How to Start Digital Marketing Training
What is Digital Marketing?
Since the beginning of retail sales, businesses have used marketing to draw consumers and increase profitability. Through the use of mailed marketing materials, window displays, and commercials on TV or radio, companies have shared their products and promotions with their target audience in hopes of making more sales.
Thanks to advances in technology, a host of new marketing channels have become available to businesses over the last few decades. That’s where digital marketing training comes into play. The term “digital marketing” refers to the online advertisement and sale of products and services. It may sound simple, but this unique form of marketing is quite complicated.
The purpose of digital marketing is similar to that of traditional marketing. Its goal is to connect businesses to customers who need their products or services. However, the channels of communication used in digital marketing can be much more varied and complicated. Enterprises engaging in digital marketing rely on websites, search engines, and social media to deliver their messages to consumers. Digital marketing strategies must be tailored and optimized for the benefit of the business, and they must often be modified over time in response to a changing environment.
Is Digital Marketing Important to Your Business?
A majority of consumers will spend time on the internet, either actively or passively engaging with digital advertisements. A recent study conducted by NPR and The Marist Poll revealed that as many as 76 percent of consumers report actively shopping online. An even higher number of consumers are exposed to digital marketing advertisements when they are not actively shopping. With so many people looking for products and services online, businesses cannot afford to miss out on their piece of the pie.
The best way to grab the attention of these online consumers is through digital marketing. In fact, in today’s world, digital marketing is a key component of any successful marketing plan. The benefits of effective digital marketing are easy to see. When a business has an optimized website, a robust social media presence, and a strong brand message, success tends to follow.
Also, many consumers now view the internet as the most important resource for reading and submitting product or service reviews. Because these reviews can make or break a business, every company needs an effective strategy for managing this online presence.
Because digital marketing is vital to businesses, professionals who have digital marketing skills are always in high demand.
Digital Marketing Channels
Digital marketing is an expansive field with a variety of different channels available. Each of these channels is unique, offering its own advantages to marketers. In most cases, businesses will benefit from using multiple channels to reach their target audience.
Some of the different digital marketing channels a business may use include social media, video marketing, content marketing, search engines, eCommerce websites, and email. To get the most benefit from digital marketing, businesses typically engage in a process known as “cross-channel marketing.” The goal of cross-channel marketing is to integrate marketing efforts across multiple channels for a synergistic result.
Most businesses also make efforts to make connections between their digital marketing efforts and offline marketing. For example, printed media mailed to a customer’s home may include instructions for visiting the business’s website or connecting on social media. In some cases, companies may even offer incentives for consumers who view offline marketing materials and then visit the business online.
The complexity of cross-channel marketing leads most businesses to either hire professionals to handle their digital marketing needs or outsource to a third-party digital marketing agency. This trend opens a significant number of positions for professionals who understand digital marketing best practices.
To be successful in a digital marketing position, professionals must have a range of different skillsets. Each marketing channel requires a tailored strategy, and professionals must also be able to integrate all of these channels seamlessly.
Digital Marketing: How Does it Work?
Each digital marketing channel is unique. For this reason, a business’s digital marketing strategy will usually include multiple moving parts. The overarching goal of this strategy is to nurture relationships with customers, generate leads, and increase profitability. Thus, every part of the business’s digital marketing plan will focus on these objectives.
To be effective, all digital marketing efforts must forge a connection with consumers. Creating this connection is impossible unless the business understands the consumers’ needs and desires, as well as their preferred methods of communication. Thus, to begin designing a digital marketing strategy, companies must first research the audience they want to reach.
Digital marketers are trained to identify a business’s target audience and understand their characteristics based on key demographics. Using this information, the digital marketer can determine which marketing channels would be most effective, connect these channels and what types of promotions to run. The digital marketer will also be able to decide on the best times of day to reach out to consumers based on their typical habits.
Let’s look at an example. Consider a business that sells kids’ clothing. This business’s target demographic would mostly consist of younger women who are the proper age to have children at home. A trained digital marketer would recognize that women of this age are often active on social media and frequently subscribe to blogs and video channels. Thus, the marketer would focus on social media, video, and content marketing. The digital marketer would also tailor their strategy to initiate contact during the times of the day these women are most likely to be online.
