Digital Marketing for Dummies [A Go-To Guide to Marketing Online]

Macy is a Content Writer at WebFX. With a Content Marketing Certification, she's an expert in crafting pieces filled with the facts about all things digital marketing. You'll find many of her pieces featured on UpCity's Top Digital Marketing Articles of the Week. When she isn't clacking her keys, she's wondering why her dog is so cute. Follow her on Twitter @iinfinitestorm.

Are you looking for a digital marketing for dummies guide that tells you everything you need to know about marketing your business online?

If so, you’ve come to the right place.

In this beginner’s guide to digital marketing, we’ll cover the top digital marketing strategies you need to know, including:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Social media advertising

Keep reading to check out this digital marketing for dummies guide. Looking to build your online marketing knowledge even more? Subscribe to Revenue Weekly to stay up to date with the latest digital marketing trends and changes!

Bonus Reading: Can Digital Marketing Grow Sales in 2020?

Digital marketing for dummies: SEO

The first strategy we’ll look at in this digital marketing for dummies guide is SEO. SEO is an online marketing tactic that enables you to optimize your site to boost your ranking in search results. Increasing your ranking in search results allows you to drive more traffic to your page.

SEO is one of the more technically complicated digital marketing strategies because there are three types of SEO:

  • On-page SEO: Involves optimizations you can do on your website to improve your ranking in search results.
  • Off-page SEO: Focuses on optimizing factors outside of your site that influence your ranking in search results.
  • Technical SEO: Deals with elements on the backend of your website that affect your ranking.

So, when you dive into SEO, it’s essential to understand that there are multiple aspects you’ll need to optimize to succeed.

Now, let’s explore the most important aspects of SEO that you need to know.

Strategy What it is Why it matters How to do it
Keyword selection The process of choosing industry-related key terms Keywords help you rank in relevant search results Conduct keyword research to find relevant, long-tail keywords
Title tag and meta description optimization Optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions that appear in search results Google references these meta tags to determine page relevancy, and people use them to determine if your page is relevant Keep these tags within the character limit, integrate keywords, and make them engaging
Page speed optimization Optimizing your pages to load as fast as possible Users don’t want to wait for information, so you need a fast-loading website Use a page speed tool to see where your page currently stands and make necessary changes
Mobile optimization Adapting your site to operate smoothly on mobile devices Google uses mobile-first indexing to rank your website. You must have a mobile-friendly site to rank in search results well Integrate responsive design
Backlinks Links to your site from other sites Backlinks help build your site’s trust and authority, which can lead to improved rankings and increased traffic Create high-quality content and reach out to industry authorities to get your content discovered

Keyword selection

Keyword selection plays a critical role in helping you appear in relevant search results. Users search for keywords to help them find listings about what they want to know. By choosing the right keywords, you’ll help your listing appear in front of relevant traffic.

To find relevant keywords, you’ll conduct keyword research.

Look for long-tail keywords, which contain three or more words, to help you rank in search results. Once you find your keywords, you’ll integrate them into your site, like in page headings and page content, to help your pages rank for those keywords.

Title tag and meta description optimization

Title tag and meta description optimization involves updating your title tags and meta descriptions to help you rank better in search results. Both search engines and users rely on titles and meta descriptions to understand the context of the page.

To help you rank in search results, keep to the 60-character limit for title tags and the 150-160-character limit for meta descriptions. You want both meta tags to be informative and tell users what to expect when they click on your listing.

Additionally, make sure you include keywords in both so you can rank in search results.

Page speed optimization

Your site’s load time affects whether website visitors remain on your page. Google wants to deliver fast-loading pages, so you need to optimize your site’s load time to ensure leads remain on your page. To see how fast your site loads, use Google PageSpeed Insights.

Google will provide you with insights on how to optimize your site load time. These tactics range from optimizing image file sizes to reducing redirects. If you find yourself overwhelmed with all the suggested fixes, you can invest in page speed services to have someone optimize your site for you.

Mobile optimization

You can’t have a beginner’s guide to digital marketing without talking about mobile optimization!

Since Google moved to a mobile-first index, mobile optimization is critical if you want to rank in search results. Mobile optimization involves adapting your site for mobile devices to provide a positive user experience.

