You won't get results with digital marketing if you don't understand your clients’ needs & motivations. An effective digital marketing strategy blends inbound marketing, digital advertising and marketing automation.
What is Digital Marketing?
Definition of Digital Marketing
We can no longer think of marketing without digital. A company cannot limit itself to traditional marketing these days (events, PR, TV, Radio…).
Digital marketing includes all the techniques and methods used to promote a service or a product via digital media.
Digital Marketing is everywhere and there are many digital marketing channels:
- Websites (merchant site, blog, etc.)
- Social Networks
- Search Engines Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engines Advertising (SEA)
- Inbound Marketing (content, lead nurturing, etc.)
- Mobile Applications (Mobile Marketing)
- Affiliate Marketing / Referral Marketing
- Email Marketing
These are the result of growing new digital technologies and devices: computers at first and now smartphones, connected devices, video games, voice assistants etc..
Goals of Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing is useful to raise brand awareness and introduce the products or services you offer to your target market.
It's also a great way to get to know and connect with your potential customers. It has never been as easy to connect with clients, receive feedback and engage in meaningful conversations.
There are many ways to make digital marketing work:
- attract more traffic to your website
- convert visitors and acquire new clients
- retain current customers
- raise brand awareness
The advantages of Digital Marketing
So why exactly do you need to focus on your digital marketing?
First of all, Digital Marketing is accessible to ALL businesses, regardless of their size or industry. Indeed, it is much easier to control the costs generated by a digital marketing campaign. Unlike offline marketing. Calculating ROI or "Return on Investment" is very easy using the statistics tools on a website or with the help of metrics on social media.
Also, if you have started a business or if you want to test a new product offer, digital marketing allows you to quickly test your idea. Your product doesn't even have to exist physically, you can gage public sentiment on your idea. All you need is a landing page and an advertising strategy. Online marketing allows you to be very specific as far as who you're showing your content to.
The web allows you to broaden your geographic scope: the entire country (the entire world even) can discover your solutions at any time of the day!
Your customers have never been so close to you on social media. Internet users allow you to build a community concerned with your products and services.
Through interactions on your posts or through the use of private messaging, your customers can talk to you. You can ask their opinion on your offer or the creation of a product. The customer/company relationship is completely transformed!
The elements of an effective digital marketing strategy
Digital marketing includes: inbound marketing, content marketing, and marketing automation. In BtoB, if you want to achieve your goals, you must work on this as a priority.
Work on your Personas
There is a rule to be successful in a digital marketing plan: You must know your customers inside out.
Then, you have to model them thanks to the creation of buyer personas and the use of the jobs to be done method. This is essential to better understand the motivations of your targets and their needs. If this work is careless your digital marketing will rest on very poor foundations.
By working your personas in a specific way you will be able to create content adapted to their needs. And therefore attract them on your website, your social networks but also to your commercial.
The Inbound Marketing process is based on the idea that today's customers are no longer sensitive to intrusive approaches. Your targets need you to solve a problem. You have to help them solve it and choose the right moment to sell them your services. For this, you need to know them and understand their customer journey.
There are 4 main stages to consider:
- The discovery
- The evaluation
- The decision
- The loyalty
For each stage, you must provide appropriate content. Each action of your visitors allows them to progress and thanks to a few tools you will be able to grant a lead score for each of them. A good inbound marketing strategy will allow you to understand at what stage each of your visitors is: Lead, MQL, SQL ...
The bottom line here is that inbound marketing qualifies and converts leads with the right content at the right time. It is therefore a mix between content marketing and a smart content distribution strategy (with marketing automation).
Content Marketing is the creation and distribution of content to attract and retain an audience. It is closely linked to inbound marketing but can also be used to fuel your outbound strategy (prospecting, advertising, etc.).
Indeed, you will create a lot of content (articles, videos, images…) to catch your prospect at each stage in his decision-making. These contents answer a problem or a question of your audience.
