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What is Digital Marketing? Definition, Types, and Common Terminologies


Marketing is the act of creating awareness about a product or service, intending to make sales. When marketing is done on the digital space aka the internet, it is called digital marketing. Digital marketing is currently hailed as one of the biggest income generators in the online space because it requires little capital to start up, and demands more time than effort.

In this form of marketing, the bulk of the work is done by advertising the product or service on search engines (via paid ads), personal websites, social media platforms, by running paid ads on mobile applications, or by utilizing an e-mail list via e-mail marketing.

Why is Digital Marketing a Thing?

Nearly all of the world’s population today, rely on search results from the internet for insights on the price, availability, and accessibility of products and services. Whether for patronage, partnership, or sponsorship, 77% of people confess to looking up a brand’s online presence before making assumptions about its credibility. This naturally makes the internet a very profitable tool when it comes to marketing.

However, the tell-someone-to-tell-someone approach used in conventional marketing will not thrive on the internet because of the wide audience. Hence, digital marketers employ the use of paid ads and content marketing to increase their reach.

How does Digital Marketing Work?

From the use of bulk SMS to search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising (PPC), digital marketing has indeed come a long way. Digital marketers boost sales by generating leads through various forms of advertising and following up on those leads to convert their audience to paying customers. In digital marketing, marketers need to study their audience and purchasing patterns, for proper positioning. The particular method employed to generate leads for more sales depends on the type of marketing being practiced.

What are the Types of Digital Marketing?

The type of digital marketing tactic employed by an individual or brand depends on the purpose. Although they are often used together – especially in B2B marketing – employed individually, they still generate a good amount of sales. B2B marketing is short for Business to Business marketing (more on that will be addressed in later sections) Types of marketing strategies commonly employed in digital marketing include:

1. Social Media Marketing

Starting in order of popularity, social media marketing is the most common form of digital marketing. We are all familiar with those WhatsApp and IG vendors who are always posting their merchandise on their status, stories, and feed. However, when not done properly, social media marketing can be counter-productive, hence why you scroll past these images of “goods in stock” as you search for memes.

Generating leads on social media requires that you understand your audience, and frame your posts to mimic what they enjoy and engage with the most. The biggest flex about social media marketing is that it is easier for your audience to become unofficial promoters of your brand by liking and sharing your posts. The downside? Keeping up with being consistent – social media marketing thrives on consistency – requires being active online 24/7. You also need to tailor your content to suit the particular platform you are utilizing – this can get tiring if you advertise on 3 or more platforms.

Digital marketers who focus on social media marketing often indulge in paid ads to increase their reach. Social media marketing is also a great way to build a brand identity on the internet.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is usually done to drive traffic to a website, the real marketing is done on the site, using a content marketing strategy. Leveraging SEO requires that you use relevant keywords and phrases in your articles, blog posts, and landing pages. A good SEO strategy will boost a site’s rankings in search results, which promotes it as a credible source of information, and an authority in whatever niche it belongs.

As simple as it sounds, the effects of an SEO strategy are not seen immediately, and it can be influenced by changes in the algorithm. For most brands, the search engine optimization of their websites is outsourced to agencies that specialize in it, rather than in-house professionals.

3. Mobile Marketing

Have you ever had to wait 5 secs to skip an ad before moving on to the next level while playing a game, watching a video on YouTube, or sending files to a friend through Xender? Those 5 secs often feel like 5 hours because you just want it to be over so that you can go back to your activity. What you experience is a form of digital marketing, it is called in-app marketing – a mobile marketing strategy.

Mobile marketing works because our phones are in our hands 70% of the time as we engage in activities on one app or another. While these ads that pop up often feel like a nuisance, in-app marketing is one of the most effective forms of digital marketing – 65% of consumers confess to buying a product because the ad popped up on an app they were using (remember the “Tik Tok made me buy it” trend?) One brand that has a strong mobile marketing game is Kuda Bank of the free.

Another mobile marketing channel commonly used in digital marketing is bulk SMS – think of all those texts of hot offers you get daily from MTN.

4. Content Marketing

Content marketing leans towards being effective as a tool for building brand identity than promoting sales. With content marketing, you bait the audience to pay more attention to your brand by disbursing helpful, informative, and entertaining content in the digital space. This content may be shared using written pieces (articles and blog posts), videos or reels, and images.

The challenge with leveraging content marketing effectively is that you have to ensure that your content is unique, to stand out from the sea of competitors.

5. E-mail Marketing

E-mail marketing has seen a significant increase in the number of users in the past decade. This is because it is the most reliable form of digital marketing – social media platforms may crash, search engine algorithms change often, and trends are always changing so content that ignites intense engagement today, may not be so hot cake tomorrow.

Using e-mail marketing as your digital marketing strategy, you have to build your e-mail list and polish your content and copywriting skills. A successful e-mail marketing campaign is effective because it delivered relevant and trustworthy information in a conversational tone. Timing is also important in e-mail marketing, and consistency as well.

6. Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

Pay-per-click advertising essentially means running paid ads on search engines for better visibility. These ads charge for every click on your website’s URL. They work by immediately offering your post or brand as the answer to a search question or inquiry, related to a particular set of keywords.

With PPC advertising, you can redirect users from one site to another, and increase the amount of traffic your site receives. However, this digital marketing strategy requires investing a lot of time and money for it to be effective.

Why Should Anyone Get Involved in Digital Marketing?

