Digital Marketing Guide

What is Digital Marketing?

What is Digital Marketing? Definition & Examples

With a solid digital marketing strategy and effective execution, digital marketing can become an active marketing channel to attract and engage with new customers. Below, we answer the question “What is digital marketing?” and share some examples and tips to get you started.

Digital marketing definition

Digital marketing, or online marketing, refers to marketing activities targeting consumers using digital channels. The digital marketing definition includes all online marketing tactics implemented through digital channels to achieve business and marketing goals. There are many digital marketing channels, including:

  • Social media marketing: Social media marketing helps companies increase brand awareness, engage with customers, and direct traffic to the company website. 
  • Content marketing: Content marketing helps attract, nurture, inform, and entertain potential customers to earn their trust and loyalty.
  • Search engine optimization: Search engine optimization (SEO) increases a website's visibility in search results, bringing in more traffic and conversions
  • Email marketing: Email marketing is one of the best ways to attract and nurture new and existing customers.
  • Video marketing: YouTube alone reaches more U.S. adults aged 18-49 than any cable network. Video marketing is an increasingly popular digital marketing channel to provide content that engages customers and ranks high on search engine pages.
  • Mobile marketing: Mobile marketing includes mobile banner ads, SMS messaging, push notifications, in-app ads, QR codes, and more. 
  • Influencer marketing: Influencer marketing entails sponsoring influencers to promote a brand and increase the reach of your product message.
  • Partnerships and affiliate marketing: In partnerships and affiliate marketing, you come to an agreement with a software or service provider and share/earn commission for selling and attracting new customers. 
  • Search engine marketing: Search engine marketing, e.g., Google pay-per-click ads, is an online advertising model used to drive traffic to websites and sales pages. 

One big advantage of digital marketing over traditional marketing is the ability to gather and analyze data in real-time. This ensures digital marketing teams can make data-driven decisions to achieve their business and marketing goals.

Digital marketing benefits

Digital marketing should be an integral part of any business marketing strategy for many reasons. Benefits include:

  • It scales easily
  • It is cost-effective 
  • It provides a direct line to engage with your customers
  • Results can be quickly and transparently measured and analyzed
  • It provides an avenue for you to learn from your customers, market, and other industry players
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Digital marketing examples

A practical way to improve your skills in digital marketing is by learning from successful digital marketing examples. While it's not advisable to copy and paste another company's methods, you can combine many ideas to create a unique strategy for your business. 

Below are three digital marketing examples:

Uber

The ride-sharing app Uber has disrupted the taxi services industry since it launched its first ride in 2010. Uber uses Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as its main digital marketing channels, using social media to engage with customers and propagate positive, inclusive messaging about connectivity and social awareness. By connecting its messaging to cultural issues, customers feel a greater sense of connection to the brand.

Netflix

The online movie streaming app Netflix has expanded into 190 countries worldwide. Netflix uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram and actively engages with customers across its social media channels. The phrase "Netflix and chill" has become a popular part of global pop culture. The brand creates relatable, culturally relevant, and entertaining social content, sometimes crowdsourcing product improvement decisions from customers using polls. 

Dollar Shave Club

With its cheeky digital marketing, this small shaving company gained public attention and an eventual $1 billion acquisition by Unilever in 2016. Founded in 2011, their funny launch video has been viewed over 22 million times on Youtube.

These three brands built globally successful companies with effective and consistent digital marketing campaigns, easily standing out from competitors. Using these examples as inspiration, you can start crafting your digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing basics

Digital marketing is all about using digital platforms to reach customers. Below are some digital marketing basics to keep in mind.

  • Begin with research: Start with research to understand your customers and learn about their behaviors and where they hang out online. 
  • Be intentional: Begin on a select few platforms where your customers are most active. Invest your time and resources on the platforms that bring the most gain instead of spreading your resources thin. 
  • Provide value through content: Use the 80/20 rule to create and share content. 80% of your efforts should be focused on providing value to your customers, and 20% focused on sharing information about your business and products. 
  • Review performance: Monitor marketing campaign performance across your various marketing channels using digital marketing analytics software. 
  • Stay nimble: Update your marketing technology and techniques often, and use marketing templates to plan, manage, and execute marketing projects. 
  • Be consistent: Maintain consistency in your brand messaging and design to make it easy for customers to recognize your brand over time. 

Using the digital marketing examples and tips shared above, you're well on your way to creating successful digital marketing plans and campaigns that bring your organization closer to achieving its goals.

Further reading
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Digital Marketing Plan

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B2B vs. B2C Marketing: What's the Difference?

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The Definitive Guide to Data-Driven Marketing

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Digital Marketing Skills You Need to Succeed