What Is Digital Marketing? Guide, Types, Benefits, Facts and Challenges 

 

By Admiles Sep 21, 2023

 

Digital marketing involves all promotional initiatives employed by businesses to expand their user or consumer base. 

 

Image Representation Of Digital Marketing

 

In marketing, generally, a concept known as "generating and chasing leads" is often discussed as a core marketing structure. 

 

These leads, essentially, are "people" seen as prospective consumers. The Internet became the new pound for leads since the 1990s and this is how digital marketing became popular amongst businesses. 

 

At Glance

 

● Digital marketing refers to the use of electronic platforms to promote products or services. 

 

● Most leveraged platforms and forms of digital marketing include websites, email, PPC advertising, content, social media and affiliate marketing. 

 

● Digital marketing is purposed to help companies or businesses reach a global audience of digital-age users. 

 

● Approximately 92% of the United States use the Internet and 64.6% of the world are exposed to various digital communications channels. 

 

● With over 5 billion Internet users, digital marketing is a highly competitive and profitable marketing channel. 

 

 

Understanding Digital Marketing

 

Some call it "Internet Marketing", however, digital marketing spans far beyond Internet marketing as it encompasses all promotions or marketing initiatives and strategies executed via electronic or digital platforms. 

 

This includes all transportation channels for texts, images, videos, and voice - yes, all.

 

Whilst most digital marketers focus on internet-based marketing, the complete suite of this structure for business growth and publication includes the use of SMS for promotions, voice notes or messages and even graphics such as wallpapers and more.

 

Depending on the product or service and the company or business involved, the choice of its marketing channel differs. That said, since most businesses and digital age users alike are mostly found on the open Internet and social spaces, these channels remain the most saturated in the industry. 

 

How Does Digital Marketing Work? 

 

Digital marketing works by enabling businesses to reach specific audiences via digital platforms like social media and search engines. 

 

The most leveraged platforms for digital marketing or advertising are Google and Facebook. 

 

Marketers leverage Google ads which are placed on Google Search and across various "partner" websites and applications and Facebook ads which are natively served on the Meta social media giant, Facebook to promote various products and services. 

 

The use of digital platforms to market various business products and services has been explosive over the years due to the increasing number of digitized individuals and businesses, thereby making the industry of great value. 

 

In 2022, Google reportedly made $224.47 billion from advertising and over $522.5 was estimated to be the total digital advertising spending in 2021.

 

Types Of Digital Marketing 

 

There are numerous types and forms of digital marketing, the following are the top 10 most commonly used and profitable digital marketing avenues - ranked, randomly. 

 

1. Content Marketing 

 

Content is king, yeah? This is a famous phrase amongst marketers and most sources attribute this to Bill Gates' 1996 Essay.

 

About 27 years later, content is still King, despite the dwindling reality of human attention span, content still remains King when done right! 

 

Content Marketing Involves the use of written text, voice or audio and/or video to market or promote a product or service. The interesting part of digital marketing is that most strategies are interconnected with the each other. 

 

For example, content meaning text, audio or video effectively puts video marketing initiatives under the umbrella of content marketing and even radio marketing - an initiative from traditional marketing also form in content marketing, making it a subsection and it gets more interesting when we discover that content needs a space to shine digitally and here comes the long list of other digital marketing channels like social media, search and websites enabling content marketing to thrive more broadly. 

 

Understanding this, content marketing is one of the most basic, yet technical and effective means of product or service marketing to new audiences or old users and consumers. It is estimated that about 67% more leads are generated by businesses that incorporates content pages on their business websites. 

 

2. Pay-Per-Click(PPC) Marketing

 

Pay-Per-Click(PPC) advertising or marketing is a product or service promotional method that involves the strategic placement of targeted ads on digital spaces.

 

Companies leverage PPC ads to reach users in specific business spaces or demographics. PPC ads are mostly served on Search Engines like Google, and Bing and likewise on social media platforms like Facebook, and X(formerly Twitter). 

 

Businesses simply bid for keywords and demographics and pay a certain amount of money to the promotions company and in return get their ads shown to users in the specified demographics and the specified keywords serve as an "Interest" rating system to determine who an ad is shown to. 

 

3. Email Marketing 

 

Email marketing is most effective means of creating a loyal consumer base. Companies with no email lists tend to have higher one off consumers while businesses that prioritize email marketing tend to have an active buying user base. 

