There’s a digital marketing revolution sweeping through the world of business which many companies have touched on but most aren’t yet understanding well enough to benefit.
The impact on ROI and significant decrease in sales related activities makes digital marketing and it’s subset Inbound Marketing worth knowing about. Digital marketing has come about as a result of customers spending more time online and therefore makes businesses take notice and reach out to them through digital marketing activities. With the internet firmly here to stay at the centre of modern lives it’s well worth investing in digital marketing.
The evolution of marketing, particularly in the last six years has revolutionised the way people search for information, shop products and communicate with each other. Businesses today have the power to directly reach their customers through multiple channels and receive immediate feedback allowing them to adapt their communication channels, messages and strategies.
What is Digital Marketing?
The Financial Times define digital marketing as:
“The marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers. The key objective is to promote brands through various forms of digital media.”
In actuality, digital marketing is a broad and still evolving set of marketing activities that use the internet, via computer or phone, to promote products and services.
These activities can include content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), display advertising, email list marketing, marketing automation, social media marketing and campaign marketing. Digital marketing is also highly related to conversion optimisation, engagement optimisation and other data driven marketing.
“Digital marketing is the all-mighty gateway between electronic technology and marketing psychology. Knowing how to master and manage the information going out and into this gateway can be the difference between making or breaking your business.” – Cory Firth
Role of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing often has a profound effect on the way businesses are discovered. This is because digital marketing is cheaper, more accessible and more measurable than traditional marketing.
Digital vs Traditional Marketing
Whereas traditional marketing usually only reaches a local audience, marketing through digital channels can give businesses access to a potentially unlimited audience. Additionally, digital marketing provides the opportunity to interact with this audience as it’s so heavily focused on social channels. Those who innovate and use creativity have the opportunity to stand out in a sea of online noise.
Role It Plays in an Organization
Digital marketing has evolved through the panic of the early 00s to late 10s to have become a highly integrated part of every major business strategy. While in the past, marketing activities have been left solely to the marketing department, digital marketing strategies often extend into many aspects of a company. Therefore, it can affect the way customer service is delivered, online operations and any member of the company who has a presence online.
For small business owners, digital marketing is a heaven send as many forms of online marketing are low cost. All that’s required is an understanding of the online arena who excel in their web presence, engaging customers through social media and email all for very low cost.
Impact on Company and Who Benefits
When done well, online marketing has potentially huge benefits for customers and businesses alike creating a mutual improvement in exchange.
Potential benefits for companies
- Greater engagement with customers
- Increased brand awareness
- New revenue opportunities discovered through data
- Optimisation for conversion
- Significant increase in profit
Potential benefits for customers
Millennials have grown up with ‘just-in-time, just-for-me’ at their fingertips and seeing thousands of ads every single day. They appreciate companies who can capture their interest. Businesses who provide customized experiences that are tailored to suit their particular needs will win market share.
Thus, companies who excel in digital marketing are often simply providing the right kind of service to the people who appreciate it. Great digital marketing contributes to their customers day by delivering a pleasant experience.
“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne
Digital Marketing: The 3 Basics
There are three significant things to do in digital marketing that will cause greatest impact: measure, test and optimize.
One of the most powerful tools that digital marketing provides it’s marketers is the ability to measure the effect and impact of marketing on certain business areas. If you’re not measuring your online marketing, you are missing out big time.
One such method are KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). KPIs provide a snapshot of the business in the form of a ratio or count. This allows you to extract meaning from overwhelming data. KPIs help marketers by giving them an immediate sense of how their website is performing in areas that are most important to their business.
The KPIs you track will be different for every business and process but some common website KPIs are:
- Conversion rate
- Page views
- Website traffic
- Bounce rate
- Cost per conversion
Make sure you choose KPIs that reflect the biggest impact on your business whether that’s enquiries, bookings or time spent per project it should be related to your company’s specific goals.
Another major newly available tool for digital marketers is testing. Web based marketing allows us to test in ways we’ve never before been able to. This provides marketers with the ability to make data driven decisions. If you’ve got measuring set up properly as above, you can then go through and systematically test different approaches to see where the biggest problem areas are as well as growth opportunities.
- A/B split testing is basically running two versions of an ad or webpage and seeing which gets the best results.
- Multivariate testing involves making a lot of changes to the website or ad and having tools report to you which the most effective combinations are.
Finally, once you’ve measured and tested, it’s time to optimize. That means taking action based on the insights garnered from the results of your measuring and testing. Because without actually applying changes based on the insights you’ve uncovered, you won’t see any improvement in your conversion or engagement rates.
“It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than by doubling your traffic.” – Jeff Eisenberg
Applying the Four P’s
Traditional marketing advocates the use of the four P’s, which can still be relevant online. The 4 Ps in marketing are:
While price, place and product are used in online marketing they don’t change vastly from a bricks and mortar strategy. The same strategy applies online as well as offline for the first 3 Ps. Combining these with a SWOT analysis can be powerful tools to garner insight about your market position in general.
