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Digital Marketing: What is it, and Why is it Important?

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is something most people have heard of, but many do not fully understand it. As with any marketing tool, digital marketing is all about helping businesses advertise through digital media. Some think digital marketing has only been around since the early 2000s, but it turns out, it was in place way before then. Read this guide to learn the ins and outs of digital marketing and how it can benefit you. 

A Simple Definition

In its simplest of terms, the definition of digital marketing is the marketing of different products and services via a digital platform. Digital marketing can take place on social media sites, via email, through web applications, on mobile applications, on search engines, and more. 

If your marketing involves an electronic device, it is considered digital marketing. Both individuals and companies use digital marketing to promote themselves, their services, or the products they sell. 

The Digital World Has Become More Expansive

Experts suggest the average person spends around eleven hours per day in the digital media world. That is a fair chunk of time if you consider how much work and personal relationships take up the bulk of the day. There is also sleep. So, considering the above, people are on digital media devices regularly. 

A marketer would be a fool to not tap into the digital arena. As time goes on, more of our lives are going to revolve around digital media. From work to shopping, people are always online, so marketers must use digital marketing to reach the masses. 

Social media is on the rise, and there are now more platforms than ever before. As of 2019, 69% of the adult population in North American uses a social media platform, and these numbers are only going to rise higher in the future. 

The Basics of Digital Marketing

Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, it is vital to understand the foundation of digital marketing and its two main components.

Online marketing contains seven significant components, and they include the following. 

  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media marketing (SMM)
  • Pay-per-click marketing (PPC)
  • Content marketing 
  • Email marketing
  • Affiliate marketing

Online marketing typically involves a range of the above, spreading out a marketing campaign across different channels and platforms. 

Offline marketing is also an essential tool in a marketer’s arsenal as online marketing. There are four main categories of offline marketing, and marketers must understand how these can work to their advantage in digital marketing. 

  • Enhanced offline marketing takes place entirely offline, but electronic devices strengthen it. 
  • Radio marketing is still an essential tool for any marketer. Whether through satellite or airwaves, people are still listening. Roughly 85% of North Americans still listen to the radio, so this remains an essential method of advertising.
  • Television marketing remains a popular method of marketing for all types of niches. People still tune into their favorite TV shows, sports events, and movies, making TV prime real estate for any marketer.
  • Phone marketing has gotten a bad rap over the years, but it remains a viable tool for digital marketing. Today, there are tons of options, including robocalls. With a cell phone in practically every hand, this has opened the phone marketing options more than ever before.

While many marketers solely focus on online marketing, they are missing a huge audience and the opportunity to diversify their marketing strategy. For digital marketers to be successful, they must utilize a variety of marketing platforms available to them, including both online and offline ventures. 

A Break Down of Online Marketing

The seven major components of online marketing need to be fully understood. Whether a person is new to digital marketing or has relevant experience, having access to these types of online marketing helps increase their success. The following offers a break down of the components of online marketing and how marketers use them effectively.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) is the act of optimizing to obtain a higher rank in unpaid search engine results or organic listings. Without a high enough rank, searchers will likely never discover a business and the services or products they offer. Studies have proven that users rarely click past the first page of results, so the rank is crucial.
  • Search engine marketing (SEM) helps marketers buy traffic via a paid search listing. While this is not free, it does afford marketers are more targeted audience and more reliable results. SEM utilizes paid advertisements that appear on search engine pages. SEM is one of the most effective means of online advertising. 
  • Content marketing is the creation of content that is shared online. It involves blogs, videos, and social media posts. Content marketing is meant to stimulate interest in a product or service without blatant advertising. 
  • Social media marketing (SMM), as the name implies, involves the use of social media platforms to advertise. As of 2018, there were around 212 social media platforms, and this number is rising. Tapping into the social media market is more critical than ever before. 
  • Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) remains a popular tool for digital marketers. This form of advertising involves a person or company paying a fee each time someone clicks their ad. Search engine advertising remains the most popular type of PPC ad campaign. 
  • Affiliate marketing is considered performance-based digital advertising. With this type of advertising, a business rewards an affiliate for each visitor brought to the business. Affiliate marketing is often carried out using a shared link. 
  • Email marketing involves sending many types of content to a list of email subscribers. When conducting this type of marketing, individuals opt-in to receive the communication, and each communication must offer value to the recipients. 

A Break Down of Offline Marketing

As discussed, there are four main components of offline marketing. Although they may not receive as much attention as online marketing, they are just as indispensable. The following section breaks down these components and how to use each type of offline marketing. 

