How to use Digital Marketing in Japan


Digital marketing is marketing that uses electronic devices and the Internet. To understand everything about digital marketing, this article covers everything from basics to practices. If you don’t understand the basic terms, considering using it, or don’t know how to start, continue reading! While this article may seem long, this has everything  you need to know about digital marketing.

Table of Conent

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing refers to a type of marketing that utilizes all kinds of digital technologies including search engines, websites, Social Networking services or SNS, email, and mobile applications.

To deepen our understanding, let’s review the difference between digital and web marketing, it’s background, it’s purpose, increasing opportunities to reach your audience, utilizing audience data, and providing information for your target audience.

Web marketing is marketing done through the web. This includes these sorts of efforts:

  • Creating a Website
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Web Advertising
  • SNS Marketing

Digital marketing is a more comprehensive concept than web marketing. It encompasses not only the above web marketing but also all aspects of the user’s behavior through digital such as:

  • User activity history through smartphones and tablets
  • Activity history through apps such as map applications
  • Comprehensive data such as the usage history of IoT products

Digital marketing allows you to reach your customers through a variety of channels.

According to the Reiwa 1st Year Communication Usage Trend Survey, the percentage of internet users increased by 10% from 2018 to the 1st year of Reiwa to 89.8%.

The percentage of smartphones users is increasing, exceeding 70% in the age group of 13-59. Although the initial purpose of internet usage was to send and receive emails, the difference between these two is narrowing as SNS increased by 9.0% from the previous year. 

While SNS gives the impression of a “place where people can connect,” traditional communication purposes have slightly decreased while the purpose of collecting information is on the rise.

With their smartphones at their fingertips, people can access the internet 24 hours a day when they want to. Thus, gathering information is increasing through the use of SNS as well as search engines

A comprehensive approach is required for providing information to an ever-growing number of internet users as well as a means to connect them with other customers on an ongoing basis. The rise of digital marketing became the response to this evolving landscape. 

This can be summarized in the following three points:

  • Increase contact with your audience
  • Accumulation of audience data
  • Provide information tailored to each individual’s needs

In the past and now, marketing aims to “connect with your audience at the right place and at the right time.” To apply this to the modern present day, you must meet your audience through a variety of online channels.

Digital marketing does more than just provide information and solutions to users. It also collects and utilizes user behavior as data. By accumulating digital data, it has become possible to grasp the true intentions and insights of users that could not be grasped through conventional surveys.

By utilizing digital data, we can gain a more detailed understanding of each user’s perception of problems, apparent needs, and latent needs. Then through data analysis, it is possible to identify problems that users have and provide information that meets their needs.

Digital Marketing Techniques and Channels

Digital marketing utilizes the following channels to connect with customers where they spend most of their time:

  • Websites
  • Digital advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Online catalogs

Let’s take a look at digital marketing techniques on these channels.

What is it and What are the examples?

Ideal digital marketing is an activity in which individual digital marketing campaigns are organized to achieve the overall goal. Depending on the objectives and needs of the marketing strategy a combination of free and paid channels can be used to launch large-scale campaigns.

For example:
Content marketers will produce a series of blog posts to help them attract prospects for their company’s recent eBooks. In addition, social media marketers will post information to promote the blog posts in the form of paid posts on SNS and/or natural posts on the company’s account. Email marketer will then create an email campaign that delivers more information about the company to those who downloaded the eBook. A more detailed description of each of these digital marketers is provided in the other tabs.

See other tabs for an overview of the most common methods of digital marketing and the channels involved.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization helps improve traffic search on the internet by having your website appear higher in search engine results. Channels that benefit from SEO include:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Infographics

To increase brand awareness, traffic, and/or lead generation, create and promote content to gain customers. Content marketing strategy includes channels such as:

  • Blog Posts
  • eBooks and White Papers
  • Infographics
  • Online catalogs and Lookbooks

Promote brands and content on SNS to increase brand awareness, traffic, and lead generation. This includes channels used for the social media market including:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest

A method to increase traffic to your company’s website is to pay for media outlet clicks for an online advertisement. The most common form of PPC is Google Ads. Your link will appear at the top of Google search results and you will pay a fee based on the number of clicks. Other forms of PPC to take advantage of include:

  • Facebook paid ads
  • Twitter Promoted Tweets
  • LinkedIn Sponsored Messages

This is a performance-based advertising activity where you receive referral fees for promoting other company’s products and services on your website.

