Digital marketing, also called online marketing, is the promotion of brands to connect with potential customers using the internet and other forms of digital communication. This includes not only email, social media, and web-based advertising, but also text and multimedia messages as a marketing channel.
Traditional Marketing versus Digital Marketing
Digital marketing and inbound marketing are easily confused, and for good reason. Digital marketing uses many of the same tools as inbound marketing—email and online content, to name a few. Both exist to capture the attention of prospects through the buyer’s journey and turn them into customers. But the 2 approaches take different views of the relationship between the tool and the goal.
Inbound marketing is a holistic concept. It considers the goal first, then looks at the available tools to determine which will effectively reach target customers, and then at which stage of the sales funnel that should happen.
The most important thing to remember about digital marketing and inbound marketing is that as a marketing professional, you don’t have to choose between the 2. In fact, they work best together. Inbound marketing provides structure and purpose for effective digital marketing to digital marketing efforts, making sure that each digital marketing channel works toward a goal.
What Benefits Can I Achieve Through Digital Marketing?
On an overarching level, digital marketing enables businesses to reach customers during everyday activities, such as scanning social media, reading online articles, watching videos, etc. When customers are exposed to marketing in this type of natural and regular manner, it can yield a variety of commercial benefits.
More specifically, digital marketing can help businesses achieve any or all of the following benefits:
Global Reach — Unlike traditional methods, digital marketing is not necessarily bound to a specific geographic area. The internet is available to customers across the globe. This allows businesses to market and sell to customers who live in a different state or country, removing many traditional barriers to entry.
Low Cost of Entry — To achieve the global reach of digital marketing through traditional channels, there would be a serious price tag attached. On the other hand, certain aspects of digital marketing can be achieved with a small investment of time and resources. For example, even small or startup businesses can create a website, manage social media and publish blogs without breaking the bank.
Measurable ROI — In order to maximize profits, businesses must carefully evaluate return on investment (ROI). With traditional marketing, ROI can be difficult, sometimes impossible, to measure. On the other hand, digital marketing provides real-time visibility into the effectiveness of each campaign, enabling business leaders to make well-informed decisions to drive revenue and increase profit.
Improved Targeting — Digital marketing allows businesses to target very specific demographics of potential customers. By engaging customers in a particular geography, industry or social channel, businesses have a much better chance of reaching their target demographic.
Dynamic Adaptability — Digital marketing strategies are extremely malleable and flexible, enabling businesses to adjust course when needed. Unlike long-term, traditional marketing campaigns, businesses can adjust their digital efforts on the fly, enabling quick pivots when necessary to realize commercial opportunity.
Immediate Connection — Before making a purchase, modern customers generally conduct online research and evaluate reviews. The first step in this process typically starts with a search engine. In this way, businesses with developed SEO, SEM and PPC strategies can connect immediately with customers.
Relationship Building — The rise of social media has turned it into a dominant communications platform for many customer demographics. Furthermore, customers increasingly want to interact with businesses on their terms and on their preferred platform. As a result, businesses that engage in effective SMM practices can build longtime and loyal relationships with current and prospective customers.
Overall, businesses of every shape and size can achieve powerful benefits through effective use of digital marketing methods. Furthermore, the cost of digital marketing can be tailored to each specific business, stripping many barriers to entry of traditional methods. With so many benefits available for just about any budget, it makes sense why so many businesses are succeeding with digital marketing efforts.