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What is Digital Marketing: 2022 Comprehensive Guide

What’s all the fuss about digital marketing? The short answer: it’s where your consumers — and potential customers — live. Whether at work or at home, the core audiences for virtually every business and product can be engaged online — and the means and channels to engage online with consumers are vast. The question no longer is whether online engagement is necessary. Instead, it’s finding the best approach. Which channels are right for your business? What do your customers need to hear? Where can you get the most bang for your buck? Every successful content marketing campaign considers these questions, and more, to meet their audiences at the right time and with the right message. Digital marketing services offer the strategic discipline that brings sense to it all.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing, or online marketing, refers to all marketing efforts that occur on the internet, including digital channels, such as search engines, social media, email, text and multimedia messages and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers. The best digital marketers have a clear picture of how each digital marketing campaign supports their overarching goals. And depending on the goals of their marketing strategy, marketers can support a more extensive campaign through the free and paid channels at their disposal. 

As a digital marketing agency, Communications Strategy Group (CSG®) operates with a practical understanding of the increasingly digital nature of consumer experiences. Even purchases that may resolve in person can begin or evolve online. That’s why we believe in robust and cohesive strategies that bridge the gap between the many mediums and channels of communication between brand and consumer.

Our digital marketing team understands that successful online marketing strategies lie not in throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. But rather, in the fusing of customer data and analytics, targeting and conversion optimization with creative digital content that connects and engages with prospective customers. We leverage data-driven insights to plan and execute digital touch points and experiences at every stage of the customer journey. That means finding the right balance among a staggering number of moving parts — from CRM software selection to subject line choices of email marketing and the positioning of products and services on a website. We believe deliberate digital marketing takes partnership and an understanding both of the 10,000-foot view of our clients’ business goals as well as the granular behavior of their audiences.

What are the Different Types of Digital Marketing Services?

Some digital marketing channels live in their own universe, but most blur the lines with other disciplines and factor into other areas of the marketing landscape. Content marketing, web development and design, social media strategy, reputation management, influencer relations, crisis communications and public relations all feel the impact of digital marketing. And vice versa. Ultimately, the strong foundations in traditional and digital marketing tactics work together to elevate the strength of the overall strategy.

To that end, CSG approaches digital marketing for every client with fresh eyes — letting data, business goals and customer journey insights lead the way. Then we get to work leveraging the channels and tactics necessary to reach audiences and move the needle. Our digital marketing services include:

  • Programmatic Paid Media Marketing
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • SEO Copywriting Services
  • Business Intelligence
  • Mobile Marketing
  • CRM Marketing
  • Marketing Automation

How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy

To create an effective digital marketing strategy, data, business goals and customer journey insights should guide the approach. Consider these nine tips for developing a digital marketing strategy that complements your organization’s overall goals:

1. Define your business goals

Marketing goals should always be tied back to the fundamental goals of your organization’s business. The first step in creating a digital marketing strategy is to fully understand the company’s overall short- and long-term business goals.

2. Know what you want to accomplish with digital marketing

After identifying top business goals you can identify correlated digital marketing goals and determine how to measure success for both. For example, if your business’s goal is to increase online revenue, a resulting marketing goal might be to generate 50% more leads via the website. Every digital marketing goal should also be measured along the way.

3. Research your competitors

Next, it’s time to identify and research your competition. Who are they? What are they doing well? What are they not doing well? Understanding who and what your competition is doing is critical background information that will inform your ongoing digital marketing strategy.

4. Create buyer personas

Every marketing strategy needs to understand who you’re marketing to. The best digital marketing strategies are built upon detailed buyer personas, which represent your ideal customers, and are created by researching, surveying and interviewing your business’s target audience.

To get a rounded picture of your persona, your research pool should include a mixture of customers, prospects, and people outside your contacts database who align with your target audience. Some critical information for creating buyer personas include location, age, income, job title, goals, challenges, hobbies, interests and priorities.

5. Identify digital marketing tools you’ll need to reach your target audience

The number of digital marketing tools available today can be overwhelming. The good news is — you don’t need them all. In fact, you want to carefully select the tools that will be more effective for your specific goals, and leave the rest. What’s the best way to do this? By understanding the difference between owned, earned and paid media and how the three work together within a digital marketing strategy.

Owned media refers to the digital assets your brand owns and has complete control over  — from your website and social media profiles to blog content and imagery. Earned media refers to the exposure you earn through word-of-mouth marketing, such as guest blog posts, public relations coverage and customer reviews. Paid media is any platform you spend money on to target your buyer personas, such as Google AdWords, paid social media posts and native advertising.

6. Assess your existing digital channels and assets

Next, it’s time to review all existing digital marketing channels and assets to determine what to incorporate into your strategy. Categorize each asset in a spreadsheet, so you have a clear picture of your existing owned, earned and paid media.

7. Analyze your existing content and identify gaps

Once you have outlined all of your organization’s digital channels and assets, it’s time to analyze them and look for opportunities. Rank every item according to past performance as it relates to your organization’s unique goals. For example, if your goal is lead generation, rank your owned content according to which pieces generated the most leads over the last year — blog posts, eBooks, web pages, etc.

Based on your buyer personas, identify any gaps in the content you have. Does your audience prefer webinars or white papers? Where are they spending most of their time online and how do they like to consume information?

8. Develop a content creation strategy

Now that you have identified key findings and gaps, it’s time to design a content creation plan that outlines the content needed to achieve your goals. This outline should be as detailed as possible, including these essential elements: title, format, goal, promotional channels, why you need it, priority level and budget/time estimations.

