What is Digital Marketing and How Does It Work?
Reviewed and fact-checked by Sayantoni Das

In recent years, digital marketing has exploded onto the marketing scene, and its effects have been anything but small. Traditional marketers and old-school companies have struggled to keep up with the ever-changing world of internet marketing while customers, leads, and clients have become more adept in this new landscape. But companies can’t afford to ignore changes in the way people look to buy, and that is why they have stepped into the modern way of marketing. 

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What is Digital Marketing?


Digital marketing is the practice of promoting products or services with the help of digital devices and technology.

In simple words, digital marketing is any form of marketing that occurs online with the help of mobile, laptop, internet, etc. In addition to digital signage and technology that may not be connected to the internet. It can range from anything as complex as automated email marketing initiatives all the way down to the content choices on your website’s blog.

Now, you know what is digital marketing, so let's proceed and know the types of digital marketing.

Also Read: Digital Marketing Course Duration and Fees Structure

Types of Digital Marketing

If you have a computer or a smartphone, as many of us do, you’ve experienced digital marketing. It could be an email in your inbox, a search result when using Google, an ad on Facebook, a text message sent to your phone, or a post by an influencer on Instagram. As you can see, internet marketing is an expansive field with many areas of specialization. The core forms of digital marketing, however, are:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Put, SEO consists of carefully structuring and optimizing your website’s pages to achieve the best position possible on search engine result pages (SERPs) when internet users perform a search on an engine like Google that’s related to your business.

2. Paid Social and Paid Search Advertising

Ads that appear on social media are paid social ads, and all that seems on SERPs when you enter a query are paid search ads. Advertisers create these paid ads and compete with others for positions on their chosen social platform or the SERP for their selected search engine.

3. Email Marketing

Any marketing that occurs through email is known as email marketing, and it’s not just for newsletters and coupons. All marketing-related interaction over email fits into this category.

4. Content Marketing

Every effort to market through online content is considered content marketing (and often employs SEO, paid search, and paid social advertising). For example, all these content types (and more) are grouped under the content marketing category:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • eBooks
  • White papers 

5. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a type of digital marketing in which companies reach out to third party websites to advertise their products and services. These are also known as referrals. The target audience of the affiliate website becomes important in this aspect of digital marketing. Some of the ways that affiliates are incentivized are based on:

  • Registrations
  • Email sign-ups
  • Sales and
  • Subscriptions

6. Mobile Marketing

Mobile Marketing is a type of digital marketing focused on reaching the target audience via mobile devices. We all are excessive users of mobile devices and there is a good chance of tapping on to their attention by following simple marketing strategies. Push notifications, emailers, social media posts, MMS, SMS, newsletters are a part of Mobile Marketing. 

7. Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing is a practice that increases brand awareness, and helps brands achieve their marketing objectives. A wide range of content buckets are available for social media marketing like videos, memes, static posts, trending posts, testimonials, stories, reels, etc.. If you perform SMM properly, there is a high chance that your conversion rates will increase, you will be able to build a good top-funnel traffic, and your paid marketing cost will go down. 

Checkout: How to do Social Media Marketing?

Other types of digital marketing include marketing automation, design, apps, and SMS, web analytics, and growth hacking.

Why is Digital Marketing Important?

  • It reaches a broad spectrum of internet users who spend their time and money online.
  • It pins small businesses in top-ranking positions over brick-and-mortar firms with a meagre advertising budget.
  • It provides businesses with laser-focused control to ensure target audiences read their messages.
  • It allows personal-level marketing to provide comfort and security for customers to subscribe to the messages and purchase. 
  • It enables tracking ads and communicating with the target audience. 
  • It provides scaling and adaptability for growing businesses to get instant results and optimize accordingly, reducing lost revenues and wasted ad spend.
  • It influences the purchase decisions of internet users who look for services, products, or anything they desire online. 
  • It allows businesses to market to people by various means that show individual respect. 

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Does Digital Marketing Work For All Businesses?

Absolutely! It can work for any business and is not constrained to the niche or size. The prime motto of digital marketing is to understand the necessities and requirements of consumers and provide high-quality, relevant content for them. The following discusses how digital marketing works for two primary business branches.

