It’s tempting to believe that digital skills are solely necessary for technical careers like web development or web design. But the truth is that in today’s economy, digital skills are job skills, as seen by the rise in digital marketing positions.
As the value of these skills grow, “digital” marketing is becoming associated with marketing in general, which means that adding digital talents to your portfolio as a sales and marketing professional is becoming less of a specialist and more of a must.
Still, before you decide that digital marketing is right for you, you need to understand what digital marketing is, including what sets it apart from traditional marketing, the skills required, and how you can learn them. In order to answer these questions, we’ve put together this easy guide to dive deeper into what digital marketing is all about.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing refers to marketing methods conducted using electronics and online. Businesses might use websites, search engines, social media, content, email and similar channels to connect with their target audience.
Role as a Digital Marketer
Setting goals is the first step in the digital marketing process. From generating and nurturing leads, to boosting conversions and sales, a digital marketer’s goals must be attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Above all, a digital marketer must make sure to help their clients discover new audiences, improve branding, and keep customers happy, all at the lowest possible upfront cost! A company’s online presence is more important now than ever before as more and more consumers are turning to the internet to do their research about a company so digital marketing is at the forefront of how businesses are perceived by the public.
How is Digital Marketing different from Traditional Marketing?
The main difference between the two avenues is breadth. Traditional marketing entails creating catalogs or putting advertising in newspapers, but digital marketing entails engaging with an audience online via social media, email, blogs, paid ads and other channels.
When using digital marketing instead of traditional marketing strategies, you have more options. Traditional marketing consists of television, radio, newspapers, and phone calls. There are several distribution channels in the digital marketing world, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, applications, websites, and others. Plus, people spend more time on their phones and surfing the web than they do watching TV, listening to the radio and reading newspapers as I’m sure is no surprise to you. Hence, this is a huge reason why companies are spending more and more money on digital marketing than ever before and this is why having digital marketing skills is no longer seeing as just a plus, but it’s now seen as a requirement for anyone trying to enter the marketing profession.
Types of Digital Marketing (Overview)
These are the core types of digital marketing in which you’ll want to plan your digital marketing strategy around:
- Website Based Strategy
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Pay-per-click (PPC)
- Content Creation
- Data Visuals
- Downloadable Materials
- Social Media
- Organic traffic
- Social ads
- Email Marketing
- Online Marketing
- Digital ads
- Pay-per-click (PPC)
In the next part, we will delve deeper into how these Digital Marketing types are becoming prominent in business strategy!
Types of Digital Marketing (A Deeper Dive)
The first stage in the consumer journey is brand awareness. Consumers generally tend to research products and resources by conducting an online search using Google or another search engine such as Bing (Yeh, I know….who uses this anymore? As a marketer though, pay close attention to Bing as it can offer a great ROI as everyone is thinking this way). The results display webpages or other online resources that correspond to their search parameters or keywords. This is the stage at which you may take proactive efforts to increase customer awareness of your brand.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is a technique for enhancing your position in search results. The higher your position is on search results, the more noticeable you are to a consumer and the more likely they’ll see you as an authority and visit your website. Optimizing for keywords and search phrases on your website is one of the top SEO tactics. So, as an SEO specialist, you’re going to want to make sure that you have these keywords that you want to rank for all over your website (without keyword stuffing) as this allows Google to better understand what your website is all about. This is a very simplistic starting point for succeeding with SEO but this is where you need to start before building on other on-page and off-page SEO tactics.
Search Engine Marketing
SEM is the practice of paying to appear higher in search results. You can run PPC ads through Google or Bing which will allow your ad to populate at the top of Google/Bing when someone types in the specific search words you’ve told Google/Bing to target. Yes this can be very expensive but the nice thing is, you can quickly get to the top of Google/Bing search results if you’re willing to pay (you’ll only get charged when someone actually clicks your ad hence the term pay per click). SEM should be used in conjunction with SEO to boost a company’s presence in search results and generate traffic to its website. If you’ve completed all of the necessary efforts to improve your site, your brand might score high in organic search results but by paying for ads, you can guarantee that your company can be seen immediately.
