What is digital marketing? Why is it necessary, anyway? And how can you really succeed in it? In this guide to digital marketing for beginners, I'll break it down into pieces so that you may understand the subject better. 

Digital marketing can be a trending buzzword, but it's not new at all. In 1896, the first public transmission of wireless signals occurred with radio. And that's what digital marketing is all about. It is different from traditional marketing because of the usage of wireless signals. 

There are a lot of misconceptions about digital marketing. For example, some people think that online and digital marketing are the same, which isn't correct. Online marketing only involves internet connectivity, while digital marketing also involves transferring digital signals. 

It means billboards, radio, and televisions are also media of digital marketing. Didn't know it already? Well, you aren't alone. Let's break a few more myths. Sounds fair? Let's get going! 

What is Digital Marketing? 

Digital marketing is as old as radio. It's a form of marketing in which you use digital signals to communicate with your customers, visitors, or readers. With time, digital marketing has evolved a lot, especially in recent years. 

“Digital marketing is a type of marketing delivered through digital channels or electronic devices such as television, radio, search engines, websites, social media, and more. “

As you can see, modern-day digital marketing has a large number of channels. Now you see tons of apps, sites, and digital solutions rolling out every day. As per Think with Google, 48% of customers start their queries on search engines.  

And this is just one channel of digital marketing. From email to social media and from PPC to radio, you've tons of options available to market your brand or website digitally. Let's get to know why you or your business should invest in digital marketing. 

Why Digital Marketing?

Every business in the world needs more sales, leads, and profits. And it needs to adopt new forms of marketing to do so. Digital marketing is old. But it didn't have tons of channels up till now. Times have changed. And businesses have shifted accordingly. 

Google and social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram generate more revenue than any traditional media agency. Why? It's because they get more eyeballs. And that is the reason why digital marketing is essential without a doubt. You need to understand a few things more. 

Your Customers or Readers Are Online

There are over 4.66 billion people online today. That's almost 60% of the entire population of the world. And the number is growing exponentially. And you'll see 319 million new users as the current year ends. Imagine the power of marketing your idea to those people. 

Digital Marketing is Insanely Affordable with Better ROI

Digital marketing is more of online marketing now. And the cost of running an ad online is way more affordable than broadcasting a television commercial. For example, a national TV channel may cost you $120,000 to run a 30-second commercial. 

While creating content and sharing it on social media may cost you a few bucks only. And you may already know that. With digital marketing, your business can get started right away. And the digital marketing investment brings in more return than investing in traditional marketing. 

Your Competitors Are Already Doing It

From McDonald's to Gucci and from a local shop to an affiliate website, every business is marketing digitally. Your competitors are already doing it regardless of your industry or niche. And that's a solid reason for you to win the digital marketing game as well. 

But how do you crack it down? Understand the major categories of digital marketing for that. Let's dive in!

Breakdown of Digital Marketing: 9 Major Types

You can get started with digital marketing as a beginner only if you know how to break it down. Let me do it for you. Digital marketing has 9 major types:

  1. Content marketing
  2. Search engine optimization
  3. Search engine marketing
  4. Pay-per-click advertising
  5. Social media marketing
  6. Email marketing 
  7. Mobile marketing 
  8. TV & radio marketing
  9. Electronic billboards

As you can see, digital marketing is not that one area to focus on. It has several ways and channels to pull and push your products and services online. Have a look at these 10 methods to generate tons of ideas for content development

The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing for Beginners in 2021

As a digital marketer, you need to focus on a particular set of areas, not digital marketing as a whole. Makes sense? Let's get started now. 

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the only marketing that has ever existed and will exist forever. From email to social media marketing and from on-page SEO to electronic billboards, content marketing spreads around every marketing effort. 

Every marketing effort starts with an excellent piece of content. 

Let me break a myth for you; content marketing is not just about blogs, videos, or tweets. It's about everything related to content. Even a printed flyer gets the benefits from the power of content. It's powerful because it tells the story. And we all love stories. Don't we?

Quora is one of my favorite platforms based on the content generated by users. It means your audience is there. Here's the video I've created for you to help your digital marketing efforts on Quora:

Affiliate marketing is also a kind of content marketing in which you market the content to bring in affiliate commission. Content marketing efforts include books, podcasts, videos, white papers, emails, and many more.

There are different methods of creating each one of them, but they share the basic process of creating content. 

What You Need to Do

1. Set your goals based on your mission

2. Understand or establish your unique selling point

3. Know your audience and understand its cycle

4. Choose the correct type of content for your audience

5. Create a content calendar to keep on track

And here's a pro-tip for you. Use URL shortening tools to track your digital marketing efforts. Watch this video where I talk about the benefits of using URL shorteners to boost digital marketing efforts.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Now that you have realized the power of content, optimize it for search engines like Google. I love this form of digital marketing because it brings in organic traffic. And it's more consistent than any other type of marketing. 

Here's the quick video I've created for you to generate traffic from search engines like Google:

SEO is all about the best practices to rank high on search engines like Google or Bing. It means your content must rank for a particular keyword or query to fulfill your business objectives. SEO isn't quick. It takes a long time to enjoy the reward, but it is worth it. 

Here's a quick course for you to generate your on-page SEO strategy:

What You Need to Do

1. Understand what your audience is searching

2. Do the keyword research and choose the right keywords

3. Create super-helpful content for your audience based on the keywords

4. Keep helping your visitors or customers with powerful content

5. Increase efforts to bring in authority links or mentions back to your business asset

SEO is an ongoing process. It doesn't have hard-and-fast rules or a one-shot strategy. Invest wisely and expect the returns slowly. And if you're just starting and need some free SEO tools, watch this video right now:

3. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing (SEM) is similar to SEO because both target search engines. But there are tons of differences between SEO and SEM. Search engine marketing is the process of getting profits through paid advertising. 

