Today’s businesses need an online presence if they have any hope of being successful. Consequently, we hear a great deal about digital marketing and how those companies that incorporate it into their promotional strategies are growing a strong online presence and increasing their profits. When digital marketing is the topic of discussion, there are a number of questions that come to mind such as:

• How is it effective?
• What channels should we use?
• Where do we start?

In order to answer these questions, you have to understand the importance of digital marketing and how businesses benefit from it. However, those benefits differ from one company to the next.

Digital Marketing defined (a.k.a. the “What”)

The term “digital marketing” applies to the use of online (digital) channels for marketing a company’s products or services to the consumer. Furthermore, this includes the use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The Importance of Digital Marketing (a.k.a. the “Why”)

One of the more traditional marketing venues is the billboard. Are they effective? Do we still gaze at them when traveling? Probably not, since most of us are too busy with our smartphones or tablets to pay any attention to what’s going on. And that’s where digital marketing becomes a key factor. Digital marketing provides more opportunities for the growth and expansion of businesses. In addition to this, it helps to:

• develop long-term relationships
• generate qualified sales leads
• reach target audiences

Plus, it’s very cost-effective when compared to other marketing venues. Simply put, digital marketing enables you to put your products or services in front of the consumer through the use of e-mail, search engines, social media platforms, and websites.

Digital Marketing Components (a.k.a. the “Elements that make it effective”)

Before we dive into these elements, you’ll need certain assets. These include blog posts, brochures, company logos, content, e-books, infographics, newsletters, online tools, and social media platforms. Naturally, content is the foundational support of any digital marketing strategy. However, the most important or primary elements are:

• analytics (for monitoring and tracking)
• blogs
• content marketing (see below)
• e-mail marketing
• paid advertisements (paid search marketing)
• search engine optimization (SEO)
• social media platforms
• user-friendly website

As mentioned above, content is the foundation that supports every digital marketing strategy. Remember – content has always been and will always be King.

The digital marketing landscape is extremely vast. Consequently, it’s oftentimes difficult to understand, especially when you are new at it. If you want to develop an effective digital marketing strategy and promote your products or services, you have to establish your business goals and objectives first. Additionally, you must know who your target audiences are and what you hope to accomplish with your digital marketing strategy.