Digital Marketing 101

Digital marketing has many disciplines and verticals that collaborate with each other to create, execute, and optimize marketing plans and strategies.

These are some components of digital marketing:

- Marketing Strategy and Plan


- Content Marketing

- Email Marketing

- Paid Advertising

- Social Media

- Landing Pages

- Marketing Analytics

For each component, here is a breakdown of what it is + a list of resources that range from technical briefs to full-fledged guides on the subject.

1) Marketing Strategy and Plan

Marketing strategy and business objectives come hand-in-hand. All strategies among different verticals such as sales or marketing should be aligned to the ultimate business objective. As such, a business objective helps to define a marketing strategy, following which, a marketing strategy helps to define a marketing plan.

Strategy is a broad stroke for many concepts such as customer journey, the marketing funnel, moments of truth, growth marketing. But they all have one thing in common: to understand the consumer journey better and execute a plan based on those insights.

A plan is the execution of that strategy — its deliverables, campaigns, and operational elements.

In short, Business Objectives > Marketing Strategy > Marketing Plan.

Here are some good resources:

2) SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization and it helps your website and content rank higher organically on Google’s SERP (search engine results page). SEO contains 3 main areas: Technical, On-page and Off-page. These lists are not exhaustive.

Technical SEO includes setting up the foundations of your website and testing its basic characteristics such as page load time, speed of website, replacing broken links, removing duplicate content, setting up https, creating sitemap.xml and adding robots.txt files.

On-page SEO includes the research and usage of keywords in your page, using h1/h2 title tags, adding meta descriptions, using alt tags for images and anchor text for links, and more advanced work like schema markup.

Off-page SEO includes the number and quality of links to your website. This involves blacklisting any unwanted traffic, repairing broken links, as well as distributing your content to other pages with high domain authority.

Here are some good resources:

3) Content Marketing

Content marketing is the use of educational or interesting content to generate awareness and interest in the target audience. As power now shifts from businesses to consumers, marketing is no longer a push but a pull. Instead of convincing a consumer why they should buy your product, businesses are now educating the consumer and helping them understand their decisions better. That trust is important — it begets a relationship between businesses and consumers and could lead to a purchase decision down the road.

A great amount of time goes into consumer research, user and/or expert interviews, competitor analysis to uncover what type of content would attract and engage the target audience.

Content can be distributed in many ways: it could be through your own channels, or you could leverage the higher volume of followers and fans on partner websites or accounts. Joint publications and white-labelled content are some ways to achieve a one-to-many distribution strategy.

Last but not least, is how you write high-quality and persuasive content that matter to your audience. This involves back-and-forth with your target audience, colleagues and supervisors, as well as creative insight and structure shown in your writing.

Here are some good resources:

4) Email Marketing

Email is still a widely used form of content distribution. With so many different channels fragmenting a user’s attention, email has still been one channel we can’t avoid. Many lead forms on websites aim to capture a user’s email by offering a newsletter or guide. After a user signs up, they are then sent drip campaigns to nurture them down the funnel.

Email marketing constitutes experiments such as headline A/B testing, or long to short form email copies — the goal would be identifying the optimal display of content and information that would encourage users to make a conversion or next action.

Here are some good resources:

5) Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is the paid marketing and distribution of your content to increase the number of leads or conversions for your business. Popular channels for launching paid ads include Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. Each type of channel has a different context and setting for its ads, as well as have different ways of targeting audiences.

Google Ads appear usually in the form of search or display ads, and they aim to target your audience through keywords. The keywords someone uses when they type their query into google can potentially signify user intent. For example, someone searching “beach towel” is much less primed for purchasing one as compared to “where to buy a beach towel” or “beach towel reviews”. Keywords signify intent, and advertisers can target users with deals and promotions that fit their intent.

Facebook Ads have a variety of formats: they can appear in your feed, in the right-hand column, or in Instagram. They aim to target audiences through interests and interest groups. For instance, an advertiser wanting to target people who would purchase beach towels would select his audience through interest groups such as: “beach-goers”, “I love the beach”, “save the oceans”, and even layer it with geo-location targeting such as: “only people in a 5-mile radius of the sea in that city”. This creates a top-of-funnel awareness and consideration of your product or service to an audience that, as shown through their social media activity, has proven to be interested in businesses such as yours.

