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Lesson 1 : Introduction to Digital Marketing

I am Eva, your Guide cum Mentor at Thesis. In Lesson 1, i am going to Introduce you to the world of Digital Marketing.

In the modern world, we are surrounded by digital media. We use our smartphones, computers, tablets, TVs and games consoles to access the internet for all kinds of reasons. And, as we’ll explore in our introduction to digital marketing, this constant connectivity is a goldmine for  marketers. If you’ve always fancied getting started in digital marketing, this is the article for you. We take a look at what exactly it is, why it’s important, what different types there are, and how you can get a job in the industry.

What is digital marketing?

What is digital marketing?

The first step in our introduction to digital marketing is to determine what it is exactly. Essentially, it’s a term used to describe any marketing efforts that take place on the internet or on a digital device. There are many different channels that businesses use to entice customers into buying their products and services.  As we’ll see, there are many elements that go into digital marketing, as well as a host of different devices businesses can market on. It’s a practice that goes from the subtle to the obvious, and it often takes a variety of specialisations working together to be effective. 


Why digital marketing is important ?

There are many stats that highlight the importance of digital marketing. With global eCommerce sales expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021, it’s clear that there’s significant potential for online promotional activity. What’s more, 51% of shoppers research their purchases on Google before making them.  With around 4.5 billion internet users worldwide, digital marketing gives businesses the chance to reach people on platforms where they spend a lot of time and money. It also gives smaller companies an opportunity to compete with their huge rivals, allowing them to use data and insights to target customers. We’ve also seen how vital online shopping is in the first half of 2020. At the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, online orders were up 200% compared to the previous year. For all kinds of companies, digital marketing and the sales it generated were a lifeline when stores were closed.

How much do companies spend on digital marketing?

Online marketing is big business. Data from 2019 shows that marketing budgets make up, on average, 11.2% of companies’ revenue. In the US, this equates to an annual industry spend of over 196billion.IntheUK,thisfigurestandsat24.21 billion. 

For those looking to get an introduction to digital marketing spending, there are no hard and fast rules on how much you should spend and what you should spend it on. However, as with many decisions related to the subject, web analytics can give you the insight needed to make decisions on budgets and spending.

What are the types of digital marketing?

Digital marketing is often a collective effort, where professionals working across several different areas combine their knowledge and resources to meet the goals of the business. The next step in our introduction to digital marketing is to outline what these different areas are. It’s important to remember that not every company will necessarily use all of these methods. However, each channel presents an opportunity for a business to expand its brand reach and increase sales.


We’ve highlighted some of the most frequently used types of digital marketing skills and what they entail.

1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

When you use a search engine such as Google or Bing, you type in your query and get a list of results. Often, the page you’re looking for appears in the top few links. But how does the search engine know which results to bring you? Well, it looks at a wide range of features on the website to determine how relevant it is. This includes things like the links to and from other web pages, the content of the page, the keywords and how they’re used, the number of other people who access/share the page, and more.  Search Engine Optimisation is the art of understanding how sites like Google index data, and optimising the page and its content to increase quality web traffic (visitors). The goal of SEO is often to make a page or website appear as high as possible in search engine results pages without having to pay for it.

2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

While SEO focuses on unpaid methods of boosting visibility in search results, Search Engine Marketing relies on paid options. If you’ve ever Googled something and seen the ‘Ad’ text next to the top results, you’ve seen SEM at work. It’s a practice also sometimes referred to as paid search or PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. Sometimes, people include SEO under the same banner of SEM. 

With this form of digital marketing, keywords are crucial. These are the popular terms that people search for in relation to a particular product or service. With SEM, you can then bid to have your ad appear in the top results when people search for that term.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) As we explored in our post on the top 50 social media FAQs, social media is big business nowadays. Not only does it help individuals connect and network, but it also gives companies the opportunity to expand their brand reach and user base. Using digital media analytics, marketers can gain insight into how their customers act online, what they respond to, and what actions they should take. As well as activities such as posting updates, images, and videos, brands can use social media for paid advertising. Their goal is to drive engagement and clicks, trying to get customers to respond to their messaging while building brand loyalty. An effective social media marketing campaign consists of many different elements.


3. Email

Any ‘introduction to digital marketing article’ from the last 20 years will show the importance of emails. This emphasis comes as little surprise – data shows that, as of 2018, there were around 111.1 billion consumer emails sent and received each day. Email marketing focuses on driving engagement by sending emails to existing and potential customers. 

Given that 99% of consumers check their email daily, it’s no surprise that it’s still such a popular way of marketing. Professionals in this area focus on building mailing lists, segmenting customers, targeting and personalising emails, and improving open and click-through rates. When it comes to embracing digital technology for marketing, email remains one of the top skills to know.


4. Online ads

Online ads and paid media are just about everywhere you look on the internet. As well as the SEM and social media advertising mentioned above, there are also things like banner ads, Google display ads, retargeting ads, and more. 

As with many of the methods mentioned so far in our introduction to digital marketing, online ads require a considerable amount of insight and planning. Many people use ad blockers to silence adverts on web pages, but networks such as Google Display Network and Facebook’s Audience Network mean ads are once again relevant and less intrusive.


5. Affiliates

Affiliate marketing has become incredibly popular over the last few years. Essentially, this method encourages people to promote other people’s products. When this promotion results in a sale, the affiliate gains a small amount of commission. 

It’s a technique that benefits everyone involved. For those with a product to sell, you have a network of people promoting it. Those who want to make money without a product, shifting someone else’s can bring a passive income.  There are whole networks of affiliates that businesses can make use of, focusing on a wide variety of niches.

6. Content

Our introduction to digital marketing wouldn’t be complete without mentioning content. One thing that’s consistent across digital marketing is that each approach requires some form of it. Producing high-quality, entertaining, informative content is at the heart of any marketing strategy. Whether it’s blog or social media posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, ads, or webpages, content is king. 

Content marketing focuses on creating great content and getting it in front of the right audience. It’s about strategy, planning, creativity and analysis. Check out our course on how to create great online content to find out more. We also have one on the fundamentals of content design.


7. Mobile

An estimated 3.5 billion people around the world have a smartphone. These devices have changed the way we think about marketing, opening up countless opportunities to reach potential customers. Mobile marketing focuses on using a variety of methods to advertise and promote products and services.  This type of marketing often makes use of some of the other methods mentioned so far. Along with email, social, and website advertising, there are opportunities such as SMS, MMS, and mobile app marketing. It’s not just phones, either – tablets, wearable technology, and other devices all present marketing potential. Our course on mobile digital skills explores this topic in more detail.

8. Viral

Of all of the methods in our introduction to digital marketing, this is the hardest one to pin down. At its core, viral marketing refers to a type of promotion that relies on the audience to generate buzz. Once a marketing campaign goes beyond its target audience to be widely shared, it’s considered to have ‘gone viral’.  These campaigns often tap into the zeitgeist, leveraging things like memes and popular media culture to stand out. However, it’s not usually something that can be forced. Viral marketing relies on the organic spread of content, often on social media channels. 


9. Other roles

There are many other jobs that directly relate to digital marketing. Roles such as video production, marketing automation, web development and design, data analytics and business strategy all play a part. It’s a far-reaching industry with a lot of potential.

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