 

It is estimated that for every $1 spent on email marketing, a business can turn a profit of $36, an impressive 36% return on investment(ROI). 

 

Email marketing is on of the most leveraged marketing strategies given the the constantly growing number of email users. As of September, 2023, there are estimately over 4 billion email users with a great percentage of these users opting to receive brand communication emails and impressively being highly engaged. 

 

One of the supporting strategies for successful email marketing is content. The more engaging and actionable the content of an email is, the better chances the business has to generate revenue. 

 

4. Affiliate Marketing 

 

Why do the work yourself when you can pay someone else to do it better? 

 

Affiliate marketing programs are one of the most effective ways for businesses to reach their target audiences without putting the marketing workload on its staff. 

 

Typically, affiliate marketing programs are designed to pay third-parties(usually influencers or successful website owners) a pre-determined commission when they promote products or services of a particular business or company. 

 

Renown companies like Amazon pay millions of dollars monthly to various affiliate marketers for promoting their products, generating leads and sales.

 

5. Search Engine Marketing 

 

Search engine marketing involves the use of Search engines like Google to promote one's product or service. 

 

The procedure typically includes the leverage of a previously discussed digital marketing avenue called "Pay-Per-Click Advertising". Businesses bid for keywords and demographics traffic on search engines with the highest bidder always appearing top on search results ranking, giving the business a high click-through rate. 

 

This method of marketing is considered highly profitable has most search users cannot distinguish between an ad and an organic content on search results despite "ad" tags indicating that those search results are sponsored. 

 

That said, strategically built contents tend to perform better even when users can tell that a search result is an ad, this is generally because users have low attention spans and are eager to get the needed information and leave. 

 

This is evident in the fact that only about 0.63% of search users click to the second page of search results and most search results below the top 3 barely receive any search traffic. 

 

Another form of search engine marketing is SEO, an abbreviation for "Search Engine Optimisation" which typically involves the optimization of web pages to compete on search. 

 

These web pages have to organically rank for certain keywords and demographics for the marketing initiatives to be a success. There are numerous factors to be considered when taking the SEO route to marketing, however, it has its own perks which leaves a business highly authoritative within the space.

 

6. Social Media Marketing 

 

With 93.4% internet connected users using one social media or the other. This figures represents almost 58.4% of the world's population as over 4.62 billion people use social media platforms daily, spending on average 2 hours 27 minutes. 

 

Social media marketing is one of the most commonly leveraged strategies for building brand value and enhancing business growth. 

 

Companies and businesses opt for social media marketing primarily to build social trust and business loyalty, this is because social networks help foster consumer-business engagement, strategically increasing loyalty and creating broader business awareness. 

 

Various businesses use social media platforms as an avenue to generate leads and grow their revenue through direct business communication. Although the effects may be small, blindly looking and also difficult to implement, successful social media marketing adds a great amount of value to a business. 

 

7. Video Marketing 

 

As human attention grows thin as the day goes by, companies have been turning to videos to quickly communicate brand and business value to their audiences. 

 

The strength of Youtube Shows the strength of Video contents and the explosion of social media platforms like TikTok exposed businesses to the value of precise yet creative video contents. 

 

Humans love visuals and precise video contents that tell a story creatively and this generates high user engagement. Statistics shows that 74% of customers love sharing branded videos 

 

8. SMS Marketing 

 

SMS marketing is not a very common means of business promotions amongst digital marketers but it is one of the ways to spread both generic marketing materials and personalized ones. 

 

It is important to have acquired users numbers the right way, else all product or service marketing will be viewed as spam and your business lines will probably be blocked and tagged "spam". 

 

9. Voice Messages

 

With the rise of podcasts within the digital space, digital marketers have a replacement for radio marketing, though is it still a digital medium but mostly regarded as traditional marketing due to it's history of usage. 

 

Marketers use voice messages to communicate product or service value to target audiences through mediums like podcasts, and phone calls. 

 

Yes, some businesses market through short messages that play right before a call is received. Though mostly popular amongst music and movies businesses, these short audio messages can be a great way to promote one's business without being intuitive. 

 

10. Phone Menu and Chatbots Marketing

 

As we know it, marketing is generally an "on-going" practice to earn new consumers or retain the old ones and keep them as active buyers.

