What is Digital Marketing

Mar 11, 2024

What is Digital Marketing
Today, the internet is more than just a collection of web pages; it's a bustling hub where over 5 billion people search, shop, read, and connect every single day. As more and more people get online, the opportunity for small businesses to reach a wider audience has never been greater. This shift means that sticking exclusively to traditional marketing methods is no longer good enough.

Enter digital marketing.

Digital marketing helps small businesses like yours connect with audiences where they already spend a significant amount of their time: online.

Despite how effective digital marketing is in attracting, engaging, and turning customer interest into actions, I still meet a lot of business owners who either A) have never heard of digital marketing or B) aren’t sure if this type of marketing is even right for their business.

So I put together a comprehensive guide. It's designed to help you understand what digital marketing is, why it’s important, and how you can start applying some of these tactics in your business right now. Let’s dive in!

What is digital marketing


What is digital marketing?


Digital marketing, sometimes known as [online marketing], involves using the internet to promote products, services, or brands. This approach allows businesses to use search engines like Google, social media platforms like Facebook (Meta), and their own websites to connect with current and potential customers. The aim is to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to websites, and ultimately generate leads and sales.


Digital marketing for small businesses


For small businesses, digital marketing begins with creating a strong online presence. This is a must for attracting the right audience. It’s not just about being online; it’s about creating content that delivers value to your audience. Whether it’s through informative articles, engaging videos, or social media posts, the goal is to provide something that your audience finds useful or interesting.


The process doesn’t stop at attracting an audience. The next step is to convert their interest into tangible actions like subscribing to a newsletter, signing up for a webinar, or making a purchase. The journey from initial contact to action is done through various digital marketing strategies designed to guide potential customers down your funnel effectively.

Why is digital marketing important


Why is digital marketing important?


In a world where nearly everyone is online, digital marketing becomes a key player in reaching your ideal customer effectively. Here’s why embracing digital marketing is a must for your business:


    1. You can reach people where they spend their time online.
    2. It levels the playing field for small businesses.
    3. It’s way more cost-effective than traditional marketing.
    4. It enables you to conduct real-time customer service.
    5. It provides you with measurable results.
    6. Digital marketing lets you adapt quickly to changes in consumer behaviors.
    7. It helps you build brand loyalty and trust.


  1. You can reach people where they spend their time online: In the digital age, the internet is where people spend a lot of their day. For instance, a person might start their day checking Facebook, use Google to find a lunch spot, and end their day watching a YouTube tutorial. Digital marketing places your business along these daily digital paths, making sure you’re seen by potential customers where they’re already looking.


  1. It levels the playing field for small businesses: Imagine a local bakery competing against a national chain. With traditional marketing, the chain’s larger budget would dominate local billboards and newspapers. However, digital marketing, through strategies like local SEO and targeted Facebook ads, allows the bakery to appear right alongside the chain in search results and social feeds, giving it visibility it couldn’t afford otherwise.


  1. It’s way more cost-effective than traditional marketing: With digital marketing, you don’t need a big budget to make a big impact. Instead of paying for a billboard and hoping the right people see it, digital marketing lets you target specific demographics. For example, spending on targeted Google ads can ensure that only people searching for ‘best chocolate cake near me’ see your bakery’s ad, making every dollar work harder.


  1. It enables you to conduct real-time customer service: Digital marketing opens up opportunities for immediate interaction with customers through social media and live chats. For instance, if a customer complains on X (formerly Twitter) about a delayed order, you can immediately address the issue, offer a solution, and turn a negative experience into a positive one in view of other customers, showcasing your commitment to customer satisfaction.


  1. It provides you with measurable results: Unlike a newspaper ad where you might never know how many people really saw it, digital marketing gives you hard numbers. For example, using Google Analytics, you can track exactly how many people visited your website from a specific ad, how long they stayed, and what actions they took, allowing for precise adjustments to maximize effectiveness.


  1. Digital marketing lets you adapt quickly to changes in consumer behaviors: The digital landscape’s fast pace means trends can change rapidly. For example, during the early days of the pandemic, businesses that quickly pivoted their marketing to online services or contactless delivery thrived. Digital marketing’s agility lets you respond in real-time to these shifts, keeping your business relevant.


  1. It helps you build brand loyalty and trust: Digital marketing fosters a community around your brand. Consider a fitness coach who uses Instagram stories to share daily workout tips and engage with followers’ questions. This ongoing interaction builds a rapport that translates into loyalty and trust, much more than a static gym membership flyer could ever achieve.


If you’re questioning whether digital marketing is merely a fleeting trend, rest assured, it’s not. Digital marketing represents a significant transformation in the way companies connect with, engage, and attract their customers. It’s perfectly in tune with modern customer buying behaviors, greatly improves interactions with your customers, and allows you to measure succession ways traditional marketing methods can’t match.

Type of digital marketing


Types of digital marketing


Digital marketing is a broad field, encompassing various strategies and channels through which businesses can promote themselves online. Below, we’ll first list the main types of digital marketing, and then dive deeper into each one with detailed descriptions.


