Marketing in the Digital Age: Are you doing it right?

Digital marketing is a very broad generalisation of the marketing of various products or publications in a digital format. The publishing industry has been around for centuries and so has their marketing techniques. However, the way in which digital marketing has developed since the 1990s and 2000s has changed the way brands and businesses utilize technology and digital marketing for their marketing. Digital marketing campaigns are also becoming much more powerful as well as efficient. As digital platforms are increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life, as people use digital devices instead of going to physical shops. Or access various services online rather than purchasing in person.

However, generally speaking there are nine types of marketing. Search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC), public relations (PR), social media marketing, content marketing, affiliate marketing, viral marketing, influencer marketing, and digital/online/web marketing.

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a type of marketing of which its goal is to help you rank higher up in Google searches. Most businesses require this to run successfully, some more than others. It is one of the strongest types of digital marketing you will come across. Of all the clicks in search results, 94% of them go to organic listings – not PPC. The methods have altered and changed over the years; but the target is still the same. To put your business higher up the list for potential or recurring customers when they search the Internet.

As mentioned above, pay per click (PPC) is also a form of marketing. Unlike SEO which is about ranking highly long term in the organic listings, PPC is usually about paying a specific search engine directly to be up there. When people refer to PPC they are most likely referring to the ‘sponsored’ links you find in Google searches; however they may be talking about ads in any search engine such as Yahoo or Bing. These links can normally be spotted easily and usually have a note to inform you it is sponsored. These can also be picture ads found on other websites. It is one of the forms of digital marketing that is completely short term and will only work so long as you are paying for the service. Once you stop paying, the ad will no longer exist. Anyone can use this method and profit from it but prices can vary and it is extremely high risk if the business doesn’t know what its doing.

Public relations (PR) cannot be overlooked, and although it’s not technically just a form of digital marketing it can have a large impact on digital marketing outcome and results. Out of all of the types of digital marketing, PR is one the most likely of techniques to gain the most exposure fastest. Public relations is based on business or service exposure, whether that’s in a news article or holding an event, its aim is to get your business well known out there and in the right places to thrive. New businesses benefit hugely from this technique but even huge well known companies continue to use it on a regular basis.The ultimate type of digital marketing for the publishing industry is content marketing. It involves combining several methods together to build a business into a serious success. These methods being SEO, PR and Social Media Marketing. Content marketing is a method that uses great content that your customers will want to read to encourage new sales and leads online. It can be content found anywhere – from YouTube to podcasts, tweets to infographs. However most often it’s blog content on your website, driving new traffic through search engines like SEO. The downside is that it requires a lot of time and dedication, and can be the most expensive form of digital marketing; but you get out of it what you put into it.

Unlike other types of digital publishing, there is no upfront cost for affiliate marketing. You can sit back and relax and let someone else do the marketing for you. However like most things, there is a catch. If they bring in a sale, you have to share the profits. By recruiting ‘affiliates’ for your business or service they draw in leads. In a basic sense they are sales people who are paid on commission when you make a profit. The ‘commission’ is determined entirely by you (the business). There are variations however; some organisations will offer a percentage of the sale made while others may offer a flat rate per product. Affiliate marketing is where you recruit ‘affiliates’ for your business, and they draw in leads. Affiliates are like sales people that you pay on commission. The ‘commission’ is determined entirely by you; some organisations offer a percentage of the sale made, others offer a flat rate per product. This marketing technique is mainly used for B2C, e-commerce businesses, simply because you have to be able to track the direct sales and where profits come from for it to work effectively. The best part of this method is obviously the cost or lack of cost. However it does of course mean giving control of your brand to strangers. It’s usually only a good thing, but might depend on what service you wish to provide. Therefore you have to be smart and set out clear terms and conditions before you dive in.

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Viral marketing is very similar to PR in terms of speed of exposure, however viral is much more effective in a different way. Viral marketing involves getting a piece of your content to simply go viral; it could turn your business into an overnight success. To make your next marketing campaign can take a combination of a number of the other types of digital marketing – such as content marketing, PR and social media marketing – but it can also lead to some amazing results for your business. Viral marketing is when you release content that is strange, hilarious or ‘current’ in a popular topic at that time, which gets you noticed and shared – a lot (mainly via social media). It usually causes a big spike in traffic to your service over a short period of time. Viral marketing can help any business, however the biggest successes have come from large B2C businesses. This is mainly because the consumer goods are going to reach a much bigger audience than a smaller business, which is less well known. This method can however be achieved by any company that produces the right thing at the right time.

A much newer and exciting type of digital marketing is influencer marketing. It is equally effective as the other methods, however in contrast it is vastly different. Influencer marketing is relatively new – but it’s a very exciting form of digital marketing. It’s vastly different from the other types of digital marketing, but can be equally as effective. Influencer marketing is where sales are driven solely by striking a deal with someone who already has a following and ‘influences’ the same target market as you. For example, it’s like how Pepsi might sponsor Britney Spears as it’s spokes person. If your target market was other entrepreneurs for example, you might try to get Richard Branson on board to help market your business.

However in this day and age, with digital marketing as such a key element to drive any form of sales, and the prominence of social media sites; influencer marketing is extremely popular. For example, striking a deal with a popular instagrammer and getting the person to wear your brand of clothes or promote a certain product or service with a few photos – and this can influence huge sales for your business or service. But these days, with social media, it goes much further than that. If you can strike a good deal with a popular and relevant instagrammer and get them to wear your brand of clothes in a couple of photos this can massively increase the likelihood of your target market. This method is again mainly used by B2C eCommerce business owners, but not solely. For example, you could attempt to get an influencer in your industry to tweet about your business and this would also count as influencer marketing and be great exposure.

Digital, online, website marketing. These are all the same things. And they cover all of the digital marketing techniques above. It’s also referred to as an umbrella term. This means it covers all aspects, therefore when marketing for your company you should ensure you figure out which of the services you really want to use to reach your target audience before going to an agency that does this, so you know exactly which types of digital marketing you should ask for. Knowing your target audiences demographic is also a requirement for a successful marketing campaign in the publishing industry. Digital marketing doesn’t usually include PR but often includes a collaboration of any of the above.

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