The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing
The perfect resource for beginner-to-advanced digital marketers looking to learn new skills or hone existing ones.
The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing is full of insights and strategy for business owners, marketing professionals, students, and anyone else looking to hone their current skills and get up to speed on the latest in digital marketing.
Read it now to build or refine your digital marketing plan without the false starts and missteps that come with doing it alone.
What is Digital Marketing?
When you get down to it, digital marketing is simply marketing.
It's how today's businesses are getting their message in front of their best prospects and customers.
Rule #1 in marketing is to make the right offer at the right time and in the right place. Today, your customers are online: hanging out in social media, staying updated on news sites and blogs, and searching online when they have a need.
Digital marketing puts you in those same channels, so your best prospects can see you, learn more about you, and even ask questions to learn more about you and your products or services.
If you're new to digital marketing, it may feel overwhelming to think about mastering all the online marketing tactics used in digital marketing.
We get that...
And yes, there are different tactics you'll need to learn. But they all work together to create a foundation for your business: attracting prospects, nurturing relationships, and making offers your audience will appreciate and respond to.
Let's take a closer look at how that happens.
How Does Digital Marketing Work?
In many ways, digital marketing is no different than traditional marketing. In both, smart organizations seek to develop mutually beneficial relationships with prospects, leads, and customers.
But digital marketing has replaced most traditional marketing tactics because it's designed to reach today's consumers.
As an example...
Think about the last important purchase you made. Perhaps you purchased a home, hired someone to fix your roof, or changed paper suppliers at your office.
Regardless of what it was, you probably began by searching the Internet to learn more about available solutions, who provided them, and what your best options were. Your ultimate buying decision was then based on the reviews you read, the friends and family you consulted, and the solutions, features, and pricing you researched.
Most purchasing decisions begin online.
That being the case, an online presence is absolutely necessary—regardless of what you sell.
The key is to develop a digital marketing strategy that puts you in all the places your followers are already hanging out, then using a variety of digital channels to connect with them in a multitude of ways...
...Content to keep them updated with industry news, the problems they're facing, and how you solve those problems...
...Social media to share that content and then engage with them as friends and followers...
...Search engine optimization (SEO) to optimize your content, so it will show up when someone is searching for the information you've written about...
...Advertising to drive paid traffic to your website, where people can see your offers...
...And email marketing to follow up with your audience to be sure they continue to get the solutions they're looking for.
When you put all these pieces together, you'll end up with an efficient, easy-to-operate digital marketing machine. And while it looks intimidating to build that machine from scratch, it's as simple as learning and integrating one digital marketing tactic at a time.
Which is why we've put together this guide: To help you build or refine your own digital marketing plan without the false starts and missteps that come with doing it alone.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Marketing?
Having a strong digital presence will help you in multiple ways:
- It will make it easier to create awareness and engagement both before and after the sale
- It will help you convert new buyers into rabid fans who buy more (and more often)
- It will kickstart word-of-mouth and social sharing—and all the benefits that come with them
- It will shorten the buyer's journey by presenting the right offers at the right time
Learn the Strategies That Get Real Results
Be aware, the digital marketing scene is ever changing. Gurus, podcasts, and bloggers declare a tool or tactic hot one week and dead the next.
The truth is, digital marketing is less about "digital" and more about "marketing," largely because digital marketing has come of age. Its fundamentals have already been established.
At DigitalMarketer, our objective is to clear the confusion about the tactics that work and how to use them to grow your business. We stand firmly against the so-called "gurus" who promote the next "shiny object" or "quick fix" that will reportedly kill email marketing, digital advertising, or search engine optimization.
Here, we're all about the fundamentals.
As you'll see in this guide, these 8 core disciplines of digital marketing will be critical to your business growth today, tomorrow, and for years to come. Each of these disciplines will be covered in depth in a chapter of this Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing as shown below.
About The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing
Digital marketing isn't magic, and you don't need to be a computer whiz to be good at it. If you offer a product or service that the market desires, you can successfully market them in digital channels using the strategies taught in this guide.
The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing doesn't present hype about the latest flashy tactics in marketing—digital or otherwise. Instead, this resource covers foundational disciplines such as content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing, always in the context of the goals that businesses care about.
These goals include acquiring new leads and customers, monetizing the leads and customers you already have, and creating communities of brand advocates and promoters.
What You'll Learn
In each chapter, we'll cover 4 key aspects to the strategy being discussed:
The Methods: the strategies and processes you'll use to create your plan and execute it in your own business. This is the bulk of each chapter—because in digital marketing, how you execute a strategy is key. And in this Guide, we share the exact methods we use here at DigitalMarketer.
The Metrics: the numbers you'll watch to measure your success and identify areas that need tweaking (or are worth doubling down on).
The Lingo: the terminology used by experts, so you can communicate intelligently (even if you don't consider yourself a pro).
The Roles: the people in your organization who will likely have responsibility for planning and running each digital marketing tactic.
We've organized this Guide in a logical progression. Though you can jump around, learning the tactics in whatever order you feel you need them, we recommend you read through the chapters in order.
Take your time. Read and study one chapter at a time. Apply what you learn. And when you feel you've got the methods up and running, move on to the next chapter.
You'll be surprised at how quickly you can implement these digital marketing tactics if you focus on them one at a time. Then, when everything is up and running, you can focus on optimizing and improving your processes for maximum growth.
