What Is Digital Marketing? Definition, Types & Strategies

June 27, 2023

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing, or online marketing, promotes brands to potential customers on the Internet and channels like social media platforms, email marketing, and digital media. The goal of digital marketing is to grab people's attention. There are 5.16 billion Internet users. 97% of those people look for a business online. In 2024, digital marketing is one of the best ways to get a ton of eyeballs on a product or service. 

Other Definitions In Digital Marketing

What Is A Digital Marketing Strategy? Digital marketing strategies are online resources that connect a business with the right people. A digital marketing strategy is essential because it identifies the how, where, and why customers want.

What Is A Digital Marketing Agency? A digital marketing agency is a group of experts who connect a business with potential customers using only digital channels like social media, PPC advertising, websites, and email marketing.

What Is Digital Marketing Job? A digital marketing job is any approach that drives brand awareness and grabs the right people's attention. For example, a business hires a digital marketer or a social media marketing agency to get more online traffic. This can be with Google Ad campaigns, social media accounts, or other forms of Internet marketing.

What Is A Digital Marketing Salary? A digital marketing salary is how much money a person earns for managing digital marketing strategies for a business. For example, the base salary for a digital marketing specialist in the USA as of May 2023 is $52,151.

What Is A Digital Marketing Course? A digital marketing course can teach the fundamentals of the business model. They also teach job-ready skills like content marketing, SEO, email marketing, and social media marketing. Paid options for an accredited digital marketing course include Udemy and Coursera. But there are free digital marketing courses on Google, HubSpot, or YouTube.

How Does Digital Marketing Work?

Digital marketing works a lot like traditional marketing. The difference is the tools used to connect with a prospective customer. First, identify your audience. For example,

  • Who is your ideal target market?
  • Who do you want to connect with?
  • What are their demographic details?
  • What are their geographical facts? Where do they live?
  • What are their psychographic details? What are their interests, buyer behaviors, attitudes, etc?

The better you can create a clear picture of your ideal market, the more effective your online strategy will be. Then you can develop a compelling message that addresses things like:

  • What are their wants and needs?
  • What are their pain points?

When you start a digital marketing agency focus on being the business that delivers what people want or the brand that offers a product to solve a problem. The other key aspect of digital marketing is media. Here's where digital marketing differs from traditional marketing. Instead of using print, cold calls, or billboard ads, choose the right platform to deliver your message. For example, social media, email marketing, or PPC click advertising.

Today everyone is online. According to DataReportal, the world's connected population grew by nearly 147 million users in the 12 months to April 2023. So, no matter who you're trying to reach, you can find and connect with them online. Targeting is super dialed in on digital platforms, and the time to get data is reduced. You can see what's working and what might need tweaking. 

What Is Inbound Marketing Vs Outbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is the process of attracting customers. For example, digital marketing uses inbound marketing strategies like content creation, social media marketing, SEO, and paid ads. The idea is to get the attention of online users and build brand awareness. According to a recent study, inbound leads cost 61% less on average than outbound leads. 

Outbound marketing is a mass exposure approach. Here a company initiates the conversation and pushes out its message. Outbound marketing is about getting in front of as many people online as possible. (Even if they’re not a potential customer or a good fit for the offer). Outbound marketing approaches include cold calling, cold emails, and media buys. It can also use offline marketing methods like billboards, print marketing, and paid radio ads. 

What Are The Types Of Digital Marketing?

Types of internet marketing are SEO and PPC, content marketing, and video advertising. Demand Sage says online video is the most popular type of content in 2024. It accounts for 82.5% of all web traffic. The key is to learn as much as you can about your ideal client and their niche. What concerns do they have? Where do their prospective customers spend their time online? The more you know about your client or niche, the better strategy you can execute. Primary types of digital marketing include:

1. SEO

SEO or search engine optimization is the only way to get a website to the top of the SERPs without using paid ads. Userguiding says that 86% of people ignore paid ads and only click on organic search results. Search engine marketing uses approaches like content creation, backlinks, and social signals. The goal is to get a website to the top of Google and show the algorithms that its an authority in its niche. SEO has three main classifications:

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is the content on a website. In 2024, the focus is on user intent. It's about providing the best and most direct answer to the search query. Use tools like Keywords Everywhere and Google Trends to decide on the best keywords and long tail keyword phrases. Then give a better answer than what's already online. The more concise your content, the higher you'll rank. 

