WHAT IS DIGITAL MARKETING
Digital Marketing is the discipline used for the online promotion of products/services through websites, social channels and e-commerce platforms.
More explicitly we can say that those involved in digital marketing study how to promote the activity of companies online.
The meaning of digital marketing is precisely in the definition of digital market, i.e. the online space that hosts the unconventional advertising communication of companies in order to increase customers and turnover.
In fact, unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing allows you to promote online by applying unconventional advertising and marketing principles. Among the benefits of digital marketing:
- allow continuous improvements and optimizations:
- give rise to widely measurable business results.
Thanks to the Master Digital Marketing course provided by Digital Coach, you have an innovative training program, with practical-operational sessions and the contribution of experts who work in the digital world.
Let’s find out in this guide the basic concepts of digital marketing:
- what are the disciplines of digital marketing;
- how to develop a digital marketing strategy.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIGITAL MARKETING AND WEB MARKETING
What differentiates digital marketing from web marketing? The terms Web Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing and, sometimes, E-commerce Marketing often overlap in common jargon, making it difficult to navigate the new vocabulary of the digital revolution.
The reason is that the short span of time between the advent of the Internet and websites, the invention of electronic commerce and the spread of social networks, is so short that a universally accepted theory of Digital Marketing has not yet been formulated.
In reality, the differences between web marketing and digital marketing are very few. With web marketing, we mean the set of marketing strategies gathered around a site using exclusively all internet channels, while, with digital marketing we also mean the use of other digital means of communication such as:
- tv commercials,
- digital billboards,
- text message.
DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY
The main digital marketing strategies , each with particular purposes, are:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization), or optimization of the site’s visibility on the main search engines;
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing), search advertising and Display Advertising, i.e. creation of display, website or text ads;
- DEM (Direct E-mail Marketing), editorial planning and sending of informative and/or promotional emails to customers or potential customers;
- Digital Advertising (online advertising or internet advertising);
- Web Analytics, the science of measuring web data, of central importance for every Inbound Marketing action, for planning the Digital Strategy and for implementing continuous improvements to the digital marketing activity in progress.
Of a transversal nature, however, are the activities of:
- inbound marketing,
- lead generation,
- Affiliate Marketing ,
- location-based marketing,
- Real Time Bidding .
Therefore, if digital marketing is a complex of activities that revolves around a website, it is clear that a search engine like Google is at the center of attention of every digital marketer and digital strategist .
Search engines are in fact the heart of Digital Marketing; periodically scan the web by assigning scores, through ranking algorithms, to each page on the net for a specific search (query) conducted by the user.
Google and digital marketing
We cannot talk about digital marketing without mentioning Google, which today represents the absolute market leader, covering a share close to 98%, considering numerous satellites.
The reasons for its success are due to the goodness of the algorithm core updates that have followed one another starting from the original one (remember Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, Hummingbird, Mobilegeddon, Fred). Each update has improved the quality of web content by providing users with ever more precise answers to their questions.
Today we are in the era of machine learning, of statistical models capable of reproducing the neural networks of the human mind and Google is aiming prospectively at artificial intelligence to exploit semantic research, up to, that is, to perfectly read the needs of users when they ask questions.
Google’s impact on digital marketing activity is total :
- SEO exists, mostly, with reference to Google: websites are built for the most part so that they “place well” in Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Result Page);
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is 98% marketing on Google’s SERPs;
- Location Based Marketing (positioning of companies in geolocated results) is based on Google Maps.
Among the Google tools, the most used digital marketing tools we find:
- Google Trends,
- Google Ads,
- Google Analytics,
- Google Search Console,
- Google Alerts,
- PageSpeed Insights.
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DIGITAL MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Marketing activity through social and information networks
Using SMM (Social Media Marketing) in digital marketing activities allows you to carry out an intense and continuous digital strategy activity .
Almost all of the companies present on the web are no longer limited to having an Internet site, but complete their online presence with profiles on as many social networks as possible.
Many Digital Marketing professionals consider platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter and emerging networks as a parallel Internet in which profiles and pages replace websites.
