This lesson will define digital marketing. We will explore its key characteristics as well as the media and strategies that can be used in its implementation.

Marketing Fundamentals

‘Let your fingers do the walking.’ Have you heard this slogan? If you are younger than 30, chances are you haven’t. This slogan encouraged people to use the Yellow Pages of their telephone book to find a business that would supply whatever it was they were looking for. For example, if you were looking for a dentist, you would go to the Yellow Pages and find a list of dentists in your area. Businesses could also advertise in the Yellow Pages. Well, those days are gone; people don’t look in the Yellow Pages to find a business that sells what they need. So, how are you going to get information about your business out there? You are going to have to reach your customers where they live; and they’re living online. This means you need to get savvy with digital marketing.

Digital marketing, just like any other form of marketing, is all about promoting products, building brands, developing leads, and engaging your customers. The difference is digital marketing takes place online. Digital marketing is also known as Internet marketing, e-productivity, e-commerce, interactive marketing, and e-marketing. Digital marketing integrates people, processes, and technology.

Marketing Media

What does that mean, living online or using technology? We want to do our marketing activities where our customers are more likely to see them and have an opportunity to interact with them. We want them to have access on the devices they use in their daily lives.

Here are some examples of the media we can use to get our digital marketing activities out to our customers, current or potential. The Internet can be used to market to customers through a web page or a blog. Social media is another form of digital marketing that can be implemented through sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Marketers can also market to mobile phones, accessing customers through smartphones, dumb phones, and tablets. Electronic billboards offer another digital marketing outlet. These are found in waiting rooms at hospitals, doctor’s offices, and school hallways.

Digital Marketing Key Characteristics

No matter what media we’re using, there are some fundamental rules we need to follow:

  • Build a quality website that is engaging and responsive.
  • Have a strong social presence that encourages customers to offer feedback.
  • Display timely and relevant content that provides the key information your customers need.
  • Create compelling visuals that stay in the customers’ minds long after they’ve moved on.

And here’s a biggie:

  • Don’t annoy the customers. Don’t make your marketing activities so invasive that they actually turn customers away.

Remember that our main objective is to engage our customers in a positive way. The customer is at the center of the process, and we want to create an opportunity for the customer to have a dialog with us so that we can have a clearer understanding of how we can meet their needs.

Digital Marketing Strategies

Well, this is great, we have tools we can use for digital marketing and some rules to follow, but how do we go about creating a digital marketing plan? Pretty much the same way you develop any other marketing campaign.

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First things first, you need to set a goal. As with all marketing activities, you have to know what it is you want to accomplish. Do you want to get information out there about a new product? Do you want to find out what customers think of a current product? Decide on the objective for your marketing plan because that’s going to dictate what media you’ll use and how you use it. For example, if your goal is to let customers know about a new product you are offering, you could share information about it on your website, offer free trials on your Facebook page, and send text messages to current customers letting them know you want their feedback on the product.

Next, create a marketing funnel, which provides a clear path for the customer to follow from the first time they become aware your product exists all the way to their eventual purchase. Make sure that at every step the customer can clearly see where to go next.

Now, it’s time to develop a call to action, which is a request for contact information. You want there to be a point early on in your marketing funnel where even if the customer doesn’t buy, you still get their contact information. This allows you to develop leads.

Additionally, you’ll need to create an effective lead magnet, which is one way to lead a customer to your marketing funnel. Basically, a lead magnet is a bribe you give potential customers in exchange for their contact information. An example could be to offer a free online video, perhaps on Facebook, that has something to do with your product. During the offer, you ask for their email address. Now, you have a contact who showed at least some interest in something related to your product.

Don’t forget you can use some non-Internet strategies as well, such as short messaging service (SMS) to send text messages to customers with special deals, multimedia messaging services (MMS) that include audio and video clips, or even callback and on hold mobile ringtones when someone is on hold; give them a message. There are also marketing opportunities in e-books, optical disks, and games.

Lesson Summary

Digital marketing is all about promoting products, building brands, developing leads, and engaging customers online or using technology. Digital marketing opportunities can be found on the Internet, through social media, on devices such as smartphones and tablets, and on electronic billboards. The key characteristics of digital marketing are to build quality websites, have a strong presence on social media, make sure information is timely, relevant, and compelling without being annoying. We want our digital marketing campaign to engage our customers since they’re the central reason for our existence, and we want them to offer us feedback through dialog so that we can better serve their needs. Some of the strategies that can be used for digital marketing include setting a goal, creating a marketing funnel, developing a call to action, creating an effective lead magnet, and finding non-Internet ways to gain interest.


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