This is another way for a company to be discovered that contributes to SEO efforts. Blogs, articles, videos, podcasts, social media postings, webinars, downloadable tools, and so on are all examples. Using material can lead to a desired action, such as giving their email address for a resource or receiving a product discount. Content marketing is becoming extremely important in marketing as this is an opportunity to show off your expertise as well as get free exposure from people who are searching for this type of content. Creating content can be a very time consuming process but the ROI in the long run is great for companies and that’s why you’re seeing more and more companies creating blogs and other content as the ROI is great.
Social Media Marketing
And of course, we have social media marketing. Social media marketing is a great way to get your brand out there to potential customers and you’ll hopefully be able to use it as an avenue to drive people to your website and ultimately become customers. Choosing which channels to be present on is determined by who the company wishes to reach and interact with. This is a strategic decision that will be different for each company and based on what your goals are and most importantly, where your target demographic is. Throughout the course a buyer takes before choosing a specific company, social media raises brand exposure while also nurturing consideration. Social media may be an effective instrument for brand advocacy or even just to show the lighter side and personality of a company and therefore, should be one of the main focuses for any up and coming digital marketer. But, if you’re trying to get a full-time paid job, simply having social media alone on your resume is not going to be enough to get you hired as pretty much everyone has a social media internship under their belt. In order to impress hiring managers, you’re going to want to expand your work experience into these other areas as well as marketing hiring managers want someone with work experience in 2 but most prefer experience in 3 of the 4 major digital marketing areas of Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, PPC Marketing and SEO Marketing.
Each component of the digital marketing jigsaw works together to form a complete digital marketing plan that matches a company’s marketing and sales goals. It is the obligation of a digital marketer to identify the correct combination that will meet campaign and overall marketing goals. Learning the various options and putting them together in a cohesive plan is one of the main components of the job, and should be taken extremely seriously as the brand’s reputation is on the line and often quite a bit of money can be on the line as well. So, it’s important to get the right training that you need to ensure you know what you’re doing and then you’re going to constantly want to stay up with the trends as digital marketing changes quickly.
Let’s now see how all of these digital marketing components tie in with one another with a case study.
Digital Marketing Case Study
James needs a new leaf blower that has a strong enough battery life for him to last a few days without a recharge. He conducts a Google search using the terms “leaf blower with strong battery”. Because of their strong website and their focus on SEO best practices, Outdoor Depot appears at the top of her search results. Jack navigates to their website by clicking on their link within the Google results. He takes a look at a few of their items and decides he wants to conduct additional investigation. If Outdoor Depot is smart, they have cookies and pixels on their website which captures some of James’ info. They can then use re-marketing ads through Google or via Social Media to make sure that Outdoor Depot keeps popping up in front of James to keep Outdoor Depot on the top of their mind.
On his social media, he asks for advice from friends and family regarding which leaf blower he should buy. On Facebook, while scrolling through his feed, he now sees ads for the same leaf blower he looked at on Outdoor Depot’s website. The ad shows a 25% discount on the product. The ad worked and he clicks on the ad and is sent to a landing page that requests his email address in order to send him the discount code. James gives out his email address and receives the 25% discount coupon. This is where email marketing now comes into play. He’s put on a list to begin getting scheduled emails that are designed to guide him in his decision.
After looking at his other options and getting gradual educational resources from Outdoor Depot, James feels confident he made the right choice. He chooses Outdoor Depot, which not only gets them a sale, but confirms that their digital marketing strategy is effective in walking customers through the buying process.
As you can see, simply knowing one area of digital marketing will not suffice as there are so many different touchpoints that companies go through in walking a person from brand awareness to ultimately becoming a customer. In this example, it started off by having an SEO friendly website. Then Outdoor Depot used tracking. Then they ran re-marketing ads via social media and eventually they sealed the deal with email marketing.
Getting a job in digital marketing or any other field requires patience, a willingness to communicate, and a drive to get the training you need as there are a lot of steps to running successful digital marketing campaigns. Once you figure out what specific type of digital marketing excites you the most, get as much real world work experience as you possibly can in it but don’t neglect the other areas as you won’t be hireable if you only know Social Media for instance as you can see that they all play off one another. You need to make sure that you are giving hiring managers exactly what they want in terms of work experience as too many entry-level applicants think that by having some experience in 1 area of digital marketing, then that automatically makes them hireable. As you can see here, that’s just not how marketing works. So always keep this at the front of your mind when you’re trying to gain the work experience you need to get hired and if you need any free help from marketing hiring managers, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org as we’ve helped 3,000+ grads get their first entry-level marketing job.