What Is Digital Marketing In 2019?
In 1972 it was Email, 1995 was Yahoo, 1998 was Google, 1999 was MSN Messenger, 2000 was Google AdWords, 2002 was LinkedIn, 2003 was Myspace, WordPress and Squarespace, 2004 was Facebook, 2005 was YouTube, 2006 was Twitter, Wix and Shopify, 2007 was Facebook Ads, 2010 was Instagram and Pinterest, 2011 was Snapchat, 2014 was Google My Business ...... (insert breathe) ..... (now continue). You get my point, don't you?
Digital Marketing is one of the craziest, ever-evolving spaces to play in. All of the above platforms and development sites are still around today. Ever evolving, changing and improving themselves to make life easier for their users, but also to stay relevant as new creations come out.
But how do you even define Digital Marketing and why is it important? Amidst all of the array of competing platforms, in 2019 why is Digital Marketing important to me, how much does it cost and is there a strategy in place to tell me what marketing mediums I should be on?
What would the definition of Digital Marketing be?
Digital Marketing is the use of channels, platforms and tactics that a business utilises to connect with their target consumers online. It is all-encompassing and involves all of your businesses brand messaging, websites, brand assets, social media platforms, online advertisements, affiliates and influencers, for all paid and free channels.
All businesses attempting to have a presence online, are naive to think that they will achieve any pre-set objectives without a Digital Marketing Strategy. In a basic sense, a marketing strategy is a breakdown of your business's products or services, target customer groups and demographics, brand messages, unique value proposition, previous digital performance and competitors analysis; all with the intended desire to discover new opportunities to reach your target audience better, over as many digital platforms as your budget allows through a targeted, well thought-out and measurable digital marketing campaign.
A simple gauge as to whether you need to develop or go back over your companies digital strategy are the questions:
- Why are you marketing on the digital and social platforms that you are on?
- Who is your target audience and are they on the platforms that you are on, at the time you are posting?
- What is your unique value proposition and how is that conveyed online against your competitors?
- What are your local competitors doing online and are you doing it better (results based, not your personal opinion)?
What Digital Marketing Examples and Tactics Would You Use In 2019?
Based on your goals and budget, the best digital marketing agencies will individualise the marketing examples and tactics that they recommend for your business. For all businesses though, I believe in these base-level digital marketing tactics and the relevant channels for 2019:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
The process of optimising your businesses website so that it ranks higher on a search engine (mainly Google searches), without having to pay for advertisement spaces. This long-term tactic is designed to have you gaining FREE traffic to your website for years to come. As Google continually changes its search algorithms, it leaves a great opportunity for businesses to climb the search rankings by constantly staying up with SEO's latest trends. SEO benefits the following channels:
- Online guides and written resources
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) including Google AdWords
As the name suggests, this is the tactic of driving actionable traffic to your website or advertisement, via paying for their clicks. The most commonly used and well-respected form of this is Google AdWords. PPC is where you bid to have your websites information on prime Google (or other search engines/social platforms) real estate, where you will be charged only once prospective clients "click" onto the advertisement link and are driven to your website. Other channels of pay-per-click are:
- Promoted posts and tweets on social platforms
- Banner Ad's and sponsored messages on platforms such as LinkedIn
- Re-targeting Ad's
Social Media Marketing
The promotion of your brand, across social media platforms that your prospective clients are utilising. Businesses post content to be viewed by their audience that may build their brand, promote their products or services, attempt to generate leads or try and drive traffic to their website or other marketing platforms. Examples of these channels include:
Many businesses have used basic forms of email marketing for decades now, but with a modern twist, many businesses are now utilising Electronic Digital Mail (EDM) platforms such as MailChimp or ActiveCampaign to great effect. These graphically designed EDM's are useful for internal newsletters, sales promotions, advertising upcoming courses and events, lead nurturing or just generally keeping in front of your developed contact list in a very inexpensive way.
Website Development and Blogging
Websites (in our humble opinion) should be the main hub for your businesses marketing on the internet. It is the best way to express who your business is, what products/services you offer and what the best ways are to get in contact, in a non-competitive space. Rather than competing in the business of advertising on other platforms, once consumers are on your website, they are just wanting to understand YOU. Adopting a Blog section of your website, is a great way of keeping you up-to-date for SEO, whilst also promoting that you are an educating resource in your businesses field of expertise.
What is the Role of Digital Marketing in a Business?
The basic role of digital marketing within a business can be summarised down to three key areas.
Develop Brand Awareness
This is all about getting your brand out there to the world (more specifically your target audience in your local area) but doing so through expressing your brand messages and core values. For your audience to choose you over competitors on a base-level, they must become familiar with the qualities of your business, the image that it pervades and the superiority of its products or services. Digital Marketing does this through being able to reach a mass audience, by putting you in front of consumers that are seeking what you offer and telling them who you are and what you exist for.
Online marketing is designed around driving traffic to your website or social platforms. The more traffic you have on your website, the better it will rank and the more likely you are to convert sales. By getting your business to rank better or be viewable on social media searches, your business will be able to be seen by more potential clients.
Ultimately 99.9% of businesses do Digital Marketing with the goal of generating more leads. Leads should not just be measured in numbers, but in quality and that is where the best digital marketers focus their time. When people are searching for your business's product or service category, you need to be able to be found and you must make sure that consumers find it super easy to get into contact with you.
