If you have access to a smartphone, a TV, or even a digital radio, you have undoubtedly encountered digital marketing. More and more, our daily lives are dotted with technology and each of those sources is a path that savvy marketers use to spread the word.
Whether it’s IP and location-based targeting, social media marketing, or even Connected TV, there are multiple valuable channels that your brand can capitalize on to meet your audience members where they already are.
In this guide, we’re going to cover the ins-and-outs of digital marketing and the top tips for your strategy through the following points:
- Digital Marketing: Covering the Basics
- Digital Marketing Plan: Key Aspects of Your Strategy
- Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy: 5 Tips for Your Team
The purpose of this guide is to give your organization all of the tools you need to improve your digital marketing efforts. That being said, let’s begin with a brief overview of digital marketing to ensure we’re working from the same foundation.
Digital Marketing: Covering the Basics
What is digital marketing?
In the most straightforward sense, digital marketing is any type of advertising that’s delivered through a digital device.
However, digital marketing encompasses much more than the targeted advertisements you may have encountered on social media. The practice is actually split into two main categories: online marketing and offline marketing.
Ads delivered through social networks, via email, in Google search results— these are all online methods of digital marketing. However, ads delivered through radio, phone, or TV would all qualify as offline digital marketing.
What is the role of digital marketing?
The role of digital marketing is to meet your organization’s audience where they’re already active— on technology. Every day, your audience is immersed in a world of smartphones, laptops, televisions, car radios, streaming services, and even digital billboards.
Arguably, technology is now one of the main methods of engagement with the outside world. In fact, the offline and online worlds are rapidly colliding (example: “smart” kitchen appliances), with the internet now grabbing your audience’s attention on devices that it had previously left untouched.
Investing in digital marketing is a way for your organization to make the most of tech-based engagements to increase traffic, generate leads, and interact with more potential supporters than before. For many modern marketers, it’s become the primary method of outreach.
How does digital marketing work?
Digital marketing works best as a multichannel outreach strategy. A marketer going digital should discover the digital channels (ex: social media, email, digital advertisements) that appeal most to their desired audience and use a combination of those channels to reach that audience.
Digital Marketing Plan: Key Aspects of Your Strategy
Later in this guide, we’re going to discuss five tips to help your organization build a strong digital marketing strategy. However, let’s first explore the building blocks of a successful strategy— marketing assets, digital channels, and other tools— that you’ll use when carrying out those tips.
What are digital marketing assets?
Digital marketing assets, or collateral, refers to the information that you share via digital marketing channels. If we were discussing traditional, non-digital marketing methods, this would refer to assets such as physical mailers, billboard copy and images, and even promotional merchandise.
Most successful digital marketing strategies use some combination of the following:
- Website: If you’re using digital advertisements, you’ll also need a website to send users to.
- Video and Images: The digital attention span is short, and strong visual assets can make an impact quickly and effectively.
- Advertisements: Much of digital marketing is done via advertisements, and one way to step up your game is to include animated or video ads.
- Written Copy: While video, images, and graphics can dominate the digital marketing game, strong copy is what fuels all of these efforts. Think of emails, social media posts, or even quick ads— each will need a written aspect.
- Audience Testimonials: Social proof is a valuable tool in digital marketing, so gathering testimonials ahead of time that vouch for the value of your organization or brand can be helpful.
- Social Network Profiles: If you’re using social media advertising, these ads will need strong profiles to point back to.
- Branded Assets: Strong digital branding assets such as your logo and graphics are necessary to create a uniform design across all of your marketing collateral.
With that, let’s explore the channels that you might use to deliver these digital marketing assets.
What are the types of digital marketing channels?
IP/Location-Based Marketing & Digital Advertisements
IP and location-based marketing is a tool to hyper-target your audience exactly where they physically are, whether at home, at work, at an event, or elsewhere. This works by delivering digital advertisements to the exact IP address that your desired audience members are accessing.
Here are some top tips for IP and location-based digital marketing:
- Design digital ads to be mobile-first, as 70% of all banner ads are delivered via mobile devices.
- Ensure your digital ads have clearly defined borders, so there’s no risk of them blending in with the background of a website.
- Create a specific landing page for that ad, with clear next steps for prospects to follow (such as filling out an interest form).
- Pay special attention to website visitors that don’t convert, retargeting these visitors using display ads.
To learn more about this type of digital marketing, check out AccuData’s guide to IP targeting.
Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising involves serving ads via social network platforms to supporters within your target audience. One great example of this is paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, which display your marketing assets directly within the news feeds of your ideal audience members. You can discover and target these audiences using a variety of sources, such as first-party data, third-party data, location-based data, lookalike data, custom audience data from Facebook, or a combination of multiple sources.
A few best practices when working with social media include:
- Test creative variations of your ads to see which options result in the highest social media engagement.
