What is Digital Marketing, Really?


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Digital marketing is something that every business is advised to do, but not many businesses fully understand. It’s one of those catchall phrases that actually refers to several things, without referring to anything in particular. To try to answer the question ‘what is digital marketing?’ let’s have a look at a few of the marketing strategies that fall into the digital category.

Social Media

Social media is actually a similar phrase to digital marketing. Social media refers to all online social marketing activity. It basically covers three main marketing channels, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Successful social media marketing means being active on each of the above. The idea is to engage with prospective customers, talk to them and find out what they’re talking about. These channels are also important for spreading your content and raising brand awareness. Of course, there are other social networks, like Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube etc. Each of these offers similar opportunities, but have their own nuances.

Website Content

Your website is more than just a location for people to find you online. It should also be an information resource, and a digital marketing channel. Your website content should tell your prospects about your business and demonstrate your expertise. By creating useful content that goes beyond the basic ‘About Us’ and ‘Services’ pages, you can turn your site into a trusted resource. What is digital marketing content? Whitepapers, blogs, videos or any other content that your prospects might find interesting or helpful.


Search engine optimization is closely related to website content. It basically means making your website more appealing to search engines like Google and Bing. That means using the correct keywords, though keyword density is becoming less important, and building inbound links to your site. The process is designed to make your website appear more relevant to Google so that it appears higher up the search results. It’s a vital part of digital marketing, but it’s often overlooked. A lot of companies will do the SEO on a site and then forget about it. But search engines are always improving their algorithms so you should always be improving your SEO.


Blogs are also closely linked with SEO. A blog is a great way to regularly create new content, which is vital for SEO. Blogging also allows you to talk to your prospects. It allows you to tell them about your business and your industry and helps to build trust. It’s a great jack-of-all-trades digital marketing tool. If you don’t have a blog for your business, you should start planning one.


Pay per click is one of the more straightforward digital marketing techniques. You create an ad or bid on a search engine keyword and pay a set fee for every click. It’s basically online advertising where you pay for every time someone follows the ad back to your site. PPC also refers to bidding on keywords on search engines. You agree to pay a certain fee every time someone finds you for a particular keyword and they improve your search position.


‘What is digital marketing for mobile?’ is another difficult question. In the past the main tactic was to use text messages. With the advancement of mobile technology and the widespread use of smartphones, that has drifted towards apps. Mobile apps are a big market for advertising. Similar to PPC online ads, you can now get PPC ads on mobile apps. Facebook, in particular, have begun to focus on mobile advertising as a revenue stream.

Email Marketing

Email marketing has developed a bit of a bad reputation. Years of spammers taking liberties with email addresses has lead to most businesses wincing at the thought of sending mass emails. But, if you have an honestly created mailing list, a regular newsletter or monthly email campaign can be a really useful marketing tool. It allows you to talk to your market through a medium they use every day. It takes a bit of care in execution but can be really useful.

This is just a brief look at the main digital strategies marketers use. Most digital marketing campaigns will use a combination of some of these. The thing is, I’ve left out other tactics like video marketing and social analytics, and other broad phrases like inbound marketing and closed loop marketing. These are also viable and useful digital marketing tactics. This blog has barely scratched the surface.

To fully answer the question ‘what is digital marketing?’ in a single blog is impossible. There’s just so much to it, and so many strategies that you could describe as digital marketing. So when someone suggests that you get involved in digital marketing, you need to dig a bit deeper. Because ‘digital marketing‘ could mean almost anything.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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