What's the Difference Between Websites and ‘Digital Marketing’?
October 02, 2020
You’ve decided you need more of an online presence: some strategy for generating more business through the Internet. Usually, the next thought is, ‘I need a new website’. Websites are easy to understand. They are concrete, like a physical object. You can point to it and say “there’s my website”. You can pay someone to create a website for you and the transaction seems simple: I give you $X and you give me a website.
So what the heck, then, is ‘digital marketing’? If I pay someone to do ‘digital marketing’ for me, what exactly am I getting in return? Websites are easy to wrap your head around. “Digital marketing,” not so much.
The ‘Storefront’ Analogy
To explain digital marketing, let’s examine the common analogy that your website is like a storefront. This is true, in that a website functions to entice visitors to enter, explore what you have to offer and make a purchase.
But here’s the key difference: in the physical world, storefronts live at a fixed address on particular street, where people naturally wander past, look in the window and enter if they like what they see. This part of the analogy does not apply to websites.
Let’s imagine that search engines like Google are like city shopping districts. It’s a hub of commerce where people, wander, browse and buy from shops. The first page of search results on Google is like Main Street. There are hundreds of people there wandering: lots of potential customers. The next several pages of Google search results are like the back streets, each of them more remote and further from Main Street, until eventually you’re on a deserted street where’s there’s not a soul in sight.
On Google’s main street, however, there are no fixed addresses. Everyone has a mobile shop on wheels. And Google itself, like the mayor of this imaginary town, gets to determine who parks where on any given day. If you have a great website, a great product and are popular and well-liked, Google will give you a prime parking spot on Main Street. If not, you’ll be relegated to the back streets.
Here’s another wrinkle in the analogy: Google is a mayor who accepts bribes. That’s right: if you agree to pay them, they will allow you the best spot of all to park your shop: right in the middle of main street where all the people are.
A website itself is like a storefront on wheels. But here’s the crucial fact: a website by itself is like a trailer with nothing to tow it. Anyone can build a website. But it won’t have much use without a vehicle to pull that website where it needs to go. That vehicle is digital marketing.
Defining ‘Digital Marketing’
If digital marketing is the engine that drives your website to more visible locations, what exactly does that engine run on?
Let’s break with the analogies a get specific, here. Digital Marketing is a category of efforts that can include anything that drives more business for you online. In most cases that is accomplished by trying to entice more people to visit your website (i.e. your storefront). These efforts can include:
- Running ads on search engines and social media platforms, including using data tools to tinker with the ads to give you better bang for your buck (what we call ‘return on ad spend’).
- Tweaking the content and code of your website over time to respond to what Google wants to see when ranking websites (what they want to see is always changing/evolving).
- Building a presence outside of your website on social media and other third-party channels.
- Working to get your website mentioned and linked from other prominent websites.
- The strategy that goes into building your website in the first place including a design that will persuade your audience and written content that will be looked favorably upon by Google.
Overall, it’s best to think of digital marketing as a plan. It’s a plan for how you can get more people to your website and more people to hand over their hard earned dollars.
If you think you need such a plan (and let’s face it, most businesspeople do), it helps to find an expert to guide you. That’s exactly what we do here at Digital Hospitality.
Give us a call today to start making a plan that’s uniquely tailored to your business, with expertise and proven results to back it up.
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