Here are examples of relevant content to highlight your expertise, promote awareness, and inspire confidence in your prospect:
- videos presenting your company
- an infographic with the key figures of your industry
- a white paper describing a technique that you use every day and that you sell as a service
- a blog post that describes an underlying trend in your field
- a case study on an assignment you have carried out in the past including a client's testimony
- a partnership with an influencer who is sensitive to your universe
👉 Are you interested in content marketing? You can check out our article on the best way to create a content marketing strategy!
Marketing automation is the automation of marketing campaigns to generate leads. You will send communication messages automatically, at the right time and to the right person.
It can be done by using a marketing automation tool and pairing it with an effective inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing will allow you to identify specific customer segments and assess the ripeness of visitors within those segments. You will thus be able to build scenarios adapted to the prospect's progress in their journey and help them progress towards your solution. All of this without the intervention of your sales team (until your lead is ready).
Example of Marketing Automation:
You are selling a Marketing Automation solution. You have set that your target is the marketing directors but also the managers of SMEs and medium-sized companies. Thanks to your blog, you have many relevant articles allowing your visitors to understand marketing automation and its challenges.
At the end of your articles, you offer a white paper on the implementation of a marketing automation strategy. Visitors can download it on a dedicated landing page by giving their email address. They thus enter a process of automation.
They’ll receive more content on a regular basis:
-a guide with 5 mistakes to avoid when getting started in marketing automation
-a 45-minute webinar presenting a strategy with one of your customers as a guest.
-an invitation to a free demo
The great thing about marketing automation is being able to quickly measure your impact. Each step, each marketing email is followed. You'll know if the prospect opened the email or not, downloaded or read the resource you sent them etc. This enables you to implement lead scoring to detect the prospects you’ll most likely convert.
And believe us, we can imagine many scenarios to get people talking about your products!
The tools to use to fuel your Digital Marketing
Here are the essential tools that will help you attract traffic: SEO, SEA, SMO, and SEA.
SEO and SEA: natural and paid referencing
Today, having a website and great blog posts is not enough.
For your digital marketing strategy to be successful you need traffic! To attract visitors, you need to be on search engines.
To do this, you can use:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or natural referencing
- SEA (Search Engine Advertising) or paid referencing
You will quickly understand the difference between the two techniques:
Natural referencing or SEO
It gathers all the actions that you will make to improve your natural positioning on search engines (Google).
The actions you will spread in SEO may be visible in the longer or shorter term.
SEO is made up of these three elements:
- The technical optimization of your website: thanks to an ergonomic, fast, and mobile-friendly site.
- The quality of your content and a keywords strategy: creating pages to rank on keywords that your prospects will search for.
- The authority of your website: the popularity of your site, but also its age and frequency of publications. Netlinking is also an important factor to website authority. The more backlinks you have that lead to your site from other sites, the more popular your site is seen by search engines.
The SEO process must be thought of from the start when creating a website, as this will influence the architecture of your pages and your technical choices.
Search Engine Advertising (SEA)
SEA is paid advertising on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. The term "paid referencing" is a misnomer. This is not SEO but a keyword bidding system.
Google holds the majority of the market share. Google Ads are managed from the platform of the same name (formerly Google Adwords).
Creating advertisements allows you to rank on Google's promotional spaces. Either on what is called the SERP: result pages when using a search engine (preceded by the words "Announcement").
Paid search has the advantage of producing effects quickly. Even from the launch of your advertising campaign if it is well optimized. It is an effective tool for launching a product, for example.
Digital ads offer great analytics that enable you to continuously optimize your strategy.
On the other hand, as soon as your campaign ends, you disappear and you are not getting that traffic anymore.
That’s why it is not recommended to rely only on SEA. SEA should complement the other components of your Digital Marketing Strategy
Display and Mobile Advertising
Display Ads are all the advertisements that appear within a webpage, usually in the middle -or the edges- of the content that you are consuming. Mobile Advertising are similar except they appear on mobile apps & mobile content.
