What is a digital marketing and how can I get started?
Digital marketing, online marketing, internet advertising … whatever it’s called, marketing your business online is big business today. After all, Internet use has more than doubled in the last decade and this change has greatly affected the way people buy products and interact with businesses.
So what is digital marketing? Digital marketing is like any other type of marketing – it is a way to connect with and influence your potential customers. The real difference is that you connect with and influence those customers online.
what is digital marketing?
Basically, digital marketing refers to any online marketing effort or asset. Email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, and even blogging are great examples of digital marketing – they help introduce people to your business and convince them to buy.
Here are some of the most common digital marketing resources and strategies that companies use to reach people online:
Digital marketing assets
Almost anything can be a digital marketing asset. It simply has to be a marketing tool that is used online. That being said, many people don’t realize how many digital marketing assets they have at their disposal. Here are some examples:
- Your website
- Brand assets (logos, icons, acronyms, etc.)
- Video content (video ads, product demos, etc.)
- Images (infographics, product photos, company photos, etc.)
- Written content (blog posts, e-books, product descriptions, testimonials, etc.)
- Online products or tools (SaaS, calculators, interactive content, etc.)
- Social media pages
As you can imagine, this list is just a brushstroke of the surface. Most digital marketing assets fall into one of these categories, but marketers are constantly coming up with new ways to reach customers online, so the list keeps growing.
Digital marketing strategies
The list of digital marketing strategies is also constantly evolving, but here are some of the strategies that most companies are using:
Pay per click advertising
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is actually a broad term that encompasses any type of digital marketing where you pay for each user who clicks on an ad. For example, Google AdWords is a form of PPC advertising called “paid search advertising” (which we’ll go over in a second). Facebook Ads are another form of PPC advertising called “paid social media advertising” (again, we’ll talk about this shortly).
Paid advertising in search
Google, Bing, and Yahoo allow you to run text ads on their search engine results pages (SERPs). Paid search advertising is one of the best ways to target potential customers who are actively searching for a product or service like yours.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
If you don’t want to pay to appear in the SERPs, you can also use search engine optimization (SEO) to try and rank the pages or blog posts on your site organically. You don’t have to pay directly for each click, but getting a page to rank usually takes a lot of time and effort (for a more detailed comparison of paid search and SEO, see this article).
Paid advertising on social media
Most social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat will allow you to post ads on your site. Paid advertising on social media is great for making your business, product, or service known to an audience that may not know it exists.
Social media marketing
Like SEO, social media marketing is the free, organic way to use social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter to market your business. And just like SEO, organic marketing your business on social media takes a lot more time and effort, but in the long run, it can deliver much cheaper results.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO)
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the art and science of improving the online user experience. Most of the time, companies use CRO to get more conversions (leads, chats, calls, sales, etc.) from the existing traffic on their website.
Content marketing is another pretty broad digital marketing term. Content marketing encompasses any digital marketing effort that uses content assets (blog posts, infographics, e-books, videos, etc.) to raise awareness of the brand or drive clicks, leads, or sales.
Have you ever reached the end of an article and seen a list of suggested articles? That is native advertising. Most native advertising is included in content marketing because it uses content to attract clicks (“you won’t believe what happens next!”). Often times, native advertising can be a bit difficult to spot as it is often laced with recommendations for unpaid content … but that’s what it’s all about.
Email marketing is the oldest form of online marketing and it is still going strong. Most digital marketers use email marketing to announce special offers, highlight content (often as part of content marketing), or promote an event.
Affiliate marketing is basically paying someone else (a person or a business) to promote your products and services on their website.
As you can see from the list above, there are many different ways to market your business online, which is why many companies either hire an agency to manage their digital marketing efforts or pay for an in-house marketing team and marketing automation software. to meet your marketing needs (for an in-depth comparison of these options, see this article).
Does digital marketing work?
Digital marketing is a great option for any business. At Clicking365, we’ve used digital marketing to help all types of businesses grow, from family-run stores to internationally recognized universities and beyond. That is the beauty of online advertising. If you know who you want to target, you can use digital marketing to target anyone, anywhere.
However, with that said, certain types of businesses will benefit more from certain types of digital advertising. As a summary, let’s see which strategies tend to work best for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies:
In general, B2C companies have much lower prices than their B2B counterparts. After all, it can be a bit difficult to sell a $ 150,000 bit (trust me, they exist) to a burdened mother. But a $ 10 pair of children’s pants? It’s a pretty straightforward sale.
The good news is because B2C companies aren’t trying to sell incredibly expensive products or services, they don’t need large sales teams or complicated marketing funnels. All they have to do is get their products or services in front of the right audience with the right message and the rest should take care of itself.