From a commercial point of view, the advent and diffusion of social networks has revolutionized the online market by providing the largest and most detailed database of profiles to target specific and targeted marketing actions.
The concept of conversion, the ultimate goal of marketing, in the world of social media takes on a different connotation from that of immediate monetization; we do not sell goods and services directly but we take care of the aspects of:
- brand awareness,
- lead generation.
Awareness, or awareness among users of the existence of the brand, and engagement, involvement and feeling towards that brand, are the first steps of the so-called digital marketing process or funnel. The funnel consists in identifying potential customers (buyer personas), intercepting them by predicting or starting their purchase journey (customer journey), and leading them to convert on websites and e-commerce.
Lead generation takes place in the social world mostly through paid advertising campaigns (post and display advertising): in this case we are talking about Social Advertising.
The goodness of Social Media Marketing actions can be constantly monitored and improved through appropriate Social Analytics tools such as Facebook Insights.
YouTube and Online Advertising
YouTube plays an ambivalent role in the Digital Marketing overview. It is in fact a video content search engine and as such it is second in size only to Google itself, but it is also a social network where different users can have their own channel, be subscribed to thematic channels and interact with each other.
Video Advertising on YouTube consists of the creation of video content to be published on corporate channels and paid video ads.
The method of publishing video ads is based on an auction system managed internally by YouTube, while for display ads, management passes through Google Ads, being YouTube part of the Google ecosystem.
DIGITAL MARKETING ECOMMERCE
To understand how ecommerce and digital marketing are connected, here is one of the best formulated definitions of internet commerce:
E -Commerce can be considered the incarnation of digital marketing, the perfect fusion of technology, communication techniques and business management.
Networked businesses have the following characteristics:
- they are digital natives;
- they have absorbed all the technologies and online marketing channels over time as they are generated;
- they have maintained the structure of the traditional company albeit with a specific regulation and a location in cyberspace.
Each activity or discipline of online marketing constitutes a fundamental building block for the E-Commerce company whose management consists in the implementation and management of the ad hoc digital strategy that guarantees conversions, i.e. turnover.
An E-commerce is a site specialized in Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C) online retailing.
The creation of sites dedicated to electronic commerce makes use of CMS dedicated to the purpose, available open-source, for a fee or as an extension of other CMSs, we all mention:
- WooCommerce (WordPress plugin),
- Prestashop (usable both as a standalone framework and as an extension in Joomla!).
E-commerce sites are very different from other types and are characterized by:
- A hierarchical structure of the contents treated in detail (categories-subcategories-products-variants);
- Little space for long and exhaustive descriptive texts: this greatly complicates the SEO activity which is consequently focused on taking care of the site’s internal architecture;
- The presence of blogs, newsletters and chats through which to provide assistance in real time and dispel the structural doubts of those who are buying online;
- The creation and management of a database of personal data through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, the first place where the profiling of the target groups of potential customers takes place.
DIGITAL MARKETING AND SEO
The basis of the digital marketing strategy is SEO (acronym for Search Engine Optimization), a discipline which consists in optimizing the positioning of a page or website among the results provided following a request made by the user (query).
In a more imaginative way we speak of an activity of climbing along the walls of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), the mountain of answers that a search engine provides for every question that is addressed to it.
Unlike SEM activity, SEO is related to so-called organic positions, i.e. those positions not reserved for paid ads.
Why do SEO
The importance of SEO in Digital Marketing is evident in that:
- Being able to position a page at the top means acquiring many views and maximizing the probability of obtaining clicks, i.e. incoming traffic;
- Understanding how to position a page at the top means understanding Google as an algorithm, not deceiving but supporting the ranking factors, designed to ensure the quality of the page itself;
- Except for the cost of the SEO Specialist’s work, the successful optimization of a page or site is the only business result in Digital Marketing that has zero cost.
How to optimize the page
The ranking factors known to experts, i.e. the factors that Google evaluates in order to establish a qualitative hierarchy between pages for a given search, are around 200. Clearly some weigh more than others in the economy of the algorithm and, given their secrecy , how to support them is the result of practice and experience.
