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The Only Guide You Need For Digital Marketing

Updated: Jan 10

All marketing efforts begin with a singular goal — reaching your target audience where they are. Today, that’s the internet. The average Australian spends over six hours online, and a third of that time unfolds on social media.

It’s no surprise that 55% of marketing campaigns are digital, and an even more impressive 72% of total marketing budgets go toward digital channels (Source: Wordstream)

This guide walks you through the what, where, and how of digital marketing. We’ll set you up with a solid understanding that allows you to gain visibility, build connections, and drive sales.

What Is Digital Marketing?

Marketing is, essentially, any conscious effort to persuade people to buy products or services and raise brand awareness. At its core, marketing is all about understanding customers — their needs, wants, and behaviour. Beyond helping customers understand the value of a product or service, marketing is also about forging lasting connections. Selling products is great. Building relationships? Priceless.

Digital marketing takes those efforts online, where it’s easier than ever to conduct market research, gain real-time feedback, and monitor the success of your campaigns.

In a world where smartphones feel like an extension of ourselves and the internet like a “second brain,” it’s easy to argue that any marketing campaign that doesn’t include digital elements is not fit for the modern era.

The tools used in digital marketing — like apps, websites, social media, email, and search engines — differ from those in traditional marketing toolkits. However, the underlying principles are largely the same, and the scalability of digital marketing gives small businesses and new startups a unique chance to turn their brands into success stories.

A Look at the Principles of Digital Marketing

At its core, digital marketing is nothing but an extension of traditional marketing — the inevitable result of an interconnected world. A digital setting makes new tools available, however, and digital marketing extends beyond the “four Ps” of product, price, place, and promotion. It introduces a fifth “P” — people.

While traditional marketers conducted market research and engaged in outreach, beyond a certain point, they had no choice but to “shout into the ether.” The digital world has transformed marketing from a monologue to a conversation. Digital marketers don’t just have the ability to monitor customer reactions in real-time, but they can also communicate directly with their target audience.

When done right, digital marketing supercharges relationship building.

Five fundamental principles act as a guiding light in creating effective online marketing campaigns. Here they are, in a nutshell:

  • Targeting. Start by defining your target audience, which, in turn, allows you to better understand their needs and behaviour. Digital marketing campaigns allow businesses to segment their customers and tailor marketing messages to specific demographics.

  • Engagement. Digital marketing reaches deeper than traditional marketing, enabling businesses to build meaningful connections through social media, interactive content, and direct two-way communication.

  • Conversion. Turning leads into satisfied customers is the goal here, so the fight to capture and hold onto customers’ attention is on!

  • Retention. Getting sales is great, but turning one-time buyers into loyal customers is gold. In the world of digital marketing, retention is all about delivering excellent customer service through prompt, positive, and personalised interactions.

  • Analytics. Data-driven analysis of key performance indicators through analytics and A/B testing allows digital marketers to continually improve and update their campaigns to be more impactful.

In short, digital marketing allows you to meet your future customers wherever on the internet they may be — and to start building quality relationships from day one.

A Deeper Look at the Key Forms of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing “channels” — places to generate leads, connect with future customers, and drive sales — continuously evolve and expand. Not every form of digital marketing is suitable for every small business or startup.

Let’s briefly explore the most popular digital marketing channels to see how they could benefit your business.

1. The Foundation: Your Website

Your brand’s website usually acts as your digital home base; the launch pad around which all your other digital marketing efforts are built.

Key features of an effective website include professional design, easy navigation, aesthetic appeal, fast loading times, and optimisation for mobile users.

Beyond being a gateway to essential information about your brand — like products, services, pricing, and contact details — your website is a valuable marketing tool.

Equipped with analytics tools, it provides valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. Personalised landing pages act as powerful lead magnets, while your blog serves as a platform to connect with customers and turbocharge your SEO efforts.

2. Search Engine Marketing

Technically, any strategy to improve a website’s search engine visibility counts as Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Organic methods to rise up the search engine results pages include keyword research and optimisation, for example. However, in practice, SEM usually refers to paid search engine ads — the sponsored pages you see at the top of your Google results.

These search engine ads typically have a pay-per-click (PPC) model, so you only have to pay when someone clicks on your ad.

Pay-per-click search engine ads immediately increase your visibility and allow for precise targeting. They’re one of the most affordable ways for small businesses to generate leads, making SEM an extremely popular digital marketing strategy for brands with small budgets.

3. Content Marketing

Content — including blog posts, landing pages, videos, social media posts, and interactive options like quizzes and polls — plays a central role in digital marketing. It’s accessible even to small and local businesses on a tight budget, especially if someone on your team is a talented wordsmith, making content marketing a popular way to build brand awareness and increase visibility.

Modern business owners should keep in mind that traditional “hard-sell” techniques (think: “I had no hope — until I discovered this wonderful product!”) are becoming progressively less effective. Today’s consumers value authentic, genuinely helpful, information-packed content that fosters long-term relationships.

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media ads can be extremely effective, but your marketing efforts extend to every post you make, every reply you leave, and every DM you exchange with your customers.

Social media marketing is a cost-effective way to build relationships with future customers where they’re already comfortable — and, as a nice bonus, they may stumble on your content without ever having to search for it.

The keys to successful social media marketing lie in choosing platforms that align with your goals and maximise your odds of reaching your target audience.

Regardless of your social media platform(s) of choice, modern consumers love engaging, authentic, and visual content. They appreciate personal replies and prompt communication.

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing precedes the modern internet, but remains one of the most versatile and effective tools in the digital marketing toolbox.

Cultivating email lists allows businesses to share valuable content, special offers, and product launches directly with interested subscribers. Segmentation enables digital marketers to tailor marketing emails to individual customers’ interests, maximising success and ensuring customers don’t experience email fatigue.

6. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

PPC advertising, a digital marketing model where advertisers only pay when someone clicks on the ad, is a cost-effective, scalable, and targeted approach to connecting with future customers. Beyond search engine ads, PPC ads may be display ads (appearing on websites), social media ads, or video ads.

The beauty of PPC is the ability to target specific geographic areas to reach local audiences while gaining performance insights that allow businesses to tweak the campaign in real-time.

7. SEO

The fact that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) enables future customers to find you through search engines makes it a core part of digital marketing. After all, even masterfully written landing pages can’t increase sales if nobody reads them!

Keyword research and strategic keyword use, link-building, and prioritising comprehensive, high-quality, and genuinely helpful content are the key practices that help you win search engines over, making you more visible to your target audience.

The good news? Google’s E-E-A-T principles (Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) reward extremely well-crafted content that your customers enjoy and find value in.

In other words, you no longer have to choose between appealing to customers and winning Google over, because both now look for the same thing. Modern SEO is all about quality content that answers searchers’ questions and is enjoyable to read or watch.

8. Local SEO

Local SEO, a critical area of Search Engine Optimisation for local businesses, focuses on signalling your location to Google — so potential customers from your area can find you more easily.

Key aspects of local SEO include:

  • Establishing and optimising a Google My Business profile.

  • Making sure your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) is consistent everywhere it’s listed.

  • Encouraging customers to leave positive reviews.

  • Optimising for local keywords.

9. Engaging Your Target Audience Directly

Forging relationships with your current and future customers is the foundation of digital marketing — and you have lots of ways to do this. Make sure your (future) customers can reach you easily, through chatbots on your website and social media, and implement online order forms.

Reply to comments promptly, and don't forget to develop a clear brand voice that customers can relate to.

10. Sponsored and Affiliate Content

Sponsored and affiliate content is an excellent way to tap into the relationships relevant influencers have already established with their target audiences.

Sponsorships allow you to reach people who are already interested in your products or services — and the fact that people rely on influencers to recommend brands makes this an exceptionally effective digital marketing avenue.

