Digital Marketing Defined - what you need to know
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is the process of attracting prospects and selling them products and services using online marketing tactics. These tactics include social media marketing, search marketing, and email marketing. You guide your prospects through a journey from stranger to raving fan.
At its core, digital marketing is, marketing. The challenge all marketers face and have ever faced is converting cold leads into raving fans. Marketing must instill trust and relevance.
Marketing has changed.
There was a time when having access to a platform to get the word out was enough to establish your credibility. Today everybody has access to communicate to everybody.
This is a huge opportunity: digital channels are powerful and can be incredibly personal. Digital gives you access to a vast new market and a world of opportunity.
But digital has also made the world mindbogglingly noisy.
Everybody has the same access everywhere always.
Which leaves you with three choices:
Ignore digital, pretend it isn’t there and let the world pass you buy.
Put in effort, bombard channels with tons of content, hope for the best and burn out in a sea of content.
Create and implement a thoughtful strategy that USES digital, attracts prospects and grows your business predictably and profitably.
(Bias in my list… nooo, why would you say that?)
The Ignore digital option is a pathway to despair
But, “My customers don’t find me on Google”.
Yeah, I know. I hear this all the time. Now for the reality: they are not searching for “[what you do] near me” and as a result of that search picking up the phone and hiring a [what you do].
However according to research by Google 97% of purchasing decisions are starting online and this is absolutely true for business to business transactions. They will likely be completed off line, that same study showed that 6% of business to business transactions were completed online even though the process started online.
Test this for yourself. Think about the last important purchase you made. Maybe you bought a home, hired a contractor to fix your roof or changed paper suppliers at work.
Whatever it was you most likely began the process by searching the internet to learn more about available solutions, find providers, and starting winnowing options.
From there you made the decision of whom to contact. You might have completed the process entirely online but more likely there was an in person component.
You can think of the engagement process as a continuum, on one side there is professional services with an in person close on the other is e-commerce - where the entire process must unfold online.
No matter how you completed the transaction, your buying decision was influenced by the content you found, the reviews you read, the friends and family you consulted, and the solutions, features, and pricing you researched.
Research by Gartner (that is now behind a paywall) showed that B2B customers are on average 57% of the way through the buyers journey before they engage with a sales person.
The first rule of marketing is to make the right offer at the right time and in the right place.
Today your customer are online. They are hanging out in social media, staying updated on news sites and blogs and searching online when they have a need.
Digital marketing puts you in those same channels so that your prospects can see you, learn about you, and even start the process of understanding your products and services online. Digital marketing allows you to be where your buyers are.
Having a digital presence is key to marketing in today’s world. Or better said: you have a digital presence. People are looking for you online. The question is what are they finding?
Okay, so I need digital, that means work?
Most people get that they need digital in some form.
Some embrace it.
But they don’t have a structured approach.
Without a structured approach they end up creating websites, content and social media posts. They spend inordinate amounts of time doing this, often chasing vanity metrics and frequently getting zero benefit as a result.
One woman I worked with was spending nearly three hours a day building her Instagram following. She had thousands of followers and was very happy about that.
But not one of those followers became customers. She had zero conversions.
Her solution: do more.
This is very common: not just social media but blogs, websites and other content as well. I see many people generating content, creating stuff and gathering followers, but not getting business out of it.
This costs a fortune, yields nothing but wasted time and **is not digital marketing. ** It is more like digital vomiting.
If you’re new to digital marketing, it may feel overwhelming to think about mastering all the online marketing tactics used in digital marketing.
We get that...
And yes, there are many tactics to learn. But structured, they all work together to create a foundation for your business: attracting prospects, nurturing relationships, and making offers your audience will appreciate and respond to.
Here is the upside: once you get the strategy right you end up reducing wasted effort, increasing clients and decreasing the cost of acquiring those clients.
So stop the effort equation, and create a strategy.
Digital marketing as a strategy
The key to digital marketing is to develop an integrated strategy that puts you in all the places your followers are already hanging out. Then you use these digital channels to connect with prospects and create a relationship so that prospects become buyers, predictably.
Effective digital marketing requires a clear brand, metrics, tools and tactics, and a documented journey.
Often the sticking point is the documented journey. Most marketers _think_ that is something is interesting the telephone will ring and prospects will magically flock to them. But this isn’t the case.
You must have a process. We use the customer value journey as a framework for your digital marketing strategy and think about each aspect of the process, scientifically.
The value journey mimics a human relationship.
Ultimately we align tactics so that the different channels build on one another always with a purpose and a plan to move to the next step:
Search engine optimization (SEO) optimizes your content, so it will show up when someone is searching for answer to questions that you answer.
Advertising to drive paid traffic to your website, where people can see your offers.
And email marketing to follow up with your audience to be sure they continue to get the solutions they’re looking for, ensure they buy and keep them happy.
When you put the pieces together, you end up with an efficient, easy-to-operate digital marketing machine.
And while it looks intimidating to build that machine from scratch, it’s as simple as learning and integrating
one digital marketing tactic at a time.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing transforms your engagement with prospects, clients and past clients:
It creates awareness and engagement both before and after the sale easier, less expensive and more effective.
It helps you convert new buyers into rabid fans who buy more (and more often)
It kickstarts word-of-mouth and social sharing—and all the benefits that come with them
It shortens the buyer’s journey by presenting the right offers at the right time
It keeps you top of mind so that you are more likely to be present at the right time.
You might also be interested in the Five Elements of Predictable Sales Growth.
Let’s talk about your digital marketing presence.
Doing this all on your own can be daunting. There are a lot of pieces to put together and going halfway or three quarters is not enough, you might as well save your money and do nothing.
But the opportunity is there and you can explode your business through digital marketing.
We would love to help, located in White Plains NY and Sacramento, CA we provide digital marketing services to companies that have an established, proven sales process, but need the structure for marketing and the results.