What is digital marketing? And why is everyone banging on about it constantly? Isn’t it basically marketing, but online? How is that any different to traditional marketing? What are the benefits of digital marketing?
We’re regularly asked a variety of questions about what exactly it is we do here at Social INK. It’s no big secret, really. It’s just that many people simply don’t know what digital marketing is or what it involves.
Of course, on the flip side, there are those who have an idea of what digital marketing involves, but struggle to see the benefits.
A question we hear surprisingly often is: “If everyone else is doing it, why should I? Surely it makes it highly competitive and more difficult for my business.”
It would be a bit like saying, “Other people are eating healthy, so why should I?” You need to practise it within your business to get the benefits.
So, let’s debunk the myths. Let’s put to rest any preconceptions about the benefits of digital marketing. Here’s a quick rundown of what it all involves, and why every business should embrace it.
What Is Digital Marketing and Why Is It Important?
Digital marketing is a way of promoting your business using a range of online tools and tactics. It gives businesses the opportunity to engage with a global, as well as local, audience. Thus, allowing them to target really specific demographics. With digital marketing, budgets and costs are smaller. Data is also more readily available and measurable, making easier to monitor, control, and adapt campaigns.
Effectively, any type of online promotional activity comes under digital marketing. In essence, it is about using digital technology to market your business. As opposed to traditional offline marketing, such as billboards, print and TV advertising.
The benefits of digital marketing for businesses are numerous. However, the most important benefit is the low barriers to entry. Digital marketing is more affordable for small businesses and startups than traditional marketing. As a result, smaller businesses are now able to compete with big brands.
Let’s explore how.
What Are the Advantages of Digital Marketing over Traditional Marketing?
Traditional, offline marketing has always been the preserve of the bigger brands with the bigger budgets. TV and print advertising is expensive. So, small businesses are effectively priced out. As a result, they rely on small local ads, sponsor local events, or depend on word-of-mouth to get noticed.
Digital marketing has broken down these barriers to entry and levelled the playing field for everyone. Of course, the benefits of digital marketing go far beyond cost. Below we’ve outlined the main advantages that digital marketing has over traditional marketing.
Digital Marketing Is Cost-Effective
Since we’ve mentioned it already, let’s delve a little deeper into one of the single most important benefits of digital marketing. Specifically, it’s the most cost-effective ways to market your business. With traditional marketing, competing for ad spend against big brands is tough for small businesses with limited budgets. Conversely, with digital marketing, every business has the chance to get more from their marketing spend.
In fact, very often, the only costs associated with digital marketing are time and knowledge. Many digital marketing tactics are free to explore, such as social media marketing, content marketing, and SEO. To develop these organically takes time. That’s all. Of course, you can supplement these with paid digital marketing activities such as online advertising (PPC, display, retargeting, social media advertising) if you want quicker results. But even these are still cheaper than going down the traditional marketing route.
While traditional marketing tactics also often come with various hidden costs, the only cost to digital marketing is time. SEO, content marketing, and social media engagement take time to work their magic. However, there are still digital marketing tactics such as pay-per-click, display, and social media advertising that can produce quicker results.
The Benefits of Data-Driven Marketing
With traditional marketing, the biggest question businesses ask is: “How do we know if our marketing is working?”
It can be difficult to track the effectiveness of traditional marketing approaches. One of the key benefits of digital marketing is that it’s so easy to measure, track, and analyse the data generated by your campaigns.
Analytics removes all the guesswork allowing you to track your digital marketing activities in real-time. As a result, you can instantly see what’s working and what isn’t. More importantly, you can stop, change, and improve ineffective digital marketing campaigns as they’re running, based on the data you receive. Alternatively, you can use the insights gained from your analytics to help improve future iterations.
Billboard locations can be chosen based on the type of footfall they get (e.g. commuters by a train station). Similarly, print publications have a defined readership. However, when choosing these traditional forms of marketing, there still aren’t any guarantees your target audience will receive your message.
On the other hand, with digital marketing, you can hyper-target your marketing. This means you can push personalised versions of your message to very specific audiences. For example, you can use PPC and social media ads to target more specifically, based on demographic information and personal characteristics. As well as targeting people with search intent via SEO and display advertising.
Go Where the People Are
“Google it” has become the mainstream term for performing an online search. The brand has become a ‘verb’. Libraries, encyclopaedias, and telephone book; these were our go-to sources of information. Now, Google reigns supreme. If you have a problem and want to find a product or service to help you solve it, you “Google it”. When you need to research and compare available products and services, Google is there to help. In fact, the majority of online journeys begin with a search.
Consumers will ask questions and search for answers to better understand their predicament before choosing to engage with a business. They will do their research, become better informed, and then make a decision over which product or service best suits their needs. Even then, the search isn’t over.
It’s often the case that people with buyer intent will go on to check a business’ social media channels, online ads, even their email newsletter before they’re ready to buy. It’s also likely that they’re doing exactly the same with direct competitors and comparing the offering, as well as each brand’s approach, tone, and quality of content.
Being where the people are is one of the major benefits of digital marketing. It’s a chance for all businesses to connect with potential customers throughout every stage of the buyer journey. Educating, informing, and eventually persuading them to choose your business over the competition. This is where writing for SEO works to improve your visibility online. Even social media impacts SEO. And all this combined as part of your digital marketing helps businesses reach potential customers when it matters most — at the point where they have maximum buyer intent.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Marketing?
Traditional marketing techniques are often limited in scope and size (mostly due to cost). For example, print ads are bound by their physical location, market (or readership), and time (depending on the size of your budget). So, in order to broaden the scope, you’ll need to increase the cost. However, with 3.48 billion people now using social media (45% of the total world population) you have a huge audience that you can target directly. And at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. Another of the great benefits of digital marketing.
In summary, the main benefits of digital marketing are:
- Highly trackable and measurable
- Global reach
Ultimately, when planned and executed correctly, all these aspects of digital marketing can drive sales. And isn’t that what business is about?
You may also be interested in learning about Social Media Marketing Training Courses.
Find out how your business could benefit from digital marketing today. Schedule a free consultation call for some open and honest advice and support. Let’s get digital marketing working for your business.