What is digital marketing how to get started

What is Digital Marketing: Expert Tips on How to Get Started

It sounds like you’ve been hearing the words ‘digital marketing’ a lot lately, haven’t you? Maybe you’re a business owner, and you’ve heard that digital marketing is the ‘secret sauce’ to driving more customers your way. But when you try to understand it, you’re bombarded with jargon and complex concepts that seem like a foreign language. It’s frustrating, right?

I get it, and you’re not alone. Many people feel exactly the same way when they first start exploring digital marketing. But here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to be that way.

In this guide, I’m going to break it down in a way that’s easy to understand and apply. We’ll start with the basics – a clear, simple definition of digital marketing and why it’s important. Then, we’ll explore different types of digital marketing and how each one could benefit your business.

But we won’t stop at the ‘what’ and ‘why.’ This guide will also equip you with a comprehensive “digital marketing how-to,” a step-by-step plan for getting started, creating an effective strategy, and implementing your first campaigns. Plus, we’ll talk about how to keep your strategy fresh and up-to-date with the latest trends.

So, What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use the internet or electronic devices. It’s about connecting with your customers where they already spend a lot of their time: online.

Whether you’re posting a photo of your latest product on Instagram, sending out an email newsletter, or optimizing your online store for search engines, you’re participating in digital marketing.

But why has digital marketing become such a big deal? Well, think about how much time you spend online. Now think about your customers. They’re no different! They’re searching for products, reading reviews, and making purchases on their devices. 

In fact, Oberlo estimates that internet users worldwide spend over 400 minutes online every day. That’s a lot of potential touchpoints for your business. This shift to digital has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for businesses to reach their audience.

And here’s the exciting part: digital marketing isn’t just for big corporations with deep pockets. It levels the playing field, allowing small businesses to compete with larger ones. It’s all about reaching the right people, at the right time, with the right message. And that’s what I’ll help you learn how to do.

8 Types of Digital Marketing

8 Types of digital marketing

Digital marketing comes in many forms, each with its unique benefits. Let’s take a brief look at some of these:

1. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing (SMM) is the most popular form of digital marketing. It’s fascinating how many people mistakenly believe that digital marketing revolves around promoting products solely on social media. In fact, I bet you did too. This is a common misconception, but it speaks volumes about the remarkable influence and prominence of social media in today’s digital landscape.

MUST READSocial Media Marketing vs Digital Marketing

But let me tell you, my friend, SMM is just one vibrant thread woven into the rich tapestry of digital marketing.

So what is social media marketing?

Social media marketing entails harnessing the power of popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, to not only promote your brand but also foster meaningful connections with your audience and motivate them to take desired actions.

Whether it’s sharing captivating visuals, posting informative articles, running engaging contests, or even collaborating with influencers, social media provides a dynamic and interactive platform to connect with your target audience.

But it’s not just about posting content. Social media marketing also involves actively listening to your audience, responding to their comments and messages, and gathering valuable insights for continuous improvement.

For a more comprehensive look into this form of digital marketing, check out this guide on Social Media Marketing that covers strategies, best practices, and channels.

2. SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical aspect of digital marketing that ensures your website gets the visibility it deserves. 

Importance of SEO in digital marketing

SEO focuses on optimizing your website’s structure, content, and relevance to make it more search engine-friendly. By conducting keyword research, implementing on-page optimizations, and earning authoritative backlinks, you increase your chances of ranking higher on search engine result pages.

So, why is SEO important in digital marketing? 

Well, think about how you typically search for information online. You likely enter specific keywords or phrases into a search engine like Google, right? 

Studies show that users tend to click on the top results, with a significant drop-off in clicks as they move down the page. By leveraging SEO techniques, you can improve your website’s visibility, attract more organic traffic, and increase the chances of users finding and engaging with your content.

Ultimately, SEO helps you build a strong online presence, enhances brand credibility, and boosts your chances of converting visitors into customers. To explore the world of SEO in more detail, check out this comprehensive SEO marketing guide for 2023.

