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How to Grow Your Business Using Digital Marketing



Digital marketing is a term that’s commonly used, but not always fully understood. At the purest level, it covers any marketing that uses electronic devices and can be used by marketing experts to convey promotional messaging and measure its impact through your customer journey. 


In real-world use, digital marketing typically refers to marketing campaigns that appear on a computer, phone, tablet, or any other electronic device. It can take many forms, including online video, display ads, search engine marketing, paid social ads, and social media posts. Digital marketing is often compared to “traditional marketing” such as magazine ads, billboards, and direct mail. Oddly, television is usually lumped in with traditional marketing.


What Is Digital Marketing? 


The term digital marketing refers to the use of websites, apps, mobile devices, social media, search engines, paid advertising, podcast, and other digital means to promote and sell products and services. Digital marketing has grown in popularity since widespread adoption of the internet in the 1990s.


While digital marketing involves many of the same foundational elements as traditional marketing and is often considered an additional way for companies to approach consumers and understand their behavior. Today, companies are able to utilize both traditional and digital marketing techniques in their strategies. But digital marketing also comes with its own set of challenges.


We bring up performance marketing a lot. Performance marketing is marketing based solely on business outcomes and data. You’re looking for a specific outcome, right? You always have to keep that in mind and make sure your tracking your digital marketing data and analytics. 


Inbound Marketing and Digital Marketing 


Two marketing terms you want to get familiar with are inbound marketing and digital marketing. Digital marketing uses many of the same tools and software as inbound marketing: email, content, or infographics. Both of them exist to attract the attention of prospects through the buyer’s journey, ultimately turning them into paying customers. With that being said, these two approaches take different views of the relationship between the vehicle that will be used and the end goal of the campaign.


Digital marketing focuses on how tools or digital channels can convert prospects into paying customers. For example, a company's digital marketing strategy may use multiple online platforms or it may center all of its efforts on a single platform. One company may choose to focus solely on creating content on social media platforms like Facebook, X, and Instagram. Another company may have several vehicles to reach their audience: they may use social media, search engine optimization, and email marketing to accomplish their goals.


With inbound marketing, you use a different approach. First, you identify the main goal you want to achieve, then you figure out the best tools and channels available to reach your target customers. Let’s say a company wants to grow its website traffic to generate more prospects and leads. In this specific scenario, you could focus on content marketing and SEO to create relevant SEO-optimized keywords targeted content to rank in Google. This would result in more optimized content, including blogs, landing pages, and other content assets. 


The biggest key we want you to remember is the fact that you don’t have to choose between using digital marketing or inbound marketing. Rather, we usually encourage you to use them both together. Inbound marketing provides structure and purpose for effective digital marketing to digital marketing efforts, making sure that each digital marketing channel works toward a goal.


Why Is Digital Marketing Important?


If you want to grow your company online, you need effective digital marketing strategies. Any type of marketing can help your business thrive.  However, digital marketing has become increasingly important because of how accessible digital channels are.


From social media to text messages, there are many ways to use digital marketing tactics in order to communicate with your target audience. Additionally, digital marketing has minimal upfront cost, making it cost-effective for small businesses. 


B2B vs. B2C Digital Marketing 


Let’s talk about using digital marketing for B2B and B2C businesses. Digital marketing strategies work for B2B (business-to-business) as well as B2C (business-to-consumer) companies. With that being said, you likely wouldn’t use the same marketing strategy because one campaign is trying to reach consumers while the other is trying to reach businesses. Or would you? 


Let’s take a closer look at how digital marketing is used in B2B and B2C marketing strategies: 


  • B2B clients will usually have longer duration decision-making processes, meaning it takes longer (and more effort on your end) to get them to convert. Due to this, you want to use relationship-building strategies to build more touchpoints with them. On the other hand, B2C customers tend to respond better to short-term offers and messages, so you usually don’t need long sequences to convert them. 

  • When it comes to B2B transactions, they’re often built on logic and evidence. This is why skilled B2B digital marketers would present data to back that in proposals. B2C content is usually emotionally focused, wanting to make the customer feel good about the purchase they’re getting ready to make.

  • When B2B companies are making decisions, they usually involve multiple people. The marketing materials that best drive these decisions tend to be shareable and downloadable. On the other side, B2C customers usually want a one-on-one connection with the brand. 

  • 64 percent of B2B buyers report that podcasts were helpful at the beginning of their buying journey.

  • The majority (80 percent) of B2B decision-makers prefer learning about a potential vendor through content-like articles.

