What Is Digital Marketing? How Does It Work For Small And Medium Business Owners? - 14 minutes read
The purpose of this article is to serve as the definitive basic guide to, and overview of, digital marketing tools for small and medium businesses in 2015. Consider digital marketing explained!
Some may be surprised to learn that the term “digital marketing” has been around since the 1990s – many small and medium business owners are just now learning more about it, as it gains more momentum in the contemporary marketing environment.
Simply defined, digital marketing is a discipline of marketing that focuses on the use of technology to: reach an audience, sell a product or service, grow the awareness of a business or a brand, communicate effectively with customers, and bring more customers to a business.
Over time, and even now, the idea of digital marketing has undergone tremendous change. With new means to reach clients becoming available every day, digital marketing also changes and develops along with technology. The terms are sometimes misused interchangeably, but an important part of digital marketing is online, or internet, marketing.
The following activities make up digital marketing as it now stands, along with a quick explanation of how each affects small- and medium-sized business owners. Websites, display advertising, social media, email marketing, SEO, reputation management, SEM, retargeting, lead generation, inbound marketing, outbound marketing, content marketing, and marketing automation will all be covered in this article.
What Constitutes a Good Business Website And Does My Business Need It?
Websites are nothing new; they have long been the mainstay of small- and medium-sized business owners. All other marketing initiatives should point potential customers to a company's website, which should act as its focal point.
The fundamental benefit of utilizing an open-source content management system (CMS) for your company websites, such as WordPress or Drupal, is that you will always have complete control over the appearance and content of your website.
A business owner cannot afford to have a website hosted by a service that can alter or stop operating at any time when their business depends on customers being able to locate them. Your website will develop and eventually attract more people to your door if it is regularly "watered" and maintained, just like your business.
A well-designed website serves as both the public face of a company and a resource for customers searching for your goods and services or even goods and services similar to yours. To make a good impression on a potential consumer and to increase your chances of making a sale, make sure your website is created with your target in mind.
When compared to the majority of other marketing strategies, the cost of creating and maintaining your own company website is typically minimal. Technically, operating your own website has never been simpler with a user-friendly CMS like WordPress or Drupal and a few hours per month. Hiring someone to put it up for you and walk you through the process is enough to keep you going for a very long time unless your firm demands additional features.
There is just no excuse for your company to not have at least a simple, quick, responsive, mobile-friendly website.
On a site that is mobile-friendly, 37% of users are more inclined to make a purchase. 2014 Mobile Behavior Report by ExactTarget
Having a website creates a wealth of new opportunities for innovative online consumer engagement strategies. One such possibility is the simple creation of landing pages, which will be the first thing potential consumer sees when they visit your website and contain unique offers and relevant information. Hosting a blog is another option; this underrated marketing tool is used by numerous companies. There may be a writer in you just waiting to come out, and there is no better location than your company website to blog about subjects that might interest your potential customers.
Following are some examples of the kinds of clients who frequently succeed with this digital marketing tool: Every sort of business can gain from having a website that is appealing, educational, quick, responsive, mobile-friendly, and simple to navigate.
What is Display Advertising?
Display ads, another "traditional" kind of online advertising that has been around for a while, often entail the placement of an image advertisement on another website or network of websites. Display advertisements can be a useful technique to increase visitors to your website or landing page if you have a visually appealing consumer product.
Many small businesses rely on display advertising to direct users to the website or landing page; these campaigns are frequently successful when coupled with an incentive like a deal or discount.
The placement of sponsored articles in pertinent locations on news websites or other websites related to your industry is one of the more recent versions of "display advertising" that is currently available.
Examples of clients who frequently succeed with this digital marketing strategy include auto dealers, travel agencies, retailers, banks, tourist locations, lawyers, realtors, home improvement businesses, and the entertainment industry.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the use of different social networks to advertise your company. Different kinds of businesses find success on various social media platforms.
Visual advertisements—amazing products or destination imagery that appeals to the senses and draws in potential customers—are a common way for retail and travel enterprises to succeed. Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook might be suitable options for such an approach.
Businesses that specialize in providing goods and services to other businesses frequently succeed on LinkedIn.