3. Content Marketing

Content marketing involves producing and disseminating valuable, relevant, and consistent content with the purpose of captivating and engaging a specific target audience. The goal is to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience by delivering content that meets their needs and interests.

benefits of content marketing

Content marketing serves multiple purposes. It can help you increase brand awareness, engage your target audience, drive website traffic, boost search engine rankings, and ultimately, convert leads into loyal customers.

For a more comprehensive understanding of content marketing, I’ve created an in-depth guide that explores strategies, tactics, and best practices. Learn more about this form of digital marketing in this detailed article on “A Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing.”

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing remains a tried and true method for connecting directly with your audience and nurturing customer relationships. It involves sending targeted emails to a list of subscribers who have shown interest in your brand, products, or services.

You can send various types of emails, such as newsletters, promotional offers, product updates, welcome sequences, abandoned cart reminders, and more. The key is to provide value and create meaningful connections with your subscribers.

Personalization and segmentation play vital roles in successful email marketing. By segmenting your email list based on demographics, interests, or past purchase behavior, you can tailor your messages to specific audience segments, making them more relevant and compelling.

Check out this detailed article on Email Marketing in 2023 for a closer look at this impactful digital marketing channel.

5. SEM & PPC (Search Engine Marketing/Pay-Per-Click)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a dynamic digital marketing approach that aims to boost your website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). It encompasses various strategies, including both organic (unpaid) and paid methods. 

One popular and effective form of paid advertising within SEM is Pay-Per-Click (PPC).

Many people often assume that SEM and PPC are the same, but there’s a distinction worth noting: SEM is the broader umbrella term that covers all tactics used to enhance search engine visibility, while PPC is a specific advertising model under the SEM umbrella.

PPC operates on a simple concept: Advertisers create ads and bid on specific keywords relevant to their business. When users search for those keywords, the ads appear alongside the organic search results. The unique aspect of PPC is that advertisers only pay when their ad is clicked.

With PPC, businesses can achieve immediate visibility and drive targeted traffic to their websites. It’s an effective way to reach potential customers precisely when they’re actively searching for products or services. However, it’s important to carefully plan and optimize PPC campaigns to maximize results and return on investment.

If you’re new to SEM and PPC or wondering how to make the most of these powerful strategies, I’ve got you covered. Check out our comprehensive article on ‘What is SEM (Search Engine Marketing)? Is SEM the Same as PPC?‘ It provides a detailed exploration of SEM, clarifies the distinction between SEO, SEM, and PPC, and offers valuable insights to help you navigate and leverage these essential components of digital marketing.

6. Affiliate & Influencer Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy that allows businesses to expand their reach by partnering with affiliates who promote their products or services. These affiliates earn a commission for each customer they bring in through their marketing efforts.

Let me ask, have you ever wondered why your favorite celebrity is always recommending certain products or services? There’s likely a fascinating link between their recommendations and something called affiliate marketing.

In today’s digital age, social media influencers have gained tremendous popularity and trust among their followers. They often share their experiences, review products, and offer recommendations. What you may not realize is that many of these influencers are part of affiliate marketing programs.

When your favorite influencer shares their genuine enthusiasm for a product or service, they often include a unique affiliate link or promo code. This link allows them to earn a commission for every sale or referral generated through their recommendation.

When you click on that link and make a purchase, you’re not only benefiting from their curated suggestions, but you’re also earning them some great cash.

So Is Affiliate Marketing the Same as Influencer Marketing?

Well, not really.

Affiliate marketing is primarily performance-driven, aiming to drive sales and conversions, while influencer marketing focuses on brand awareness and leveraging the influencer’s credibility to connect with their audience.

In affiliate marketing, affiliates earn a commission for driving sales or referrals through their unique affiliate links. Affiliates can be individuals, bloggers, content creators, or even other businesses. They leverage their marketing efforts to generate conversions and earn commissions.

On the other hand, influencer marketing revolves around leveraging the popularity and trust of influential individuals, such as celebrities, social media personalities, or industry experts. Influencers collaborate with brands to endorse products or services through their content. They often have a dedicated following that trusts their opinions and recommendations.

