What is digital marketing: A guide for beginners

What is digital marketing: A guide for beginners

Digital marketing refers to promoting or advertising a product or service online on the internet.

Digital marketing and e-learning are two of the most rising concepts today. All the organisations be it MNCs, startups, or SMEs, are competing to have their website rank on the first page of web results. And they are looking to hire talented professionals who could make this happen.

The need for professional digital marketers is growing at a fast pace. With most of the business shifting their operations online, digital marketing has become one of the highest job creating fields. As a result of this demand, more and more students are pursuing digital marketing trainings and courses online. These online trainings are short-term and teach the concepts with engaging visual content and at affordable prices. In fact, now at the time of Covid-19 when students cannot attend colleges is a good time to learn this high in-demand skill from the safety of their homes.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing refers to promoting or advertising a product or service online on the internet. The number of companies who are practising digital marketing is on the rise, but why are they using it?

Why is digital marketing important?

Digital marketing is a more cost-effective marketing channel than traditionally used marketing channels like TV, newspaper, direct mailing, etc., which need heavy investment and offer no definite way of tracking the performance.

Another crucial thing that digital marketing helps companies, especially small businesses with is building trust. Let’s play customers for a minute and find out how. Would you buy an expensive product that has no online reviews? How often do you trust a company that you cannot find an online trace of? If you answered no, then you are aware of how a digital presence lends authenticity to a company and helps a customer in making up their mind.

Besides being a knight in shining armour for small businesses, digital marketing makes the world wide web accessible for everyone. Online advertising is a huge source of revenue for various digital platforms such as search engines such as Google, YouTube etc., as well  as applications, and social media. As a result, most people can use these services at a minimal cost.

Digital marketing allows businesses to be virtual globe-trotters and helps businesses in reaching a global audience.

Now, let’s learn about the types of digital marketing:

What are the types of digital marketing?

Although the trends are ever-changing, digital marketing wizards today tend to use the following types of digital marketing:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): If you ever wondered how Google gives you answers, then let us unravel the mystery for you.

Search engines mine the internet for content that uses the same keywords as the user’s search and ranks them according to how well they answer a user’s query. The higher your rank in a search engine result page (SERP), the more visitors your website will have as people usually click on the first few links of a search result. To make sure that your content is found and ranked, you must optimise it using different SEO strategies like using relevant keywords, building backlinks, etc. Think of it as a treasure hunt that search engines undertake. You have to leave the right clues for search engines to find your content. Besides ensuring that a search engine can see your content, you must also be mindful about providing quality content that is helpful for your customers. This is an affordable way to increase your digital visibility for free and draw quality traffic to your website.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Given that Google alone answers 40,000 queries per second, paid marketing on search engines can work like a charm. In this form of marketing, a company pays to have their advertisement displayed for specific keywords.

One common example of SEM is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising in which a company pays for every time a user clicks on their advertisement. As opposed to traditional advertising, this ensures that you only pay when your ad is clicked on. While SEO is a good long-term strategy, an effective SEM campaign can help a business in picking up pace.

Social media marketing: Gone are the days when companies had to guess how people perceive their brand. They can simply find out by engaging with their audience on various social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok. This can be achieved through consistently posting engaging content and answering their concerns.

Another way brands use social media marketing is through paid advertisements that are personalised for every user.

Content marketing: Content marketing is the art of connecting with your audience by providing them with content related to your product or service that they are likely to find interesting and useful. This can be done in the form of newsletters, blog posts, e-books, educational videos, etc. For example, if you were a florist, you could write a blog post on ‘How to care for plants during winters’. Rather than talking about your product directly, you talk about other things that your customers may find useful and are related to your product or service. This can have numerous advantages like building customer loyalty, discovering new customers, and establishing credibility and authority in a particular domain.

Email marketing: A classic in the digital marketing world for it has been around since 1978, and yet remains a favourite among digital marketers. The ease of use and affordability coupled with a good return on investment has contributed to its popularity. This popularity also means that an inbox is flooded with emails day in and day out. So, it’s important that one takes out the time to craft an email marketing strategy. At the heart of an effective email marketing campaign is spam-free content that aims to build a rapport with the recipients. Emails that strike a balance between selling a product and sending personalised messages is a good starting point.

Phone marketing: People nowadays spend a lot of time on their phones. Digital marketers are using this to their advantage in a variety of ways like creating mobile-friendly website experience, developing mobile apps, sending promotional SMS, and so on.

Affiliate marketing: This is a word-of-mouth digital marketing tactic and an excellent source of passive income for many. An affiliate is a person who markets a company’s product through different channels like social media, blog posts, videos, etc. and receives a commission every time someone makes a purchase through their link.

An important feature of digital marketing is that one can simultaneously measure the performance of a campaign so there is more room for trial and error. By measuring performance, we mean measuring outcomes (such as sales) for the efforts or money spent on digital marketing. This is generally done through web analytics which is the process of measuring and analysing user behaviour on web pages. Popular tools like Google Analytics provide insightful details about site traffic like the number of visits, the average time spent on a page, the source where the users are coming from, demographics, etc. The metrics differ according to the type of digital marketing practice. For example, if you are analysing a content marketing strategy, then you can see the number of page views on your blog posts, the number of new and returning visitors and likewise. If you are tracking the performance of your social media marketing strategy, then you can measure the reach and engagement. Once you have this information, it can be used to understand what works and what does not. Irrespective of which stage a business is at, one must track the progress of their digital marketing strategy to get the most out of it.

(Courtesy: Internshala, an internship and training platform)