digital marketing

Digital Marketing – Here’s what you need to know

Would you like to learn more about digital marketing?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. But before we talk about digital marketing for your business, let’s back up about 16 years to see where it all began. 

The rise of the internet!

Long ago, the original purpose of the Internet was to interconnect laboratories engaged in government research. Since 1994, it has expanded to serve millions of users worldwide and a multitude of purposes.

The Internet has changed the way we do business, shop, research, study and communicate.

Two of the biggest innovations that have changed the world as we know it are mobile technology and social media. Billions of people across the world use social media daily and mobile technology has enabled many more people to have access to the Internet.

So, what does this mean for businesses? Well, any business can have a web page that people with internet can access. This way, businesses, no matter what size or location, can use the internet to reach a wider audience directly, fast and at a lower price than many other advertising methods.

Enter digital marketing…

Digital marketing emerged to help businesses promote services and products over the internet or any other form of electronic media.

1. What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to get your message in front of your best prospects and customers. It encompasses all online marketing efforts. Businesses can use digital channels, such as social media, email, search engines and other websites, to reach and connect with potential and current customers.

Basically, your potential customers are always online. They’re hanging out on social media, searching on search engines like Google and reading news sites and articles online. The aim of digital marketing is to reach, communicate with and build trust with them using various tactics.

If you’re not so clued up on how the whole digital marketing thing works, you can speak to one of the IEDM team members.

2. Does my business need digital marketing?

You have business goals, right? And, you probably implement various strategies to try to reach those goals. Digital marketing is all about reaching your customers where they are. And, do you know where they are? They’re online! 

In 1995, less than 1% of the world had an internet connection. Now, around 40% of the world population uses the internet. The increase in internet usage and the change in consumer online behaviour has made digital marketing the most effective and relevant form of marketing for most businesses in South Africa and around the world.

By making use of valuable resources and technologies, you can reach so many more customers and grow your businesses faster and bigger than you can with any other form of advertising.

3. Does digital marketing work?

Digital marketing works if you do it right. 

However, if you’re not investing your time in understanding your ideal online target audience and using the right channels and tactics to reach them, it’s a hit or miss. 

You need to make sure that you:

  • Identify your ideal target audience
  • Choose the right platforms to advertise on
  • Measure and improve

Here’s a little more detail:

Identify your ideal target audience

By identifying your target audience, you won’t waste money and time on marketing efforts that don’t drive results. Here’s how you can identify your ideal target audience:

  1. Where do your ideal customers live?
  2. What is your target demographic? (Age, gender, marital status, etc.)
  3. What industry do they work in?
  4. How much do they earn?
  5. What are their likes, dislikes and hobbies?
  6. Which online platforms are they likely to use?
  7. How do they communicate?
  8. What type of values do they uphold?
  9. What are the buyer’s pain points relevant to your products or service offering?
  10. How do buyers research products or service offerings like yours?
  11. What type of lifestyle do they have?
  12. How can you best reach them? 
  13. What pushes them to make purchasing decisions?

Answering these questions will help you build a buyer persona and choose the right marketing tactics as well as craft effective messages for your ideal customers.

Choose the right platforms to advertise on

Based on the buyer persona, you can choose the most effective ways to reach ideal customers online. You only want to advertise where your audience is – and not waste time on platforms that won’t work for you.

Measure and improve

We strongly believe that what gets measured gets improved. 

If you don’t measure your efforts, how are you going to know if they’re working or not?

Measuring your marketing efforts is essential. It can help you see if any of your efforts aren’t working as well as improve your campaigns and messaging to do even better!

4. Digital marketing services

How do you turn prospects into paying customers? With a failproof digital marketing strategy that encompasses the best online marketing platforms for your business. Here’re the main digital marketing services that can help your business gain online visibility:

Website design and development

Did you know? 93% of business decisions start with a search engine search. If you don’t have a website available for them to check out, you’re going to lose potential customers to your competitors who do.

Having a website means a lot more than just selling and promoting your products and services. It means:

  • Online visibility – showing up on Google and other search engines
  • Showing up for local searches
  • 24/7 online storefront
  • Online shop
  • A platform to link ads to
  • A place to showcase all of your best reviews
  • A powerful tool to educate
  • A tool to show buyers that they should CHOOSE YOU!
Responsive website design examples

Take up your space on Google!

Find out more about website design and development.

Google Ads

Should you be using Google Ads? If you want to gain more visibility on Google and get more leads, the answer is yes.

On average, Google delivers an 8:1 return on investment (ROI). If you partner with the right agency, you may see an even higher ROI.

How does Google Ads work? 

Google launched Google Ads, what it called Google AdWords back then, in 2000. It’s Google’s advertising service. Google is big… In fact, it’s the biggest online search engine in the world. 

Google allows advertisers to run ads on Google’s Display Network.

The Google Display Network is a group of over two million sites, apps and videos where Google’s ads can appear. These sites reach over 90% of Internet users across the world. When running Google Ads, the advertiser pays per click or impression on an ad. 

Types of Ads

Google Search Ads

There are two main tactics advertisers use to make sure websites show up on the first page of Google for relevant keywords, namely Google Search Ads and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

People all around the world are constantly asking questions on Google search. These questions are answered by a combination of paid advertisements and organic results.

You can use Google Ads to get your brand right to the top of search results for keywords related to your business.

Google website search

These ads can appear on various Google search sites, such as Google Search, Google Shopping, Google Maps and Google Play. Ads can also appear in the search results of Google search partners.

Display Ads

How do you connect with customers when they aren’t necessarily searching for you? 

Answer: Display Ads.

