what is digital marketing

What Is Digital Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide

What Is Digital Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is the modern approach to promoting products, services, and brands using various online channels and technologies. By leveraging tools like search engine optimization, social media, email, and data analytics, businesses can effectively reach and engage with their target audience in a more measurable and targeted way.

what is digital marketing

Digital marketing enables companies to create and distribute valuable content, build brand awareness, generate leads, and drive conversions – all while obtaining valuable insights into customer behaviour and the performance of their marketing efforts.

As consumer habits and preferences continue to evolve alongside technological advancements, digital marketing has become an essential component of any comprehensive and effective marketing strategy.

Related Article: How To Become a Digital Marketing Manager

Why is digital marketing important?

In the contemporary landscape of competition, merely relying on one avenue is insufficient to distinguish oneself. It necessitates a multifaceted approach to engage and cultivate prospective clientele effectively. Digital marketing emerges as a pivotal tool in this endeavour, serving as a conduit to showcase your offerings to the appropriate audience. However, its significance extends beyond mere visibility. Let’s delve into why digital marketing holds paramount importance.

Enhance the Growth of Your Business

Increasing conversions lead to a significant boost in revenue. Digital marketing serves not only to draw in potential customers but also to enlighten them about the value proposition your brand offers, thus steering them towards making a purchase.

Crafting a comprehensive digital marketing strategy will provide invaluable insights into the effectiveness of your campaigns (you can utilize a marketing plan template as a starting point). Establishing clear objectives and diligently monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge the success of your endeavours is crucial.

Increase return on investment (ROI)

Return on investment

Monitoring and meticulously scrutinizing the outcomes of your digital marketing endeavours is imperative for pinpointing areas of significant triumph. This invaluable data serves as a compass to fine-tune your approaches, curtail the expenses associated with acquiring new customers, and ensure prudent allocation of your financial resources towards endeavours that yield optimal returns.

Enhance your global influence

While it might be tempting to try random tactics, a successful digital marketing strategy relies on knowing your audience. This means delivering the right content on the right platforms at the right times.

Using organic methods like social media marketing and SEO can help you compete with big brands who have massive advertising budgets, giving you an edge on a global scale.

Inbound vs Outbound in Digital Marketing

Both inbound and outbound marketing play significant roles in your marketing strategy. Incorporating both can help drive brand awareness and effectively engage prospects.

Outbound marketing involves pushing information out to prospects through activities like events, TV commercials, and cold calling. On the other hand, inbound marketing focuses on drawing people in and enticing them to visit your website through activities such as social media posts, display ads, and blogs.

Digital marketing vs. traditional marketing

Digital marketing vs traditional marketing

Digital marketing occurs online or through digital channels, whereas traditional marketing relies on offline channels such as billboard ads and TV campaigns. Digital marketing is often more cost-effective because you can utilize free or low-cost internet tools and media. There’s no need for expensive full-page magazine spreads or limited billboard placements.

B2B digital marketing

The main objective of B2B digital marketing is to generate high-quality leads for B2B sales teams, leading to improved conversion rates. B2B buying cycles are typically longer due to the complexity and cost of products/services, often requiring input from multiple stakeholders.

For instance, a single product may be marketed across various industries or verticals, with each account having different stakeholders who engage through multiple channels. This requires significant coordination among different business lines.

B2B digital marketing teams commonly use business-oriented channels, including email, webcasts, video, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

B2C digital marketing

The main aim of B2C digital marketing is to attract potential customers and engage existing ones by boosting website traffic and increasing content visibility. B2C marketing teams should focus on channels that cater to consumers, where they are more likely to discover and interact with your brand.

Benefits of digital marketing

As we’ve mentioned before, one of the great things about digital marketing is its ability to engage customers across various touchpoints.

Benefits of digital marketing

Here’s a detailed look at the key benefits of digital marketing:

Reach New Audiences: Digital marketing has no boundaries. Your social media posts or blog articles can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, at any time. Time differences don’t matter online, and with scheduling and automation, you can reach people at optimal times.

You can create targeted campaigns to reach specific groups across relevant digital channels.

Enable Hyper-Targeting – Location, Demographics & Psychographics: Digital marketing allows you to target specific audiences through segmentation. This means targeting individuals based on location, demographics (e.g., gender, age, job role), or psychographics (goals, desires, interests) in your campaigns.

Before targeting, it’s essential to define a buyer persona that represents your ideal customer. Understanding your audience enables tailored content and outreach on relevant channels.

Become Cost-Efficient: Digital marketing campaigns are trackable and cost-efficient. To monitor costs, you can set spending caps across campaigns (paid search, display advertising, social media). Setting daily, weekly, or monthly budgets ensures adherence to agreed-upon spending limits.


Planning budgets from the outset is key to effective cost management.

Get Measurable Results: Digital marketing is measurable, allowing you to choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and track them across channels. Focus on actionable KPIs like conversion rates, sales, and revenue, avoiding vanity metrics such as social media likes or comments.

Personalize & Customize Campaigns: Personalized campaigns perform better. Adding personalization to your marketing strategy ensures relevance and engagement. Tailored content resonates with your personas and boosts engagement.

