What is Digital Marketing and Why Does It Matter to Your Business?

Digital marketing. You hear the phrase used all the time. You know it’s important. But… what is digital marketing, exactly? We’ll investigate here the digital marketing industry and the importance of digital marketing for your business.

What’s the Role of Digital Marketing?

The meaning of digital marketing is so simple, it sounds silly: it’s marketing that you do digitally, using modern technology and online media.

But the digital marketing industry is a broad church, so that definition actually covers thousands of different tools, strategies and approaches to marketing. In this article, we’ve grouped all those elements into four basic points.

In the broadest possible terms, here’s what online digital marketing means:

  • Multiple channels.
  • Strategic use of data.
  • Personalized marketing.
  • Relationships before the hard sell.

In the next few sections, we’ll look at those four points in more detail… and explain why digital marketing is for everyone.

Digital Marketing Uses Multiple Channels

One reason for the importance of digital marketing is that it’s flexible. Instead of being restricted to a single format, digital marketing includes an enormous range of platforms and styles

Here are just a few of the most common online digital marketing channels:

  • Website. Every business needs a website. This is where customers will research your brand, place orders and share feedback.
  • Search engines. Your website should be optimized (SEO) so that it appears when people search for your brand or industry online. You can also pay to show ads for your business in the search results.
  • Social media. Different social networks have different audiences and goals. People use social media for customer service, recommendations and reviews – so make sure you have a presence on the networks which your customers use. Run ads on the networks where you want to reach new leads.
  • Email. It might not be as fashionable as social media, but email marketing is still a highly effective way to contact leads and convert them into paying customers.
  • Mobile. The digital marketing industry is increasingly focused on mobile users. Make sure your website looks good and works well for mobile browsers. Consider building an app for your products or services.
  • Content marketing. A large part of digital marketing focuses on content marketing. That means providing useful, entertaining content which makes people loyal to your brand – even before they choose to purchase.

Digital Marketing Uses Data Strategically

So how do digital marketers juggle all those different channels we just talked about?

Data. More specifically, big data.

The digital marketing industry is focused on learning as much about consumers as possible. You need to know what your customers want and need, how they interact with your website and social media, and what turns them on or off a sale. Knowledge is power, as they say.

So digital marketing isn’t just about presenting information and ads to potential customers. One of the most important roles of digital marketing is data collection and analysis. All that information gets fed back into your digital marketing strategy – removing ineffective content, refining your ads, and learning how to give customers exactly what they need.

Digital Marketing is Personal

Online platforms, data collection… Doesn’t digital marketing sound a bit, well, impersonal?

In fact, digital marketing is far more personal than traditional advertising and marketing strategies. All that data that digital marketers collect is used to customize and personalize marketing campaigns, as well as tell brands whether their strategy is working.

Here are some of the ways that online digital marketing gets personal:

  • Dynamic content. It’s now possible to swap out content in emails and web pages, depending on who’s viewing them. For example, you can make sure that everyone on your mailing list gets a message with their name on it, or show a different website headline to different demographics.
  • Targeting. Instead of blasting your message out to the general crowd, now you can target the highest quality leads for your brand. Create tailored ads and content, and make sure that only the right people see them.
  • Re-targeting. Digital marketing allows us to track how individual customers behave. So for example, if someone clicks on a product but doesn’t make it to the checkout, you can re-target that customer with personalized ads and messages.

Digital Marketing Isn’t Just About the Hard Sell

As well as getting personal, the digital marketing industry has learned to tread softly. Instead of pushing customers to purchase immediately, online digital marketing takes the time to build a relationship – through content marketing, social media interactions, and drip-feed email campaigns.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is an essential tool for digital marketers. It allows you to track those customer relationships. From how they first found your brand, to their social media behavior, purchase history and preferred contact methods. You can empower your sales team with detailed information on each individual lead.

Digital Marketing is For Everyone

Multiple media channels. Strategic data. Personalization. Real relationships between customers and your brand. What does all of that add up to?

In our opinion, it shows that digital marketing is for everyone. It involves tools that are accessible to every business, such as data collection and using a diverse mix of media. And through the power of personalization and CRM, means that you can reach out to every customer on their own terms. When it’s done right, digital marketing is good for customers and good for business. What’s not to love?

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