  • 62 percent of B2C marketers plan to use influencer marketing.

  • B2C marketers dedicate an average 26 percent of their total marketing budget toward content marketing. The most successful content marketers dedicate 40 percent.


There will always be exceptions to every rule. A B2C company with a high-ticket product, such as a car or computer, might offer more informative and serious content. As a result, your digital marketing strategy always needs to be geared toward your own customer base, whether you're B2B or B2C.


Knowing your target audience is key to running successful marketing campaigns; that goes for both B2B and B2C companies. Take a look at your current audience to create well-informed and targeted online marketing campaigns. Doing so ensures your marketing efforts are effective and you can capture the attention of the “right” customers.


Types of Digital Marketing 


There are as many specializations within digital marketing as there are ways of interacting using digital media. Here are a few key examples of types of digital marketing tactics.


1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)


Search engine optimization, or SEO, is referred to as a digital marketing tool and digital marketing strategy. How you view that doesn’t matter, but know that SEO can help you rank keywords on the first page of Google. That is powerful.


SEO is a science because it requires you to research and weigh different SEO ranking factors to achieve the highest possible ranking on a search engine results page (SERP). 


In total, there are thought to be more than 200 different SEO ranking factors, but you only need to worry about a handful of them. These include:


  • Quality level of your content 

  • Internal SEO structure

  • Mobile-friendliness and ease of use

  • Quality of inbound links and backlinks


In addition to what you see above, you need to optimize your technical SEO, as well. This involves all the back-end components of your site. This includes URL structure, downloading times, uploading times, crawling, broken pages, and broken links. Improving your technical SEO can help search engines better navigate and crawl your site.


Ultimately, the goal is to rank on the first page of a search engine’s result page. This ensures that those searching for a specific query related to your services or products can easily be found. While there are many different search engines, digital marketers will usually focus on Google since it's a global leader in the search engine market. Stats differ depending on the source, but it’s believed that Google owns more than 70 percent of search engine share.


SEO is not easy — there’s no magic button for ranking high on search engines. Google and other search engines change their algorithms all the time to keep marketers honest, so it's impossible to make exact predictions. What you can do is closely monitor your page's performance and make adjustments to your SEO strategy as needed. 


2. Content Marketing


The quality of your content is a big deal, and not only for SEO purposes. Your content needs to convert your audience to paying customers. This is why we’re not fans of AI content. Yes, AI content can have a purpose but until it can write better copy, it won’t be on our website. 


Like we touched on earlier, the quality of your content is a key component of an optimized page. As a result, SEO is a major factor in content marketing, a strategy that focuses on the distribution of relevant and valuable content to a target audience.


As with any marketing strategy, the goal of content marketing is to attract leads that ultimately convert into customers. This method is different than traditional advertising. Rather than enticing prospects with potential value from a product or service, it offers value for free in the form of written material, such as:


  • Blogs or articles

  • E-books and guides

  • Newsletters

  • Video or audio transcripts

  • Whitepapers

  • Infographics


Content marketing is one of the most effective strategies you can use, and there are plenty of stats to prove it:


  • 92 percent of marketers believe that their company values content as an important asset

  • 84 percent of consumers expect companies to produce entertaining and helpful content experiences

  • 62 percent of companies that have at least 5,000 employees produce content every day


Although content marketing can be effective, a lot of companies struggle with it. Anyone writing content must have the ability to properly search-optimize the content so it can rank high in Google. On top of that, the content needs to engage your audience. When the content is relevant, it can establish strong relationships throughout your pipeline, and that’s essential for turning prospects into clients.


In order to create content that’s highly relevant and engaging, you must identify your target audience. You need to ask, "Who are we trying to reach with our content marketing?" Once you have your target audience identified, you can then determine the exact type of content that needs to be created.


No matter what type of content you create, you should always try to stick to best practices. This means making content that’s grammatically correct, free of errors, easy to understand, relevant, and interesting. Your content should also funnel readers to the next stage in the pipeline, whether that’s a free consultation with a sales representative or a signup page.


3. Social Media Marketing


Social media marketing (SMM) is another effective digital marketing strategy that utilizes social media platforms to drive traffic and brand awareness by engaging people in discussion online. You can use social media marketing to highlight your brand, products, services, culture, and more. With billions of people spending their time engaging on social media platforms, focusing on social media marketing can be worthwhile. 