People spend a lot of time on the Google Display Network, which includes websites, Google Finance, Blogger, YouTube and Gmail. Display Ads show up in text, image or video anywhere on the Google Display Network.

These ads can be targeted via specific keywords relevant to your offering, websites or landing pages, target audiences based on demographics, interests and previously visited websites. 

google display ads

Find out more about Google Ads.

Social media marketing

“Social media marketing is about creating content that brings your audience together as a community and inspiring authentic conversations while increasing your brand’s awareness.” — Krystal Wu, Social Media Community Manager, HubSpot

We live in a digital age. Look around. Everyone you see has a smartphone and is using social media. And, as popular as social media is, it just keeps growing.

If you are not taking advantage of social media platforms to supercharge your digital marketing efforts, it’s time to start.

Your business needs a professional digital marketing company to implements strategies based on the research of social media trends, extensive analysis and competitor analysis to grow your online presence. 

An overall social media strategy will ensure:

  • Professional social presence across all of your platforms
  • Community building, growing your social audience and follower base by means of keywords, hashtag campaigns, unique content and paid ads
  • Sustained monitoring of all marketing activity, messages, comments and brand mentions
  • Integrated marketing so that your ads, website banners, videos, etc. have the same message and design look and feel
  • Continuous analysing and improving of all campaigns

Remember, when it comes to social media marketing, it’s best to be human, helpful and holistic – these are the key tenets of inbound marketing. You can learn more about inbound marketing on HubSpot’s blog.

social media marketing

Find out more about social media marketing.


On average, Google receives tens of thousands of search queries every second.

People trust Google to answer their questions and provide solutions to their problems. Google has algorithms set in place to deliver the best possible information for each search query.

So, when you type “garden shop near me” or “how to wash a cat” in Google Search, you’ll find what Google believes are the best answers to your query, whether the answers be in the form of videos, articles, shopping links or images.

What is SEO?

SEO (search engine optimisation) is the process of making your business more visible online, enabling you to get traffic to your website from “free”, “natural” or “editorial” search results on search engines such as Google.

When someone types in a query, Google decides the best answers to the user’s query. If your website is following SEO best practices and updated with professional content, it will rank highly on Google for relevant queries.

The higher your website ranks on Google, the more “free” traffic you’ll get to your website. To rank highly on Google, you need to follow SEO best practices, such as

  • Ensure your website is responsive
  • Do keyword research
  • Utilise long-tail keywords
  • Optimise your content for both humans and search engines
  • Strategically compose meta descriptions, title tags and content

A team of SEO professionals can help you increase your online visibility.

Find out more about SEO.

Email marketing

A powerful email marketing strategy can help you develop strong relationships with potential and current customers. 

There’re many ways you can use email marketing to boost your other digital marketing efforts, such as:

  • Sharing blogs with subscribers to get more traffic to your website
  • Building your email subscriber list by launching a social media contests
  • Sending product emails to subscribers and later remarketing to them through paid ads
  • Keeping subscribers up to date with company news, events and promotions
  • Nurturing current clients by providing helpful advice and customer care surveys
  • Requesting referrals, testimonials or reviews for products and services

The IEDM Digital Marketing team can custom design, send and analyse effective emails for both business-to-business and business-to-customer campaigns.

Find out more about email marketing.

5. Inbound marketing vs. digital marketing

Inbound marketing and digital marketing are terms that are often used interchangeably. However, they are different.

Here’s how:

Digital marketing refers to any online marketing tactic, including the services listed above. The term digital marketing alone does not imply any strategy, but rather tools used to obtain goals, such as increase brand awareness, get more traffic to a website or increase sales.

Inbound marketing is an ongoing, holistic strategy that attracts customers by providing valuable content and experiences tailored to your audience.

The methodology makes use of digital marketing tactics to build lasting relationships with prospective and current customers. It ensures you reach your customers where they are in their customer journey. To do this you must:

inbound marketing
  • Attract your audience by providing valuable content and conversations, establishing you as their preferred source of information
  • Engage with them by providing solutions and insights that address their needs, pain points and goals
  • Delight them by providing excellent support to ensure a smooth experience with your business

Marrying inbound and digital marketing 

You can effectively use digital marketing tactics to drive a successful inbound marketing strategy. This will ensure long-term success for your business as it will help you grow exponentially, increase your lead quality and generate more profit for your business in the long run.

6, Does digital marketing work for all businesses?

Yes. Digital marketing works for all businesses. This does not mean all businesses need to use the same digital marketing tactics to reach their goals.

Digital marketing is more flexible, affordable and engaging than most traditional marketing methods and can therefore help your business. 

While it’s extremely important for large corporations, smaller businesses should not ignore the power of digital marketing.

As the internet entwines more and more with everything we do, having an online presence and reaching people online is crucial for businesses.

7. Should you hire a digital marketing agency?

To run effective digital marketing campaigns, you need to put in time and effort. Step back and take an objective look at your current marketing efforts. 

  • Do you feel overwhelmed by digital marketing?
  • Are you getting as many leads as you want?
  • Are you getting qualified leads?
  • Do you need to free up time to focus on other aspects of your business?
  • Are you visible online?

If your marketing is not helping you get the results you want, it may be time to partner with a digital marketing agency. They can help you:

  • Audit your current website and provide recommendations on the best practices for effective websites
  • Create a buyer persona to ensure you target the best target audience for your business
  • Analyse your current marketing strategy and create a new, more effective strategy to help you reach your business goals
  • Upgrade or create your website from scratch if necessary to improve user experience
  • Add marketing automation and lead generation to your content
  • Analyse and report your digital marketing success and make continuous improvements

I’m ready to try digital marketing. Now what?

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