimes referred to as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising. It refers to paid methods aimed at driving traffic to your website by paying publishers once your ad is clicked. Publishers include either Google or Bing and one common example of PPC is Google Adwords.
- Affiliate marketing
This is a type of advertising based on performance whereby people are rewarded with the most common type of reward being commission, for promoting someone else’s products or services in their website.
- Email Marketing
A form of online marketing used by business and customers to communicate with their customers. People use emails to promote content, discounts, offers and events, as well as to direct people towards the business’ website or social media pages.
- Online PR & Branding
It is the act of securing earned online coverage with a number of the owned assets of a business such as digital publications, blogs, and other content-based websites. It’s quite similar to the conventional and traditional PR, but with the difference being on the internet.
- Digital Display Advertising
It refers to advertising on the internet of content, promotions, discounts or even products and services of a business in different formats and contains items such as text, images, flash, video, and audio. It is a business’ billboard on the internet.
- Influencer Marketing
It is a form of digital marketing that has primary focus set on specific important and key individuals rather than the target audience of a business in general. Some of these key individuals (Influencers) could either be journalists, academics, industry analysts, professional advisers, experts, and so on and so the marketing activities are oriented around these influencers and in so doing, these influencers help to drive in new customers because of the influence they have over potential buyers. A good example of influencer content could be a testimonial about a product or service from an influencer.
- E-commerce Marketing
This is the process of driving sales of a product or service of a business up, by raising awareness about an online store’s brand and the products they offer. In Kenya, the most popular online stores include, Jumia, kilimall and cheki.co.ke.
- Mobile Marketing
This is a form of marketing that extends into the mobile scene with the advent of mobile phones, smartphones and tablets. Marketing and advertising has now been directed to these channels in the form of mobile applications and in-app advertising. Moreover, a large number of the already discussed tactics are now being tailored to fit into mobile marketing through strategies such as mobile-friendly websites, local SEO, emails, social media and Search Engine Marketing among others. Furthermore, mobile marketing now extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, mobile phone SMS and MMS, callback, and on-hold mobile ring tones (Safaricom Skiza Tunes) as described by Wikipedia.
- Viral marketing
A method of digital marketing, whereby consumers are encouraged to share information about a company’s products and services. It takes advantage of pre-existing social networking services. One can think look at it as the spread of content related to a product or service over a wide area similar to how viruses or computer viruses spread in a self-replicating process.
This represents a very important and crucial part of digital marketing. Analytics help to gauge and measure the success or failure rate of some of the above mentioned strategies when they are implemented. It is the overall collection analysis and reporting of data for the purpose of measuring whether some of these techniques that are being implemented are boring fruit.
Lastly, who is a Digital Marketer?
A digital marketer is someone who is in a position to use most if not all of the above mentioned tactics in order to drive traffic, sales and awareness about a certain product, service or event. This digital marketer is proficient in interconnecting all the various digital marketing channels to work together in perfect synergy in the ultimate marketing campaign.