Complete Guide to Digital Marketing

By Rebecca Nedrow

Updated October 5, 2021

Published February 4, 2020

Rebecca Nedrow has an MBA in marketing with a bachelor's degree in small business. Her experience includes market research, business planning and analysis.

Digital marketing is a high-growth industry with multiple career paths as a freelancer, business owner or company employee. Different digital marketing techniques improve brand awareness and convert audiences to customers. Understanding the different digital marketing tactics can help you choose what types of marketing jobs you want to pursue. In this article, we discuss the different digital marketing strategies and how to use them effectively.

Related: 15 Marketing Jobs That Pay Well

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is the part of marketing that handles digital communications and platforms, including search engines, websites, email, social media and mobile apps. It's vital to companies' overall marketing strategy, with the goal of reaching new people to increase website traffic. You can measure and track the success of campaigns with key performance indicators (KPIs), and depending on the type of digital marking you use, there are specific metrics that help determine the success of digital campaigns.

Effective digital marketing starts with creating customer personas to determine which digital channels are appropriate to reach your target audience. A customer persona is a fictional customer that represents your target consumers to determine buying behavior, social media platforms used, interests and basic demographics. You can set digital marketing goals depending on your target audience, then determine the metrics to use for measuring and monitoring performance.

Related: Learn About Being a Digital Marketing Manager

Types of digital marketing

Each form of digital marketing has its own advantages depending on the message you want to deliver and the goals you have for your message. Here are five of the most popular types of digital marketing and the importance of each:

1. Search engine marketing

Search engine marketing involves creating content based on the ranking of your keywords in search results. Search engines order web content based on popularity and relevance in the search engine results pages. Here are some SEM elements to consider when developing your strategy:

Search engine optimization

SEO involves writing content to better target short-tailed keywords and long-tailed phrases with high search volume online. Most people use search engines to find content, so having a powerful presence on SERPs can help users find your content. Keyword research is important to identify the alternative keywords and phrases people searched for related to your content.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is when keywords in your content, like blogs or landing pages, assist the search engine in finding content. Keyword research is important for creating content by optimizing your target keywords in blog posts, landing pages and infographics. Improve SEO using keywords in titles, text and anchor words for links. E-books also provide more detailed information to repurpose portions into blog posts or infographics. Use keyword phrases in the filename, caption text and short introduction paragraph.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO includes linking to content on other pages, like post blogs or industry articles with the same keywords. Link building requires finding and managing the backlinks used in content from authoritative sources. Research relevant keywords based on the topics that relate to your company's industry, and link back to authoritative pages to improve the reach and customer conversion of your content.

Content index

A table of contents for blogs, e-books, landing pages and infographics improves SEO by using keywords throughout the content. Create an index page and organize website content by using keywords in category titles to help readers find information and improve the search engine's results. The search engine crawls this information to find content that ranks higher.

2. Pay-per-click advertising

Pay-per-click advertising is an advertising method in which you pay an advertising network for each click you receive on your ad. You can use some of the following metrics to track the success of their advertisements:

  • Click-through rate (CTR): Click-through rate is the ratio of people who clicked on your ad compared to the people who viewed your advertisement.

  • Cost per action (CPA): Cost per action is the amount of money it costs you for each click, lead or sale based on the metric you're tracking.

  • Return on investment (ROI): This is the amount of money you receive from your advertising efforts either by ad creative, campaign or overall.

3. Email marketing

Businesses use email marketing to send mass-produced promotional material to customers who sign up for a subscription. Email marketing can also deliver content to customers. Analyze customer interactions with open and click-through rates to determine how many emails recipients opened and followed links to the page. Include the customer's name in the subject line to increase these rates.


You can send newsletters and promotional material in emails weekly, monthly or yearly that include company events, news, promotions and plans. Create content that engages consumers and includes information about e-books or new product launches or creates urgency with limited promotions, sales, coupons or rebates.

Automated series

You can send an automated series of messages to customers at specific times. Automated series usually provide an extensive amount of information over multiple messages to improve the recipient's experience. Automated emails are easy to measure the success of a campaign by looking at the open and click-through rates to determine the amount of new site traffic generates from the emails. Compare the number to the estimated number of emails sent from the compiled list.

Email lists

Email marketing requires building an email list that includes both current and potential customers. Content that includes a call to action encouraging readers to complete an email subscription helps generate new leads to your website. Find potential customers with subscriptions popups on websites and promote the newsletters on social media by encouraging followers to share.

4. Mobile marketing

Mobile marketing uses mobile devices as a delivery method. Mobile marketing integrates with email and content marketing strategies by promoting content through mobile apps and sites. Here are a few ways that digital marketers can use mobile marketing:

Promotional SMS delivery

When a user provides their phone number to a company, the company can send the user promotional text messages that lead them to a webpage or application to inform them of a product or service. Include simple messages with a call to action for measuring the strategy's performance.

In-app marketing

A company can choose to pay for advertising displayed on phone applications. These advertisements lead potential customers to a landing page, product page or website.

Mobile-friendly websites

Most companies make their websites mobile-friendly since a majority of consumers use mobile devices to research, compare prices and make purchases. This could involve creating an entirely different website experience for mobile users. The brand and image should stay the same to maintain a unified message on both mobile and desktop sites.

5. Social media marketing

Here are a few ways you might use social media for marketing your product or service:

  • Grow your followers: You can use one or more social media profiles or business pages to grow the number of followers that you can market to in the future. Make posts sharable across all platforms to improve brand awareness.

  • Direct followers to your site: You can use messaging or a profile page to post a link that directs people to your website, products or services. You can use a call to action to lead followers to the website.

  • Use social advertising: You can use a social media platform's advertising network to pay for ads that either grow your followers or direct users to a webpage to find out more about your products or services.

  • Interact with the online community: You can communicate directly with followers through instant messages and comments. It offers an opportunity to learn more about an audience in order to design products or services that consider their preferences.

Read more: Creating a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

FAQs about digital marketing

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about digital marketing to help you learn more:

How do I determine which ad copy or media will work best for a campaign?

You can use a split test between two or more ad media or copies. Market your advertisement to the same number of people for each advertisement, and find out which one achieves the best results. You can repeat this process until you determine a unique visual style to design consistent ads and an engaging brand voice for all of your copy.

What is the best way to grow my email list?

One common way to build your email list is to offer something of value to your customer or potential customer. Offering a discount code, gift or other items of value can help entice visitors to join your email list. Consider testing each of these strategies to see which provides the best results.

How many digital marketing strategies should I focus on?

The number of digital marketing strategies you use depends on where you find your customers. Some businesses find social media to be the most prominent contributor to their digital marketing portfolio, whereas other companies find growing their email list to be the best strategy. Whatever marketing strategies you focus on, consider building a list of current or potential customers that you can further market by paying no additional advertising or marketing fees.

Related: 7 Ways To Market a Small Business

Do I need a blog for my company or business?

A blog can be a beneficial tool for any company or business. You can create posts based on relevant keywords to help build your on-page SEO. Engaging blog posts can attract visitors to your site, and you can then use an email list to continue marketing to your visitors and leads.

What is the best social media platform to use?

Each company and business has different levels of success with various social media platforms. Consider using a variety of social networks when marketing your business and focus your efforts on the platforms that generate the highest return on your investment. Ensure your brand stays the same on all platforms to project a consistent image.

Explore more articles