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How Is Digital Marketing Different Than Traditional Marketing?

Digital marketing is simply marketing using digital channels, but it provides certain opportunities that traditional marketing doesn't. In this post, we'll explore the difference between the two.

Nowadays, traditional professional marketers are integrating traditional and digital communication channels. They’re able to build this bridge because they know that marketing is marketing, no matter what medium or channel is used.

Online marketers should take a cue from traditional marketers who are going out of their comfort zone to learn about digital channels. We should go back to the basics and learn all about the fundamental principles of marketing.

Why should online marketers study traditional methods? Because we’re doing the same thing as marketers in the traditional sphere—communicating with our audience. It’s just that instead of using traditional marketing channels like newspapers, billboards, and television, we’re using digital ones like email, social media, and blogs.

Digital marketing is really just good old marketing using digital channels. However, digital marketing provides certain opportunities that aren’t present in traditional marketing.   

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What Makes Digital Marketing Different 

Some aspects of digital marketing are special. It’s not that the principles are different, but it’s because digital channels have particular capabilities that make it possible for online marketers to do certain things that traditional marketers can’t.

It Gives You The Ability To Communicate At Scale In A Customized Way

With traditional marketing, you can communicate in a customized way such as in having one-on-one conversations with potential customers, but that’s not scalable.

On the other hand, if you want scaled communication, you can run commercials or lease billboards. While these media enable you to speak to the masses, you can only share a single message.

With traditional marketing channels, you have to choose between one-on-one customized communications or mass communications where there’s just a single message.

One of the unique things about digital marketing is the ability to have the best of both worlds: customized messages at scale. You can’t always do it, but in some digital media, it’s possible.

For instance, you could do Facebook advertising and target messages to different sets of audiences.

Using my business as an example, I could theoretically create messaging that speaks to course creators specifically and tells them why they should buy my template library, my all-access pass to the legal agreements I’ve created for online businesses.

I could also create messaging about why coaches should purchase that or why service providers should do the same. I could tailor the messaging depending on whom I choose to show the ad based upon demographic data or interest data.

Theoretically, I’m showing the course creator ads to people who are very likely to be course creators or are interested in being course creators. It’s the same thing with service providers. You can see how I’m able to tailor my message and still speak at scale.

Digital Marketing Allows You To Tailor Your Messaging

There are other even more sophisticated ways you can tailor your messaging on digital channels.

If you have a website and an email system that has tagging, you’ll have the ability to potentially show certain things to certain people and not show them to other people based on the tags.

Within our membership site on my website where we house all my legal templates, for example, we could pull the tagging data of those who have access so that we can show very specific things to people based upon their tags. There is a button that people can click, and the message says one thing if they have purchased a template, and it says a different thing if they haven’t.

Sending The Right Message To The Right Person At The Right Time

You can see from my examples how we can have one product and come up with specific interactive messaging in digital channels.  This is how digital marketing is different. It gives online marketers like us more power because it gives us the ability to have more customized communications with people.

But beyond that, we’re applying the same communication or marketing principles. We’re still trying to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, to convince them to take the next step on their journey.

Understand And Leverage The Strengths Of Your Particular Communication Channel

Digital marketing is not any different from traditional marketing. You should learn traditional, foundational marketing concepts and apply them to your digital marketing efforts. The caveat though is that you should understand the strengths of your particular communication channels and use them to your advantage.

In crafting your marketing messages, you should look at whether there are ways to tailor your messaging. Make it a practice to ask yourself, “Are there ways that I should try to refine these things so that I’m not blasting messages that are irrelevant to people?”

Beyond that, digital marketing is simply marketing through digital channels, and it will do you a lot of good as an online marketer to learn about fundamental principles and concepts of marketing that have proved effective over time.

Learn more about online marketing by joining BADA$$ Online Marketing University (BOMU). It’s my free training program for online entrepreneurs where you can access full courses to help you build your business at no cost.