What is Digital marketing
There are several definitions for digital marketing. That said, digital marketing boils down to applying, managing, and harnessing digital technologies to support marketing activities that achieve profitable acquisition and retention of customers.
The scope of digital marketing can be quite broad if you consider all the digital technologies used today from computers, mobile devices, social media platforms, email, search engines, to digital data and insights. There are, inherently, several moving parts that you will need to get a grip of. For most people, getting a digital marketing course is the best path to follow to obtain the required knowledge.
However, getting a certification is not the only path. You could also easily learn digital marketing through self-paced learning. As long as you study hard, are enthusiastic and ready to learn from your experiences (and/or other people’s experiences) you can learn digital marketing.
Whichever approach you choose to pursue, lots of practice and networking will help you convert your education into successful practice. The first step in the learning process is to be aware of the full spectrum of components in digital marketing.
Components of Digital Marketing
For you to be successful in digital marketing, different strategies and tactics can be employed. These can be divided into three main components including:
- Customer acquisition strategies (SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing & Co-Marketing, Online advertising, Online PR, SMM)
- Conversion strategies (Content marketing, Social Commerce, Customer Journeys, Marketing Automation, Conversion Rate Optimization, Merchandising, and Personalization)
- Customer retention and growth strategies (Customer Experience Management, Customer Onboarding, Customer Service and Support, Customer Contact Strategy, Social CRM, Big Data)
The full context of digital marketing is essential for better understanding any of its components. For example, by understanding the above context of social media within the digital marketing framework, you will be better equipped to not only study but to appreciate the required steps to take to become a social media marketer.
For our purposes, we shall only define a few core marketing tactics or components of digital marketing to give us a basis for the necessary steps to take in learning digital marketing.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO involves the utilization of all available resources (technical elements and creative elements), to grow the visibility of a website within organic (non-paid) search engine results. For example, improving the quality of content on a webpage to increase ranking for that webpage on Googles search results.
2. Pay Per Click (PPC)
An internet advertising model where an advertiser pays a fee when their adverts are clicked on. Typically, with PPC, advertisers pay search engines when someone clicks on a website link. As such, it is a method of buying visits rather than earning the visits organically through SEO.
3. Social Media Marketing
A form of internet marketing where content is created and shared on social media networks to achieve specific branding or marketing goals. It involves interaction with customers for several different reasons including creating brand awareness, gathering feedback, growing website traffic, etc.
4. Content Marketing
A form of internet marketing where online material such as a blog post or video is created and shared. The online material or content should not overtly or directly promote a product or brand but rather stimulate interest, inspire, or educate the user to make the ‘right’ choice of product or brand. Content marketing is the key tool used in SEO.
5. Marketing Automation
Marketing Automation refers to software technologies and platforms that keep all your digital marketing activities across multiple online channels consolidated and synchronized for greater effectiveness and efficiency.
Steps to take to learn digital marketing
As mentioned earlier, for you to dig a little deeper into digital marketing and better yet understand all the different tactics in their proper context as well as how you should actually market in a digital world, it will be essential for you to to do the following:
1. Read and Research
Now that you understand the spectrum of tactics and strategies from a bird’s eye view, it will be a lot easier to research and find material online that will assist you to learn the required knowledge. Here are a few authority websites where you can get some great articles to help you along the way.
2. Take a course
Another approach that you can pursue is to take a well-thought-out and reputable digital marketing course. Taking a good renowned course, as opposed to seeking the self-learning path through reading and research, will not only guide you along the path towards becoming a successful digital marketer but it will also help you to get certified as well. In essence, you will learn the useful material, get tested, obtain certification and therefore have higher chances of getting a well-paying digital marketing job or be more respected in the industry as a consultant or service provider.
There are several reputable digital marketing courses you can find; some paid for courses and others for free. In most cases, you get a more thorough approach with the paid courses while the free courses introduce and offer you good value for your time.
Once you have acquired the right skills to become a digital marketer, the next important step is to practice what you have learned. Generally, volunteer work and freelance work are the best ways to put into action the material that you have learned. Volunteer work is great because you can put into practice the learning material in real life situations without the inhibition of having to bid against other experts to provide a service to a client. In other words, you will provide a service for free and benefit from the experience. Freelancing, on the other hand, allows you to earn from your efforts through doing real work for real clients.
Some freelance sites where you can find clients include the following:
Once you have some experience, the next logical step is to either build a business or build a career. Either way, networking will help you to achieve your goal a lot faster than going it alone, because you can benefit from other people’s experiences instead of making costly mistakes yourself and learning from them. Networks are also places where you can meet new friends, exchange and test ideas, and even find new jobs.
There are different types of networks that you can tap into for inspiration and assistance. Some of them include the following:
- Personal contacts and friends, both offline and online. These include friends and peers who may be in the digital marketing industry
- Professional associations, both local and global. For example, the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO)
- Online communities and social media groups. These are probably the best resources that you will find for your digital marketing needs as a beginner or as an experienced digital marketer. Below are some examples.
Once you gather all the required skills focusing those skills on a target audience and their behavior as well as the objective of the company that has hired you makes all the difference in the world. In fact, some may say that it is an entire skill of its own that needs to be developed. Hopefully, with the information you have gathered here, you can start your journey on the right path and become a successful Digital Marketer.