Digital marketing is a discipline that offers significant opportunities to companies and professionals to achieve their goals: what it is and the main strategies.
Digital Marketing Channels (Owned, Paid, Rented, Earned)
Even before distinguishing between the many strategies and establishing what digital marketing is, it is good to be clear about the communication channels available and their differences. Digital marketing channels can be classified into owned, paid, rented, and earned media. It is a classification that has changed over time and is constantly evolving. Owned media are all those channels that are the exclusive property of the brand, which thus holds complete control and can manage it in total autonomy, establishing times, contents, and rules.
These include, for example, the corporate website, blog, e-commerce, and apps. Paid media are paid communication channels where you need to invest money to get visibility: think about advertising on social media, search engines, or even display ads. Then there are the earned media, the channels ‘acquired’ without the investment of money and which are not under the strict control of the company or the brand. This includes content produced and published by third parties, such as newspaper articles, social media posts, reviews, or mentions that use word of mouth.
Finally, we can define the rented media and communication channels as “rented”: they are not directly owned by the brand. Still, they are used to achieve the established marketing objectives. The company produces the contents, but the rules to follow and respect are those established by the platforms on which they are published. The most common examples are social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram, or third-party sites, such as aggregators.
Social Media Marketing And Display Advertising
Social media has forcefully entered everyone’s daily life. They are used not only for entertainment but also for finding information, news, and shopping. For brands, therefore, they have become an essential tool to connect with potential customers. Social Media Marketing (SMM) uses social networks (such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest) to promote a company’s products and services or pursue personal branding. It does this by creating content that stimulates interactions and sharing.
The purposes that can be pursued with an SMM strategy are different: to arouse the interest of consumers, to increase the brand’s awareness, to stimulate the increase in traffic to a website, or to generate new contacts (leads). In addition to social networks, there is also the possibility of advertising paid content, services, and products on the web. This is Display Advertising, a form of online advertising that uses commercial spaces within one or more web pages using graphic elements (animated or not) such as banners, buttons, and pop-ups.
This strategy is highly effective because, thanks to search engine algorithms and the large amount of data collected, advertising is shown only to users potentially interested in the advertised product or service. Profiling the target audience and showing the ad only to interested potential customers allows advertisers to optimize their investments in advertising and maximize results by increasing the number of desired conversions, which can range from the sale of a product or service up to the collection of new contacts, also called leads, that are of quality for the brand.
Furthermore, Display Advertising has a significant advantage: it allows you to monitor and measure the results obtained with advertising campaigns at any time through specific indices (such as CTR, sales volume, contacts, subscriptions, visits, etc.). One of the most used platforms for Display Advertising is Google Ads, which offers advertising options that meet the needs of every advertiser and allows the publication on the network of websites that are part of the vast world of Google.
Affiliation is a performance-oriented advertising method: the affiliate publishes traced links on its website that lead to the advertiser’s digital platform. Each time the tracked link converts, the affiliate is credited with the agreed payment. It is one of the most up-and-coming tools, but it can also appear complex to understand and use. Let’s see in detail how affiliate marketing works. The advertiser, or advertiser, proposes an affiliate program to promote their brand, services, or products.
The affiliate, or publisher, makes available his own space on the web where his contents are present, which he will disseminate thanks to SEO or SEM techniques, following the commercial agreement signed by the affiliate program. This way, the affiliate will use their content to generate traffic and, at the same time, promote the advertiser’s brand and business. All this takes place through an affiliation platform, which coordinates publishers, connects subjects, allows the exchange of advertising material, and manages payments and disputes.
The relationship between advertiser and affiliate is one in which everyone earns: the former obtains visibility by increasing the number of conversions, which can be the purchase on the platform of a good or a product. The second receives a fee for each link he has converted. Typically, this is a percentage of the sale completed via the tracked link. This is a perfect system which, however, could also present some risks. The phenomenon of fake leads, not quality contacts, is widespread and can cause economic damage to companies or professionals who use this method.
SEM (SEO And SEA)
SEM, Search Engine Marketing, is a branch of digital marketing that aims to generate traffic to a website. It includes two techniques: SEO ( Search Engine Optimization ) and SEA ( Search Engine Advertising ). SEO is a set of website optimization strategies that aim to get the most favorable positioning on the search engine results pages (SERPs). To do this, a system of keywords, or keywords, is used, which are identified among the users’ search intentions. Once identified, the keywords will be used strategically to promote traffic generation and increase your website’s ranking on the SERP of search engines.
It is a complex job carried out on several fronts, defined as on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO requires the website’s pages to be optimized directly to make the user experience positive and satisfy the requests of search engine algorithms. The interventions will therefore concern the contents and structure of the website, aimed at optimizing texts and images (title tags, meta tags, internal link management, etc.).
By off-page SEO, on the other hand, we mean all the interventions performed on elements external to the website, aimed at increasing its authority, reliability, and quality in the eyes of the search engine. In this case, it is mainly a link-building activity, i.e., management of external links that lead to the site, content marketing, social media, reviews, and more. If the SEO aims to optimize the site and obtain a good ranking on an organic level, the SEA aims to advertise the website for a fee on search engines, such as Google Ads campaigns.
No banners, pop-ups, or other graphic elements: the advertising is camouflaged and non-invasive. These contents do not look like an ad. Still, they are perfectly inserted within the page, adapting consistently to the tone of voice and style, thus overcoming the growing hostility of users to invasive online advertising.
This type of ad can be placed in different contexts. It can appear, for example, in the feeds of social networks or on the pages of search engines. But how do we distinguish Native Advertising from original content? They are generally reported by a notice such as “personalized ad,” “sponsored,” or “recommended.”
Owned Properties: Website, App, Blog, Content Marketing
Among the channels that can be used in digital marketing are those owned properties, which are the exclusive property of the brand., Which includes the website. It is an essential tool for guaranteeing the online presence of companies, businesses, and freelancers because it represents an actual digital business card. The site must contain all the information necessary to convey the brand’s identity and its message to users and potential customers. To be effective, the site must be responsive.
That is, it offers the whole user experience both from mobile and computer, and intuitive, that is, it is simple and easy to navigate. These are critical elements in making the user experience enjoyable and satisfying. Within your website, you can also set up the presence of a blog populated by valuable and original content that can be used for different purposes. For example, attract the attention of potential users interested in the services and products offered, provide answers and information to customers, showcase their skills and values, acquire contacts or drive traffic to specific and strategically relevant pages.
Apps are also part of owned properties and can be an excellent tool to include in digital marketing strategies. If well designed, they can facilitate not only purchasing processes and customer loyalty but also a great way to connect with potential customers and manage relationships with existing ones. At the heart of it all is the creation of content, which cannot be left to chance.
Content marketing is the branch of digital marketing that aims to attract, engage and acquire a predetermined target, increase brand awareness and create engagement. The contents can be of different formats (video, images, text, audio), but they must always be of value. That is, they must be created according to the objectives the brand wants to achieve and the needs of the target.