Digital Marketing: Web Sites
Inform, Entice, Engage
Digital marketing is an umbrella term for using a digital tools to promote and market products, services, organizations and brands. As consumers and businesses become more reliant on digital communications, the power and importance of digital marketing have increased. The direct marketing section of this chapter already discussed two digital tools: email and mobile marketing, which fit into both categories. This section will discuss other essential tools in the digital marketing tool kit: Web sites, content marketing and search-engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing.
What Makes Digital Marketing Tools Unique
In part, digital marketing is critically important because people use digital technologies frequently, and marketing needs to happen where people are. But digital marketing tools also have other unique capabilities that set them apart from traditional (predigital) marketing communication tools. These capabilities make them uniquely suited to the goals of marketing. Digital marketing tools are:
- Interactive: A primary focus of many digital marketing tools and efforts is to interact with target audiences, so they become actively engaged in the process, ideally at multiple points along the way. This may happen by navigating a Web site, playing a game, responding to a survey, sharing a link, submitting an email address, publishing a review, or even “liking” a post. Asking consumers to passively view an advertisement is no longer enough: now marketers look for ways to interact.
- Mobile and portable: Today’s digital technologies are more mobile and portable than ever before. This means digital marketing tools are also mobile and portable: consumers can access them–and they can access consumers–virtually anytime and anywhere through digital devices. Digital marketing can reach people in places and ways that simply were not possible in the past. A tired mother stuck in traffic might encourage her child to play a game on her smart phone, exposing both child and mother to marketing messages in the process. A text message sent to a remote location can remind an adventurer to renew a subscription or confirm an order. Many physical limitations fall away in the digital world.
- Highly measurable and data driven. Digital technologies produce mountains of data about who is doing what, when, how, and with whom. Likewise, digital marketing tools enable marketers to determine very precisely whom they want to reach, how to reach them, and what happens when people begin the process of becoming a customer. By tracking and analyzing these data, marketers can also identify which channels are most productive for bringing people into the site and what types of interactions are most efficient at turning them to customers.
- Shareable: Because digital marketing tools are digital, it is easy to share them at low or no cost–a benefit for marketers and for consumers who find content they want to share virally. People routinely share videos, games, Web sites, articles, images, and brands—any number of overt or covert marketing artifacts. In fact, the degree to which something is shared has become a key metric to confirm how successful it is as a marketing vehicle. Sharing has always been a primary means of spreading ideas. Digital marketing tools now facilitate extremely rapid, efficient, global sharing.
- Synergistic with other marketing activities: Digital marketing tools offer quick, easy, and inexpensive ways to repurpose marketing messages and content from other marketing communication methods. They help amplify and reinforce the messages targeting consumers through other media. For example, uploading a TV ad to YouTube creates a piece of digital marketing content that can be posted to Facebook, tweeted on Twitter, embedded in a Web-site page, and shared via an email from a sales representative engaged in personal selling to a target customer.
As an example of the incredibly potency of sharable digital marketing media, the following Android video was one of the most viral videos of 2015: