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Digital marketing: what is it? & strategies


Written by Niek van Son MSc on February 24, 2023

Niek van Son

Last updated January 19, 2024

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is a broad term. In fact, it includes all forms of marketing for which a digital channel is used. From promotional messages via SMS, websites, online marketing, banners, ads on social media, TV and billboards; they are all forms of digital marketing. Online marketing is generally gaining in popularity.

The difference between digital and online marketing

Digital marketing and online marketing are common terms in this digital age, where we are online and "on" most of the day. But there is a difference between these two terms.

Digital marketing includes all forms of marketing that involve the use of a digital channel. Online marketing (or Internet marketing) is just one part of this. The Internet offers endless opportunities to reach target audiences, making this form of digital marketing very popular.

Objectives of digital marketing

Digital marketing is used to achieve multiple objectives. There are various forms of digital marketing that contribute, individually or collectively, directly or indirectly, to achieving the following:

  • Increasing brand awareness and strengthening brand identity
  • Attract new customers and optimize customer retention
  • Providing a unique customer experience and building a loyal community

What forms of digital marketing are there?

Digital marketing offers tremendous opportunities. And with technology continuing to evolve rapidly, more and more opportunities are opening up. Digital marketing includes such things as:

  • Website
  • TV
  • Email
  • Social media
  • SMS
  • Blogs
  • Search engines
  • Billboards

Among these forms of digital marketing, there are again all techniques and tools that can be used to your advantage. For example, consider SEO for search engines, Facebook advertising for social media and email marketing combined with marketing automation for email.

What are the marketing channels for digital marketing?

Digital marketing offers endless marketing channels, tools and forms, including:

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (search engine optimization) is used to improve the findability of the website, with the goal of generating more website visitors. This is usually done with optimized blogs, articles and landing pages. In addition, there are quite a few technical issues that affect findability. Link building is also used to improve search engine rankings.

Social media

Social media is used to raise awareness of a brand and build a loyal community. The goal is to generate more leads and attract potential customers to a sales channel, such as a website or landing page. Examples of social media include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest

Content Marketing

Content marketing often goes hand in hand with search engine optimization and social media marketing. Valuable content is created for the target audience, which can be used to highlight a website, product, service or brand at the same time. More awareness is created and more traffic to the website is generated. By optimizing the content for search engines, it is more likely to be found by the target audience. Content is also brought to their attention through social media. Content marketing includes:

  • Blog posts and articles
  • Ebooks and white papers
  • Infographics and online brochures

Pay-per-click (PPC).

With PPC, visitors are directed to a particular website through advertisements; as the name suggests, they are paid per "click. This profitability of this form of advertising can be very high, as it pays per generated visitor - and thus potential customer. The most popular PPC channels are:

Email marketing

Email marketing is used to communicate with leads on a personal level. Valuable content is highlighted and special promotions, discounts and events are used to encourage the target audience to take action. Examples of email marketing include:

  • Blog and newsletter subscriptions
  • Follow-up emails to leads generated with downloads
  • Welcome emails to customers
  • Promotions and loyalty programs
  • Emails for customer/ lead nurturing

Marketing automation

With marketing automation, software is used that automates various marketing tasks; such as structuring, organizing and analyzing data, content, actions and tasks. Marketing automation is used for example for:

  • Sending newsletters and e-mail
  • Scheduling social media posts
  • Lead nurturing and qualification
  • Campaign tracking and statistics

Digital marketing in the customer journey

Before someone becomes a customer of your company, that person goes through a customer journey. Through digital marketing, your potential customers can interact with the Internet user at different points in the customer journey.

We give you a short list of the sales funnel and possible forms of digital marketing you can apply:

  • Awareness: In this phase, you want to introduce the customer to your company or brand. By using digital marketing properly, you can do this on a large scale. Use tools such as search engine optimization, social media, search engine advertising and TV advertising.
  • Inform: After the user has become familiar with your brand, you want to move on to lead generation. In this phase, you want the customer to be informed about what you can offer them. In this phase, for example, use content marketing that meets the needs of your target audience.
  • Consideration: Now that the user has been introduced to your company and products, it is important to get the consumer to consider your products. This can be done through email marketing in which you offer the customer information or discount on the product in which interest was shown. You can also use remarketing through Google Ads to remind the customer about your company and product.
  • Purchasing/Converting: Now is the time to move the customer to purchase. To convert the user to a customer, you can use email marketing and Conversion Rate Optimization, among others.
  • Customer retention/loyalty: As a final step, you also want to retain your new customers. To retain customers for a long period of time, you can use an app where you send push notifications about great deals and personalized discounts, email marketing (along with marketing automation) to give the customer a personal touch, and dutch social media marketing agency.

The benefits of digital marketing

Inbound marketing

Digital marketing is making inbound marketing a reality. Inbound marketing means that certain "funnels" can be created that generate leads and convert them into paying customers. This is done by optimally aligning the above channels, tools and forms, which allows this process to generate leads automatically and permanently.

Segmentation and targeting

The target audience is segmented and targeted through different channels (cross-medial). Repeated exposure to a marketing message or brand makes it extra powerful and ensures that it stays with the target group. Also, no efforts or budget are wasted on individuals who are not directly within the target audience.

Analytics and insights

Digital channels typically offer the ability, traffic, reach and various results to be analyzed. This provides insight into their effectiveness and allows marketing strategy to be adjusted to improve results, ensuring maximum ROI.

Niek van Son

Niek van Son MSc

Marketing Management (MSc, University of Tilburg). 10+ years of experience as an online marketing consultant (SEO - SEA). Occasionally writes articles for Frankwatching, Marketingfacts and B2bmarketeers.nl.

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