However, what’s really changed on the landscape with the advent of digital marketing is promotion. The internet has opened up ways for businesses to communicate with customers both indirectly as through a traditional publisher but also directly, which can foster new levels of trust and engagement.
“To accompany the four Ps of classical marketing, marketers would do well to instil the digital four Cs, around conversation, collaboration, culture and compensation.” – Zaid Al-Zaidy
What are the key channels digital marketers can use to promote their business?
There are three kinds of media available for marketing online just as offline:
Owned media is media which is owned by the company such as their website, blog and social feeds.
Earned is media which other people spread the word about the company because it features an interesting story or innovative idea.
Finally, paid is any media that is paid for, the major advertising networks online include Google Search, Facebook Ads, Google Display Network and Instagram for the more mobile savvy businesses.
“Using digital channels you can transcend traditional constraints such as geography and time zones to connect with a much wider audience.” – Understanding Digital Marketing by Damian Ryan
Types of Digital Marketing
Types of digital marketing include:
- Affiliate marketing
- Content marketing
- Customer relationship management
- Display advertising
- Email lists
- Marketing automation
- Mobile marketing
- Online PR
- Pay per click (PPC)
- Social media marketing
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Word of mouth
- Your website
Hence the best strategy for you depends heavily on your particular business and audience. If you are B2B you’ll want to be on LinkedIn providing helpful content. Online retailers selling to millennials will have better luck keeping Instagram and Pinterest well stocked with high quality images.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is the overall process a company takes in order to meet their business goals using online marketing. It pulls together all the isolated marketing campaigns into a comprehensive plan which outlines the series of actions the business will take.
As a result, all companies competing for market share in the world today need a digital marketing strategy. As to why, I’ll let Damian Ryan tell you as he did me in his book Understanding Digital Marketing (page 19):
“Without a coherent strategy of engagement and retention through digital channels, your business is at best missing a golden opportunity and at worst, could be left behind, watching your competitors pull away across an ever-widening digital divide.”
How To Create a Digital Marketing Strategy
In creating a digital marketing strategy, there are three main stages:
Assess the Opportunity
When starting your digital marketing strategy focus on the opportunities you found from your SWOT analysis earlier. From here, you can decide which possibilities are likely to yield high value and then prioritize accordingly.
Most of all, make sure you’re focusing on the right ideas. Consult your KPIs to determine which ones are you trying to effect and by how much? This will inform your goals which the objective of this phase is to produce. Remember to keep your goals ‘SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound).
Plan the Strategy
When planning your strategy you want to make careful decisions about the types of media you will use (owned, earned, bought) and the channels you will use to communicate your message (social media, content marketing, email list etc.). A great place to start is to create buyer personas. This is when you imagine your company from the perspective of one of your ideal customers. Write down everything you know about them, including how they find and rate information. Then you can backward engineer a path that will get your business in front of them. Most businesses find they have more than one group of buyers and create a persona for each distinct group of customers. This helps you form multiple channels in your marketing strategy.
During the planning phase, you want to revisit your value proposition (what you actually offer your customers) and decide how to communicate it using the digital channels available. To target customers effectively you want to have a thorough understanding of your brand so that you can express it in the clearest form possible.
So, after you’ve written your plan, set the budget and decide how the plan will be executed and by whom. Ensure that you have the appropriate tools ready to measure the impact of your plan. Have built in time to test as mentioned earlier in the article. You will also want to set in place the measurement by which you hold content creation (visual or written online media) accountable.
After the decisions have been made, ensure everybody understands their part in executing the strategy and when to do it.
Key Skills for Digital Marketing
Every effective digital marketer possesses the following skills:
- Ability to think objectively about brand content whether it’s displayed on your website, blog or social media pages
- Able to gain understanding of audiences, through buyer personas and interact with them with genuine intent to help
- They are able to plan and execute effective marketing campaigns that align with both business goals and brand voice
- Are proficient in social media marketing
- Able to customize tactics according to popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- Able to use Google AdWords to run PPC campaigns that provide a return on investment
- Can analyse data provided by Google Analytics and use insights to create actionable items relating to marketing strategy, channels, audience segmentation and improved UX recommendations
- Create targeted campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and Display Network then launch, track and modify performance
- Track conversions, use multi channels and segment audiences within marketing tools such as website and email lists
Digital Marketing Salary
The median digital marketing salary is $76,281 for the role of Digital Marketing Manager with salaries ranging from $49,135 to $109,207[i].
The highest paying skills associated with this job are Marketing Management, Project Management and Strategy. A majority of people spend 20 years in this career and experience is a factor of income.