While some influencers may also participate in affiliate marketing programs, not all influencers are affiliates, and not all affiliates are influencers. 

Here is a table summarizing the differences between influencer and affiliate marketing:

Influencer MarketingAffiliate Marketing
Primary FocusBrand awareness, credibility, and audience engagementDriving sales and conversions
CompensationSponsored collaborations, flat fees, or product exchangeCommission-based on successful sales or referrals
Content FormatCreative, engaging content tailored to the influencer’s style and audiencePromotional content focused on driving conversions
ReachRelies on the influencer’s existing audience and reachPotential to reach new audiences through affiliates
RelationshipCollaborative partnerships with brands and advertisersAffiliates operate independently as partners
ControlInfluencer has creative freedom and control over contentBrands provide marketing materials, guidelines, and tracking links
LongevityEmphasis on building long-term relationships with influencersFocus on driving immediate sales and conversions
Target AudienceInfluencer’s specific audience and nicheBroad audience reach through various affiliates

7. Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a customer-centric approach that focuses on attracting, engaging, and delighting your target audience. 

What is Inbound Marketing in Digital Marketing?

Inbound marketing is about creating valuable content and experiences that naturally draw people in rather than interrupting them with traditional advertising methods.

At the core of inbound marketing is content marketing. By creating and sharing valuable and relevant content through various channels, such as blog posts, videos, social media, and more, you provide solutions, insights, and information that your audience is actively seeking.

While content marketing is the engine that fuels the entire inbound marketing process, inbound marketing itself encompasses the entire customer journey. It begins by attracting visitors through valuable and targeted content, engaging them to build trust and connection, converting them into leads, and ultimately nurturing them into loyal customers.

The key components of inbound marketing include:

  • Attract: By creating compelling content optimized for search engines, social media, and other channels, you can attract your target audience to your website and other digital properties.
  • Engage: Once visitors arrive, you want to engage them further. This can be done through interactive website experiences, personalized emails, live chat, or social media engagement.
  • Convert: By offering valuable content and solutions, you can convert visitors into leads. This is often done through lead capture forms, landing pages, or gated content.
  • Delight: The relationship doesn’t end after the sale. Inbound marketing focuses on providing ongoing value and delighting your customers, turning them into brand advocates who can help promote your business.

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing 

We’ve defined inbound marketing as an approach that captivates your audience by providing valuable content and experiences that naturally attract and engage them.

But what about outbound marketing? Outbound marketing is the exact opposite of inbound marketing. 

While inbound marketing aims to attract customers organically, outbound marketing takes a more proactive and traditional approach. It involves actively reaching out to potential customers with promotional messages.

Inbound marketing vs Outbound marketing

A prominent aspect of outbound marketing is paid digital advertising, also known as media buying. Paid digital advertising allows businesses to target specific demographics, interests, and keywords, ensuring their message reaches the right people at the right time. It offers immediate visibility and can generate quick results, making it an effective strategy for driving website traffic, increasing brand awareness, and capturing leads.

what is paid digital advertising

8. Mobile Marketing

In today’s mobile-centric world, where smartphones have become an extension of our lives, mobile marketing is a powerful way to reach and engage your target audience. Mobile marketing refers to promotional activities specifically designed and optimized for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

With the exponential growth of mobile usage, ensuring your marketing efforts are mobile-friendly is crucial. Mobile marketing encompasses a range of strategies, including mobile-responsive websites, mobile apps, SMS marketing, in-app advertising, and location-based marketing.

  • Mobile-responsive websites are designed to adapt and provide a seamless user experience across different screen sizes, ensuring that your content is accessible and visually appealing on mobile devices. 
  • Mobile apps offer an interactive and personalized way to engage with your audience, providing convenience and value through features such as push notifications and in-app purchases.
  • SMS marketing, or text message marketing, allows you to send targeted promotional messages directly to your customers’ mobile phones. 
  • In-app advertising enables you to reach users while they are engaged with specific mobile applications. 
  • Location-based marketing leverages the geographical data of mobile users to deliver targeted offers and promotions based on their location.

