Essential Online Digital Marketing Strategies

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

-Sun Tzu

iStock 618340074 The New Business Landscape

It has been nearly 25 years since the internet and the connected world as we know it began to came into existence.The business landscape has changed tremendously as a result. Massive multinational corporations such as Google, Amazon and Facebook have emerged as dominant forces and the world’s attention has turned to the mobile revolution and bright artificial intelligence enhanced future.

By 2015, online sales accounted for 7.4% of total retail spending. Sales made on mobile devices account for as much as 33% of all online sales. Companies around the world realize the immense importance of leveraging themselves effectively across digital, multimedia channels.

Digital technologies such as smartphones, tablets, the Internet of Things (IoT) artificial intelligence and deep learning are changing the world more rapidly than ever seen before.

The social revolution is changing the world as we know it.

On every corner of the globe, individuals, organizations, and communities are gathering in digital spaces in profound new ways. They are meeting, gathering and sharing.

They are offering reflections on the things they care about and the lives they aspire to. The world is becoming a much more cohesive place as the high-speed internet is becoming more and more the accepted norm.

Connection is driving the social revolution and creating immense opportunities for the businesses and brands which are able to seize the moment, extend their reach and meet their audiences where they are.

What is Digital Marketing?

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Advertisers have always been interested in reaching prospects with creative means and converting them into customers.

In the past traditional advertising methods relied on casting an extremely wide net and hoping customers would successfully navigate the sales funnel.

In 2017, Ad spending from television will top out at $72.01 billion, or 35.8% of total media investment in the US. Digital ad spending is even higher at $77.37 billion, representing 38.4% of total spending.

While traditional forms of advertising such as billboards and print ads in newspapers and magazines still exist, they are being vastly outpaced by digital advertising methods.

Around the world more than 4 Billion people are accessing websites, apps, social media platforms, email accounts and other services across a vast global digital landscape.

As the internet has come of age, it has presented marketers with an ever increasing array of means for attracting interest and driving sales.

Digital marketing has nearly completely surpassed traditional advertising and promotional tools as the world’s attention has shifted towards the mobile internet.

The internet offers businesses the ability to be seen by high numbers of prospective customers at an extremely low cost compared to traditional advertising methods.

Digital Marketing refers to a vast array of both on and offline strategies. By 2020, the total amount spent on digital advertising is expected to exceed $113.18 billion.

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These practices may be broken down as follows:

Online Marketing Essential Strategies:

  1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  2. Search engine marketing (SEM)
  3. Content marketing
  4. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  5. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
  6. Affiliate marketing
  7. Email marketing

Offline Marketing Essential Strategies:

  1. Digital Billboards
  2. Optimized Digital Solutions
  3. Television Advertising
  4. Radio Advertising
  5. Telephone Advertising

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

-Albert Einstein

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Unpacking the Terminology

The term digital marketing was coined back in 1990, shortly before the creation of the world’s first search engine, Archie in 1993.

Even way back then, it was apparent that the internet would present an incredible opportunity by allowing businesses to learn vast amounts of information about how and why customers interact with their brands and purchase their products.

In simple terms, Digital marketing refers to the promotion of products and services using any form of electronic multimedia.

The Digital Marketing Institute defines these practices as follows:

“Digital Marketing is the use of digital channels to promote or market products and services to targeted consumers and businesses.

“The first rule of any technology used in business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify its inefficiency.”

-Bill Gates

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The Birth of Broadcasting

While the internet may have allowed digital marketing to truly explode, in truth, the history of these strategies goes back far further. In 1896, a very key scientific breakthrough would lead to a revolution in human connectivity.

That breakthrough, the invention of the radio by Guglielmo Marconi, was extremely important because for the first time it would allow advertisers the ability to broadcast branding identity and calls to action right into people’s homes.

Since the beginning, digital advertising has offered some distinct benefits over other more traditional methods of advertising such as signs and placards placed in public spaces.

As radios became ubiquitous in homes around the world, advertisers gained access that they could never match by simply placing a sign in even the most crowded of locations.

Early digital marketers found that by broadcasting events, they could increase sales and interest in live performances or sporting exhibitions.

They also saw that with the power of targeted advertising efforts they could direct behavior and direct decision making towards the first digital sales funnels.

By the time Philo Taylor Farnsworth, invented the television in 1927, global audiences were in love with the radio but it would only be several decades before the first digital champion would be overtaken. Radio continued to be useful but with the advent of television, a whole new world of advertising possibility was unfolding.

The internet has only increased the access marketers have our reaching out to their target markets.