Inbound vs Outbound Digital Marketing: What’s the Difference?

As you learn about digital marketing strategies, two terms pop up repeatedly — inbound and outbound marketing.

They’re equally valuable but radically different ways to build brand awareness and forge connections. Let’s take a closer look!

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is all about providing value to your (potential) customers through content that connects, engages, and entertains.

Inbound marketing campaigns attract customers naturally, in other words — and keep them engaged with your brand, products, or services. Its primary purpose isn’t to drive sales, but to nurture leads and build brand loyalty.

Blogs, podcasts, videos, and social media posts are among the most well-known inbound marketing techniques. However, this form of digital marketing extends to email marketing campaigns, with an emphasis on content customers voluntarily sign up for — like cool newsletters.

Outbound Marketing

If inbound marketing is a customer-centric approach, you can think of outbound marketing as brand-centric. Closer to traditional marketing techniques, outbound marketing focuses on driving sales and boosting brand visibility through proactive outreach campaigns.

Basically, outbound marketing is anything you’d immediately think of as “advertising” or “sales pitches.” You’ll know it when you see it — display and PPC ads, cold emails, and email blasts all fall under this heading.

Why Striking a Balance Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing Is Key

Remember when we said marketing, including digital marketing, is all about understanding your target audience? Inbound marketing takes care of the other side of the coin. This form of digital marketing allows you to build brand awareness and trust over time, so your customers can get to know you.

Outbound marketing has a narrower but equally important focus — to increase sales in the short term and boost your immediate visibility.

Striking a balance between the two is critical not just because the two forms of digital marketing serve distinct purposes, but also because:

  • Not all your future customers have the same preferences. Some prefer to feel in control, discovering content and brands organically — but others actively welcome promotions and ads. Mixing and matching inbound and outbound digital marketing techniques allows you to reach both groups.

  • A mix of inbound and outbound marketing ultimately allows you to reach more people, regardless of which stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in.

Small businesses and new startups often find outbound marketing more accessible in the short term, however.

Nothing has to stop you from building killer social media pages your target audience will be captivated by, and writing blog posts should also be easy. You’re the expert on your brand, after all! (Do pay attention to SEO, but remember you can always tweak your content once you know more about Search Engine Optimisation or have the budget to engage a digital marketing agency!)

What’s the Difference Between B2B and B2C Digital Marketing?

Tailoring your marketing campaigns to your target audience is absolutely critical to your success, and there’s no more fundamental difference than marketing to businesses and people, right? (Kind of — but B2B and B2C marketing have more in common than you may think.)

Business-to-Consumer Marketing

Business-to-consumer marketing is any marketing effort where you (the business) target consumers directly. To win individual consumers over, you’ll have to emphasise the benefits, features, and lifestyle appeal of your products or services — while also connecting on an emotional level.

Business-to-Business Marketing

Business-to-business, or B2C, marketing targets other businesses. B2B marketing emphasises technical specifications and the cost-benefit ratio of your products or services. However, some businesses get too technical when engaging in B2B marketing while forgetting that all-important human touch. After all, one person often makes the purchasing decisions, and you’ll still have to connect on a personal level to drive sales.

What Are Key Performance Indicators in Digital Marketing?

Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are tangible, measurable metrics that allow marketers to determine how effective a campaign is.

Digital marketing makes KPIs a lot easier to track compared to traditional marketing. While the tools you’ll use depend on the nature of your campaign, and here’s a look at some of the more common ones:

  • Website traffic metrics track how many people visit your website.

  • Engagement metrics like bounce rates (people leaving your website after looking at one page), time on page (speaks for itself), and clickthrough rates (percentage of people who clicked on your ad, link, or call to action after seeing it) show how people interact with your site.

  • Social media metrics include likes, shares, views, and comments, as well as followers or subscribers.

  • Email marketing metrics can show you the percentage of people who opened your marketing emails, clicked on at least one link (clickthrough rate), and heeded your call to action (conversion rate).

