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What is Digital Marketing?

For those of us living and breathing the digital marketing world, we’ve known for a long time how effective digital marketing can be. You will get results that you just can’t get anymore from traditional marketing tactics.

Digital marketing is just marketing…

But if you’ve never used digital marketing, it can seem like you are taking a massive step into unknown territory. There’s lots of confusing new tactics, people keep talking in acronyms, and funnels seem very important.

You should know up front. You are taking a massive step in the direction of business success.

Print ads, radio spots, and direct mail may sound sexy, but with today’s connected consumer, these tactics don’t make much of an impact on traffic numbers, sales volume, or order values.

That’s why successful businesses rely on digital marketing.

So I’m here to tell you what digital marketing is, how it’s done, and how you can benefit from these tactics that have been proven to raise sales and boost profits.

Digital Marketing Defined

Let’s start with the basics…

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is the act of promoting and selling products and services by leveraging online marketing tactics such as social media marketing, search marketing, and email marketing.

That’s the formal definition.

But honestly, digital marketing is just marketing.

And rule #1 in marketing is to make the right offer at the right time in the right place. You need to connect with your customer where they are.

It’s no surprise that today’s consumers are online: hanging out in social media, staying updated on news sites and blogs, and searching online when they have a need.

That’s why, for better marketing results, you need to be online too—getting people’s attention, building interest in your products and services, and driving sales with digital marketing.

And it works so well, marketers don’t think of it as an alternative to “traditional” marketing. They’re just excited about the results they’re able to generate.

How Digital Marketing Works

Digital marketing works by creating touch points, or points of interaction, in a variety of digital channels—like Facebook, search engines, email, and YouTube—to build a relationship with prospects.

(RELATED: Your Digital Marketing Strategy Template (AKA The Customer Value Journey))

All of these touches build familiarity and trust, so when people are finally ready to buy, they look to you first.

But there’s more to it than that.

Rule #1 in marketing is to make the right offer at the right time in the right place.

Digital marketing isn’t only about “being there” when your customers are ready to buy. It’s about creating the desire to buy and persuading them to buy sooner (and possibly more often).

It’s also about being more than a merchant. Through digital marketing, you can actually become a guide and a trusted friend—so when you make a recommendation, people are eager to listen (and buy).

What does this look like?

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Say you decide you need a new juicer. Typically, when you start thinking about buying something, you don’t run to the store and buy the first product you see. You do some research first.

You begin by searching the Internet to learn what your options are.

digital marketing example of google search for juicer

Initially, you’re looking for the best brands and the best prices. And once you have an idea of what your options are, you look for reviews, ask friends and family for their opinions, compare features, and evaluate case studies.

That’s one scenario. Another could be kicked off with an email.

Let’s say you’ve signed up to receive emails from a blog that talks about natural health. One day, they send you an email that links to an article with juicing recipes. You click through, read the article, and realize your juicer won’t handle the leafy greens they recommend.

Conveniently, in the article, there are links to juicers that can do the job…

digital marketing example of blog post about buying a juicer

…and you’re intrigued. But you’re not ready to buy yet. You still want to do research before buying.

Just as you did in the first scenario, you start searching on the Internet…

…Comparing prices…

digital marketing example of search for specific juicer brand

…Reading reviews…

digital marketing example of reviews for juicer

…And looking for expert opinions…

digital marketing example of expert reviews

Only when you feel you’ve got enough information will you buy—and usually from the brand that gave you the best information.

The Key to Digital Marketing Success

Remember, digital marketing is designed to give consumers the information they need when they need it, so that they turn to you first when the time comes.

As mentioned before, that takes building a relationship. And there are many ways you can do this

You want to strategically integrate all available tactics…

Some of the tactics you could use are:

  1. Content marketing
  2. Advertising
  3. Social media
  4. Email
  5. Search marketing
  6. Website analytics
  7. Conversion rate optimization

(NOTE: Learn more about all those tactics in our Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing)

But you don’t want to randomly adopt digital tactics or focus exclusively on a single one.

You want to strategically integrate all available tactics to provide relevant, useful information that answers your customer’s questions and deepens their relationship with you.

And ideally, you’ll deliver this value at every stage of interaction you have with your customer.

Do that, and you’ll take customers seamlessly on a journey: from awareness to engagement to conversion and beyond.

Here at DigitalMarketer, we call that the Customer Value Journey, and it looks like this.

Customer Value Journey that every digital marketing customer goes through

Does it Work?

Like gangbusters!

Traditional marketing was time consuming, difficult to track, and expensive. Which is why digital marketing has completely changed the game.

Using digital tactics, you can engage directly with your customers—so you’re never a cold, impersonal company.

To start out, digital marketing is easier. It gives you multiple channels where you can connect with people. And you can have conversations with them in real time, so you can answer their questions and overcome objections as they arise.

But that’s not all.

Digital marketing is also faster. Gone are the days of massive print runs and mailouts. You can write an email campaign in the morning and send it out on the same day.

And within minutes, you can know whether it’s working, because you can track opens, clicks, and sales as they happen. That means you can make changes faster and save time if something isn’t working.

And finally…

Digital marketing is more effective. There’s a transparency that didn’t exist with traditional marketing. Using digital tactics, you can engage directly with your customers—so you’re never a cold, impersonal company.

Which means you can build real relationships… improve engagement and trust… and convert buyers into fans who can’t get enough of your products.

Bottom line, digital marketing shortens the journey from stranger to buyer and boosts the lifetime value of each and every customer.

Transforming the Vendor-Customer Relationship

One of the keys to digital marketing’s power is its ability to transform faceless businesses into real friends.

Traditionally marketing was selfish. By default, it was a one-way conversation, with businesses blaring their message but never listening. And it forced potential customers to conform to whatever communication format or channel a business preferred.

Digital gives consumers options. Which means you can customize your customer’s experience.

Do they prefer connecting on Facebook or Twitter? You can build a thriving community on the social media sites your audience likes best.

Do they prefer watching videos or reading blog posts? You can package your content in text and video formats and let them choose what to view.

Do they want to hear from you daily or weekly? Or do they only want to hear about specific topics? You can segment your lists of customers to make sure people hear from you when and how they prefer.

Bottom Line

Digital marketing hasn’t just changed marketing. It’s improved it.

In less time and with less effort, you can get far better results.

And learning the strategies is easy. Read The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing for an overview of the 7 core tactics you’ll use.

Then you can build your own digital marketing machine—and start seeing real results right away.


Clemenger, Clemenger Media Sales, Clemenger Media Sales is Australia’s home of niche media.

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What is Digital Marketing?