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is everything that happens off your website, like backlinks, citations, online reviews, Google My Business posts, and social shares. Backlinks are like votes from other websites. They show the search engine bots that a website is trusted and relevant. According to Ahrefs, the more backlinks a page has, the more organic traffic it gets from Google. As a result, backlinks continue to be a significant ranking factor in 2024.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO includes load speed, mobile responsiveness, and structured data. Think With Google says even a 1-second delay in mobile load times can reduce conversion rates by up to 20%. The more optimized your technical SEO is, the better the search engine spiders can crawl and index your site.

SEO is a cost-effective way to drive online traffic to your site. HubSpot reports that SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate. At the top of the SERPs, you're in front of people who are actively looking for your product or service. So you're positioned to grab the attention of organic traffic.

2. SEM

SEM, or search engine marketing, refers to SEO and paid search methods. But now, most industry professionals consider SEM as only paid advertising. Instead, it's a way to get to the top of the SERPS and grab a few quick wins. For example, an SEM campaign can get a site better search engine positioning on platforms like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Of course, paid ads come with a price tag, but they can offer decent returns. In fact, SMA Marketing reports that the average return on ad spend for Google Ads is $2 for every $1 spent. But data suggests that organic results still get 10X more clicks than paid ads. So consider adopting a blended approach of SEO and SEM to get the best results for clients.

3. Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

PPC ads offer a chance to be everywhere online all the time and a way to be omnipresent. Paid and digital ads put your site front and center for your target audience. According to WebFX, 75% of people say paid ads make it easier to find what they need.

But to use paid ads, you have to pay to play. And when you stop paying, you lose your spot at the top. So pay for ads on the right channels to get the most for your ad dollars. For example, if your people are on Facebook, use Facebook ads. If they look for products on Google, use Google ads.

4. Content Marketing

Content marketing and copywriting are a chance to connect with your target audience. Share valuable and relevant copy to engage and retain new and existing audiences. Don't share fluff. Be clear and offer value. The goal of your content is to be a top-of-mind business and drive online traffic to your offers.

According to Kuno Creative, 51% of content consumption derives from organic search. But to get eyeballs on your content, deliver the best answer to the questions people are asking now. Consider using interactive content. Copy that gets people talking and creates a buzz around your product or service. MediaPlay says interactive content gets 52.6% more attention than static content. A few channels for content creation include:

  • Blogs & websites
  • Infographics & FAQs
  • eBooks & newsletters

Shift your mindset and think like someone who wants to learn how to become a copywriter. Post content that increases brand awareness. The idea is to get people's attention. Then, you capture high-quality leads and drive more online traffic to your offers.

5. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is one of the best ways to connect with the right people. In 2023, there are nearly 4.89 billion global social media users. And they spend more than a third of their time on social platforms. A social media strategy is a chance to connect with a broader audience. 

It can help to reach people who might not find you otherwise. Posting on the right social media platform is the secret to a successful campaign. For example, if your target audience scrolls Facebook, use Facebook. But if they prefer TikTok videos, be on TikTok. Other social sites include:

  • Snapchat & Instagram
  • LinkedIn & Reddit
  • Twitter & Pinterest

Influencer marketing is another way to get a ton of eyeballs on your offers. Data suggests that 80% of consumers make a purchase after seeing an influencer recommend that product on social media. Connect with content creators or influencers in your niche. Then you build brand awareness and develop excitement around your product or service.

