Blog School of Business Digital Marketing Explained: What It Is and Why It Matters

Digital Marketing Explained: What It Is and Why It Matters

With the world of digital marketing constantly expanding, digital marketing jobs and their accompanying salaries reflect this demand in the marketplace. But what exactly is digital marketing, and why is it such a hot opportunity? In this post, you’ll get tips that will take the mystery out of digital marketing explained, and we’ll cover the different types of digital marketing tactics and how they’re used today.

What’s Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the use of digital channels and devices to market products, services, events, and more and it occurs both online (via the internet) and offline (via SMS on mobile phones). 

Unlike traditional marketing — like print ads and TV commercials — digital marketing has a greater ability to have  global reach, and more potential channels to market through. Not only is it often far more cost-effective than traditional marketing, but it’s also much easier to measure results and get quantifiable data to guide future marketing decisions. 

The ability to connect with potential and existing customers through real-time communication and personalize the experience also makes digital marketing highly appealing.

What’s Included in Digital Marketing?

For those looking to have digital marketing explained, it’s important to start with an understanding of the different options available. With so many means to execute this type of marketing,  it should also be noted that there are a wide array of roles under the digital marketing umbrella.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is focused on creating and sharing content that is valuable to your audience. It’s used to answer questions, share industry news, express a point of view and educate readers. Trust is the cornerstone of any good marketing relationship, and content marketing is how any business can consistently demonstrate why they should be trusted. 

Content marketing is most impactful when there’s an overarching strategy that includes using multiple platforms for promoting content including websites, social media, podcasts, and/or video. 

Search Engine Optimization 

When you type a search phrase into Google and you get the top results, that’s search engine optimization (SEO) at work. SEO is the practice of taking specific words or phrases and strategically using them throughout a website (in blog posts or on pages) so that when someone searches those words, your content comes up as a match. 

Search engines want to provide content that’s both informative and high quality, so an SEO strategy that covers both the technical requirements and off-page activities — such as link sharing on social media —is a must-have.

Social Media

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are all popular social media platforms for digital marketing. You can share relevant content, start a discussion with the audience, and promote products and services — and you can do it with short, digestible pieces of content. 

Social media marketing is cost-effective while giving you the ability to target specific audiences, increase brand recognition and authority, generate inbound traffic, and improve SEO rankings. 

Email Marketing

As long as email has been around, so has email marketing. Email marketing is used in a variety of ways, but its key purpose is to nurture the relationship with potential and existing customers.

One of the biggest benefits of email marketing is that it provides a direct channel of communication that allows for a business to be in ongoing contact with their subscribers and they can personalize that experience as needed. 

To maximize the impact of your email marketing, it should include a specific call to action designed to drive readers towards what the business is trying to achieve. This may be to check out a new product, sign up for a webinar or a free call, or to access further information. The key is that you’re moving your email subscribers to the next step in your relationship.

Affiliate and Influencer Marketing

No discussion of digital marketing would be complete without discussing affiliate and influencer marketing.

Affiliate marketing is focused on expanding a business’ reach by partnering with other individuals or companies that target the same audience. For example, if you’re a wine retailer, you may establish an affiliate relationship with a specialty cheese shop to offer your customers a discount. Then, when your customers purchase from the cheese shop you’d receive an affiliate commission as a thank you for the referral. 

Similarly, influencer marketing occurs when brands partner with an influencer — someone who will promote and endorse their products or services on social media or their blog. Influencers have already built a large audience, so brands can capitalize on that relationship and can potentially reach more people than if they simply posted on the company social media accounts. 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) & Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

While often referred to separately, these types of marketing go hand-in-hand as they are both paid search activities that drive website traffic. With SEM, a business creates ads that are keyword rich and then pays a fee so that when someone does a search for a specific word or phrase, the ads will appear as part of the results. With PPC, the business will pay a certain amount each time someone clicks on their ads.

Digital Marketing as a Career Path 

Now that you’ve had digital marketing explained, consider this — as technology continues to evolve, so will the demand for people skilled in this field. With so many benefits, more and more companies will be looking for new and innovative ways to leverage the various types of digital marketing.

Are you interested in exploring the world of digital marketing careers?

The Udacity Digital Marketing Nanodegree will allow you to learn to create marketing content, use social media to amplify your message, make content discoverable in search, and run Ads campaigns and advertise on Facebook. Additionally, you’ll learn how display and video ads work and how to market with email, and measure and optimize with Google Analytics.

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