Check out this Beginner’s Guide to Mobile Marketing and learn how to boost your business on the go!

Getting Started with Digital Marketing: Step-by-Step Guide on How to Do Digital Marketing

5 tips on How to get started with digital marketing

1. Understand Your Business Goals & Target Audience: 

Start by setting clear goals and identifying your target audience. 

Define what you want to achieve through digital marketing. Is it to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, or boost sales? 

Once you have a clear vision, identify your target audience – the people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services. Consider their demographics, interests, needs, and online behaviors. This understanding will shape your digital marketing strategies and tactics moving forward.

2. Analyze Your Current Situation & Conduct Competitor Analysis: 

Take a moment to reflect on your digital presence. What are you currently doing to establish your online presence and engage with your audience? Do you have a website, social media profiles, or an email list? 

Understanding your current efforts will help you gauge where you stand in the digital landscape.

Next, conduct a competitor analysis to understand how your competitors are positioning themselves online. Analyze their digital marketing strategies, content, social media presence, and customer interactions. 

This analysis will provide valuable insights into what works in your industry and help you identify areas where you can differentiate yourself and gain a competitive advantage.

3. Budget Planning: 

Consider how much you’re willing to invest in your digital marketing efforts. This includes expenses for advertising, content creation, tools, and any other resources necessary to execute your strategy effectively.

Review the set objectives and goals for your digital marketing campaigns. What outcomes do you hope to achieve? Based on your goals, determine the level of investment required to reach them. Keep in mind that digital marketing is an ongoing process, and budgeting should be done with a long-term perspective.

Also, consider the various channels and tactics you plan to use. Some may require more financial investment than others. For example, paid advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads or social media may incur costs. At the same time, content marketing through organic search engine optimization (SEO) may require more time and effort.

In addition to financial resources, don’t overlook the importance of human resources. Do you have the expertise and capacity within your team to execute your digital marketing strategies effectively? If not, you may need to hire a digital marketing specialist or outsource certain tasks to agencies or freelancers.

4. Create a Digital Marketing Strategy

Now that you have a firm grasp of your business goals, target audience, and available resources, it’s time to craft a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to guide your efforts.

Think of your digital marketing strategy as a roadmap that outlines how you’ll navigate the digital landscape and achieve your objectives. 

Here are 4 simple steps on how to build a digital marketing strategy:

  1. Start by defining your key messaging and value proposition – what sets your business apart and how you want to communicate that to your audience.
  2. Then, consider the channels and types of digital marketing that align with your goals and target audience. Will you focus on search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your website’s visibility? Or perhaps social media marketing to engage with your audience on popular platforms? 
  3. Next, develop a content plan that incorporates relevant topics (promotional, educational, informative, testimonials, etc), formats (images, copy, videos, carousels), and distribution channels (social media, blog, website landing page, email). Create a content calendar to stay organized and ensure a consistent presence across your chosen channels. Remember to tailor your content to your target audience’s preferences and interests.
  4. Finally, outline your measurement and tracking methods. Set key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your goals, such as website traffic, conversion rates, engagement metrics, or revenue generated. Regularly monitor and analyze your performance to identify areas of improvement and make data-driven decisions.

5. Implementing Your Digital Marketing Campaigns

With your digital marketing strategy in hand, it’s time to bring your plans to life and implement your campaign tactics. Here are some essential steps to guide you through the process:

Create and Publish Content: 

Develop high-quality and engaging content that aligns with your campaign objectives and resonates with your target audience. This can include blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, or any other format that suits your audience’s preferences. Publish and promote your content across relevant channels to attract and engage your target audience.

Run Targeted Ads: 

If part of your strategy involves paid advertising, set up and launch targeted ad campaigns. Use the advertising platforms that align with your campaign objectives, such as Google Ads, social media advertising platforms like Facebook Ads, or sponsored content on relevant websites. Optimize your ads based on audience targeting, ad creatives, and budget to maximize their effectiveness.