Social media marketing is changing with time, moving away from an organic, content-based strategy and toward a more PPC strategy where the major emphasis is on creating ads and targeting them to reach your audience. As social networks compete for users' money, organic reach keeps falling overall.
Businesses that claim Facebook is essential or significant to their operations have climbed by 75%.
Examples of clients who frequently succeed with this digital marketing technique include those in the entertainment, pet services, recreational, supermarket chain, legal, restaurant, health & beauty, and HVAC industries.
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is another long-standing staple of digital marketing and, when done the right way, can be an amazing tool for your small business.
In 2014, email marketing was cited as the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States. (eMarketer)
There are two approaches to email marketing:
The first strategy is to use email marketing as a key element of a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy. The goal of this strategy is to generate opt-ins, or permissions, email lists by providing unique, compelling content on the website or landing page to persuade visitors to sign up to receive more content similar to this in the future. Businesses that create their own email lists typically see considerably higher open and click-through rates than those that "rent" or buy email lists. Due to the huge amount of labor involved in this process, many firms opt to outsource their list development to organizations with substantial resources devoted to it, such as digital marketing agencies.
The second choice is to collaborate with an agency and make use of the agency's email lists or email vendor capabilities to contact a sizable list of potential clients in their neighborhood. Although the business owner often expends far less time using this strategy, the outcomes might not be as noteworthy as those obtained through organic email list growth.
Email marketing might focus on promotions, content, or a combination of the two. Which option you select will rely on a number of factors, including your business's industry and marketing objectives.
Following are some examples of the kinds of clients who frequently succeed with this digital marketing tool: Email marketing has advantages for practically all types of businesses.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Instead of having your company's website hosted by a service like Wix or one of the many similar services, search engine optimization is a combination of tactics that works best in conjunction with your own business website. By having your company website show up when people search for specific keywords on search engines, SEO aims to bring your service or product in front of customers naturally.
Local results are sought for in 50% of all smartphone searches, and 61% of those searches end in a purchase. Using Search Engine Watch
Onsite and offsite SEO are the two categories.
Utilizing keywords, internal links, producing unique material, and arranging your website in particular ways are all parts of on-site SEO, which aims to make it easier for search engines to recognize the content your website offers and present it to anyone seeking that content.
Offsite SEO focuses on enhancing the power of your website through actions taken outside of it. Giving reputable websites' content writers links to research you've done is a typical strategy to improve off-site SEO since when they post content, you gain traffic back to your site and link strength.
Following are some examples of the kinds of clients who frequently succeed with this digital marketing tool: any customer has a hosted websiteOnsite and offsite SEO are the two categories.
What is Reputation Management?
Monitoring online reviews of your company and your online business listings is a component of reputation management. Reputation management is described as "the influence and/or control of an individual's or business's reputation." Even in 2010, a Guardian story predicted that millions of people would hire reputation managers in the future.
Reviews may make or break a lot of businesses, especially smaller ones or ones with a less well-known brand name. Businesses frequently rely on specialists to notify them when a negative review occurs on Facebook, Yelp, Google, or another major website, or when they want to ensure that their listing appears accurately in multiple directories so potential consumers may find them.
Following are some examples of the kinds of clients who frequently succeed with this digital marketing tool:
What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
A marketing tool called search engine marketing enables advertisers to rank better in search results. Unlike Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which relies on organic reach, SEM uses paid adverts to move a link up the search results page.
SEM is a numbers game, and many business owners find it challenging to play. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a key element of search engine marketing (SEM). Typically conducted on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, PPC advertising involves an advertiser bidding on keywords to rank higher in search results and then paying for each click.
Due to the many technological difficulties, SEM can take a lot of time, and if done incorrectly, can be a significant time and resource waste.
Following are some examples of the kinds of clients who frequently succeed with this digital marketing tool: Customers who run sales or promotions profit from this product quite a bit.
What is Retargeting?
Retargeting is a type of display marketing that begins when someone arrives at your website via a SEM campaign or another method. Then, a piece of code is saved on their device, queuing up display adverts for your company across a network of other websites, increasing the likelihood that a potential consumer would return and carry out an activity or make a purchase on your website.