It is important to note that identifying the audience and the most effective marketing channels is only half the battle. To build a lucrative integrated digital marketing campaign, professionals will need a variety of other skills and digital marketing tools. A digital marketing course can provide professionals with the knowledge, experience, and skillset they need to succeed.
The world of digital marketing is always evolving, and digital marketing strategies may change over time. However, some of the core strategies a digital marketing specialist must understand include:
Even as the world of digital marketing continues to change, one strategy never goes out of style: search engine optimization. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a strategy that focuses on moving a business’s listing as high as possible in search engine results. The higher a company ranks when a consumer searches for a specific keyword, the more likely the searcher is to visit that business’s site. A business’s ranking is determined by its website’s content, as well as other factors.
SEO is a strategy that has been forced to adapt to continuous changes in the way search engines display their results. In the past, businesses were able to move up in the rankings simply by “spamming” specific keywords on their websites. Today, however, the Google algorithm and the algorithms used by other search engines have become much more sophisticated.
Digital marketers must be able to incorporate keywords throughout the business’s website while still maintaining high-quality content. This is a strategy that takes time and instruction to develop, which is why digital marketing classes are essential for prospective professionals. These classes teach digital marketers how to identify the best keywords and place them strategically within the business’s website pages, social media platforms, product descriptions, blogs, and other content.
Content marketing focuses on creating and distributing content to consumers. The goal of content marketing is to draw in new consumers and strengthen relationships with existing consumers. With an effective content marketing strategy, a business can position itself as an expert within its chosen field, thus building trust with customers. Good content marketing keeps the business’s existing audience returning to the website, but it can also improve search engine rankings.
As expected, content marketing focuses primarily on the written word. However, this concept may also be broadened to take in recordings, videos, slideshows, and other online content. When content marketing is done well, a digital marketing expert will build an audience composed of people who will continue to follow the business’s posts. In many cases, these people will become customers as well.
Effective content marketing requires high-quality content. The material posted must be interesting or useful in some way, capturing the attention of the intended audience and keeping them on the hook. Learning to create content that intrigues the average consumer is a skill that can be learned while pursuing a digital marketing degree or certificate.
Social Media Marketing
According to the Pew Research Center, as many as 70 percent of adults in the United States report using Facebook. When other social media platforms are taken into account, the percentage grows even higher. It is no surprise that so many businesses are allocating sizable portions of their budgets to social media marketing.
Social media marketing refers to the use of social media platforms to connect with consumers and encourage conversion. Although it may sound simple, it is quite complex in practice. An effective social media marketing campaign requires digital marketers to learn various platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. The digital marketer must also be able to develop high-quality content that is engaging and shareable, and they must be able to find and retain followers.
In addition to understanding the essential functions of these platforms and finding an audience, effective social media marketing also requires continuous interaction. Social media is designed to encourage two-way conversations, so responding to consumers is essential.
Some social media platforms, such as Facebook, offer paid advertisements to help businesses reach consumers. However, although these ads can be helpful, there is no substitute for understanding how to reach consumers organically on social media. Digital marketing certification training programs focus on teaching future professionals how to leverage both of these strategies.
Search Engine Marketing
Facebook is not the only resource that offers paid advertisements to businesses. Search engine marketing is another tool that allows digital marketers to improve their visibility by dropping some cash.
Like SEO, the goal of search engine marketing is to move the business’s content to a prominent place on a page of search engine results. However, while SEO focuses on optimizing the content of the business’s website to improve its ranking organically, search engine marketing moves the listing to the top of the page for a set price.
Search engine marketing is an excellent tool to help businesses gain more visibility and spread the word about their products and services, but it can be costly. Also, search engine marketing will not replace or make up for a website that lacks quality content and functionality. For this reason, people interested in digital marketing jobs need to understand how to leverage these paid search engine results as part of an integrated digital marketing plan. This type of expertise requires specialized training.
