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Digital marketing: what is it and why your business needs it


  1. Digital marketing is any means of communication that your business does on online platforms.
  2. People spend over 6 hours online a day. In the digital world, you need to meet your clients where they are.
  3. In particular, Social media is a powerful way to reach your target audience in an authentic way.
  4. Research shows that 88% of people search for a product or service online before making a purchase.
  5. Successful digital marketing takes planning and consistency.

You’ve worked hard to start your business but if no one knows about you it is unlikely that your business will succeed. Print advertising has been proven as the best way to build a trustworthy and reputable brand. As you build your brand, it is vital to build a strong, authentic relationship with your customers. The best way to do that is through digital marketing. The question is, what exactly is digital marketing and why do you need it to help your business succeed?


Digital marketing is the way you sell and promote your business on any online platform. It is the way you connect and engage with customers online. Digital marketing includes your website, social media pages, online adverts, online brochures and email communication.


We live in a digital world and are at the beginning of the fourth  industrial revolution, that of technology. According to the Global Digital Yearbook for 2019 by media companies “We Are Social” and “Hootsuite”, South Africans spend 8.25 hours on the internet a day. That places us sixth in the world for the most time spent on the internet a day and high above the global average of 6.42 hours a day. South Africa also has the highest percentage of mobile subscriptions compared to population size at 170% (98.05 – million). 

Advertising on social media is a powerful way to reach your target audience. Facebook reports that 23-Million South Africans can be reached using Facebook adverts, that is 40% of the population.

When it comes to selling products online, 88% of users reported searching for a product or service online. Online sales are on the up, in the past year $635-million was spent on Toys, DIY and Hobbies. That is followed by a 20% increase in furniture and appliance sales, which reached $589-million.

This annual data shows that people are more digitally connected than ever before. From a business perspective, it is vital that you are making it easy for customers to find you online and engaging with them on the platforms they use most with interesting, attention grabbing content.


With the growing need for authentic connections online, it is no longer enough to merely be online. Successful digital marketing requires planning. You need to provide information that helps educate consumers about your brand and industry.

More than that, you need to make personal, consistent connections with your clients. This is best done through personalised emails that make them feel involved and valued. Social media pages are also a great way to humanise your brand. This is done by sharing your current projects, info about your team, your company values and the issues that are important to your company. A hard sell post can only take you so far, you need to show your human side.

In short, digital marketing allows you to sell and promote your business to a vast online audience. With almost half of the South African population spending a third of their day online, it is a business opportunity that should not be missed. Effective digital marketing takes planning and allows you to connect personally with your customers. Paired with trusted traditional media such as print, you will be able to develop your business into one that is trusted, reputable and better connected to opportunities the world has to offer.

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