 

Some businesses tend to relax after acquiring customers then sooner discover that most will leave as there isn't much effort to retain them. Phone menu and chatbots marketing is one of the best ways to retain users. 

 

What do we mean by phone menu and chatbots marketing? If you go on most business websites currently, you'd often than not, see a sticky contact button that typically opens up a chat interface. In this interface, one would initially be able to communicate with a chatbot which have been programmed to effectively serve users by enlightening them about various products and services and also helping solve problems encountered, if any. 

 

Similarly, phone menus are like chatbots but only accessible through phone calls. When a potential customer or old, calls a business line to make inquiries about a particular product or service, some businesses have a pre-developed phone menu that will present the caller with various self-service options to choose from. 

 

Typically, you'd hear things like "press one to listen to the list of product types eligible for a 50% discount and free delivery". These phone menus help users easily navigate a business's offering without even speaking to a human. 

 

It is important to note that Phone menu marketing requires a human touch at all times, nearly 90% customers  find most phone menus annoying and often seek to speak to a customer service agent. 

 

To attain successful phone menu marketing, a business has to strategically design its menu with a human touch and less long and annoying attempts to promote everything at once. 

 

That said, Chatbots marketing have a much better marketing turnout as over 69% of users report to have been satisfied with their interactions with one and about 67% sales are brought in by chatbots with minimal investment. 

 

Benefits Of Digital Marketing - How Digital Marketing Attracts Prospects To Businesses 

 

Digital marketing has a long list of business benefits including global reach, easy performance tracking, higher user engagement and revenue - depending on the business type.

 

The following are notable benefits of digital marketing and an overview of its role in attracting prospects to businesses. 

 

● Global Business Reach. 

 

● Cost Efficient Marketing Campaigns. 

 

● Easy Performance Tracking. 

 

● Flexible Marketing Strategies Execution. 

 

● Increased consumer-business engagement. 

 

● Brand Voice. 

 

● Increased Revenue. 

 

Prospects Attraction In Digital Marketing 

 

Digital marketing attracts prospects to businesses much easier than traditional marketing because of the openness of the digital space. 

 

With the use of social media platforms and search engines, businesses are able to build an identity and brand value that attracts numerous buyers from around the globe. 

 

While some sources argue that traditional marketing exposes businesses to a wider audience, the digital avenues are most flexible and cost-efficient to reach the same number of people.

 

Aa technology becomes a part of the average individual's life, business building digital identities are inclined to experience user and revenue growth overtime. 

 

Challenges Of Digital Marketing

 

No system is without a flaw, the downside of digital marketing and its suit of flexible, cost-efficient and profitable marketing offerings is that the digital space is highly saturated. 

 

Almost every product or service has a long list of competitors, making the ads mostly intrusive to users and also, at the same time affecting the profitability of these marketing campaigns. 

 

In current times, business success in digital marketing requires both strategic and technical executive of marketing ploys for maximum results. As businesses opt for more native and less intrusive ads, consumers are expected to feel less attacked and interact more with business offerings. 

 

Is Digital Marketing Good For Offline Businesses?

 

Yes, digital marketing is a great addition to offline business promotions. The digital space offers access to the same people within the offline world, taking an offline business marketing initiatives online is simply bringing what people already love to where they now spend some of their time - their digital devices.

 

Key benefits to doing this are increased consumer-business relations and engagement, increased revenue and generally increased users or product or service consumers. 

 

Is Digital Marketing Better Than Traditional Marketing? 

 

Yes and No, it all depends on the business in question. Digital marketing is a great addition to any business, however, it is important to not neglect or underestimate the value and importance of traditional marketing which brings a sense of realness and credibility in the feelings of people towards most businesses. 

 

The combination of both marketing strategies can deliver great business growth results. 

 

Is Digital Marketing The Future of Marketing? 

 

It is safe to say yes, that digital marketing is the future of marketing due to the advancements in technology. In a world where artificial intelligence is now becoming a part of our everyday life activities, the business ecosystem is bound to drastically adjust to more tech-inclined business as most users now seek flexibility in their everyday interactions with various businesses. 

 

In conclusion, digital marketing holds enormous business and consumer benefits, from revenue generation to flexibility, easy access to goods and services and better customer services. 

 

 

 

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