The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing In 2018 [Must Read]

beginners guide to digital marketing

Are you looking to an ultimate beginner’s guide to digital marketing? Hands down, digital marketing is becoming a trend. It’s the only industry that’s going to bring you billion dollars of opportunities in the future.

What’s the #1 thing you need to run a successful business online? If you said, people who buy from you repeatedly, you’re absolutely right.

Then, how can you attract “repeat customers” who’re willing to buy stuff from you online? Through digital or internet marketing.

If you’re wondering about what internet marketing is all about and how you can use it to grow your online business, this detailed beginner’s guide to digital marketing is exclusively for you.

Let’s jump into the details without further ado.

The Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing In 2018 And Beyond

beginners guide to digital marketing

Before discussing about how you can use internet marketing to find paying customers for your business in 2018 and beyond, let’s first start with the basics.

What is digital marketing?

In simple terms, digital marketing is anything you do online to find paying customers, increase your website’s traffic, generating more leads and so on.

Gone are the days where you can drive more sales or profits to your business by using traditional marketing tactics like;

  • Business cards
  • Print ads in newspapers or magazines
  • Posters and brochures
  • Commercials on TV
  • Billboards and so on

Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing allows you to “measure” your results.

For example, when you’re spending $100 on Facebook ads (one of the most effective forms of digital online marketing), you can easily find out metrics like;

  • How many people saw your ad
  • How many people have actually clicked on your ad
  • How many of them have converted into leads and sales and so on

Another great thing about using online marketing over traditional marketing is that, it’s way cheaper. If you’re spending $100 on traditional marketing strategies like showing ads on TV or radio, it costs you just a fraction amount of it on internet marketing and gives you even better results.

Read: Top 15 Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners In 2018

Just have a look at the following illustration to find out the ROI of various online marketing channels.

ROI on major online marketing channels

As you can see from the above image, you can see that;

  • Email marketing has a $40 ROI (per $1 spent)
  • SEO has a $23 ROI (per $1 spent)
  • Internet display ads has a $20 ROI (per $1 spent)
  • Mobile has a $10 ROI (per $1 spent)
  • Catalogs has a $7 ROI (per $1 spent)
  • Banner ads has a $2 ROI (per $1 spent)

All in all, internet marketing is extremely cheap, measurable, allows you to get feedback from users and highly effective when compared to traditional marketing.

Does internet marketing work for all businesses?

Yes, it works like a charm.

I’m the best example who has been making money online for over a decade now and I’ve launched websites on a ton of industries including web hosting, niche websites, gadgets, technology, marketing and what not? I made money on almost all kinds of sites by using the power of online marketing.

I launched this blog Bloggers Passion in 2010 (over 8 years ago) and since then I’ve grown it into a successful online business which is now constantly generating me over $8000 every single month. The best part is, I don’t spend a ton of time to make money from it, thanks to affiliate marketing.

Read: How to Build Your Own Digital Marketing Agency From Scratch And Make It A Success

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, be it fitness, real estate, marketing or any other, you can effectively use it to find paying customers in 2018 and beyond.

How to Create A Digital Marketing Strategy? 5 Simple Steps

Here are some of the steps to create a digital marketing strategy that actually gets you results in 2018 and beyond.

  • Researching
  • Competitor analysis
  • Building audience
  • Creating a sales funnel
  • Measure
  • Manage and track results

Let’s now talk about each one of the above mentioned steps to successfully create an internet marketing strategy that works for almost any business in the world.

Step #1: Researching

Marketing research is the first step to internet marketing success. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, you can build a long lasting business online that makes you profits by market research.

The #1 reason to do market research is it eliminates the risk of failure and gives you a better idea about what products or services you should be offering to your target audience in order to make more sales in the long run.

That being said, here are few ways to do market research to succeed in internet marketing.

  • Website research online (from domain availability to what type of blogging platform to go for)
  • Market entry strategy
  • Market exit strategy (in case if you want to exit your online business all of a sudden)
  • Product planning
  • Customer identification analysis (through online surveys)
  • SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your online business)
  • Best channels to use for online marketing (social media, email, SEO and so on)

Above all, make sure to look at current customer needs so you can serve them better to build a profitable online business using it.

