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What is Digital Marketing?

Primarily digital marketing refers to marketing that includes the use of electronic devices for promotional messaging and measures.

However, in practice, digital marketing campaigns are mainly run on the internet and will target people on tablets, phones, mobile devices, and computers.

The campaign can take many forms, including online videos, social media posts, and display ads.

Digital marketing efforts are more effective and easier to measure than traditional forms or offline marketing like direct mail, magazine ads, billboards, etc.

Television ads are also part of traditional marketing, despite the medium being electronic.

Today, with over three-quarters of Americans going online regularly, 43% going on more than once a day, and 26% online almost constantly, digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach out to these people.

Figures for mobile internet users are even higher. Recent statistics suggest 89% of Americans are going online daily, with 31% always online.

If you’re a marketer, these are significant figures to consider, especially if you want to grow a business’s online presence, build brand recognition, and rake in sales.

Defining Modern Digital Marketing

Many people also refer to it as online marketing. It mainly entails promoting brands that connect with potential customers using the internet and other digital marketing channels.

Campaigns can be run across various digital channels like social media, email, websites like search engines with text ad placements, etc.

In a nutshell, if a marketing campaign includes digital communication, it can be considered digital marketing.

However, digital marketing tactics tend to vary quite a bit and will often include digital marketing automation software.

Digital Marketing Strategy and Inbound Marketing

Many people confuse inbound marketing with digital marketing or digital advertising because they are very similar.

Digital marketing and inbound marketing use similar tools, i.e., online content and email, amongst others.

Both work to capture the attention of prospects, with the objective of turning them into customers.

However, they both take a very different approach, mainly because they have different goals and tools.

Digital Marketing mainly considers how each tool will convert the prospect.

A business’s online marketing strategy will use multiple platforms, or it may focus on just one highly effective platform for the niche.

On the other hand, inbound marketing is much more holistic.

It starts by considering the goal, then finds the tools available to help reach that goal by targeting the niche’s audience and decides at which point of the sales funnel it should happen.

As a professional or someone who is running a digital marketing campaign, you don’t have to choose between the two. Instead, you can decide what works best together.

Digital marketing strategies can include inbound marketing’s strength offering purpose and structure to build an effective digital marketing campaign. Both aligned to a common goal.

Digital Marketing Types

Today, many sub-types make up digital marketing, as there are many ways of interacting with digital media.

Below we’ll take a look at some of the most common types of digital marketing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO or Search Engine Optimization, also sometimes referred to as search engine marketing, is more of a marketing tool as opposed to a form of marketing.

Consider it part art and part science, a combo that’s needed to make web pages rank higher in their respective niches.

SEO is a science in part because it requires that you figure out what type of content, backlinks, and other factors are being considered by a search engine to rank the site.

Factors like the quality of your website, content, speed, mobile-friendliness, and the number of inbound links, amongst other things, are essential to ranking.

The art is mainly using these factors strategically while understanding the unpredictable nature of search engines like Google.

Mega search engines like Google continue to update their algorithms, making it impossible to predict accurately.

It also requires that SEOs stay on top of the latest developments by closely monitoring their websites.

Content Marketing

SEO ties into content marketing, but with a slightly different strategy based mainly on distributing relevant and valuable content.

The goal of content marketing is to pull in leads that ultimately convert. However, it is seen as being a big part of an effective digital marketing strategy.

The approach with content marketing is different compared to traditional advertising.

Content marketing does not entice prospects with a value proposition for a product or service but instead offers that value-free via written material.

Content marketing is a big part of any digital marketing strategy, and we have the stats to prove it:

  • 92% of digital marketers believe that their business sees content as an asset.
  • 62% of businesses have at least 5000 employees whose sole purpose is to produce content regularly.
  • Around 84% of consumers expect businesses to publish helpful and entertaining content.

While content marketing can be highly effective, it is also tricky.

Writers need to be able to draft content that ranks in search engines and produce engaging content that gets read, shared, and linked to.

So, the content needs to be relevant, search-friendly, and valuable.

Social Media Marketing (SEM)

SEM mainly works by driving traffic, and for the most part, the goal is creating brand awareness by engaging prospects.

SEM is used for brand building by leveraging social media to have a discussion.

The campaign can be run on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, etc.,

Since SEM involves having an active audience, it is also an excellent way to get attention.

In fact, it is one of the most effective B2C mediums for marketers and is now gaining ground with B2B marketers too.

The Content Marketing Institute claims that 61% of B2B marketers increased their presence on social media.

The beauty of SEM, like digital marketing in general, is the built-in engagement metrics, which show how well the campaign performed.

That way, you get to decide which types of interactions are most productive for you, i.e., shares, likes, comments, clicks to the website, etc.

More importantly, unlike PPC advertising, the goal of social media marketing isn’t to directly push conversions but instead start a dialog with people.

Many businesses use marketing automation tools to automate many aspects of their social media campaigns.

PPC Marketing

Also referred to as pay-per-click advertising (PPC), it entails posting an ad on a platform and then paying each time someone clicks.

PPC is a significant part of any comprehensive, successful digital marketing strategy.

The most popular form of PPC is Google Ads, but how and when people see your ads can be a little more complex.

Usually, the advertising spot on the Search Engine Results Page is filled in via an instant auction.

The algorithm will prioritize the ad based on ad quality, landing page quality, bid amount, and keyword relevance.

Advertisers can choose a conversion target and then track them via the platform. Most platforms also allow advertisers to tweak the campaign.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a form of digital marketing that has someone make money by promoting another business’s products.

The other business pays the affiliate marketer in exchange for each conversion. Usually, it is a percentage of the usual product’s sale price.

Many people get into internet marketing as affiliates to make money.

Affiliate marketers will generally review a company’s product. Affiliate marketers can have a relationship with either one business/brand or several of them.

The benefit for businesses that work with affiliate marketers is that they only pay for each qualified sale.

Affiliate marketers benefit because they get to choose which products to market and how they market them.

Some leverage the power of their large YouTube following, others their social media page or profile and a website.

Email marketing

The idea behind email marketing is pretty simple. You start by sending a promotional message and hope that the prospect reads and takes action.

While the idea is simple, the execution of an email marketing campaign can be pretty complex.

To start with, the digital marketer will want to ensure that their email is wanted. That will mean collecting emails via an opt-in page with the following features:

  • It needs to have individualized content for the visitor
  • Clearly describe what type of email the subscriber will receive
  • Offer a straightforward means of unsubscribing
  • Have both promotional and transactional emails

Prospects need to see your email as being something of value and not just promotional.


Digital marketing is beneficial for pretty much all businesses and will only become more so. However, we see it fast becoming an effective mobile marketing tool too.

Furthermore, digital marketing is constantly evolving, with new platforms, models and techniques.

Businesses that rely heavily on digital marketing often employ a team that works either in-house or may hire a company to handle the digital marketing work.

Either way, having a solid digital strategy in place is the key to success.


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