Because digital marketing has always been about driving activity, generating engagement and providing targeted means of acquiring sales prospects and conversions, the internet has made it much easier for reaching the highest percentage of interested buyers in a given product or service.

Digital marketing practices are best described as a set of online and offline methods.

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

-Winston Churchill

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Essential Online Digital Marketing Strategies

Online digital marketing strategy refers to the following areas:

  1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  2. Search engine marketing (SEM)
  3. Content marketing
  4. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  5. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
  6. Affiliate marketing
  7. Email marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one area of digital marketing strategy which continues to evolve.

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The reality today is that the old SEO tricks and tips largely no longer apply. There are no hard and fast rules about how to rank content in regards to keywords.

Nonetheless choosing keywords and arranging content on a page in a concise and logical way is more important than ever.

These days it is extremely important to focus not so much on the keyword or even word counts but on producing content that is of a high value to your reader.

Quality is the ultimate way to rise in global search rankings. All content should have backlinks to reputable online platforms. The key to optimization at this point is placing a premium on creative content.

Content marketing is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing and joined with SEO, it forms a clear imperative for any aspiring digital entrepreneur: work hard to produce informative and engaging content before anything else.

Search engine marketing (SEM) allows you to place advertisements on search providers such as Google, Yahoo or Bing.

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Each search provider caters to a different niche. While Yahoo is not as popular as Google, it’s users tend to be older and more financially secure. This can present an advantage depending on what you are seeking to market. Again, while Bing is nowhere near as popular as Google, as the flagship search provider of all Microsoft devices, it is worth advertising on.

Search engine marketing is essential because if people cannot find you, then you cannot create new leads. The easier it is to be located, the faster you will grow. Simple as that.

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Content marketing is perhaps the single most important means for generating organic traffic to your websites and offers. Multimedia content in the form of pictures, text, video and infographics will pull people to your website more than anything else.

Focus on consistency and quality and watch as your blog drives your valuable leads to your business.

Content marketing is also an extremely effective way for building your email list which is potentially the most lucrative thing you will have access to as a digital marketer. Content marketing is the top approach for marketers today. 1 in 5 claim it as their top method of generating leads.

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Social media marketing has absolutely exploded in recent years.

While Facebook continues to be dominant, Instagram and Snapchat each have devoted followings and offer tremendous benefit to the businesses which are able to best produce content to match their visually focused photo and video formats.

Many are turning away from traditional advertising frontiers such as print media such as newspapers and magazines or broadcast media such as the television in favor of the crowd and the insights of individuals they are connected to across social media platforms. Social media allows users to reflect with an audience and crowd of their own design.

For some people, connecting online means accessing acquaintances, friends and family, people with whom they share a unique historical or social bond. For others, connecting online means accessing people they look up to, people who they share interests with and those who are living life in a way that is inspiring to them.

For many, social profiles across multiple platforms could be geared towards accessing both groups of people dependant on the platform in use or the user’s interests in a given moment of time.

Social media marketing offers you the ability to interact directly with your target market and learn about the things they are most passionate about. The future of digital marketing is being shaped across the social mobile landscape.

According to Statista,  In 2016, 78% of the entire U.S. population is engaged with a social media profile. In most cases, this engagement is a daily endeavor which is increasingly becoming the main way consumers are gathering and sharing information.

According to some estimates, the number of worldwide social media users reached 1.96 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow to some 2.5 billion by 2018.

Information technology, driven by communications devices such as smartphones, tablets, and portable computers are at the center of daily life.

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Pay per click advertising (PPC) continues to be an extremely useful lead acquisition tool for many digital businesses.

From placing solo ads on established email lists and websites to purchasing traffic directly from search providers, there are a myriad of ways to use paid advertising to drive interested prospects to your website, email list or offer.

Pay per click can be controversial but most serious marketers agree that going after targeted prospects is extremely valuable to growth. The key is to purchase from reputable sellers and always very clearly track results.

Purchasing 1000 clicks vs a lesser amount is probably the best way to test if a source of clicks is worth your time. If you aren’t generating leads or making sales, you need to rethink your supplier.

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Affiliate marketing is a really excellent performance based way to increase revenues once you have already established customer relationship and flows of traffic.

By using your existing marketing efforts to sell additional offers, you are increasing the likelihood of generating passive revenue while also gaining access to new interested customers. There are many unique affiliate campaigns which can allow you to share profits with a variety of extremely popular products and services.


Email marketing is considered by many of the most successful marketers to be the premier way to generate profits online. The money is in the list.

iStock 641137504Tools such as free ebooks can help you to build a massive list which you can consistently lead through various segmented sales funnels.

