Any marketing that a business or brand does on the internet can be considered “digital marketing.” You’ll also hear terms like “internet marketing” and “online marketing.”
Any marketing that a business or brand does *offline* would be considered offline marketing, even though offline marketing efforts can [and do] exist simply to drive traffic to a business’ online presence.
It’s also important to note that digital marketing encompasses far more than online advertising. As is true with offline marketing, paid advertising is only a small subset of an overall digital marketing strategy.
Inbound marketing is any marketing that’s permission-based rather than interruption-based. It’s a play on what Seth Godin described in a book called Permission Marketing.
“Permission Marketing is just like dating. It turns strangers into friends and friends into lifetime customers. Many of the rules of dating apply, and so do many of the benefits.”
― Seth Godin
Seth Godin also said, “Permission Marketing is the tool that unlocks the power of the Internet.” If that doesn’t make you stand up and take notice, I don’t know what will.
To better understand permission marketing, let’s take a look at a basic Facebook ad versus an evergreen blog post on Google…
A Facebook advertisement interrupts a user who is browsing Facebook. It’s not invited. There’s no permission. This tends to annoy more people than it serves them. When someone types a question or topic into Google, they’re giving Google permission to serve results to them. If your result is served and your content answers the person’s question or helps them in some way, you’ve created a permission-based value-add. Instead of annoying them, you’ve delighted them.
That’s exactly how inbound marketing works (versus outbound, which includes things like cold-emailing, cold-calling, etc.). While both types of marketing are relevant and useful, the power of inbound marketing for building an audience, creating KLT (know, like, trust), and converting prospects into buyers can’t be denied.
How does digital marketing work?
For most businesses and brands, the goal of digital marketing is the same as any other type of marketing or advertising – capture and hold people’s attention.
Once you have someone’s attention, they know you. Once they know you, the next step is to get them to like you. And after they like you, the objective is to get them to trust you.
This is known as KLT and it’s the time-tested formula for turning prospects into buyers (aside from having a good product or service).
The only difference is that everything is happening in a virtual world instead of the real world.
What does that look like?
Well, instead of trying to get someone to come to a brick and mortar location, you’re typically trying to get them to come to your website.
Just as with brick and mortars, a certain percentage of people who come to your website are going to browse around and another percentage of them are going to buy.
The challenge is that you can’t talk with them while they’re browsing. In fact, you don’t even really know they’re there when they’re there.
How can you possibly build KLT when you can’t talk to people?
That’s a great question and it’s why blogging, and “content marketing” in general, is so popular.
You can build KLT with your content. You can also capture visitors on an email list so that you can continue communicating with them over the course of weeks and months and years. This is another popular way of achieving KLT.
We’ll be discussing all of this in greater detail later. All you need to know for now is that the general goal is to get people to visit your website and either:
Get on your email list (or chatbot list, or whatever other means you have of capturing their information) so you can continue communicating with them until they buy something.