Conversion Rate Optimization
The end game of every other form of digital marketing mentioned here is to drive consumers to connect with the business in hopes of making a sale. When a customer visits the business’s page or social media website and ultimately makes a purchase or performs some other desired action, it is known as a “conversion.” Conversion rate optimization focuses on improving the percentage of customers who convert after connecting with the business.
The conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of people converted by the total number of unique visitors to the page. The higher this rate, the better. However, even though the calculation is simple, improving this statistic can be a challenge. Conversion rates are influenced by a significant number of factors, including the website’s design, the promotions offered, the business’s pricing, the quality of the content, and much more.
A digital marketing expert’s job is to understand the factors that influence conversion rates and improve them to maximize conversions. Part of this process involves looking at the source of the leads that convert most often. For example, if leads convert more often when they come from social media, the digital marketer knows where to focus more energy. On the other hand, if leads that come directly to the website from search engine results are not converting as frequently, some improvements to the site may be in order.
Conversion rate optimization will not look the same for every business. Digital marketing education helps professionals leverage this complicated digital marketing tool to meet a specific brand’s needs.
Pay-per-click advertising, or PPC, is another paid advertising technique that often falls under the heading of search engine marketing. Like the name suggests, businesses pay for their advertisements according to each click from a user.
PPC advertising is available in locations outside of search engines as well, such as YouTube or Facebook. The most popular platform for PPC marketing is Google Ads, which sells ad space on all Google properties.
Using PPC advertising instead of standard paid advertising is advantageous to businesses because payment is only necessary when the user clicks the ad. Nonetheless, because a single click can lead to a lucrative conversion, paying for ad space under a PPC system can be expensive. A trained digital marketing professional will know how to balance the price of PPC advertising with the profits that come from conversion. All of these skills can be learned in digital marketing programs.
Affiliate marketing is another tool available for digital marketing specialists. With affiliate marketing, the business contracts with another individual or company who agrees to market the business’s products and services for a commission. The commission is usually calculated as a set fee, which may be charged each time a person clicks on an affiliate ad or makes a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link.
Affiliate marketing is a valuable tool because it provides benefits for both parties involved. An increase in visibility for either the brand or the affiliate leads to greater visibility for the other. A range of people and businesses may be involved in affiliate marketing, from large companies to individual bloggers.
As with all marketing techniques, affiliate marketing must be tailored to meet the needs of each business. A digital marketing education will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to properly leverage affiliate marketing, whether you take digital marketing online classes or pursue your degree in person.
Email marketing was one of the first forms of digital marketing available, but it is still relevant today. As the name suggests, email marketing involves connecting with consumers via email to forge stronger connections and encourage conversion. Email marketing may be used to provide valuable information to consumers, inform them of new promotions, or simply keep the brand top-of-mind.
Although email marketing was once one of the most straightforward tools available to businesses, it has become more competitive and challenging. With so many brands competing for consumer attention, many emails go unopened. When these messages don’t reach consumers, all email marketing efforts are wasted.
To get the most benefit from email marketing, digital marketing professionals must be able to develop content for emails that are engaging to consumers and encourage them to take action. Digital marketing professionals must also know how to structure their email campaigns so that messages reach consumers at the best times of the day. Furthermore, email marketing often involves targeting specific consumers based on their characteristics or buying habits to optimize conversions. These skills can be learned in digital marketing training, whether you choose an in-person course or a digital marketing online course.
The Best Practices for Digital Marketing
In addition to learning about all the tools, channels, and other resources you will use in digital marketing, learning digital marketing best practices is also essential. These are techniques that can be used to maximize the effectiveness of any marketing tool or strategy. Digital marketing best practices are a key focus of most training programs.
To begin a digital marketing career, the first step is usually training. If you have a digital marketing certificate or degree, you will be a more appealing candidate for any open position. Fortunately, there are plenty of training options available to fit your schedule and budget. For example, you can attend courses in person that lead to a degree or certificate. You can also pursue a digital marketing online degree or digital marketing online certificate. Another option is to enroll in a digital marketing bootcamp, which is an intensive educational experience available both in-person and online.
However you decide to obtain your training, you are embarking on a journey to an exciting career with countless opportunities for growth and advancement.