The Ultimate Guide: Basics of Digital Marketing

As of late, there have been multiple people that have asked me about the basics of digital marketing. However, the answer to, “What is digital marketing”, was not something that I could share in a one-off conversation, but it did get me thinking.

I really want people to know about the basics of digital marketing and its potential. I am truly passionate about it, and I believe that if others really understood its potential, they would be too.

I concluded that I want to write a piece. Something light, that can be read by anybody who is interested in knowing the basics of digital marketing. In this post, I will focus on the what, why, and how of digital marketing. We’ll keep it simple and make sure you get the point.

Just to give you a gist, I will primarily cover some insights into a few sub-sets to begin the introduction into the basics of digital marketing. This will include- social media, content creation, google ads, SEO and e-mail marketing. While there are more topics under this umbrella, these were a couple of them I wanted to begin with.

But before we dive into the basics of digital marketing, let me throw you some stats. Currently residing in India, I want to share some figures on the digital marketing industry in India, as it is the most relevant geo-location to my fellow friends, colleagues and entrepreneurs.

Digital Marketing Industry Growth

The number of internet users in India have been on a rise since years. Just about two decades ago, the number of internet users in India was only 0.5% of the population. In 2010, it was 7.5% of the population. By the end of 2021, 59% of the Indian population is projected to have access to the internet.

Currently, 755 Million people in India have access to the internet. Now, think about this in terms of advertising. 755 million people are potential viewers to your next product or service.

The digital transformation has paved the way for technology to penetrate almost every product and service. This digitization has not only allowed for more efficiency but proved to reduce cost and increase ROI.

In comparison to digital marketing, measures of traditional marketing are now proving to be not only expensive but also not as effective. The benefits of digital marketing are enormous, but the key advantage of it is to reach a targeted audience and measure results effectively.

So now that we have some context, for why we need digital marketing in the first place, let’s get right into what it is.

Basics of Digital Marketing: What is Digital Marketing?

In the simplest of terms, digital marketing is a sub-set of marketing that allows for individuals or companies to market themselves to potential consumers with the help of the internet.

This is done with the help of various digital media, digital tools, and a well-structured strategy to position a brand for success whether in terms of awareness, leads or sales.

When we speak of digital media and communications, engagement is key. Having great content, is already have the battle won in the realm of digital marketing.

This is because, online marketing gives us the platform to produce and showcase content like never before. While traditional marketing, gives us television, print and radio, digital marketing allows for a fully-immersive Audio-Visual experience at a fraction of the cost.

The biggest win of it all, is that this media is targeted to only your target consumers, thus saving you a lot of money with a higher chance of bagging a sale. Now, you can reach your advertisement specifically to people who are interested in your product or are likely to purchase it. This buying journey is also trackable and measurable by the help of various digital marketing tools.

Basics of Digital Marketing: What is Social Media?

Social Media Marketing

After people enquire about the world of digital marketing, their next question is generally very predictable and also what I would like to discuss next. The world of Social Media.

This topic is way too saturated to be speaking about again, but what makes it crucial for me to convey, is to do so while busting a few myths. Many would argue, that the basics of digital marketing, is social media. But only a few realize, that this is only a piece of the cake.

Social media as a concept, has circulated to be apparently, over-night fame. You put a video, it goes viral. You take a photo, now you’re an influencer.

You start a business page, suddenly you’ve generated exponential revenue. That is what people think social media is. How to get the most followers and likes, to many feels like a task they need to accomplish over-night.

However, this hasty approach is not only harmful but can also lead you to take counter-productive steps. The basics of digital marketing for social media can be quite simply put. Creating content and doing so in an engaging manner. This will largely depend on your content-creation game but also have to do with how you engage with your community in the space.

Is Digital Marketing Difficult?

The basics of digital marketing, is less of a knowledge problem and more of an execution problem. The approach to it, is often lost in statistics deviating the attention from the actual consumer.

Content is what you need to have to put on social media, being on multiple platforms in what you need for distribution, but what you need for a successful strategy, is people skills.

Firstly, you need to know who your people are. The niche of people you want to and need to speak to. This is generally is your target audience. Second, you need to know more about what your people are interested in seeing.

Do these people like the same things every-day? How well are they responding to what you have to say? Are you really providing value to them?

These are a few questions you need to keep in check routinely. 

Basics of Digital Marketing: Google Ads

Now, when you look at it from a “People” angle, there has definitely got to be more than social media right? If digital marketing is marketing on the internet, what else are your people doing? Put yourself, in their shoes. What are you generally doing on the internet, except social media?

I’ll take myself as an example. Often, I google. I google things that interest me. I google things I want to learn about and I google things that I probably want to buy.

We’ll discuss more of this in a separate post, but you get the point, right? We’ve not transitioned our attention from just social media, to now even google ads. Because that is also something our people are doing.

Advertising on google, is also a popular skill in digital marketing. Google AdWords is a advertising platform that allows you to target your people with various ad campaigns and measure results. Just to give you a brief, these advertisements can be broadly classified into three types- search, display and text.

While search and text advertisements allows you to connect your advertisement with specific keywords, display ads help you showcase your campaign within the google display network.

In case you’re wondering, Google Display Network or GDN, is a group of websites where your ads can appear. This network has over 2 million websites and also include mobile websites and application. Gmail, Blogger and Youtube are few popular sites that are a part of the Google Display Network.

I would like to interrupt the flow of this read, with a gentle reminder.

Digital marketing is a very vast subject, and while I will touch on a few topics within this read, please note that the journey of learning digital marketing is a gradual process. However, you will get a fair idea of what digital marketing encompasses and if you’re not ready for the commitment you can always hire a digital marketing specialist, to execute for you!

