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What is Digital Marketing? Your Comprehensive Guide to Digital Marketing. Digital Marketing 101

Digital marketing, in the simplest terms, is any form of marketing that exists online. The process through which marketers create and distribute content using digital media channels, be it websites, social media, emails, or anything electronic, is what is referred to as digital marketing.

With the evolution of the internet, many things around how business is conducted have changed. More and more people are using the internet daily. The world is growing more connected as the years pass, and consumers are shifting from buying goods and services physically to looking, ordering, and buying them online. As a result, digital marketing has become an integral part of today’s business world.

Digital marketing

Benefits of digital marketing

Digital marketing is an expansion and a globalization strategy in today’s business. As compared to earlier on, when businesses had to have physical offices in different geographical locations, today’s businesses can carry out international trade through the internet. A good example is Amazon, the largest retailer in the world. Amazon serves people beyond the USA, making all this possible through digital marketing.

Digital marketing offers a competitive edge for businesses. Previously, rigid businesses about adapting to new technology became obsolete as time passed. This is the same thing that will happen to a business that does not incorporate digital marketing as a part of its marketing plan. Digital marketing enables customers to find your business and thus leading to increased sales and thus profitability. Digital marketing offers a business a competitive strategy.

Digital marketing levels the playing ground for SMEs. Most traditional forms of advertising were extremely expensive. Small and medium business enterprises could barely foot advertising expenses, making it hard for them to grow. With digital marketing, a business can choose which channel works for them and suits their budget and stick to it.

Digital marketing enables direct communication between clients and companies. For example, suppose a customer visits a company’s website. In that case, they can communicate with a company representative via chat compared to if the same company saw an advertisement in a magazine. This direct link helps the company get the needs of their potential clients promptly, and thus they can offer timely responses, which smoothens the operations of a business.

Digital marketing is measurable. Marketers who use digital marketing can use specific measurement indexes to determine which digital marketing channel is performing better and which is not producing results. As a result, marketers can make more informed decisions leading to overall business growth.

Digital marketing offers marketers very precise targeting. Marketers can use channels like SEO and other social media strategies to reach more qualified buyers, resulting in conversions, leads, and revenues.

Common Digital Marketing Channels

Cross-channel marketing is one of the most popular digital marketing strategies businesses use today. Think of it this way; an average consumer has a phone, a laptop, and probably a tablet. Channel-wise, they probably have an email and a couple of social media, and also, they can receive messages on their phone.

Most people move from one social media to the other seamlessly. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the business to catch up and follow the customer wherever they go with easy-to-consume bits of information. This marketing on various channels on the internet is referred to as multichannel marketing, omnichannel marketing, or cross-channel marketing.

Here is a list of some common channels businesses use to do digital marketing.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a popular way of digital marketing businesses in the present day and age. Different social media suit different business types and business needs. One major advantage of using social media to market a business is that social media can be targeted to a specific audience.

social media marketing is a form of digital marketing
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You can choose which social media platform you want to use depending on your target customers. For example, LinkedIn is perfect for B2B businesses, and so is Twitter. If a business, for example, targets millennials and generation Z, then TikTok and Instagram would be perfect. Also, different social media platforms can be picked depending on the stage of the buying cycle of the customer.

As we have seen over the years, different social media platforms will keep coming up. So, it is up to the marketers to keep themselves up to the par and refresh their digital marketing skills by learning each media as it mushrooms so they can use it for their benefit.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a digital marketing channel that allows you to use the content asset to reach customers at different parts of their journeys. Content marketing can be used to create brand awareness, grow traffic for your website, generate leads, and also bring customers.

Content marketing lets a business personalize its outreach to different customers. As a digital marketer, the trick is personalizing your content as much as possible. Make the content captivating to your audience and align it with their interests. As a digital marketer, you must establish the value your content asset is giving your target audience; that way, it will generate engagement and conversions.

Read more on how to run a money-making blog.

Content marketing can take the following forms, among others;
Infographics: usually, these are visual content that helps supplement written content like a blog and help your customers visualize your ideas.

Blog posts and writing content about your industry on your website help demonstrate your expertise in the industry, and that way, you become an authority in the niche. Blog posts generate traffic to your website. This traffic may be converted into leads for the sales team.

Audio and visual content. While people might think that traditional TV and radio marketing is not included in digital marketing, it is still a huge part of modern marketing. Marketers need to design information that can be shared in videos and audios that can be heard on TV and radio, and this way, they can broaden their reach.


Search engine optimization (SEO) allows marketers to optimize the content on their website, be it landing pages, copies, blog posts, etc. Search engine optimization helps your content to appear often and on the top of search results, driving traffic to your content. A good SEO strategy will translate into good results and ranked at the top of the search results. Keyword research and long-tail keywords with at least three words are some keyword strategies that a business can use to rank on the search engine. Linking to high authority sources within your niche is also a great way of ranking on search.

SEO is a form of digital marketing
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With search engine marketing, a type of pay-per-click (PPC), a business pays for each click on a link. Most social media sites and search engines offer PPC advertising and then display the link to the feed of potential customers.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing mostly done by influencers and bloggers. Usually, these people have links that lead customers to a site, and if they buy something on the website, the affiliate marketer gets a commission from the sale. So, the more customers they bring in, the more they earn in commission. One of the most popular affiliates is the Amazon affiliate program.

Email Marketing

This is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing. Email marketing is favorable for both B2B and B2C businesses. Digital marketers need to know when and how to leverage email marketing to achieve different objectives in their marketing. There must be a balance between sending too many emails that potential customers would consider spamming and sending nothing.
Digital marketers collect customers’ information at various journey touchpoints, analyze the information to understand the customers’ needs, and then acquire permission to add these customers to the email list.

email marketing is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing
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Email information may vary from information about a new product or news about the company. Digital marketers need to learn the art of writing captivating emails that will be read and not deleted as soon as they hit the customers’ inboxes. For example, learning how to write personalized emails will help improve engagement.

Website Design and Marketing

A business website is the first impression of that business online. A well-designed, user-friendly website helps increase conversion and imprint a long-lasting image of the company’s brand on the customers. Also, great web design helps improve the business’s search engine ranking.

Video Marketing

Video marketing is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools of our time. Both B2B buyers and B2C consumers make buying decisions thanks to videos. Leveraging the visual property of videos may help digital marketers demonstrate the use of a product and show its features. The visual nature of videos also makes advertising easier since people generally like a thing that appeals to their eyes.

Using third-party sites such as YouTube and TikTok will help digital marketers pass on information about their business and products. The secret is to be precise and straight to the point due to the general short concentration span.


Though people might think traditional advertising is dead with the rise of so many modern digital advertising methods, the realistic digital marketer knows that TV and radio advertising is still in the game. People still watch TV and listen to the radio, so do not give up advertising your business there.

Text Messages

Both SMS and MMS can be leveraged by businesses to reach customers directly. Keeping the messages short and to the point will increase the effectiveness of the messages. Short message services (SMS) are used to send texts only, while multimedia messages (MMS) can be used to include gifs and videos.

Digital Marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Most traditional marketing methods didn’t have specific KPIs, making it hard for marketers to measure how effective the marketing campaign was. One of the benefits, as mentioned earlier, of digital marketing is measurability.
Let’s take the example of traditional advertising using billboards. If a marketing manager sets up a billboard on a busy road, it will be hard for them to determine how many people saw that billboard and also hard to measure the ROI.
With digital marketing, however, numerous KPIs will help marketers determine how well a campaign performs and the ROI. Here are some of the KPIs:

  • Click-through-rate: these are the number of people that clicked through a link.
  • Returning website visitors is a good indicator of engagement since it shows that people are returning to your website/ landing page to consume more content or even take action.
  • Total unique visits show the number of people that visited your site.
  • Web traffic sources break down how people are finding your website.
  • Average time on page. It shows the amount of time that people spend on your page.
  • Marketing return on investment (ROI) shows the amount of money a digital marketing campaign is earning compared to the amount of money invested in the company. Computing the ROI will help the marketers eliminate the campaign that doesn’t earn as much ROI and invest more in channels that are beneficial to their marketing campaigns.

Digital Marketing Steps

Digital marketing can be scary to marketers at first, and it can be a lot, but since people are moving online, marketers cannot ignore the force of moving to digital marketing. Though the channel and digital marketing strategy a business adopts vary from business to business, some common major steps cut across most businesses that digital marketers can adopt.

Define your marketing goals.

Planning is a key component of success, like anything else in life and business. With a digital marketing campaign, marketers have to plan on the campaign’s end goal. Goals may range from creating brand awareness to acquiring new customers and retaining customer loyalty. Carefully tailoring the goals of the digital marketing campaign helps marketers develop an appropriate strategy, and also it helps with making a reasonable budget for the campaign.

