Crash Course #2: Digital Marketing
Updated: Jan 6
Effective marketing skills are crucial for the success of any business, but the idea of taking those skills to the next level can feel like a challenge. Marketing strategy is one of the many elements of business management that has already moved into an online format dependent on technology. While many business owners might have thought that marketing via electronic means would be a long way into the future, the reality is that digital marketing should be how your business advertises the majority of its products and services right now. In this next installment of our “Crash Course” blog series, we’re covering the ins and outs of digital marketing strategy to help your business smoothly transition into using this powerful tool on a daily basis.
What is digital marketing?
In its most basic form, digital marketing is the term used to describe the method of marketing products or services using digital technologies. “Digital marketing” is often used interchangeably with “online marketing” since search engines, social media, email, and websites are the main digital platforms where this type of marketing happens. Outside of the many different types of internet channels, communication through text or multimedia messages also falls under the broad definition of digital marketing.
Digital marketing strategy operates under the goal that consistently exposing a brand, product, or service to online consumers builds rapport, familiarity, trust, and, eventually, tangible revenue. Unlike traditional marketing forms which tend to only meet the eyes of their consumer once (e.g., magazine ads, billboards, direct mail, and now television), digital marketing gives businesses the ability to follow their customer throughout the purchasing process with more accurate promotional messages and a better shopping experience.
Why is digital marketing important?
Even before the pandemic, content consumption across the globe had begun to move to a primarily digital format. People have numerous devices to access online content, and the portability of these devices (e.g., phones, tablets, smartwatches) also factors into the strong influence of digital marketing. The act of reading a promotional email, looking up the company website, and then posting an opinion on social media can occur in less than a minute, and that dramatically changes how a business approaches their marketing strategy.
Canada has one of the leading digital advertising markets worldwide, and our online ad spending is set to grow by 11 per cent and reach a record of $12.3 billion in 2022. Consumers are spending almost 5.5 hours (329 minutes) with some form of digital media every day, whether they are at school, work, home, or during their free time. Simply put, businesses that are not using digital marketing are missing out on one of the easiest and most accessible ways of connecting with their target audience. The versatility of digital marketing allows for creativity and experimentation as well, which means that your company’s personal content approach can be unique and closely align with your goals and values. Through strategic communication and consumer interactions, digital marketing makes it possible for businesses to support advertising campaigns that reach a wider audience, thereby driving more leads, improving conversion rate, and providing the opportunity to step into the digital lives of potentially untapped markets.
How can I use digital marketing effectively for my business?
Despite popular belief, digital marketing is not a free alternative to traditional marketing. However, when implemented strategically, it can be more cost-effective and begin to level the playing field for smaller start-ups relative to the bigger corporate brands of the same industry. Search engine optimization (SEO), a regularly updated website, blog content, social media, email marketing, and paid-per-click advertising are not millions of dollars out of reach for a company of less than 10 staff members. The digital marketing umbrella covers so many online promotional avenues, so companies can try out a number of different strategies as they work to take better charge of their online presence.
Before your company dives into digital marketing in all its forms, it is helpful to take a moment to reflect on your current marketing strategy and think about how some of your existing approaches can quickly transition into a digital format. Maybe your company has been relying on direct mailing for the past few years. Those flyers could easily be emailed out to your frequent customers on a set schedule, and the funds saved could be put towards paying for online ad space (e.g., affiliate marketing, native advertising, sponsored content). The time saved from mailing these same flyers could also be used to create some fresh social media posts (or social media accounts if you don’t have them yet).
There are so many ways your business can start using digital marketing, and it will really come down to some trial and error as you work on discovering the most efficient and effective approaches. Here is a list of the main types of digital marketing to spark some early thoughts you can take back to your marketing team (list courtesy of Hubspot.com):
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Social Media Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Instant Message Marketing
Are you ready to start your digital marketing strategy?
We’ve covered some of the basics of digital marketing in this blog post, but there are many other video tutorials, guides, and certificate programs you can also check out as you continue exploring digital marketing and how it might be the next step for your business; the below links are some of the best courses and guides we can recommend. As always, if you might like to start a conversation on digital marketing and your business’ specific needs, reach out to a member of the CodeMasters Inc. team. We’re ready to help.
Additional Digital Marketing Resources:
Fundamentals of Digital Marketing - Google Digital Garage
Digital Marketing - What is Digital Marketing? | Mailchimp
Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate | Coursera
The Digital Marketing Crash Course for Online Marketing | Udemy