Much has to do with copywriting activities, i.e. writing, and with the architecture of the website, which must be SEO friendly, i.e. suitable to allow the implementation of an optimization strategy. This last factor becomes very relevant when it is not possible to pursue the objective of optimization through the extensive, detailed and coherent writing of the pages due to the limited space available, for example one thinks of the product sheets of e-commerce.
Google’s tendency to change the weights of the ranking factors in the algorithm with a certain frequency is a symptom of the willingness of the Mountain View company to improve in terms of artificial intelligence or machine learning. This leads to two considerations:
- SEO specialists must frequently keep up to date with changes imposed in the algorithm and adapt to new ways of doing their job;
- Semantics, i.e. high quality writing where each word has a specific meaning and is coherent or not within a text, is increasingly important.
SEO is a broad and constantly updated topic.
SEM AND DISPLAY ADVERTISING
In digital marketing, SEM (acronym for Search Engine Marketing), is the discipline that deals with the creation and publication of advertisements for search engines.
As with SEO, the essential reference is to the Google ecosystem.
For search or research ads, Google provides the top 4 and bottom 3 positions on each page of the SERP.
Doing digital marketing with Display Advertising means creating and publishing ads on the entire Google display network. These are text-type ads created in various formats depending on the device on which they are to be viewed (desktop, smartphone or tablet).
There is a single technological platform in the Google world with which to implement and manage these two types of campaigns: Google Ads.
Google Ads enjoys two essential characteristics that distinguish it:
- It was born as a Google tool with a single goal, to bring together online supply and demand for goods and services;
- It is Google’s only source of revenue.
The system through which it is possible to implement an advertising campaign in Google Ads, both of the search and display type, is an auction system: the advertiser makes a bid for the keyword or key phrase for which he wants his ad to appear. Based on the offers received, a quality score is assigned to each ad, Google Ads bans the auction in real time.
The method of payment for the advertiser varies according to the type of ad: the most common method is that of the cost per click (CPC), ie the advertiser pays each time he receives a click on his ad.
Digital marketing and traditional marketing
Google campaigns differ a lot from offline marketing advertising campaigns as it is the very characteristics of digital marketing that differ.
- Google Ads is not an advertising tool, but a performance marketing tool: an online campaign has a cost commensurate with obtaining precise and traceable results;
- Performance marketing is more complex than classic marketing, but it’s easier to measure: you can produce reports on the progress of a campaign and monitor variations in KPIs or Key Performance Indicators;
- If offline advertising campaigns require ex-ante decisions and results that are difficult to verify, for online campaigns there is the possibility of carrying out continuous tests and optimizations.
Using content marketing in digital marketing means using textual and graphic contents to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the web to increase the visibility of a brand without direct sales messages.
The content marketing used in the digital communication strategy aims to create brand awareness and engagement by instilling trust and credibility in a brand, product or service by decreasing the gap between the company and the potential customer.
The digital content marketing strategy is based on a communication model in which solutions to problems and useful information for the customer replace the technical characteristics and costs of the good/service in the company offer.
In practice, aspects such as:
- Creation and management of a company blog;
- Search for a distinctive positioning in the market for the brand through graphic communication, storytelling, customer assistance service;
- Lead Generation;
- Community Management (Community Management) on the main social media.
There are many tools available to the marketer in this activity, for example:
- Google Alerts,
- Google Trends,
- sources of news on the sector in which the company operates.
The ultimate goal is the perfect profiling of the typical customer (buyer persona), and the implementation of the best communication strategy to bring him closer to the purchase without direct sales operations.
DIRECT EMAIL MARKETING (DEM)
Among the various digital marketing channels, E-mail Marketing is the one used to fuel the relationship between the company, the customer or the potential customer. The areas of this discipline are:
- Acquisition: acquisition of leads or customers through the practice of Direct E-mail Marketing (DEM), ie the sending of advertising e-mails;
- Retention: retention or engagement of acquired leads, we speak of lead nurturing.