Following are some examples of the kinds of clients who frequently succeed with this digital marketing tool: clients executing SEM campaigns or having websites
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is a strategy in marketing that is normally utilized in business-to-business and occasionally in consumer-focused campaigns. This strategy, to put it simply, focuses on finding potential customers who are most likely to make a purchase decision and contacting them via various marketing channels and offers.
A company that focuses on lead generation methods may combine inbound and outbound marketing efforts to produce leads.
Content marketing is used to create leads by 71% of B2B marketers. (MarketingProfs)
In order to build interest in a product or service, a lead generation marketing strategy frequently places a lot of emphasis on the use of fantastic landing pages, fantastic conversion forms, and wonderful calls to action.
Examples of the kinds of clients who frequently succeed with this digital marketing tactic include b2b clients, while lead generation also frequently benefits consumers who buy expensive goods.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a type of advertising that focuses on generating leads or customers by delivering pertinent, engaging content at the ideal moment. This is a "softer" strategy than outbound marketing, and it typically depends significantly on content creation, webinars, and other instructional tools to reach the target demographic.
Any client can profit from efficient inbound marketing as an example of the types of customers who frequently experience success with this digital marketing strategy.
What is Outbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing, where the strategies sometimes require "yelling" at potential buyers to check out your product, is the exact opposite of outbound marketing. Cold emails, cold calls, display advertising, and SEM are examples of outbound tactics. Outbound marketing typically works well when your company wants to make a quick profit by getting a great deal of people to see an offer right away.
Outbound marketing techniques like cold or spam emailing are generally discouraged and can seriously harm your company's reputation. When using an outbound strategy, make absolutely certain that the material or offer you're advertising is appealing to and carefully tailored for your audience.
Following are some examples of the kinds of clients who frequently succeed with this digital marketing tool: Because they frequently lack the time to create a successful inbound campaign, temporary or seasonal enterprises typically perform better with outbound efforts.
What is Content Marketing?
An inbound marketing framework is most commonly used to implement the marketing discipline known as "Content marketing," which places a strong emphasis on producing and sharing original content like blog posts, how-to guides, webinars, podcasts, videos, and other assets that a potential customer might find interesting.
Despite costing 62% less, content marketing produces 3 times as many leads as conventional outbound marketing.
Perhaps the most popular type of content marketing is blogging. Business owners that produce engaging, pertinent content for their blogs frequently have the ability to engage website visitors, open up prospects for increased traffic through social sharing, and perform on-page SEO with just one easy tool.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation, as the name suggests, is a system for nurturing leads and converting them into customers using a predetermined set of procedures. While warning that "companies that implement complicated automation programs without a reliable source of organic leads find that their investment has little impact on revenue," HubSpot describes marketing automation at its best as "software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon — that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers."
Many companies, large and small, benefit from the use of marketing automation, despite the fact that many business owners struggle to understand its ROI or implement it successfully. However, this tool probably requires additional education to manage effectively, and it can frequently take up a lot of time. Marketing automation, if improperly managed, will, at best, be unproductive and, at worst, really harm your brand.
Following are some examples of the kinds of clients who frequently succeed with this digital marketing tool: The majority of companies, big and small, may profit from effectively managed marketing automation.
Even while your company doesn't necessarily need to use all of these tools in order to be successful, doing business today without employing at least some form of digital marketing or a digital marketing tool means you're losing clients to your competition. This figure is quite telling:
The perception of a company as a technological leader is crucial to two-thirds of consumers. (Mobile Behavior Report, 2014)Even while your company doesn't necessarily need to use all of these tools in order to be successful, doing business today without employing at least some form of digital marketing or a digital marketing tool means you're losing clients to your competition. This figure is quite telling:
The perception of a company as a technological leader is crucial to two-thirds of consumers. (Mobile Behavior Report, 2014)
The world of small business marketing is currently undergoing a rapid transformation. Mobile devices and the internet will not disappear any time soon, therefore digital marketing is not a passing trend. Success in the modern consumer environment frequently requires more than just running a business efficiently and giving excellent customer service. Customers now have higher expectations of firms. Long-term business success depends on having a successful digital marketing plan. The good news is that with a combination of any, or all, of the aforementioned technologies, you can take your business to the next level right now.