Easy Adaptation & Strategy Change: Digital marketing allows quick adaptation and strategy changes. If a campaign isn’t performing, you can modify audience targeting, messaging, or location swiftly. A/B testing helps determine the most effective approach.

stratigies for adapting to change

Engage Audiences at Different Funnel Stages: The marketing and sales funnel guides tailored content creation to move prospects towards conversion. Each stage (Awareness, Interest, Decision, Purchase) requires specific nurturing according to the customer’s intent.

Level Playing Field for Big and Small Brands: Digital marketing offers equal opportunities to organizations of all sizes. Social media networks and customer relationship management platforms are accessible to global and small brands.

Understanding your personas, identifying key digital channels, and knowing what content works are vital for online success, regardless of size.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can also engage customers on societal issues, providing inspiration for successful CSR initiatives.

Which type of digital marketing is best?

Determining the “best” type of digital marketing depends on various factors, such as your business goals, target audience, budget, and industry. Here are some popular types of digital marketing and their advantages:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

  • Advantages: Increases organic visibility on search engines, drives targeted traffic and long-term sustainability, and enhances website credibility.
  • Best for: Businesses looking to improve online visibility, attract organic traffic, and increase brand authority.


Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC):

  • Advantages: Immediate results, precise targeting options, measurable ROI, full control over ad spend.
  • Best for: Businesses seeking quick results, targeting specific demographics, and driving immediate traffic.

Content Marketing:

  • Advantages: Builds brand awareness, educates audience, increases engagement, fosters customer loyalty.
  • Best for: Businesses aiming to establish thought leadership, engage with their audience, and provide value through content.

Email Marketing:


  • Advantages: Cost-effective, personalized messaging, high ROI, nurturing leads, building customer relationships.
  • Best for: Businesses focusing on lead generation, customer retention, and personalized communication.

Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing: Everything You Need to Know

Social Media Marketing:

  • Advantages: Increases brand awareness, engages with audience, drives website traffic, facilitates customer feedback.
  • Best for: Businesses targeting specific demographics, building brand personality, and fostering community engagement.

Influencer Marketing:

influencer marketing

  • Advantages: Reaches targeted audience, builds credibility, drives engagement, enhances brand visibility.
  • Best for: Businesses aiming to leverage influencers’ followers, increase brand credibility, and tap into niche markets.

Affiliate Marketing:

  • Advantages: Low risk, cost-effective, performance-based, expands reach through affiliates.
  • Best for: Businesses seeking to increase sales, expand their reach, and leverage existing networks.

Video Marketing:

  • Advantages: Highly engaging, increases conversion rates, improves SEO, appeals to mobile users.
  • Best for: Businesses looking to convey complex information, showcase products or services, and increase engagement.

Digital marketing KPIs

Digital marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) help measure the performance of marketing campaigns. Digital marketers can use various KPIs to track results. Deciding which specific digital marketing KPIs to use as you develop your strategy simplifies target setting, goal measurement, and campaign performance evaluation. These include the following data:

Website Traffic: This measures the total number of visitors to your website over a specific period. It includes metrics such as total visits, unique visitors, and page views.

website traffic

Conversion Rate: The conversion rate measures the percentage of website visitors who complete a desired action, such as purchasing, filling out a form, or subscribing to a newsletter.

Cost per Acquisition (CPA): CPA calculates the average cost of acquiring a new customer or lead through digital marketing efforts. It’s calculated by dividing the total campaign cost by the number of conversions.

Return on Investment (ROI): ROI measures the profitability of digital marketing campaigns by comparing the revenue generated to the cost of the campaign. It helps determine the overall effectiveness and profitability of marketing efforts.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): CTR measures the percentage of people who click on a specific link, ad, or call-to-action (CTA) out of the total number of impressions. It’s an important metric for assessing the performance of ads and email campaigns.


Cost per Click (CPC): CPC calculates the average cost of each click on a digital ad. It’s a vital metric for understanding the efficiency of paid advertising campaigns.

Bounce Rate: Bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your website after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate could indicate issues with website usability or irrelevant traffic sources.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): CLV measures the total revenue generated by a customer over their entire relationship with your business. It helps assess the long-term value of acquiring new customers.

customer life time value

Social Media Engagement: This includes metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and followers on social media platforms. It indicates the level of audience interaction and interest in your content.

Email Open Rate and Click-through Rate: These metrics measure the percentage of recipients who open your email and click on links within it, respectively. They help gauge the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns.

Organic Search Ranking: Monitoring your website’s ranking for target keywords in search engine results pages (SERPs) helps assess the effectiveness of SEO efforts.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Similar to CPA, CAC measures the cost of acquiring a new customer, but it includes all costs associated with sales and marketing efforts.

Customer Acquisition Cost

These digital marketing KPIs provide valuable insights into the performance and success of various marketing strategies, allowing businesses to make data-driven decisions and optimize their campaigns for better results.

How does digital marketing work?

