What Is Digital Marketing? A Guide to Marketing in Today’s Digital World

In the world of business development and branding, going digital is all the buzz. So just what is digital marketing and how can we use it to grow our businesses?

Digital Marketing Defined

Digital marketing is the advertising and promotion of businesses and their brands through digital media channels. Digital media, at the moment, includes websites, social media, radio, television, mobile and even forms of traditionally non-digital media such as billboards and transit signs. Essentially any marketing media that is delivered electronically is considered digital marketing.

This leaves only various forms of person-to-person (P2P) marketing, print advertising and direct marketing outside of the digital marketing umbrella. Even then, print ads, direct mail, print directories, billboards and posters are all starting to connect to their digital counterparts. With items like URL landing pages, QR codes, web banner advertising, online directories and text codes, traditional marketing and advertising almost always has a digital marketing connection.

Why the Focus on Digital Media?

The shift to digital media is being driven by marketing agencies, business owners and consumers alike. The ever-increasing demand to show quantifiable results makes going digital a dream for the digital marketing agency. Most digital media, including websites, social media and mobile advertising is much easier to track than traditional marketing media such as print advertising.

For business owners, many forms of digital advertising are very low cost. Having a web presence, engaging customers in conversations through social media and e-mail marketing are low cost alternatives to print advertising and direct mail. These digital channels are available to businesses of any size, and help to even the playing field for start-ups, small businesses and independent consultants seeking new business.

For consumers, the fast pace of life makes digital advertising a must. When consumers are in need of goods and services, gone are the days of thumbing through a phonebook to find them. Now, we whip out our mobile devices or head to our computers for answers – and we find them fast.

Using Digital Media to Build Your Business and Brand

No matter what size your business is – large or small to medium sized business / enterprise (SMB or SME) – you can effectively market your business through low-cost digital channels. The foundation of your marketing efforts will be your website. Invest wisely in your website, and be sure that it does the following:

  • Adequately represents your business and brand (look and feel, messaging)
  • Adequately speaks to your target audience
  • Can be found by searchers on top search engines
  • Is up-to-date and easily navigable
  • Provides multiple channels for customer communication
  • Connects to other marketing efforts

It is recommended that you work with a professional web design firm that is skilled in web development and search engine optimization. Because your website is the foundation to and from which all other digital channels will lead, it should be considered one of your top business investments.

Once you have your website complete, the next steps would be to launch regular monthly or bi-monthly e-mail campaigns, and connect with customers via social media. If you are truly on a shoestring budget, these are efforts that can be done in-house (by someone with the proper knowledge) or for a low cost by an outside digital marketing agency. Be sure that all of your efforts lead customers back to your website where they can fully engage with your business, products and services, and choose the channels through which they contact you.

If you’re interested in getting aggressive with search marketing, you can set aside some digital marketing dollars for search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Many businesses today rely heavily on being found online to gain new customers. A common misconception among business owners is that simply having a website means that customers will find it. Not so. Your site must be built with specific key words and phrases, meta data, page content and linking strategies that will help it reach top search rankings.

Because many key words and phrases have stiff competition for top search rankings, you will need to supplement your organic search engine optimization efforts with pay-per-click advertising. Getting established with pay-per-click advertising campaigns can be a little daunting, but with a little time, effort and instruction, that too can be accomplished in-house, or for a reasonable cost through an outside digital marketing agency.

Beyond e-mail, social media marketing and search engine marketing, you can venture into a host of other digital marketing efforts. Mobile advertising, radio, television, electronic billboards and much more are available as marketing outlets. Whatever digital efforts you choose, they should all connect and tie into your foundation – your company website.

If you have the means, a wise investment would be to engage the services of a digital marketing agency to assist in your marketing efforts. Today, many digital agencies offer multiple levels of service to accommodate businesses large and small.

Outdoor Advertising

Outdoor advertising is used to promote or advertise products and services using billboards, storefront signs, banners, wraps, decals, and other forms of signage. Vehicle wraps is a good example of how outdoor advertising works. It is a very effective and inexpensive tool for small companies who are looking to advertise their business in a specific area and within a limited budget. Without signs, it would be hard for customers to find a business or get information regarding products and services.

Outdoor signs are probably the first thing customers see and established an impression about the nature of a business. To leave a good impression on your visitors, you have to display your products, services, pricing etc. in a very attractive and creative way. Information should be displayed in a very simple and conspicuous way so that customers can quickly understand what your business is all about.

It is absolutely imperative for a business, whether small or large, to install signs as a source to build brand identity and authority. To make things simple, you can just visit your city and see what kind of sign boards grab your attention. It will give you a fair chance to develop an understanding of what type of signage would work for your business.

If you are running a business which involves a fleet of vehicles facilitating delivery of products and services, your company’s name, products, services, logo, contact information etc. should be clearly visible on your vehicles. A billboard might cost a handful of money. However, vehicles can be used as cheap mobile billboards.

Billboards are usually used to address a large audience. It is probably hard for small businesses to afford billboards as a source of outdoor advertising. However, a billboard, if designed properly, can be very useful in promoting campaigns, offers, or anything desired.

Banners is another tool to boost up outdoor advertising campaigns. It can be used as both indoor and outdoor signs. You can decide the size and content of banners depending on your requirements. A complete range of outdoor signs can be obtained from signage companies. It is not feasible to make a banner or billboard at home for it requires printing equipment and skills. Therefore, it is advisable to visit a reputable signage company to get perfectly designed outdoor advertising signs.

Despite the unprecedented advancement in technology, these simple outdoor advertising tools to promote products and services remain relevant and effective. So do not miss out the opportunity to promote your business with limited sources.