Consequently, the main goal of most B2C companies is to get people in and through their marketing funnel. For example, if you can get that burdened mom into your children’s clothing website and offer her an interesting offer, chances are she will buy today. You don’t need to build a lot of brand awareness or trust before closing a sale.
With this in mind, B2C businesses often get great results from top tunnel marketing channels, such as social media marketing or paid social advertising. These channels do a great job of getting your business in front of potential customers who might not otherwise know you exist.
Now, supplementing with other digital marketing strategies like paid search or SEO is always a good idea, but if you have to pick a channel to start with, paid social media advertising or social media marketing are great options for you. B2C.
On the contrary, paid search is a great option for B2B companies. Most B2B companies have a very specific audience niche that can be difficult to reach using social media. However, if you’re selling $ 150,000 bits and someone searches for “diamond tip oil drilling bit manufacturer,” you want to be the first result they see. Yes, you may pay more for your click than with paid social advertising, but at $ 150,000 it’s money well spent.
Also, most B2B companies have a much longer and more complicated sales cycle than B2C companies. If you sell a $ 150,000 bit, chances are that most people won’t come to your site, call you and say “I want one.” As a result, longer-term strategies, such as content marketing or email marketing, are often necessary to close a deal.
Of course, the right mix of digital marketing tactics will vary from industry to industry and company to company, but the simple comparison between B2C and B2B should help you get an idea of how different strategies may be better for certain companies. Not all strategies are suitable for all businesses, but with a little trial and error, you should be able to identify the most profitable approach for your business.
How do I start?
The good news is that getting started with digital marketing is pretty easy. Most online advertising platforms make it easy to register and create your first campaign (after all, this is how they make money). Here are some links to beginner’s guides on different digital marketing strategies:
- Search engine paid to advertise
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Paid advertising on social media
- Social media marketing
- Conversion rate optimization
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
However, the core of any successful digital marketing campaign is not a guide. Regardless of the strategies you choose to use, here are 4 questions to answer before getting started with digital marketing:
1. How much do you need to earn?
To know what you need to spend on digital marketing, you must first clarify what your goals are. The way you approach digital marketing can vary quite a bit based on whether your end goal is to drive clicks, conversions or leads, sales, revenue, or a certain return on investment (ROI).
Ultimately, the end goal of any marketing effort should be a return on investment. After all, if your digital marketing spend isn’t generating profitable income for your business, why are you marketing online?
Clicks and even conversions are great, but your business doesn’t make money from clicks (in fact, you spend money on clicks) or conversions. Make money from sales.
With this in mind, the first thing to determine before deciding what your digital marketing budget should be is deciding how much income you want to make. Once you know that, you can use that information to determine how much ad spend will be needed to reach that revenue goal.
2. Who is the marketing for?
Once you know how much money you want to make from digital marketing, you have to identify who you are targeting. This is critical because different buyers require different marketing tactics. And, more importantly, different buyer personas become different types of buyers.
So guess what? If you don’t understand your personal buyers, you won’t be able to create an effective digital marketing strategy.
If you have a sales team, talking to the sales department can be one of the quickest ways to get a decent buyer persona. After all, they are the ones who talk to their customers the most, right?
However, even talking to your sales team and doing a little research is not enough to get to the level of detail you need to come up with an effective digital marketing plan. To do this, you have to get on the phone and call your real customers.
Ask how they found you, why they converted, and what convinced them to pay you. This information will give you a ton of information about your marketing and sales process that you can use both to improve your advertising performance and to choose your marketing budget.
3. How much are your clients worth?
Buyers are generally seen by people as a good way to build an effective marketing strategy. The buyer personas are great at this, but they’re also an important part of putting together an effective digital marketing plan.
For example, imagine you are advertising a SaaS business called SaaS-A-Frass that has the following pricing structure:
In this situation, you are likely to be targeting 3 different buyer personas:
- Small business “Steve”
- Medium company “Mandy”
- Company “Edward”
Small business “Steve” has much smaller and simpler business needs than Edward or Mandy, so he will probably choose the Starter package. Mandy will probably want the Professional package and Edward will probably need the Business package.
Assuming Steve, Mandy, and Edward stay an average of 14 months, 4 years, and 9 years, respectively (average life of a SaaS client) and buy 5, 20, and 100 licenses (again, respectively), here’s the value of the life of each of these people ([licenses/month] x [number of licenses] x [typical customer life in months]):
- Steve: $ 1,750
- Mandy: $ 72,000
- Edward: $ 1,590,000
These figures seem very interesting, but not all that money is profit.