The objective of SEM is to gain maximum visibility in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). You pay a search engine for putting up an ad for a specific keyword. Now when someone types in the search engine, your page gets the spots above organic results. 

What You Need to Do

1. Do the keyword research

2. Estimate bid on all the relevant keywords

3. Choose only the most profitable keywords

4. Create loveable content and run ads

5. Improve CTR with A/B ad copies

6. Target relevant locations for your business

7. Analyze the overall performance and strategize to get the maximum ROI

Test the water for different keywords and keep repeating the process to hone the ultimate profitability for you. Pay Per Click or PPC is similar to SEM because both use a ‘paid' form of advertising, usually on search engines.  

4. Social Media Marketing

Yes, you guessed it right! It's marketing your business on social media like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Every business in the world needs to be on social media nowadays. Why? Because everyone is on social media now. Your customers. Visitors. Everyone. 

But which particular social platform you should go for depends on your business type and objectives. For example, if you or your business specialize in B2B, LinkedIn is there for you. And if you love fashion, Pinterest or Instagram is the way to go.

But again, it depends. It will help if you do the testing and proper planning before you strategize your social media marketing. 

Look at this video in which I talk about how I got 920 Instagram followers within 13 days only. 

And you can do the same, trust me. 

What You Need to Do

1. Understand your audience 

2. Create the kind of content they love

3. Know your competition

4. Engage with your audience 

5. Do a social media audit and act accordingly

5. Email Marketing 

The first marketing email sent in 1978 brought in $13 million in sales. And the momentum keeps going. The average ROI is $42 for every dollar you spend on email marketing. I love email marketing the most because you can develop an authentic connection with humans. Build an existing relationship with your subscribers right now. 

And hone the power of email marketing with a customer-centric approach. Email marketing isn't about you or your business; it's all about your customers or readers. Here's what you should get started with email marketing.

Prospecting is the first step to generate leads for your brand. And it's not limited to email but expanded to every marketing form. Have a look at the tutorial I created on lead generation for you:

What You Need to Do

1. Define and understand your audience

2. Create a reason for people to sign up (offer an ebook or some other lead magnet)

3. Build an eye-catching opt-in form

4. Opt for the right email campaign type

5. Choose an email marketing service to automate your efforts

Also, make sure your copy remains consistent with your voice or brand image. Add a powerful call to action (CTA) to convert more visitors into subscribers. Test the right timing for an opt-in to appear and send an email. And constantly personalize your message.

6. Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing spans all forms of digital marketing that I've discussed here. From social media to emails, everything is on the phone now. You need to optimize your content to be served on your customers' mobile phones. 

What You Can Do 

1. Keep track of the right sizing of your content

2. Consider mobile phone in mind while streaming

3. Serve mobile-responsive ads

4. Optimize your newsletters as well, not just the video content or blog

5. Measure your mobile marketing success

7. TV & Radio Marketing

You may not be here for this, I know. But let me include tv and radio marketing because it's a part of digital marketing, honestly. Also, a radio may refer to podcasts, and TV may refer to online videos, you know. However, I will talk about radio and TV in this section. 

I know everyone is online today, but then you can outreach specific audiences with TV and radio only. You can also run TV adverts midway through your audience's streaming televisions. So here's what you can do.

What You Can Do

1. Understand your audience 

2. Make sure the audience will turn eyeballs on your ads

3. Pivot your TV and radio ads according to your audience's location

4. Hire the best yet budget-friendly advertising agency

5. Personalize TV and radio ads with streaming service providers

8. Electronic Billboards & Other Digitized Marketing 

Electronic billboards are also forms of digital marketing because the medium is digital. You can't deny that your eyeballs do turn into an eye-catchy electronic billboard when you are on the road. Depending on your audience, you can do a lot of exciting things to boost your profits. 

What You Need to Do

1. Understand your audience

2. Craft the creatives to attract their attention

3. Use the power of colors

4. Create powerful slogans 

5. Choose only the best location possible 

So that's all. I've tried my best to offer the best value to make you understand digital marketing as a beginner. Read on if the guide was too long, and you didn't read it. 

Digital Marketing for Beginners Course & Book Recommendation

I continually create videos to help you get started with digital marketing. Here's the link to the tutorial I made on YouTube:

Digital Marketing for Beginners 7 Strategies That Work

It's a wonderful video about digital marketing for beginners created by Ahrefs' Sam Oh. Have a look at it and let me know which strategy do you like the most:

Digital Marketing for Dummies by Ryan Deiss and Russ Henneberry

This book on digital marketing for beginners offers maximum value to marketers across the globe. It's a friendly guide on how you can use proven strategies to outrank your competition fast. Dig deep into the book for the best practices on SEO to SEM to SMM. 

TL; DR – Digital Marketing for Beginners in 2021

In this guide to digital marketing for beginners, you can see that it's not specific to online marketing only. Of course, no one can afford to win over all the digital channels. And I don't recommend doing it because it depends on your audience.

Despite this, let's have a look at what digital marketing can mean for you:

1. Create killer content and strategize your content marketing

2. Focus on search engine optimization and marketing as well

3. Curate social media strategies as well (as discussed above)

4. Consider mobile phones when building any marketing strategy

5. Run TV and radio ads according to your audience and try electronic billboards as well

The one thing that is common among all forms of digital marketing is the audience. I asserted on understanding your audience in the ‘Things You Need to Do' section. Why? Because only then you'll succeed in marketing yourself or your business ideas.