  • B2B Digital Marketing

The marketing agenda followed by most B2B businesses focuses on the logic and features of the product. There is little to no emotion involved in influencing the purchase decisions of these businesses. In simple terms, B2B Digital marketing doesn't rely on product promotion and focuses on how a business uses it. 

  • B2C Digital Marketing

This is the profitable stream to venture into digital marketing as it focuses more on product benefits. Since purchase decisions are influenced by emotions rather than just buying the product, B2C businesses use a variety of forums to generate brand awareness and promote business to grow sales. This is because consumers no longer just want to know the brand's benefits. Instead, they want the brand to describe how the product will benefit them.

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Types of Digital Marketing

There are various specializations in digital marketing and how they can be used for effective interaction with digital media. So, if you want to make a career in digital marketing, you can gain deeper insights into these strategies.

  • Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is technically a marketing tool rather than a form of marketing. It makes the web pages attractive on the search engine results page (SERP) to ensure websites gain the highest possible ranking. This tool thrives on these four elements - user engagement, quality of content, quality and number of inbound links, and mobile-friendliness.

  • Content Marketing

Relevant and engaging information can affirm strong relationships through any channel, and many statistics are available to prove it. So, unlike traditional advertising, content marketing aims to entice leads to convert into customers. The different types of content include blog posts, e-books, newsletters, video or audio transcripts, whitepapers, and infographics. 

  • Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing refers to creating online brand awareness and driving traffic by engaging people in discussions. It features built-in engagement metrics to understand your audience, along with the number of shares, comments, or total clicks to your website. 

  • Pay-Per-Click Marketing

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a form of digital marketing that procures payment from you with every click on your digital ads. In this method, you can choose your target conversions and track them through your picked digital marketing channels to check your campaign status.

  • Affiliate Marketing

This digital marketing strategy allows you to make money by advertising the business of another person or organization. Working on a revenue-sharing model, you can get a commission whenever customers purchase the items you promote. 

  • Native Advertising

This is a disguised digital marketing technique that aims to blend with enveloping content, making it less evident as advertising. 

  • Influencer Marketing

Like affiliate marketing, influencer marketing depends on working with a reputed influencer with a large following to endorse your products or services to their followers. This is an effective strategy to reach a broader and newer audience.

  • Marketing Automation

This method utilizes software to boost the relevance and efficiency of advertisements in digital marketing campaigns. Also, it improves the engagement between you and your audience.

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  • Email Marketing

This includes sending a promotional message to ensure prospective buyers click on it. It helps you to personalize the content of the subject line and the body to interact and appeal to the subscribers. However, marketing emails also include a signature to opt out of the subscription and integrate promotional and transactional emails.

  • Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing lets you amuse your target audience on smartphones and tablets. Here, the content is optimized for mobile devices to have effortless, long-run marketing with excellent customer interaction to boost sales and revenue. 

Benefits of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing has become hugely popular in such a short period, and for a good reason. Today’s customers and clients spend an increasing amount of time online, and they expect their favorite companies to be online, too.

The internet landscape might seem intimidating, but effective digital marketing can be an enormous boon for business. With careful strategy and implementation, the benefits of digital marketing on business include the expansion of the audience, meeting target customers where they’re spending their time, and achieving this for a far more affordable price than traditional marketing methods allow.

For these reasons and more, more than 60 percent of marketers have moved their focus from traditional to digital marketing.

How Digital Marketing Works?

While the benefits of digital marketing are plentiful, understand that each form of internet marketing functions in its way. Companies would be wise to assess the bigger picture before determining which forms of digital marketing in which to invest and which platforms to use. It’s generally recommended to crawl before you walk–start small with your online marketing strategy and grow as the company becomes accustomed to different areas. 

Digital marketing is hugely helpful to firms in that it allows them to grow their audience as far as their budget allows. On the other side of the coin, internet marketing offers companies the chance to focus clearly on marketing to the right audience. In other words, a firm may reach the perfect target clientele on a local, national, or international stage, all while staying on budget. 

Why Choose a Career in Digital Marketing? 

Unsurprisingly, the demand for digital marketers is on the upswing. As more and more companies learn the value of internet marketing, job opportunities in the area continue to rise. Career prospects for advertising, in general, are durable, with an above-average expected growth rate of 9 percent.

