The A to Z guide to digital marketing

Whether you are just starting out or you understand the topic well, it is important to master the fundamentals. That is why I wrote the A to Z guide to content marketing and the A to Z guide to social media blog posts so people could better understand the fundamentals of content marketing and social media.

Now, the term digital marketing is being used everywhere. But what does digital marketing really mean? Digital marketing is an umbrella term for your online or digital marketing efforts. It is where companies use digital channels such as websites, Google search, social media, email and other digital channels to connect online with clients and prospects.

Here is your A to Z guide to digital marketing:

Automation

Marketing automation tools like Marketo, Hubspot, and Eloqua help automate, streamline and measure marketing tasks, actions, and workflows such as emails, social media and other website actions like landing pages.

Bots

An Internet bot or also called a web robot is a software application that performs an automated task over the Internet such as setting you an alarm, telling you the weather, or searching online. It is like ordering something via text and having it delivered to you without every talking to a human. Bots are used on the Internet where the emulation of human activity is required such as a chatbot. For example, a simple question and answer exchange could occur online and it may seem like you are interacting with another person but it is simply a bot you are talking to. Read why bots are like email but better.

Conversion

A conversion is where someone online responds to your call to action on your website, on your social media channels, on your application or on your landing pages. This metric does not necessarily indicate sales but rather that people are engaged and interested in your call to actions and what you have to say. Read the importance of conversion.

Data

How do you manage all it? In today’s world, we are swimming in data ranging from website visits to personal customer data. A lot of people talk about the importance of big data but small data is just important. Whether it is big or small data, what you need as a digital marketer is the right data.

Email

Even with the growth of social media and content marketing, email is still one of the most effective ways to market digitally to your database of clients and prospects on a regular basis. Email has grown into a complex and sophisticated tool where 82 percent of consumers open emails from companies, according to Litmus. Read 25 mind-blowing email marketing stats.

Funnel

The purchase funnel is also referred to as customer funnel, the marketing funnel, the sales funnel or the conversion funnel. The funnel is a consumer-focused marketing model to illustrate the theoretical customer journey toward purchasing a product or service. With digital marketing, the traditional stages of the funnel have changed. What used to be a theoretical linear path from leads to converting those leads into customers, the path is now a multi-faceted process that can start and stop in various parts of the funnel. The funnel has to come to a point where many are now re-thinking the digital funnel and to some people, the funnel has evolved into a digital ecosystem.

Goals

In order to measure your digital marketing performance, you need to set goals. Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time bound. Your goals should cover a range of different measures to help you set, review and manage your performance across all of your digital marketing activities. Goals should be something like: increase your organic search traffic year over year, increase your click through rate on social ads, improve your email open rates by 10 percent this quarter, or grow social shares by 5 percent this year.

Hook

Everything starts with a hook. A hook is a tease, a sample, and a mental appetizer to give your clients and prospects just enough to leave them wanting more so they take action on your digital marketing call to actions. Your hooks bring people to your website, get them to read your content, and encourage them to click on your call to actions. Withholding some information is a great hook because developing the hook doesn’t cost much. When people take the hook, they give you permission to follow up and market to them more. Some examples of hooks are coupons, contests, free downloads, and free consultations. Read tips for creating a memorable marketing hook.

Interactive

Interactive content is like a survey, a calculator, or an interactive infographic that engages participants in an activity such as answering questions, making choices, and/or exploring scenarios. Read the 5 forms of interactive content. Overall, the interactive content provides the participants with some useful answers or results. Interactive content helps enhance the level of user experience on your website. Read 5 B2B examples of interactive content and 15 tools to create interactive content.

Jobs

Marketing is going through a transformation with the shift toward companies becoming digital businesses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment in the marketing field is expected to rise 7 percent by 2024 and job security is strong because marketing is important to most companies bottom line. In today’s world, you have no choice but to get involved in the digital marketing if you want to continue to grow your career and be employable in the future. To have a job in digital marketing, professionals need to be agile, learn quickly, and be team-oriented.

Keywords

Keyword research is an important aspect of any digital marketing or search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. Search engines help users find content based on links and keywords. To make your content easier to find with the users you want to attract, it is important to understand what SEO keywords you want to rank for in the search engines and put the keywords in the title, URL, and headings of your content. But be careful not to overuse keywords. That is called keyword stuffing. Read Moz’s Beginner Guide to SEO.

Landing Page

A landing page is any website page that you create that is designed to get traffic from different sources and prompt users to take an action such as download something, sign up for something via email, or join something. Read 16 of the best landing page design examples and 31 call-to-action examples you can’t help but click.

Metrics

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” the old management adage goes. In digital marketing, it is important to measure and track the performance of your marketing efforts. Read 10 simple and reliable digital marketing metrics and track only the digital marketing metrics that matter to your CEO. These metrics could include cost per lead per channel, conversion rates for sales or leads.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is an umbrella term to label advertisements that are content-led and are featured on a website alongside other non-paid editorial content in the form of an article or video. One of the best examples of native advertising is BuzzFeed. Others consider media advertising on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram as native advertising. Read why the digital advertising ecosystem loves native.