There are various approaches to a digital marketing campaign. As a digital marketer, you have a wide range of tactics, strategies, and channels at your disposal to connect with your audience. Generally, digital marketing campaigns involve several common steps:

Define Your Marketing Goals

Digital marketing encompasses many aspects, so it’s crucial to establish your goals before launching a campaign. Do you aim to build brand awareness, acquire new customers, or focus on retention and loyalty? Defining goals helps tailor your strategy and budget for maximum impact.

Identify Your Target Audience

Who are you trying to reach? The more details you know about your target audience (age, location, income, etc.), the easier it is to determine how to connect with them.

Choose the Right Marketing Channels and Tactics

Once you know your audience, decide how and where to reach them. For instance, if you’re a B2C digital marketer targeting younger customers, you might allocate more budget to social media advertising on specific platforms rather than focusing solely on blog publishing.

Develop and Optimize Content and Messaging for Each Channel

Analyze your data to better understand your audience. For example, if your customers prefer browsing on mobile, ensure your content is optimized for mobile viewing. However, it’s essential to maintain consistency in brand voice and messaging across all channels to prevent confusion and reinforce your brand’s value.

Measure Campaign Performance Across Key Metrics

Measure key metrics and adjust based on results. If you don’t measure performance against predefined metrics, how will you know if your campaign is successful or improving? Tracking results over time ensures you effectively engage customers, foster loyalty, and build brand advocacy.

How do you pursue a career in digital marketing?

If you’re considering a career in digital marketing, there are various roles available to explore. Typically, the first step is to become a digital marketer. In this role, you’ll be responsible for generating leads and building brand awareness through different digital marketing channels.

When advancing your career, it’s important to consider your interests. Do you prefer being a versatile marketer handling various activities, or do you want to specialize in a particular area?

Let’s explore different digital marketing roles:

Content Marketing: Content marketing is crucial for engaging your audience and showcasing your brand. A content marketer’s responsibilities include:

    • Creating written content such as blogs, emails, and website copy.
    • Producing engaging video content for organic and paid channels.
    • Managing social media content to drive traffic and leads.
    • Developing gated content like eBooks or whitepapers. A content marketer also creates editorial calendars, analyzes data, and adjusts strategies based on performance.

Social Media Management: Social media is essential for businesses, with billions of users worldwide. Social media managers handle:

    • Content creation, curation, and distribution across platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
    • Analytics to measure engagement and ROI.
    • Strategy development, SEO optimization, and customer service. Interested in becoming a Social Media Manager? Check out our eBook for more information.

SEO Management: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital for improving your brand’s visibility. SEO managers focus on:

    • Optimizing website, social media, and content.
    • Conducting keyword research.
    • Building backlinks and developing SEO strategies.
    • Monitoring website performance and user behaviour. Get familiar with SEO terminology with our A to Z of SEO guide.

PPC Campaigns: Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising generates leads for both B2B and B2C brands. A PPC specialist’s tasks include:

    • Designing effective landing pages for PPC ads.
    • Conducting keyword research and integrating keywords into campaigns.
    • Monitoring search engine algorithms for updates.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): SEM involves optimizing paid campaigns for search engines. SEM specialists focus on:

    • Analyzing data to refine strategies.
    • Writing compelling ad copy.
    • Conducting A/B testing.
    • Implementing SEO strategies. This role ensures that paid campaigns reach the right audience on suitable channels.

Each of these roles offers opportunities for specialization and career growth in the dynamic field of digital marketing.

Related Article: How to Improve Your Digital Marketing Performance

The future of digital marketing

The future of digital marketing is here, and it’s all about mobile. Mobile technology has revolutionized digital marketing, reshaping consumer behavior and expectations. Micromoments have become crucial—these are instances when consumers interact with brands in real time, with just a tap of a button.

Digital marketers must challenge themselves to intersect with consumers during these micro moments, delivering relevant messages that enhance their experiences rather than interrupting them.

Today’s customers demand a unique, connected, and seamless experience across all channels, with instant gratification. You have only a brief micro-moment to capture their attention, so your message must be strong and your experience delightful and engaging. Otherwise, they’ll move on to the next offer, rendering old marketing methods obsolete.

Modern marketers must embrace a mobile-first approach, considering their global audience. Remember that customers:

– Want to be treated uniquely.
– Control when, where, and how they interact with your brand.
– Seek frictionless experiences and the ability to start conversations on any channel, seamlessly moving to another if they choose.
– Prefer quick service with maximum convenience.

The lines between B2C and B2B marketing are blurring. Customers now expect delightful experiences from both, leading to what could be termed as B2ME marketing. This future is happening now, and falling behind is not an option. It’s time to get ahead of the curve.

So, what can savvy digital marketers do?

Adopt a Data-First Mindset: Utilize your data effectively to understand customers and anticipate their needs, ensuring no wasted time.

Leverage Automation and Intelligence: Utilize marketing automation to capture and utilize vast amounts of data, serving customers in real time.

Treat Every Customer Uniquely: Use the insights from micro-moments to create a connected experience tailored to each customer.

Embrace Omnichannel Fluidity: Engage with customers across all channels in real-time, seamlessly transitioning between channels as needed.

In this fast-paced digital landscape, these actions will keep you at the forefront of marketing innovation.

Related Article:

The Complete Content Marketing Guide

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