What is digital marketing?
Wikipedia defines digital marketing as “an umbrella term for the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies”. Ideally, digital marketing uses the Internet as a marketing and communications tool that, instead of interrupting people with targeted advertising, allows the customer to find you.
Digital marketing works on the premise that repeated exposure to a brand develops familiarity, trust, rapport and most importantly, results. Used effectively, digital marketing is a powerful tool. It enables easy access to a global audience of potential customers, with opportunities for interaction and feedback, and easier ways to measure outcomes than traditional marketing.
Digital marketing vs. traditional marketing
Today’s audience is growing increasingly tired of brands interrupting their daily life, they would prefer to find your brand when they are ready. Traditional marketing channels such as print and broadcast media, direct mail, and telemarketing are becoming less and less effective in the modern internet-connected world.
People have numerous devices to access online content, most of which are portable, allowing them to read an email one second, look up a website the next, and then post their opinion to social media.
Research has shown that 86% of people skip television ads and 44% of direct mail is never opened. Alternatively people are always online, whether at school, work, home or even in their leisure time.
One of the biggest flaws of traditional marketing is that it does not encourage consumers to actively participate in communication with your brand. On the other hand, digital marketing encourages multidirectional communication, promoting a two-way conversation. This provides your business with invaluable interaction and feedback.
Another key difference is the cost. Despite popular belief, digital marketing is not free. However if implemented strategically, digital marketing can yield a far greater return on investment than traditional marketing. On average, the cost to reach 1,000 viewers online ranges from $1 - $10, where as traditional comes in between $10 - $487.
Dangers and pitfalls
It’s important that you don’t become disillusioned when it comes to digital marketing. Digital marketing is constantly evolving and you need to stay up to date with current trends and techniques. No matter what type of marketing you engage in, you will always come into contact with legal issues, roadblocks, or a PR crisis.
Digital marketing works both ways. Whilst a happy customer can be a valuable crusader for your brand, an unhappy customer can cause a lot of damage to your business. When you invite conversation online, you also open yourself up to negative feedback.
When online, brands need to ensure that they monitor consumer’s comments constantly. Most platforms you can’t (and shouldn’t) delete negative comments, and therefore it is important to reply to these empathetically and diplomatically. Don’t forget: any feedback can be valuable for the business, it’s mostly a matter of perspective.
Why is it important?
Gone are the days that consumer’s knowledge of your brand only consisted of what you wanted them to know. People have 24/7 access to any information anywhere they want it. The best thing about digital marketing is that it will help your business attract new customers and build long-lasting relationships with them.
Today people want to purchase from brands they can trust and from companies that know and care about them. Therefore it is imperative that your business has an impressive online presence that embodies your brand correctly. There are numerous online avenues that this can be achieved with:
· Social media
· Email marketing
· Paid per click advertising
The digital marketing world will continuously evolve, and as long as technology advances, so too will digital marketing. If your business hasn’t already developed an online presence, it isn’t too late.
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