What is Digital Marketing and How to Get Started?


Online marketing, digital marketing, internet ads … whatever you call it, these days, promoting your company online is a big deal. After all, internet usage over the past decade has more than doubled, and this shift has massively affected how people buy products and interact with a business.

What, then, is digital marketing? Digital marketing is like any other form of marketing — it’s a way to connect with your potential customers and influence them. The real difference is that you connect to those customers and influence them online.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing generally refers to any marketing initiative or assets put online. Email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing and even blogging are all perfect examples of digital marketing — they help get customers into your company and persuade them to buy.

These are some of the digital marketing tools and tactics most widely used by companies to meet people online:

Online Resources in Marketing

A digital marketing tool can be just about anything. This also has to be a marketing tool that you’re using online. That said, many people don’t know how many digital marketing tools they possess. Here are only a few examples:

  • The website
  • Branded assets (logos, acronyms, icons, etc.)
  • Video content (media commercials, product demos …)
  • Images (infographics, product shots, pictures of the business, etc.)
  • Published content (blog posts, eBooks, reviews of goods, testimonials etc.)
  • The products or tools online (SaaS, calculators, interactive content, etc.)
  • Reviews
  • Social media pages

The list barely scratches the surface as you possibly can imagine. Many of the digital marketing assets will fall into one of these categories, but clever marketers are continually finding new ways to reach target customers, so the list continues to expand!

Digital Marketing Strategies

There is also a continually growing list of digital marketing tactics, but below are some of the tactics most firms are using:

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is, in reality, a specific term covering any form of digital marketing where you pay for any user who clicks on an ad. Google AdWords, for example, is a type of PPC advertisement called “paid search ads” (which we’ll pass in a second). Facebook ads are another type of PPC advertisement called “payable social media advertisement” (we ‘re going to get into that again soon).

Paid Search Advertising

Google, Bing, and Yahoo all let you run text ads on their Search Engine Results (SERPs) pages. Paid search ads are one of the easiest ways to reach potential clients who actively seek out a product or service like yours.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you don’t want to pay to appear in the SERPs, you can also use search engine optimization ( SEO) to try to organically rank pages or blog posts on your web. For every click, you don’t have to pay directly, but having a page to rank usually takes quite a bit of time and effort (for a more thorough comparison of paid search and SEO, check out this article).

Paid Social Media Advertising

Many social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat would allow you to run ads on their site. Advertising on paid social media is great for raising awareness among audiences who may not be aware that your company, product or service exists.

Social Media Marketing

As with SEO, social media marketing is a safe, organic way to promote your business using social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. And, like SEO, it takes a lot of time and effort to organically market your business on social media, but in the long run, it can offer much cheaper results.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Optimisation of conversion rate (CRO) is the art and science of optimizing the online user experience. Much of the time, companies use CRO to get more results from their current website traffic (leads, chats, calls, sales, etc ..).

Content Marketing

Another relatively broad term for digital marketing is content marketing. Marketing content includes any digital marketing initiative that uses content assets (blog posts, infographics, eBooks, videos, etc.) to create brand recognition or generate clicks, leads, or sales.

Email Marketing

The oldest form of online marketing is email marketing and it is still going strong. Many digital marketers use email marketing to advertise exclusive offers, highlight information (often as part of marketing content), or promote an event.

Does Digital Marketing Work?

For any company, digital marketing is a great choice. At Disruptive, we’ve used digital marketing to help all sorts of companies expand – from mom-and-pop shops to colleges that are globally known and beyond. This is the essence of online ads. You can use digital marketing to target anyone, anytime, if you know who you want to target.

That being said, though, some types of businesses will benefit more from certain forms of digital marketing.

How to Get Started?

The good news is it’s fairly easy to get started with digital marketing. Most online advertising platforms make it easy to register and build your first campaign (after all, it is how they make money).

Nonetheless, the essence of any effective digital marketing strategy isn’t a guide. Whatever tactics you want to use, here are 4 questions you need to answer before initiating your digital marketing efforts:

  1. How Much Do You Need to Make?
  2. Who Are You Marketing To?
  3. What are Your Customers Worth?
  4. How Much Do You Need to Spend to Reach Your Goals?


Digital marketing is the marketing of the future. In addition to all the advantages we’ve mentioned in this article, you can track with amazing precision the outcomes of your digital marketing activities, which means it’s easy to see which tactics yield successful results and which ones need more work.

By the way, if this article convinces you that you need digital marketing (or need to improve your digital marketing game), but you would like some support finding the right approach, please let us know here or in the comments!  We love helping businesses grow with digital marketing.

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