What is Digital Marketing?

The Definition

Digital marketing is the use of digital technologies to promote products or services. It includes search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media marketing, email campaigns, and pay-per-click advertising. Digital marketers create strategies that help companies reach their target audiences through various online platforms. These strategies are designed to engage customers and drive them toward a desired action, such as purchasing or signing up for an email newsletter. Digital marketers also use analytics tools to track customer behavior to refine their tactics accordingly and ensure maximum ROI from every campaign they launch.


Article at a glance

Why Does Digital Marketing Matter?

You may already know this, so let’s talk about how you usually find out about new products. 

Mobile loaded with Facebook showing a ad by myntra.com

Ring any bells? Who can miss out on such awesome deals, right? 

Ads are like a hidden network that is all around us. Still, ads help us find new things to buy, which makes our lives easier.

In fact, ads go back a long time. Wikipedia says that the Egyptians made advertisements and posters for the walls out of papyrus. In the ruins of Pompeii and Arabia, messages for businesses and political campaigns have been found.

In Ancient Greece and Rome, putting lost and found ads on papyrus was very common. Another ancient way to advertise is through walls or rocks painting, which can still be seen in many places in Asia, Africa, and South America.

You see, we’ve known for a long time that ads are important.

Most people spend a fair amount of time in front of digital devices today, and most also depend on them for their livelihood. Digital marketing lets us introduce our service to these people. It’s also an important part of any modern marketing plan because it enables businesses to reach many people with little effort.

In the report above created by dataportal, you can see all the latest digital stats worldwide.

Digital marketing is also very effective in terms of engagement and conversion, which means that businesses can get a big return on their investment in digital marketing campaigns.

The History of Digital Marketing

The term Digital Marketing was first used in the 1990s. The digital age took off with the coming of the internet and the development of the Web 1.0 platform. It’s a much slower version of the internet where you can find information but cannot share anything like these days. Back then, digital marketing (online marketing) was known by companies. However, they weren’t sure if it would be helpful. 

The first clickable banner went live after HotWired (the predecessor of wired.com) purchased banner ads for their advertisement. This was the start of online marketing.

Time went by in a snap, and Darcy DiNucci coined the term Web 2.0 in 1999. Dot com millionaires were born soon after, and digital marketing went mainstream.

college student sell website space for advertisement

Even a college kid made millions with his static billboard website called the million-dollar homepage.

What's the difference between online and offline digital marketing?

The thing is that digital marketing is just an umbrella term for ads delivered through electronic devices. So it’s no brainer that it has both online and offline versions.

I’m sure you’ve all seen these ads before, though you may not have known what type they are. Let’s look at some examples, shall we?

Some examples of online digital marketing are:

Now let’s look at some types of offline digital marketing:

The success of any marketing strategy depends on how well online and offline digital marketing is integrated.

Online digital marketing is often cheaper and reaches a large number of people. On the other hand, offline marketing tends to be a bit more expensive. But it provides cool benefits like building a sense of familiarity, trust, and nostalgia between the product and the consumer. And when these two come together, it’s just as effective and fun as a sharp katana slicing through bottles.

Here are some of the best examples of modern advertising that successfully exploits the power of nostalgia.

This is a heartfelt ad that makes good use of nostalgia to raise brand awareness. Debenhams created it as a Christmas TV ad in 2017.

Here’s another one by Microsoft

Aren’t these ads more fun than watching reels? Let me know in the comment section.

How to get started with digital marketing?

Some of you will probably be thinking, “Digital marketing, it seems fun, but how do I get started?”

So to become a successful digital marketer, you must acquire skills to help you pilot your digital marketing campaigns. Additionally, some core knowledge is also necessary so that you can combine them together to achieve the best possible outcomes.

A degree is really not necessary for this. It is a simple mix of hard work, perseverance, and patience.

Let’s look at some of the most important areas in digital marketing.

  1. Search Engine Marketing
  2. Search Engine Optimization
  3. Permission Marketing
  4. Interruption Marketing
  5. Social Media Marketing
  6. Email Marketing
  7. Content Marketing
  8. Market Research and Data Analysis

This may seem like a big complicated mess, but no worries, I’ll break them up for you.