    1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    2. Content Marketing
    3. Social Media Marketing
    4. Email Marketing
    5. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
    6. Affiliate Marketing
    7. Influencer Marketing
    8. Video Marketing


  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the art of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), making it more visible to people searching for products or services related to your business. It involves using keywords, producing quality content, and ensuring your site is user-friendly.


There a few types of SEO to help drive traffic to your site:

    • On-Page SEO: This type of SEO refers to the practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. This involves optimizing the content on the page itself, including the text, images, and HTML tags (such as title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags). Key strategies include using relevant keywords naturally within your content, creating high-quality and valuable information for your readers, and ensuring your meta tags accurately describe what your page is about. The goal is to make each page as search-engine-friendly as possible, focusing on providing the best user experience.
    • Off-Page SEO: This type of SEO encompasses all SEO tactics that take place outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs). This primarily involves building backlinks, which are links from other websites to yours. Backlinks are a critical factor in how search engines understand the relevance and authority of your site. The quality, quantity, and relevance of backlinks can significantly affect your site’s ranking. Other off-page SEO strategies include social media marketing, guest blogging, and influencer marketing, all aimed at increasing your site’s visibility and authority through external sources.
    • Technical SEO: This type of SEO focuses on improving the technical aspects of your website to increase the ranking of its pages in the search engines. This includes making your site faster, easier to crawl, and understandable for search engines. Key elements of technical SEO include optimizing your site’s structure, ensuring it is mobile-friendly, improving page speed, securing it with HTTPS, and creating an XML sitemap for search engines to easily access and index your pages. Technical SEO is crucial because it helps search engines crawl and index your site effectively, which is essential for achieving higher search rankings.
  1. Content Marketing

This strategy focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and compelling content to attract and retain your target audience. The goal is to drive profitable customer action, whether through blogs, videos, infographics, or podcasts.


The channels that can play a part in your content marketing strategy might include:

    • Blog posts: Posting articles on your blog is a smart way to show off what you know and bring more people to your website. This means you get more chances to turn visitors into leads for your sales folks. You can write about lots of things, like tips, what’s new in your industry, or updates about your products. This makes your blog a fun place for people to learn and stay connected with your business.
    • Ebooks: Making ebooks is a great way to go deep on topics your audience cares about. They’re like long guides full of useful stuff that people can download. When they swap their email for your ebook, you get a new way to talk to them. Ebooks show you’re an expert and help your audience trust you more.
    • Infographics: Infographics turn boring numbers and facts into engaging pictures. They make hard stuff easy to get and share. Whether it’s showing off survey results or how something works, infographics make your info stand out. Plus, people love to share useful images, so your brand gets seen by even more eyes.
    • Audio or visual content: Making things like podcasts or videos is like inviting your audience to sit down with you. Podcasts are a great way to share ideas and stories, and videos can show how things work or share peeks behind the scenes. This kind of content is easy for people to consume and can make them feel closer to your brand.


  1. Social Media Marketing

Social media is like the town square for the internet. When you use it for your business, you can chat with your customers, show off what you’re all about, and get people excited about your products or services.


The social media platforms I use are:

    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • LinkedIn
    • Instagram

Some of my clients also see success using:

    • Snapchat
    • Pinterest


  1. Email Marketing

They say email is dead…it’s not. In fact, according to Statista, 82% of marketers worldwide use email marketing in their efforts. Think of email marketing as sending out digital letters to your customers. It’s a way to stay in touch, share valuable insights, or offer special deals directly to their inbox. The best part? It’s a direct line to your audience, no middleman. You can keep them updated on what’s new and even get them coming back with personalized offers just for them.


The types of emails you might send in an email marketing campaign might include:

    • Your latest blog articles in newsletter format.
    • Follow-up emails to website visitors who downloaded something.
    • Customer welcome emails.
    • Holiday promotions to a specific group of customers.


  1. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

Think of PPC like putting up a billboard on the internet highway, but you only pay when someone actually stops by to visit. It’s super smart because you can put your ads right where your future customers hang out online. Whether they’re searching on Google or scrolling through their favorite website, your ad pops up with an offer they can’t refuse.


  1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where a business rewards affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. Imagine having a bunch of friends who tell everyone how about your products. If it results in an action, you give them a commission, or part of the sale they helped make happen. It’s a win-win. You get more people checking out your products, and your friends get something for their help.


  1. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing involves partnering with influencers—people with a large and engaged following on social media or other online platforms—to promote your products or services. Their fans see this and think, “If they like it, I might too.” It’s a great way to reach more people and build trust in your brand, all because someone they look up to gave it a thumbs up.


  1. Video Marketing

Video marketing is about telling your story through video. Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes look at how you make your products, a tutorial, or just something funny, videos grab people’s attention. Watching a video can make someone feel more connected to your brand, like they’re right there with you. Plus, videos are super shareable, so your story can spread far and wide.


