• Chase Charaba

What is digital marketing and why is it important?

In the world of business and marketing, you’ve likely seen or heard the term digital marketing. Many agencies specialize in digital marketing, yet it seems like the services offered vary significantly from firm to firm.

So what is digital marketing, and why is it important for your business?

Simply put, digital marketing is all marketing that takes place in a digital space. This includes all modern electronic devices, but digital marketing primarily focuses on the internet.

Wait, but doesn’t that include everything?

I know, I know, that really narrows it down, doesn’t it? You might be wondering what could possibly be left if digital marketing covers all electronics. Really, that leaves just your traditional marketing, like billboards, newspaper ads, flyers, and other print materials like brochures. Most definitions also exclude TV, radio, and phone marketing, but some digital marketing agencies offer those services, too.

Digital marketing’s an umbrella term for many specialized sectors of marketing. So what are these areas, and why do you need them in your marketing? Let’s get into that.

Table of contents

This is going to be a pretty long article. We don’t blame you if you don’t want to read through all of it (it’s super interesting if you do!). Use this table to jump to various sections on digital marketing, if that’s more your thing. Whatever floats your boat!

What are the different types of digital marketing?

With digital marketing covering such a broad range of marketing, it will be a bit overwhelming if we just throw everything at you at once. Let’s break it down into more digestible chunks.

Type 1: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. SEO, much like the name suggests, involves optimizing a company’s website so that it ranks higher on search engines and answers user search queries.

Basically, it’s all about ranking at the top of Google and driving traffic, and therefore leads, to a website. It’s more complicated than that, but in essence that’s what it accomplishes.

Perhaps the most important aspect of SEO is increasing the quality of the traffic that visits a website.

Wait, it isn’t just about the numbers?

Let’s put it this way: if you have a website that sells electronics and cameras, you want visitors who are interested in electronics and cameras, or their accessories. It wouldn’t do you any good to increase site visitors by targeting people who aren’t interested in those items.

Sure, your traffic will increase, but your sales won’t.

SEO allows you to ensure that people actively searching for products or services related to your industry can find you.

So, how does SEO work?

I’m going to assume that you’ve used a search engine before, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, or DuckDuckGo. When you search for something, whether that’s a product, a question, or a person, you’ll get a list of search results.

Those results are sites that the search engine’s ranking highest for your search query. Search engines use crawlers to build an index that’s then put through an algorithm to match your query.

SEO involves tactics to ensure that your webpages will come up for search results associated with your content. This often takes the form of keywords, writing title tags, managing page hierarchy, building out meta descriptions, and link building.

An SEO agency specializes in optimizing your website and content for search queries to attract more visitors and leads to your site, which translates into sales. That’s SEO in a nutshell.

Type 2: Content marketing

Next up is content marketing. This is another super broad term for a bunch of areas of marketing.

Content marketing is any marketing activity that involves creating content to attract or engage with your audience. Content marketing doesn’t usually promote a brand in the same way that advertising or other forms of marketing do.

The caveat with content marketing is that it has to be something that provides value, in some way, to the target audience. This is what separates content marketing from other forms of marketing that involve content creation.

So, what does it mean to provide value? Don’t my products provide value?

While that’s likely true, that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Providing value to a target audience through content can mean anything, depending on your industry. Providing information or resources is one way to provide value, since your audience can now use that information to their benefit. Another way to add value is to show somehow how to do something, such as with a tutorial video.

Value doesn’t always mean giving away free information. Depending on your industry, maybe providing humor (we love all the memes), free templates, or inspiration’s valuable to your audience.

Whatever the content is, it needs to establish trust with consumers so that they’ll turn to your business when it’s time to purchase your products or services.

What’s involved in content marketing?

  • Blog posts: One of the most common and effective ways to embrace content marketing is to create blog posts on your website. You know, like the one you’re reading right now. Your company blog can be used to teach your audience about your products or services, answer questions related to your industry, and provide resources.