- Limit the use of copy of social media ads to increase distribution.
- Caption all video ads as the majority of these will be watched without sound.
- Make the most of the Facebook tracking pixel to empower remarketing and the discovery of lookalike audiences.
For social media advertising inspiration, explore this Rib City case study in which the restaurant increased business using Facebook.
Google Ads can strengthen your digital marketing by providing a way to reach potential customers or supporters through targeted advertisements. By pinpointing the right keywords, you can place your events, services, and other web content in front of likely prospects.
Here are a few Google Ad best practices to strengthen this area of your marketing:
- Use targeting tools to narrow your ads’ audiences based on location, interests, and demographics.
- Use A/B testing to optimize your ads. Google conveniently offers responsive search ads, which will rotate through different headlines and descriptions to find the best combinations.
- Use ad extensions to provide additional ways to engage with your team, such as by adding a call button or appending additional links.
- Continually analyze ad performance with Google Analytics.
While businesses are expected to pay keyword bidding fees, nonprofits receive access to the platform for free through the Google Ad Grants program. Then, with help from a Google Grants manager, these organizations can optimize their accounts by creating high-converting ads that leverage advanced targeting features.
Email marketing is a direct marketing strategy that can be used to both acquire new supporters and build the loyalty of existing audiences. However, this is much more than simply sending a batch email from your company.
Email marketing is powered by testing strategies that optimize the content for conversion, as well as database enhancement services that can build off of the name and postal address of identified prospects to ensure you have a database full of associated email addresses.
Some best practices for email marketing include:
- Avoid sending the same content to all of your audience, opting instead to personalize messages for each individual consumer.
- Embrace mobile-first design, as many emails are read via mobile devices.
- Aim to showcase your product or organization in a highly visible way, whether with videos, images, or other assets.
- Remember that dark mode can impact email viewing, so update your design practices accordingly to be easily read on all devices.
For more information, check out this La-Z-Boy case study in which the company used email marketing to improve sales. Or, explore AccuData’s full email marketing product sheet to dive into these services further.
Connected TV/OTT Advertising
While cable providers once dominated the TV game, streaming now takes the cake in modern viewing. Advertising on Connected TV services, or Over-the-Top (OTT) TV services, shares your organization’s video advertisements to customized audiences that meet specified criteria— whether geographic, demographic, or programming-related. These ads are most often in 15- or 30-second placements and are presented in a non-skippable format, giving you confidence that ad content will be viewed by the intended audience.
Let’s check out a few key stats related to OTT:
- 52% of adults use at least one OTT streaming service, and the average person has access to 3 or 4 services.
- More than 53 million U.S. households are considered “cord cutters,” meaning they’ve disconnected from traditional cable TV.
- Research predicts that more than $83 billion in ad revenue will be directly associated with OTT by 2022.
More people are streaming video than ever before, and they’re using OTT services to do so. To learn more, explore this blog post about Connected TV.
What tools can help you accomplish your digital marketing plan?
We’ve briefly discussed how data can improve your digital marketing efforts, mainly in the realm of discovering audiences and creating content that best targets those groups.
Now, let’s explore how the AccuData team can help you make the most of those channels using Web Visitor Intel.
Web Visitor Intel
Web Visitor Intel provides data that can turn your website into a lead-generation machine. By embedding a line of custom code, data collection immediately begins— giving you real-time access to the details of website visitors.
This information can be delivered daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the frequency that best fits your efforts. As up-to-date as 24-hours prior to the data delivery, Web Visitor Intel provides:
- Identification of website visitors and their contact information.
- Understanding of web visitor behavior to guide communications to that visitor.
- Understanding of the needs of current web visitors based on their site activities.
And more! To explore the process of gathering and using Web Visitor Intel in more depth, check out this AccuData product sheet.
Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy: 5 Tips for Your Team
Now that we’ve explored the assets involved in digital marketing, the channels your team might utilize, and the tools that can improve your efforts, let’s begin building a strategy.
With the following tips, your team will have a solid foundation to build a strong digital marketing plan. Let’s dive in.
Define your budget first.
Before identifying your audience, choosing channels to reach that audience, and creating the needed collateral to deliver your message— you first need to define your budget.
The fact is, the cost of digital marketing can be incredibly wide-ranging. It could mean a multi-million dollar multichannel initiative or it could be an essentially free (not including efforts) campaign done by your team alone.
Define the budget that your team has on hand to spend before making any decisions about your strategy. This will prevent you from investigating comprehensive, but out-of-budget, digital marketing efforts that your team simply can’t afford.
Then, from this foundation, you can build up a campaign that achieves your goals while remaining well within your budget. After completing this exercise, we’d guess that you can achieve even more than initially expected!