Let’s get started with SEM or Search Engine Marketing.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

So, do you remember those often first ranking google results with Ad symbol on left side?

Web search result on "how to write a blog"

Like these, don’t mind my overwhelmed pet rat looking at the results (I call him Micky). 

So dealing with this kind of advertisement is called SEM or Search Engine Marketing.

What’s happening here is that advertisers bid on keywords that their target audience will likely search for on Google. To get the chance for their ads to show up next to the results for those searches.

These are often called pay-per-click ads because the advertiser only has to pay when someone clicks their link.

Search Engine Marketing is popular because it lets businesses show ads to customers interested in their product and ready to buy it at the precise moment.

For example, imagine you are going to buy a new laptop. What will you search on google? Something like “best laptops 2022,” right?
Let’s see what the search result is going to be.

google search result on "best laptops 2022"

Notice that all the laptops from well-known brands are shown at the top of the page before any real search results. This is what Search Engine Marketing is.

Still have doubts. Here’s a video where google tries to explain what Search Engine Marketing is.

Now, I hope you guys have a clear idea of search engine marketing. If not, let me know in the comment section. I’m more than happy to help you all with your doubts.

Ok, let’s get to our next topic, Search Engine Optimization.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The god of bloggers, gifts the one who follows the rules and punishes the one who doesn’t. 

SEO is the only thing that matters if you want your website to be at the top of search results. It’s actually the process of optimizing your website so that search engines can find it easily. 

Search engines like google use bots (fancy word for automated scripts) to crawl through your entire website like some creepy spiders. These bots then take the data they found from your website and put them in an index. Think of the index as a huge library, but instead of books, it stores and sorts web pages so that you can quickly find what you’re looking for.

After that, an algorithm goes through this index and checks hundreds of ranking signals to decide where your web pages should appear in a search result. 

So, in a way, Google is like a good librarian who, instead of keeping track of books, keeps track of good web pages and recommends them to the reader based on what the reader has typed in as a lazy search.

regex google search result

See how there’s no Ads symbol in this search result? That’s because that page used SEO correctly to reach the top of Google’s search results.

If you follow the SEO rules properly, you will gradually get a better search ranking with time. But if you choose not to follow them, your web pages will be hidden in the abyss of google search results.

Google search result value

Imagine being the last web page in 1,21,00,00,000 results due to bad SEO. Scary, right?

To make things even simpler, here’s a 3-minute video by Search Engine Land explaining Search Engine Optimization using some classic animation. 

Pretty cool, right?

On to our next topic Permission Marketing.

Permission Marketing or Inbound Marketing

Let me ask you a simple question.

How many of you follow your favorite brands on social media? Chances are, almost all of you do, am I right?

So, if you follow your favorite brands on social media to find out what’s new, that’s a great example of permission marketing.

Permission marketing is a type of advertising in which the people who are supposed to see the ads can choose whether or not to get them. This marketing type is becoming quite popular in digital marketing these days.

Subscription email notifications are another great example of permission marketing. It’s because when people subscribe to their beloved brand, they expect that brand to notify them with content that will make them excited.

One major advantage of permission marketing is that it has the potential to generate more effective leads, which converts to more sales.

Seth Godin first introduced the concept of permission marketing in his book “Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends, And Friends Into Customers.”

The book is available for free on PDFDrive if you’re interested in reading it.

Sadly, greedy corporations and annoying scammers often use this marketing strategy badly. Here’s a chance to hear the truth about permission marketing from the person who introduced permission marketing Seth Godin.

The sad truth is that things made to help people are often used to do terrible things. Do you agree? Let me know in the comment section.

Now, let’s meet the evil twin of Permission Marketing Interruption marketing.

Interruption Marketing or Outbound Marketing

Do you remember those annoying ads that pop up randomly when we play our favorite games?

Phone loaded with a Interruption advertisement

Just look at that camouflaged close button, right?

This is what I mean by “interruption marketing.” It takes us away from what we’re doing to show us ads. Most of the time, the advertiser who does this kind of marketing doesn’t care at all that these ads are annoying.