  • Video: Video is huge right now, and we don’t see that trend reversing anytime soon. Creating easily shareable video content’s a great way to build engagement with your audience and reach new people, too. A timeless, high-quality video can take advantage of social media and YouTube.

  • Infographics: Infographics are a great way to provide information or tell a story using mostly graphics and imagery. These are especially great paired with a blog or video.

  • Downloadable content: Everyone likes free stuff, right? Downloadable content can be used to drive traffic to your website and generate leads, all while providing useful content or resources to your audience. Best of all, there’s no limit to what this content can be.

Maybe you decide to release a report or a helpful guide or checklist. This could even be an ebook. Downloadable content’s a wonderful way to get leads and build trust.

Type 3: Social media marketing

Now for something that most businesses are likely familiar with: social media marketing. In case you couldn’t guess, social media marketing is marketing that utilizes social media platforms.

Social media has allowed businesses to connect and engage with new and existing customers.

One of the biggest assets of social media is that metrics are readily available to measure the success of social media marketing. Most platforms have built-in analytics and demographics reports, and other systems like Hootsuite can offer even more tools.

Viral content and easily shareable posts really boost a brand to new heights.

There are many platforms to choose from, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Tik Tok.

But social media isn’t really my thing. Do I have to use it?

We get it. Social media isn’t for everyone. But, it’s a powerful tool that reaches so many more people than traditional marketing.

Plus, social media is free! With billions of active users every month worldwide, it’s not something that should be ignored.

But, nobody’s going to force you to use it. If you’d rather pay someone to manage social media for you, many marketing agencies offer such services, including SilverFox HQ.

Type 4: PPC and online advertising

PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, and online advertising are other important aspects of digital marketing.

PPC is a form of online advertising that involves paying a fee whenever someone clicks on the ad, hence the name. These ads can appear in search results or on websites and social media through Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or another system.

The benefit of PPC advertising is that you can customize who your business is targeting, such as the location, search terms, and more.

You can set the amount you’re willing to pay for each click, and your ad goes to an auction against others bidding for the same keywords. This determines the order in which your ads will be shown.

There are a few different types of online advertising to cover.

The different types of online advertising:

  • Display ads: Display ads are more typical of ads you’ve likely seen on social media or on websites. They’re usually presented as text, images, video, and audio with the purpose of delivering brand messages and promotions to potential customers.

  • Search ads: Search ads appear at the top of search results on sites like Google and Bing. They look just like regular search results.

  • Shopping ads: On Google and Bing, these directly promote products when someone searches for that product or a similar product. Search for “T shirt,” for example, and you’ll see a row of products for sale at the top of your results. Each of these is an ad showing the product, reviews, and the price.

  • Video ads: Video ads are one of the most popular options of online advertising. With the rise of YouTube, creating video ads is a great way to take advantage of that growing audience. Ads can be placed before, during, or after a video on these platforms. Plus, YouTube ads have a track record of being very successful for businesses.

Why would a business want to use PPC advertising?

First and foremost, online ads using the PPC method have a shot at receiving instant clicks if they’re set up correctly. This means that your business can start to see results quickly. You’re also completely in control of your ads. You get to choose how much you want to pay, and you can stop the ads at any time.

You can even choose what time of day you want your ads to run. This is known as dayparting.

Some popular ad networks to consider are:

  • Google Ads

  • Microsoft Advertising/Bing Ads

  • Yahoo! Ads

  • Amazon Ads

  • Facebook Ads

  • Twitter Ads

Type 5: Email marketing

Isn’t email marketing dead?

Despite what you may hear, email marketing isn’t dead. Email marketing continues to play a huge role in digital marketing campaigns. We aren’t just saying that as a marketing agency, either.

According to Draft’s 2019 State of Conversational Marketing report, email remains the top communication channel for customers.

The most popular way to conduct email marketing is to build an email list through website sign-ups or purchases. Then current customers can be emailed with upsell offers, discounts, sales, and more.