The best way to optimize for mobile is to integrate responsive design.

Responsive design ensures your website adapts to whatever device your target audience uses. If you don’t have the time or experience to integrate responsive design into your site, you can invest in web design services that help you build a mobile and SEO-friendly site.

Backlinks

Backlinks are links to your site from other authoritative websites. These links help build your site’s credibility and improve your ranking. Additionally, when someone links to your site, it drives more traffic for your business.

To help you earn backlinks, you need to create content.

We’ll dive into content creation more next, but in general, creating valuable and informative content can help you earn backlinks from authority sites. You can also reach out to authority sites and invite them to check out your content to see if they’ll share it with their audience.

Digital marketing for dummies: Content marketing

Content marketing is the process of sharing valuable knowledge with your audience. Your content helps you provide your audience with the information they seek, which gets them to engage with your site and get familiar with your brand.

SEO and content marketing work together to help you drive traffic. You can’t optimize for SEO if you don’t have content, and you need a content strategy if you want to get the most out of your SEO.

In this online marketing for dummies guide, we’ll look deeper into the types of content you can create.

Type of content What you can use it for
Blogs Cover any content topic and explain it
Videos Cover in-depth content topics, create testimonial videos, explain processes
Infographics Provide a visual presentation of statistics, facts, or processes
Guides Provide an in-depth look at a content topic

Blogs

Blogging is one of the best ways to reach prospects and drive them to your site. When you create blog posts, you write about a topic and explain it. Blogs provide your audience with an abundance of information about a topic.

Videos

Videos are an excellent medium for going in-depth on a topic and teaching processes. You can also use video to present testimonials, give tours of your facility, or show how your product or service works. It’s a great, shareable medium for spreading information.

Infographics

Infographics allow you to present statistics and facts in a visually engaging format. You can also use this medium to show a process and explain it better to your audience.

Guides

Guides are more in-depth blog posts. This content covers a topic thoroughly, giving readers all the information they need about a topic.

Digital marketing for dummies: Social media marketing

The next organic tactic we’ll cover in this digital marketing for dummies guide is social media marketing. Social media marketing is a strategy where you connect with interested leads on social media platforms and put content in front of them.

Social media marketing enables you to build a direct connection with your audience. You can connect with them one-on-one and get them to interact with your brand. You can post an abundance of content on these platforms that followers can then share with others.

In this beginner’s guide to digital marketing, we’ll look at the platforms you can use to reach your audience.

Social media platform Type of content you can post
Facebook Links to pages on your site, text posts, videos, polls, photos
Instagram Photos and videos
Twitter Photos, videos, links to pages on your site, text posts, polls
LinkedIn Links to pages on your site, photos, videos, text posts
Pinterest Photos and videos

Facebook

Facebook is an excellent platform for you if you’re trying to target older adults.

In the U.S., 79% of 18-29-year olds use Facebook, followed by 79% of 30-49-year olds, and 68% of 50-64-year olds. It’s an excellent platform for companies that want to use a variety of content to target these demographics.

On Facebook, you can post links to content and create text posts. You can take a more visual approach by uploading videos and photos.

Instagram

If you’re looking to reach younger adults, Instagram is a great platform. With 67% of U.S. adults between the ages of 18-29 using Instagram, you have an excellent opportunity to reach these leads through Instagram.

Instagram is a great platform if you’re looking to take a visual approach with your brand.  You can post photos and videos to engage prospects and get them familiar with your brand. Instagram also has shoppable posts, where users can explore and shop for your products through the images you post.

Twitter

Twitter, known for its brief messages called “tweets,” is a great place to reach younger adults. Thirty-eight percent of 18-29-year old adults use this platform. You can use this social media network to post brief messages, share videos, and more.

If you’re looking for a platform where you can post content frequently, Twitter is the answer. This website encourages you to post multiple times a day, whether it’s articles, videos, polls, or photos. Use this feature to increase brand exposure.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an excellent platform for businesses looking to reach other companies and middle-aged Americans who are decision-makers at their company. Thirty-seven percent of U.S adults ages 30-49 use LinkedIn, making it a great platform if you’re looking to reach people in that demographic.