Your email readers may take time to convert but repeated efforts have been proven to yield results for email marketing campaigns. Customers who are retargeted with follow up emails  are 70% more likely to convert.

While email sales make take time to generate, your list is yours to own and use as you like. As you build a relationship with readers, they will view you as a trusted authority.

From here there are so many things you can do. It has been proven that humans are hardwired for repeat business. If someone enjoys buying from you once, they are likely to feel inclined to do it again.

Email marketing is all about building sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships. The better you can serve your readers the more loyal and engaged they will be. The quicker they will navigate your sales funnels and become repeat customers.

“The best way to sell something – don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, & trust of those who might buy.” -Rand Fishkin

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Essential Digitally Optimized Offline Marketing Strategies

Digital optimized offline marketing strategy refers to:

  1. Digital Billboards
  2. Optimized Digital Solutions
  3. Television Advertising
  4. Radio Advertising
  5. Telephone Advertising

Digital Billboards are increasingly becoming a part of daily life in metropolitan areas like New York, London, and Tokyo.

In these cosmopolitan cities, A.I. enhanced signage gets more sophisticated everyday.

Smart, user responsive touchscreens, speech capability and extreme HD quality are making these platforms perfect for the biggest and most dominant global brands.

Digital billboards are a very hot and up and coming area of advertising. Seen in some of the most luxurious of locations these are not at all inexpensive to purchase which may leave many smaller companies out of this area of the game.

Nonetheless for the brands that can afford them, digital billboards offer the ability to present an even more arresting and memorable experience than traditional print ads.

Some consider them an eyesore and others are marveled, digital billboards may not be for everyone but it is hard to walk down Times Square in NYC, look around at all the shimmering HD video billboards and not help to be just a little amazed.

Optimized digital solutions come in all shapes and sizes. Things like businesses accepting Bitcoin, or receiving payments through a fintech solution like square, running on a smart device such as an iPad. Also sending out free hardcopy demos of games, software or music.

Television advertising might not be as cost effective as online digital marketing but it can still be a powerful tool for building brand recognition.

Regional businesses of all shapes and sizes benefit from strategically placed television slots.

Radio advertising is definitely not as popular as it was in earlier decades but nonetheless is still an important method for many businesses.

Overall advertising dollars spent online tend to be a much better purchase than radio advertising

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.”

– Benjamin Franklin

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Here are 10 Reasons Digital Marketing Strategy is Essential:

  1. It reinforces your overall branding efforts. Print, TV and Radio can be important for building local, regional and national interest in your brand but only the Internet allow your brand to be seen by billions of potential users. Comprehensive, full spectrum off and online digital marketing strategy allows you to be seen by the most people.
  2. Costs are contained and utility is maximized. Online advertising can be highly targeted. It is very easy to ensure only interested viewers access your advertisements online. Because of how specifically targeted and measurable digital advertising methods are, your costs are contained and the utility of every ad you place is boosted.
  3. The profit is in the follow-up. The first time a viewer sees your banner advertisement, reads your sales email or check out your social media promotion, they may not act, however with digital advertising it is extremely easy to follow up with prospective leads, driving them neatly through your sales funnels leading to conversions and boosted profits. The profit is in the follow-up.
  4. Build brand recognition, increase loyalty. When your customers and prospective leads see your branding identity around the internet, they become more comfortable accepting your brand’s legitimacy. Digital marketing allows you to make a bigger impression on your target market and ensure you are on their mind.
  5. Target your market, wherever they are. Digital advertisements can be placed to reach your customers where they are. Whether on niche websites that they love to access or according to the specific geographic locations where they live. There are millions of ways to use digital advertisements to go after specific subsets and niches of your target market.
  6. Access to a wealth of user demographic information. The digital arena and especially the social media landscape offer marketers tremendous amounts of information about the design marketing processes of their prospects, leads and customers. The better you know the interests of the people you want to sell to, the better you can design content that appeals to them in their own emotional language.
  7. Choice placement, unlimited growth potential. When you place your banner advertisements alongside content which your target market is likely to be interested in, you are in the best possible position to turn a prospect into a lead. By allowing you to be in the most relevant places, your advertising investments offer exceptional returns and your brand has tremendous growth opportunity.
  8. Incredible analytic guidance. The marketer’s best tool for improving success is the ability to track past performance. When you know exactly what lead to a specific user’s behavior, you are able to create conditions to duplicate that in the future. Digital advertisements are highly trackable and offer a wealth of insight about what is driving your customer’s behavior and decision making processes.
  9. Employ split tests, constantly improve. The more you know about which of your advertisements generate the user activities you are hoping to see, the better it is to build upon and increase your success. This is where split testing comes in. With digital ads it is extremely easy to test multiple concepts until you find one which vastly outperforms the rest.
  10. Tremendous value for advertising dollar spent. Online display advertisements are extremely inexpensive when compared to television, print and radio ads. You can reach the best people for the lowest prices. There is a very good reason why the digital arena is finally allowing smaller competitors to give multinational corporation a run for their money. In the past the little guy couldn’t compete but today, businesses of all sizes can create attractive digital advertisements which reach their highly specific target markets.