There are two main types of affiliate marketing:

  1. Performance-based reward type
    When a product is sold through your website or blog, you will receive a commission based on the number of contracts you have signed. In addition to product sales, informational materials and merchandise are also eligible for this type of marketing.
  2. Paid advertisement:
     When a click is made on a clickable advertisement.

The closing rate does not affect the reward. There are also affiliate programs that combine both pay-per-click and pay-per-success types

In addition, affiliate marketing channels include:

  • Hosting video ads with the YouTube Partner Program
  • Affiliate links posted on SNS

This refers to content-driven ads that appear on platforms that blend in with regular, unsponsored content. BuzzFeed’s sponsored articles are a great example, but also consider SNS ads such as Facebook ads or Instagram ads.

These are ads that are tracked and displayed even after users leave the site. They are effective in encouraging users who have considered purchasing a product/service. The psychology of users when they leave a site without making a purchase is that they are “not sure about buying” or “interested but not enough to buy.” Having repeated appeals to these users will increase their motivation to make a purchase.

This is a type of software where it is designed to automate simple tasks in marketing. There are many repetitive tasks that the marketing department can perform that can be automated without human intervention. This includes:

  • Email newsletter
  • Scheduling SNS posts
  • Contact list update
  • Lead nurturing workflow
  • Campaign tracking and reporting

Email marketing is used as a means of communicating with your audience. In addition to promoting content, discounts, and events, it is also used as a means of guiding people to your website. The types of emails sent in email marketing campaigns include:

  • Newsletter for blog subscribers
  • A follow-up email to the visitor who made the download on the website
  • Welcome email to customers
  • Year-end promotion to loyalty program members
  • E-mail series for customer nurturing purposes (introduction of useful knowledge, helpful tips, etc.)

Online PR refers to activities that aim to become the topic in media by utilizing content-based websites such as digital publications and blogs. Apart from being deployed online, it is much the same as traditional PR. Channels that can effectively deploy PR activities include:

  • Disseminating information to users on SNS
  • Engagement in online reviews about your company
  • Engagement with comments on personal websites and blogs

Inbound marketing is an online content-based approach to attract, foster relationships, and satisfy customers through the marketing funnel. Inbound marketing strategies can take advantage of all of the digital marketing techniques mentioned above.

What are the Benefits of Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing provides real-time confirmation of accurate results. If you have ever placed an ad in a newspaper, you know how difficult it is to estimate the number of readers who actually opened the page and paid attention to the ad. It is impossible to know with certainty whether this type of ad is contributing to sales in any way.

Digital marketing, on the other hand, allows you to calculate the return on investment or ROI of almost every component of marketing.

Take a look at the tables for examples:

This includes traffic, number of registered members, etc.

You can accurately know the number of visitors to your website in real-time.

It is also possible to check various analytics data, such as the number of pages viewed by visitors, the type of device used, and the site from which the visit originated.

These information can help determine which channels to focus on based on the number of website visitors each marketing channel is generating. In offline marketing, it is difficult to understand how customers interact with your brand before making an inquiry or purchase. With digital marketing, it is possible to understand behavioral trends and patterns before reaching the final stage of the customer journey. This allows you to develop strategies that effectively encourage visitors to your site at the entrance to your marketing funnel.

Consider a case where a product catalog is printed and distributed by mail. Although not online, this catalog is also a type of content. The problem is that you have no idea how many people opened the catalog and how many threw it straight into the trash. 

Now let’s say you put your catalog on your website instead of in print. In this case, you can accurately measure the number of people who viewed the page where the catalog is hosted. In addition, a form can be used to collect the contact information of those who download the catalog. Not only do you see how many people have responded to your content, but you can also get potential customers through downloads.

An effective digital marketing strategy combines the right tools and technology that trace all sales records back to the moment the customer first contacted the brand.

This process, called attribution analysis, can identify trends in the process by which people research and purchase a brand’s products. This can be a valuable source of information when determining which areas of your marketing strategy to focus on and which areas of your sales cycle need improvement

It is critical to identify the correlation between marketing and sale. According to the Aberdeen Group,  companies with stronger marketing and sales collaborations will see a 20% per year, while those with weaker collaborations see a 4% decrease. Using digital technology can improve the customer journey in the sales cycle, which will lead to higher revenues.