The purpose of creating engagement is to carry out targeted cross-selling or up-selling actions, i.e. to offer complementary services to those already purchased or of higher value.
E-mail Marketing is characterized by a considerable attention to planning; the editorial plan, i.e. the scheduling of sending different e-mails to different groups of leads, is essential to prevent a given target from receiving repetitive or redundant content.
The data relating to the behavior and level of engagement of users subject to DEM are collected by companies such as Cisco, SenderScore and Barracuda who resell them to e-mail providers such as G-mail and Yahoo. The latter assign a quality score to e-mail marketing activity based on the data collected and establish a lower threshold beyond which an e-mail is automatically labeled as spam.
The most delicate aspect of DEM is precisely that of reputation management and spam filters.
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INBOUND MARKETING AND LEAD GENERATION
In digital marketing, Inbound Marketing is used to attract potential customers to a specific good or service,
It consists of several phases in which the company offering a good/service is able to be found in the right place and time by its target network users.
In the intermediate phase we find the Lead Generation, lead generation process (personal data that make up the prospects, i.e. potential customers.
When designing the corporate marketing strategy, every company must ask itself specific questions:
- Who are our best customers (Buyer Personas)?
- What needs of theirs can we satisfy?
- What perplexities, budgets, fears or limitations do they possess?
The initial step of the process is therefore linked to the concept of profiling the potential or categories of potential customers in terms of:
- geographical location,
- every detail helps in the correct identification of the user target.
Once the target has been identified, a second series of questions relating to the product/service you want to try to sell follows:
- what is the best way to present such a good or service,
- what are the most recurring concerns about it.
The implementation of the marketing strategy then passes through three main operational phases:
- choice of channels to be exploited for the marketing action (marketing channels such as SEO, SEM, DEM or Social Media),
- getting a conversion,
- after sales.
Inbound Marketing Funnel and Customer Journey
The customer journey is the typical approach of digital marketing. It consists of estimating the journey or path of a given user towards the purchase.
This journey may begin in a phase prior to the simple knowledge of the good, service or brand and may involve different channels:
- ad on google,
- Facebook posts.
The user’s navigation can then go through various channels and be carried out via desktop, smartphone or tablet.
Knowing how to predict a prospect’s journey towards the purchase implies being able to intervene at the ideal moment on the right device through the appropriate marketing channel.
The Inbound Marketing funnel or funnel is used to solve the problems that can be encountered up to reaching the objective of the strategy (purchase) through 4 different intermediate goals:
- Awareness : or awareness of the existence of a good/service/brand;
- Interest : the interest and involvement in that brand that offers that given good or service;
- Consideration : take into consideration the purchase of the good or service offered by that brand and not by others;
- Purchase: the purchase.
Taking advantage of web analytics in digital marketing allows you to carry out targeted marketing activities since it is possible to obtain statistical navigation data by identifying the user tracking system of a website.
There are a number of tracking and analytics platforms on the market such as:
- Go Squared,
- Hotjar ,
- Google Analytics , the most used.
Web analysis and digital marketing are closely related disciplines in the control of corporate marketing strategy. Thanks to the use of Analytics in digital marketing, it is possible to segment incoming traffic by:
- numerous socio-demographic characteristics of users;
- access devices;
- marketing channel;
Considered by some as an art in the digital world, digital analytics is also indispensable for discerning between variations in performance attributable to changes in the site or due to the context of the sector in which the company that owns the site operates.
How Google Analytics works
The building blocks of Google Analytics (GA) are as follows:
- Processing – The stage where the filtered data is processed and categorized in a more manageable form, for example, in tables that separate incoming traffic from desktop or mobile.
- Reporting – The final component of the Google Analytics platform is the construction of statistical reports, which constitute a snapshot of the site’s performance, in the form of a presentation.
PROGRAMMATIC BUYING AND REAL TIME BIDDING (RTB)
“Programmatic” or Programmatic Buying is defined as any form of procurement or sale of digital advertising in an automated manner through the use of software platforms.