Step #2: Competitor analysis

Competitor analysis is all about studying your competitors and knowing their strengths and weaknesses so you can find more ways to outrank them in every aspect of it.

Competitor analysis should include the following things for better results.

  • SEO analysis to find out what keywords your competitors are using to generate more traffic, leads and sales to their online businesses
  • PPC (Pay per click) analysis to know what ad copies your competitors are using to generate leads from paid search

Quick note: You can easily perform detailed competitor analysis by using SEO tools like SEMrush as it offers you all kinds of features to find out their strengths and weaknesses.

Step #3: Building audience

Before you start creating a website to find paying customers, you need to focus on one thing: building audience.

There are basically two simple ways you can make money by launching an online business.

  • Building audience
  • Finding ways to make money from that audience

If you’re ignoring to build audience, you’re making a huge mistake that’s going to cost you a lot in the long run. That being said, here are few ways you can build loyal audience around your online business.

  • Find out their demographics: Find out your target audience demographics such as their age, sex, yearly salary, location, career interests, geography and so on as it gives you a better idea about what products or services to offer them.
  • Analyse their interest: Find out where your target audience spend most of their time online, what keywords they use mostly, what sites do they visit and so on.
  • Know your audience intent: Find out your target audience actually intent. Are they looking for more information or are they going to purchase something online?
  • Know their priorities: Find out what gadget they are using to browse information online (PC, laptop or tablet), what browser and operating system are they using? You can find all such information using tools like Google analytics.

Step #4: Creating a sales funnel

A sales funnel is what helps you turn your website visitors into repeat customers. Your online business success mainly depends upon how good your sales funnel is.

So when creating a marketing strategy, make sure to spend quality time in coming up with a foolproof sales funnel that helps you make profits in the long run.

Any successful internet marketing sales funnel involves in the following most important elements.

  • Attract new audience
  • Engage with your audience
  • Capture their attention
  • Nurture your audience to turn them into leads
  • Convert your leads into sales
  • Measure your sales, leads to turn them into higher margin sales

Read: The only checklist you need to follow to build a successful blog

Here’s how a sales funnel basically looks like;

general sales funnel

Step #5: Measure, manage and track results

The final step in creating a profitable internet marketing strategy is to measure, manage and track all your marketing efforts.

Almost all of the marketing channels such as email, SEO, PPC, affiliate marketing allows you to easily track and measure your metrics such as clicks, how many people have bought from you, how many people have actually visited your site and so on easily.

Based on that metrics, you can test, measure new things and take your results to the next level.

Digital Marketing Benefits

Before diving into the online marketing benefits, here’s something interesting that you should know.

Facebook’s live streaming video offering, Facebook Live, was officially launched for all users in April 2016, and it is quickly becoming an engagement hub for big brands and also small businesses all around the world.

In fact, Facebook’s live videos get 10 times as many comments as pre-recorded video, and users spend an average of 3 times longer watching live videos than pre-recorded ones, according to a Facebook press release. So what does it all mean?

Digital marketing is growing at rapid pace and if you’re ignoring it, you’re losing a lot of money and profitable leads on the table.

Let’s discuss about some of the most obvious online internet marketing benefits.

If you’re still wondering about why should you prefer internet marketing over traditional marketing in 2018 and beyond, just look at the following illustration.

drawbacks traditional marketing

As you can see from the above image, there are so many drawbacks of traditional marketing tactics like TV ads, business cars, posters and so on which include;

  • Very expensive (when compared to internet marketing)
  • Tough to measure traditional marketing ROI
  • Difficult to get feedbacks from people
  • No interaction with your audience
  • Poor conversion ratio

It allows you to overcome all the above mentioned drawbacks that come with traditional marketing where you can;

  • Easily measure your ROI
  • Easy to get user feedback
  • Interact with your customers
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Cheaper investment per every lead

7 Different Types of Digital Marketing

Let’s now discuss about the types of onlline marketing used by all kinds of brands and businesses to find paying customers.