6. Video Marketing

Video marketing uses videos instead of text to promote products, share value and educate people about your brand. According to Hootsuite, 3.1 billion people consume videos on the internet daily. And it's liked more by 80% of people than written text. Video marketing is an opportunity to show your product in action. It's also one of the best ways to increase engagement and boost sales.

For example, Forbes suggests that 64% of customers globally make purchases after going through a brand's social videos. Post short videos where your audience is hanging out. Then showcase the benefits of your product. Or include a quick tip, a stat, a quote, or a recommendation. But keep your videos short (7-30 seconds). Video content should have things like:

  • A compelling hook & unique angle
  • Natural content with virality potential
  • Content that shocks, wows, or invokes an emotional response from the viewer. (Something that gets them to take action).
  • A clear CTA

The goal is to get people to stop scrolling and pay attention to your offer. But your videos don't need to be perfect. Instead, focus on the value and posting videos on the right channels.

7. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most profitable concepts for digital marketers. Statista reports that there are over 4 billion daily email users. Email marketing boasts high returns (42X ROI on average). So, for every $1 you spend, you make $42. 

It's also a way to get real-time feedback. A low response rate is a clear signal that you need to pivot. Develop email campaigns that focus on the right people. Then share content that creates a sense of urgency by including things like:

  • A compelling subject line
  • Suitable images
  • Integrated social links
  • A value opt-in offer
  • A clear call to action

According to SaleCycle, 59% of respondents say marketing emails have influenced their purchases. The key is to craft personable emails. Then share valuable content like FAQs, tutorials, or tips. Or create interactive content like quizzes or timed challenges. Don't spam your audience. Instead, lead with value and build relationships with your target market.

8. Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing refers to SMS (short message service) or text messaging. But it's a fast and highly effective mobile marketing approach with near-perfect open rates. According to Klaviyo, 73% of consumers have purchased based on receiving a text message from a brand. SMS offers three types of communication strategies that include:


Share deals, sales, or limited-time offers with your customers to build brand awareness and customer loyalty.


Stay in touch with buyers and provide information about order details, delivery times, etc.


It can be used for customer service and support, for example, leveraging marketing automation tactics like 24/7 communication options.

Slick Test says 45% of potential clients would choose a product or brand after receiving an SMS. As a result, it's one of the fastest-growing channels to connect with customers and boost sales.

9. Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is how you get attention on your offers and landing pages. Then solve the problems that the market has better than anyone else and in a more compelling way. Focus on customer psychology and buyer behavior.

For example, What pain points does your ideal client have? How can you solve them? Strategies include things like blogs, video marketing, and email lists. Thrive suggests businesses that apply inbound marketing tactics can generate as high as 126% more leads than those that don’t.

10. Native Advertising & Sponsored Content

Native advertising, or sponsored content, is a type of advertising where ads match the form and function of the platform. They mesh with the look and are often shown beside non-paid content like TikTok ads or BuzzFeed-sponsored posts.

According to Outbrain, consumers look at native ads 53% more than display ads. As a result, native ads are a non-intrusive way to get in front of your target audience. Make more sales and increase your income online.

11. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based strategy where people earn a commission for promoting another person's product or service. Actions can include a sale, lead, click, or new user. Backlinko suggests that affiliate programs are the most important client acquisition method for 40% of US firms. Channels to use for this approach include:

  • Blogs & websites
  • YouTube videos & social media accounts
  • Paid ads & emails

The industry is set to be worth $27.78 billion by 2027. As a result, affiliate marketing is a lucrative option for business owners who want to expand their reach and increase sales. 

12. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation refers to the tools and software a marketing team can use to automate basic operations, collect data and make better and more informed decisions. Track your ROIs so you don't waste money.

You can use tools like HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, or Klaviyo to monitor campaigns and get valuable insight. Then you know where to double down and where to focus your digital marketing efforts. Agencies can automate tasks like:

  • Emails & newsletters
  • Social media posts & ad campaigns
  • Lead tracking & nurturing

99Firms suggests that conversions increased for 77% of marketers that used marketing automation solutions. Automation is one of the best ways to stay on top of trends, streamline processes and keep an eye on the competition.

