What is digital marketing (and what do you do with it?)

The simplest possible definition of digital marketing is that it’s just advertising on a digital platform, but that leaves a little too much to the imagination, doesn’t it?

Thanks to the rise of the Internet and social networking, there are multitudes of options for connecting with potential customers via their computer, tablet or  smartphone, and having so many choices can make it tough to know where to start. Does search engine optimization matter for my website? Should I email customers? Should I start a Facebook page for my business (the answer is yes to all of these, if you’re keeping score).

Fortunately, we at BizBuzz have a jones for telling people what digital marketing can do for them, and we’ve broken down some of the major cornerstones to give you an idea of the possibilities:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Once a website is built, it’s still going to need a push into the public eye to earn visitors and start accomplishing the goal of the site, whether it be to raise brand awareness, make sales through an e-commerce store or build a user base. SEO makes it easier for users to find the site when they search for relevant terms in a search engine like Google or Bing, using keywords relating to the business, including geographic information like city and state and topics users will likely search for.

Content Marketing

Younger demographics don’t like direct advertising, usually because it comes across as heavy-handed. In response to that trend, Internet marketers have started straying from simply saying, “Buy our pizza” to making jokes about pizza instead, which in turn attracts users who like the humor and still end up exposed to marketing materials. Sharing relevant content to your users that will raise awareness of a product or brand can include posting how-to articles on a plumber’s Facebook, or running a blog that explains the many facets of a digital marketing.

Native Advertising

Similar to content marketing, advertorials include subtle advertising information within actual content in the form of articles. A tire company might commission a native ad about how to take better care of tires, with quotes and information from authorities within the company on how to extend tire life, as well as examples of products from the company line that are the most durable and worth buying. The important part in making a good advertorial is being sure that the article includes real, useful information – which can then be shared on social media, posted on a website or sent as a direct email.

Social Media Marketing

Effective advertising comes down to putting your ads where they’re going to be seen, and with social media becoming such a typical part of everyday life for Americans, any company will want to engage with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and every other major networking platform. Social marketing can be as simple as a relaxed approach through content marketing, directly marketing about sales and promotions or simply updating with news about your company.

Direct Marketing Emails

MailChimp mascot

Advertising sent directly to email can be effective in drawing in new business, and nearly every adult on the Internet keeps an email account that they check at least once a day. News about sales, ads about new features or events and even company newsletters all fall into this category. We use MailChimp to manage our subscription lists, which happens to be pretty cute about the whole thing while staying useful.

E-commerce Marketing

Smith Farms online store

smithfarmsalabama.com, an e-commerce site we built for Smith Farms of Heflin, AL.
For companies with online stores, e-commerce marketing is a major tool in converting website visits into actual sales. Advertisements featuring specific products and prices can link directly to the products in question, increasing sales. Websites like Pinterest have started focusing on making it easier to buy and sell, with “Buy” buttons built into posts sharing popular products. For stores that don’t already have an e-commerce site, having one built can lead to new sales from outside the local market.

Display Advertising

AnnistonStar.com advertisement

Display advertising at annistonstar.com highlighted by the red box.
When you visit a website about grilling recipes and see advertisements telling you about sales on gas grills at Walmart, you’re looking at display advertising. Display ads appear on websites, usually in the sidebars and header of the page, and might include images, text, video or other multimedia. Working with tools like Google’s Display Network allows companies to target specific demographics with specific interests to make ads more effective.