by Andi Washburn on March 2, 2017

What is digital marketing

Once upon a Christmas party, my husband introduced me to a colleague who asked what I did. I told him I work in digital marketing. He proceeded to launch into a rant about how much those lights on Bluemont Avenue drive him crazy when he’s driving home at night. Always blinking and so bright. It took me a minute to realize he was talking about the new LED signs they had installed that fall. In his eyes, those blinding lights represented digital marketing.

It was a funny reminder that there are so many misconceptions about what digital marketing is. (Warning: I kinda get a little windy on the subject, so be careful if you bring it up in conversation!)

At New Boston, we focus on three core elements of digital marketing:

  • Social media marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization and content marketing
  • Data analysis and measurement

I’ll explain each of these in a minute (because, hey, I told you I’m windy on the topic and few people know what digital marketing actually means). But, the thing that tends to confuse people about digital marketing is that it is—or should be—intertwined with every marketing effort, digital or not, and seamlessly integrated with your website’s design and structure.

Digital naturally pairs with all areas of marketing, which is why our digital team works closely with our web design gurus, our graphic design experts, our video production specialists, our content creators, and our marketing strategists. Digital marketing elements can stand alone, but they will be far more powerful when used in conjunction with all of your marketing efforts.

But before most folks can fully appreciate the power of digital, they have to understand what the heck it is. So...

Social Media Marketing

With over 94% of online adults keeping accounts on at least one social media site, and 4 in 10 of those following their favorite brands on those social media accounts, social media marketing is one of the most easily recognized elements. It’s when we run ad campaigns or develop posting strategies on social media platforms.

There is an ever increasing number of platforms and opportunities to connect with your fellow woman digitally; reaching out in a meaningful way with your brand is an important element of your marketing portfolio. With social media, you have the opportunity to:

  • Give customers what they want and need in a comfortable, social environment
  • Educate
  • Entertain
  • Persuade at scale in an economical way

Digital allows you to strategically reach out to your target audience to create or increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive quality traffic to your site.

SEO and Content Marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing go hand in hand.

The fine art of keyword and key term and key phrase research that goes into naming sections of your website, articles or blogs, or organizing content (in other words, the behind the scenes work to make a web page easy to find)—falls under digital marketing because it helps ensure people can find your business online. Marketing automation, email marketing and pay-per-click advertising also fit here because that same painstaking research comes into play as we implement tactics for ads, emails and content.

To best attract and engage customers online, you need quality content on your website, as well as in printed materials. We think creatively about ways users can find you in the ocean of information (and misinformation) out there.

Data Analysis and Measurement

This is perhaps the most important element of your digital marketing efforts because it ties your efforts together and shows you what is working (and what isn’t). While you can reach out on social media all you like, and you can create content that (on paper, at least) will drive people to your site in droves, the analytics will tell you whether or not your marketing efforts are actually helping you reach your goals. Notice I didn’t say digital marketing efforts. That’s because you can track offline users (for example, people who act based on print or radio ads) through a combination of website development and, you guessed it, analytics. With analytics, you can get detailed information on:

  • How visitors find your website
  • What ad placements are most effective
  • What compels visitors to read more on your website
  • What sends visitors away
  • Whether visitors are actually doing what you want them to do on your site (aka goal conversion)

With this knowledge, you can refine your efforts to be more effective, and get more bang for your marketing buck, so to speak.

Tie Them Together

Three core areas of digital marketing. On their own, exciting and useful. But when you take SEO and content marketing into consideration when developing the bones of a website, and follow that up with setting up Google Analytics to monitor activity and measure effectiveness, then you start to see digital marketing at its most impactful.

Plus, in a world where the bulk of consumer research and decision-making is not only initiated, but fully realized on a computer or mobile device, you want the power of all marketing elements—photos and graphics, video—working to your best advantage. What is on brand and compelling to your target audience? Sure, you can play around with all those things with any of the many free tools available. Or, you can turn to professionals to tie all of your marketing efforts together into a clear, compelling and actionable marketing strategy

So, yes, there’s digital marketing. But when used along with website design, video production, graphic design and content, and then measured and acted upon—well, that’s quite something. Hopefully now you can begin to see how powerful digital marketing is. (And hopefully you understand why I can go on and on about it.)

Want to see an example of just how effective and important digital marketing is?

Check out our work with Meadowlark