Although digital marketing can be done in so many ways but following are the 7 different types of it that gives you excellent results and highest ROI.

  • SEO
  • Search engine marketing (SEM) which can also be considered as PPC
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Mobile marketing

Let’s talk about each one of them now.

#1. SEO

Hands down, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the most effective components of internet marketing. Brands, companies and marketers spend billions of dollars on SEO every single year for a reason: it works.

If you’re looking for long term results and higher ROI, you should definitely go for SEO where you need to start your own website, create contents (be it videos or articles), do some SEO to generate high quality traffic and leads to your site.

SEO can be basically divided into two types;

  • Off page SEO (the stuff you do outside of your site such as building links, creating buzz for your business, influencer outreach and so on)
  • On page SEO (the things you do on your site such as keyword targeting, keyword optimization, URL optimization and so on)

Read: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO: How to Increase Website Traffic In 2018

#2. Search engine marketing (SEM)

SEM and SEO have been used by marketers and brands for years now and they both work like a charm in generating more search traffic increasing your sales.

Most people confuse between SEM and SEO and treat both of them as same but in general they’re completely different. SEM involves the process of increasing web traffic by purchasing ads from search engines like Google.

These ads are also known as PPC ads whereas SEO involves in things like keyword research, on page optimization, link building and so on.

To put it simply, SEM is a paid tactic where you’ll need to purchase PPC ads in order to attract visitors from search engines to your eCommerce stores, online businesses and websites.

One interesting fact you should know about SEM is that PPC ads (done from SEM) hold a great position in improving conversion rates as “paid results are 1.5 times more likely to be convert”.

Here’s the illustration that shows you the importance of using SEM for internet marketing.

sem roi

As you can see that both PPC performed through SEM and SEO generate the biggest impact on your lead generation goals.

Read: Off Page SEO Techniques In 2018: The Ultimate Guide For Better Rankings on Google

#3. Email marketing

Did you know that email marketing is the #1 online marketing channel that gives you the HIGHEST ROI of over $40 per every dollar spent? Almost every digital marketer uses email to grow reputation, create awareness, generate leads and sales.

Email marketing allows you to the do the following things with ease.

  • Create awareness about the products you promote or offer
  • Educate your audience
  • Build strong rapport with your customers
  • Provide benefits such as deals, discounts and so on
  • To drive traffic to your own landing pages, eCommerce stores and so on
  • To generate more referrals
  • And the list goes on and on

That said, here are few most important things to remember while doing email marketing.

Don’t sell before you nurture your subscribers: The one common mistake most people make with email marketing is that they sell too often and too early. If you’re selling before you even nurture your subscribers (that means educating and creating awareness about the products and services you offer), you’re going to fail.

Give more: Give, give, give and give more before you ask for a sale. That’s the success mantra of email marketing. Provide as much value as you can in the form of articles, eBooks, guide, videos and so on before selling anything through email marketing.

Focus on quality, note quantity: It’s always better to have 100 email subscribers who open your emails, read and click on your links rather than focusing a 10000 email subscribers list where you rarely get email open rates and clicks. Focusing on quality is always more important than quantity.

#4. Content marketing

Content marketing is the king of all internet marketing channels. It gives you amazing ROI and helps you build strong rapport with your target audience and customers.

Content marketing is all about creating awareness to your audience or customers about the products and services that you offer.

That being said, here are few ways bloggers and marketers use content marketing to create content.

  • Through videos
  • Through podcasts
  • Through blog posts
  • Through case studies, checklists and so on

Whether you know it or not, video content marketing is going to rule the future. It’s going to be a game changer in internet marketing. Here are few stats that show the importance of video marketing.

  • The growing popularity of streaming video, both live and recorded, has been driven largely by millennials. Streaming video has seen a whopping 256% increase among consumers aged 18-34, jumping from an average of 1.6 hours per week to 5.7 hours per week, according to a survey conducted by SSRS Media and Technology.
  • Live streaming video accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic, and this share is expected to jump to 82% by 2020, according to Cisco’s June 2016 Visual Networking Index report.
  • The top four platforms to leverage the video streaming space are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Live and Tumblr.