LinkedIn Ads involve sponsored posts or videos that aim to target audiences in the B2B space such as professionals. Unlike Google or Facebook Ads, LinkedIn helps you target audiences through their professional characteristics such as job title, seniority, company they work in, and etc. This helps to create an extremely niche group of audiences to target with your marketing assets and resources, especially if you are a B2B company.

In addition, all these ad platforms come with various additions, such as: the use of custom audiences, retargeting campaigns, bid and budget adjustments, conversion tracking — all helping the marketer to determine the true ROI and attribution of his or her marketing campaign.

Here are some good resources:

6) Social Media

Social media marketing or management is the use of social media to create and sustain a top-of-mind brand awareness in consumers, to better engage and understand their thoughts on your company and products, and to generate interests in your product or services.

Depending on the objectives of the business, social media can be used in many different ways. By inspecting the comments, reviews, posts and videos on a product or service on popular social media channels, a business can better understand how their consumers are thinking. They can use positive reviews as affirmations to certain product features and address negative reviews quickly to retain the consumer as well as debate if the review should implicate the way its products are developed.

In other cases, managers on social media could also be tasked with managing groups and communities to build ecosystems that support the growth of that product or service. Alternatively, they could also use social media to post images and videos that generate interest in the target audience.

Here are some good tools:

7) Landing Pages

A landing page is a type of webpage you create that aims to convert the visitor of that page. It is generally a summary and snapshot of what makes your product valuable for the consumer, what features your product has, what makes your product different from others, why should the consumer buy it now and not later, and who else uses your product (social proof). The goal of a landing page is to encourage a conversion, such as a user filling up a lead-capture form with his or her email. That is subsequently followed up with email marketing campaigns to nurture the lead to take further actions.

Crafting a good landing page with the right colors, images, videos, mood, content, structure and CTA buttons takes practice, iteration and split-testing.

Here are some good resources:

  • 12 Steps to Creating Landing Pages that Convert (Intercom)
  • 19 Best Landing Page Examples (HubSpot)
  • Landing Page Designs (Lapa)

8) Marketing Analytics

What is the ROI of my campaign? Who has clicked on my website and how long did they stay on my page? Did they like my green checkout button or not? All these questions can be answered via the setup of marketing tags or tracking codes that track a user’s activity and session on your website or page. These data from campaign or page performance gives marketers a deeper understanding of how the user interacts with the page, and what areas should be improved on or tweaked to optimize its performance. Common tools include google tag manager and google analytics.

Understanding how data and users flow from campaign to landing page to email sequences (down the funnel), can help us understand the conversion rate or effectiveness of each channel. This will help us improve the marketing funnel over time through insights that are derived from the data collected by our analytics tools.

Here are some good resources:

  • Go-to-Market Best Practices (a16z)
  • Measure Digital Marketing Metrics and ROI (Marketo)
  • Google Tag Manager Tutorial 2019 (Optimize Smart)
  • 9 Google Analytics Custom Reports (Shopify)
  • Google Webmasters (Google)

Beyond these thoughts, here are a few good blogs or websites to gain a deeper and wider understanding of digital marketing and its concepts:

And here are some useful tools:

Digital marketing is different from traditional tv or billboard ads because they offer traceable and measurable ways to gauge the performance of a campaign or an asset. It is no longer a strategy of “spray and pray” with large marketing budgets — but a targeted and relevant delivery of content and information to the right audience at the right time.

Our marketing assets such as social media posts, videos, gated white papers or landing pages — in addition to our campaigns such as paid ads — as well as organic SEO listings and page authority — are now all interconnected because a consumer’s journey is no longer linear. A multi-channel approach and appreciation is necessary to build a collectively holistic experience for the consumer. In such cases, a marketing automation tool such as HubSpot or Marketo is also used to coordinate all these different campaigns, assets and workflows — and to ensure that data and information is not siloed and isolated.

With technologies such as machine learning and deep learning continuing to shape every industry, marketers are certainly not spared. In fact, with 24-hour Google Ads optimization bots, to AI that generates content pieces with a few simple inputs and keywords, marketers will need to once again re-define why their ideas, creativity and drive can deliver true and tangible value to organizations.




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Andrew Ong Jun Kang

Andrew Ong Jun Kang

Life Begins at the Edge of Your Comfort Zone.

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