Email marketing also helps introduce new customers to products. For example, you can get them to sign up for emails through a free guide or download, and then after they double opt-in for emails, you can try to sell them your products.

These practices are very common, and they continue to drive purchases.

If you plan on doing any email marketing, just be sure to follow all of the local laws and regulations around email marketing. In the United States, that’s the CAN-SPAM act. And no, you can’t spam people. That could land your business in serious trouble.

The secret to great email marketing is great content, compelling subject lines, good UX design, and a strong landing page that converts.

Many businesses also create email newsletters to share updates on the business, products, and free resources. Newsletters should be used to further bond with your audience instead of selling a product. Save that for another email!

There are lots of great tools available for email marketing, such as segmenting your lists to only reach certain parts of your audience.

Need some inspiration for your next email campaign? Check out ReallyGoodEmails. It’s a website that showcases, well, really good emails.

Type 6: Online PR

Another area of digital marketing that’s perhaps overlooked is Online PR. Once upon a time, online PR was just submitting digital press releases to build a reputation, but now it’s become something much larger.

Today, online PR is all about influencing people across various platforms. Online PR can involve SEO, content creation in the form of blogs and press releases, and ensuring that businesses are regularly publishing content on social media that improve the brand’s image and reputation.

It also involves finding unlinked mentions of your brand online to build backlinks, monitoring reviews, contributing guest posts to other websites, ensuring your business is listed on local directories, creating press releases, and influencer marketing.

A real world example of this is the Chevrolet Twitter profile. When someone tweets about Chevy, the brand searches for these tweets to make sure any complaints are addressed.

It’s about making your audience trust your brand. If you can build trust, your audience is more likely to purchase from you.

Some common PR platforms and resources include Google Search Console, HARO, BuzzSumo, and LinkedIn.

Type 7: Affiliate marketing

Wait, affiliate marketing? What’s that?

Affiliate marketing is where you earn a commission from promoting another business’s products or services. The entire principle is based on revenue sharing either directly or through an affiliate program or network.

Yes, affiliate marketing is considered digital marketing. Why? People are marketing brands and products to their own audiences. This often involves using something called swipe copy, which is materials and writing provided by the brand to affiliate marketers.

Many people use affiliate marketing on their websites through blogs or through social media posts to earn a share of the profits on sales they make.

You might have seen this in action in the description of a YouTube video, where creators can earn money from Amazon purchases made through their unique affiliate links. Or, look for anyone telling you to buy something using their code. They’re probably earning a commission on those sales.

As a business, finding an affiliate program to help influencers sell your products is easy. It allows you to market your products to more people. Or, you can find influencers and affiliates yourself and set up a system for commissions and sales tracking.

That way, you have people invested in selling your products because they can earn an income from commissions.

So, while it may not be a traditional form of digital marketing, it can still be a powerful tool.

Whew! That was a lot. Take a breather, look away from your screen for 10 seconds, and let’s get into why all of this matters for your business.

Why is digital marketing important for businesses?

Digital marketing is vital for businesses. Traditional marketing just doesn’t cut it anymore, if we’re being honest.

When’s the last time you purchased something because you saw an ad in the newspaper? Chances are, it’s been a while. Digital marketing is much more prevalent in society today than more traditional forms of marketing.

That’s not to say that traditional marketing doesn’t work at all. It certainly has its place for certain industries and communities. However, digital marketing is more cost-effective, measurable, specific, and far-reaching than traditional marketing.

Digital marketing is cost-effective

With traditional marketing, things can get very expensive. Designing materials costs money. Printing those materials costs a lot. Then you decided to change your branding or your wording, and you have to print more.

Or, what about a TV advertisement or radio commercial. Not everyone can afford to create a commercial, especially if it’s a video, and then pay for it to be broadcast. Plus, TV viewership is dropping across the board (except for sports).

