To answer the question 'What is digital marketing?', we have put together this new visual definition summarizing all the activities that form digital marketing that needs to be managed across the Smart Insights RACE Planning framework. It's used in the new, 6th edition of Dave's Digital Marketing book. We explain best practices for all of these in our Digital Marketing Elearning course.  The infographic is divided into activities to develop and manage digital strategy at the top to the marketing activities at the bottom.


Each post you create is one more indexed page on your website, making it more likely customers will find you when searching online. It also indicates to search engines that your website is active, which will help surface your content to the top of search engine results. Further, blogging gives your brand a voice, and 91 percent of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a brand that is authentic rather than generic.
There are a variety of digital marketing resources you can use to engage with your audience, including webinars, podcasts, and online promotion of live events. To streamline the process of event promotion, try using a third party to make the process seamless. Event technology platforms like Eventbrite help brands create and market an event, as well as promote ticket sales and manage their audience. By getting some external help with the details, you can focus on the big picture and create an experience your customers will remember long after it's over.
Connecting the dots between marketing and sales is hugely important -- according to Aberdeen Group, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20% annual growth rate, compared to a 4% decline in revenue for companies with poor alignment. If you can improve your customer's' journey through the buying cycle by using digital technologies, then it's likely to reflect positively on your business's bottom line.
While your team is consumed with building your web presence and developing your product or service, it's easy to lose sight of the customer you want to target. "When building a brand online, too many people rush to buy ads and acquire traffic to drive revenues by brute force," says Tony Delmercado, co-founder and COO of Hawke Media. "Small efficiency improvements in conversion rates, email capture, and retargeting can pay huge dividends -- tighten up the mouse trap first, then buy eyeballs. You'll acquire and retain customers more cost-efficiently and keep money in your coffers for higher-risk marketing strategies."
People aren’t just watching cat videos and posting selfies on social media these days. Many rely on social networks to discover, research, and educate themselves about a brand before engaging with that organization. For marketers, it’s not enough to just post on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You must also weave social elements into every aspect of your marketing and create more peer-to-peer sharing opportunities. The more your audience wants to engage with your content, the more likely it is that they will want to share it. This ultimately leads to them becoming a customer. And as an added bonus, they will hopefully influence their friends to become customers, too.
Targeting, viewability, brand safety and invalid traffic: Targeting, viewability, brand safety and invalid traffic all are aspects used by marketers to help advocate digital advertising. Cookies are a form of digital advertising, which are tracking tools within desktop devices; causing difficulty, with shortcomings including deletion by web browsers, the inability to sort between multiple users of a device, inaccurate estimates for unique visitors, overstating reach, understanding frequency, problems with ad servers, which cannot distinguish between when cookies have been deleted and when consumers have not previously been exposed to an ad. Due to the inaccuracies influenced by cookies, demographics in the target market are low and vary (Whiteside, 2016).[43] Another element, which is affected within digital marketing, is ‘viewabilty’ or whether the ad was actually seen by the consumer. Many ads are not seen by a consumer and may never reach the right demographic segment. Brand safety is another issue of whether or not the ad was produced in the context of being unethical or having offensive content. Recognizing fraud when an ad is exposed is another challenge marketers face. This relates to invalid traffic as premium sites are more effective at detecting fraudulent traffic, although non-premium sites are more so the problem (Whiteside, 2016).[43]
There are lots of ways you can optimize your digital marketing assets for mobile users, and when implementing any digital marketing strategy, it's hugely important to consider how the experience will translate on mobile devices. By ensuring this is always front-of-mind, you'll be creating digital experiences that work for your audience, and consequently achieve the results you're hoping for.
Having an effective marketing funnel won’t just get you more leads, it can also help you turn leads into repeat buyers. If the customer has a good experience they might return to purchase from you again or even tell others they know about your business. The elements of a marketing funnel can seem like a lot to put together, but they’re simple concepts when broken down. You’ll see that numbers 3,4 and 5 help to break down and explain the different aspects of having a marketing funnel in place on your site and how to put together some of the most important pieces of it.
There are a number of ways brands can use digital marketing to benefit their marketing efforts. The use of digital marketing in the digital era not only allows for brands to market their products and services, but also allows for online customer support through 24/7 services to make customers feel supported and valued. The use of social media interaction allows brands to receive both positive and negative feedback from their customers as well as determining what media platforms work well for them. As such, digital marketing has become an increased advantage for brands and businesses. It is now common for consumers to post feedback online through social media sources, blogs and websites on their experience with a product or brand.[27] It has become increasingly popular for businesses to use and encourage these conversations through their social media channels to have direct contact with the customers and manage the feedback they receive appropriately.
2. Creating a Marketing Funnel: The most successful businesses have an effective marketing funnel in place. A marketing funnel is when you map out a customer’s journey from when a customer is a complete stranger to when they become a lead, and then put certain strategies in place that will encourage them to move through this funnel. Things like lead magnets, calls to action, opt-ins and offers are all effective pieces of a funnel. You can think of a marketing funnel in four parts: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
3. Developing a call-to-action: We talked about using a call-to-action in the second step as a part of your marketing funnel, but what is a call-to-action exactly? A call-to-action (CTA) is an image or text that prompts visitors to take action, such as subscribe to a newsletter, view a webinar or request a product demo. CTAs should direct people to landing pages, where you can collect visitors’ contact information in exchange for a valuable marketing offer. In that sense, an effective CTA results in more leads and conversions for your website. This path, from a click on a CTA to a landing page, illustrates the much desired process of lead generation. In order to increase visitor-to-lead conversion opportunities, you need to create a lot of calls-to-action, distribute them across your web presence and optimize them. A good CTA should be attention grabbing and help lead a potential customer further into your marketing funnel.
This definition emphasizes the focus of marketing on the customer while at the same time implying a need to link to other business operations to achieve this profitability. Yet, it's a weak definition in relation to digital marketing since it doesn't emphasize communications which are so important to digital marketing. In Digital Marketing Excellence my co-author, PR Smith and I note that digital marketing can be used to support these aims as follows:
To understand the importance of digital marketing to the future of marketing in any business, it’s helpful to think about what audience interactions we need to understand and manage. Digital marketing today is about many more types of audience interaction than website or email... It involves managing and harnessing these ‘5Ds of Digital’ that I have defined in the introduction to the latest update to my Digital Marketing: Strategy, Planning and Implementation book. The 5Ds define the opportunities for consumers to interact with brands and for businesses to reach and learn from their audiences in different ways:
Google Analytics is a big help here, along with the native analytics of the networks and channels you’re utilizing. You want to evaluate how customers and leads are interacting with your campaigns, and how that’s translating into helping you reach your goals. It doesn’t matter much if your blog post was shared 5,000 times in two days if you didn’t get a single lead or sale, and that was the whole point.
These techniques are used to support the objectives of acquiring new customers and providing services to existing customers that help develop the customer relationship through E-CRM and marketing automation. However, for digital marketing to be successful, there is still a necessity for integration of these techniques with traditional media such as print, TV and direct mail as part of multichannel marketing communications.
It is important to remember that just because digital marketing uses different communications techniques to traditional marketing, its end objectives are no different from the objectives that marketing has always had. It can be easy to set objectives for digital marketing based around ‘vanity metrics’ such as the number of ‘likes’ or followers, so it is useful to bear in mind this definition of marketing advanced by the Chartered Institute of Marketing:
According to a ‘Managing Digital Marketing’ study by Smart Insights, 46% of brands don’t have a defined digital marketing strategy, while 16% do have a strategy but haven’t yet integrated it into their marketing activity. But here’s the thing: if you don’t have a plan in place how can you expect to grow and innovate, to measure meaningful results and to learn from past mistakes?