13. Online PR

Online PR is a chance for your marketing team to get online coverage. Much like traditional marketing, but instead of off-line, a digital marketer uses online strategies like:

  • Blogs & websites
  • Digital publication & social media
  • Reviews & testimonials
  • Influencers & Twitter comments

The global PR market is worth more than U.S. $97 billion. Of course, PR comes at a cost, and it takes about eight months to see returns. But it is a way to connect with an audience that you might not reach otherwise. 

What Are Key Performance Indicators In Digital Marketing?

Key performance indicators (KPIs) in digital marketing are the measurable values used to track goals and objectives. A digital marketing manager needs to monitor KPIs to ensure they're getting results. A few KPIs to watch include:

1. Web traffic sources

Traffic sources include search, direct, and referral. A business can obtain traffic on search engines, paid ads, or social media platforms. A digital marketing tool like Google Analytics can track traffic sources. Then you know where to focus your marketing efforts to reach your ideal target audience.

2. Page views

Page views are one of the most standard KPIs. The goal is to track how many times a specific website page is viewed. In addition, page views provide valuable insight into user behavior and what kind of content people search for online.

3. Bounce rate

The bounce rate is the number of people who check out your site's landing page but leave without going to any other pages.

4. Conversion rate

Conversion rate refers to the number of people who result in a paying customer versus how many people visit your site. For example, with 100 conversions from 1,000 interactions, the conversion rate would be 10% (100 ÷ 1,000 = 10%).

5. Cost per lead 

The cost per lead is how much it costs to land a new customer ready to buy your product or service.

6. Click-through rate

CTRs are used in paid ad campaigns. They track the number of clicks an ad gets and divide it by the number of times your ad is shown in the SERPs. Monitoring your click-through rate is a key metric of paid ads and email campaigns because it shows you what's working and where you may need to make changes to get the best ROIs.

7. Social media traffic

Social media traffic includes likes, follows, shares, or views, and it's the number of people who interact with your profile.

What Is B2B Vs. B2C Marketing?

B2B (business-to-business) marketing is a business selling products or services to another business instead of the average consumer. For example, a company will purchase products it needs to assemble its own products before selling them to a consumer.

B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing refers to a company that sells products or services directly to paying customers. B2B companies that want to connect with their ideal customer need to adopt personalization techniques and digital marketing strategies.

Why Does Digital Marketing Matter?

Digital marketing matters because that's where people spend their time. Data suggests that as of March 2023, the global reach of social media has grown to 4.74 billion people. Digital marketing is where the attention is. It's also a cost-effective marketing strategy to expand your reach and connect with the right people.

But if you lack the skills or need a leg up. Then you can hire a person who makes money as a freelance writer to help you out. The secret is to develop a successful digital marketing campaign. Then your agency can drive a ton of traffic to offers, capture the best leads, and get more sales for clients.

What Are The Benefits & Challenges Of Digital Marketing?

The benefits and challenges of digital marketing stem from the constantly evolving trends and technological advancements. Other advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing include the following:

Benefits Of Digital Marketing

A benefit of digital marketing is that it allows you to focus on the right people and target an identified audience. For example, creating a strategy to connect with a target market means that Shopify dropshipping is worth it and is a way to make money online in 2024

Another benefit of digital marketing is that it's a cost-effective way to engage with your audience. Then your agency can leverage lead generation in digital marketing strategies to attract more leads than outbound marketing tactics. Another option is to start a high ticket digital marketing agency and promote high end products or services. Then you can earn even more money with your skills. 

One of the most significant benefits of digital marketing is that it's measurable and easy to track.

Challenges Of Digital Marketing

A challenge of digital marketing is learning about your target market, becoming a consumer-centric brand with an omnichannel approach, and knowing how to leverage multiple digital marketing channels to get results.

Another challenge of digital marketing is staying current with Google's algorithms. According to First Guide, 76% of all global searches are on Google.