#5. Social media marketing (SMM)

Did you know that the number of social media users worldwide in 2018 is 3.196 billion, up 13 percent year on year?

Just have a look at the following case study done by Hootsuite to find out the digital stats along with the rapid growth of social media marketing.

mobile stats 2018

As you can see above, billions of people are using social media sites so if you want to get into the audience minds with your online brand, you should definitely give a try to social media marketing (SMM).

If you’re wondering about what social media networks provide you the highest ROI, just check out the following illustration.

social media roi

As you can see from the above illustration, the following sites provide you the highest ROI.

  • Facebook gives you the highest ROI of whooping 96%
  • Twitter (ROI of 64%)
  • Instagram (ROI of 40%)
  • LinkedIn (ROI of 38%)
  • Pinterest (ROI of 10%)
  • Slideshare (ROI of 4%)
  • Snapchat (ROI of 2%)

If you look at the above stats, you will notice that Facebook gives you an awesome ROI followed by Twitter and Instagram. So make sure to use social media sites to your advantage where you can buy ads to reach new audience no matter what industry you are in.

The growth in social media marketing is only growing, so make sure to use it to take your online business to the next level.

#6. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is all about selling someone else’s products using your own affiliate referral links and you’ll get paid when someone purchases a product or service using your links.

Whether you know it or not, 80% of the bloggers worldwide make majority of their income from affiliate marketing. I’m the live example who has been using affiliate marketing for a long time to earn thousands of dollars every single month.

Read: Affiliate Website SEO: What Expert Bloggers Won’t Tell You About It In 2018

If you want to generate passive income from online, affiliate marketing is the way to go. That being said, here are few interesting stats you should know about affiliate marketing.

  • Affiliate marketing accounts for 7.5% of total digital spend among retailers
  • 81% of brands use affiliate marketing programs
  • 38% of marketers call affiliate marketing one of the top customer acquisition methods
  • 45% of affiliate merchants increased their customer-base
  • Affiliate marketing now drives as many e-commerce orders in the us as email

We’ve also written a HUGE 16000+ word post on the best affiliate programs you can use to promote various affiliate products in almost any industry in the world.

That being said, here are few ways you can quickly increase your affiliate sales through internet marketing in 2018 and beyond.

Start an email list: Don’t put this thing off as an email list can be a money making machine for almost every single affiliate marketer in the world. It gives you an option to connect with your audience directly through email newsletters and helps you build rapport which in turn gives you sales in the long run.

Create product reviews worth reading: One of the most effective ways to boost your affiliate sales is to create product reviews and comparison products and use your affiliate links. Just make sure to talk about benefits, pricing and add as much value as you can instead of just selling.

It’s not a get rich quick scheme: If you want to get into affiliate marketing, one most important thing you need to always remember is: it’s a long term game. Don’t look for overnight success or quick results and you’ll succeed. Observe any successful affiliate marketer like Pat Flynn and you’ll notice that they all have been in the industry for over a decade now.

Read: 24 Quick Tips To Increase Affiliate Sales From Your Affiliate Marketing Blog

#7. Mobile marketing

Did you know that according to NetMarketShare, Google drives 96% of mobile search traffic, followed by Yahoo at 2% and Bing at 1%. Google Search is also one of the most popular mobile apps in the United States?

Not only that, 69% of consumers worldwide between the ages of 18 and 39 use mobile devices to research products before they buy (Source: AUM Core)

mobile search clicks

If you’re wondering about why should you consider mobile marketing as a part of online marketing strategy in 2018 and beyond, here are some interesting stats around mobile marketing.

  • Mobile devices will drive 80% of global internet usage (Source: Zenith)
  • As of August 2017, there are over 3.5 billion unique mobile internet users (source: Statista)
  • Users spend on average 69% of their media time on smartphones (Source: comScore)
  • 50% of the time individuals spend on digital media is on mobile apps (Source: Comscore)
  • According to January 2018 data, the global mobile population amounted to 3.7 billion unique users. As of February 2017, mobile devices accounted for 49.7 percent of web page views worldwide, with mobile-first markets such as Asia and Africa leading the pack.