9. Map out the series of actions you’re going to take to achieve your goals

With ample planning and research behind you, your digital marketing strategy has a solid vision of a detailed list of necessary elements. Now it’s time to tie content needs to digital marketing tactics, budgets and timelines to map out how and when everything will be achieved.

How to Know Which Digital Marketing Strategy to Use?

The key to identifying the right digital marketing strategy for your organization is to fully understand your target audiences — and meet them where they are. Consider this: every perceived challenge in the digital marketing space is a business growth opportunity. Another chance to engage your audience by targeting the right customer at the right time and converting that attention into something more. The type of digital marketing strategy you leverage should always depend on the business objectives, related marketing goals and the target audience.

Calculating Digital Marketing ROI

Calculating return on investment, or ROI, is one of the best ways to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy. Return on investment simply compares the profit that resulted from a digital marketing campaign to how much the campaign cost to create and deploy.

The basic ROI calculation is:

ROI = (Net Profit/Total Cost)*100

Common Digital Marketing Challenges Businesses Face

The digital marketing space is vast and competitive, which can cause a myriad of challenges for organizations. Here are seven major digital marketing challenges and mistakes that organizations make when it comes to developing a winning campaign:

No clear strategy

The biggest mistake in digital marketing is not having a strategy at all. Make sure to take the time to conduct background research, assess available resources, analyze data and understand business goals to develop a clear strategy.

Not knowing which strategy to use

The next mistake can come from the overwhelming task of deciding which digital marketing strategy to use. Remember, the type of digital marketing strategy should always depend on your business objectives, related marketing goals and the target audience.

Lack of time

Time is a challenging culprit for most of us these days — no matter the subject. When developing a digital marketing strategy, be honest about your team’s time constraints and what can reasonably be accomplished in that period. This will help set your strategy up for success.

Lack of resources

Similarly, many organizations struggle with a lack of resources. When creating your digital marketing plan, start small within the limits of existing resources and have a series of “wishlist” tactics that can be implemented once additional resources are obtained. This will keep your strategy’s momentum moving and make the case for additional knowledge, skills and resource needs.

Not targeting the right audience

As SEO and paid advertising grows increasingly competitive, no one can afford to waste time or money targeting the wrong — or too broad — of an audience. The best way to avoid this is to create buyer personas that help you visualize and better understand your typical and ideal customers.

Unsure of the ROI

An effective digital marketing strategy should be measured every step of the way — just consider this healthcare digital marketing campaign that applied ample testing and tweaking to ensure messaging was best resonating with target audiences. If you’re unsure or unable to determine your return on investment, something has gone wrong. Measuring and analyzing results is a crucial step in fine-tuning your ongoing digital marketing strategy and impact.

Cannot adapt to new trends

The world of digital marketing is always evolving and to stay successful, digital marketers must stay on top of — and adapt — to emerging trends. Consider hiring a digital marketing expert who can ensure your strategy is cutting-edge, making the most of your budget and delivering desirable results.

How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency?

Searching for the right partner to help your organization develop an effective digital marketing strategy that aligns with your overall business goals? The right agency with a team of seasoned experts can give you valuable guidance in setting your objectives, developing a personalized plan, developing content marketing that gets results, engaging and resonating with target audiences and tracking results. To find a digital marketing partner that fits your vision for your company, follow these steps.

Set your objectives

What objectives do you want to achieve with a digital marketing strategy? More leads? Greater awareness? Promote industry authority? Figuring out what you’re trying to accomplish will help you find a partner that has experience in the exact areas you’re targeting.

Create a budget

Understanding budget is vital when searching for the right marketing partner. Being transparent with your expectations, limitations and budget is key to identifying an expert team that can make the most of your resources.

Research digital marketing agencies

When evaluating digital marketing agencies, consider their website, social media channels and other telling elements, such as:

Write a list of questions to ask

Asking the right questions is a great way to determine which agency will be the best fit for your organization. Consider the following questions:

  • What can you do for my company?
  • How much is this going to cost me?
  • How will we communicate on an ongoing basis?
  • What big-picture marketing strategies will you come up with?
  • What is the timeline for implementation?
  • Who do I talk to if I have other questions, comments, or concerns?

Have meetings

Meet with the stakeholders of your company to help them understand what you’re trying to accomplish by hiring a marketing agency. Communication is a must when selecting a new vendor or supplier, including a marketing partner. Having internal alignment on the matter will help ensure that you choose an agency suited to your values, goals and projected circumstances.

Set expectations

Once you decide to hire a financial services marketing agency, make sure everyone on your team understands the expectations that will come along with the new marketing campaigns. This is the time to set parameters for communication, such as designating a company liaison who talks to the marketing agency and setting up communication channels and systems.

Onboard your digital marketing agency

After that, it’s time to onboard your new digital marketing agency and begin your work together.

Create Your Digital Marketing Strategy With Us

Modern consumers communicate and share experiences online. If your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room, the internet is the rumor mill that can turn a small win into a triumph and a slip-up into a disaster — which is why effective digital marketing requires a long-term, personalized strategy. Wondering what digital marketing can do to help your organization reach its business goals? Contact us today to explore an omnichannel campaign that complements traditional marketing tactics and your overall business strategy. As a digital marketing agency, CSG works alongside you to activate new digital marketing opportunities that resonate with target audiences, achieve your goals and create a lasting impact.