The most popular digital platforms for social media marketing are Facebook, X/Twitter, and Instagram, with LinkedIn and YouTube not far behind. You can use one social media platform or all of them; it really depends on your goals and audience. For example, if you want to find new leads for your fintech startup, targeting your audience on LinkedIn is a good idea since industry professionals are active on the platform. On the other hand, running social media ads on Instagram may be better for your brand if you run a B2C focused on younger consumers. 


Since social media marketing involves active audience participation, it has become a popular way of getting attention. It's the most popular content medium for B2C digital marketers at 96 percent, and it's gaining ground in the B2B sphere as well. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 61 percent of B2B content marketers increased their use of social media last year and that is expected to grow even higher this year.


Social media marketing offers built-in engagement metrics, which are extremely useful in helping you to understand how well you're reaching your audience. You get to decide which types of interactions mean the most to you, whether that means the number of shares, comments, or total clicks to your website. 


Direct purchase may not even be a goal of your social media marketing strategy. Many brands use social media marketing to start dialogues with audiences rather than encourage them to spend money right away. This is especially common in brands that target older audiences or offer products and services not appropriate for impulse buys. It all depends on your company's social media marketing goals. 


To create an effective social media marketing strategy, it’s crucial to follow best practices. Here are a few of the most important social media marketing best practices:


  • Craft high-quality and engaging content

  • Reply to comments and questions in a professional manner

  • Create a social media posting schedule 

  • Post at the right time

  • Hire social media managers to support your marketing efforts

  • Know your audience and which social media channels they’re most active on


4. Pay-Per-Click Marketing


Pay-per-click, or PPC, is a form of digital marketing in which you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your digital ads. Rather than paying a set amount to constantly run targeted ads on online channels, you only pay for the ads individuals interact with. How and when people see your ad is a bit more complicated.


A lot of digital marketers will use PPC because you can get a campaign going in a few minutes, vs. SEO alone that can take weeks/months to see results.  

 

One of the most common types of PPC is search engine marketing (SEM). This is because Google is the most popular search engine, and many companies choose to use Google Ads. 


You want to have a basic idea of how Google Ads works. When a spot is available on a search engine results page, also known as a SERP, the engine fills the spot with what is essentially an instant auction. An algorithm prioritizes each available ad based on a number of factors, including:


  • Ad scoring

  • Headline relevance

  • Keyword relevance

  • Landing page quality

  • Bid amount


With Google PPC, your ads can be placed in a few different areas. There are four sponsored ad locations on most pages, placed at the top of search engine result pages based on the factors we just listed above. If competition for the spots is very competitive, your ads may not show until the bottom of the first page or may appear on the second page. 


Each PPC campaign has one or more target actions that viewers are meant to complete after clicking an ad. These actions are known as conversions, and they can be transactional or non-transactional. Making a purchase is a conversion, but so is a newsletter signup or a call made to your home office.


Whatever you choose as your target conversions, you can track them via your chosen digital marketing channels to see how your campaign is doing. Google Ads tracks several KPIs, but you can also use Google Analytics (G4).


5. Email Marketing


While email marketing may feel “outdated” by many marketers, it is still one of the most effective strategies to generate leads and turn leads into customers. The concept of email marketing is simple: you send a promotional message and hope that your prospect clicks on it. However, the execution is much more complex. First of all, you have to make sure that your emails are wanted. This means having an opt-in list that does the following:


  • Individualizes the content, both in the body and in the subject line 

  • States clearly what kind of emails the subscriber will get 

  • An email signature that offers a clear unsubscribe option 

  • Integrates both transactional and promotional emails 


You want your prospects to see your campaign as a valued service, not just as a promotional tool. 

Email marketing is a proven, effective technique all on its own: 89 percent of surveyed professionals named it as their most effective lead generator. 


It can be even better if you incorporate other digital marketing techniques such as marketing automation, which lets you segment and schedule your emails so that they meet your customer's needs more effectively.

If you’re considering email marketing, here are a few tips that can help you craft great email marketing campaigns: 


  • Segment your audience to send relevant campaigns to the right people

  • Ensure emails look good on mobile devices

  • Create a campaign schedule 

  • Run A/B tests 


6. Affiliate Marketing


Affiliate marketing is a digital marketing tactic that lets someone make money by promoting another person's products or services. You could be either the promoter or the business who works with the promoter, but the process is the same in either case.


With affiliate marketing, you get paid using a revenue sharing model. If you're the affiliate, you get a commission every time someone purchases the item that you promote. If you're the merchant, you pay the affiliate for every sale they help you make. Tracking links can track sales if needed, but many affiliate partners have tools and software that allow you to track how many sales come from your affiliate links.