So if you want to get more out of it, make sure to consider mobile marketing as it becoming a HUGE trend and it’s easier for you to get traction and go viral using it.

The importance of using SEMrush for online marketing

If you’re curious about using SEO for internet marketing and to find paying customers online, we’ve a great recommendation for you: start using SEMrush.

SEMrush is certainly one of the best tools for keyword research and competitor analysis. It’s the ONLY SEO tool that’s used by over 2 million people worldwide and it is the only SEO tool that as a digital marketer for the last few years, I have been using it for various purposes.

Not only it helped us increase our overall website’s search engine traffic but also helped with sales. Here are few things you can do with SEMrush.

  • Keyword research
  • Keyword analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Site audit
  • Backlink analysis
  • Find traffic of any website
  • Position tracking
  • Finding ad copies of any site or brand
  • And the list goes on

Here’s an unbiased review of SEMrush where you can find more details about it.

Quick note: For Bloggers Passion readers, we’re offering an exclusive deal where you can grab SEMrush free for next 30 days (which is worth $99.95). You won’t get this deal anywhere else as SEMrush offers only 1 week free trials, so use it as soon as possible.

FAQs About Digital Marketing In 2018

Here are some of the important questions around online marketing in 2018 that you must know to understand it better to find paying customers, grow your online reach and so on.

#1. Why Digital Marketing Is Important?

There are several kinds of marketing tactics which have been used by people and brands for several decades now such as traditional marketing, word of mouth marketing and so on but internet marketing is the #1 way of marketing that lets you connect with your customers directly where you can actually get real feedback, track and measure your progress.

The cost to reach 2000 people will be as high as $900 (direct mail) in traditional marketing whereas to reach to the same number of people, you can just spend $75 at max (for social networking) with it.

traditional vs digital marketing

In a nutshell, if you’re looking for a cheap yet most effective way to find paying clients and reach global audience with your marketing efforts, it is the ONLY way to go.

#2. How to Do Digital Marketing Effectively In 2018 And Beyond?

As we discussed above in the same post, there are several ways to do digital marketing which include;

  • SEO
  • Social media marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • PPC
  • Mobile marketing
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing and so on

You can use any of the above components of internet marketing to effectively promote your business online to reach worldwide audience.

#3. How to Become a Digital Marketing Manager?

There are basically two ways to become a digital marketer or digital marketing expert which are listed below.

  • One is through digital online marketing courses and certifications
  • Other is to start your own digital markeeting firm by launching a website, driving traffic, generating sales and attracting potential clients to use your digital internet marketing services

We always suggest you to prefer the later instead of joining internet marketing courses or taking part in digital online marketing certifications as you can learn more by doing it all by yourself.

#4. How to Learn Digital Marketing?

The way to learn digital online marketing is to go through all the blogs and websites online that mostly talk about internet marketing. Here’s a list of digital top marketing blogs you can follow to learn everything you need to know about it.

Apart from blogs, you can join internet marketing related courses on sites like Udemy, Coursera and so on where you can actually learn from experts.

#5. How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency?

We’ve actually created a detailed guide on how to build your own digital online marketing agency from scratch where you can everything you need to about building a profitable internet marketing firm from competitor research to finding ways to generate leads and profits.

#6. What Are the Three Major Forms of Digital Direct Marketing?

The following are the 3 major forms of digital direct marketing which are widely used to attract new customers and grow online reputation.

  • Through mobile apps
  • Through mobile phones advertising such as SMS, MMS updates
  • Digital display ads (such as PayTm sponsorships in cricket, Pepsi digital marketing ads in soccer games and so on)

#7. What Is KPI in Digital Marketing?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurable values which are used to find out the effectiveness of your online campaigns such as social media, SEO, PPC and so on.

Here are few of the most important digital marketing KPIs used by marketing teams and professionals to track and analyse their marketing performance for better results.

