What is Digital Marketing?

11 September 2020

While digital marketing has been around for years, the concept is still relatively new to many people and businesses. 


And if you’ve been told that digital marketing simply means using digital tools (such as the search engines, social media and other online channels) to reach consumers, you would be somewhat correct… but missing digital marketing’s key component – data.

Our definition of digital marketing is “data-driven marketing, using the internet and technology”.


Digital vs Non-Digital Marketing

This distinction is essential, because data is what gives businesses the edge when it comes to generating marketing results and a positive return on investment (ROI).


Why traditional marketing is falling behind

Because traditional marketing channels (like newspapers, magazines, posters and radio advertisements) reach less targeted audiences, businesses don’t always manage to speak to the people they intend to. There is less interaction between audiences and the advertiser, and scaling involves spending more – often, a lot more. 


How digital marketing benefits advertisers

Digital marketing on the other hand, precisely targets a business’s intended audience, and sends a brand’s message directly to this audience – optimising marketing spend. Importantly, results are measurable and allow advertisers to measure the impact and ROI of every aspect of their digital campaign with pinpoint precision. And for brands with an international audience, reaching target customers is easier, faster and more affordable than ever. 


The Growth of Digital Marketing

The ingredients for digital marketing success have been brewing for the past decade, beginning with the growth in mobile penetration. According to data.gov.sg, Singapore has a very strong 154% mobile penetration rate1, with about 8.3 million active mobile subscriptions. 2 During this time, household internet connections have not only increased in numbers, but also become faster and more reliable. 

Most importantly, the internet has become entrenched in people’s everyday lives. Lifestyles are revolving around the internet, social media and mobile usage. 

7 in 10 Singaporeans are active social media users and 41% of the population make online purchases on a regular basis.3 As a nation, we watch YouTube an average of two hours a day, with 60% of people watching from their mobile phones.3 73% of us chat using WhatsApp, and 6 in 10 people research products they like on YouTube before making purchase decisions.3 

The internet and specifically, our mobile devices, are giving us more connectivity, accessibility and convenience than ever before. 


Digital marketing in Singapore

Digital advertising is a fast-growing space on our island. Statista estimates our digital advertising spend to reach approximately S$1.1 billion in 2020, with search advertising hitting $450 million.4 On Facebook, advertisers reach 4.3 million users in Singapore, and this number is increasing year on year. 

A compelling reason for the strong growth in digital marketing is the ability to directly relate sales to marketing efforts, thanks to the precise nature of data tracking in digital marketing campaigns. Data can be tracked through multiple sources, including social media, web analytics, and various online advertising platforms. 

By having a clear understanding of which platforms and advertisements are converting (and which are not), campaign planning and budgeting becomes more transparent and accurate. 

How you can leverage on digital marketing?
This is the ideal time to get started with your digital marketing efforts – whether you’re doing it for your business, or as a brand consultant or agency. 


1. Build (or update) your website

Your website should be the starting point of your digital marketing efforts. A modern, user-friendly and mobile responsive website gives your target audience easy accessibility to your brand, allows to engage with audiences, and builds your online presence and increases trust in your company. 

Design your website with a smooth user journey and outstanding user experience in mind. Websites that simply organise information into sections, then leave users to decide how they want to navigate the site, are losing visitors to competitors with websites that guide users from one area to the next, and finally to a call-to-action. 

2. Invest in search engine optimisation (SEO)

Your online audience is the lifeblood of your brand’s digital success. And while there are multiple ways of driving traffic to your website, good SEO will bring those eyeballs to your brand – even without an advertising budget. 

With a solid SEO strategy in place, your website, sales and product pages can rank organically in Google’s search results. Achieve the top few spots on the coveted “page one” of your category’s search results, and you can expect a steady flow of traffic to your site. 

3. Leverage on marketplaces and ecommerce opportunities

Selling products and services online is incredibly simple in 2020. If you’re just starting out and want to reach massive numbers of potential consumers, marketplaces like Lazada, Shoppee, Qoo10, Amazon and Carousell (among many others) can put your products in front of potentially millions of customers, from day one. 

Or if you have a well-established brand, website, and a large database, you can sell your products and services on your own website. This gives you full control of your customers’ data and allows you to maximise your profits (as there won’t be a middleperson to pay). 

4. Be specific with the audiences you target

As we’ve mentioned several times in this article, the key to success in digital marketing is data. The more detailed your customer database is, the more accurately you can target specific advertisements to specific groups of people. (For example, targeting males who have shown interest in purchasing a smart TV, females who are interested in sports shoes, or professionals who want to improve themselves through online courses.)

5. Plan your social media and digital advertising

Build a community of loyal and likeminded followers by providing a consistent flow of high-quality content that your target audience loves. Depending on your budget and team size (as well as your expertise), you could handle all your social media in-house, or outsource them to professionals in the field. 

Locally, the most popular social media platforms are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (with YouTube being the most popular and Twitter being Singapore’s fourth favourite). So, if you’re wondering which platforms to promote your products and services on, these are the channels you should be looking at. 

6. Create valuable content

You’ve probably heard of the saying, “content is king”. This rings especially true in the realm of digital marketing, where engaging, entertaining and educational content forms the backbone of what digital marketers know as, “content marketing”. 

Remember, it’s not about flooding your audience with loads of content. Instead, focus on delivering valuable content that will have them coming back for more. 

7. Check your web analytics

The best aspect of digital marketing is the ability to view your results in real-time, by looking at real-time data. Want to know how well your most recent pay-per-click advertisement has done? Simple, just look at how many visitors the ad has brought to your website. 

Better yet, see if these visitors are your existing customers, or brand-new prospects. All this data (and much more) can be found in your web analytics. 


Is Digital Marketing in Your Resume of Skills?

Whether you’re a business owner or employee, digital marketing skills are essential for success in today’s digital economy. 

By knowing how to leverage data to gain valuable insights into your prospects and marketing efforts, you can create marketing campaigns that deliver powerful results, positive ROI, and generate significant revenue for your business – over and over again.

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