It seems that everywhere you look, brands and individuals are positioning themselves as “digital marketing experts.” Perhaps these advanced gurus are great for companies that have been investing in digital marketing for years. What about when you’re just learning the basics of digital marketing?
This comprehensive guide will give you the how-tos that you need to get on the path to success — whether your business is online or you’re selling locally. Digital marketing doesn’t have to be needlessly complex. Once you get a handle on the basics, you can start launching really fancy tech tools and techniques that can boost your business to the next level.
Everyone has to start somewhere! Here’s our back-to-basics guide for budding digital marketers.
What Are The Basics In Digital Marketing?
Don’t fret; no one is going to expect you to know how to code a website, how to accurately place social media ads, and how to fully optimize your Google display ads when you’re just dipping a toe into the world of digital marketing.
There are some basic tools that you can use to get started that will ensure your business has a solid foundation for future digital marketing efforts.
Digital marketing is the art and science of leveraging digital assets to drive engagement and sales to your brand. Here are some of the top strategies you may encounter on your digital marketing journey:
- Creating a website
- Building an email marketing list
- Optimizing content on your website for search
- Launching Google or Bing display ads
- Reaching new audiences on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and more)
- Using location-based targeting to grab the attention of local audiences
This is far from an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of the breadth of options you have when you begin exploring digital marketing for your brand.
Is Digital Marketing Easy?
This feels like a trick question, but the answer is yes — and definitely not — all at the same time. At its core, digital marketing means connecting people with brands in meaningful ways. In theory, it should be quite straightforward. You create a website, add compelling content, and perhaps some products to sell.
Your ideal customer finds your site, is wowed by your product images and descriptions, makes a purchase, and becomes a lifelong customer.
Easy peasy, right?
Not so much in real life.
Digital marketing often involves a complex behind-the-scenes dance between marketers and tech gurus who are building software and services that make these connections easier and reduces friction throughout a buyer’s journey.
While nearly anyone can create a quick WordPress website and publish it with a bit of work, it takes a great deal of time and finesse to optimize the content on the site, ensure that images are eye-catching, the value proposition is compelling — and that you’re able to get visitors to your site.
All of those activities come together to make up digital marketing.
What Are The 6 Types of Digital Marketing?
Purists may argue that there are many more types of digital marketing, but these four key components form the basis for any modern digital marketing strategy.
1. Content Marketing
Search engines LOVE content. They want content that is compelling, relevant to the searcher, frequently updated and full of enrichment. Content marketing involves researching keywords, writing articles, improving the description of products and services on your site, and creating educational content that will compel your audience to engage more deeply with your brand.
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
There are tactics for both on-site and off-site search engine optimization, and good digital marketers will work both sides of the equation. On-site SEO involves ensuring that your site is developed correctly with the proper framework that appeals to search engines. Off-site SEO refers to any actions that you are taking for your brand that happen off of your main digital properties.
This could include encouraging external sites to link to your brand and posting content in different locations throughout the web that includes breadcrumb trails that lead back to your website.
3. SMM (Social Media Marketing)
There are two key forms of social media marketing: paid and organic. While paid social media marketing includes the advertisements we all know and love, it also involves paid options for driving new fans to your page or brand.
Organic social media is a bit more elusive, but that also tends to make it more fun to implement. You gain organic reach when your brand educates or informs your audience, providing value to the reader in a way that they use and share the content that you create.
This could be in the form of buying something from your website after seeing a post or could involve the reader posting information about your brand either privately or publicly to their social profiles.
4. SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
Finally, search engine marketing is what many people think of as traditional digital marketing. Advertisements are placed on Google or Bing search engines, so when a user is browsing for the answer to a particular question, your paid ad pops your brand to the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
5. Paid Ads
Paid ads are a fun way to get in front of a wider audience and bring more traffic to your website. Less expensive than traditional advertising, you can advertise across various platforms using methods such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other social media ad offerings.
