Posted on December 8, 2015 by Stewart Liesnham
Here are the three points that will be covered in this post;
- What is Digital Marketing?
- Why is it important?
- What does a Digital Marketing Agency do?
What is Digital Marketing?
Anyone that runs a business knows what marketing is and how hard and time consuming it can be. You will also appreciate that when you are busy, marketing, and even sales, can end up taking a back seat – there just aren’t enough hours in the day. The time consuming nature of traditional marketing is especially true for a new or start up business because of the need to attract customers. One of the first things to establish in traditional marketing is where best to find your target audience, or where your marketing efforts are likely to give you the best results, and of course value for money plays a big part in this. Put simply, marketing efforts should result in a net positive gain for your business through either new customers, improved customer retention or increased brand awareness. Digital Marketing is basically all of these things but carried out online. This brings a great number of advantages but also a number of potential pitfalls if not done properly, or in isolation to your overall marketing strategy. This final point is arguably the most important and is covered in more detail in the next section.
Why is it important?
Traditional marketing efforts are by no means dead, that’s a given, and essentially the same principles apply to digital marketing, it’s just the application that differs. The danger is that digital marketing efforts are carried out in isolation to your broader marketing plans or overall marketing strategy. A business should be able to see a consistent marketing message across both their online and traditional marketing efforts, if not, then they risk damaging their brand and therefore their business. It’s good to remember that all customers, be they corporate clients or a retail consumer, are all human and therefore want to be valued as such. If I take Apple as a good example of a well respected and premium brand, how would you feel about them if their website didn’t work properly or wasn’t up to date? Everything about Apple as a brand and a business is beautifully co-ordinated, which is arguably why they can charge a premium for their products because increasingly, their products don’t offer any better functionality than their competition. So in summary, there are a number of approaches and tools available to market your business online and that’s where a Digital Marketing Agency comes in.
What does a Digital Marketing Agency do?
Traditional marketing opportunities are fairly straightforward to understand and essentially, digital marketing is no different once you look past the technology, it’s the same game just different playing field. A digital marketing agency should take the time to understand your business and work with you to ensure your digital marketing efforts are aligned to your overall marketing strategy. Don’t panic if you don’t have an overall marketing strategy as a starting point because the principles are the same and it’s not difficult to adapt your online marketing plans and apply them to your traditional marketing efforts – in fact this can help keep them well aligned.
If an agency tries to push a particular solution or product in isolation they almost certainly don’t have your best interests in mind. The best example of this that probably everyone will have had some experience of is the cold caller saying that ‘we’ll get you on to the first page of Google’. If anyone tells you this, I suggest you give them a wide berth. Take time to plan, review your current position, establish your quick wins and build your strategy. Initially, this might mean addressing a few traditional marketing and or branding opportunities before moving ahead with your plans online.
Once an overall marketing plan has been established, it’s then easy to look into the digital marketing toolbox to establish what solution or solutions works best and are most aligned to your goals, both in the short, medium and long term timeframes. Some of the common activities undertaken by a Digital Marketing Agency are as follows;
- Site migration (if you are have a new website built)
- Content review
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Paid advertising (PPC – Pay per click)
- Social Media management
- Digital PR
- Content promotion
- Online competition management
- Email marketing
- Affiliate programme management
- Online video advertisement
It’s not the aim of this article to give a detailed review of each of these services other than to relate them to the broader activities involved in Digital Marketing as a service. Hopefully, this article has taken some of the mystery out of this area and how planning an overall strategy is of paramount importance prior to embarking upon a digital marketing campaign.