Digital Marketing for the Uninitiated

I reconnected with someone after a long time and she asked me, that after years of working with a brand and being in a senior position in her company she doesn’t understand how digital marketing works.

So, I wrote the following for her benefit. Hope you too find it useful.

In short and at the core, with digital marketing, you win the attention of your (potential) customers across digital channels available – search (Google, YouTube, Bing), and social (FB, IG, LI, Twitter, TikTok, etc). 

More often than not, marketing is done for a specific goal, and often that goal is growth and sales, by way of building awareness of what you do and getting the attention of those who can buy what you sell.


You do it (get the attention of your prospective customers) in two ways. Organic and Paid. Organic takes more time, less money, and paid marketing (ads) takes less time and more money to show results.

For the best outcome, use both. When you organic people mostly come to your content (on your website or your social profile) on their own (this is called inbound or Pull) and via paid you PUSH your content, products, services, or offer to them.  

The starting point for organic is creating and posting content on say your website, on YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. 

This content should be useful for your customers at different stages (like for someone who is not looking to buy now, something who is researching to buy, and someone who is ready to buy in 1-30 days). You bring them to your content using SEO, emails, and through other means like partnering with other brands and influencers. 

And the starting point for paid ads is to create ads (mix of video, text, and images) based on where you are posting and make landing pages (on your website) where a person comes after they click on your ads.

There is more to it, like measurement and then optimization. So once you start running your ads, you analyze how well they are performing, and if they are not doing well, you understand why and fix what is not working so that you get a better ROI than earlier.

You can do this same measurement and optimization for organic content also.

For all of it to work, you need to know your customers in and out, and you do that by audience research. There are many ways to do it – run surveys, talk to them, read what people wrote in reviews about your or a competitor’s product. You use these insights to write content and make ads that your customers will be wowed by.

Beyond this, for improving your understanding of how digital marketing works, I’d recommend revisiting this digital marketing overview I wrote. I wrote it a few years back so some stats are not updated but the basics remain the same.

So that’s the core. There is a lot more to know and learn but if you get the core, the foundation right it is not too tough.

If you want to start doing it then get someone who is good at content, or get good at it yourself. This helps in and beyond digital marketing because the content is what goes in ads, in your sales copy, and your landing pages and it is how you onboard your customers, ask them to refer to others and it is at the core of how you grow your business and brand.

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