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What is Digital Marketing and How Does It Work?

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In a broad term, Digital Marketing comprises of all marketing efforts, both online and offline, that a company or brand engages in to promote its business. But more often than not, most people confuse Digital Marketing with Social Media Marketing. While the latter is an aspect of Digital Marketing, it only relates to online social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

In the past, when we talk about advertising or marketing a business, traditional medias like TV, radio, newspapers and magazines immediately come to mind. While these are still relevant, it is undeniable that their digital formats have a wider and far-reaching audience. Especially in recent times and with ongoing world events, the importance and significance of online media have only become more apparent.

For the simplicity of this article, we will just touch on the online aspects of Digital Marketing. With the increasing number of social media platforms, Digital Marketing strategies are constantly evolving and just as varied. Here are some of the most popular and widely used ones that have proven effective for most businesses.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

As its name suggests, Pay-Per-Click or PPC refers to a model where you have to pay each time a user clicks on your ad. These ads cover various digital platforms and medias including Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, YouTube Ads, etc. Since the action of a user clicking on your ad immediately brings them to your business platform, whether a website or Facebook page, it is also a costlier form of advertising versus ads that only capture eyeballs but doesn’t require any action from the viewer.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is a commonly uttered term and it refers to Search Engine Optimisation. This is a labour-intensive marketing strategy as it requires you or your SEO agency to increase the quality of your website through content and some user experience, eg. a good web layout. Your digital marketing agency needs to have a good understanding of popular search terms for a specific product or service. These are then encapsulated in articles or content that provide the answers or solutions that relate to the user’s search. A website with a high SEO score will usually appear before other similar sites, giving you an edge over your competitors.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

In comparison, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a form of paid search marketing with search engines like Google. When the user keys in a search term, advertisers’ ads will show up usually in text form but may also appear in image form, depending on the settings chosen. This involves bidding whereby the highest bidder for a keyword will usually have their ads appear in the top positions on the first page. It is highly effective in enticing users to click on ads that appear first but also very costly especially if your product or service has many competitors all trying to outbid the others.

Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords)

Whether SEO or SEM, the most popular media or service to incorporate these ad types has to be Google, the world’s most widely used search engine. Whatever you need, just type in the keywords and Google will have relevant results displayed immediately. There are two types of Google ads. One of them is the Google Search ads which are a form of “pull” advertising as it requires users to actively search for your business. The other type is the Google Display Network whereby your ads are shown across various platforms to random or less targeted users. These are the “push” ads as it requires zero effort from users to see your ads. It is also cheaper but less effective.

Paid Social Media Advertising

Similar to traditional medias, new media like Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, YouTube, etc. allow you to buy ads on their social media platforms. Paid social media ads are great for building awareness and can reach out to a wider audience. It is an active form of advertising versus SEM and SEO where the audience has to search for you. It is particularly useful for products and services that have a bigger consumer base, eg, telcos and restaurants, as you can hit many birds with one stone. For those with a more niche clientele, it would probably be more cost-effective if you have a digital marketing agency to help you filter and narrow down your prospects.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing refers to the use of posting content on various social media platforms to market your business. It follows the native use of the platform to maximise effectiveness with the intended audience. For instance, Facebook is more about information sharing, discussions and interaction with fans whereas Instagram is more about captivating pictures and minimal text. Social media marketing is the backbone of all businesses who wish to have an online presence but can be time-consuming and difficult to upkeep on your own if you do not have the know-how to generate content that speak to your audiences.

Content Strategy

Content strategy or content marketing are often used interchangeably. Strategy applies to the planning part and marketing refers to the execution part. Content strategy requires deep knowledge of the business, the consumers, the company’s goals, etc. Only with a well-formed strategy in mind would the marketing be beneficial or effective. Similar to social media marketing, content marketing involves creating content for online media but in the broader sense as it also includes websites, blogs, videos, podcasts, eBooks, etc. where you have greater autonomy.

So, which of these digital marketing strategies work best for you? As you can see, there’s no one strategy that fits all businesses. In fact, the most effective solution is to combine the use of several strategies that best serve the needs of your business. To learn more or find out what we can do for you, drop us a line here.
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