What is Digital Marketing?- a simple guide by HWM

What is digital marketing? A question that every company needs to answer if they want to be successful, right? In the day and age that we live in, digital presence is a must-have! The development of technology has been, how can I say this, incredible. I remember 15 years ago I had a flip phone with a camera that honestly wasn’t even a camera. And now, the phones are all touch screens with cameras that can be used for photoshoots (thanks to Instagram, photoshoots are everywhere). So with the development of technology, marketing had to evolve as well. This is where digital marketing comes into play. The new generations will only know the digital world, and that is why every company needs to understand what digital marketing is and how to implement it into its business strategy.

So, if you are new to digital marketing or even if you are already familiar with it, let me present you a simple guide to ‘’what is digital marketing?’’ by HWM.

What is Digital Marketing?

Before starting anything, what we all did in school is was learning the definition of something first, right? Well, since I never liked definitions, never bothered with them. I tried to dissect them, and make them my own. So when somebody asks me what digital marketing is; I tend to say: ‘’Digital marketing is the same as simple marketing, only that it uses everything that is a part of the digital world.” I believe that this definition is simple enough. Like in the times we live in, the digital world is a part of our lives. So when it comes to digital marketing, it uses that part of our lives for advertisement.

Let me ask you one thing, how much time do you spend on your phone or your computer? I would bet it is a lot. I mean, I barely get off my phone, and since the internet is a part of my work, both my laptop and my phone are a tool I use on a daily basis. Where I am getting at is that since the digital world has become a part of our whole lives so is digital marketing. How many times did you speak about something that you like, and then suddenly it pops up on your social media? It creeps you out a little bit, right? It does the same for me. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is part of digital marketing (and its tiny terms and conditions). That is just one part of digital marketing, and there is more.

What is Digital Marketing – the two-part question?

What do I mean when I say the two-part question? Most people don’t know this, but digital marketing has two parts to it. The first part is online marketing, and the second one is offline marketing. Most people focus on just the online element and leave the offline part outside of the equation, it normally doesn’t even get mentioned! You might be asking yourself why does offline marketing belong to digital marketing. Believe it or not, it is a vital part since the evolution of technology has taken place. With the evolution of mobile devices, digital marketing had to separate its elements. As a result, two elements of digital marketing were born, online and offline digital marketing.

what is digital marketing

What is Digital Marketing? – Offline digital marketing

Offline digital marketing is evolving side by side with technology. It is used to enhance and add-on to an already existing online digital marketing, without it, an offline digital marketing strategy will often be incomplete and will not give the desired results. Offline marketing was developed in the 60’s when the famous door to door method of sales was one of the first forms of marketing. Merging sales with journalism and understanding that there is a way with visual presence and storytelling to bring better numbers to the company, marketing was born. The one as we know it today, if we were to divide and define it, can be split into four parts:

1. Media Buyer

A media buyer’s job is to manage the placements and to negotiate prices for all advertisements on media like radio, television, print and digital. When it comes to the digital world, they manage the ad placements on websites that you visit. They must ensure that all media inventory is within the budget that they receive, and that is why negotiation is important for media buyers.

For example, do you know when you are walking somewhere, and you see a giant billboard with a screen showing different ads, or those interactive tables used in certain restaurants (you can even play games in them while you wait for your food! Perfect excuse not to socialise with your friends…) – Those are real examples of enhanced marketing by using electronic devices.

2. Radio marketing

Why is the radio part of this? It is a part of this because a lot of radios are now on the internet and most of them are available online, right? Yes, yes they are. Even though they aren’t used as they were before, they are an excellent way to get your message into the world, at least the area within the broadcast… It is a wonderful local offline marketing, very targeted to a specific audience. After all, we still listen to the radio when we drive.

3. TV marketing

The famous TV marketing. Most people spend hours in front of the TV watching all kind of things, so commercials are running almost all day long. Some countries such as Spain had to sanction commercial in some channels longer than 15 minutes as companies were taking it too far.

Even though the TV industry is dying little by little, with Netflix and other media taking control, TV marketing is still strong. Do you know how much do companies pay to get a TV commercial on the Super Bowl? Around 5 million dollars! So as you can see TV marketing is not going anywhere.

4. Phone marketing

Finally the best part of offline marketing; the fantastic phone marketing. I would presume you know why this is really important, looking at how many people have phones and how much they are using them; this marketing method became the best part of offline marketing. From cold calling to sending texts; phone marketing is an integral part of communicating with potential customers. If you want to have proper engagement with your potential customers, this is the way to go when it comes to offline marketing.

We have now dissected and listed the different ways offline marketing is indeed very digital, let´s check out now the more “obvious” part of digital marketing, the online kind.

What is Digital Marketing? – Online digital marketing

Online marketing is something that when researching digital marketing everybody comes across. And this is what you will certainly need to know when starting your company since offline methods tend to be very expensive (as you would presume once you saw the price of a Super Bowl commercial). So, if you want to know a cheaper way to get your message across; I would suggest using online marketing.

And what is great about online marketing is that you can do it from wherever you want. Do you want to do it from your couch? Check. You want to do it while travelling the world? Check. Since all you need is a connection to the internet, (it is called online for a reason!) you only need the internet to make it work, make sure you have an awesome data-plan though.

However, before you start doing anything regarding online marketing; you need to know what the parts of it are and how to use them properly.

1. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

When it comes to asking ‘’What is digital marketing”, SEO will always come up. That is why it is probably one of the most essential parts of online marketing. When starting out, the first thing you need to learn is what and how to use SEO, because this way of marketing is FREE (organic growth is free, achieving it, not so much :P) And tell me one person that doesn’t like free stuff. You can’t, can you?

SEO can help you get your company or yourself on the map. Do check out our article on the basics of SEO to understand how to do it! For now, let me tell you that SEO is not a machine or anything like that, it is a way of optimising your website, SEO will help your site rank higher on search engines like Google and Yahoo.

If you can optimise your website or blog in the right way, then be prepared to get a lot of traffic on your platform and with more traffic there comes more customers. And you can see, SEO is essential for your success, which is why we have a short article explaining SEO in detail for you; so that you can start attracting those loyal and organic customers.

2. SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Even though some experts describe SEM as it being similar to SEO, there is much more that separates them than the fact you have to pay for SEM. While SEO helps you rank better by optimising your website and content, with SEM you can pay Google or Yahoo to get on top for a specific keyword. While you will get a lot of clicks, trust me when I say you will pay for every one of them. Something that also separates SEM from SEO is that there is no long-term gain on that investment, the moment you stop paying for clicks, you will stop receiving them. While SEO can be done so that you will keep receiving its fruits as it is a “delayed gratification” strategy that will last a longer time, SEM is a very instant gratification strategy.

What will SEM cost? That depends on how competitive the keyword is; with higher competition, higher the price. However, I don’t like this method because it is really expensive, and if you ask me, SEO is the way to go; just feels more natural and more satisfying when you get that traffic that you wanted.

It is also worth mentioning that some niches do better with SEM techniques than with an SEO strategy, this will be discussed in a future article. 

3. Social Media marketing

You can guess what this is. You probably use social media like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You probably know how many companies use social media to get their brands more exposure. And, let me tell you something, it is useful.

I personally like to follow some brands, just so I know when they are releasing a new product or if they have some exciting news. It is a great way to get in contact with your target audience. With more followers, comes more traffic, and with more traffic comes more customers (do not forget the traffic’s engagement, you do not want a ghost town as your business. Always engage, ask, answer, and treat your followers as if they are part of the family!).

On this note, you better start making your company’s account on either one of the social media channels that I mentioned; of course, if you haven’t already.

4. Content marketing

Oh, the beautiful world of content. Content marketing is exciting for me since what I am doing right now is creating content. It can come in many ways; it can be a blog post, an e-book, infographic, video, etc.

There is so much to choose from. The reason I love content marketing because it is genuine. What do I mean by that? When I say it is genuine, I mean that if you can create something that is both interesting and informative it will always find a way to get you what you wanted in the first place, and that is exposure, traffic, sales, etc.

In order to create proper content, you need to have your buyer persona, the one whom you are trying to communicate with your content. And what is a buyer persona? A buyer persona is a representation of your perfect customer, and it is based on market research and real data on the customers that you already have. When you begin creating your buyer persona, you should include customers’ demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and their goals. Also, try to be as detailed as possible.

Also, always try to add value to your reader, help or resolve a doubt or problem. Also, I should mention when creating content always take into account to make it SEO friendly, since SEO is closely connected with content marketing.

5. PPC (Pay-per-click) marketing

PPC is exactly as it sounds, you pay for each click you get. And yes it is similar to SEM, well it is more like SEM is a specific part of PPC. What PPC marketing does is, it shows ads on multiple platforms like Instagram, Twitter, etc. Unlike the SEM that is concentrated just on the search engines, and that is why it is considered as a part of PPC. PPC is a great way to get more traffic and sales because you can use it on social media.

We already know what kind of exposure social media can get you. Imagine being able to directly pay for ads on there. This will undoubtedly help you get to your target goals faster if you don’t want to wait for SEO to start working.

The most popular PPC platform to advertise on is Google AdWords and the close second is Facebook. So now you know what the best platforms are, go ahead and start throwing your money at them to get to your goals faster.

6. E-mail marketing

With e-mail marketing, you are directly communicating with your customers and possible clients. When it comes to communicating with your customers’, long term e-mail is the way to go. You can use e-mail marketing to tell your customers or possible customers about what kind of product you are offering or even better inform them about some deals that you are about to go live with, to get them to engage with the e-mail and thus with you.

7. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a process of earning a commission by promoting someone else’s product or service. How can you do that? Well, you can do it by using an affiliate link, which is a link you can get from a company for a product or a service. When someone clicks on the link that you received from the company and buys the product or service you get a percentage. However, first, you need to join an affiliate program so you can get an affiliate link. With that link, they can check the number of clicks on it and see how many purchases were made.

With this, you don’t have to make a product, service, or even sell the products or services. You just have to get a link to the company and they will do the rest for you. You will get paid by leveraging your followers or audience on your website (blog) to click on that affiliate link.

What it means is that you are partnering with the company with affiliate marketing. And what is great about this is that there are no risks! Because it is not your product or a service it is somebody else’s. For example, there is an Amazon affiliate program that you can use to promote some products from Amazon and earn some extra money.

This is a simple and fast way for you to make extra  money.

what is digital marketing


Ladies and gentlemen, we came to an end. I tried to answer the ‘’what is digital marketing” question as simple as possible. Now you know the parts of digital marketing, and what everything is meant to be for. When using one of these parts of digital marketing you should still do additional research about everything since this is a simple guide and it is just meant to be informative.

Of course, if it is too much work for you; you can always contact us and we will help you out.

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