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  • Writer's pictureDenis Sinelnikov

Understanding Digital Marketing: The Who, What, Why, & How

If you were going to make a guess at the number of people on the internet, how large would the number be? Colloquially, we talk about "millions of people" using the internet every day, but that number is far larger than our imagination, at about 5.3 billion in 2022. That number continues to grow, which gives businesses the opportunity to reach a whole new set of people every day. That is where digital marketing comes in. So, let's get a firm understanding of digital marketing by looking at the who, what, why, and how.

The Why

Before we get into the What of digital marketing, let's look at why it's important. Because when we talk about the what, you're going to realize something important: you're already doing digital marketing, even when you don't realize it. Digital marketing allows you to reach a larger audience far more effectively and efficiently than traditional marketing methods, utilizing digital resources that you may already have established, such as your website or social media pages. Utilizing these resources allows you to,

  • Focus your efforts on the demographics most likely to purchase your product

  • Even the playing field with larger brands in your industry

  • Quickly and easily measure your marketing effectiveness

  • Quickly adapt to changes

  • Engage directly with consumers at every level of marketing

  • Improve the conversion rate of your overall marketing strategy

That last point is important because digital marketing doesn't have to stand alone.

Say, for example, that you're attending a convention in your industry and handing out postcard flyers. With a traditional flyer, the most concrete metric you can measure is conversion, when someone answers the call-to-action and purchases whatever special you're advertising. However, if you have a scannable QR code on the flyer, you can directly measure interest, tracking when visitors to your website come from the QR code and what links they visit from there.

A QR code can link your traditional and digital marketing efforts as well. Instead of linking just to your website, you might instead bring them to a landing page that invites them to join your mailing list. Alternatively, a QR code might bring them directly to your social media page or Linktree to invite them to follow you.

One of the most important "whys" of digital marketing is that you can do digital marketing on its own, or you can use it to bolster traditional marketing strategies - or, better yet, both.

The What

Now that we understand why digital marketing is so important let's look at the What. Digital marketing is what it says on the cover: it's a method for reaching your target market through digital means. Digital marketing is also called "online marketing," but that term can be limiting because we don't always think of our online activities as engaging with and through the internet.

For example, do you play mobile games on your phone? Because you're playing the games through an app on your device rather than visiting a website, you may not think of them as "online engagement." However, the ads you see in many mobile apps are part of a company's digital marketing strategy. Thinking in terms of "digital" rather than "online" helps you see more possibilities for using digital marketing to reach your target audience.

With that in mind, typical digital marketing channels include,

  • A company's website

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

  • Social media pages and channels (including YouTube videos)

  • Email marketing

  • Ad marketing (through pay-per-click ads on websites and search engines, social media platforms, and mobile apps)

  • Affiliate marketing (connecting with influencers and industry experts to share your brand)

The Who

In digital marketing, the Who is important. It encompasses you, your marketing team, your target audience, the marketers you work with, the affiliates you organize with, and the platforms you utilize for marketing. Yes, in digital marketing, the Who includes the Where. Let's break down the most basic aspects of Who.

Your Audience

Because so much data is captured about consumers and businesses, digital marketing allows you to target as broad or as narrow of an audience as you need to easily. If you offer a product with broad appeal, you can easily target a wide audience. However, if you also offer a service that fits a niche interest, you can target that service to a small audience without having to pivot your overall strategy.

The Platforms

Digital marketing affords you multiple ways to reach your target audience (and work with affiliates) by engaging on multiple platforms. Your platforms include,

  • Your website

  • Various social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn)

  • Email marketing

  • Mobile apps

The How

Now that we've gone through the Why, What, and Who of digital marketing, let's look at How to do digital marketing.

  • Define your goals. As with any type of marketing, you begin by defining what you want to get out of your marketing efforts.

  • Identify your target audience. Who are the people most likely to buy your product or service, and who do you want to attract and convince to buy your product? This step is crucial because it will define not only what your marketing looks like but where you market.

  • Establish an overall budget and break it down by digital channel. Determine how much you want to spend on your marketing overall (which will depend on the scope of your marketing). In addition, set a budget for each channel you use. Some will need more investment. For example, utilizing YouTube will mean factoring in video recording and editing or paying for a promotion spot in a video, while influencer marketing will require investment in your services and products.

  • Strike a good balance between paid and free digital strategies. Digital marketing is not just about paid promotions. Your website SEO, regular posting on social media, and other non-paid content, such as blog posts, are just as important. However, how much attention each strategy receives will depend on your overall goals.

  • Create engaging content. Whether it's an ad, a social media post, a video, a blog, or an email, it will fall flat if it's not engaging. Consider Ryan Reynold's YouTube channel. Much of the content on the channel is essentially ad videos for either Mint Mobile or Aviation Gin. These videos get views because the content in them is engaging and entertaining. They use humor and personality (Reynolds, his wife, and his colleagues) to make engaging content.

  • Optimize your digital assets for mobile. As online engagement grows, so grows mobile use. All of your digital marketing assets, from your website to your social media, should be viewable and entertaining on mobile as well as on desktop.

  • Conduct keyword research. Know the keywords people use to search for your industry. Focus on keywords that will bring your audience to you. Those aren't always product specific, so do your research.

  • Iterate based on the analytics you measure. When you measure your analytics, look at what works and what doesn't. Make changes based on these metrics, and when something works, keep doing it.

We've only brushed the surface of what digital marketing is and how it works. Would you like to know more about what digital marketing can do for your business? Then get in touch to discuss digital marketing options for your business.


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