A Beginner’s Guide to Effective Digital Marketing

Digital marketing has been around for quite some time but only recently it has evolved into an essential marketing tool. In fact, businesses invest a lot of their time and money in digital marketing. The best part is that the results are more tangible. In many cases, the return on interest (ROI) is higher than the ROI generated through traditional means.

Aren’t Billboards and TV Commercials Obsolete?
No. Billboards and TV commercials are not obsolete. They are some of the oldest forms of marketing and can still yield results. Unfortunately, they can be very expensive and require a lot of investment that is difficult for small to mid-sized businesses to shoulder.

A good billboard can easily cost around $550 to $17,000 per month. However, this price fluctuates based on the market size, the visibility and the location. The numbers mentioned above are only applicable to vinyl billboards. For digital ones, the cost is higher and a person can easily pay anywhere from $2,100 to $9,500 per month. In areas like Times Square that have a large market size and international visibility, billboard space is extremely expensive. It can easily cost businesses around $1 million to $4 million per year.

In comparison, TV commercials are also extremely costly on the basis of national or international exposure. During the Super Bowl season, a commercial could cost $9 million for 90 seconds. For a 30 second commercial, businesses can also expect to pay $5 million. Seeing the rising costs, digital marketing is a feasible solution. Not only is it more cost effective and pliable to anyone’s budget, it also has a larger reach.

Taking a Closer Look at Digital Marketing
In essence, digital marketing relates to any form of marketing that is shared over a digital medium. Over the years, this term has come to largely encompass online marketing. From YouTube videos to website banners, emails and Facebook posts and more, digital marketing is extremely flexible and cost effective. A campaign can take as much as $50 per month with an ROI that is double this number.

The 5 Major Forms of Digital Marketing
Now before you jump head first into digital marketing, it is a good idea to understand the different forms or channels of marketing that come under this term. Looking at them, you can see that digital marketing is just a blanket term which includes the following:

1. Search Engine Optimization — SEO and Search Engine Marketing — SEM
SEO and SEM are two sides of the same coin. Both marketing techniques rely on optimizing various search engines such as Google, Bing and more to show your products and offerings in the results. The major difference here is that SEO is largely organic in nature. SEM is when you pay to show up in the relevant search engines. Google has an algorithm in place that shows both organic and paid for results. As a rule, the first results you get are usually paid for.

SEM

You can see a small box saying ‘Ad’ underneath them. The next links in the results are organically picked by the algorithm. SEO and SEM both make use of content, keywords, images and more that makes your content more relevant and easier for the algorithm to read. When someone searches for a term like “Billboard advertising cost in the US,” your website will show up if it offers the same.

SEO

SEO and SEM marketing has to be done carefully since Google makes changes to its algorithm from time to time. Businesses that don’t change their marketing to reflect this aspect will face problems. Luckily, it applies to almost all forms of digital marketing. Google also offers various services such as Google AdWords, Google Analytics and more that enhance your usage with ease.

2. Social Media Marketing
This is another blanket term that relates to all marketing that is done on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. The best part is that this means that you can have a very flexible marketing strategy that creates a chain of content. Additionally, social media platforms also offer a business different options through which they can monetize and earn more.

The best part is that that flexibility is extended to all platforms, even LinkedIn offers marketing options. Many businesses make use of social media marketing as the stepping stone for their foray into digital marketing. Moreover, digital marketing actually allows marketers to incorporate different forms of digital marketing into it as well. This includes email marketing, mobile marketing and even SEO marketing to a large extent.

It also has a smaller learning curve and many small businesses usually start out managing their online marketing on their own. This can make it easier for when they are starting with a smaller budget. This mode of marketing also offers a high ROI and businesses are quick to capitalize on this fact.

3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is notable for being among the oldest forms of digital marketing. As a means of communication, it is also a primary one among businesses and their target audience. The sad part here is that it is often considered to be obsolete. It just has a slower response as compared to social media marketing. Comparatively, the ROI generated through email marketing can be equal to, if not greater at times, to the social media marketing.

On the other hand, email marketing is one of the few forms of marketing that give you direct access to your target audience. In this case, you have access to their inbox and can send them relevant information about your products as needed. In fact, having a database of email addresses can be very lucrative for businesses. There is a reason why they offer newsletters and discounts to their clients in this manner.

