“What’s the deal with digital marketing?”
No, that’s not the lead-in to a Seinfeld-esque stand-up comedy routine. It’s the question on the minds of many of today’s business and nonprofit leaders who dove into digital and now find themselves somewhat perplexed by the results.
Impressions, views, conversations, clicks, follows—they wonder (sometimes silently, sometimes aloud) what do these things mean? A prospect may mention an email, social post, or piece of content in passing, but it’s not closing a sale. So where is the value?
Digital marketing is about something bigger than individual sales. It’s the umbrella hanging over top of all your customer/donor interactions.
In a culture that has become not only connected to the internet, but also ingrained and intertwined with it to a high degree, the value of digital marketing is certainly there… It just may not be exactly where you’re looking for it.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Since it’s such a broad term, defining digital marketing can be a little tricky. We classify it as all the collective efforts organizations make to connect with individuals in the online world. This includes:
- Social Media
- Content – Blogs, Articles, Videos, Podcasts, etc.
- Online Advertising
- Mobile Apps
- And More
Six Essential Benefits of Digital Marketing
What is the value of all these digital marketing efforts? What can they do for your organization? Why do you want/need them? Here are six key reasons…
In today’s landscape, brands are built in the digital world. Your website provides a place to cement your message. Social networks, blogs, and videos give you a means to develop and hone your voice. Digital advertising offers an opportunity to extoll the benefits of your service to the people most interested in them.
With all the different aspects of digital marketing, organizations have a cost-effective way to define their brands directly to consumers like never before.
If your organization doesn’t exist on the internet in 2016, it may as well not exist. An organization without a web presence is an organization that 99.9% of the world has never heard of.
On the other hand, an organization with a strong digital presence can expand its audience in ways businesses could only have dreamed of 25 years ago. Today, it’s exceedingly likely that the majority of customers will get their first exposure to a brand online.
This B2B Community article notes that “corporate decision-makers reach as far as 67% of the way through their buying cycle before agreeing to talk to any vendors.”
What does that tell us? It tells us customers (in this specific case B2B customers) turn to web to investigate businesses or nonprofits before they work with them. They may not fill out a contact form—but don’t think people aren’t using your website, social profiles, and all the other digital information out there to learn more about your organization.
The more entrances you have to your organization, the more people are likely to come inside. That, in essence, is what digital marketing is: A series of doors leading people to learn more about your organization.
An individual may have heard of your brand before, but maybe it’s a shared social post or an email newsletter that leads them to explore your website and dig a little deeper. If that door wasn’t there, they couldn’t have opened it.
Most companies, have a network in place that is essential to business building—fellow professionals, former clients, partners, vendors, consultants, etc. Digital marketing gives you the ability to build up similar networks online.
For example, you may have your Twitter circle where you share information and build connections with people in your industry. This may lead to referrals or unexpected partnerships that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Such is the magic and power of digital community building.
One of the best things about digital marketing is it leaves a trail for you. These are so many analytics available to show you things like who’s viewing what, how many people were interested in a specific piece content, or what email got the best response. And you can view this data instantly.
Digital data offers a great opportunity to learn more about both your customers and your brand, and realize new or untapped opportunities.
Shifting Your Digital Marketing Perspective
The argument has been made that there is no digital marketing anymore. It’s just marketing now. The thought here is that the digital world has become so ingrained with “the world”, there’s just no separating the two.
That’s a good way to think about digital marketing. It’s not this niche thing you do anymore. It’s an essential thing you must do. It’s marketing.
It’s also important to remember digital marketing is not a “one off” like a marketing campaign with a definitive end. That can be tough for organizational leaders to wrap their brains around. But it’s a reality every brand must embrace.
Digital marketing is never done. You never reach your goal and call it a day. It’s an ongoing effort that should continue as long as your organization does.
To put it simply, digital marketing is your organization’s online existence. And you need to feed and nurture it on a consistent basis to keep your brand breathing and growing both today and into the future.