  • SEO metrics include keyword rankings and organic traffic from search engines.

  • Advertising metrics include cost per click (CPC), number of impressions (views), and return on ad spend (RoAS — money made for every dollar spent on ads).

  • Lead generation metrics include lead conversion rates (leads that become customers) and the number of leads generated through specific digital marketing channels.

Together, these KPIs allow you to assess the success of your digital marketing campaigns and measure how your target audience reacts to your content. These insights allow you to continuously tweak your marketing efforts to achieve better results, whether through conversion rate optimisation or A/B testing.

How to Get Started with Digital Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide

Whether you’re a local business owner just dipping your toes into digital marketing, or part of an exciting new startup, there’s no question about it. Digital marketing holds immense promise, but getting started can be intimidating.

Lost? Use this guide to get you started.

1. Set Clear Goals

Digital marketing campaigns allow you to boost sales, build brand awareness, and expand your online presence — but you might not be able to reach all these goals at the same time and in the same way. Establishing a clear goal for a campaign allows you to track your success and ROI.

2. Define Your Budget

Establish a realistic budget for your brand’s digital marketing efforts, and use your resources wisely — where they can make the biggest impact.

3. Develop a Consistent Brand Voice

An instantly recognisable brand voice that resonates with your target audience makes your digital marketing campaigns more effective. Make sure your brand voice reflects your brand personality and values.

4. Set Digital Marketing Priorities

Understanding your target audience allows you to identify the digital marketing channels most likely to have a big impact. As you set priorities, focus on the channels your future customers are most active — whether that’s social media (hint: probably, but choose your platform wisely), search engines, or email.

5. Balance Short-Term Wins and Long-Term Strategies

Short-term wins are great. Long-term strategies to build a strong online presence through sustained SEO and content marketing efforts are even better. Mix and match both, and you’re on the right track.

6. Continuously Refine Your Goals

Your KPIs let you measure what’s going well and where you’re falling short, allowing you to tweak your strategy.

DIY vs Outsourcing: Do I Have to Master Digital Marketing Myself?

No, you don’t!

Small businesses without dedicated marketing departments do benefit from developing a basic understanding of the fundamentals of digital marketing. It’s great if you can write exciting content for your company blog and engage with your current and future customers, but you don’t have to master an entirely different craft while you work hard to run your business.

Let’s take a closer look at what parts of digital marketing you can handle yourself and what’s usually best outsourced.


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The Benefits of DIY Digital Marketing

As a small business owner or part of a new startup, you can play a proactive role in your brand’s digital marketing efforts — you’re already an expert multi-tasker and hands-on learner, after all.

You can learn to effectively:

  • Manage your social media accounts

  • Create helpful content for your customers through texts and videos

  • Learn about basic website optimisation strategies

Handling the basics yourself allows you to maintain a strong brand voice, directly connect with your customers, and make significant savings.

The Advantages of Engaging Digital Marketing Professionals

Complex digital marketing efforts like SEO, managing ad campaigns, and advanced analytics are hard to master as a layperson. Small businesses and startups that engage a reputable, experienced digital marketing agency will enjoy better results and higher ROI.

Think of digital marketing professionals as experts who bring specialised knowledge to the table. You’re the authority on your business, while the digital marketing agency you hire understands how to realize your goals.

A Final Word

Digital marketing is the way to reach new customers, build relationships, and drive sales in the modern era. That’s doubly true for small businesses and new startups with a limited budget, who can take advantage of the unique scalability of digital marketing strategies.

No matter your goal, the journey to your destination is digital — and it can start right now.

1 comentario

Amanda Creuwz
Amanda Creuwz
25 may

Getting started with digital marketing involves understanding your audience, creating quality content, and leveraging social media and SEO. Begin with clear goals and a simple strategy. Tools like Movavi can help by making it easy to create engaging videos, a crucial element in digital marketing, without needing advanced skills. It’s a great way to produce professional content from the start.

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