Optimization

Optimization is the process of improving your marketing efforts of your company. In digital marketing, it is optimizing content, landing pages, emails, applications, web browsers, mobile devices, and ads to increase traffic, clicks, and conversions.  Optimization has become required for successful digital marketers who want to reduce costs and increase sales. Read 5 digital marketing optimization lessons from the top performers.

Pay per click (PPC)

Pay per click is a model of digital marketing where advertisers pay a fee for a click. Each time an ad is clicked on it takes users to your specific landing page, and you are charged a specific rate per click. Pay per click is a way of buying visits to your websites instead of earning them organically with non-paid clicks. Search engine advertising or search engine marketing such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads is one of the most popular forms of pay per click.

Questions

The best digital marketing is where your digital presence is used to answer your client or potential client’s questions. Read a revolutionary marketing strategy: answer customers’ questions featuring Marcus Sheridan. When you use search using Google or Bing, you are looking for answers to a specific question. By answering questions about how your company can help people, search engines will serve up your content to people looking for answers to those questions.

Remarketing

Remarketing or also known as retargeting is a form of digital advertising that uses a cookie-based technology to anonymously follow your audience around the web. The cookie then helps digital marketers target users through paid search and display ads as they go around to different websites. The effort can help you keep your company top of mind after leaving your website. Only 2 percent of web traffic converts on the first visit so remarketing is a tool to help companies reach users who don’t convert right away.

Strategy

Your digital marketing strategy is a series of actions based on your specific goals, targets, budget, and timeframe. In other words, a strategy is a plan of action to achieve your desired goals. One of your goals may be to generate 10 percent more traffic to your website this year compared to last year. Read the complete guide to creating a digital marketing strategy that works. According to Smart Insights, 46 percent of companies don’t have a defined digital marketing strategy. That is shocking since an effective digital marketing strategy will help you make the right decisions and make sure your company successful with digital marketing.

Team

The optimal structure of your digital marketing team varies from company to company but there are some common activities that need to be managed. That is why you need to have the right team with the right skill sets. It is important to hire specialists in specific areas with a broad understanding of the digital marketing landscape. Read 5 people you need on your digital marketing team, the CMO guide to digital marketing organization structures and the anatomy of a digital marketing dream team.

User Experience

User experience (UX) is the feeling that a user takes away with him or her after an experience in a digital environment. UX is one the most important things for developing and executing a modern digital marketing strategy. User experience should be customized and personalization. According to Experience Dynamics, 96 percent of smartphone users have encountered websites that weren’t designed for their mobile devices and if content is not properly optimized, 79 percent of users will leave the respective page and search for another website to help them. Read 6 tips to improve user experience and 4 things digital marketers should know about user experience.

Visual

Content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without relevant images, according to Kiss Metrics. People engage better with visual content. Visual content can be stand-alone images, videos, infographics, animated GIFs, and images in blog or articles. In fact, 35 percent of marketers selected visual assets as their most important content and 65 percent of senior marketing executives believed visual assets is core to how their brand story was communicated.

Website

According to the recent Gartner CMO spend survey, 52 percent of marketers surveyed expect to increase spending on their websites. Your websites reflect your brand and should offer high-quality content and should be easy to navigate. Read how to make your website more effective. Not all website pages are created equal. Your home page should be the front door of your home, your content pages should tell your stories, and your landing pages should turn visitors into leads or get them to do more on your website. Read what’s difference between a home page and a landing page? To take it a step further, there are two types of landing pages: click-through landing pages and lead generation landing pages. Your websites are one of the most critical parts of your digital marketing efforts because all of your other digital marketing activities should lead your users eventually back to your websites for conversion.

X-factor

A x-factor is a special quality, especially one that is essential for success and is difficult to describe. For example, the X factor in better content marketing is agile marketing. Companies and people need to be ready for x-factors that influence the success of their digital marketing efforts.

Yield

The word yield, as it relates to digital marketing, is giving up or surrendering the power to your buyers. It is not the word yield, as it relates to finance, where an investment yields a good return. In today’s world, more of the buying process is done online so it is critical you excel in digital marketing in both the B2B and B2C worlds. For example, 94 percent of B2B buyers research online for purchase decisions and 81 percent of shoppers/consumers conduct online research before making a purchase. Are your digital marketing efforts helping your current or potential buyers when they are researching?

ZigZag

Taking an approach that differs from everyone else can help you stand out. As Brian Clark from Copyblogger says: “when I see everyone doing something, I know it is time to do something else. In other words, when everyone is zigging, it’s time to zag.” Are you zagging when it comes to digital marketing?

Now it is your turn, what would you add?

What words did you like or not like in this A to Z guide? What would you add? What letters would you replace? What other popular digital marketing terms would you add to this list?

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