Digital Marketing KPI

Digital marketing combines free and paid channels, depending on your company’s policies, to generate brand awareness and leads creation.

Channels used include SNS, the company website, search result rankings, email, display advertising, and blogs.

Usually, the focus is on KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. This creates an accurate picture of the company’s performance in each channel. Here are some examples of KPIs below:

The goal of SEO is to ensure that your company appears at the top of search results. Using a variety of approaches to search engine optimization and sometimes in collaboration with content creators can improve your company’s search rankings. This also applies to content posted on SNS. Whether or not this goal has been achieved depends on the organic search ranking of your website as a KPI.

This includes page stay time, the total amount of blog access, and YouTube subscriptions.

Content marketing aims to provide useful information to users, encourage conversions, and acquire leads. Creating digital content by developing content strategies that include not only blogs but also videos. When a company launches a new product or campaign, collaborate with other departments to support them with digital content. The effectiveness of content marketing is measured by the user’s page stay time, total blog access count, YouTube channel subscription count, and so on.

This includes the number of followers, number of impressions, and number of shares.

The purpose of operating on SNS differs depending on the company and SNS channels such as brand awareness, interactive communication with users, improving access to the company website, and providing information on products and services.

Basic KPIs are the number of followers, impressions, and shares, but depending on the objective, KPIs may also include, the number of visitors to the company’s website. (Note: “Impressions,” included in KPIs here, refers to the number of times a company’s post appears in a user’s news feed.)

This include the mail opening rate, campaign click-through rate, and lead generation rate.

Marketing automation is simply “software that aims to automate marketing activities.” It is responsible for managing information on acquired prospects, understanding their behavior, and handing off quality prospects to the sales department.

It is responsible for integrating email open rate and conversion rate measurements, which are often measured separately. Marketing automation KPIs include conversion rates such as email newsletter signups, open e-mail newsletters, and click-through rates for campaigns.

difference between digital and inbound marketing

At first glance, these two are very similar in that they are both done primarily online and are aimed at creating digital content for people to see. So what’s the difference between the two?

The term “digital marketing” makes no distinction between push and pull strategies in marketing, currently known as outbound and inbound. Both are in the category of digital marketing.

The goal of an “outbound” digital strategy is to get your marketing message seen by as many people as possible online. At this point, it is not important whether the content is of interest or welcomes to the viewer. For example, the flashy banner ads that appear at the top of many websites’ push products and campaigns may not be welcomed.

While inbound digital strategies attract targeted audiences to a website by providing them with useful assets on online content. The simplest and most effective inbound digital marketing asset is a blog that allows you to create articles that capitalize on keywords that your target audience searches for

Thus, inbound marketing is a technique for attracting, nurturing relationships, and satisfying online customers with digital marketing assets. Digital marketing, on the other hand, is a generic term that refers to all types of online marketing, whether inbound or outbound.

Is Digital Marketing Effective For Any Business?

Digital marketing is effective for any business in any industry. Regardless of the type of business, establishing buyer personas, identifying audience needs, and creating valuable online content is the essence of digital marketing. However, not all businesses will have the same digital marketing strategies.

It is common to carry out marketing activities focused on online lead generation. The goal here is to increase the number of inquiries to the sales department. Therefore, you need a marketing strategy that attracts the highest quality potential customers possible from your website or secondary digital channels and converts them into promising prospects (leads).

Other than websites, many companies will focus on business-oriented channels like LinkedIn, which their target audience often uses online.

For B2C businesses, depending on the price range of the product, the digital marketing goal is usually to attract consumers to the website and make the purchase directly without involving a sales representative.

Therefore, rather than lead generation in B2B business, the focus is on building a customer journey that is completed in a short period from the time the consumer visits the company’s website to the time the purchase is made. In such cases, it’s common to place product-introducing content near the top of the marketing funnel. In addition, a more aggressive Call-to-Action or CTA is required than in B2B business.

For B2C companies, channels like Instagram and Pinterest are often more effective tools than business-focused platforms like LinkedIn.

Click here to read more about B2C marketing or here for top e-commerce websites that are B2C.

Digital Content Based on the Customer Journey

The type of content your business produce depends on the audience’s needs at each stage of your customer journey. Knowing you’re audience goal and challenges and allow you to create content that can help reach these goals and overcome challenges.