Digital marketing is a more cost effective way to promote your business. Some content like blogs and social media posts are free!. You can even make YouTube videos with your phone and upload them to a wide audience. It doesn’t get more cost effective than free.

When you do pay for marketing services or decide to run ads and promotions, you get a bigger bang for your buck. Because of features like PPC advertising, you’re only paying for actual leads and conversations. You can also throw as little as $20 at a post to boost it to hundreds or thousands of people on social media.

Plus, more people are online than ever. You can reach a huge audience by effectively utilizing digital marketing for your business,

Digital marketing is measurable

One of the best components of digital marketing’s that you can measure the results. If you’ve ever set a SMART goal, then you’ll know having measurable goals and results is super important.

With other forms of marketing, it can be hard to determine the success of campaigns. With digital marketing, you have access to analytics and other data.

You can easily see how many people saw an ad, how many people clicked on that ad, and how many people purchased a product from your landing page as a result. You can track how many likes, shares, and comments you receive on social media. You can see how many views your videos have received. You can also get easy access to customer reviews and send out transactional surveys to improve your process.

You can even find out why certain marketing campaigns failed.

There’s just so much more information available with digital marketing than can help you optimize future campaigns and grow your business.

Digital marketing is specific

While you can target certain geographical areas with traditional marketing, you can get more specific with digital marketing.

Remember how I said that you can set up ads to only target certain areas or search queries? You can actually get more specific than that with ads and social media promotions.

You can go as far as to only market to a specific city, to a certain gender, to an education level or occupation, and so much more. This makes it extremely easy to target these niche audiences that will purchase your products or services.

Digital marketing is far-reaching

On the flip side, digital marketing can be far-reaching. You could be an eCommerce site based in Ogden, Utah selling candles or something, yet target audiences in Bend, Oregon and Macon, Georgia. You can target audiences in other countries even.

Plus, anyone can view a social media post, a YouTube video, or your website. You can market your products anywhere in the world with digital marketing, whereas traditional marketing would involve marketing to each location individually.

Because of this, digital marketing is a powerful tool for creating brand awareness. You can get your business in front of more eyes and ears than ever before.

Does that mean you should abandon traditional marketing? No. Just understand that digital marketing gives you more for your hard-earned cash. Digital marketing can work in unison with more traditional methods for a complete marketing strategy.

Final thoughts

Marketing’s essential to grow your business. Without marketing, your business will wander through the muck without reaching your audience. Digital marketing is a way for your business to find your audience and build their trust, leading to more sales.

Let’s recap. Digital marketing is any form of marketing that takes place on the internet or electronic devices. With so many different ways to market your business, from SEO and content marketing to PPC advertising and online PR, digital marketing is a way to grow your business.

Digital marketing is cost-effective, the results of campaigns are easily measured, targeting can be extremely specific to your niche audience, and your efforts are more far-reaching than without it.

Do you need digital marketing? Get help from Utah’s cutting-edge digital marketing agency

Investing in digital marketing is the first step to making your biggest business dreams come true. With something as important as your livelihood, you can’t trust just any digital marketing agency.

Thankfully, we aren’t just another agency. SilverFox HQ is Utah’s cutting-edge digital marketing, ideation, and creative agency. We specialize in making your brand stand out and cutting through the noise.

From business and product ideation, to branding and logo design, our talented minds will ensure that your business gets started the right way.

Our SEO, content creation, social media, web design, graphic design, and online advertising services will elevate your business and drive new traffic and sales.

We’ve worked with businesses all across Utah, including Get Away Today, Minky Couture, KingPin Labs, ES Solar, and so much more. Feel free to look through our portfolio and social media profiles for examples of our work.

No matter what your business needs are, SilverFox HQ will work with you to develop a marketing plan that takes your business to the next level. We can write blogs and web copy, create sales funnels, redesign your website or brand, shoot video, design and launch ads, manage social media, and so much more.

Your brand needs digital marketing. SilverFox HQ can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

So dream big, and we’ll figure out the rest.