Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The A to Z Guide to Digital Marketing

By Matthew Royse 
Director, Marketing Communications
Forsythe Technology


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:


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.


An Internet bot, 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 ever 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. 


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.


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


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.


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 isnow 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.


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.


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.


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. 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


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.


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.

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.


“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. 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.


Optimization is the process of improving the 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.

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.


The best digital marketing is where your digital presence is used to answer your client or potential client’s questions. 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, 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.


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. 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.


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.

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 include 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..


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 assetsis core to how their brand story was communicated.


According to a recent survey, 52 percent of marketers surveyed expect to increase spending on their websites. Your websites reflects your brand and should offer high-quality content and should be easy to navigate. 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. 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.


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.


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 B2Bbuyers 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?


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?

To learn more, please visit: https://knowledgeenthusiast.com/2016/12/21/the-a-to-z-guide-to-digital-marketing

Matthew Royse is the Director of Marketing Communications for Forsythe Technology, one of the largest independent IT integrators in North America. He has more than 15 years of experience in marketing and communications, working in many different industries, including financial services, technology, media and entertainment.

At Forsythe Technology, Matthew oversees all content marketing and social media initiatives internally and externally, across multiple platforms and formats to drive sales, engagement, retention, leads and positive behavior with clients, partners, analysts and employees.

Matthew currently teaches a social media class for students in Duke's Event Development Certification program. He has spoken about social media and content marketing at numerous industry and regional events.