Since LinkedIn is a professional platform, your content will focus more on sharing news about your company, promoting job openings, and more. It’s a great network to connect with professionals in industries that have the most interest in your business.

Pinterest

Pinterest is an excellent platform for companies that want to present their products visually. At least 34% of U.S. adults ages 18-29 use Pinterest, while 35% of 30-49-year old adults use Pinterest.

On Pinterest, you can create boards with content from your company.

From product boards to idea boards, it’s a great platform to get your company in front of more interested leads and share your products.

Digital marketing for dummies: PPC advertising

PPC advertising involves creating paid ads to appear at the top of search results. These ads help drive qualified leads to your site and increase conversions. PPC ads also boost brand awareness since your business’s ad appears at the top of search results.

Let’s look at what you need to know about running a text-only PPC campaign.

Concept Yes No Recommended
Long-tail keywords X
Visuals X
Bid for placement X
Separate landing page X

Long-tail keywords

If you want to see success with your PPC campaign, you’ll want to optimize for long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are more specific, so they drive more interested leads to your page. Additionally, since these keywords are specific, fewer companies bid on them, so the cost-per-click (CPC) is lower.

Visuals

PPC ads in search are text-only ads, so you don’t need to worry about creating an image for these ads. You can, however, enhance your ad by adding ad extensions to give it more “visual” interest and provide users with additional information.

Bid for placement

To get your placement, you need to set a bid amount. When you conduct keyword research for your ad, you’ll see the average CPC for your keyword, which will help you set your bid amount.

Your bid amount is the maximum you’re willing to pay for leads that click on your ad. Bidding higher will not get you a better placement for your ad.

Separate landing page

While it’s not required, it’s recommended that you have a separate landing page for your PPC campaign. Creating a specific landing page for your PPC campaign enables you to deliver the most relevant information to your audience, making them more likely to convert.

So, for example, if your ad text focuses on your ergonomic desk chairs, having a landing page focused solely on your ergonomic chairs will drive more conversions than using your homepage as the landing page.

Digital marketing for dummies: Social media advertising

The last strategy we’ll cover in this digital marketing for dummies guide is social media advertising. Social media ads are paid advertisements that appear in social media feeds. These ads help you get your brand in front of more interested leads.

Let’s look at what you need to know about social media ads.

Concept Yes No Recommended
Set a target audience X
Visuals X
Set a bid X
Separate landing page X

Set a target audience

To have a successful social media advertising campaign, you must set a target audience. Your target audience is who you want to reach with your ads. You’ll determine everything about this audience, from demographics to hobbies to interests.

Social media ads let you refine your audience and target them more precisely.

Visuals

Though not all social media ads are visual, many ads have some type of visual in them. Whether it’s a photo or video, you can use this as an opportunity to provide a point of visual interest and catch your audience’s attention.

Use high-quality visuals that help you get your ad’s message across to your audience.

Set a bid

Before you can launch an advertising campaign on social media, you need to place a bid. A bid determines how much you’ll pay when someone clicks on your ad. Some platforms, like Facebook, will provide you with a bid range to guide you on how much to bid.

Check your budget to ensure you’re placing a bid amount that works for your campaign.

Separate landing page

Just like PPC campaigns, social media ads work better when you have a separate landing page. A separate landing page keeps leads focused while providing them with information that’s relevant to your ad.

Our digital marketing campaigns impact the metrics that matter most!

Over the past 5 years, we’ve generated:

1.5 Billion

in client revenue

4.6 Million +

leads for our clients

1.8 Million

client phone calls

Learn more about our results

Go beyond the basics: Partner with a digital marketing company

This digital marketing for dummies guide provided you with a ton of helpful information about digital marketing strategies, but there’s still so much to learn! If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by all this information, you may be second-guessing if digital marketing is right for you.

We’re here to tell you that digital marketing is right for you, and you just need a helping hand!

Luckily, at WebFX, we have a team of over 200 experts who are ready to lend a hand and help you get started with your digital marketing journey. With over a decade of experience, we know how to create digital marketing plans that help our clients grow online.

If you’re ready to create a digital marketing plan that helps your business thrive online, contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our digital marketing plans!