One of the biggest challenges of digital marketing services is strategizing for mobile responsiveness and content marketing. Think With Google says that mobile is used by 51% of customers to find and buy new products or services.

What Is A Digital Marketing Agency?

A digital marketing agency is a professional or group of industry experts that use a multichannel approach to increase online engagement and make a business easier to find online. Digital marketing agencies provide services like website optimization and SEO. But they also use social media, video, and PPC advertising tactics to promote products and increase brand awareness. Copywriting is one of the most important services a digital marketing agency can offer. Read my article on Sarah Turner's Write Your Way to Freedom course to see how in-depth copywriting can be.

First, go where the right people are hanging out online. Then share valuable content to attract new customers and drive sales. Demand Sage says that the digital marketing industry is set to reach $807 billion by 2026. But a digital marketing specialist needs to get real results. And they need to boost a company's ROIs to make money with this business model. 

How To Start A Digital Marketing Agency 

To start a digital marketing agency:

  1. Identify a need and decide what services to offer.
  2. Determine your ideal client avatar.
  3. Focus on the things that aren't going to change.

Learn the skills you need to get eyeballs on a business. For example, 

  • What approach will drive a ton of online traffic to an offer?
  • How will you boost brand awareness?
  • How will you get a business more leads? 

Get results, and your agency will make money. According to Global Newswire, the global digital advertising and marketing market is set to reach a revised size of US$1.5 trillion by 2030.

The key to a profitable digital marketing agency is the ability to integrate a core message and value proposition to the right people at the right time and place. Other steps to starting a digital marketing agency include the following:

1. Decide what services your digital agency will offer

When starting a digital marketing agency, decide if you will be working solo or plan to hire a team. Then determine what kind of services you want to offer your clients. For example, will you provide full-service packages or focus solely on one specific area? Options to consider include:

Full Service

A full-service agency offers a gamut of digital services like website development, social media marketing, SEO, paid ads, etc. Full-service agencies are typically a team effort. They handle every aspect of a client's marketing campaign.

Single Channel Service

Here, the agency specializes in one specific area. For example, they only offer SEO or run PPC campaigns for their clients.

Multi-Channel Service

A multi-channel agency offers several services but not the complete package. For example, they may handle social media management and social media ads. But they don't take care of SEO or Google Ads.

Of course, you can start your agency offering only a selection of services. Then as you retain more clients, you can hire a team and expand your list of services.

2. Choose a niche for your digital marketing agency

Become the expert. Don't be a generalist, and try to serve every business owner. Digital marketing agencies that specialize position themselves as the authority. They stand out from the competition. Niching also means you can better help your client. For example, it's easy to duplicate once you have a system that gets results. There are three main categories of niches; 

1. Specialization

Specialization is the type of service your agency provides. For example, will you be the expert in SEO and mobile-responsive websites? Or will you use social media and email marketing to get results?

2. Vertical

Vertical refers to a specific industry like real estate, fashion, or health and wellness. But it allows you to become an industry leader and learn its nuances and distinct issues.

3. Geographical

The geographical niche offers services to locally owned businesses and handles Google My Business listings, local SEO, reputation management, and local PPC or Google Ad campaigns.

To decide on your niche, do market research. Digital marketers should use tools like Google Keywords, Google Trends, social media platforms, or surveys. Then access things like:

  • What problems exist in this niche?
  • What information are they looking for online? 
  • Can you provide the best answer?
  • Will you be able to produce results?
  • Is this niche competitive?
  • Is there demand?

Identify your ideal client. For example,

  • Who do you want to serve?
  • What are their goals or objectives?
  • What are their specific pain points?


Choose a niche that offers profitability. But also one that aligns with your skills. Then craft an outline of how you can provide the best service. List the solutions you can offer them to meet their long-term goals.

