You might’ve heard people say that they are a Digital Marketing expert. Or watched in one of those YouTube videos that it is necessary for your business to have digital marketing to survive in this era. And it is possible that might have interested you in learning digital marketing. What it is and why is it so important these days.
So, without any further ado, let’s dive right into it.
What Is Digital Marketing?
By definition, digital marketing is the term that is used for any type of marketing of products and services that are targeted, measurable and interactive.
That’s the mind-boggling version of the definition.
In layman’s terms, digital marketing is any type of marketing that involves electronic devices.
That is why you might be surprised to know that digital marketing has existed on this planet for over a century now.
How might you ask?
Well, remember when the first radio was invented? In 1896. It was invented by this dude named Guglielmo Marconi.
In 1896 it was demonstrated that messages could be transmitted wirelessly. And it was then used to send morse signals across open water.
But it would take another decade for this to be available to the general. And that’s when the live broadcasting of messages and other forms of radio transmissions started to grow.
The very first live broadcast was done at an opera performance at the Met. It was to sell the show tickets.
And guess what people did?
They bought the tickets!
And that’s when the world of digital marketing was born. And since then, it has been growing and seeping into our everyday life. Now is the point where digital marketing has been so ingrained in our lives that it is everywhere we see.
It’s on your Facebook account, your Instagram feed, your email inbox, etc. It’s everywhere.
Why Does Digital Marketing Matter So Much?
Let me ask you a question: How much time do you spend on the internet? Also, how much time does everyone around you, spend on their laptop or smartphone?
Because according to Statista, the average American is now spending more than 11 hours on their electronic devices on a daily basis.
And the #1 rule of marketing, is to reach and connect with your audience where they spend most of their time.
Billboards and flyers are cool. But people are already spending most of their time on the internet.
So why not reach them there?
And it’s not just about the laptops and smartphones. A recent study showed that at least 9% of the drivers are on their phone.
And if the drivers aren’t focusing on the road, what do you think they are doing?
Probably on their smartphones.
And what do you think the passengers are doing?
Probably the same.
If you don’t believe me, next time when you stop at a red light, turn around and see what your friends/family are doing in the car. They will probably be looking deep into their smartphones.
And with the self-driving cars that are right on the cusp of being released to the general public, digital marketing will become even more important.
Heck, Elon Musk says that it is possible that the self-driving cars will hit the roads by 2020. That’s just 2 years from now.
So it’s probably a better idea to get this stuff understood so that you are ahead of the curve.
What Are The Types of Digital Marketing?
There are 2 main pillars that come under the umbrella of digital marketing. They are online marketing and offline marketing.
Since we are only concerning ourselves with online marketing here, we will cover just that here.
We will be covering offline marketing in a different post, so watch out for that.
Here are the 7 categories that come under online marketing:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The entire process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine result pages, like Google, Yahoo and Bing is called Search Engine Optimization. This optimization results in higher amount of organic traffic, aka, free traffic to your website.
That’s the easier to swallow version of what you will read on Wikipedia. Now let’s convert that into something that even a 5th grader can understand J
Let’s say that you have a blog on which you write food recipes. You want your website to be shown on top of Google whenever someone searches for “vegan burgers.”
In this case, there are 3 parties here, there’s the search engine, you and, the searcher. Now let’s assume that you also have an article posted on your website about how to make a vegan burger.
Then SEO is like the magic potion that you blend in your article that persuades Google to add your post as one of the top results whenever someone searches for “vegan burger.”
Search Engine Marketing
By definition, Search Engine Marketing is the process that includes buying search traffic through paid listings.
This is different compared to SEO. Because in SEO, we are mainly seeking to get free traffic or organic traffic.
With Search Engine Marketing or SEM, we are seeking paid traffic or inorganic traffic. This can be achieved through the different advertising platforms that each search engine has (like AdWords).
A new post is coming up explaining in-depth SEM strategies for effective and consistent results. Watch out for that.
The definition of content marketing is very boring.
Here’s what the definition is: It’s the promotion of content assets with the purpose of increasing brand awareness, growth in traffic, lead generation and customers.
