What Is Digital Marketing? A Guide to Marketing in Today’s Digital World

In the world of business development and branding, going digital is all the buzz. So just what is digital marketing and how can we use it to grow our businesses?

Digital Marketing Defined

Digital marketing is the advertising and promotion of businesses and their brands through digital media channels. Digital media, at the moment, includes websites, social media, radio, television, mobile and even forms of traditionally non-digital media such as billboards and transit signs. Essentially any marketing media that is delivered electronically is considered digital marketing.

This leaves only various forms of person-to-person (P2P) marketing, print advertising and direct marketing outside of the digital marketing umbrella. Even then, print ads, direct mail, print directories, billboards and posters are all starting to connect to their digital counterparts. With items like URL landing pages, QR codes, web banner advertising, online directories and text codes, traditional marketing and advertising almost always has a digital marketing connection.

Why the Focus on Digital Media?

The shift to digital media is being driven by marketing agencies, business owners and consumers alike. The ever-increasing demand to show quantifiable results makes going digital a dream for the digital marketing agency. Most digital media, including websites, social media and mobile advertising is much easier to track than traditional marketing media such as print advertising.

For business owners, many forms of digital advertising are very low cost. Having a web presence, engaging customers in conversations through social media and e-mail marketing are low cost alternatives to print advertising and direct mail. These digital channels are available to businesses of any size, and help to even the playing field for start-ups, small businesses and independent consultants seeking new business.

For consumers, the fast pace of life makes digital advertising a must. When consumers are in need of goods and services, gone are the days of thumbing through a phonebook to find them. Now, we whip out our mobile devices or head to our computers for answers – and we find them fast.

Using Digital Media to Build Your Business and Brand

No matter what size your business is – large or small to medium sized business / enterprise (SMB or SME) – you can effectively market your business through low-cost digital channels. The foundation of your marketing efforts will be your website. Invest wisely in your website, and be sure that it does the following:

  • Adequately represents your business and brand (look and feel, messaging)
  • Adequately speaks to your target audience
  • Can be found by searchers on top search engines
  • Is up-to-date and easily navigable
  • Provides multiple channels for customer communication
  • Connects to other marketing efforts

It is recommended that you work with a professional web design firm that is skilled in web development and search engine optimization. Because your website is the foundation to and from which all other digital channels will lead, it should be considered one of your top business investments.

Once you have your website complete, the next steps would be to launch regular monthly or bi-monthly e-mail campaigns, and connect with customers via social media. If you are truly on a shoestring budget, these are efforts that can be done in-house (by someone with the proper knowledge) or for a low cost by an outside digital marketing agency. Be sure that all of your efforts lead customers back to your website where they can fully engage with your business, products and services, and choose the channels through which they contact you.

If you’re interested in getting aggressive with search marketing, you can set aside some digital marketing dollars for search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Many businesses today rely heavily on being found online to gain new customers. A common misconception among business owners is that simply having a website means that customers will find it. Not so. Your site must be built with specific key words and phrases, meta data, page content and linking strategies that will help it reach top search rankings.

Because many key words and phrases have stiff competition for top search rankings, you will need to supplement your organic search engine optimization efforts with pay-per-click advertising. Getting established with pay-per-click advertising campaigns can be a little daunting, but with a little time, effort and instruction, that too can be accomplished in-house, or for a reasonable cost through an outside digital marketing agency.

Beyond e-mail, social media marketing and search engine marketing, you can venture into a host of other digital marketing efforts. Mobile advertising, radio, television, electronic billboards and much more are available as marketing outlets. Whatever digital efforts you choose, they should all connect and tie into your foundation – your company website.

If you have the means, a wise investment would be to engage the services of a digital marketing agency to assist in your marketing efforts. Today, many digital agencies offer multiple levels of service to accommodate businesses large and small.

Reasons of Attraction for Online Shopping

In the competitive world all of us are running to save our precious time. The mass number of people do prefer online as the source of purchase as it is too convenient. The act of buying products is referred the word shopping. Sometimes this is done for a pleasurable activity and sometimes to get fulfill for your basic requirements like, food and cloth. We can see the outcome of this explosion all around us. The majority of the consumers preferred to shop online.

An individual can purchase almost everything based upon their choice and needs. Just on a single click all your essentials get delivered at your doorstep. Shopping through online is such an user friendly that you need not require to stand in a long queue to make your payment. Most of the people love online shopping because it makes things much easier and smoother. The business organizations preferred this channel as a scope to access into a worldwide network. The demands are increasing day by day.

The three important factors for every commercial organizations are acquisition, retention and enhancement can easily maintain. It helps out to reduce the pressure, save your energy while buying, and you can easily check and compare the value with other. The shoppers can shop more frequently through online portals. One can get almost everything in one place at a cheaper cost. A consumer living in any country of the world can consume their deserving product. The customers are also accepting it as a channel to give a gift that would be of superior quality, and also reasonable in price. The buying and selling through online plays an important role in many people’s lives. Online shoppers can select any time of the day or night to shop in a free mind, even you can do it from home or from your workplace. A person just needs to log onto the Internet, visit the preferred website to shop online and select the items based on their desires and easily get the delivery at the mentioned time. They can purchase a variety of things from shopping online.