There are many different strategies used to promote affiliate products and services. For example, some affiliate marketers may choose to review a product or service, they can then promote that review to their followers. The amount of affiliate partners you choose is up to you: some prefer to work with a single partner while others may have multiple affiliate marketing relationships. 


Whether you want to be an affiliate or find one, the first step is to make a connection with the other party. You can use digital channels designed to connect affiliates with retailers, or you can start or join a single-retailer program. 


If you're a retailer and you choose to work directly with affiliates, there are many things you can do to make your program appealing to potential promoters. You'll need to provide those affiliates with the tools that they need to succeed. That includes incentives for great results, as well as marketing tools and pre-made materials.


7. Influencer Marketing


Like affiliate marketing, influencer marketing relies on working with an influencer to accomplish your goals. An influencer will usually have a large following: it could be a celebrity, industry expert, or well-known content creator. In many cases, these influencers will endorse your products or services to their followers on several social media channels. 


Influencer marketing is not confined to one industry or niche. In fact, it works well for B2B and B2C companies that want to reach new audiences quickly. You have to be careful when choosing influencers. It’s important to partner with reputable influencers since they’re essentially representing your brand. The wrong influencer can tarnish the trust consumers have with your business. 


8. Native Advertising


Native advertising is meant to blend in with surrounding content so that it’s less blatantly obvious as a paid advertisement. 


Native advertising was created in reaction to the cynicism of today's consumers toward ads. Knowing that the creator of an ad pays to run it, many consumers will conclude that the ad is biased and consequently ignore it. 

A native ad gets around this bias by offering information or entertainment before it gets to anything promotional, downplaying the "ad" aspect.


It’s important to always label your native ads clearly. Use words like “promoted” or “sponsored.” If those indicators are concealed, readers might end up spending significant time engaging with the content before they realize that it's advertising.


When your consumers know exactly what they're getting, they'll feel better about your content and your brand. Native ads are meant to be less obtrusive than traditional ads, but they’re not meant to be deceptive.


9. Marketing Automation


Marketing automation uses software to power digital marketing campaigns, improving the efficiency and relevance of advertising. As a result, you can focus on creating the strategy behind your digital marketing efforts instead of cumbersome and time-consuming processes.


While marketing automation may seem like a luxury tool your business can do without, it can significantly improve the engagement between you and your audience. The stats back it. 



Marketing automation lets companies keep up with the expectation of personalization. It allows brands to:


  • Collect and analyze key consumer data and information

  • Build targeted marketing campaigns for users

  • Send and post digital marketing messages at the right times to the right audiences


Many marketing automation tools use prospect engagement (or lack thereof) with a particular message to determine when and how to reach out next. This level of real-time customization means that you can effectively create an individualized marketing strategy for each customer without a big-time commitment.


10. Mobile Marketing


Having the ability to reach your target audience on mobile is key to your success in 2024 and beyond. Mobile marketing is exactly as described: it’s a digital marketing strategy that allows you to engage with your target audience on their mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This can be via SMS and MMS messages, social media notifications, mobile app alerts, and more. 


It’s crucial to ensure that all content is optimized for mobile devices. According to the Pew Research Center, 85 percent of Americans own a smartphone, so your marketing efforts can go a long way when you create content for both computers and mobile phones/tablets.


Think about it: do you always carry your iPhone everywhere you go? Having the ability to reach users on mobile is key to running successful digital marketing campaigns, no matter what vehicle you decide to use.


11. Podcast Marketing


One of the most popular ways for users to consume content is through podcasts, and we don’t expect that to change in 2024. In the U.S. alone, 64 percent of people have listened to a podcast at least once. In years past, podcasts were not well known. Now, thanks to popular podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience, the majority of the population globally knows what a podcast is and how to access them.


  • 79 percent of people in the U.S. are now familiar with the concept of podcasting.

  • There are more than 5 million podcasts globally, with more than 70 million episodes between them. There are 464.7 million podcast listeners globally as of December 2023. This number is predicted to reach 504.9 million by the end of 2024.


Audio marketing can play a key role in your business today as more users are introduced to podcasts.


12. Television Ads


While the amount of consumers watching television has decreased steadily over the last decade, TV ads are still great for reaching a large portion of your target audience quickly. 


We’ve seen direct response TV ads change a company’s trajectory overnight. Plus, with a lot less competition, TV advertisements are going for really good prices compared to what those prices were years ago.


  • The global number of TV viewers in the 'TV Viewers' segment of the media market was forecast to continuously increase between 2023 and 2028 by in total 0.2 billion users (+3.66 percent). After the ninth consecutive increasing year, the indicator is estimated to reach 5.7 billion users and therefore a new peak in 2028.