  • The cost for a start-up is budget-friendly

Unlike the conventional style of marketing that will have you printing banners and organizing expensive events, utilizing relevant platforms for digital marketing is free or relatively cheap. Paid adverts often have different plans to suit several budgets.

  • You can promote your product or service on the go, or from your home.

Because your promotion campaigns are done on the internet which is hailed to be a global village, you can reach tons of other people from where you are. Digital marketing grants you the freedom to promote your product or service on the move, in the office, or even at home in your PJs.

  • You can monitor your KPIs

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. With digital marketing, you can monitor how many people truly stay on your site (aka bounce rate), how many open your newsletter (click rate), and so on. Insights gotten from observing your KPIs will help you identify what is working and what isn’t, and let you know what part of your strategy you need to tweak to be better.

  • It is flexible

With digital marketing, you get access to insights that will help you discern what is working and what isn’t without weeks to see results. This lets you tweak your strategy often – or change it altogether – till you get the most effective one.

  • It helps you establish a relationship with your audience

Because of how dependent the effectiveness of digital marketing is on understanding your audience, you’ll find yourself engaging with them more often. This boosts customer loyalty.

  • It is lucrative

Individuals who start a career in digital marketing will find it lucrative since it is more time and effort intensive, than capital-intensive. It also attracts good income – the average digital marketer is estimated to earn NGN1,350,000 yearly according to PayScale. Companies hire digital marketers based on skill and experience, rather than qualification.

How to Start a Career in Digital Marketing

1. Build Authority

When starting a career in any field, building authority is important. You can build authority by learning all there is to know about it and practicing endlessly. For practice’s sake, you can build your own website and try out the marketing strategies you develop there. You can create a website for free on WordPress, or Blogger.

2. Focus on a Single Digital Marketing Channel

When you first get into digital marketing, it might be tempting to try everything. However, mentors recommend learning the exploitation of the digital marketing channels, one at a time. You should learn all there is to know and focus on it when you practice.

3. Get Conversant with Relevant Digital Marketing Tools

While most digital marketing tools save the best part of their services for premium users, there’s still a lot you can test your digital marketing with. The goal is to get familiar with the tools and know how to use them effectively. Some examples of these tools include Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Buffer, and Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT)

4. Share your Growth

Talking about your learning process on your favorite social media platform is a good way to get insight from older colleagues in the field on the online space. You may also attract internship opportunities and job offers from people who are looking to hire entry-level digital marketers or outsource a job.

5. Sell Yourself

Starting a career in any field requires confidence – don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and tell people about what you do. It is okay to reach out to brands or people you would like to work with, and share your insights with them for free – this shows how much value they stand to gain if they hire you. Volunteer opportunities are also a good way to flex your muscles while gaining experience.

6. Apply for Digital Marketing Job vacancies on Job Boards like Hubforjobs

If you have followed the past 5 steps judiciously, job offers should be running after you. However, even if they are not, you should have built an impressive resume and portfolio that is guaranteed to score you an interview. You can browse through HubforJobs to check out available job listings.

Career Opportunities in Digital Marketing

Apart from the conventional full-time job, digital marketing also offers opportunities to freelance, be a consultant, or even be an entrepreneur.

  • Freelancing – digital marketers often choose to work with companies on a contract basis, rather than as full-time employees.
  • Consulting – Some digital marketers eventually transition into coaches and mentors. They also work contract jobs as brand consultants.
  • Entrepreneurship – As a digital marketer, you may also decide to start your own agency after 2 – 3 years of experience.

Job Titles Available in Digital Marketing Include:

  • Advertisement Manager – Oversees marketing strategies, and comes up with ideas for campaigns.
  • Copywriter – Writes copies for advertisements, sales copies, and so on, to boost the conversion rate.
  • Social Media Manager – Handles the brand’s social media accounts and drafts content calendars.
  • Content Creator – creates content for use on social media platforms.
  • Content Curator – sources for reliable content ideas and resources.
  • SEO Specialist – helps brands to optimize their websites, so that search engines pick them up more easily.
  • Advertisement Campaigns Manager – runs paid ads on the brand’s behalf.
  • Affiliate Marketer – functions as a middle man between the buyers of a product and the seller. Affiliate marketers often work with agencies like Expertnaire, however, they can also be hired by the company directly.

Common Terminologies used in Digital Marketing

  • KPI – Key Performance Indicator – it helps the digital marketer track the progress of his advertisement strategy.
  • Ads – advertisement campaigns.
  • Leads – An indication of interest in a product or service by a consumer. Digital marketers leverage leads to make sales.
  • Conversion Rate – the rate at which digital marketers turn potential clients into paying customers.
  • ROI – Return On Investment – How much profit a brand is making, measured against how much is spent on marketing, and how much revenue is generated.
  • B2B – Business to Business – a type of marketing that is aimed at fostering business relationships, rather than attracting customers directly.
  • B2C – Business to Consumer – a type of marketing that focuses on the consumer directly.
  • CPL – Cost Per Lead – this is the rate of payment agreed upon by both parties (the brand and the digital marketer)
  • CTR – Click through Rate – The rate of clicks gotten for a redirected page.
  • Reach – The number of people that can be exposed to your advertisement campaigns.
  • Impressions – The number of people that view your ads.
  • LCV – Lifetime Customer Value

The Bottom Line

The world is going digital, and marketing is not left out. Explore the opportunities available to you, and join the bandwagon.

PS: Digital marketing is one field where you cannot stop learning and networking – that makes the career thrive – so be prepared to upskill as required.

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