Online Shopping has a numerous advantage. It is the shopping destination of the internet users across the country. E-commerce provides a way out of smarter shopping. It is designed with the modern technology for the development of internet. Shopping online permitted you to buy things without distracting your daily schedule. The English entrepreneur Michael Aldrich invented online shopping in the year of 1979. It is a strategy used to learn more about the customers need in order to make a stronger relationship with them. It’s an option to create lifetime customers by delivering on promises consistently. The market has already created its impact and has proven its uniqueness on the eye of the customer.

Some exclusive features make it more popular like you can get free shipping delivery as well as cash on delivery. The expectations of all the customers are different according to each of their age, gender, experience and culture. You want to purchase an item that are not available in your hometown area you can easily order it through online shopping. Lots of people considered it as a perfect way of shopping for getting the attractive offers at discount rate. The goodwill of online shopping helps to enhance the business. Growth and development of the industry indicate the development of the economy. It is one of the easiest technique to focus on the customer needs so that it’s in a position to provide total customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty. It fulfills all of your needs for every occasion.

Characteristics of Leisure

In "Motivational Foundations of Leisure" by Seppo E. Iso-Ahola and "Pathways to Meaning-Making Through Leisure-Like Pursuits in Global Contexts" by Yoshitaka Iwasaki, both authors are grappling with distinguishing leisure from other aspects of human life. To this end, they are trying to describe the basic characteristics that identify something as leisure as opposed to something not being leisure. However, the big problem for both of them is the elusive definition of "what is leisure," since it is difficult to describe its characteristics if it hard to distinguish leisure from what is not leisure. This problem is made even more difficult in modern society, in that there is something of a continuum between leisure and non-leisure, with many activities seeming like a mix of the two.

For example, a part-time entrepreneur who sets up a party-plan business is engaging in an economic activity, but it is also fun for her (usually the entrepreneur is a woman), and she might see organizing sales parties as a side venture To something she considers work. So maybe this business starts out as a leisure activity, but as she makes more and more money, she may spend more and more time putting on parties to build a serious business. Thus, at some point, holding these fun parties may cease to be a leisure activity – but exactly when this occurs can be hard to tell.

This same problem of distinguishing leisure and not-leisure confronts both Iso-Ahola and Iwasaki in trying to discuss the characteristics of leisure, in that many of these characteristics are use to describe leisure can be true of non-leisure activities, commonly considered work. Iwasaki tries to get around this problem by calling things that he characterizes as aspects of leisure as "leisure-like" activities, and by the same token, one might character what people normally call work as "work-like" activities, but this is Really more of a semantic sleight of hand. Calling something "leisure-like" – or "work-like" for that matter – purely provides a nomenclature that is fuzzier to identify a part of human life that is hard to define. In other words, using a fuzzy term to define what is considered an elusive hard-to-define quality simply points up the fuzziness, but it does not help to clarify the basic characteristics of what is leisure as compared to other aspects of human life.

For example, in the "Motivational Foundations of Leisure", Iso-Ahola seeks to find an explanation for what is leisure in the "basic innate (psychological) needs that are the main energizers of human growth and potential." From his perspective, this need which everyone is born with both defines what people consider leisure and direct them to be involved under various conditions to satisfy those needs. Given this driving need for leisure, then, Iso-Ahola suggests that having a sense of freedom or autonomy is "the central defining characteristic of leisure". However, he distinguishes this feeling of freedom from the everyday characterization of leisure as "free time", which people use for describing the time when they are not working, since only some of this time time may truly be free from any obligations so someone can Do exactly what they want to do.

For instance, if someone performs chores during this time period, this time would not be really free, although Iso-Ahola suggests that the more a person thinks of his work as an obligation, the more free that person would feel when he is engaged In nonwork activities, and there before that activity might really be considered leisure.

From this perspective, then, if a person truly enjoys their work and participates in a variety of activities that contribute to success at work, though these activities might otherwise be considered leisure for someone who engages in these activities for reasons that have nothing to do with Their job, these activities may no longer be considered leisure. An example of this is the salesman or CEO for a company that plays golf with other potential customers. On the one hand, golf is normally regarded as a leisure-time recreational activity. But it has become part of the salesman's or CEO's work, even though the salesman or CEO may freely choose to play golf or not, or engage in an alternate form of entertainment with prospective clients, such as taking them to a show or ballgame. If that person plays golf, goes to a show, or is a spectator at a ball game with members of his family and no work buddies are present, that might be more properly characterized as leisure. But in many cases, the salesman / CEO may take the family along on a golfing, show, or ballgame excursion with his work buddies, thenby muddying the conception of leisure. Under the circumstances, using a continuum from non-leisure to leisure activities may be a good way to characterize different types of leisure, rather than trying to make a distinction between what is leisure and what is not-leisure.

