Digital Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide to the Top Digital Platforms


Digital natives have it easy. Sharing information, sourcing brands, following trends and communicating on digital platforms is second nature to them. But what about those of us who can remember a time before laptops, let alone smartphones? Yes, understanding the digital world can be challenge. Let’s face it, you’ve just about mastered Facebook but sites like Pinterest and Tumblr are, well to be honest, a bit of a mystery. Help is at hand though in this post as we take you through the main digital marketing platforms.

1. Social Media Sites

Marketers love social media. Not only do they potentially have an incredible reach (Facebook alone has 2.27 billion active monthly users), they also offer a direct line of communication to customers both existing and potential. What’s more, it’s free to create a business page and and these sites also offer their own analytics reports so you can keep track of how you are doing.

It is possible to have a strong social media presence without being supported by paid advertising but with so many businesses now vying for the digital space, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. In addition, your target audience may well use multiple digital platforms and so posting the same content across all platforms could be counter-productive and will see your audience groan with tedium rather than active engagement.

A better approach might be to pick and choose your social media platform depending on the target demographic. For example, Instagram is generally more popular among the younger generations. And Pinterest is more a visual, image-based medium whereas Tumblr is particularly attractive to ecommerce store owners because it allows you to create a unique look, thereby differentiating your brand.

It’s also important to remember that these social media sites need to be nurtured and maintained. Posting content once every six months simply won’t be enough to sustain brand awareness in your audience.

So, before signing up for a social media platform make sure it’s a good fit to your target demographic and is the most appropriate medium to showcase your product or service. Then, be certain that you can maintain a steady stream of engaging, shareable content.

2. Display Ads

This has become one of the most widely used forms of digital marketing. Placing graphical ads on websites, videos, or emails is display advertising. The ads can be in the form of images, text, animations, or videos. Other forms of display ads include pay-per-click advertising in the shape of Google Ads, Facebook Ads or their equivalents on Instagram, Twitter and so on.

One of the great advantages of display ads over more traditional forms of advertising is the ability to target the ad to your key audience. Whether it’s demographics, choices of the users, behaviour, the user’s geographic location or other relevant parameters, proper targeting means that the ad reaches the relevant people and generates better impressions.   

What’s more, you can easily monitor the success of the ad through Google Analytics or the digital platform’s own analytics tools.          

A downside of display ads is that premium sites are often offered through auction-style systems and so can quickly turn into a very expensive bidding war. Likewise pay-per-click advertising, although allowing you to set a budget, can easily see you spending more than you intended if the results are disappointing. In addition, the use of online ad blockers is growing rapidly. Ad blockers result in a loss of banner impressions, conversions and sales and can have a negative effect on marketing campaigns.

3. Email Marketing

An oldie but goldie, email marketing is still an effective way to reach out to customers and build a relationship with them. It’s a particularly good medium for small companies who may have a limited marketing budget or internal staff resources.  The only challenge is building a database which can be a time-consuming process. However, if targeted properly, email marketing shows good results.

A word of caution though: don’t be tempted to overuse email marketing. The last thing you want to do is become a nuisance to a customer by bombarding them with emails that they don’t want to receive. So to keep your business on the right side of any anti-spamming legislation, avoid spamming a customer’s inbox, keep the content relevant and interesting, provide an incentive such as a special offer and always include an unsubscribe option.

Digital Marketing: Make the Right Choice

With such a broad range of options available, selecting the right choice is important. It’s far better to have an effective presence on one or two key platforms, rather than spreading yourself a bit thin over several. So, Pinterest combined with carefully selected display ads and a targeted email campaign may well be the perfect solution for your business given the time and budgetary resources you have available. Just make sure you do your homework first to be confident you are making the right selection.

Still not sure about digital marketing? Well, contact us here at Write Solutions for some expert, no-obligation advice.

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