What is the Customer Journey that guides digital content?

A simple explanation of the customer journey is that it is a method of “visualizing” the process of purchasing a product or service and the story leading up to the decision-making process by describing changes in customer behavior, thoughts, and emotions along a time axis.

By “visualizing” the emotions, thoughts, and actions of prospective customers, can provide information at appropriate points, without over-or under-information, and build up a relationship of trust.

The following content tab is tailored to the stage of the prospect.

  • Blog Articles:
    This effectively combines SEO and keyword strategies that can increase organic traffic. Mass-producing high-quality articles that solve user concerns will increase the reputation of search engines and further increase the influx of organic searches.
  • Infographics:
    They are easy to share which increases your chances of catching the eye of new audiences.
  • Short videos:
    They are easy to share and post on platforms such as YouTube to catch the eye of new audiences. For many people to see and become fans, the content must be “interesting,” “useful,” “impressive,” and so on, which will appeal to users who are not usually interested in the company.
  • eBooks:
    More comprehensive than blog posts and infographics. They make it easier for you to register your contact information as consideration for downloads and are effective for lead generation.

  • Survey Report:
    Important content that is also effective for lead generation. Industry-specific research reports and the latest data are often featured in the media and trade magazines and are also effective at the recognition stage.

  • Websites:
    They provide more detailed and interactive content; websites are the ideal content for the review stage as they can provide more comprehensive content than blog posts and short videos.
  • Case Studies:
    Detailed case studies on your website can be effective content to help you make decisions about new prospects.

  • Customer Feedback:
    Even if your business is unsuitable for case studies, it is effective to post a simple “Customer Feedback.” For the B2C brand, more diverse formats are possible. For example, in the case of apparel, it is possible to invite purchasers to post coordinated photos using their brand hashtags and introduce them on the site.

How long does it take to get results?

It’s easy to evaluate ROI in digital marketing, so it’s also easy to think that it will produce results in a shorter time than offline marketing. However, the reality is that the scale and effectiveness of digital marketing strategies can lead to different results.

Within six months, you can achieve great results by building a comprehensive buyer persona to identify, attract, and transform your audience into promising prospects with quality online content.

If you’re using paid advertising as part of your digital strategy, you’ll see it in a shorter amount of time. But for long-term, sustainable success, it is better to focus on increasing organic (free) traffic with content, SEO, and social media.

Does Digital Marketing Need a Big Budget?

The budget depends on the method being utilized in your digital marketing strategy.

If you already have a website and want to focus on inbound techniques such as SEO, social media, and content creation, you don’t need a lot of budgets. The main focus of inbound marketing is to create quality content that your audience wants to see. Unless you outsource, the only investment required is time.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can take advantage of the simple StudioPress theme and use WordPress hosted on WP Engine.

Outbound marketing methods such as online advertising and buying email address lists require a decent budget. And so, the budget depends on how much you want the message to stand out.

Taking Google Ads PPC as an example, there are many other companies in the same industry in competition for the bids to be placed higher in Google search results. Depending on the keyword competition rate, it can be relatively cheap or very expensive. That’s why it recommends focusing on getting organic traffic.

mobile marketing in digital marketing strategy

Another important element of digital marketing is mobile marketing. In the United States where mobile popularity is not as high as in other countries, smartphone usage accounts for 69% of digital media usage time, and desktop-based digital media usage is less than half, according to survey data. 

In short, it is imperative to optimize digital assets such as digital ads, web pages, and social media images for mobile devices. If you have a mobile app that supports communication and shopping between your brand and users, this can be counted as part of digital marketing.

Your online experience must be just as comfortable, whether it’s from your mobile device or your desktop. Make your website mobile-friendly so it’s easy to browse on any mobile device. Consider shortening the input form so that content can be downloaded smoothly from mobile. On SNS, the image might be cut off due to the small display area on the mobile device. Always take into account what mobile users will see.

There are many ways to optimize your digital marketing assets for mobile users. It is very important to consider the user experience on mobile devices when driving a digital marketing strategy. Keep this point in mind to help you create an audience-oriented digital experience and achieve the desired results.

Conclusion: Moving Foward with Digital Marketing

If you’re already doing digital marketing, you’ve probably caught the eye of some online audience. There’s always room for improvement. If not don’t be afraid to step out from your comfort and into the growth zone. 

Click here to read the top digital platforms in Japan.