How Does Digital Marketing Work?

Have you ever gotten an email from a company? Visited their social media channels? Checked out their website? All of these experiences (and more) fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. It’s virtually impossible to succeed as a business without at least a basic ability to answer the question ‘what is digital marketing?’ Once you’re done with this article, you’ll have a digital marketing definition and will understand how digital marketing works. You’ll also have a better understanding of what a digital marketing agency does for their clients.

Digital Marketing Definition

Digital marketing is defined as any form of marketing that makes use of the Internet or any digital device to influence the intended audience, and it has been around as long as the Internet.

While the first corporate websites in the ‘90s were nothing more than text on a single page, they were still a form of digital marketing. Then email came along, and marketers started to take their direct mail marketing strategy digital. Google shook the digital marketing landscape around the turn of the century when they changed how information on the Internet was indexed and presented to users.

Search engine optimization and paid search marketing, two types of digital marketing, burst on the scene as consumers started using search engines as a part of their buying journey. The first decade of the 2000s saw the rise of social media as a new form of digital communication, and it has grown up into a digital marketing powerhouse throughout this decade. It used to be a competitive advantage to just have a social media presence; now companies have entire teams dedicated to developing and executing their social media strategy.

The last five years has given rise to mobile marketing, which is the youngest form of digital marketing. With mobile internet access on a steady rise, companies are developing apps to enhance their customer experience. Companies are also running advertisements within free apps used by their target audience.

Today’s digital marketing landscape includes all of the channels mentioned above and is always evolving. Let’s look at how digital marketing works to increase your bottom line.

How Does Digital Marketing Work?

There is no clear answer to this question. A digital marketing strategy has a lot of moving parts. It is through the execution of said strategy that digital marketing increases conversions and decreases cost per customer acquisition. Understanding how digital marketing works comes down to understanding the elements that make up a digital marketing strategy. Let’s look at how to create a digital marketing strategy from start to finish.

Do an Audit of Your Current Digital Presence

You can’t know if your strategy has made any progress if you don’t do an audit of your digital presence before you begin. Your website is the best place to start.

Look at your website from the mindset of your audience. Does it provide the information you need to make a purchasing decision? This audit is much more simple than an audit done by a digital marketing agency, which would check the following:

  • Ranking for relevant keywords
  • Page load time
  • Accurate metadata
  • Backlink profile
  • Quality of calls-to-action

Once you analyze your website, you want to look at your presence on each social media channel. A big part of a successful digital marketing strategy is using your social media presence to build a community around your business.

To be successful with your website and social media profiles, you have to create a persona that represents your ideal digital customer.

Create a Persona for Your Ideal Digital Customer

You have to figure out how your target audience behaves online. One way to look at this is see how people are getting to your website. Are they coming through search engines or social media platforms the most?

Figuring out where to focus your digital resources comes down to using a combination of demographics and psychographics to build a profile of your ideal customer. Demographics include the following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income Level
  • Marital Status

The degree to which certain demographics matter depends on your industry. Psychographics refer to how your customer thinks and behaves. They include things like:

  • Hobbies
  • Hopes
  • Dreams
  • Fears
  • Websites frequented
  • Social media platforms used

This persona directly influences your marketing objectives.

Set Your Digital Marketing Objectives

Your marketing objectives are your big goals. Each marketing campaign is trying to meet one or more of these objectives. Be specific. What exactly do you want to achieve in the digital space? How long will it take to reach your goal? Do you have the resources you need to reach the goal? How will you measure results to determine success?

You need to answer all of these questions to get a clear direction for your digital marketing strategy.

Choose Your Digital Marketing Channels

The second-to-last step of creating a digital marketing strategy is to choose your digital marketing channels. Here are your options:

  • Company Website
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Mobile apps
  • Search engines
  • Paid advertisements

Having a company website and a search engine optimization strategy is the bare minimum. However, SEO copywriting using the Skyscraper Method is proven to boost traffic generation. Most companies also have email and a presence on at least one platform in their digital marketing mix.

The social media platforms and digital marketing channels you choose comes down to your audience. Check out this article if you want to learn more about the different digital marketing channels.

Decide on the Metrics You’ll Use to Track Progress

Choosing the metrics you’ll use to measure the progress towards your objectives is the most important part of creating a digital marketing strategy. Without the right metrics, you have no way of knowing when you reached your goal. You’ll end up losing focus of your objectives and wasting valuable resources.

Don’t get wrapped up in vanity metrics. These metrics focus on quantity and all-but-ignore quality. Traffic numbers for your website are a good example. Having 1000 visitors a month isn’t going to get you any customers if you sell athleticwear and none of those visitors have an athletic lifestyle. Bounce rate is a good metric for checking the quality of your traffic. If a high percentage of your traffic leaves right away without going to other pages on your site, then there is a good chance you aren’t attracting the right people to your website.

Each digital marketing channel has their own metrics to track. A digital marketing agency knows exactly which metrics to use to keep their fingers on the pulse of your digital marketing campaign.

What Does a Digital Marketing Agency do?

Now that you understand how digital marketing works, you might feel like you don’t have the in-house resources to create and execute a digital marketing strategy. Outsourcing to a digital marketing agency puts your strategy in the hands of experts while you focus on your core business objectives. Before you spend money on a digital marketing agency, you probably want to know what does a digital marketing agency do?

The answer depends on whether you’re talking about a specialized or full-service digital marketing agency. A specialized agency focuses on only one part of digital marketing, such as social media management, web design, or search engine optimization.

A full-service digital marketing agency handles everything involved with creating and executing a digital marketing strategy. The first thing they do is provide an expert-level audit of your current digital presence. They look at your sales and customer data to get a clear picture of your core customer and then look at various KPIs to see how effective your current digital presence is at reaching said customer.

Once they figure out which areas need the most attention, each expert team member plays their role in building you a successful digital marketing strategy. The search engine optimization team starts by building a keyword strategy. They use several techniques to discover the questions your customers are turning to search engines to get answered.

If you want to learn more about keywords and creating a keyword strategy, give this article a read.

The writing and design teams create the content that the optimization team needs to put their keyword strategy into action. Everyone works together seamlessly to you great results. Contact us to learn exactly how an experienced digital marketing agency would handle your digital marketing needs.

Brett Pucino: Brett Pucino is a content writer with seven years of experience crafting compelling copy for brands looking to expand their digital footprint. He is passionate about building brands for both businesses and people, and he is always available for a conversation on Twitter (@BPucino).
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