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  • Writer's pictureEmmanuel Marshall

Digital marketing explained in 5 minutes.

Digital marketing is a broad term that includes web design, blogging, content marketing, video, podcasts, internet advertising and SEO. Digital marketing began in the early days of the web as a niche segment of the advertising industry. But, it has evolved from the banner ads and email newsletters of the late nineties into a sophisticated, highly specialised activity that drives billions of dollars of online commerce.

Digital marketing (aka online marketing) has its own complex jargon, which can be frustrating for business people who aren’t steeped in the geeky world of "SEO," "click-throughs" and "funnels."

If you’re making decisions about how to sell your brand online, don’t let the marketing-speak put you off. The jargon sounds complicated, but digital marketing is a logical process, and the terminology is all about the objective: getting your product in front of buyers.

A professional marketing consultant will take the time to explain their strategy in plain-English, but there are a few key terms that are helpful to know if you want to make informed choices about your company’s growth. In the next five minutes, you’ll learn the most important industry terms and get a concise summary of how digital marketing works.

Marketing content (aka branded content). Anything on the web that can be watched, read or listened to is content. In the marketing industry, content refers to material created specifically to promote a product or service. Although online advertising in the form of banner ads or pop-ups is usually treated as a separate category, the line between ads and content is increasingly blurred. Most websites, blog articles, and social media posts published by a business are marketing content.

Content producer/writer. A content producer or content writer plans, creates, publishes and promotes marketing content for a business. They post daily and weekly updates on social media, blogs and other online channels. A content producer may be an in-house member of a company marketing team or a consultant. Most content producers have specialised skills in content writing, video production, social media strategy and press liaison. A content producer's main goal is bringing buyers to a business by publishing content that will be interesting and attractive to their customer demographics.

Blog. A blog is a website regularly updated with new written content, usually in a longer format. Typical blog content includes news articles, opinion pieces, interviews with experts and how-to guides. Blogs are a means of growing a company’s online following and cultivating high-authority backlinks.

High authority backlinks. A backlink is a link to a company’s website or blog from another website. Backlinks are a valuable means of bringing traffic to a business, and if they come from high authority websites, they have a positive effect on a company’s SEO, (Search Engine Optimisation). The authority of a website is determined by factors such as their popularity, traffic numbers, age, quality of user feedback and trust rating. Google favours sites that are backlinked by other high authority sites and is more likely to display them in top-listed search results.

Link Bait. Marketing content that is created with the specific goal of cultivating high-authority backlinks is commonly referred to as link bait. Content categories like industry news articles, research findings and expert interviews are productive link bait material.

Traffic. Web traffic is the number of people who visit a site and the way they move around on it. Growing and guiding traffic is an important marketing objective and a vital part of building an online following.

Click-through rate. The percentage of people who see a link to a company’s website and click on it is termed the click-through rate. Click-throughs are often used as a measure of success for marketing content and digital advertising.

Bounce rate. Bounce rate is determined by the percentage of people who arrive at a company’s website and then immediately leave without interacting.

CPC: Cost Per Click. The amount of money spent on a digital marketing campaign, divided by the number of click-throughs the campaign generated.

CTA: Call To Action. Digital marketing material usually includes a CTA, an element of the content that urges the audience to interact. A CTA may take the form of a button or a text link. A CTA is designed to drive traffic to a website or capture the user’s contact details to allow further communication via email or social media. Some typical CTAs include: “contact us now,” “shop now,” “follow us,” and “sign up.”

Click funnel. A series of content materials with CTAs that is designed to guide customers through a sales process, click funnels seek to minimise bounce rates and make the process of converting leads into sales as streamlined as possible.

A simple click funnel example might look like:

  • a user reads marketing content such as a blog post,

  • clicks on “visit our website” link,

  • reads a product description, &

  • clicks on “buy now” button.

A good click funnel will also create an opportunity for further contact with a new customer, by capturing their email address or social media ID so that they can be engaged in a secondary click-funnel for upselling and repeat business.

Google Analytics. Google created its ubiquitous Analytics platform to help users generate statistics related to their website traffic. Marketing managers use this data to assess the impact of their campaigns and design better click funnels.

Inbound and outbound marketing. Marketing content on a company’s website or blog is termed inbound marketing. Conversely, banners pop-ups and email campaigns are categorised as outbound marketing, because the audience sees the material outside the perimeter of the website. The term inbound marketing is synonymous with SEO because it is designed to build the stature of a brand, create user confidence and cultivate backlinking.

SEO: Search Engine Optimisation. Websites that place high in search results are much more likely to be visited by prospective customers. Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is a marketing tactic that focuses on enhancing the placement of a website in Google’s search result rankings. Google measures the popularity, content quality and user ratings of websites to determine their rank. SEO employs techniques like keyword placement, content marketing and code improvement to get the best Google ranking possible for a website.

Keywords. One way Google selects search results is by cataloguing keywords. Keywords are the descriptive terms in a search query that define the subject matter. Content writers use carefully selected keywords in web content to make it easier for their target audience to find it. For example, keywords related to the fashion industry include clothing, t-shirt, jeans, lingerie and sportswear.

Hashtags. Hashtags are keywords (or short phrases) prefixed with the # symbol. Hashtags are used in social media and blog posts to help users find topical content. Popular or trending hashtags are a useful way for digital marketers to deliver their content to interest-based demographics.

Lead. A familiar term from sales parlance, in the context of digital marketing a lead is a potential customer who has shown interest in the company in some way such as following their social media, signing up for newsletters or downloading lead magnets.

Lead magnet. A lead magnet is a tangible incentive for potential customers to submit their contact info, like an email address, in exchange for useful free content or services. Some examples of lead magnets are free ebooks, webinars, software trials and demos.

Social media marketing. Using social platforms to generate new leads is a potent marketing strategy. Successful social media marketing relies on creating short-form content that demonstrates value and carries a clear CTA. The best social media content will motivate users to share it with their contacts; it’s the online equivalent of word-of-mouth recommendation.

Digital marketing is logical.

Good online marketing is about giving your audience useful information, building a following and elevating the authority of your brand. The era of intrusive ads that interrupt and annoy us is over. Nobody likes online advertising, but everyone appreciates a business that gives them free advice.

This article has equipped you with some of the most common digital marketing jargon, but don’t be too concerned if you haven’t mastered the lingo yet. Internet marketing is a logical process that’s about understanding your audience and helping them find what they want.

Effective digital marketing isn’t a random numbers game. If you know who your ideal customers are, then you can publish marketing content that will connect with their interests and guide them into your marketing funnel.

Hi, I’m Emmanuel Marshall.

I create marketing campaigns that deliver useful, inspiring content to target audiences. I help businesses build communities around their brands and generate qualified leads. Let’s talk about how I can help grow your business.

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