What is digital marketing: A guide for curious beginners

What is digital marketing
What do you do when there is a tune stuck in your head? You go on YouTube, search for the song, and click on the video. Sometimes, you have to patiently sit through an ad before the sweet melody can flood your ears. If you are lucky, you get an ad that matches your interest perfectly. You might even discover a new product or brand! “What is this sorcery?” you wonder. Reader, what you experience is called digital marketing. Chances are that you have already heard the buzzword, but you cannot put your finger on the meaning. Allow us to come to your rescue!

Digital marketing refers to promoting or advertising a product or service online on internet. The number of companies who are practising digital marketing are on the rise, but why are they using it?

Why is digital marketing important?
If you are still reading this, then we have our digital marketing strategy to thank for it. It helped us reach you, the right audience for this post. For a start-up like Internshala, digital marketing is a more cost-effective marketing channel than traditionally used marketing channels like TV, newspaper, direct mailing, etc. which need heavy investment and offer no definite way of tracking the performance.

Another crucial thing that digital marketing helps companies, especially small businesses, with is building trust. Let’s play customers for a minute and find out how. Would you buy an expensive product that has no online reviews? How often do you trust a company that you cannot find an online trace of? If you answered no, then you are aware of how a digital presence lends authenticity to a company and helps a customer in making up their mind.

Besides being a knight in shining armour for small businesses, digital marketing makes the world wide web accessible for everyone. Online advertising is a huge source of revenue for various digital platforms such as search engines (Google, YouTube, etc.), applications, and social media. As a result, most people can use these services at a minimal cost. So the next time you see an Instagram story of what your crush is up to, you know what to thank!

Digital marketing allows businesses to be virtual globe-trotters. You know how sometimes we tend to feel frustrated that we can’t leave our house to meet people? Well, a lot of companies feel like that too. Luckily, digital marketing is here to save the day! Like an extrovert friend who helps you make new connections, digital marketing helps businesses in reaching a global audience.

Now that you know why companies are going gaga over digital marketing, let’s learn about its types.

What are the types of digital marketing?
Although the trends are ever-changing like Hogwarts’ staircases, digital marketing wizards today tend to use the following types of digital marketing –

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – If you ever wondered how Google gives you answers, then let us unravel the mystery for you.

Search engines mine the internet for content that uses the same keywords as the user’s search and ranks them according to how well they answer a user’s query. The higher your rank in a search engine result page (SERP), the more visitors your website will have as people usually click on the first few links of a search result. To make sure that your content is found and ranked, you must optimise it using different SEO strategies like using relevant keywords, building backlinks, etc. Think of it as a treasure hunt that search engines undertake. You have to leave the right clues for search engines to find your content. Besides ensuring that a search engine can see your content, you must also be mindful about providing quality content that is helpful for your customers. This is an affordable way to increase your digital visibility for free and draw quality traffic to your website.

2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Given that Google alone answers 40,000 queries per second, paid marketing on search engines can work like a charm. In this form of marketing, a company pays to have their advertisement displayed for specific keywords. For example, if you own a company that sells skirts for men, the keywords that you can target are “buy men skirts”. This way your ad will show up before potential buyers and boost sales. Google Ads and Bing Ads are popular platforms for this type of marketing.

One common example of SEM is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising in which a company pays for every time a user clicks on their advertisement. As opposed to traditional advertising, this ensures that you only pay when your ad is clicked on. While SEO is a good long term strategy, an effective SEM campaign can help a business in picking up pace.

Difference between SEO and SEM


3. Social media marketing – Gone are the days when companies had to guess how people perceive their brand. They can simply find out by engaging with their audience on various social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok. This can be achieved through consistently posting engaging content and answering their concerns.


Another way brands use social media marketing is through paid advertisements that are personalised for every user.