The Benefits of Digital Marketing 

Digital marketing has become prominent largely because it reaches such a wide audience of people. However, it also offers a number of other advantages that can boost your marketing efforts. These are a few more of the benefits of digital marketing:


  • Big geographical reach: When you post an ad online, people can see it no matter where they are (provided you haven’t limited your ad geographically). This makes it easy to grow your market reach and connect with a larger audience across different digital channels.

  • Can be cost efficient: Digital marketing not only reaches a broader audience than traditional marketing but also carries a lower cost. Overhead costs for newspaper ads, television spots, and other traditional marketing opportunities can be high. They also give you less control over whether your target audiences will see those messages in the first place.

  • Easy to get started: It only takes one content asset to start building attention for your services and products. You can create an email marketing campaign that delivers messages to targeted customer lists on a schedule, and it's easy to change that schedule or the content if you need to do so. 

  • Track results and KPIs: With digital marketing, there’s a wide range of tools out there that allow you to track key KPIs. For example, Google Analytics (now G4) can track the traffic coming to your website, and it can also track conversions. 

  • Gathering important data: Digital marketing allows you to gather customer data in a way that offline marketing can't. Data collected digitally tends to be much more precise and specific. Gathering this data allows you to see what works and what doesn’t, which allows you to make adjustments to get the best possible results.

  • Connecting with your customers: Digital marketing lets you communicate with your customers in real-time. More importantly, it allows them to communicate with you. Customer feedback is essential to your growth.

  • Tracking customer’s actions: Digital marketing lets your customers take action immediately after viewing your ad or content. With traditional advertisements, the most immediate result you can hope for is a phone call shortly after someone views your ad. But how often does someone have the time to reach out to a company while they're doing the dishes, driving down the highway, or updating records at work? With digital marketing, they can click a link or save a blog post and move along the sales funnel right away. They might not make a purchase immediately, but they'll stay connected with you and give you a chance to interact with them further.


How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy

For many small businesses and beginner digital marketers, getting started with digital marketing can be a big challenge. The good news: there’s no right or wrong answer. Your digital marketing strategy is going to be one that transitions and adapts as you go.


If you’ve never run digital marketing campaigns, you don’t have an idea of what works and what doesn’t, so there will be trial and error. That’s fine, though: this is how we find campaigns that work, and you can take what works and make it better.


However, you can create an effective digital marketing strategy to increase brand awareness, engagement, and sales by using the following steps as your starting point.


  • Setting goals: Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART) goals is crucial for any marketing strategy. While there are many goals you may want to achieve, try to focus on the ones that will propel your strategy forward instead of causing it to remain stagnant.

  • Your target audience: Before starting any marketing campaign, it’s best to identify your target audience. Your target audience is the group of people you want your campaign to reach based on similar attributes, such as age, gender, demographic, or purchasing behavior. Having a good understanding of your target audience can help you determine the next steps of the strategy.

  • Choosing marketing platforms: Once you know your target audience, you can then begin to figure out what marketing platforms are best to reach them. If you’re trying to reach B2B, LinkedIn would be a good place to start. If you’re trying to reach a younger audience, TikTok may be the best vehicle for that.

  • Choosing a budget: A budget ensures you’re spending your money effectively towards your goals instead of overspending on digital marketing channels that may not provide the desired results. Consider your SMART goals and the digital channel you’re planning to use to create a budget.

  • Choosing your specific campaign channels: From PPC and SEO to content marketing or social media, you have to determine what channels are going to be best for you. Which digital marketing channels you use often depends on your goals, audience, and budget.

  • Collect, evaluate, and refine: Rarely will you launch a marketing campaign and it's “perfect” out of the gate. It’s up to you to collect data, evaluate that data, and make adjustments to improve your campaigns. The data will always tell you what’s working and what is not, so make sure you’re tracking it and paying close attention to what it’s telling you about your campaigns.


You Can’t Go Without Digital Marketing

Digital marketing should be one of the primary focuses of almost any business’s overall marketing strategy. Never before has there been a way to stay in such consistent contact with your customers, and nothing else offers the level of personalization that digital data can provide. The more you embrace the possibilities of digital marketing, the more you'll be able to realize your company's growth potential.


Want to Join a Thriving Community of Digital Marketers?

If you want to learn more about being successful in digital marketing and e-commerce, or get to connect with successful entrepreneurs from around the world, make sure to join PDMI. You can become a member here. 


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