“Without facts and principles, data is useless.”

-Bob Hoffman

7 Essential Skills for any Modern Digital Marketer!

iStock 157394942                                                                                                 1. Create a clearly defined and measurable plan

Success in digital marketing is guided by a variety of factors but the more you do to ensure success the better. Proper planning leads to exceptional results.

Organization, budgeting and prioritization are key skills that you will want to develop as an effective content strategist and digital entrepreneur. To ensure success, work off a clear plan which allows you to clearly track results.

Successful marketing depends on being able to identify what is working and apply methods to scale and automate it. There are a myriad of tools which can assist you to automate your marketing efforts. Mastery comes when you are able to clearly translate insights gained into operations efficiently delivered.

2. Review, Redefine, Reinvigorate

It is essential to have a plan but you must hold onto it lightly. That means you must just as easily be willing to accept when things are not working well.

It doesn’t matter what you think, it matters that you get results. When your ego is in check, you have no problem applying insights you have gained and moving in a different course if necessary.

Successful digital marketing means trying things out, keeping what works, dropping the rest and always seeking to improve efficiency and utility.

Review what you are doing, redefine areas that are lacking and constantly reinvigorate your efforts by applying the insights you have captured from tracking your efforts.

3. Utilize the best tools to drive success

Whether you are tracking user activity with Google Analytics or planning your content calendar in Asana, it is important to use the technologies at your disposal to maximize success.

Modern marketers have many unique tools at their disposal and available in real time, often from mobile platforms.Do not be afraid to explore new products and services which can help you better manage your digital marketing strategy.

4. Commit yourself to personal development

Digital marketing is a constantly developing field. It is not a fixed target.

To be successful you need to commit yourself to mastering the newest best practices as they arrive. That means being dedicated to constantly improving your expertise and personal marketing knowledge.

Pour over blogs and constantly seek to understand more about how and why your efforts succeed or miss their marks. Do not be afraid to seek marketing guidance from those with more experience than you.

5. Seek Help

As a marketer it is very easy to feel like you are an island. Especially if you work totally in the digital arena. This should never be the case.

It is extremely important that you network and connect with other people hopefully who are even more talented than you are. These relationships and connections will help you to advance and take on greater challenges. When you run into some trouble or you aren’t reaching the results you want, consider seeking help.

The training and resources you need are out there you just have to be ready to take action and reach for them. Success in digital marketing is yours if you are willing to work hard and put in the time to learn the skills you will need to succeed.

There is no fixed end point or time when you are ready to be a digital marketer. The landscape of business is constantly changing and you will have to as well. Accept that now and commit yourself to doing everything you need to succeed.

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As you can see, digital marketing means a great deal more than simply advertising on the internet, though based on usage trends, it would be a huge mistake for any marketer not to focus a great deal of their efforts on success in the online, social arenas.

From a strategic perspective, it is essential to understand that the competitive landscape is likely to change with the advent of new technologies. Think about Amazon. They emerged as a dominant player thanks to newfound consumer loyalty in digital technologies.

Mobile technologies are already disrupting traditional markets. Expect change and embrace it. The more that you are willing to be adaptable the better you will succeed in the coming years ahead.

Mastering digital marketing means staying ahead of trends and realizing that there will never be any single best strategy.

Success will come to those who are able to maximize their ability to best translate the insights they gain about their previous marketing efforts into future automated processes.

The digital marketing landscape is always changing and that is why to be a successful digital entrepreneur, you must be dedicated to constant enrichment and retraining.

There are few things that are a better investment than the acquisition of knowledge which will allow you to pull away your competitors and define your unique value proposition to your target market.

Seek to be the best you can be. Set, reach and exceed goals. Celebrate victory and dust yourself off quickly when setbacks happen.

Commit yourself to constant improvement and you will be halfway there. There is no easy way to the top but with dedication you will be a top digital marketer!

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.”
-Tom Fishburne

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