Marketing is the fuel of nearly every successful business on the planet. It comes in many different forms. As of late, marketing can be divided into one of two categories. Those are offline marketing and digital marketing. The latter is the most recent and many would argue that it’s the most powerful. Companies that haven’t caught on to incorporating digital into their marketing plan will find it difficult to grow.

The most important factor in marketing whether it’s digital or offline/traditional is market research. Companies must know who their target market is or they will end up wasting time and money. No matter what form of marketing a company employs, if they don’t know who their audience is, they’ve already lost. The company that knows and understands their market will be the company that will benefit the most from digital marketing.

There are many different types of digital marketing. Most fall into one or more of the following: Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, & Influencer Marketing. These all have their pros and cons, but any good marketing plan will include them all in some form, as they all work together.  By incorporating these forms of marketing, companies can develop a flawless digital marketing plan that can virtually guarantee growth for their business.

These forms of marketing are already being put to use by fortune 500 companies. This point leads to another reason as to why digital marketing is such a great facet of business promotion, it’s online and the internet is the great equalizer. This means companies can use the same techniques as the “big boys”. The only difference is one of degree due to the fact that major companies tend to have extremely large marketing budgets.

The entire point of digital marketing or marketing of any kind is to acquire new customers and retain them.  The overall easiest form of marketing to get started with is social media marketing.  Companies can get started for free and all it takes is for them to sign up to their chosen social networks.  Having a presence on social media allows companies to interact directly with their audience and it also gives a company’s brand a voice that helps to further connect to their audience. This is great for the customer as well as the company and provides a form of social proof. Although one can get started with social media marketing for free, companies can use PPC (Pay Per Click) ads to further their campaign and reach their target market directly.  These paid social media ads can be used to develop an effective frequency and can provide marketers with opportunities to drive greater brand impact (1)

Another form of marketing that aligns perfectly with social media is content marketing. Content marketing is the keystone of any company’s successful digital marketing campaign. It consists of creating and distributing content that the audience wants to see or hear. In the age of Youtube, this means video as well as text. There are 4 steps to a strong content marketing strategy:

  1. “You have to first define who you want to attract: Getting traffic is useless unless it’s the right traffic.
  2. You have to find out what your target audience wants: That means not coming up with random topics – You need to validate your ideas before you even write anything.
  3. You have to write in an intelligent, no-fluff, data backed way: Readers have no time for fluffy articles.
  4. You have to promote each piece of writing: You can put it on your social channels, email, to keep your audience engaged.” (2)

Content marketing can be one of the most effective elements of a company’s digital marketing strategy. This is because it allows them to possibly take advantage of  the viral effect. During the promotion of content, if it’s creative and innovative enough, there’s a chance it will be shared more by the audience & their friends which will result in mass distribution. For this reason, content marketing might be the best marketing investment one can make.

The next form of marketing ties perfectly into both social media and content, and that is Influencer marketing. Influencer marketing “is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire / hire / pay influencers to get out the word for you.” (3)

This allows companies to take advantage of social media in a slightly different way. The idea behind influencer marketing is similar to when companies pay a celebrity to help them promote their products. The main difference is that with the rise of social media, the number of influencers has gone through the roof, so companies don’t need an astronomical budget to reach a large audience. They can simply work with an influencer. With Influencer marketing, you can identify a “social media celebrity” and work with them to promote a company’s products. This form of marketing helps to build awareness of the company’s brand. Either the influencer comes up with the content, or the company provides it.

When it comes to digital marketing, if you aren’t taking advantage of the major search engines, then you’re losing out on the prospects that need you the most. Nearly all the aforementioned marketing elements play a role in helping to build your search engine visibility. Search engine marketing allows companies to reach their customers right where they are, right when they need their product or service. Google, the most popular web search engine gets 167 billion searches a month (4) . Any company that knows anything about marketing would know that it’s wise to get a piece of that pie. Search engine marketing consists of both SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC and while SEO doesn’t directly have any costs, a company may hire an SEO firm to optimize their website to show up in the search engine results organically while using PPC concurrently.

Marketing at it’s core has not changed. You identify your target market and provide them with a product of service that they need. If the market isn’t there, you can even create it.  The one thing that has changed and is continually changing is technology. For this reason, companies must have a strong digital marketing strategy in order to make sure their brand is reaching as many of their prospective customers/clients as possible. The great thing is that they all work together to provide a compounding effect for your company. Good marketing can be judged by whether or not a company is where their audience is, and you can bet that unless your company is marketing solely to the elderly, your audience is online.