laptop with an email marketing sign up page on the screen.
digital marketing basics, Small Business Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing for Beginners

Digital marketing, also known as online marketing, is any electronic promotion. The best part of digital marketing is that it’s lower cost than many other marketing options, a quick way to begin marketing your product or business, and great for small businesses.

Digital marketing encompasses many different forms of marketing. Below I’ve listed the most common channels from lowest cost to highest cost with further explanations below.

  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Advertising

Digital marketing also dips into areas like branding, public relations, promotional material, and events. I won’t cover those here but it’s something to keep in mind when creating a digital marketing strategy.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the process of posting digital material on your website to promote your brand, product, or services. It is one of the best ways to drive people to your site and figuratively get them in the door. The content on your site shows you have the expertise to the people browsing on the internet and to search engines like Google, Bing, etc.

By posting more content, you get more people to your site, more people linking to your site, and your pages rank higher in the search engines. The best result is to have your website be the first listing on the first page of Google since studies show the most people don’t look past the first page.

The key to good content marketing is posting consistent, relevant content, and sharing that content on other sites. By sharing it to other sites, you’re helping to get your name out to your market which again helps create organic traffic. Some places to post content are sites like Medium, YouTube, or social media sites like Facebook.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a great way to post links of your content and promote your expertise. It also creates an easy way for others to share or like your content. It’s also a great place to show that you follow other experts in the industry and network with those experts. If you only post your own content then people will think that you are a know it all or that you are narcissistic. You want to post your own original content so people know you understand your industry, but you also want to give shout-outs to other experts. By recognizing other experts, they may recognize you, you can network, and you can bounce ideas or problems off them as well.

When you gain a following on social media and have more money you can start social media advertising which is a good way to attract more customers. Facebook advertising is actually a great way to attract new prospects. It works best when you have a demographic already following you for Facebook to target their advertisements to the right people.

Many people may think their industry doesn’t need social media. Someone may think because they’re B2B (Business to Business) it doesn’t make sense to be on social media. That isn’t true. There are social media sites for B2B but even being on Facebook helps to get your name out there and create brand recognition.


No matter what kind of business you’re in, you will want to spend time on enhancing your SEO or search engine optimization. SEO is the process of researching and using keywords or common words/phrases people are searching on your site. By tapping into the keywords that your market is using it helps boost your search results and bring more people to your website.

Web content expands past the media on your site through to every piece of content on your website. This includes articles, pictures, videos and the behind the scenes coding of your website. This means that you should look at what keywords people are using and create content on your home page, directory, and product pages.

Additionally, in the background, there are titles, sub-headers, metadata, and meta tags that need content. If you’re using a company to host your web page they can help you address these in the HTML code which I highly recommend doing. This content shows up in the search page results, or even behind the scenes of searches. The content helps people find the right website for what they need. It’s important to plan this text out with the correct keywords to attract the correct people to your page.

Some people may put all the keywords in a string to try and get the best results for the least effort. That is keyword stuffing and the search engines recognize and penalize sites for it because the site doesn’t truly add value for searchers. Google has dropped sites to the bottom of the search for keyword stuffing.

SEO is a great low-cost way to promote your site. It does take time to do the keyword research especially when you start out but it’s well worth the effort.

Email Marketing

We’ve gone over a lot of different web marketing strategies that put your brand name and content on the internet. You will also want to use marketing strategies that reach out directly to people as well.

Email marketing is a great way to reach out to people directly. You can use it to build a following and reshare your content to a targeted audience who has subscribed to your email list. The downside is that most email marketing tools charge you based on the number of emails you send out after a certain number. This usually is fine though since email lists grow slowly.

Email marketing is a great way to promote your service as a slow courtship also known as drip marketing. It’s also a great way to let your prospects and customers know when sales or discounts are going on. If you have a sale going on but people don’t visit your site during that time, or your social media post doesn’t show up in their feed, they won’t know. With email marketing, you can let them know when you have discounts and take the guesswork out of whether they see it on your site or your social media.’


Advertising comes in many forms but most people think of the big expensive ads like billboards, radio, and TV commercials. Those are the ads where you have to pay big to play.

Luckily, in digital marketing, you can advertise with a much more reasonable budget. There are a few different places you can advertise. You can use search engine marketing (SEM) where you pay to get top listings in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. for certain words. These ads help get people to your website.

You can use social media advertising to get followers, push people to your website, promote content, and promote offers/sales.

You can also post ads on other people’s websites that would have connections to your product/industry. On the flip side of this, you can support advertising on your website and get revenue. It can also be beneficial for your customers to allow ads for complementary products to your industry. For instance, I could put ads on my site for marketing software and then get paid based on clicks. This would help people find recommendations for marketing tools to use and I would get money.

Advertising is much more affordable online but also goes both ways so you can get money for hosting ads while you’re paying for ads yourself.


The overall takeaway from digital marketing is it’s low cost and high ROI. It is low cost because most digital marketing has a free option and has high ROI because even when you include the man hours, it has low overhead and over the long run it will bring many new customers to your business. Additionally, by building your online brand through all these various digital marketing methods, you’re creating loyal customers. Additionally, with experience or training, it can be a quick way to promote your business. Digital marketing helps people find your product, build a brand following, and get your name out by driving traffic to your site.  

No matter what stage of business you’re in there are ways that you can market your business better through digital marketing. Likewise, it doesn’t matter what your business is or the industry you’re in, you will want to use digital marketing in some way to expand the reach of your audience.

If you don’t know where to start or if you’ve started but need some guidance, contact us for help on how to get the most from your marketing efforts.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.