If you’re like most of the country, you probably own any combination of a smartphone, laptop, tablet, smart TV, and maybe even a smart watch. Digital products continue to bleed into our society with no end in sight. In the wake of this digital age, business owners and marketers alike must adapt to the changes or get squeezed out. One of the best ways to stay relevant is through digital marketing for business.

What is Digital Marketing?

The thought of implementing digital marketing for business can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you’re not exactly sure how to do it. As a business owner, you might already be doing parts of digital marketing without even knowing it. The overarching idea is your business has an online presence and you’re using that presence in the form of a marketing campaign to sell your product or service. A more textbook definition: digital marketing encompasses a business’s online efforts to build awareness, promote, and sell products and services.

Benefits of Digital Marketing for Business

Every business should be doing some degree of digital marketing. It has the ability to reach the right people, in the right place, at the right time. Plus, digital marketing allows your business to be reached by millions of people with the power of the internet. By doing digital marketing for business well, you can reach your potential customers at the right time in the buyer’s journey when they’ll be mostly like to buy.

Additionally, digital marketing is easily measurable. Using analytics software, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what’s not and fix the issues. The internet is only getting bigger, so digital marketing should be a primary focus for every business. The best way to kick off your digital marketing endeavors is by starting a campaign. Campaigns consist of a goal, a strategy, and tactics.

Setting Goals

Every digital marketing campaign must begin with a goal. Even though it seems like it’s easy to determine what you want to accomplish, goal setting is probably the hardest step for marketers. Your goal can’t be too vague or simple; it has to be somewhat challenging, realistic, and measurable. Luckily, the marketing gods blessed us with an easy acronym for setting goals and making sure they check all the boxes.

SMART goals:

S – specific: set real numbers with real deadlines. Not just “I want more visitors.”

M – measurable: make sure you can track your goal.

A – attainable: work toward a goal that is challenging but possible. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Set goals to see growth but don’t shoot for one million new website visitors in your first month.

R – realistic: be honest with yourself. You know you and your team’s capabilities.

T – time-bound: give yourself a deadline. Don’t keep pushing toward a goal you might hit “some day.”

Setting a SMART goal will keep you on track in your campaign and should be the influencing power for all of your marketing efforts during a campaign.

Marketing Strategy and Marketing Tactics are not Interchangeable

The overall concept of digital marketing seems easy enough to understand, but digging deeper can uncover some confusion. When searching online, there is conflicting information about what digital marketing is and what it is not. Digital marketing is not just one thing; it’s a strategized sum of many different parts.

In digital marketing, there are two important facets that go into building a marketing campaign – strategies and tactics. This is where things can get a little cloudy. Much of the confusion comes from businesses thinking their tactics alone are digital marketing. Take social media for example – just because you post on your business’s Facebook page every now and then does not mean you are doing digital marketing. Why is this not digital marketing? Actual digital marketing requires strategy and planning, guided by measurable goals that influence your strategy and planning. Social media would be considered a tactic in your overall plan – one small addend of a much larger sum.

Digital marketing is easier to wrap your head around if you can visualize it. Imagine a pyramid: at the top lies your marketing goal or what you are trying to achieve with your digital marketing. Below, is the strategy or idea of how the goal could be achieved. At the bottom are all of your tactics or methods that will fulfill your strategy idea and achieve your goal (ie. social media, email marketing, blogging and search engine optimization).

Learning the difference between strategies and tactics is the first step in understanding digital marketing.

Strategy looks at the bigger picture – what it’s going to take to achieve your goal. Sun Tzu, a Chinese general and philosopher in 500 BC, wrote in his book The Art of War, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” A well thought out strategy is important for setting the stage for the rest of your campaign. Your strategy will pave the path for your tactics to go on. Marketing without a strategy means your tactics will have no direction and, as a result, will be a huge waste of time and money.

After all of the goal setting and planning, tactics are the actions you take that your customers will actually see. Some of the most popular tactics include email marketing, SEO, social media, pay-per-click advertising, paid search advertising, web design, and blogging. This is typically the step businesses will to jump to before doing the necessary strategizing, which usually results in failure. When choosing tactics it’s important to consider who you’re trying to reach, so you can optimize content for your specific audience.

Measure Success

With digital marketing, you can easily tell what’s working and what’s not. The best part is you don’t have to wait until the campaign is over to assess and fix the issues. Campaigns are all about fine tuning and optimizing to make your message more effective. By setting a measurable goal, you should already have an idea about what to be measuring. There are many metrics to measure success, including but not limited to:

  • Total site visits

  • Traffic by sources or channels

  • Amount of new and returning visitors

  • Interactions per visit

  • Time on your website

  • Bounce rate

  • Exit rate

  • Engagement on social media channels

You may be wondering, “How do I find these metrics?” Google Analytics and the individualized social media built-in analytics are completely free and have made it simple to see where you’re growing and where you’re falling behind. If you’re looking for a tool that’s all-in-one or provides specialty features like checking keyword ranking and measuring scroll depth, it’s going to cost you a monthly fee. The measuring tool will depend on the campaign goal you set and your needs. Even outside of a campaign, it’s nice to be able to track your performance!

In order to stay relevant, digital marketing for business is important; understanding and doing it correctly is even more important. For your next (or first) digital marketing campaign, take the necessary steps to be successful. When you see your leads and sales increase, you’ll know you’re doing it right.

Knowing what makes up digital marketing is a great start, but why not strengthen your knowledge with a free Marketing 101 webinar? It’s completely free of charge. Plus, you’ll receive takeaways to help you get started with digital marketing! Sign up today: https://goo.gl/qvoAV2