In the 1990s, the term Digital Marketing was first coined,.[12] With the debut of server/client architecture and the popularity of personal computers, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications became a significant part of marketing technology.[citation needed] Fierce competition forced vendors to include more service into their software, for example, marketing, sales and service applications. Marketers were also able to own huge online customer data by eCRM software after the Internet was born. Companies could update the data of customer needs and obtain the priorities of their experience. This led to the first clickable banner ad being going live in 1994, which was the "You Will" campaign by AT&T and over the first four months of it going live, 44% of all people who saw it clicked on the ad.[13]

Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven"t researched this. Perhaps, more importantly, you won't understand your online marketplace: the dynamics will be different to traditional channels with different types of customer profile and behaviour, competitors, propositions, and options for marketing communications. There are great tools available from the main digital platforms where we can find out the level of customer demand, we recommend doing a search gap analysis using Google's Keyword planner to see how you are tapping into the intent of searchers to attract them to your site, or see how many people interested in products or services or sector you could reach through Facebook IQ.
Every company with a website will have analytics, but many senior managers don't ensure that their teams make or have the time to review and act on them. Once a strategy enables you to get the basics right, then you can progress to continuous improvement of the key aspects like search marketing, site user experience, email and social media marketing. So that's our top 10 problems that can be avoided with a well thought-through strategy.
These techniques are used to support the objectives of acquiring new customers and providing services to existing customers that help develop the customer relationship through E-CRM and marketing automation. However, for digital marketing to be successful, there is still a necessity for integration of these techniques with traditional media such as print, TV and direct mail as part of multichannel marketing communications.
Because digital marketing has so many options and strategies associated with it, you can get creative and experiment with a variety of marketing tactics on a budget. With digital marketing, you can also use tools like analytics dashboards to monitor the success and ROI of your campaigns more than you could with a traditional promotional content -- such as a billboard or print ad.

To build your digital marketing strategy, you need to decide what content is going to help you reach your goals. If your goal is to generate 50% more leads via the website than you did last year, it's unlikely that your 'About Us' page is going to be included in your strategy -- unless that page has somehow been a lead generation machine in the past.

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