How to Start a Career in Digital Marketing?

To get started with your digital marketing career, you need two main elements in your background: education and experience. The good news is that employers aren’t necessarily seeking job candidates with marketing degrees or years of experience, as they may need people with skills that aren’t yet taught in college. Luckily there are plenty of great resources online to learn the tools of the trade. If you lack experience, consider doing the following:

  • Volunteer for a nonprofit that needs digital marketers
  • Apply for a local internship
  • Start your blog and offer your insights and opinions about digital marketing
  • Enroll in online courses and certifications to enhance your resume

Digital Marketers Salary and Future

The prospects for the job market for digital marketers are very positive. With so many areas of specialization and lots of demand for content creation and curation, social media strategy, and analytics, it’s a great time to enter the field. 

A significant increase in demand for marketing professionals is projected as well. According to PayScale, the average salary of a Digital Marketing Specialist in India is Rs.348,928, and in the US is $50,111. The salary of a Digital Marketing Manager in India is Rs.541,919, and in the US is $66,808. Since today’s job market needs talent, no matter the industry, you can negotiate for higher salary and benefits depending on the job, skills, and expertise you bring to the table.

Digital Marketing Roles and Responsibilities

Job responsibilities for digital marketers will vary depending on experience and specialization. 

For example, an SEO specialist will understand all aspects of SEO, including the know-how to drive organic traffic, identify and evaluate high-quality content, and make competitor analyses. 

On the other hand, a social media manager will devise a social media strategy in line with the identity of the brand, define a communication style and a content strategy, create and adapt the content for each social media network, and stay up-to-date on the latest digital marketing trends.

Now, as you are well versed with the understanding of what is digital marketing, its type, benefits, roles, and responsibilities let's have a look at the difference between inbound marketing and digital marketing.

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What’s the Difference Between Inbound Marketing and Digital Marketing?

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a form of marketing that can apply to digital or traditional marketing. Inbound functions like a magnet. The marketer provides content that is attractive to the intended audience, and the audience finds it of their own accord. In other words, it’s a form of marketing that isn’t forced upon its target. 

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing can be inbound or not. If you create incredible content on your website that draws in readers and turns them into customers, you’re using an inbound marketing strategy. If, however, you run ads on social media or search engines, you’re forcing your marketing onto the viewer, which is not an inbound method.

What’s Happening in Digital Marketing Today?

It’s been over a quarter-century since the first clickable banner ads appeared online, and Yahoo went live. Times have changed, though, and these days it’s companies like Google and Facebook that rule the digital marketing landscape.

Digital marketing never stands still. It’s a field that’s always evolving, with new internet marketing trends like artificial intelligence (AI) and video marketing growing at rapid rates. Even more established areas like SEO continue to shift year by year, and digital marketers must never stop learning.

How Does A Business Define Digital Marketing?

Businesses define digital marketing as a strategy to connect with customers through electronic technology. Through this method, they interact, promote, and sell services or products to prospective customers through different online forums.

What Does A Digital Marketer Do?

A digital marketer works with numerous channels to generate leads and build brand awareness. Additionally, they handle measurable analytics to determine weaknesses and identify means to improve performance. The following are some genres in which you can build your profession as a digital marketer.

SEO Manager

An SEO manager shoulders the technologically driven responsibility of planning, implementing, and operating a business's SEO strategy. And here is a critical day-to-day responsibility of an SEO Manager;

Main KPIs: Organic traffic

A crucial key performance indicator that measures and tracks the effectiveness of SEO efforts and content. It is tethered with brand awareness and customer acquisition resulting in higher conversion rates than paid traffic, creating an impactful sales pipeline. 

Content Marketing Specialist

A content marketing specialist is a professional customer-centric writer responsible for creating engaging, entertaining, valuable, and shareable content for digital campaign needs. Their content entices prospective customers to remember the business and buy from them. Here is a critical day-to-day responsibility of a content marketing specialist;

Main KPIs: Time on Page, Overall Blog Traffic, YouTube Channel Subscribers

These are vital metrics to check how many visitors view, share and subscribe to your website or video within a specific time. Tracking these factors often helps you notice trends in performance and consistency and see what factors potentially affect your overall traffic.