The largest display advertising platform is Google Adsense, they display ads on the 11.1 Million partner websites.
The goal of Display and Mobile Advertising is showing your message to your target market, to raise awareness and be top of mind. It is especially effective for remarketing purposes. Retargeting Campaigns are one of the most cost-effective digital advertising strategies because you are broadcasting your ads to a warmer audience that already visited a specific webpage.
The most common use of Display Ads is for e-commerce purposes.
You probably noticed that if you visited product pages on Amazon for example, or added products to your cart without finalizing your purchase, you will continue to see whatever you “almost” bought on most websites you’ll visit that day.
Advertisers know that by searching for this product and/or adding it to your cart, you emmeted a signal. Statistically you are more likely to purchase than a cold audience.
Retargeting relies on your ability to generate a warm audience in the first place. Also it should not be the lionshare of your budget because you are missing on one of the main purposes of Digital Advertising: raising awareness.
If you properly define your Buyer Personas, you can pinpoint “cold” advertising audiences that will be very receptive to your messaging, and bring you revenue directly without remarketing.
Remarketing critics argue that you can’t prove that the advertising is what led to the sale, because the buyer might have come back on his own.
Every advertising form has its pros and cons, and can be effective if properly calibrated within a sound strategy. Every ad must have a clear goal in mind.
Beware of Digital Marketing Agencies that rely on Remarketing to get “good” metrics, because these metrics should not be compared to other digital advertising campaigns.
Native Advertising like Display Advertising appears on the web page you are visiting but it is considered different because they are ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear.
The main Native Advertising platforms are Outbrain, Taboola and AdBlade.
Native ads are often found in social networks, or as recommended content on a webpage (see below)
SMO - SMA: Organic Reach and Paid Reach
We have talked about search engines, now let's talk about social networks. With two acronyms: SMO (Social Media Optimization) and SMA (Social Media Advertising).
Social media optimization (SMO)
SMO refers to all the actions you will make on social networks to create your community and get people talking about your brand or company.
Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram,LinkedIn, TikTok there are plenty of options when it comes to social media. Depending on your target, you should choose what social media you should use. Your presence on these social networks will make you visible, to your customers and prospects.
An SMO strategy allows you to generate traffic and opportunities. To do this, you will need to create relevant content for your audience. This is the role of a community manager or a social media marketer.
The key metric social media managers worry about is reach. Reach is the number of people a post attains. You have access to this figure as soon as you post on a social network.
The SMO seeks to improve this reach naturally, it is organic reach. There is no need for publicity.
Social media advertising (SMA)
SMA is online advertising via social networks. Nowadays every platform offers ads: Linkedin Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Pinterest Ads, TikTok Ads…
Using this practice can help you increase the reach of your posts. You will also be able to target audiences (groups of internet users). Including people who don't follow you on your social media accounts. Advertising is broadcast to these groups according to different criteria: their hobby, their age or their geographic location.
With SMA, you can also create "retargeting" campaigns. It's about proposing to an internet user who visited your website, to see your advertisements on social networks. The interest is therefore to follow the prospect throughout his buying journey. And to support him until the potential purchase.
Here is an example of a Linkedin ad, we recognize it by its “Promoted”:
Affiliate marketers earn a commission by promoting other people's (or company's) products/services.
Setting up an Affiliate Marketing, or Referral Marketing program will encourage your audience to promote your solutions for you.
To sum up: what is Digital Marketing?
Your digital marketing depends on a good inbound marketing strategy, fueled by content marketing, and set up with marketing automation. But to get your business off the ground you need to fuel your digital marketing strategy with traffic. SEO, SEA, SMO, SMA, Display, Mobile and Native Ads are the components you can use to grow your business.
The best way to get results quickly is to hire an Agency to execute the strategy with you. Choose wisely, there are tremendous opportunities with Digital Marketing but there are plenty of pitfalls you’ll want to avoid.