In olden times, digital marketing was an optional way for businesses and organizations to introduce themselves to the world and engage their audience…
Today, your online presence is the foundation of your marketing efforts and the first touch a potential customer will experience from your brand. Because of its necessity, many agencies, platforms, and gurus post their secret recipes to digital success on your timeline. It easily turns into a buzzword cluster that drowns out any real learning. Maybe the blog author is just venting what he sees on his Linkedin feed.
Regardless, this post is crafted to help you sift through the white noise online with some foundational concepts. Consider this the spark notes version to help you dig deeper into digital marketing.
Overview of Categories
Getting a handle on the categories is crucial to forming your strategy and choosing to invest in the right places. These ideas are likely familiar but just might reframe how you think of something as common as a website.
It is essential for your team to understand that your website is primarily a marketing engine that you must fuel. Usually, every stakeholder has a different way of thinking about what the website ought to be and that will slow down your progress. If your website ain’t for marketing, it ain’t worth having. The website launch isn’t a touchdown. It’s the kickoff.
Search engine optimization is a compounding digital marketing tactic. It focuses on the technical health of your website and quality of your content so that your audience can find you online. Basic due diligence and maintenance can go a long way in helping your content rank higher on Google and sustained investment will pay off in the long run. SEO is an evergreen digital marketing tactic that can be time consuming and competitive depending on your industry. However, it is vital because one of the first things your potential customer will do is type their question or problem into a search engine. You want your product or service appearing near the top to answer their question.
Organic social content is an unsung hero that can play a helpful role in your marketing mix. It has the lowest barrier to entry and can contribute to your success with minimal effort. Your business likely already has accounts with the big three: Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin. Understanding how your audience uses those platforms will make all the difference for your business. Organic social media helps you build credibility in the early stages of the customer journey and offers the chance to highlight your awesome company culture. To point out some organic social inception, Gravitate is using this blog post on Linkedin as an organic social media play to help our audience in their consideration phase as you read this.
Paid advertising is what you most likely think of as digital marketing. Paid Google search ads and promoted Facebook posts are powerful tools to prospect for new customers or remarketing to those who’ve visited your site previously. These plays can also build brand awareness or nurture your prospects through your sales funnel. Unless you have a lot of funding, this is not the way to start your fire. As you gain traction, sustained paid advertising can turn your candle into a forest fire. Paid advertising is so powerful because it enables you to speak directly to your target audience in spooky specific ways. The platforms allow you to target by location, demographics, job titles, or even hobbies to make sure your message reaches your buyer personas. We will dig into the wide range of tactics you can employ with these platforms in future posts.
We’ve all signed up for email newsletters to get updates on deals or coupons to buy something from our favorite brand. Email newsletters are a great way to engage existing customers and build their loyalty. Email nurture campaigns are another animal in the digital zoo which can strengthen your marketing funnel by re-engaging prospects on your radar screen. If someone downloaded a piece of content from your site in exchange for their email address, you can create a campaign that sends a series of emails providing more insight to the solution they read about and get them closer to signing up for a demo with a salesperson.
Similar to how email can be leveraged, texting can be a helpful tool in following up with someone who’s already engaged with your content online. You can use tools that automate the process to fire a text after specific actions or use more broad prospecting tactics for texting. This may not work for all industries, but can be very effective in business to consumer contexts.
Digital Ecosystem Simplified
It’s easy to spread your resources too thin and try to do every digital marketing play in the book. The point isn’t to accumulate every possible tactic or tool in the hope that sheer volume will equate to quality. Each piece of your digital marketing strategy should work together to engage your target audience and guide them through their buying process. The graphic to the left demonstrates how the various tactics work together to reach your goals.
The center of the graphic is the website itself or landing page. Every tactic feeds into or out of this central hub of the marketing mix. At the top, paid advertising and SEO send visitors to your website. A prospecting Facebook ad may catch someone’s attention and bring them to a tailored landing page designed to convert them into a lead. Someone may have searched contractors in Vancouver and saw your website near the top of the search results and landed on your homepage. Whether you have all the bells and whistles at the top or not, you want to simplify how users discover you organically and invest in attracting your audience online.
After this first touch, you either have website visitors who bounced or leads to engage more directly. Your data enables you to remarket and re-engage your audience to send them back to your site. This may mean the user lands on another site and sees a simple display ad with your branding or an interesting piece of content. It could look like a promoted Instagram story where they see your upcoming Black Friday promotion. The point is to remind them of your product or offer them another insight into how you can solve their problem. When they come back to the site, they should be primed to take the next step in your user journey or adding the product to their cart. Whether your sales cycle is months or minutes, you want to guide them to and through those key actions. Digital marketing should increase the quality and quantity of your site traffic and convert it into higher quality leads for your sales team to drive revenue. Even after this goal is reached, your digital marketing continues to engage your current users and customers to retain revenue and increase opportunities to grow accounts.
Data is Nonnegotiable
Data is the lifeblood of your digital marketing efforts. Without clean tracking and accessible data, your strategy is doomed to fail because you won’t know how to optimize your tactics. It is essential to connect your digital marketing investment with performance data. To return to our earlier analogy, faulty tracking will inhibit your ability to call effective plays based on what the defense gives you. If you can’t see how many yards you’ve gained or how close you are to the red zone, you won’t know for sure if spending more on search will out-perform paid social. If you can set a healthy tracking foundation that scales with attribution tools, you’ll be able to test and refine your campaigns to consistently drive revenue.
This is why Gravitate begins every digital marketing engagement with a thorough tracking audit to ensure we have a source of truth to build on. Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Search Console, Moz, SEMRush, Bizible, and a host of other tools can give you invaluable insight that allows you to maximize your investment. It takes time and resources to refine your data capabilities but it’s the only way to ensure you aren’t wasting your time.
You + Digital Marketing = Growth
New digital marketing opportunities pop up all the time as more streaming platforms build out advertising and digital spaces continue to evolve. Your audience may use DuckDuckGo instead of Google and Gen Z definitely prefers Tik Tok over Facebook. The good news is these are all paid advertising plays you can make. The categories in this post lay the groundwork for your process to build your strategy. The best part of digital marketing is that it scales with your business. You can start with a basic website in tandem with a low advertising budget and start to move the needle with your audience. As you grow and your efforts pay for themselves, you can iterate your website with greater sophistication and scale your paid efforts from local to global. Digital marketing is no longer optional, but partnering with an agency like Gravitate will unleash its potential to grow your business.