What is the Benefit of Using A Digital Marketing Agency?
Quite simply, we are experts in what we do. Just as you know the "ins and outs" for your businesses industry, we know ours. The best digital agencies build Digital Marketing Strategies for their clients based on evidence and not hunches. We spend time using the tools at our disposal to analyse the business, the market, competition, target audience and past performance in order to drive tactics that work.
Online marketing agencies understand what things cost as well. This enables us to work within the budgets of clients effectively, by prioritising what platforms to focus on (based on years of trial and error with other clients). We don't just understand who your target market is, but more importantly, we know what your leads want to know about you and what platforms they will be looking for you on.
The most important reason as to why it can be beneficial to use a Digital Marketing Agency is that you can be freed up to be more accessible to more customers. Whilst Digital Marketing is super effective, it takes time, training and focus and there are limited hours to your week (168 to be exact, but whose counting). It could be more cost effective for your business to assist more clients, rather than having to continually drive your business digital presence.
Can my Business do Digital Marketing on a Tight Budget?
The short answer is yes you can. There are multiple free and low-cost mediums to reach your clients effectively, mainly social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram as well as writing your own blogs and email marketing templates. Whilst there are cheaper ways to utilise digital marketing channels on a budget, it is important to keep your anticipated results realistic. If you have the time and know how, there are a lot of great resources on YouTube and Google for different ways in which you can teach yourself more effective techniques for creating content and managing your Digital Marketing. But one thing that we advise (before you go down the rabbit hole of spending years trying to become a digital guru to save your business money), is that there is no harm in being honest with Digital Marketing Agencies about your budget before you write-off your ability to utilise one altogether. We work with clients that spend as little as $400 a month with us and they couldn't be happier with the results. You won't know unless you ask.
4 Easy and Cheap Digital Marketing Tactics that you can do yourself!
Sign-up to a Social Media Scheduling platform to post content regularly on Facebook and Instagram, look at your post Insights and then boost your best posts
If you struggle to find the time to stop during the day to post on social media, then scheduling and publishing platforms like Hootsuite and Sprout Social could be your answer. Sit down once a fortnight and write up your desired posts, schedule in the time you want them to go out, and they will publish them for you. This is great for the time poor business owner who still wants to engage with their followers.
Also, Facebook and Instagram have great inbuilt page insight recorders. You can login into your business accounts, go to "INSIGHTS", look into what posts were most engaged with over the past month and begin to replicate those sorts of posts. You can also see what age brackets and genders of followers engage with your posts most and on what days, to really start to narrow down on content.
If you are super proud of a post that you've created, then don't be afraid to BOOST it. For as little as $1 per day, Facebook will shoot that post out to a broader audience to help you get more visible on their platform.
Write simple blogs and post through your website
Writing is not everyone's forte but can be a great way to boost your businesses SEO cheaply. The easiest way to work out what to write about, is to think about the key questions that clients consistently ask you and try to answer them, talk about your go-to products and services in depth or utilise keyword finding software like KWFinder or SEMRush. These keyword finding platforms help you to work out how often your potential topics are actually searched for in your area, which can help you avoid going on a major tangent about a topic that no one actually cares about or searches for. Then write about the topic (try and use more than 800 words to be safe), remember to utilise your main keyword in the blog title and you are well on your way to helping yourself optimise your website.
Wouldn't you know, you've just created another post that you can schedule into your social media scheduling software and boost to a broader audience.
Register your business to Google My Business and get reviews
There is a common misconception that only retail stores and major head offices should be on Google My Business. That is totally wrong; all businesses should be! It's Google's way of offering a FREE directory for businesses to be found online. If you work from home, there is no need to worry about your privacy as you do not have to post your address, you merely have to highlight the area that you will service.
The great opportunity for small businesses is that most of your competitors will be underutilising this channel and now you won't (this will help you rank higher, quicker). A simple weekly post, bi-weekly photo update and getting your clients to review your product or service, will have you climbing the competitive ranks in no time. Remember that clients reviewing your company and bragging about your great work comes across a lot more powerfully than if you are boasting about yourself.
Make sure your website is Mobile-Friendly
For most of the clients we work with, an average of almost 50% of their website traffic comes from people viewing their site on mobile phones, yet chances are that if their site was not developed in the past few years, it might not be mobile-friendly. There is nothing worse in Digital Marketing, then spending a great deal of time building a following and audience, developing your brand message, driving leads to a website, only for it to not work properly for 50% of the traffic.
If your business or its website developer designed your site on Wix.com, Shopify, Squarespace or WordPress, then all can be simply and cheaply optimised for mobile. If you want us to look into whether or not your website is mobile-friendly, then we are happy to help. Just let us know.
Where do I begin? How do I create a Digital Marketing Strategy?
So, after reading this "What is Digital Marketing in 2019?" post, you have probably identified a few ways in which you can help your business improve its digital marketing this year, and that is great. Just remember that when you want to start building a house, there is no point starting by building the roof, you start with sitting down with a builder and/or architect and developing a plan. In our case, the plan is developing a Digital Marketing Strategy. If this is something that you are not confident with then we'd love to help, just get in contact with us. If you want to try it yourself, there are some great online resources on Google to help you template your own strategy and over the coming months, we will be releasing more resources to help you develop a thorough strategy that will work in your industry, so stay tuned.