Ready to start?
Your Digital Marketing Strategy Template
The Customer Value Journey is the strategic foundation of everything we do here at DigitalMarketer. It's the master template upon which every other digital marketing discipline and tactic is built.
The Customer Value Journey helps you automate the entire customer acquisition process, so you can sell without overtly selling and promote your product or service without ever being pushy or creepy.
The key is a "conversion funnel," a multi-modality campaign that seamlessly and subtly leads a prospect to a desired action...
And does so in a way that builds trust and customer loyalty.
Learn all 8 stages and how you'll use them to create a winning strategy for your business.
Developing a Content Marketing Strategy
Done right, your content marketing will not only attract prospects but also move them through a marketing funnel to drive more sales and grow your business.
It does that by taking content marketing out of the blog...
What do we mean by that? Simply that content marketing can't do its job if it's limited to blogging. It's so much more than blogging.
You see, content marketing is a full-funnel tactic, meaning it should deliver valuable content at every stage of the Customer Value Journey.
To move your prospect through the Customer Value Journey, you'll need to create content that satisfies their needs at each of the 3 conversion funnel stages: Awareness, Evaluation, and Conversion.
You'll learn all about it—including how to plan your content marketing strategy and how to create "perfect" content—here.
Crafting a Digital Advertising Plan
The secret to powerful digital marketing is traffic. If you can master traffic acquisition, you have a solid foundation for higher sales and growth.
Keep in mind, though, there's more to digital advertising than throwing up an ad and hoping for results. (Well, I guess you can... but that's not the most effective paid traffic strategy...) You have to have a plan, and you have to know how to separate the winners from the losers. (Yes, some of our ad campaigns flop, too!)
We rely on 7 types of ads that generate...
- Sales (to the tune of 3,858% ROI positive)
- Leads (we've generated as many as 72,033 leads from one campaign)
- Retargeting audiences (almost as good as an email list, you'll want to know how to build retargeting lists)
Here, you'll learn the secrets to crafting a digital advertising plan that actually works.
Developing a Social Media Strategy
"Going social" isn't simply about being active on Facebook and Twitter. It's about being present where your audience hangs out—so you can engage with them, build relationships, and make offers your followers will love.
Being on social matters because 79% of US internet users are on Facebook and more than half keep up with the news through social media.
But there's more to social media marketing than simply being on it. Your end goal isn't more "Likes." It's more sales. Which is why we've broken down social media marketing into 4 stages of the Social Success Cycle.
Learn the Social Success Cycle and how you can use it to attract your fans and followers, engage them, and even sell to them through social media.
Following Email Marketing Best Practices
Forget any rumors to the contrary. Email is alive and well—and if you know how to use it, it will help you exponentially grow your business.
In fact, a study from DMA and Demand Metric found that email had a median ROI of 122%. That's 4 times higher than any other marketing channel! The key to generating that ROI, of course, is mastering the foundations. Things like...
- Making sure your emails get delivered to your prospect's inbox
- Getting your email opened
- Generating engagement, so your prospect takes the action you're asking for
- Automating the entire process
Learn the role of email in a growing business and how you can use it to quickly move prospects and customers through the Customer Value Journey.
Designing Your Search Marketing Strategy
Search marketing has radically changed in the last few years. But we see that as good news! Today, search engine optimization (SEO) can boost your website's traffic and visitors' trust while supporting your other digital marketing disciplines, as well.
Every year (sometimes, every few months), Google releases another algorithm update. Search marketers who are "playing the system" often get hit hard, losing the rankings they've achieved.
But search marketers who use white hat tactics and understand Intent-Based Search Marketing do well. Because they're optimizing their website for their users first—which is what the search engines really care about.
If you want to compete in the search channels and attract free organic traffic to your website, this chapter is for you. Learn the right way to do SEO here.
Applying Website Analytics to Your Digital Marketing
If numbers aren't your thing, we've got you covered. Website analytics is a powerful tool for helping you figure out what's working, what's not, and what to do next.
And the way to get started has nothing to do with numbers. It's simply about asking the right questions...
- What types of visitors are failing to convert?
- Are we producing content our audience wants?
- Which pages can produce more leads and sales?
Once you have the answer, you simply need to follow 3 guiding principles...
- Give data a job
- Use testing to turn your questions into strategies
- For the things that are hard to measure, give them context
Learn our low-stress process to use analytics to optimize your website—an easy-to-understand approach anyone can use.
Leveraging Conversion Rate Optimization to Drive Growth
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) may sound hard, but it doesn't have to be. It's a simple methodology that anyone can learn to turn existing traffic into leads and customers.
For most marketers, CRO calls to mind A/B testing to determine the best button color or hero shot. But testing is just 1 of 8 steps in the CRO Cycle.
To see real improvements in your digital marketing, you need to implement the entire cycle...
Developing a proven process to systematically convert mediocre offers into winners and existing winners into breakout cash cows.
Learn the entire CRO Cycle, so you know how to make small tweaks that can turn 1% returns into 10%, 25%, or higher returns. Read here to learn our simple, repeatable framework that helps you consistently improve results on your website.
The foundations you've learned in The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing are solid and you're well on your way to mastering digital marketing.
Now, it's time to refine your skills and get all the gears in your marketing machine working smoothly and efficiently.
Here's the next step...