Engage on Social Media: 

Leverage the power of social media to engage with your target audience. Create compelling social media posts, respond to comments and messages, and actively participate in relevant discussions. You can use social media management tools to schedule and streamline your social media activities for maximum efficiency.

Optimize Your Website: 

Ensure your website is optimized for search engines (SEO). Conduct keyword research to identify relevant keywords for your campaign and incorporate them into your website’s content, meta tags, headings, and URLs. Don’t forget to improve the website’s loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and user experience to enhance its search engine visibility and user engagement.

Monitor and Measure: 

Track key metrics and KPIs related to your campaign objectives, such as website traffic, conversions, engagement rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS). You can use analytics tools and reporting dashboards to gain insights into campaign performance and identify areas for improvement.

Adjust and Optimize: 

Based on the data and insights gathered from monitoring, make data-driven adjustments and optimizations to improve your campaign’s effectiveness. Test different variations of your content, ads, and targeting parameters to find the most impactful combinations. Continuously iterate and refine your campaign elements to achieve optimal results.

Key Trends and Developments in Digital Marketing

The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, driven by advancements in technology, shifts in consumer behavior, and emerging trends. Staying updated with the latest trends is essential to keep your digital marketing strategies effective and relevant. 

Here are some key trends and developments to pay attention to:

Personalization: 

Personalized marketing experiences are becoming increasingly important. Customers expect brands to understand their preferences, deliver tailored content, and provide personalized recommendations. Leveraging data and automation tools, marketers can create customized experiences that resonate with individual consumers, driving engagement and loyalty.

Video Marketing: 

Video continues to dominate as a powerful content format. From short social media clips to longer-form content on platforms like YouTube, video marketing offers a compelling way to engage and captivate audiences. 

Live videos, interactive videos, and storytelling through video are all effective strategies to incorporate into your digital marketing efforts.

Voice Search Optimization: 

With the rise of voice-activated smart devices and virtual assistants, voice search is gaining prominence. Optimizing your website and content for voice search queries is crucial for staying visible in search engine results.

Consider natural language and long-tail keywords, structured data, and providing concise and relevant answers to common voice queries.

Influencer Marketing: 

Influencer marketing continues to thrive as consumers seek authentic recommendations from trusted individuals. Partnering with influencers who align with your brand values and target audience can help amplify your message and expand your reach. Micro-influencers, with smaller but highly engaged audiences, are also gaining traction.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning: 

AI-powered technologies are revolutionizing digital marketing. Machine learning algorithms analyze vast amounts of data to provide valuable insights, automate processes, personalize experiences, and optimize campaigns. Chatbots, recommendation engines, and predictive analytics are just a few examples of AI applications in marketing.

Social Commerce: 

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are evolving into full-fledged shopping destinations. Social commerce allows users to discover, browse, and purchase products directly within social media platforms. Brands can leverage social commerce features to streamline the purchase journey, facilitate seamless transactions, and boost conversion rates.

Privacy and Data Protection: 

Consumer concerns around privacy and data protection are growing. Regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and evolving policies impact how marketers collect, store, and utilize customer data. It’s crucial to prioritize transparency, obtain consent, and ensure compliance with applicable privacy laws.

Conclusion

And there you have it, the exciting world of digital marketing unveiled! We’ve explored the different types of digital marketing and reviewed a step to step guide on how to do digital marketing, including building a strategy and running campaigns. But this is just the beginning of your digital marketing journey!

Remember, digital marketing is a dynamic and ever-evolving realm. It’s like navigating a thrilling roller coaster ride with unexpected twists and turns. Embrace the trends, experiment with new strategies, and adapt to the changing landscape. Stay agile because what works today may not work tomorrow.

As you embark on your digital marketing voyage, keep your target audience at the heart of everything you do. Understand their desires, needs, and quirks. Speak their language, captivate their attention, and build meaningful connections.

So, my fellow digital adventurers, go forth and conquer the digital realm!

Do you need help with Digital Marketing – how to develop a digital marketing strategy or run and optimize your digital marketing campaigns? I can help! Click here to book a free 15-minute online consultation and #LetsGetYouNoticed

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