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Demystifying Digital Marketing: The Basics

Digital marketing – that’s like social media, right?

The short answer is “yes”, but in reality, digital marketing encompasses much more than just social media.

For example, have you ever wondered how Facebook is displaying an ad for the exact bag you were looking at on Amazon last night?

Or how Amazon knows you didn’t buy the bag and emailed you this morning, offering it to you at 15% off?

Or how Amazon’s product was the top search result on Google in the first place?

As it turns out, it’s not magic. It’s digital marketing.

Traditional vs. Digital Marketing

Before we go any further, let’s differentiate traditional marketing from digital marketing so there’s no confusion.

Traditional marketing generally refers to offline marketing tactics such as print advertising, television and radio commercials, telemarketing and cold calling, direct messaging etc. In the past, these methods were effective as they allowed broad distribution of messaging in a medium that was easy for consumers to access.

However, since the invention of the internet, the way we create and consume content has changed drastically. Digital marketing refers to the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also on mobile devices, display advertising, and any other digital medium. With 24-hour online access, buyers have completely changed the way they research and shop for products and services.

If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already worked out that digital marketing channels such as social media, content, SEO, SEM and video have become a critical component of marketing success.

Not convinced? Here are some sobering stats:

·      Frost & Sullivan projects that B2B e-commerce will hit $6.7 trillion in sales worldwide by 2020, accounting for 27% of all B2B sales.

·      On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site

·      Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing

Outbound vs. Inbound

In the past, you may have heard marketing tactics being referred to as ‘outbound’ and ‘inbound’ methods.

Outbound marketing is also referred to as “push” or “interruptive” marketing, whereby marketers push their message out far and wide, hoping it will resonate with those who see it.

Outbound marketing is often (and perhaps unfairly) used synonymously with traditional marketing as in the past, extensive audience targeting was not available for traditional channels – if someone was watching Channel 3 at 5PM, they saw your ad, whether it related to them or not.

In contrast, inbound marketing, also called “pull” or “attractive” marketing, involves attracting customers and prospects to your website by creating targeted content that speaks to their specific pain points. This is about understanding your customer’s personas providing useful information – in the form of blogs, reviews, case studies etc. – that allows them to find your business naturally through a search engine or social media.

Digital Marketing Tactics

The image below provides a brief overview of some common inbound and outbound marketing tactics.

The tactics in the middle can be considered “hybrid” inbound/outbound channels. This includes digital marketing.

Whilst search engine marketing (SEM), social advertising and remarketing are by definition “push” marketing tactics, they are not considered “interruptive”, as these digital tactics allow for extensive audience targeting.

aamplify inbound & outbound marketing

Content marketing

The best way to attract your target audience is to create content based on the questions they are searching for. 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus in an advertisement. This content could be in the form of eDMs, eBooks, whitepapers and blogs. According to Social Media B2B, B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that don’t.

Social media

Social media advertising platforms require an audience to be defined before marketing activity can start. This can be as broad or narrow as you like and is often based on characteristics of a person’s interests, behaviour, job role and/or network on the platform.

Paid search ads

SEM requires targeting based on intent as the marketer chooses keywords related to website content that they think a user would search when looking for information. Demographic targeting is also available. Statistics show that 93% of buying cycles start with a search online, so it is crucial to capture potential buyers at the point of consideration, when they’re doing their online research.

Email marketing

Email marketing has evolved extensively since it was first invented in the 1970’s. Traditionally, email has been used as a bit of a “spray and pray” tactic in which lists were purchased and “blasted” with marketing information, irrespective of whether it related to the receiver or not. These days with the help of marketing automation, email has transformed into a nurturing tool that allows businesses to contact customers and prospects with targeted information that relates to their purchase history and online activity.

These tactics allow companies to increase their brand awareness in new, targeted markets, whilst employing inbound marketing to nurture known prospects and customers with targeted content that educates, builds trust and delivers value.

It is for this reason that both inbound and outbound tactics should be an integral part of your overall digital marketing strategy.

We’re Here to Help

If all this sounds like a lot of hard work, we’d be happy to help you out.

Whether you’re looking to kick-start your digital marketing strategy, or just learn more about how it could work for you, get in touch and find out how Aamplify can start creating magnetic demand for your business!


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Digital Marketing Team

Emma and Myra are part of the Amplify Digital Marketing Team. Emma is a digital storyteller who is passionate about creating tangible marketing results through digital channels. Myra is an Account Director and seasoned marketer who delights in utilising technology and creativity to generate demand.