Whether it’s for work or pleasure (and love it or hate it), most of us spend a whole bunch of time online. We work online, we socialize online, we shop online, we learn online, we waste time online. Virtual parties are now a thing, which means we can even stay social during cold Ontario winters when we don’t want to deal with the weather.
The world is changing, and along with these big changes, so is marketing as we know it. Digital marketing is here to stay – and it packs some powerful potential to drive profits and orders to businesses of all sizes and across all industries. Facebook posts, Google results, Youtube videos are all quickly taking the place of the old marketing standards: print and television advertising. With all of these changes, what does a small business owner really need to know about digital marketing?
Digital Marketing: What Is It?
Traditional marketing usually refers to all offline marketing efforts. Examples? Business cards, printed flyers, cold phone calls, ads in magazines, radio jingles, and so on.
Digital marketing, like all marketing, is all about connecting with your target market at a time and place that’s most likely to convert to sales or whatever your desired outcome happens to be. The term ‘Digital Marketing’ describes marketing efforts that target online users. It’s an umbrella term: blogging, SEO, social media, PPC (paid online advertising) all fall within it. In short, digital marketing is basically any marketing done online.
Digital Marketing Gets Big Results (When Done Right)
Digital marketing could also be called evidence-based marketing. Why? Never before have we been able to track, to the decimal, exactly how our target market is engaging with our marketing initiatives. Before digital marketing stepped in, measuring the results of traditional marketing was iffy at best. Why? You couldn’t track exactly where your business was coming from. With digital marketing, you can.
We can use services such as Google Analytics to see how visitor found a website, what they did at the website and if they took any actions. You can make it easy on yourself and set up specific goals: i.e — this ad will result in this many sales. Social media apps can give you highly detailed information on who you’re reaching and what they’re doing. So, if you are running an ad on Facebook or Google, you can see if the people coming to your website from that ad are highly interested or if it’s time to target a different group of people and change up the ad.
Digital Marketing Reaches More People
With traditional marketing, you are limited. If you place an ad in a print magazine, you are limited to reaching whoever reads that magazine and happens to see your ad. Television ad? Same. And, chances are, that magazine or television station isn’t highly targeted to the types of people you want to reach. With digital marketing, you can really target your ideal customers.
Your blogs can answer the specific questions they’re using Google to find answers to…exactly when they’re looking. Your Facebook post or tweet can make someone laugh on a Friday evening. When you market your small business online, your reach is as endless as the Internet itself.
The catch? Digital marketing allows small businesses to start marketing with a smaller budget — but it also levels the playing field and opens up the door for more competition. There is the potential for huge gains, but if you don’t make the right moves (as with any marketing), there’s also the potential for wasted advertising dollars.