Each of these digital marketing types offers unique advantages and can be used in combination to create a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

Is digital marketing right for my business


Is digital marketing right for my business?


If you’re wondering if digital marketing is a good fit for your business, the short answer is yes. No matter what kind of business you have, digital marketing has something to offer everyone. Let me  break it down:


If you’re running a business today, your customers are online. They’re scrolling through social media, searching on Google for products or services like the ones you sell. Digital marketing helps you show up right where they’re looking, making it easier for them to check out what you offer, and choose you.


Think of digital marketing as a toolbox. Inside, you’ve got all sorts of tools like social media, email marketing, and SEO. Depending on what you do, who your customers are, and what your goals are, you can pick the right tools to get the job done. Whether you’re looking to get more people through the door, sell more products online, or just get your brand out there, digital marketing can help.


Maybe you’re a small local shop or a new online startup. Digital marketing levels the playing field, giving you the chance to stand out against bigger competitors. With the right strategy, you can reach your ideal customers without needing a big budget.


Plus, digital marketing lets you see how well your efforts are working. You can track how many people see your ads, visit your website, or buy your products. This lets you quickly figure out what’s working and what’s not, and then make changes on the fly.


In short, digital marketing is not just a trend; it’s a must-have for any business looking to grow and make more money online. It offers flexibility, affordability, and the chance to connect with your customers in ways traditional marketing just can’t match. So, if you’re on the fence about whether it’s right for your business, it might be time to jump in and give it a try.

How-to: Digital marketing for small business


How-to: Digital marketing for small business


Stepping into digital marketing might seem overwhelming at first, but it’s really about laying one brick at a time to build your online presence. It’s crucial for reaching out to today’s internet-savvy customers, enhancing your brand visibility, and driving growth. By starting with the basics, you create a solid foundation that supports all your digital marketing efforts.


Here are four beginner-friendly steps every business should consider:

    1. Create a user-friendly website
    2. Engage on social media
    3. Start with SEO basics
    4. Dive into content marketing


  1. Create a user-friendly website: Your website is often the first impression customers have of your business, so make it count. A user-friendly website is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and looks good on both desktop and mobile devices. It should clearly communicate who you are, what you offer, and how customers can contact you or make a purchase.


Practical Tip:

Make sure your website has a clean design, and simple to use navigation. Use clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons to guide users towards taking action, like making a purchase or signing up for requesting more information.


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  1. Engage on social media: Social media isn’t just for sharing memes; it’s a powerful tool for connecting with your audience. Start by choosing one or two platforms where your customers are most active. Post regularly, interact with followers by responding to comments and messages, and share content that adds value, such as tips, insights, or behind-the-scenes looks at your business.


Practical Tip:

Create a content calendar to plan your posts in advance. This helps maintain a consistent posting schedule and ensures your content is varied and engaging.



Want to schedule your social media content for free?

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  1. Start with SEO basics: SEO helps your website get found by people searching for what you offer. Begin with keyword research to understand what terms your customers use when looking online. Use these keywords naturally in your website’s content, titles, and meta descriptions. Also, make sure your website’s structure is SEO-friendly, so search engines can easily crawl and index your pages.


Practical Tip:

Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find keywords your audience is searching for. Example; “best realtor in San Diego”, or “burger places near me”. Incorporate these keywords into your website’s content, headings, and meta descriptions.



Learn how to do keyword research for free in this short YouTube Video on the Google Keyword Planner.


  1. Dive into content marketing: Content marketing is about creating valuable content that attracts and engages your target audience. The goal is to make insightful and share worthy videos, social media posts, or articles on your website. A good content marketing strategy not only helps boost your SEO, but also establishes your brand as a trusted authority in your field. Remember, consistency is key, so aim to publish new content regularly.


Practical Tip:

Find out what types of questions your target audience is asking, and create content that answers these questions in detail.

Listen to how Syed Balhki grew his traffic by creating what he calls user “user feed content” using sites like Google Search, Quora, and Answer the Public.




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By focusing on these four pieces, you’re setting up a strong digital marketing foundation that can support more advanced strategies down the line. Each step helps you build a closer relationship with your audience, improve your online visibility, and ultimately drive more business.

Start your digital marketing journey now


Conclusion: Now is the Time to Start.


Starting your digital marketing journey might seem daunting at first, but remember, every big achievement starts with a single step.

By focusing on the basics I’ve outlined—creating a user-friendly website, engaging on social media, mastering SEO basics, and diving into content marketing—you’re laying the groundwork for a solid digital marketing foundation.

The digital world is vast and full of potential. With the right strategy, you can reach more people, connect with your audience on a deeper level, and grow your business in ways you’ve never imagined. The key is to start small, stay consistent, and always be open to learning and adapting.

So, take these tips, tools, and examples as your starting point. Experiment with what works best for your business and audience. Remember, the most successful digital marketing strategies are those that evolve. Track your results, refine your approach, and don’t be afraid to try new things.

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