Not surprisingly, this type of ad is used everywhere, from cold emails to ads between our favorite television shows.

Why do companies use interruption marketing?

Interruptive advertising is popular with businesses because it allows them to reach a wide audience quickly and efficiently. Companies may get their message to customers by disturbing them during their routines. They may do it in various methods, such as via television, newspapers, radio, or even pop-up windows. This way, they can reach a wide audience, which helps spread the word about the business and motivates customers to take action.

Businesses often use interruption marketing since it appeals to the customers’ emotions. They may make customers feel like they need to purchase something instantly by employing persuasive language and imagery. This tactic is most effective when the customer is feeling vulnerable, such as when they are anxious or overwhelmed. Companies may motivate customers to take action and buy their product or service by appealing to their emotions.

In conclusion, interruption marketing is effective because it creates a sense of familiarity with the brand. By interrupting the user’s activities repeatedly, the corporation may establish a feeling of closeness and trust with the consumer. The company benefits from increased sales and devoted clientele as a result of this.

Is it effective?

Yes, but it takes work.

A high bounce rate is one of the main problems with this kind of marketing. People might look at what you have to offer. But they will likely click the back button on their own.

Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube all use “Interrupted Marketing” as the foundation of their ad campaigns.

In his book “Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends, and Friends into Customers,” Seth Godin popularised the term “Interruption Marketing.” He talks about it in the first four chapters.

According to him, there are 2 key principles in interruption marketing.

  • Interruption: Brands advertise content to users while getting in the way of what they’re doing.
  • Attention: Brands try their best to get users’ attention to the advertisement of the brand’s offerings.
To make things a little more simple, let’s look at a brief comparison of Interruption marketing and permission marketing
Infographics on interruption marketing vs permission marketing

I hope you guys have a clear view of interruption marketing; if not, let me know. I’m more than happy to help you.

Now, let’s get started with Social Media Marketing.

Social Media Marketing

You know, 58% of the population worldwide uses social media regularly. So, it’s likely that you have already seen this post by Louis Vuitton on Instagram featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.

Mobile loaded with Instagram post of Louis Vuitton "Victory is a state of mind Cristiano and Leomessi captured by AnnieLeibovitz"

The trickiest and most fun way to promote your business.

Social media marketing is a cool marketing strategy where brands use social media platforms to promote their products or services.

Statistics show that about 80% of consumers buy something because of what an influencer said or did. Social media marketing is being used to the fullest by businesses in many different fields.

Some of the best things about social media platforms are the easy-to-use data analysis tools built right in. For example, we can see who liked and commented on our posts on Instagram.

Brands use these metrics to figure out how many people they reach and to plan effective advertising campaigns for the future. They also use social media to find out what people think about their products or services.

Social media is unique because it lets consumers and other internet users post user-generated content like comments and reviews rather than using scripted advertising copies.

Five things to keep in mind while doing social media marketing:

1. Pick the best social network for your business

Social media marketing demands heavy, persistent work. Going for all networks could stretch you thin if you have limited resources.

To help you select the best social media network, I made a free cheat sheet with the most up-to-date (2022 3rd quarter) information on Social Media Networks. Feel free to use it as needed. 

2. Content is everything

Only post high-quality content and always follow the 70-20-10 rule.

70% informational, 20% emotional, and 10% promotional content.

Be very careful about your content because it affects how people see your brand in the real world.

To make things even simple here’s a fun infographic by LocaliQ Marketing Lab.

A pie chart showing the 70-20-10 rule of social media marketing

3. High follower numbers are not the first priority

A higher content engagement is much more important than the total number of followers.

Social media algorithms work by looking at the number of people who follow you and how often they interact with you. So if you have many followers and only a few people interact with your posts. Your content will be restricted from getting any high traffic.

4. Don't rush into promoting your business

Wait to start pushing promotional content. Before you start promoting anything, wait at least 3 months or until you have a steady audience. If no one is there to interact with your promotions, there’s no point in doing so.