  • Enhanced offline marketing is sometimes confusing to new marketers, but it is simple in the definition. Consider a restaurant using an electronic device to display photos of their menu and allow diners to create their order. The device helps deliver the marketing content without any Internet. There are many ways marketers can use this digital marketing tool. Consider Times Squares’ larger than life electronic billboards as a compelling example.
  • Radio marketing is just as the name says. You market by having your ads played over the radio. While people once thought radio would become a dying medium, Pandora has brought new life to radio with over 80-million users. Ads should play just before and after a program broadcast to be effective.
  • Television marketing is likely never going to go away, or at least no time soon. While television advertising can be hit or miss, there is one instance where you are guaranteed to attract attention, and that is through Super Bowl advertising. A 60-second commercial is very expensive, costing around $10 million. Unfortunately, television advertising is more difficult to target, leading to wasted advertising spending. However, it is not entirely useless and is still generating traffic today. 
  • Phone marketing once involved less technology and more human resources. Today, with the addition of robocalling, companies can market their products and services without manually calling a number and speaking live with the recipient of the call. In 2014, people began accessing the Internet on their smartphones more often than computers, opening the market even more. One of the most effective means of phone marketing is text marketing, and it is vastly growing in scope. If you send a text message, it is likely to be read.

Why Do You Need Digital Marketing?

There are many reasons you need digital marketing. Be aware of the reasons outlined below and understand why you should use digital marketing for your business.

1. Digital marketing is much more affordable than other types of advertising. Although prices certainly vary, they are typically much less than print advertising.

2. Digital marketing helps you extend the reach of your company. Many people now conduct business online, including shopping for products and services. Digital marketing connects you with a much broader audience.

3. With digital marketing, you connect with your customers on a more intimate level. You can interact with those who view your content, making the experience more personal for individuals, and helping to garner and retain their loyalty. 

4. Digital marketing also allows you to track the success of your ad campaigns, so you can tweak them to make them more impactful. With print advertising, you don’t know if someone read your advertisement. Digital marketing gives you greater insight. 

5. Digital marketing allows you to rise as an authority in your industry. Being an authoritative source is essential for your success, no matter what products or services you sell. 

6. Digital marketing offers a broad landscape of multimedia tools, giving you many more options than with other types of marketing. Being able to share content in all types of media makes digital marketing a winner for every business, no matter the products or services they offer. 

With a lower cost and higher level of flexibility, there is no wonder that people are turning to digital marketing to spread the word about their products and services. There is no better way to reach a broad audience and be able to target specific ads to specific groups of people effectively. 

Digital Marketing Trends Never Fully Fade

Digital marketing is more important than ever before. When trends come and go, some foundational ones continue to remain relevant for marketers today. The world of business is moving faster than ever before, and companies that cannot keep up are going to lose customers quickly. 

There are several trends we are seeing take place in digital marketing, and it is exciting to see how it continues to evolve and improve. 

  • Artificial intelligence is making its way into digital marketing efforts big time, especially when it comes to customer segmentation. Putting your customers into the proper groups helps to ensure your marketing efforts are effective. AI is getting better than ever before at profiling and tracking customers. Around 28% of marketers are using AI as a part of their campaigns.
  • Another trend we are seeing rising in numbers is chatbots. Humans crave communication, but it is not conceivable to be able to chat with your customers 24/7. AI chatbots have become fantastic at holding necessary conversations and being able to answer questions correctly. Chatbots are cheaper and more effective than live agents.
  • Omnichannel marketing is a trend that is likely to be around for a long time. Consumers have access to more information than ever before, and they seek this information through multiple channels. The goal of omnichannel marketing is to provide consistent branding and support across all your channels. 
  • AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) should be a vital part of any digital marketing campaign. Did you know the bounce rate increases exponentially if the load time on mobile goes beyond five seconds? Consumers want access to information, and they want it now. Increasing the load speed of your mobile pages improves your rank. 


If digital marketing is not a part of your marketing toolbox, it certainly needs to become an integral addition right away. From the ability to track your ad progress to being able to reach a much broader audience, digital marketing has proven itself repeatedly. 

If you have been neglecting your digital media campaigns, now is the time to revive them. There is no better way to reach potential customers and engage their interest in the products and services your company offers. 


Picture of Mark Hallman

Mark Hallman

Mark works with business to engage their audiences online via targeted marketing campaigns, conversion based websites, and ongoing measurement and optimization.

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