4. Content marketing – Content marketing is the art of connecting with your audience by providing them with content related to your product or service that they are likely to find interesting and useful (such as this article!). This can be done in the form of newsletters, blog posts, e-books, educational videos, etc. For example, if you were a florist, you could write a blog post on ‘How to care for plants during winters’. Rather than talking about your product directly, you talk about other things that your customers may find useful and are related to your product or service. This can have numerous advantages like building customer loyalty, discovering new customers, and establishing credibility and authority in a particular domain.

5. Email marketing – A classic in the digital marketing world for it has been around since 1978, and yet remains a favourite among digital marketers. The ease of use and affordability coupled with a good return on investment has contributed to its popularity. This popularity also means that an inbox is flooded with emails day in and day out so it’s important that one takes out the time to craft an email marketing strategy. At the heart of an effective email marketing campaign is spam-free content that aims to build a rapport with the recipients. Emails that strike a balance between selling a product and sending personalised messages is a good starting point.

6. Phone marketing – If you had a penny for every second that you spend on your mobile phone each day, how much money would you be rolling in? If the answer is a huge amount, then you know that mobile usage is on the rise. Digital marketers are using this to their advantage in a variety of ways like creating mobile-friendly website experience, developing mobile apps, sending promotional SMS, and so on.

7. Affiliate marketing – This is a word-of-mouth digital marketing tactic and an excellent source of passive income for many. An affiliate is a person who markets a company’s product through different channels like social media, blog posts, videos, etc. and receives a commission every time someone makes a purchase through their link.

What are the metrics that measure the performance of a digital marketing strategy?

Web analytics

An important feature of digital marketing is that one can simultaneously measure the performance of a campaign so there is more room for trial and error. By measuring performance, we mean measuring outcomes (such as sales) for the efforts or money spent on digital marketing. This is generally done through web analytics which is the process of measuring and analysing user behaviour on web pages. Popular tools like Google Analytics provide insightful details about site traffic like the number of visits, the average time spent on a page, the source where the users are coming from, demographics, etc. The metrics differ according to the type of digital marketing practice. For example, if you are analysing a content marketing strategy, then you can see the number of page views on your blog posts, the number of new and returning visitors and likewise. If you are tracking the performance of your social media marketing strategy, then you can measure the reach and engagement. Once you have this information, it can be used to understand what works and what does not. Irrespective of which stage a business is at, one must track the progress of their digital marketing strategy to get the most out of it.

This was all about digital marketing in a nutshell. Now that you are no longer a noob in digital marketing, you can take your digital marketing knowledge to the next level by checking out Internshala’s digital marketing certification course. Use BLOG10 to get a discount of 10%.

Image credits – Gerd Altmann from Pixabay, Dunkin’ Donuts India on Instagram

34 thoughts on “What is digital marketing: A guide for curious beginners

  • December 5, 2021 at 4:31 PM

    Thanks for sharing this blog, SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISING part helps me alot.

  • December 7, 2021 at 8:57 PM

    here the blogger has explained about various modules of digital marketing and their uses in detail

  • June 11, 2022 at 8:22 PM

    Helpful content for do not about SEO and SEM. Seo it takes some weeks or months of time to rank but Sem does not have time to say what the ad is and is not related to any other competitions because we are running ads published in less time.

  • June 14, 2022 at 2:20 PM

    Hi, Good Job!

  • June 14, 2022 at 4:11 PM

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    Thank you for sharing important information. This information is very valuable for digital marketing.

  • June 22, 2022 at 6:16 PM

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  • June 24, 2022 at 4:05 PM

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  • June 27, 2022 at 12:00 AM

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  • July 1, 2022 at 5:48 PM

    Digital marketing allows you to reach a larger audience for less money than traditional marketing does. It is scalable, inexpensive, and quantifiable. Fantastic article!  You can also go through our 2022 Guide on Digital Marketing for Business Owners, which is a great resource for developing innovative methods that are both advantageous to business owners and digital marketers.

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  • July 18, 2022 at 9:08 PM

    Very helpful content to read, kudos to the author for such amazing content, and can you please tell me how to start affiliate marketing for any small business?

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