Social Media Manager

They help launch an organization's brand value and online presence by broadcasting the company and its services or products through infographics, videos, photos, or text posts on social media venues. A major day-to-day responsibility for a social media manager is to track;

Main KPIs: Follows, Impressions, Shares

These KPIs help businesses stay updated and align with their goals toward success. Also, it enables them to build a future-proof marketing agenda to decide whether the channel or tactic is influential. 

Marketing Automation Coordinator

They work with management teams to enhance marketing efforts by managing and creating cross-channel mobile App campaigns to boost retention and engagement of the rapidly growing community. 

Main KPIs: Email Open Rate, Campaign Click-Through Rate, Lead-Generation (Conversion) Rate

They are the main marketing metrics to convert existing leads to customers. It enables tracking the number of email recipients who have clicked the links in the mail and purchased the product. Doing this helps extend your reach, audience, and position as an industry.

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How to do Digital Marketing?

To become a full-fledged digital marketer, you must be well-versed in marketing, business, communications, and digital technologies. Besides, you must also: 

1. Define Your Goals 

Specify your drive conversions like leads, sales, and the revenue of a specific amount of ROI. 

2. Identify Your Target Audience 

This helps you to acquire a workable digital marketing strategy to advertise better.

3. Establish a Budget for Each Digital Channel 

After determining your digital marketing strategy, segregate a clear budget to get seamless organic customer traffic and profitable returns. 

4.Strike a Balance Between Paid and Free Digital Strategies

This helps you to generate an effective digital marketing strategy to find new prospective buyers for a small investment. In addition, with rich Content, SEO, and social media foundation, it provides long-term, sustainable success.

5. Create Engaging Content

 After curating a budget with prospective customers, you can promote enticing Content on various channels to ensure customers purchase the product, boost brand attention and enhance lead generation.

6. Optimize Your Digital Assets for Mobile

Mobile marketing is the key to the success of any digital marketing campaign. Optimizing web pages into user-friendly apps expands the horizons of reaching the target customer to engage and shop the products your brand offers.

7. Conduct Keyword Research 

Keywords are the core aspect of delivering your campaign content to the target audience. Therefore, conducting keyword research or social media keyword research is critical for optimizing your website and Content for SEO and ensuring people can find your business through search engines and social media channels. 

8. Iterate Based on the Analytics You Measure

This strategy helps to preserve an effective campaign for the long term. Use analytics to monitor your web pages and update them frequently for stable customer traffic. 

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9. I’m Ready to Try Digital Marketing. Now What?

Before launching your career in digital marketing, it's best to take up numerous digital marketing courses to have in-depth knowledge in the field and effectively build a strategy to inspire your target audience online. 

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I believe you would have understood what is digital marketing, how does it work, and the type of digital marketing. If you like what you’ve read here about digital marketing, check out Simplilearn’s IMT Ghaziabad Digital Marketing Program, and start your career in the modern way of marketing. We offer more than 40 hours of lessons via video, online mentoring sessions, and exam preparation for the most widely-recognized certifications in the field. Our Digital Marketing tutorial will help you to understand the basics of digital marketing.

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1. What are the 4 main types of digital marketing?

Digital marketing can be categorized into several types. The 4 most promising and popular types of digital marketing are - 

  1. Content Marketing
  2. Social Media Marketing 
  3. Paid Marketing or PPC 
  4. Search Engine Marketing 

2. What skills do I need for digital marketing?

Here are some top skills that a professional for digital marketing needs: 

  1. Communication Skills 
  2. Writing Skills 
  3. Creativity 
  4. SEO Knowledge 
  5. Design Knowledge 

3. How do I learn digital marketing?

Digital marketing can be learnt easily from the comfort of your home. Enroll in Simplilearn’s  IMT Ghaziabad Digital Marketing Program or Purdue Digital Marketing Bootcamp and learn top digital skills in just 5 months. You will get to interact with IMT Ghaziabad in masterclasses and get hands-on experience on latest digital marketing techniques.

About the Author

Rahul ArunRahul Arun

Rahul is a Senior Research Analyst at Simplilearn. Blockchain, Cloud Computing, and Machine Learning are some of his favorite topics of discussion. Rahul can be found listening to music, doodling, and gaming.

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