You will want to use compelling images or videos in whatever ad type you choose to catch the eye of your audience more easily. You will also want to include an irresistible call to action.
6. Email Marketing
Email marketing is far from dead these days and continues to be a highly efficient method for your digital marketing campaigns. The key is to generate more high-quality leads through your other online efforts.
From there, send high-quality content in your emails that speaks to them personally, addressing interests, wants, or needs and enticing them to continue to your website. Email lists are gold to your marketing campaigns. Make the most of them by catering to your content for better results.
What Are The 5 Ps of Digital Marketing?
The 5 Ps of digital marketing are simple: Product, Price, Promotion, Place, and People. All of these factors must work together for your digital marketing strategies to be successful.
Product: Your products or services should be at the heart of all of your marketing efforts. You have to understand the needs of your audience, and that should be taken into consideration when you’re defining services or building products.
Price: Will you look at a cost-plus markup strategy, or are you more interested in determining the pricing that the market will bear? Your pricing strategy could and should change over time and may require a fair bit of tweaking before you find the perfect mix.
Promotion: Where and how will you promote your products and services? Promotions don’t have to be paid; you can also work with influencers to promote your brand and offer discounts and a variety of creative alternatives that will help keep your ad budget in line while still raising awareness of your brand.
Place: While marketing in the past often included a physical location, digital marketing transcends that to digital properties such as your website and mobile applications.
People: Who are your tribe? Your products and services could be either mainstream or niche — defined in such a way that there is a small section of the market that is truly passionate about what you produce or the stories that you tell.
Understanding how the 5 Ps fit together often requires additional learning beyond what you can gather from a quick internet search. You need a digital marketing course to jump-start your education.
Digital Marketing versus Traditional Marketing
While digital marketing and traditional marketing share a common goal, the methods each uses differ. Here are the essential differences.
Digital marketing allows you to customize your efforts for a larger audience across the globe, targeting specific demographics and customer segments to fit each campaign. In contrast, traditional marketing focuses on audiences who are more local and can usually be reached via broadcast or print media.
In digital marketing, you have the ability to deliver content through multiple channels depending on your target audience’s preferences and needs. These channels may include blog posts, YouTube videos, emails, SMS (texts), and social media. Traditional marketing delivers content via older-style channels, including radio, television, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, and displays.
Digital marketing allows you to directly interact with your target audience more often. This interaction can occur through forums, social media accounts, website comments, interactive PDFs and quizzes. Such interaction capabilities are game changers when it comes to reaching an audience.
The opposite of this occurs in traditional marketing, where promotion is through physical materials, such as catalogs, flyers, and brochures.
Digital marketing efforts have created an increase in online webinars, courses, and events. Anyone can join in from anywhere, even from their favorite chair in their living room. Still, many consumers continue to prefer a traditionally marketed in-person event.
Creating, sponsoring, or participating in live conventions, seminars, or conferences can increase the connection with customers and build brand awareness.
Tips for Beginners
As a digital marketing beginner, you don’t have to feel intimidated or lost. Here are some tips to make digital marketing for beginners easier to grasp and get going.
Know everything you can about brand awareness
Building brand awareness is an essential element to your marketing strategy and your success. Start out by knowing everything you can about it and its benefits.
Essentially, brand awareness is the recognition and familiarization by others of your brand, product, or service. To boost such awareness, you will need to help consumers learn more about your business, the products or services you offer, and what makes you stand out from your competitors.
There are several ways to build brand awareness. Consistency in how you present your brand across channels and platforms will be key. Consumers will be able to look at a blog or social media post and instantly know it’s yours if you do it right.
SEO is everywhere
Search engine optimization (SEO) is everywhere today! Once you acknowledge this, it’s time to get in the game by understanding how SEO works and ways to use it to your advantage.
Sure, it can be a little intimidating at first, so start slow and easy. Identify keywords and phrases that your target audience uses to conduct searches. Incorporate these into all your content so your audience can find you more easily. From here, you’ll want to consider a link-building strategy to boost your SEO even more.
