Digital marketing: What are its functions and advantages?
Nowadays, when we talk about marketing, it is unthinkable not to refer to digital marketing and its functions and advantages. In fact, there are more and more businesses with an exclusively online presence.
Knowing what digital marketing is and how to take advantage of its different channels is essential to being a competitive brand, so let’s see what its main keys are.
What is digital marketing and what is it for?
Digital marketing (also called online marketing) is a system that allows the promotion of a brand’s products or services through the internet, using online channels and tools in a strategic way to help achieve the company’s general business objectives.
Digital marketing arises as a result of the passage from web 1.0 (made up of static content controlled by companies, similar to traditional media) to web 2.0, in which users can interact and their voice begins to be important. The concept of “digital marketing” began to be used for the first time in the 1990s.
Digital marketing represents a change in the way companies use technology to promote their business. Before its appearance, almost all the information that consumers received about products and services was controlled by the companies that marketed them. Therefore, it was very difficult to ensure that the information received was unbiased and took into account the interests of the consumer and not just those of the company.
In contrast, in the era of digital marketing, the consumer has become an active agent in the entire purchase process and even has influence in previous phases, such as the development of new products. It is estimated that 60% of the purchase process has already been completed by the time the consumer comes into contact with the seller since the latter has become accustomed to researching on their behalf.
To do digital marketing, therefore, brands have to accept that there is a certain loss of control around the messages that are published about their products and services, and they have to be willing to interact with users instead of monologues.
Advantages of digital marketing
- Measurable results. In traditional marketing, it is very difficult to attribute results to specific campaigns and pinpoint exactly what is happening. By contrast, in digital marketing, we have near real-time data on every user action. This makes it possible to keep exact control of the most relevant metrics for our business and measure the return on investment of each of our campaigns.
- Immediacy. By being able to measure the results in real time, we can also launch actions in a very short period of time. This allows us to correct course if something is not working and quickly adapt to any unforeseen event.
- More precise segmentation. The classic advertisements on television, radio, press or outdoor advertising are aimed at an undifferentiated audience, but normally a company’s products only interest certain types of customers, which leads to wasted impressions and budget. In contrast, with digital marketing, we can target ads with great precision to exactly reach the target audience.
- Knowledge of your customers. Digital marketing allows companies of all kinds to have an ongoing dialogue with their customers. It is no longer necessary to do expensive market research to find out what they think: we can ask them directly or even monitor their conversations with other users about the brand. All this knowledge helps us adapt our offer and our campaigns to hit the spot.
- Expanded scope . With digital marketing, the radius of action of a business is no longer limited to its immediate environment, but we can reach users from anywhere in the world. If we combine this with the possibility of selling online, the growth potential is enormous.
- Less intrusive. Traditional marketing is based on “bombarding” the user with advertising impacts, while in digital marketing they can choose whether to interact with the brand or not.
- Loyalty. Digital marketing allows us to develop close relationships with customers and nurture them through repeated impacts, which helps us foster brand loyalty.
- Cost effectiveness. Digital marketing is within the reach of companies of all sizes. There are channels and strategies for all tastes, and it is possible to start having an online presence for free or at very low costs.
The 5 key strategies of digital marketing
1) Content Marketing
Content marketing consists of the creation of text, audio, video, interactive elements, or other formats with the aim of educating, informing, or entertaining potential customers of a brand.
Normally, content marketing does not seek to generate immediate conversions, but rather to attract users who are in the first stages of the purchase process. These users usually search for information related to their problems and needs. The brand provides them with this information in order to make themselves known and end up obtaining the data of the user potentially interested in their products or services (lead). Subsequently, it will send you increasingly specific content focused on the specific solution offered by the brand.
Therefore, we see that the content must be different depending on the phase of the purchase process in which we find ourselves, being more generic at the beginning and more specific the closer the customer gets to conversion.
2) Email marketing
Email marketing consists of sending a message directly by email to users who are part of the brand’s database.
This channel stands out for its great versatility since it can be used for all kinds of campaigns and actions: send promotions or discounts, train potential customers, request donations, launch loyalty campaigns, and much more.
Its great strength is the customization it allows. Since we are sending messages one by one, we can tailor each email to each user’s unique situation and personalize elements on an individual level, for example, the recipient’s name or the last product they purchased.
For this strategy to work, we have to do a good segmentation of the database, grouping users based on their characteristics and behavior and sending them messages that are tailored to their needs at any given time.
3) Social networks
Social networks have been part of online marketing since the 2000s when sites like Orkut and, later, Facebook began to become popular.
Currently, social networks bring together billions of users, which makes them a fundamental channel for brands that want to communicate with their audience. In addition, by having a large amount of data about the users who use them, social networks allow advertising campaigns to be launched with a very high level of segmentation.
A very important aspect of digital marketing strategies on social networks is to properly identify which are the most interesting networks based on your target audience and the type of products and solutions you sell. For example, LinkedIn is the star site for companies dedicated to B2B marketing, while TikTok is one of the most powerful networks to reach a young audience.
It is also very important to be aware that social networks are a place for conversation and interaction and that the brand has to be able to adapt its tone of communication to reach users.
SEO or “search engine optimization” consists of a series of techniques aimed at improving the positioning of a brand in search engines such as Google. The objective is to appear among the first results when a user does a search that reveals that he might be interested in our products or services.
In general, SEO is an investment whose results materialize in the long term. But once the brand gets positioned, it can reap benefits in the form of free visits to your website for a long time.
Within SEO, we must distinguish between two main types of techniques:
- SEO on page: actions aimed at improving our website, for example, correctly organizing information, writing clear titles, optimizing images, etc.
- SEO off page: actions aimed at improving the reputation and authority of our website in the eyes of search engines, mainly by making other related sites link to ours.
SEM or “search engine marketing” consists of placing paid advertisements on search engines. In this way, we can generate traffic to our website among potentially interested users in the short term. In return, we will have to pay a certain amount to the advertising platform each time a user clicks on an ad to visit our website.
SEM and SEO can be seen as complementary strategies since in both cases we are interested in creating a well-structured website that is relevant to user queries. In addition, we may be interested in positioning certain content using SEO and using SEM for others.