Identify Your Target Audience.

Digital marketers need to get as much information as possible on the people they are targeting with the campaign. Different digital marketing channels are suitable for different target needs. For example, a B2B campaign using LinkedIn or Twitter will be more fitting than Instagram. On the other hand, Instagram is the best option if the digital marketing campaign targets generation Z.

Identify the Right Marketing Channel.

This step goes hand in hand with identifying your target audience. As mentioned earlier, when you know who your target customers are, you can make the right choice on where to spend your money.

Develop and Optimize Content for Each Channel.

Once you settle on the channels that you want to use, optimize the message for those channels. For example, if your audience mainly uses their phones for browsing, then optimizing content for the phone will be a great thing to do.
As a digital marketer, you must ensure that your brand’s voice is consistent across all channels to avoid confusing customers.

Measure Performance Across the Channel.

Using the key performance indicators mentioned earlier, digital marketers should analyze the performance of their digital marketing campaigns to take the necessary corrective actions. Measuring results over time ensures customer connection, brand advocacy, and building loyalty.

The Future of Digital Marketing.

The way people interact with brands now has changed over time. Micro-moments make such a huge difference in brand success. Micro-moments are how customers interact with brands in real-time at the touch of a button.

Customers move from channel to channel, and digital marketers are now faced with the challenge of maintaining a consistent brand voice across various digital marketing platforms.

While keeping customers updated with real-life happenings, digital marketers must identify what will be useful to customers without disrupting them. Instant gratification is also another common factor of today’s digital marketing. As a digital marketer, you have a micro-moment to capture and hold the customers’ attention, or they will move on to the next business. To maximize this micro-moment, as a marketer, you need to have a strong message that triggers customers’ emotions and enhances their engagement with your brand.

Digital marketers should enhance the mobile experience of their audiences since, on average, people check their phones 96 times a day, once every ten minutes. Digital marketers should also consider that,

  • Customers are unique, and thus, they cannot generalize how they treat them.
  • Customers are looking for convenience and are unwilling to spend a lot of time to get what they want.
  • Customers are in charge and always determine when, how, and where they interact with your brand. As a digital marketer, you must ensure that whichever channel the customer chooses, they can interact with your brand while still hearing the same brand voice.

To be successful in digital marketing, marketers need to:

  • Adopt a data-intensive approach. While people might think that marketing is theoretical, marketers now have to approach digital marketing mathematically if at all they are to succeed in it. How to do this is, marketers need to collect customers’ information at the various customer journey touchpoints and use that data to customize customers’ experience and make their product or service delivery as seamless and as convenient as possible without wasting customers’ time.
  • The use of automation and intelligence will help marketers to capture and disseminate a huge amount of data and do so in real-time.
  • In multichannel marketing, while maintaining the brand’s voice across all channels, digital marketers must ensure they can find the brand’s information on whichever channel the customer is on.
  • Customize each customer’s experience, and use the information you collect from customers to tailor a solution that will leave a lasting impression on them, which consequently will lead to brand loyalty.

Digital Marketing FAQs.

What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing, in the simplest terms, is any form of marketing that exists online. The process through which marketers create and distribute content using digital media channels, be it websites, social media, emails, or anything electronic, is what is referred to as digital marketing.

What digital marketing platform should my business be on?
While it would be easier for digital marketers to get a precise answer to this question, for example, social media marketing has no one-size-fits-all plan for all businesses. The starting point for which site a business should leverage should be its customers. Analyzing customers’ data will help you determine where they mostly spend their time and therefore invest more there.

What is the difference between digital marketing and internet marketing?
Most people mistake digital marketing to mean the same as internet marketing, but they are slightly different. Internet marketing is a subset of digital marketing in that all forms of internet marketing are digital marketing, but not all forms of digital marketing can be classified as internet marketing. An example is TV and radio advertising.

What is the difference between digital marketing and digital media?
Digital marketing is a set of activities and strategies, while digital media is a set of forms and channels, for example, social media, emails, videos, etc.

Is email marketing still effective?
The answer is yes. With the rise of the different social media platforms, people might think that email marketing is old-fashioned and dead, while this is not the case. There are more emails than the number of social media accounts on each platform. Emails are more private, and the information contained in emails can be personalized to enhance its value to the recipient. Therefore, you shouldn’t leave email marketing behind when it comes to marketing your business.

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