A typical SaaS company pays about 22% for compliance, 9% for sales, and has 40% overhead, leaving them about 29% of each customer’s lifetime value to play with. That means that to break even, SaaS-A-Frass has to spend less than the following to acquire a Facebook customer:
Maximum acquisition cost
- Steve: $ 507.50
- Mandy: $ 20,880
- Edward: $ 461,100
If SaaS-A-Frass can keep its acquisition cost below this threshold, it will make money. If the acquisition cost of each of these clients is higher, you will lose money.
Do you see why the person buyer is so important to the budget?
Of course, the market is unlikely to be saturated with Edwards, so SaaS-A-Frass will need a mix of these deals to reach its revenue goals. That mix will dictate your budget for Facebook.
Therefore, if SaaS-A-Frass is willing to spend $ 0.18 on marketing to produce $ 1 of lifetime value (for a total profit margin of 11%), SaaS-A-Frass can afford to pay as much as possible. following for each buyer:
Customer acquisition cost
- Steve: $ 315
- Mandy: $ 12,960
- Edward: $ 286,200
If SaaS-A-Frass cannot produce paying customers for a particular buyer character at a price below this threshold, it probably shouldn’t target that buyer character.
However, if SaaS-A-Frass’s digital marketing efforts are currently producing buyers of each person at these CACs (or even at a CAC below these thresholds), SaaS-A-Frass can use that information to calculate its budget. of marketing.
4. How much do you need to spend to reach your goals?
At this point, things are pretty straightforward. Just take your CAC, the average value of the purchase order, and an average number of purchases (if you have a subscription model, you can only use the average life of each buyer person here) and connect them to this calculator.
The default value for this calculator shows the monthly budget and ROI for SaaS-A-Frass, assuming SaaS-A-Frass wants to produce $ 2,425,500 in new revenue from digital marketing each month and they have determined that To do this, they need their marketing efforts to produce 100 sales per month (90 Steves, 9 Mandys, and 1 Edward).
In our example, a new Steve pays $ 125 a month for an average of 14 months, a new Mandy pays $ 1,500 a month for an average of 48 months, and a new Edward pays $ 15,000 a month for 108 months.
Plugging all of this into the calculator, SaaS-A-Frass will have to budget $ 348,300 per month to meet its new lifetime income goals.
Do you see it? I told you this part was easy. To make things even better, you can use this calculator to calculate your overall digital marketing budget, or you can choose a specific strategy and use it to find out if a certain strategy makes sense for your business. For example, if you need a $ 75 CAC, but your average AdWords cost per click is $ 25, AdWords may not be the right digital marketing channel for you.
Now, as you can imagine, this approach is not a perfect estimate of what it will take to reach your income goals. This calculator is only as accurate as of the information you can give it. But it is much better than choosing the month at random and hoping that digital marketing will produce the results you need.
How is digital marketing different on mobile?
As you can probably imagine, digital marketing on mobile is very different from digital marketing on computers. Today, these differences are especially important because smartphones are now the main device that people use to interact with the Internet.
60% of Internet activity is done on mobile devices, so the shift from desktop to mobile has had a profound effect on digital marketing.
Last year, Google Ads got rid of sidebar ads on its results pages to create a consistent experience between mobile and desktop. Facebook Ads still shows sidebar ads on desktop, but only shows in-stream ads on mobile. Shorter blog posts outnumber longest on mobile … and the list of differences is endless.
To be honest, in today’s digital marketing world, it’s a good idea to assume that people will find your marketing on mobile, and then adapt your strategy for desktop as needed.
In addition to optimizing your ads for mobile, it’s also important to think about your site and landing page experience. Of course, your website can look great on a desktop computer, but if it’s impossible to navigate on a mobile device, you’ll end up driving away from a significant percentage of your web traffic.
At a minimum, you should have a website that is responsive to mobile devices, but ideally, your mobile experience is specifically designed to facilitate an effortless mobile experience (not just a tailored version of your desktop experience).
Whether most advertisers realize it or not, digital marketing is now primarily a mobile experience. The good news is, if you’re relatively new to digital marketing, you don’t have to worry about reinventing the wheel. You can start by creating attractive mobile ads and then tailor them to the needs of desktop computers.
Digital marketing is the marketing of the future. In addition to all the benefits we’ve talked about throughout this article, you can track the results of your digital marketing efforts with incredible precision, which means it’s easy to see which strategies are producing profitable results and which ones. they need some work.
By the way, if this article has convinced you that you need digital marketing (or need to improve your digital marketing game), but would like help identifying the right approach, let us know here or in the comments. We love helping businesses grow with digital marketing.