You can also find various businesses that focus on email marketing services such as Mail Chimp, Campaigner, Campaign Monitor and more. All their services are designed to help you make emails and automate their delivery with ease. It also offers large flexibility in terms of integration and usage. It is possible and very easy for you to integrate your email marketing and social media marketing campaigns together. This ensures higher ROI, better response time and enhanced lead generation.

4. Conversion Rate Optimization — CRO
This relates to increasing the rate of conversion that your business is experiencing. A conversion is classified as any user action on your website which can increase the chances of making a sale. There is a lot of confusion in this area as many businesses consider user actions such as the following as conversions but they are really not:

  • Increasing the Followers — Having a large target audience isn’t always beneficial, particularly if you are unable to convert them. Increasing engagement has a direct impact on CRO.
  • Getting Likes or Favorites — Likes and favorites are the most, low commitment actions that users on social media can take. The most they can do is show you if you are on the right track but don’t think that it will lead to conversion. There’s a very low chance of this happening.
  • Increase in Traffic — Increase in traffic can happen due to any post you make. Just like the likes, don’t pay too much attention to it. It can lead to a few conversion actions but again, chances are low.

For effective CRO, you need to be more focused on conversion actions such as the following ones:

  • Comments — The biggest sign of increased engagement are the comments. This shows that someone took the time to understand what was posted and respond. While not all comments are meant to create a dialogue, giving a response to a query or more can help to convert the person into a possible sale.
  • Clicks — Pay attention to link clicks. It is again a sign of interest, unlike the likes or favorites you are getting. Including links also allows you to pull the attention of the person, away from the social media platform and straight to your website.

Once you focus on the CRO, you can easily get the results you are looking for from your website, your eCommerce store and more. This also helps you address customer behaviors such as cart abandonment and how to improve the customer’s shopping experience with you.

5. Mobile Marketing
Mobile marketing is a younger mode of digital marketing but it has great potential for businesses. A large portion of the target market, nowadays, makes use of smartphones or tablets to access the internet. Whether they are using a social media platform or are looking to shop for something, most people tend to use their smartphone for this.

Mobile marketing allows you to target online, mobile audiences more effectively. It focuses on optimizing your services and offerings to mobile formats. This process actually includes more than just having a mobile-friendly website. The following are the different mobile marketing techniques that you need to focus on:

  • App Store Optimization — ASO — The Google Play Store and Apple App Store are the biggest platforms for all apps. Developers need to make sure that their app shows up among the top results for increased chances of being downloaded by their target audience.
  • QR Codes — These are small bars of code that mobile devices can read. Based on the coding, it can lead the person to the website or get a discount on a purchase or sign up for a newsletter.
  • SMS Marketing — Marketing through SMS is another effective means of reaching your target audience. Much like email marketing, SMS marketing can be used to keep the person updated, notify them of all promotions and more.
  • Mobile Video — Snapchat and YouTube videos that are used for marketing purposes fall under the category of mobile video. Even Facebook and Instagram have a “Stories” option, much like Snapchat.
  • Mobile Search — This relates to enhancing your SEO in order to make sure you show up on mobile searches. Additionally, you need to optimize your website so that it is mobile friendly.

A good digital marketing campaign incorporates one or more of the forms mentioned above. It is a good idea to understand the differences, the uses and the limitations that each digital marketing method can impose upon you.

Planning for a Good Campaign
Apart from knowing the different forms of digital marketing, you need to ensure that you are actually planning a proper campaign. The campaign strategy will go a long way in guaranteeing you the results you want to see. When planning one, it is a good idea to keep the following in your mind:

1. Always have a Goal
Even if you’re not planning on introducing a new product or a sale, try to have a goal for the campaign in mind. This gives you more direction and also allows you to focus on the overall results you are getting. This also ensures that you know which areas to tweak and which are working well.

2. Know Your Target Audience
When you’re getting confused about the different forms of digital marketing, it is a good idea to know the target market. This allows you to narrow down your options and make a campaign which is aimed more on these people. For example: Some target audiences would be better reached through email marketing. On the other hand, some might be better reached through social media marketing and QR codes.

3. Use Data and Analytics
Apart from knowing what works for you, you should also have analytical software to keep an eye on the digital marketing campaign. This gives you a clearer picture of the campaign’s performance. Additionally, different social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter offer analytics on the performance of different posts of a performance.

With the help of these tips, you can have an easier time trying crafting a digital marketing campaign which meets all your business needs and delivers tangible results.

Originally Publushed on www.anthonyvallonejr.com