In any event, building on this notice that freedom is a basic characteristic of leisure, Iso-Ahola suggests that leisure activity is characterized by behavior that is self-determined, or which may start off as determined, but can become self-determined by the Process of "internalization" Therefore, to the extent that people perform everyday activities because they want to do so, they make them leisure-like. An example might be if I hate gardening (which I really do), but I start doing it because I can not afford to hire a gardener, and ever I start to feel joy in it, which would turn it into a leisure activity. (But since I can hire a gardener, I have no compelling reason to do this, so for now this is definitely not a leisure-time activity for me).

Then, too, according to Iso-Ahola, leisure might be characterized by escaping, which can contribute to internalizing an activity, which makes it even more a form of leisure.

Iso-Ahola brings together all of these ideas into a pyramid in which the greater one's intrinsic motivation and sense of self-determination, the more one is engaging in true leisure outside of the work context. On the bottom is obligatory nonwork activity participation, such as chores one has to perform in the house. On the next level above this, he diagnoses free-time activity participation in TV and exercise, which he feels are usually not true leisure, since people are not really autonomous in participating in either activity. He claims people lack autonomy in watching TV, because they do not really want to do this and it does not make them feel good about themselves (though this opinion of TV is questionable), and in the case of exercise, he claims that They feel they should do this because it's good for them, rather than because they want to. Finally, at the top of the pyramid is full leisure participation, where one feet complete autonomy and freedom, so one gains intrinsic rewards, a feeling of flow, and social interaction with others.

Finally, to briefly cite Iwasaki's approach to characterizing leisure, he seeks to describe leisure as a way of generating certain types of meanings, although the particular meanings may differ for people experiencing different life experiences or coming from different cultures. In Iwasaki's view, citing the World Leisure Association's description of leisure, meaningful leisure provides "opportunities for self-actualization and further contribution to the quality of community life." As such, leisure includes self-determined behavior, showing competence, engaging in social relationships, having an opportunity for self-reflection and self-affirmation, developing one's identity, and overcoming negative experiences in one's life. Iwasaki also goes on to describe the five key factors which are aspects of leisure (which he prefers to call "leisure-like" pursuits: 1) positive emotions and well-being, 2) positive identities, self-esteem, and spirituality; 3) social and cultural connections and harmony, 4) human strengths and resilience, and 5) learning and human development across the lifespan.

How to Protect Yourself From Laptop Theft

For most people owning a laptop is all about convenience. Being able to sit where your want to work, wander around from office to office, sit in front of the television or even brows the web in bed are the reasons why laptops have become so popular.

It has also become much more than a work tool. For many people it is the place where you keep all the things that are important to you: your email and financial information, business secrets, personal writings, even irreplaceable media like photos, film, and writings.

So if your laptop were stolen from you tomorrow, what would it do to your life?

Even worse, if a laptop belonging to your business were stolen that contained the personal data of customers or clients, it could put all of them at risk of identity theft and you could be held liable.

This crime draws both the common thief and the more sophisticated identity thief alike, and it's on the rise in England. Last year, a laptop belonging to the Nationwide and containing the personal information of over 11 million customers was stolen and never recovered. In London, laptop theft is up 15% on last year, with over 6500 laptops stolen in 2006 (not including laptops stolen out of homes and offices). Other metropolitan areas in Britain have similar statistics: over 2000 in Edinburgh with a 31% increase, and a 15% increase in Manchester.

Having a laptop stolen is personal nightmare if it is your own machine, but so much worse if you lose information that compromises your friends, co-workers, and clients. At Marks & Spencer's, a laptop lost in 2007 contained sensitive data about 26,000 employees, including their national insurance numbers and other personal identifying information. That cost Marks & Spencer's free credit checks for all employees and a promise to cover them for any damages if their identities were compromised. In the Nationwide case above, the company was fined just under a million pounds.

And even if you get the laptop back, even if the laptop was only "borrowed" its data can be copied off in minutes, putting any data on it at risk even after the machine is returned.

Two simple steps protect yourself against losing your personal computer?

The First Step: Protect Yourself

Laptops are at risk due to the very portability that makes them useful. It takes only seconds for someone to carry off your unguarded laptop, along with all its precious contents. The first thing to do is not leave it unprotected, even for a minute; Keep it in sight. Get good security on your wireless connections while you're at it, and carefully choose the places where you use that connection.

You can also get physical barriers against using a stolen laptop. For instance, biometrics including fingerprint scanners has become increasingly popular with laptops, and key cards that you keep in your wallet or luggage separate from the laptop can be used to secure it. Computers with hard drives mated to internal workings prevent your hard drive from being removed and copied. And if your laptop is used to access the Internet after it is stolen, there are subscription services that can trace it remotely and render it unusable while it connects to the web.

The Second Step: Consider Laptop Insurance

Laptop insurance is becoming one of the fastest growing specialist insurances. With low-cost monthly premiums, having some form of insurance policy could be the one thing between you and financial ruin. Laptop insurance is cheap, and if you have used other protections for your laptop, it gets even cheaper. Many providers offer worldwide cover, accidental damage protection and a 48 hour replacement service.

Protect yourself physically with laptop security and financially with good laptop insurance. With luck, you'll never have to depend on either. But if the worst comes about, you'll be glad you did.