As you start defining your marketing budget, note that grants can help offset some of your digital marketing costs if you work at a charitable organization. For example, the Google Ad Grant alleviates online advertising expenses by providing $10,000 in ad credits to any eligible applicants.
Need help determining the right budget based on your goals? Allow an AccuData expert to help!
Identify clear goals and the associated KPIs.
After outlining your budget, a great next step is to determine your goals and specific key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be used to measure your progress.
Digital marketing efforts yield a plethora of data— so much that it could be a challenge to measure the success of your campaign if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Let’s walk through an example of one digital marketing goal, and the measurable KPIs a brand may choose to define success:
- Goal: Increase social media engagement.
- KPI 1: Increase the click-through-rate of social media advertisements by 25%.
- KPI 2: Increase followers of social media profiles by 15%.
- KPI 3: Increase shares of social media content by 10%.
By identifying goals and the associated metrics to measure progress, your team can better understand your efforts and continue improving them over time. Outline benchmarks and review your KPIs at each point. If things are moving in a positive direction, you can trust that your digital marketing strategy is effective; if not, it’s time to return to the drawing board.
Understand your target audience.
Your digital marketing efforts will exist in a massive, cluttered landscape. Not only are you taking advantage of digital marketing– you can trust that other savvy marketing professionals in your industry are doing the same.
Across the internet and the many platforms that brands can use to deliver digital ads, your target audience is likely greeted with more marketing attempts than ever before. This means that it’s crucial not only to conduct digital marketing, but to do so in such an effective way that you stand out from the crowd.
The most impactful way that you can differentiate your brand is to truly understand your audience, and market directly to them in a specific manner.
This goes beyond sending ads to strong prospects; this means sending ads that are personalized to appeal to your exact audience members. Most often, this level of specificity and personalization comes down to having valuable data to inform your marketing efforts.
Prepare to adjust your digital marketing plan.
Even if you construct the most effective digital marketing strategy, it’s still important to remain flexible in your efforts and be prepared to adjust course. This is because the world of digital marketing is evolving every day. Whether it’s the emergence of new social media platforms, new streaming services, or something else— the digital landscape is continuously undergoing changes. When it does, your team should be prepared to embrace the change!
There are a few steps you can take to be prepared when the tide of digital marketing shifts:
- Invest in effective marketing assets, regardless of platform. If you have undeniably valuable marketing communications, you’ll simply have to pivot the delivery method if the need arises.
- Pay attention to your audience’s movement. If the data suggests your audience is moving to new channels, then follow the trend; but, if the data suggests your audience is avoiding the trends, ensure you do the same.
- Work with a marketing analytics company that can help you pivot your strategy. This is something you can learn more about in the next section.
The digital media landscape is always evolving. Understanding now that your digital marketing strategy isn’t set in stone will set you up for success in the long run.
Work with a digital marketing agency.
Whether you’re a seasoned marketing professional or you’re experimenting with digital marketing for the first time, consider working with a digital marketing agency to formulate your strategy.
Working with a digital marketing agency can benefit your strategy in the following ways:
- You can gain access to industry-leading data and tools. With this, you can discover audiences for your brand and where those audiences are consuming media.
- You gain a team member who has experience with navigating new digital marketing methods. Experts in social media marketing and digital retargeting, a digital marketing firm and its tools can help your team utilize unfamiliar channels successfully.
- You can work with an unbiased perspective when optimizing campaigns. A digital marketing agency can examine your efforts for what’s working, and what’s not. Then, they’ll guide you through the needed improvements to exceed expectations.
- You can access assistance with creative endeavors as well. In addition to optimizing your channels and targeting strategy, a digital marketing agency can work with your team to create effective marketing assets.
Would you like to know which digital marketing tactics are performing best right now? Download this resource-packed guide to discover the digital and email marketing tactics that marketers are using right now for optimum results.
If you’re interested in hiring a digital marketing agency to assist with your strategy, contact the AccuData team today.
Digital marketing is a powerful tool to meet your audience exactly where there are— on digital devices. Whether through their television screens or right in the palm of their hands, digital marketing is an essential practice for the modern marketer.
Through this guide, you’ve uncovered the essentials of digital marketing— from an overview of the practice to the tools you need for success, and finally, the top tips to create a strong strategy.
To learn more about digital marketing, explore the following additional resources:
- IP Targeting: Understanding This Essential Marketing Tool. Use this guide to dive deeper into one type of digital marketing– IP targeting.
- Data Marketing: 4 Elements of a Successful Strategy. Data is the ultimate tool in your marketing strategy. Explore this guide for tips on how you can use data to improve your efforts.
- Digital Marketing Tactics: A Modern Marketer’s Success Kit. Which channels should you use to achieve optimum digital marketing success? Check out this resource-packed guide from the AccuData team to discover the top tactics for your strategy.