What is digital marketing?

Oct 16, 2020

In the era of remote work, social distancing and the “new normal,” everything is digital. From conferences to school to happy hours, we can do anything that needs to be done on a computer, tablet or smartphone. This increased use of web platforms has made digital marketing, already a must-have in any company’s marketing arsenal, invaluable. As internet use has skyrocketed, having your company’s message seen online has become even easier – with the right digital marketing agency behind you.

Digital marketing is just what it sounds like – marketing on digital platforms. A digital marketing strategy leverages online resources like social media, search engines and email to get your message in front of the right people at the right time. Some common elements of a digital marketing strategy include:

Social media marketing

There are a couple of ways to use social media effectively in a marketing strategy. The first one is paid advertising. Most major social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, for example) have paid advertising programs that will let you get your name in front of an audience that might not already be familiar with it.

Unpaid social media marketing is more organic and cheaper than paid marketing, but it’s also a lot more work. Since you’re busy actually running your business, you’re probably not spending enough time on a social media marketing strategy, which should involve frequent, regular posts. Those posts should not only include information about your business, but useful tips, resources, and other information that will engage viewers and hopefully bring them back to your website. Often, a social media strategy will include another type of digital marketing – content marketing.

Content marketing

Think about seeing a video in your social media feed that caught your eye, or having a blog show up in the search results for something you were researching. You watched the video or read the blog, liked what you saw, and began looking at the company’s website for more. This is the essence of content marketing – using content assets to build awareness, drive website visitors, and boost sales. It can also be great for lead generation, as valuable content like e-books and research can go behind registration walls. These leads are also a great source of customer data, which, when analyzed, allows greater insights into your audience’s behavior and preferences, allowing you to better market to their needs and interests.

Search engine marketing

Search engine marketing, or SEM, means using paid advertisements to appear on a search engine results page (SERP). Why would you need to do that? You need people to find your website, and unfortunately, it’s not as simple as “if you build it, they will come.” You’ll need to do some work to get search engines like Google to find your website and display your results where people can find them – ideally on the first page of a search (because, let’s be honest, how often do you go past the first page of search results?) Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of refining content to have it appear organically in a search (like the example of the blog in the previous section). It differs from SEM because it is free – but just as with paid versus free social media marketing, it’s harder. And yes, you should do both.

Both SEM and SEO rely heavily on keywords because that is the basis of a search. When you search for something, what do you type in? For example, if you were looking for the best digital marketing agency for small businesses, you’d probably type in exactly those words. If you were looking for something local, you might search for digital marketing agencies in Naperville, or Des Moines, or Chicago – you get the idea. There are many tools available for keyword research to determine which keywords you want to rank for, and those key words can then be incorporated into your overall digital marketing strategy.

As with so many other methods of digital marketing, search engine marketing requires time and resources. For small businesses that are often already overstretched, it may be too much. MACLYN is a digital marketing agency that can help small businesses achieve their goals without stretching their budgets. Our a la carte services are perfect for small businesses that want to focus on one piece of a digital marketing strategy – maybe you’ve got someone to do social media, but you could use help with SEM. We’re the perfect partner, whether you want a little help or a complete strategy. Give us a call!

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