3. Determine the payment style for your digital marketing agency

Digital marketing agencies have a few options around payment styles, like an hourly fee, retainer, or on a performance-based model. How much you charge and the type of payment style your agency picks should align with the costs of your digital marketing strategy. Will you have enough capital to run paid ads? Can you cover the costs of your marketing automation tools? Payment options include things like:


A retainer agreement is a work-for-hire contract. Here the customer pays in advance for results. But you need to get results. So your agency needs the reputation and tangible evidence to support this payment style.


Hourly payments are based on a per-hour system. So, for example, an agency gets paid for their hours for each client's campaign.


Performance-based payments are cemented in your marketing efforts. For example, you get paid an agreed amount for every lead you generate for a client. This payment style can be advantageous if your agency has the skills to capture high-quality leads.

Flat Fee/Fixed Fee

Flat fees are on a per-project basis. Estimate how much time you'll need to dedicate to a client's campaigns to get results. Then calculate what you want to get paid per hour to determine the total fee.


Agencies should consider offering a flexible payment structure or a la carte-style system. (At least when you first start your agency). This de-risks the process for clients. Of course, the payment arrangement has to work for both parties. But the more amenable or willing you are to offer a selection of options. The fewer objections around pricing you'll need to overcome.

4. Find clients & market your digital marketing agency

To be a digital marketing agency clients want to use offer services clients want. Be smart about marketing and get in front of the right people. Build a community on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, a blog, etc. Or leverage social networks like LinkedIn or your local BNI and be active on forums like Reddit. Then share value and demonstrate how and why you're the expert.

It's about what and who you know in digital marketing; relationships go a long way. Start by building conversations. Get the word out about your online business and focus on developing a network. The goal is to generate a steady flow of customers. But be ready to take countless no's and overcome objections. Starting a digital marketing agency is a numbers game.

So learn the skills you need to get results like SEO, content creation, video marketing, etc. Then get social proof like reviews and testimonials. Work for free or on a low-cost budget, or employ the rank and rent strategy to rank your website at the top of Google to establish credibility. Then work hard and get results to retain more clients and charge your worth. 

Develop an approach to keep them engaged as long as possible. For example,

  • Add de-risk strategies for your clients
  • Be super flexible with your payment plan
  • Only get paid after you meet some KPIs (this shows the client you're confident in your skills and takes the risk off them)
  • Offer more than one service

The better the results, the more you can charge for digital marketing services. Then build a team and scale your agency to secure a steady income.

5. Be the digital marketing agency that delivers results

Customers don't care what digital marketing approach you use. Customers only care about more leads and more sales. So find new and innovative ways to promote products and services. For example,

  • What actionable strategies can you use to boost sales volume?
  • How will your agency increase a business's bottom line? 

Understand current market trends, and don't be quick to do what the other guy does. Instead, focus on organic content in conjunction with paid ads. Consider that advertising is an accelerator, not an initiator. It can take a good offer and get in front of your bust customer. But it can't take something that hasn't been proven yet and just make it sell.  

Instead, focus on building your network and making real relationships with the right people. For example, use platforms like Facebook Groups, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Publish content that adds value to a person's life. Be the best contributor on Reddit, LinkedIn, or even with your Facebook comments. But if you can fill a gap in the market or solve a problem, your agency will get results for your clients. 

How To Use Local Lead Generation In Digital Marketing 

Local lead generation in digital marketing is the best way to get high-quality leads and increase conversions. The lead generation business model is a proven concept. Build and rank micro-websites that target one service in one location. Then use SEO hacks to get your sites to the top of the SERPs.

Because the focus is on the local market, you can get a website to the top of Google in 6 weeks-6 months. Local lead generation is a chance for your agency to offer your clients a unique angle. And it's another way to channel online traffic for your customer. But you own the website, the tracking number, and the leads.

Once your site is producing, sell those leads for profits of 85%-90%. The lead generation model is about organic traffic. So not only do you get your clients the best traffic on the Internet. But you don't have to justify the costs of paid ads or worry about campaigns that don't get results. Instead, get more leads and sales for your clients and gain more money and credibility for your agency. 

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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