Real Time Bidding is an integral part of Programmatic Buying and consists of:
- Track all users who visit a website, not just the website itself;
- Profiling, or targeting, the right target of tracked users to send them the right advertising content at the right time in the right place.
Considered by many to be the future of Digital Marketing, Programmatic Buying acts with display content on a much wider network than that of Google Ads and works automatically by managing real-time auctions for the supply of advertising space.
The way it happens is extremely complex and involves different types of software:
- DSP : through which the buyer requests advertising space and sets the parameters of the RTB campaign. The main platforms on the market are: Appnexus, Mediamath and Turn.
- SSP : through which publishers sell advertising space programmatically. The market leading brands are: AdForm, Rubicon, double click for publishers, PubMatic and Appnexus.
- DMP : manage the groups of collected data that are associated with the parameters set for the campaign. The major software on the market are: Adform, Turn and Nugg.Ad.
Another discipline that a digital marketer can exploit is affiliate marketing, or performance marketing. Program within which a publisher, also called affiliate or publisher, is paid by an advertiser, or merchant, when a specific conversion takes place, such as a sale or registration to a service.
- Through an affiliation platform, a publisher auctions an advertising space on its website, then promotes the winning merchant’s product or service at the end of the auction, for example, by publishing one of his display ads;
- A user browsing the publisher’s site notices the advertisement, clicks on it and lands on the merchant’s site;
- Here the user completes a purchase or registration (a conversion) which is recorded by the affiliate platform;
- The publisher is remunerated by the merchant for the service rendered through the affiliate network.
There are many affiliate platforms, or marketplaces, where you can register as a publisher: Zanox, Tradedoubler, Affilinet, CJ, Publicidees and others.
Affiliate networks are companies that operate globally by making available to publishers and merchants:
- The technology needed to conduct business online;
- reporting systems;
- Administrative management of transactions;
- Consulting and expertise.
The main remuneration models for transactions are:
- CPC or PPC: Cost-Per-Click or Pay-Per-Click, i.e. the merchant pays for each click received on his ad;
- CPL: Cost Per Lead, the merchant pays for each registration made following a click on the banner;
- CPA: Cost Per Acquisition, the merchant pays a fixed percentage upon completion of an action (registration, purchase, etc.) decided beforehand.
WEB REPUTATION, SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING AND DIGITAL PR
By Web Reputation of a company or profile we mean the set of opinions, expectations and perceptions of its stakeholders present on the web and deriving from its behaviour, qualities, specific characteristics, history and hearsay.
Since the channels through which the reputation of a brand or profile is shaped online are both the web and social media, it is correct to speak of Digital Reputation.
Web Reputation management goes through two activities:
- Digital PR: the search for interaction and the support of journalists, bloggers and influencers in order to build, defend and promote one’s online reputation;
- Media and Social Media Monitoring: monitoring the online reputation of a brand or a profile by paying attention to what emerges about it through traditional media (press, radio and TV), on the web and through social networks.
Given the real-time dissemination of news that is not necessarily proven or truthful on social networks, there are digital marketing tools on the market to monitor digital reputation such as WebLive and Talkwalker. Monitoring action is necessary to implement immediate defensive reactions.
The Digital Marketing Courses, as well as the Master Digital Marketing programs are open to anyone who demonstrates:
- passion for the digital world and desire for a new career in this sector;
- to achieve a precise professional goal;
- to innovate the company to increase customers and turnover;
- to create an e-commerce or launch a digital start-up.
The flexible attendance methods and the presence of short courses and long and in-depth courses mean that the target of people the school is aimed at is very varied:
- New school graduates or recent graduates eager for a further professionalizing path, which gives them the opportunity to differentiate themselves on the job market;
- Professionals already established in the marketing and retailing sectors of classic companies about to make the leap into digital;
- Entrepreneurs who have deeply understood how much the online presence of their company is necessary for the growth of the company business;
- Anyone who has the desire to study and try their hand at the subject which among all is the daughter of 11th century technology.