Financial Spread Trading For Beginners

In this article, I want to show what factors to take into account when making a spread trading strategy in the financial markets. Such a strategy should be custom-designed for each person! After all, would you wear clothes made for another person? So it is with trading strategies.

Profit potential in the financial markets is huge – this is its main attraction! As an example, if you had sold the FTSE short in April 2010 and taken profits 1,000 points lower in June, a £ 5 down bet would have produced a profit of £ 5,000 on a margin (deposit) of only £ 500 or so – a 10: 1 home run.

But first, why do we trade the financial markets and what is actually traded? We are all familiar with the Stock Markets, Gold, Crude Oil, Currencies. Take just the Stock Markets – there are many types of participants. There are the big institutions, such as pension funds, mutual funds / unit trusts, hedge funds, and there are private investors, some with long-term horizons, and some with short-term capital-gain interests. We are concerned with the latter here, as these are called traders (that's us).

WHAT IS TRADED IN THE FINANCIAL MARKETS?

What is actually traded and what or who decides on market prices? My interest is in trading the main stock indices, such as the FTSE, the Dow Jones Industrials, the S & P 500, and the NASDAQ. These are all indexes of a basket of company shares averaged in some way. They reflect the general trends in the market, up or down. They are all derivatives.

As a trader, who is someone interested in buying and selling for a profit, and not at all interested in taking possession for any other reason, we want to discover methods which can identify when to buy and when to sell. That is where a simple, semi-mechanical method using technical analysis is necessary, together with a sound money-management scheme.

WHAT OR WHO DETERMINES MARKET PRICES?

What does move market prices? All public markets are what we call 'auction' markets where prices are set by the buying bids and selling offers of the various participants. Have you ever been to a live auction at an auction house? Sometimes, when an object comes up, there is a group of two bidders, both desperate to own that object. The bids ratchet up and up – and up to reach what many would say is a very high price. Now imagine the auction if those two bidders had played golf instead. Of course, the price achieved would have been far lower – and for the very same object!

So what was the true market price for that object? Of course, the concept is meaningless. The market is what the market is. This shows that market prices are determined by emotion, rather than rationality. This explains the various bubbles in financial markets we have seen recently. As traders, we can take advantage of this! Traders love bubbles both in the inflating and the deflating phases.

WHAT STRATEGY FOR YOU?

If you are reliably starting out as a spread trader, you need to determine what type of personality you are (I have explained this in a companion article). You need to match your chosen trading time-frame with your personality type.

If you like staying with a well thought-out trade for weeks and months, then you will be looking primarily at weekly and daily charts and using Elliott Wave and Fibonacci analysis methods (again, described in a companion article). For your money-management plan, you will be placing protective stops somewhat far away from your entry price, but always well within your estimated maximum loss.

If you like short-term trading, you will be looking at daily and 60-min, 30-min, and even 10-min charts in real time. It is almost a full-time commitment. But with expert advice at hand, it can be very profitable

Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

Our modern, urbanized lifestyle relegates most of us to a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting or working behind the computer is commonplace. While it is almost impossible to give up our jobs, there are ways in which we can incorporated exercise into our hectic schedules. If you live in an apartment, make the effort to walk your way up to your residence. If you take public transport to work, try flying from the train or bus one stop earlier and walking the rest of the way. Take time off to exercise at least twice a week, 30 minutes each time. Vigorous exercise engages the cardiovascular muscles and improves blood circulation, reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

Maintain A Healthy Diet

Our food intake today includes some form of processed food. Increased affluence has led to demand for better lifestyle and with it, food that looks appealing and tastes good. While it will be impossible to eradicate processed food altogether in your diet, try replacing some of it with fresh food. Replace sausages and bacon with fresh meat. Use natural seasoning like species and herbs instead of pre-packaged condiments. If you need to snack, choose apple slices or cupped corn over potato chips. When eating out, ask for reduced salt or go salt-free. Cutting down on salt goes a long way towards giving yourself a healthy body.

Reduce Stress

We live in a competitive world. The pressure to perform both in the workplace and at home brings stress to us at a level never witnessed before. If you feel that you are burning out, drop your work and go for a walk. Take a stroll through the park or sit quietly by the beach. Breathe some fresh air. Find a moment of solitude and let your mind enjoy some peace, even for a short 30 minutes. Better still, set aside at least an hour every week to spend some quiet moments by yourself. Do not wait till the stress starts to build up. Prevention is better than cure.

Avoid Excessive Alcohol

Research has shown that excessive alcohol consumption has the effect of increasing your blood pressure level. In addition, alcohol contains calories, which leads to weight gain, one of the factors leading to high blood pressure. If you are a heavy drinker, aim to reduce your intake gradually over time. If you must drink at social functions, limit yourself to just one or two drinks. Having less alcohol cleanses your system and puts your body on a path towards normalcy.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the foremost contributors towards the increase of blood pressure. Smoking increases your blood pressure temporarily but instantly. Frequent smoking increases the frequency of increased blood pressure and the long-term effects of such temporary blood pressure increases can not be ignored. Aim to quit smoking over time. Reduce your number of cigarettes gradually till you have quit altogether. There is another benefit to be enjoyed: The gradual absence of nicotine also reduces your chances of getting narrow arteries and hardened artery walls, two major factors leading to blood clot, which in turn causes heart attack or stroke.

Summary

In summary, exercise, eat healthily and remove stress from your life. Also aim to reduce your alcohol intake and quit smoking. A few simple changes in lifestyle not only greatly reduces your chances of getting high blood pressure but also makes you more fit and feel good!