What is Digital Marketing?

I’m often asked; “What is Digital Marketing?” by my peers.

Digital marketing is in essence, radically different than marketing we’ve been exposed to for the majority of our lives and is a radical shift in mindset and strategy.

What Digital Marketing Is Not

Digital marketing is not interruption based advertising.

Interruption-based advertising is old school. We’ve all experienced it.

Picture it. You’re driving along in your car, jamming out to one of your favourite tunes on the radio. The song ends and you’re met with an advertisement for hemorrhoid cream. What an amazing way to kill your buzz and bring down your mood!

This is interruption based advertising. Its focus is to interrupt you while you are doing something else, in hopes of capturing your attention and convincing you to buy.

Interruption-based advertising is done via:

  • Radio Ads
  • Television Ads
  • Print Ads
  • Junk mail

Advertisers often send out massive blanketed campaigns to any audience available – taking a shotgun blast approach to advertising. Doing it en-masse, hoping something sticks.

It’s a massive sales focused approach and offers very little value to the customer.

Fortunately, with the advent of the internet and glorious technology, there is a better way.

Digital Marketing is Permission Based

Permission-based marketing is the new school of advertising. It’s about leading with value.

Instead of slamming prospects with sales messages, digital marketing serves to educate.

Educate your audience on:

  • Blog posts
  • Ebooks
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • White Papers

Focus on your ideal customer’s pain points and provide solutions to their problems.

Digital marketing in its very ethos ties into the mantra of one of my favourite business associations – BNI.

BNI’s philosophy is “givers gain”. This means that the more you give and help others, the more you will receive in return.

That’s exactly what digital marketing is all about. Help your fellow man, lead with value, establish yourself as an authority in your space and build trust organically as the relationship grows.

Grow the Relationship Naturally

Imagine going out on a date with a complete stranger and telling them you can’t wait to marry them and have kids. They would be running for the hills!

Too fast, too soon.

Business needs to be conducted in the very same way as normal human relationships. In the same way, we build meaningful relationships with each other, we use these same baby steps of low commitment to building relationships with our customers.

There are necessary steps to follow when building these client relationships and the first step is:

  1. Awareness – Make your ideal client aware of your company and the problems you solve. Turn a complete stranger into an interested party by – delivering value. Solve a problem, move them from there before state to their after state.
    1. Ways to do this – search engine optimization, advertising, social media, search marketing
  2. Engagement – Present enough good quality content to engage with your prospects. Create valuable high-end content that solves problems and your audience will begin to engage with you and your brand.
    1. Ways to do this – blog posts, podcasts, videos, infographics, white papers, interviews
  3. List Building – Next you’ll want to move your engaged prospect to a subscriber or lead. Building lists of subscribers that have given you permission to communicate with them are key to growing the relationship ahead one step.
    1. Ways to do this – lead magnets, email marketing software, social media, search marketing, content marketing
  4. Convert – At this stage, you want to move them from a lead to a customer. This is done with a product or service offer for a small dollar amount.
    1. Ways to do this – tripwire offers of low cost and low commitment that deliver big wins – think $20 and under
  5. Excitement – Now your prospect has become a customer, make them excited about using your product/service and give them a quick win.
    1. Ways to do this – on-boarding information showing how they can best utilize and benefit from your product/service
  6. Core Offer – Now your customer has developed a comfortable relationship and received value from you, they are much more likely to buy your core offer – your main product/service.
    1. Ways to do this – Email marketing campaigns, profit maximizers, upsells
  7. Advocates – Maintain the relationship, knock it out of the park with your service and support and your customers will become brand advocates. They will leave you reviews, testimonials and defend your brand on social media. They know your brand is one they can trust and depend on.
    1. Ways to do this – Quality products and services that keep touch points and communication open between all parties.
  8. Brand Promoters – Moving from passive to the active promotion of your brand, spreading the word about your company online and in person.
    1. Ways to do this – Continue delivering the same high level of service and standards throughout.

Get Clear on Who You Serve

All of these methods will fall flat unless you are 100% clear on who you and your business serve.

Creating a customer avatar is of utmost importance here as it enables you to create products/services, marketing and branding that solves your ideal customer’s problems.

Mess this up and all of your efforts will fall on deaf ears.

Next week I’ll be back with another post on creating your ideal target customer.

Avatar for Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips

Mark is a digital marketing specialist from Edmonton, Alberta. He's been working in the digital marketing industry since 2008 for various agencies and clients.He specializes in search engine optimization (SEO) and WordPress website design services.Connect on LinkedIn.

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