The Digital Marketing Courses are aimed at training in specific areas of digital knowledge, flexible in terms of attendance and thus suitable for people with different needs and offer:
- Broader Master’s courses designed to train professionals capable of mastering the concepts and techniques of each digital discipline;
- Teaching provided by industry professionals, freelancers or business managers, able to bring students their own know-how from daily practice;
- Internship experiences in a team under the guidance of a Coach, the first curricular experiences that also offer the team members the opportunity to build their own portfolio;
- The possibility of internships in companies in the marketing and retailing sectors or in Digital Agencies;
- The certification of the skills acquired through certificates of attendance and of passing the final exam;
- A deep care of the Personal branding of each student, so that they can present themselves on the job market and have access to a digital career.
DIGITAL MARKETING WORK
- What does it mean to work in marketing today?
- How have the marketing and communication professions changed?
Working in marketing in the digital age takes on a much broader meaning than in the past; the same approach to job hunting is extremely related to digital.
We are living in the end of the paper curriculum vitae era and at the birth of Personal Branding, where not only educational qualifications count, but above all knowing how to sell.
Today, the digital marketing sector is considered one of the fastest growing sectors both in terms of turnover and job positions generated every year.
The constant innovation in communication technologies and the strong penetration of digital activities into business practices constantly create the need for professional figures specialized in online marketing: this is the case of the Digital Marketing Specialist or Digital Marketing Manager.
To find a job in Digital Marketing it is important to focus on some distinctive factors:
- Digital certifications: from Google certificates, such as Analytics IQ, Ads and Excellence in Digital, to Facebook Blue Print, to W3School programming certifications;
- Qualification in the Digital Marketing branch, such as one of the courses or Masters offered by Digital Coach;
- Portfolio of works carried out that attest to skills, participating in traineeships , being willing to work almost for free at the beginning. Today there are a number of possibilities to overcome the obstacle of the first work experience, such as creating a blog or writing for Blasting News;
- Personal Branding : having your own website on which to upload a video curriculum, taking care of your LinkedIn profile and being present on the main social networks are important distinguishing factors.
DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCIES
In the common sense, the Web Agency is responsible for implementing and managing digital communication projects or taking care of individual aspects of Digital Marketing based on the needs of the client companies.
In the English-speaking world, however, we speak more properly of Digital Agency. By definition, Digital Agency is that company that has its own business focused on at least one of the following services
- Digital Marketing: SEO, SEM, Web Analytics, Inbound Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Content management, Website Creation, E-Commerce development, Social Media Marketing, Digital project Management.
- Graphic communication and design: creation of logos, brand identity and advertising communication plans.
- Technical and creative development of technological products related to the Internet, such as mobile apps.
- Web Marketing 100% 100%
- Social Media Marketing 100% 100%
- E-Commerce Management 100% 100%
- Grafica e Design 100% 100%
- Sviluppo App per Mobile 100% 100%
- Digital Project Management 100% 100%
- Badge Google Partner 100% 100%
- Rispetto delle Norme sul Digitale 100% 100%
The professional figures who operate within the Digital or Web Agencies are those typical of Digital Marketing and IT technicians with knowledge of programming languages ??such as HTML, PHP, Java or Python and able to develop software and mobile applications for Android or IOS .
In Italy, countless web agencies operate throughout the territory making use of a few technical employees and a multitude of digital freelancers hired for specific projects.
How to choose a digital agency? There are real criteria to evaluate the goodness and reliability of a web agency:
- degree of penetration in the SERPs,
- client portfolio,
- breadth of the spectrum of services offered,
- resumes of team members when exposed.
Google also intervenes in this sense with the creation of the Google Partner network which assigns two types of badges to those agencies that demonstrate compliance with certain criteria based on:
- Agency profile: having created a profile in the Google Partner network;
- Certification: have in its ranks at least one affiliate in possession of the Google Ads certification (2 for the premier badge);
- Spend: Meet a minimum spend requirement of $10,000 in the last 90 days on all managed accounts (higher spends for premier badge);
- Company Performance: Strong revenue and a certain size of customer base to expand.