If you start feeling anxious, remember to take action one step at a time and keep learning all you can about SEO techniques and available tools. Soon you’ll be using it to increase website traffic, gain higher-quality leads, and more.
Discover the online potential of your brand
One of the most empowering moments that can occur as a digital marketer is to discover the online potential of your brand. Digital marketing is the perfect avenue for generating high-quality leads that result in more interaction with your brand and, ultimately, higher sales.
You may discover opportunities to offer webinars to customers, create courses, sponsor events, or become a thought leader in your field. The online potential of your brand is vast, and cashing in on that is possible with targeted marketing and planning.
Get to Really Know Your Customers
While you may already know everything about your product or service, it is essential to step away from that and get to really know your customers. By doing so, you can build a better marketing strategy that appeals to them and other potential customers.
Conduct your own market research by sending out surveys to existing customers and by asking for feedback. Closely study customer reviews and comments to gain a sense of what they want most. Learn all you can about who they are, what they want or need, and the type of interests they have.
Once you collect this information and start to understand your customers, develop your buyer personas. You will use these to plan your marketing strategy and the type of content to share.
Build a significant presence on social media
Consumers today spend tons of time on social media platforms. Since that is where they are, it is where you should be also. The goal is to build a significant presence on one or more platforms.
Create your social profile to match your brand and how you present yourself on your website. Now it’s time to start publishing content. Consider mixing it up a bit at times, providing informative, educational, or entertaining content to show your brand’s confidence and personality. Don’t just focus only on your products or services, but add posts that speak to your target audience’s interests and desires.
Online consumers are highly visual these days, so be sure to always include the highest quality videos and images with your posts. As you gain more followers, increase your interaction with them by responding to comments. You can even use interactive content to draw them in further.
Digital Marketing Courses for Beginners
If all this is starting to feel a little overwhelming, never fear! There are plenty of online courses that will help you get up to speed on digital marketing strategies and tactics.
Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Google Certificate
Who wouldn’t want to learn the basics of digital marketing from one of the world’s leading brands: Google? Google’s brand is synonymous with searching for good reason — the algorithms developed by Google engineers have been baffling digital marketers for decades.
Taking a Digital Marketing Certificate course from Google adds some street cred to your resume while improving your skills. Google walks marketers through 26 modules and offers more than 40 hours of learning for anyone truly dedicated to taking their skills to the next level.
LinkedIn’s Digital Marketing Foundation Course
Want to learn how to connect with your customers online? This detailed course is part of LinkedIn’s native learning platform and has over 20,000 excellent reviews. The course will help you jump into the deep end of digital marketing for your brand.
This beginner-level course covers everything from understanding SEO to spotting digital marketing trends in the future — and how to leverage them for your brand. With more than 20 hours of learning across a wide range of topics, this LinkedIn Digital Marketing Foundations course is a great starting point.
HubSpot’s Digital Marketing Certificate
HubSpot is one of the top brands in digital marketing, offering a platform that is used by tens of thousands of brands around the world. HubSpot software helps solve a variety of digital marketing challenges, so it makes sense that they would offer a world-class Digital Marketing Certificate course.
Taking the time to earn a certificate in digital marketing can not only boost your confidence but also signal to others that you’re serious about learning new strategies and implementing them for your brand. Whether you’re a small business owner or a new marketer ready to improve your skillet, you’re sure to find tidbits of knowledge in this digital marketing course hosted by some of the best minds in the business.
Boost Your Digital Marketing Efforts by Outsourcing
There are several moving pieces involved in successful digital marketing. While you may be able to take them all on in-house at some point, consider outsourcing to help get you started more quickly or keep you going long-term.
Freelance SEO writers, social media post creators, and more can give you an early advantage out of the gate and benefit your digital marketing strategy. Get started today by signing up for the WriterAccess 2-week trial.