Common job titles in digital marketing are:
- Digital marketing administrator
- Account manager
- Marketing assistant
- Digital producer
- Marketing coordinator
- Digital project manager
- Online marketing specialist
- Marketing manager
- Digital strategist
Impact of skills on salary [ii]:
- Social Media Marketing – $71,000 median salary
- Search Engine Marketing – $74,000 median salary
- Search Engine Optimization – $75,000 median salary
- Online Marketing – $76,000 median salary
- Strategic Marketing – $83,000 median salary
Consider the following if you’d like to learn more about digital marketing:
To learn Digital Marketing skills there is a great program offered by General Assembly which runs in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane as well as most major American cities and cities worldwide such as Hong Kong, Singapore and London. The part time version of this course runs over 10 weeks and also offers an accelerated one week intensive option.
There is a comprehensive free online course hosted by Coursera and created by the University of Illinois open to students worldwide. Another free digital marketing course is hosted on Udemy by Hubspot which has over 23,000 students enrolled and has options to earn certificates. If you’d like more support and are willing to pay, Springboard has an online course which offers 1-on-1 mentor guidance.
Also, in Australia there is Professional Diploma of Digital Marketing available at many TAFEs. Additionally, a Bachelor of Marketing and a Masters in Marketing at major universities.
Furthermore, there are large governing bodies with lots of resources such as Digital Marketing Institute (Ireland), Content Marketing Institute (America), Australian Marketing Institute, Association for Data-Driven Marketing & Advertising (Australia) and American Marketing Association.
We’ve included ‘further reading’ links to popular digital marketing blogs at the end of this article.
7 Helpful Apps for Digital Marketers
Asana is a wonderful piece of software for any marketer working in a team. It allows you to schedule tasks, link them to projects, assign team members and update timelines. If it’s not exactly your cup of tea here are some other alternatives to keep track of projects: Wike, Freedcamp, Trello. You can use them in conjunction with Slack to achieve the same functionality as Asana.
Perch is a desktop and phone app which tracks all the mentions your company receives as well as those of your competitors. You can get a newsfeed of everything customers are saying about your business on the web. Therefore this makes it a valuable tool for marketers to engage, respond and adapt their strategies.
Google Adwords allows you to manage PPC campaigns in Search and Display networks. You can use in a web browser or as a mobile app to check your campaigns, update bids and budgets and get real time alerts. Google Analytics is a must have for marketers because of the essential element we talked about earlier: measurement. Analytics allows you to measure the most important statistics such as traffic and audience but also to see who’s visiting your website in real time and most importantly who, where and why people are converting.
HubSpot is an incredibly helpful inbound marketing software, one of the most major softwares for marketers including CRM, Marketing & Sales. They offer free versions of their software for small teams as well as education, training and partnerships with agencies.
Hootesuite contains a dashboard which allows monitor all your separate social media channels in one place. You can view what’s happening on different platforms as well as posting to multiple streams all at once. Another great time saver for social media marketers as you don’t have to log in and out of each platform and keep them all bookmarked. Hootsuite simplifies the craziness of the online world.
Buffer automatically schedules posts on social media for you so you can put them all in at once and they will be released at steady times throughout the day, week or month. Great for teams or businesses without a dedicated social media manager who want to ensure content comes out regularly to keep their audience engaged.
Zapier (rhymes with ‘happier’) connects apps and creates automatically occurring tasks. Once you get your head around the concept, Zapier becomes an extremely valuable tool. Handy for any marketer who uses apps such as Mailchimp, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any web email. It links the accounts together and can perform actions or pass information to each other in some cases saving you hours of admin.
With the shift toward inbound marketing there is a new era emerging in digital marketing. The companies that thrive are ones who understand their audience and communicate in their language. In conclusion, the old sales technique of screaming to the masses no longer works and certainly not in the digital atmosphere.
Due to it’s rapidly changing environment with less than a few decades of history to study, digital marketing can seem overwhelming. A dynamic career for those who enjoy learning. You’re already doing awesome, you made it all the way to the end of this piece… So don’t worry, we know you’ll do great.
Finally, listed below are some of the blog with the most authority on the web in regard to digital marketing. Most offer the opportunity to subscribe so you can get articles delivered to your inbox.
- Moz Blog (SEO)
- Hubspot Blog (Inbound)
- Crazy Egg (Content)
- Yoast Blog (SEO)
- Aherfs Blog (SEO)
- Kissmetrics (Analytics)
- GrowthLab (Content)
- Quicksprout (General)
Feedback on this article is welcomed. It is intended to be an introductory overview of digital marketing not a definitive guide. Hence, if you’d like to contribute your opinion, please do so in the comments below.
Also, please note: we are not affiliated in any way with the companies, courses, software or apps mentioned in this post. All links are provided only for informative purposes.
About Lafrankie Agency
We are a photo production agency based in Melbourne, Australia.
Since our inception in 2009 Lafrankie Agency has kept close to our vision of providing empowering marketing to Australia’s largest companies. We offer photo shoot logistics and teams for content marketing, collateral and campaign. Read more.