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (which is the total spend required to convert a potential customer into a customer)
  • Landing Page Conversion Rates
  • Lead Generation
  • Website & Traffic Metrics
    SEO Optimization
  • Paid Advertising
  • Social Media Tracking
  • Mobile Traffic Conversion Rates and so on

To put it simply, KPIs give you a comprehensive overview of your marketing performance such as customer acquisition cost, PPC performance and so on so you can make changes to improve your overall marketing performance every time.

#8. What Is AB Testing in Digital Marketing?

A/B testing is also oftentimes known as split testing which is a marketing strategy used to increase conversions of a website or sales funnel. A/B testing is all about comparing two or more versions of a web page to find out which one performs better.

Most of the times, in A/B testing, you compare two web pages by showing the two variants, let’s call them X and Y to the same visitors at the same time. If your website visitors are clicking or purchasing from X over Y, X is performing better. Ultimately the one that gives a better conversion rate is what you should be using.

#9. How to Measure Digital Marketing ROI?

The best thing about using digital marketing channels like social media, SEO, email marketing etc is the ability to easily measure and track all of your marketing efforts and ROI.

ROI measures the amount of return on an investment, relative to the investment’s cost, so how much you’re spending on stuff like SEO, content marketing and how much you’re actually gaining from it is what gives you an estimation of your digital marketing ROI.

#10. What Is Tag Management in Digital Marketing?

In simpler terms, tag management helps you easily manage digital marketing deployments and merge various data sources such as web analytics, search engine marketing, email service provider, advertising etc to drive effective and relevant interactions.

Here’s how the tag management in digital marketing works: once a master tag is implemented, all other tags associated with it are deployed and managed through a web console without ever touching the page again.

Tags are basically used for some type of measurement and tag management helps keep tags under control.

#11. What Is CPA in Digital Marketing? Does it still work?

Cost per acquisition (CPA) which also known as cost per action is an online advertising channel where the advertiser pays for acquiring customers or leads.

For example, an advertiser can pay for a sale, click or even to submit a form where they usually ask for contact request, newsletter sign up, registration, filling up a survey and so on.

Does CPA still work? Yes, there are so many brands including fortune 500 companies that are spending billions of dollars every year to acquire new customers through CPA. For most brands, CPA gives an amazing ROI of over 20%, let’s take a small example so you can understand it better.

For example, if advertiser invests $1000 and gets 10 conversions; you have your $100 CPA. If they’re converting at a $1,000 margin per conversion, their gross margin is $10,000, which gives you the 20:1 ROI. So yes, CPA in digital marketing still works like a charm.

#12. What Is the Future of Digital Marketing?

Whether you’re running a new blog or an eCommerce store, digital marketing helps you take your online business and sales to the next level. There are thousands of brands which are already spending billions of dollars on digital marketing channels like PPC, AdWords, social media, email marketing, SEO and so on.

Video content is going to be even more popular by the year 2020. Streaming video already accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic, and this share is expected to jump to 82% by 2020, according to Cisco’s June 2016 Visual Networking Index report which you can read from here.

So digital marketing is only going to takeover the future and going to create billions of dollars opportunities to everyone who’s keen to become a digital marketing expert.

Final thoughts on the beginner’s guide to digital marketing

Most small businesses have little to no capital investment to attract new customers to their businesses.

That’s where digital marketing comes into play which helps you find paying customers at cheap where you can also easily track your metrics and find out what works best.

Hopefully the tips shared here on beginner’s guide to digital marketing helps you build a profitable online business in 2018 and beyond. If you still have any questions, do let us know in the comments.

3 Comments

  1. Brilliant post about complete Digital Marketing for beginners.Inspired
    Thanks!

  2. osumahanke says:

    Great article and thanks a lot for sharing it. I have a question for you and it might be a little bit off topic question.

    What do you think about 301 redirect to a money site from a topically relevant expired domain, does that help to rank faster in Google?

    • That should surely help if the domain from which you are redirecting has high quality backlinks only and no toxic links. That should should not have any penalisation history from Google.

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