But it is so much more than that.
It is the art of storytelling that has been around for ages.
There’s a reason why even in 2018, people love reading blogs and watching videos. Stories are being told all around you.
In the 80s it was the comic books and other fiction/nonfiction titles.
Today, it is the movies like Jurassic Park, and social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
It is all about having a long-term strategy for content creation. This strategy not only includes the creation of high-quality content over a course of time. But also the creation of content in other formats.
Let’s say for instance that you are writing a blog post right now. You also want to make sure that you have a video as well. This will capture the attention of people who love watching videos.
Because let’s be honest, not everyone has the time or the patience for reading a 2000 word blog post. They want to consume the information you are providing in an enjoyable fashion.
While there might be people who love reading, and that is the reason why you are writing the blog post in the first place. But you also don’t want to lose out on people who love watching videos.
And when you keep this content creation consistent, your customers will make purchase decisions based on their loyalty to you.
Because you are not like other brands who only do a one-off advertising. You are consistently interacting with your customer through your content. That’s what brings them in and keeps them loyal to your brand for years to come.
Social Media Marketing
The name explains itself.
Social media marketing is all about promoting your brand in a fun way that will lead to people being more aware of your brand, increase in traffic and generation of leads for your products and services.
If you get this right, the whole world will be available at your fingertips and ready to buy what you’re selling. So it is highly important that nail this down as soon as possible.
Pay Per Click Marketing or PPC Marketing
PPC marketing is very similar to SEM. By definition, PPC is an internet advertisement model in which you, the advertiser pays every time someone clicks on your ad. At the end of the day, it is a way of buying visitors to your website rather than receiving organic traffic through SEO.
PPC is also one of the most common ways people receive traffic these days. That is mainly due to the fact that this advertising model is available everywhere you look. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting someone else’s products or services for a commission you receive every time you make a sale.
This is one of the most lucrative ways a person can start, and it will also help them get their feet wet with different types of advertising.
When it comes to digital products, the affiliate commissions can sometimes go up to 80-90%. Which as you can see why it is so attractive to a lot of people out there.
This is probably one of the most important forms of communication with your audience out there. This is also one of the most intimate forms of communicate you can have.
Most companies use email marketing as a way to promote their content (content marketing), or to provide discounts, and sometimes even directly selling their products through their business website.
Regardless, in order to have a loyal audience, you want to make sure that you connect with your audience on a personal level.
How to Learn Online Marketing For Free
You know how important it is to learn online marketing in this era. But it’s all fine and dandy until you find out how much some of these courses charge.
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel; there are a ton of free courses that you can take to get started.
And these are not some low-quality courses either. These courses are being offered by some of the top companies in the world right now. Not only that, they even offer prizes for people based on their performance after learning.
This means that you won’t just be learning, you will also be applying the material in real-time.
You can find a short list of some of the best courses below. Check them out.
Free Digital Marketing Courses That You Can Use
We have created a list of the top 6 free online marketing courses that we think you should take to instantly improve your digital marketing skills.
Here we go:
- Google Online Marketing
- SEO Training by Moz
- Social Media Marketing for Beginners
- Google Analytics Course for Beginners
- WordStream’s PPC University
- Inbound Digital Marketing Course with Official Certification
How to Get a Digital Marketing Certification
There are a ton of companies offering courses with certification, but you want to make sure that those companies are actually recognized by the people who you will be showing this certification to.
This means that you do not want a certification from Mary & John’s Digital Marketing University. Because nobody in the universe will know whether the things they taught you are up to date. And if you are competent enough to perform in the real world.
Because at the end of the day, a certification is a piece of paper or a digital certificate that shows that you have learned a particular skill and that you are competent enough to perform in the real world.
Let’s say that you got a certification from Google. This will be recognized by almost anyone who sees that certification because of the company’s reputation and the work they do.
Do you see the difference?
Here are a couple of courses that you can take that offer free certifications.
Do keep in mind that if you fail some of their tests, they do not let you retake a test for either 40-60 days, depending on the company. So make sure that you prepare yourself to at least pass the test.