A Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing

A relative newcomer to the marketing world, digital marketing has in a short time become an undeniable force in the industry. In fact, it’s become the new norm — according to a 2021 Gartner report, digital channels now account for 72% of the average marketing budget.

Digital marketing’s speedy success can largely be attributed to the huge online consumer audience globally, the high levels of targeting digital marketing tactics offer and, as a result, the impressive ROI results it can deliver. And for those just getting started, running digital ad campaigns is both approachable and intuitive on most platforms, making it a relatively easy skill to pick up.

Thinking about leveraging the opportunities that digital marketing can deliver for your brand? Read on for a quick guide to the basics of digital marketing from the experienced professionals at The Brandon Agency.

What is digital marketing?

Also known as online marketing, digital marketing encompasses all of a brand’s marketing efforts that take place on the internet. It harnesses powerful digital channels such as email, social media, search engines and other websites to gain the attention of online consumers and lead them along the steps of the marketing funnel toward conversion. It can also be used to develop and maintain stronger relationships with existing customers, helping to foster brand loyalty.

What are the different types of digital marketing?

While the practice of digital marketing can include other tactics, there are seven main categories of online marketing:

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of optimizing a brand’s website so that it ranks among the top results on search engine results pages (SERPs) when consumers use search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo to perform online searches. This can be an especially powerful tactic for business growth, as it can deliver organic (and free) consumer traffic to a brand’s website, often capturing the attention of potential buyers just when they’re actively looking for the specific products and services a brand offers.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

Also known as paid search, this digital marketing strategy can help brands increase their visibility on search engine results pages when consumers perform online searches for products and services related to a brand’s offerings. Three of the most widely used SEM platforms include Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising and Yahoo Native, all of which allow brands to place keyword-driven text or display ads on the platforms’ respective SERPs.

Email marketing

Largely employed by brands as a way to nurture ongoing relationships with existing customers, email marketing is typically used to send newsletters, promotions, product news and other timely communications to consumers who have opted into a brand’s email-recipient list.

Social media marketing

This digital marketing tactic leverages the popularity and large online audiences of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest to promote a brand and its content to the consumers on these platforms. It can be used for a range of strategic purposes such as boosting brand awareness, generating leads and driving website traffic.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

This type of digital marketing employs ads placed on various online platforms and websites, and the model sees brands pay the respective ad’s publisher an agreed-upon amount each time an ad is clicked. Because the PPC model doesn’t incur charges until any placed ads produce consumer click-throughs, effectively delivering a website visitor for the brand, brands using it can know they’re getting results for their advertising investment.

Content marketing

This digital marketing strategy sees brands create and promote owned-media content such as blog articles, infographics, e-books, whitepapers, videos and other assets for consumer consumption. When the content is of high quality and is placed on company websites and social platforms, it can help brands improve their search rankings via keyword placement, the delivery of relevant, authoritative content, etc. Further, by offering consumers valuable information about the brand, its offerings and its industry, content marketing can also ultimately serve to position the brand as a trusted source of information and guidance in its area of expertise.

Affiliate/influencer marketing

This type of digital marketing sees brands pay influential individuals with large online followings to promote their products and/or services. It can be a great way to build brand awareness, especially when the promoter already has a large following among the type of consumers a brand is trying to reach.

Where can I learn more?

There is an array of online resources available for brand professionals looking to improve their digital marketing skills. Just a handful of the leading options include:

Need some expert help with your brand’s digital marketing efforts — so you can effectively move consumers along the path to purchase while your staff members focus on what they do best? At The Brandon Agency, our data-driven marketing team is proficient in a range of digital-marketing categories — including PPC, SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing and more — and is always staying abreast of the latest digital marketing developments and tactics. To put our team of pros to work for your brand, contact us today.


Nick McNeill

Interactive Director

Nick uses his talents in computer science and graphic design to grow the online presence of brands such as Santee Cooper, Southern Tide, frogg toggs, Farmers Telephone Cooperative and Blue Force Gear. A serial marathon runner, his steely determination shines through every brand he grows. As lead user interface designer of the GuestDesk software suite for online hotel reservations, he watched it explode from $1 million in reservations to over $400 million annually.

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