Now, about that google bit. Let’s go back to us searching on google. Whether to get information about a particular topic, look up a product or maybe even convert a currency, what is the first thing you do?

Basics of Digital Marketing: Search

As you’ve hit the google homepage, your next step is usually to type in the search bar. Shortly, you will understand why is this going to be another important piece of the pie in your digital marketing endeavor.

Let’s say you’ve typed in “What is Blockchain.” Here, you’re not looking for a product or a service, just information. As you hit enter, multiple pages have loaded up and now you have to choose.

By pure habit or rather instinct, you believe that the couple of links are the only credible sources to answer your question. This instinct, is however not wrong at all.

It is very true that Google is listing these websites for you, based on two important factors. Authority and Relevancy.

The first factor scores the website on how much credibility it has to give you information, the second, attributes to how relevant this website is to your search query.

Both these factors form the core of how a website will be ranked In the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) This process, is commonly known as SEO or Search Engine Optimization.

The reason you see the websites you do, listed in the first couple of links in your SERP, is because they are ranking for your particular search query. It is very likely that the owners of this website, have implemented SEO, so as to appear at the top of your search result.

Simply put, Search Engine optimization, is the efforts you will put in to rank higher in Search Engine. SEO in itself, is a vast subject, but it can be broken down into two major sections.

On-Page SEO & Off-Page SEO

As the name suggests, On-Page SEO is the optimization one would implement on the web-page to optimize their listing on the search engine. Off-page will include, all the efforts outside the web-page that will in-turn optimize your listing on the search Engine.

There also exists a part of SEO, known as technical SEO, which are other supplementary technical efforts a SEO specialist would incorporate to support this on-page and off-page optimization.

On-page SEO can be summarized into- keyword research, SEO-friendly content writing, optimizing meta tags/descriptions/Url’s and adding alt Text to your web page images. While these are not all of the check-boxes on the off-page list, it does involved majority of them.

Off-Page SEO and technical SEO has more to do with issues like page-speed, building backlinks and more, that we will uncover at another time while going more in-dept into the world of SEO.

While that was a quick summary of SEO, let’s circle back to the “People Angle.” We discussed, social media and the google search, now let me introduce you to our next pick. Another thing, you do quite often in a week!

Check your Mail.

Basics of Digital Marketing: E-mail Marketing

E-mail Marketing

Besides Social Media, E-mails are also checked quite regularly. Engaging in e-mail marketing, also allows you to reach your niche and measure it efficiently.

E-mails enables you to not only sent out updates, but also build effective funnels to generate leads. By building and segregating your audience list, you can customize your e-mail communications, based on different use-cases.

A good example of this would be an e-commerce store. By using e-mail marketing, you can send out mails to customers that have already purchased your product, sent a suggestion to customers who dropped a cart half way, or even send a special discount to a new user on your website.

These E-mail campaigns can then be monitored and analyzed on various factors, on the basis of which, you can optimize your next e-mail campaign.

It is also handy to note, that even in e-mail marketing, Content matters. The more catchy your e-mail copy, the more likely it is that somebody will open it. The more creative your e-mail content, the more likely somebody will read through it!

Here are some additional factors that can play a vital role to the success of your e-mail campaign, besides content.

Great Timing

Timing matters. In digital marketing, you will realize that the time of the day and the day of the week can be crucial when it comes to people viewing your content and engaging with it. While there is no rule-book for the perfect time to post content, there is a way to go about it.

Think about the time of the day you generally browse the internet or your mails, run various e-mails at different time-slots, and monitor the results. By trial and error, the best way to generally find out what works for your business and goals, is to keep experimenting till you find the right fit

Here are some terms, that would be great to be aware of in the realm of e-mail marketing.


What this means, is to categorize your users and e-mail them accordingly. For example, mailing an advert for Men’s grooming products to a female, could be quite irrelevant. Whenever you send a mail, it is a good practice to create multiple audience lists, so you can correctly segment all your subscribers. This way you can target your communication more effectively and make sure it is relevant.

Taking Permission

A rule of thumb, in e-mail marketing, is to only send your mails to users that have opted to receive them. Many people often thread spam mails and do not prefer to be contacted unless there is any real value for them. Don’t be a spam on somebody’s mailbox. Think it through, understand what your consumer really needs, and cater accordingly.

If you have a personal blog, this is a great space to share value. Keep your mails concise and keep them engaging. Make users feel they are individually attended too, and try to sound as human as possible. Once again, the more you actually give value and the less you make it your sales pitch, you are on the right track.

Learn Digital Marketing

In this read, we have only touched the surface of the basics of digital marketing. If you think about it, digital marketing is not just a sub-set of marketing but rather an entire industry in itself. Its various sub-sets are also vast topics, and mastering all of them, would be an infinite process.

Even understanding the basics of digital marketing might take a while, but do not be disheartened. I assure you the end result will be worth the investment made.

When you choose to learn digital marketing, make sure you understand all of its components. Find out which parts of the pie are most suitable to your skillset, and then build accordingly.

If you are more creative, venture into the content marketing side, If you are more analytical, try campaign management. Digital marketing not only has an ocean of opportunities but is a skill that is already selling like hot-cakes.

Whatever you choose to explore, remember your digital strategy will be instrumental in creating and executing any and all digital marketing verticals. Make sure you plan ahead and execute with the help of the right professionals. Set business and digital goals and remember to audit them before you implement anything new.

Whether you are a content creator, a traditional marketer looking to transition, a entrepreneur or even an artist, I implore you to adventure into world of digital marketing.

It is a skill that can come in handy almost anytime and anywhere. By learning and implementing digital marketing, you will not only learn a new trade but will be able to monetize your various skills by ensuring it is marketed effectively to reach millions of people at an affordable cost.  

As usual, I’m going to leave you with a video, that I hope will inspire you in some way or the other.

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