(If you are running ad campaigns on social media, you can start promoting your brand right away.)

5. Socialize on social media

Even though social media are meant to connect with people, we often forget to do so. Ask people silly questions and interact with them. At the end of the day, we want to make some good friends.

You probably all know Neil Patel. He is the marketing wizard. Here’s a great video where he explains Social Media Marketing.

Most of you probably have a good idea of what social media marketing is by now. If you still don’t understand, let me know in the comments. I’d be more than happy to help every one of you.

Ok, let’s get started with our next topic Email Marketing.

Email Marketing

The OG of marketing strategies. 

Do you ever wonder how many emails are sent every day?

Statista estimates that this year it will be around 333.2 billion each day. well, that’s a big deal, right?

Number of sent and received e-mails per day worldwide from 2017 to 2025 (in billions)

Statistical graph on Number of sent and received e-mails per day worldwide from 2017 to 2025 by Statista

You all probably know about email marketing. We saw its presence daily across our email inboxes. 

Email marketing, as straightforward as it seems, is just the practice of reaching out to customers through email.

Most of the time, email marketing strategies are targeted at one of the three key objectives:

  1. Building brand awareness
  2. Enhancing current customer relations
  3. Collecting new customers

Again, brands can use email marketing in 2 different styles:

  1. Permission marketing style (warm mailing)
  2. Interruptive marketing style (cold mailing)

Marketers have argued sending out mass cold emails is effective, but it’s all just a number game. You may get one sale in like every 10,000 emails sent. Considering the hard work of sourcing and validating those emails, it’s not effective.

Here’s a case study, for example.

Based on personal experience with my company 42souls.com. I ran an email campaign (interruptive marketing style) for one month. Using the LinkedIn sales navigator, we collected 1500 top email contacts and sent personalized emails to each. 50% of the people didn’t even bother to respond, and the 5% who did respond weren’t interested. From 1500 emails, we sourced one real lead. 

Here’s a graph showing how people around the world are starting to ignore marketing emails.

Share of consumers worldwide adopting selected behaviors to avoid or ignore marketing emails from brands as of September 2021

statistical graph on Share of consumers worldwide adopting selected behaviors to avoid or ignore marketing emails from brands as of September 2021

From this graph by Statista, it’s easy to see that about 40% of people often unsubscribe from brand emails. Another interesting fact is that only 7% of people who signed up with brands used a fake email address.

Now, when it comes to email marketing, I’m more likely to use permission marketing, or “warm mailing,” in this case. In reality, it’s much easier than a strategy for interruptive marketing. Don’t get me wrong, it still takes hard work and persistence, but there’s less boring work.

The main difference here is how we source our emails. The thing to do is provide users with real-value content that will help them for real and facilitate a system where they can directly reach you easily.

This way, they will be happy to provide you with their contact details and will be expecting your updates in their inbox. Emails sent through this strategy will have a higher conversion rate than the other models.

Using this strategy, you will build a strong connection with your audience. Hence happy customers, happy business.

Here’s a fun little video by Hubspot explaining email marketing. This will help you understand the topic a little more easily.

I believe you understand the idea of email marketing by now.

If not, let me know in the comment section. I’ll personally help you solve your doubts. 🙂

Let’s jump into our next topic, Content Marketing.

Content Marketing

Do you know which marketing strategy is loved by customers worldwide?

It’s content marketing.


Because content marketing is all about giving our ideal customers free content they love!

Are you thinking something like, “What?? Why?? Huh???”

Haha, I’m not kidding. It’s the truth, and it’s one of the most effective marketing strategies in the world too.

Remember permission marketing, dear friend?

Content marketing is a type of permission marketing.

As soon as we feed our hungry audience with something they can’t get enough of. They start to like our brand and stick with it. Brand loyalty is like a valuable gem, as you know. It’s one thing that can help your business keep going even when the market is down.

So what are some examples of content marketing?

Girl With The Dog's YouTube Channel

Who doesn’t like cute dogs, right? This is what Vanessa thought when she started her YouTube channel “Girl With The Dog’s,” where she shows off her satisfying groomer skills.

Perfect Pooches Dog Grooming is owned by Venessa in Ontario, Canada.

Because of her content marketing effort, her channel now has 1.5 million followers. Her business has grown to accommodate cats and other animals too. She also raised a good amount of money for animal sanctuaries.

Viva La Dirt League and Playtech

Play Tech is a local computer store in New Zealand that sells computer parts and accessories for gamers.

Viva La Dirt League is a video production company that focuses on making humorous and engaging content. They have created videos for many different companies, including Playtech. By making videos for Playtech, VLDL has helped the company become more well-known and easier to sell.

The videos have been used to promote Playtech’s products and services and have been shared on social media platforms. This increased exposure has led to more people becoming aware of the company and its offerings, resulting in increased sales and opportunities for business partnerships.

Additionally, the videos have been used to engage customers and create conversations about Playtech’s offerings, further promoting its products and services.

By creating entertaining and engaging videos, VLDL has been able to help Playtech expand its reach and increase its customer base.

Here’s one of my favorite videos by VLDL

This video was watched 59 million times on Facebook and 4 million times on YouTube.

What can I say? Even big companies like Asus can’t compete with the reach of videos like these. For example, take a look at this video below.

Honestly, I like the awesome visuals in this video.

This is a trailer from 2019 that Asus made. Right now, 1.5 million people have watched it on YouTube. When we compare this to the VLDL video we just talked about, we can see how small this video’s reach was.

That’s the power of content marketing!

Market Research and Data Analysis

If you’re looking for a surefire way to ensure your business is a success, it’s time to take a good look at market research and data analysis. Sure, there’s no guarantee you’ll be the next Apple or Amazon, but you don’t stand a chance without market research and data analysis.

Think of them as your best friend. They’re always there to tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. They’ll let you know when something isn’t working and what you can do to fix it. They’ll help you make decisions that are rooted in facts and evidence, not guesswork.

And just like a good friend, they are always there to give you a boost when you need it. They’ll tell you what’s working and what needs a little tweaking. With their help, you can get a real-time look at how your products and services are performing.

It’s also kind of like having a crystal ball – you can predict trends, spot problems before they become disasters, and find out what your customers think about your brand. 

Check out this graph below showing the marketing priorities of CMOs in the US – it’s a real eye-opener!

Leading marketing priorities according to CMOs in the United States as of August 2021

Graph on marketing priorities

From this poll by Statista, it’s clear that marketing technology, data, and analytics are the top marketing priority for CMOs across the US.

Now, how to get the best bang for buck when it comes to market research and data analysis?

It’s easy. You can buy our market research service. 

Our top-notch team of researchers will uncover the data and insights you need to make smart decisions about your business. 

Don’t take our word for it – try us out and see for yourself!

So how to learn Digital Marketing for free and get certified?

After doing a lot of research, I found something that will help you guys a lot.

Google has something called Google Digital Garage. It’s a part of a program called “Grow with Google” They have a course called Fundamentals of digital marketing. It will help you master the basics of digital marketing through a free course accredited by Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University. You will also get a certificate to show off on your LinkedIn profile when you complete the course. 

(This content is really not sponsored by Google)

Screenshot of google digital garage

Sweeeeet right?

Let's take a 2-minute break

We covered a lot today, right?

Let’s take a moment to relax and have some fun before we wrap things up.

Here’s a fun game I put together for you. I call it “Mind Calm.” 

Make sure to post your highest score in the comment section.

Let’s see who got the highest score 🎯.


Let’s take one final look at what we learned today. We started by learning what digital marketing is and why it is important. Later, we took a trip through time to learn the origins of digital marketing and discovered its evolution from web 1.0 to web 2.0. After that, we dove headfirst into the fundamentals of digital marketing and discussed the most effective strategy to launch a digital marketing campaign. 

If you have any questions or concerns, you can leave a comment or email me at sai@42souls.com.

There’s a saying that all digital content should try to be addicting to its users. However, being addicted means getting in the way of other people’s lives and possibly causing them indirect harm. So, do you think there should be rules in place to stop situations that lead to these kinds of addictions?

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