A Comprehensive Guide to Getting Started as a Digital Marketer

Everything you need to know from learning to earning

Image from Freepik

“Even your grandma can become a marketer after this guide.”

Do you want to get started as a digital marketer, but unsure how and where to start from?

Or, are you wondering whether you should get into digital marketing or not?

I’ll help you with that today. You’ll be leaving this post being super clear about every question you earlier had.

Let’s start.

What Exactly Is Digital Marketing?

To understand that, let’s first understand what marketing is.

Wikipedia defines it this way:

“Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. It is the business process of identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customers’ needs and wants.”

Got it? Nope?

Okay, here’s my definition:

“Marketing is the art of learning about your customers better than they know themselves and connecting with them to give a product/service that meets their desire.”

(Note that I mentioned ‘give,’ not ‘force,’ and the product/service must “meet their desire.”)

Nowadays, everything is digital. Especially after the COVID-19, we got really used to the digital world. Digital means over the Internet, which means it’s online.

So, digital marketing is just that.

“It’s the art of learning about your customers better than they know themselves (through the digital analytics/insights) and connecting with them to give a product/service that meets their desire (through the internet).”


Digital marketing is any form of marketing that exists online. We do it using the internet with our electronic devices.

What Is Your Role As A Digital Marketer?

Digital marketing still sounds alien to you? Okay.

Remember that McDonald’s’ ad on that big billboard while going to work?

And those annoying phone calls by travel companies trying to rob you with that ticket discount and you are wondering who gave them your damn mobile number?

Those are offline marketing. Also known as traditional marketing. Those happen without an online connection.

Digital marketing is just the opposite of that. We do it online through the Internet. This means there are immense possibilities for you to connect to a wider group of customers. And, this also means your value as a digital marketer is increasing.

Those direct mail (brochures, postcards, letters, fliers) in the earlier days now turned into email marketing.

Print advertising (magazines, newspapers, billboards) now turned into FB ads, Google ads, etc.

Radio and television now turned into social media marketing.

Makes sense now? Cool, let’s move on.

Why Is Marketing Important For A Business?

Customers nowadays rely on social channels to know about any business and brands. By social channels, I mean a website, brand social media pages, or an ad, like Google ads.

There are a lot of marketing strategies that can be implemented by a business. So, becoming good at any one strategy or knowing all of them together is great for you and the business. You can get creative and experiment as you wish, which makes marketing fun.

Anyway, let’s get to the fun part.

Types of Digital Marketing

The ultimate goal of any kind of digital marketing is to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, generate leads, and convert them to genuine customers.

These 7 types are the best ones.

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Now, what is SEO?

Wikipedia tells us this:

“Search engine optimization is the process of growing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.”

We don’t understand Wikipedia anyway, right? Cool.

Here’s my definition:

“The process of getting your website to rank #1 on a search result for any user’s query is SEO.”

Now, SEO has 3 babies (#2 is the naughty one)

a. On-page SEO

This is a good kid. She is hot. But, we can make her hotter by using makeup. If she is hotter, she’ll have a higher chance of winning the Miss World 2020. (Okay, I guess this will be held online too.)

On-page SEO is just that. It focuses on all the contents that are “on the page” when looking at a website, similar to that of the makeup.

We do on-page SEO by injecting keywords relevant to your niche, which has better search volume but less competition.

b. Off-page SEO

It’s a bit naughty.

Doesn’t matter she is hot or not, she is good with communication. She doesn’t do makeup on her face, rather on her character.

She tries to connect with the competition authorities and bribes them in some way or the other to increase her votes. If that doesn’t work, she spends a night with the authority to win Miss World. If the top authority is a pervert and she can bribe him, no doubt she will be the winner.

It’s the same thing for off-page SEO. You try to connect with other websites or publishers and ask them to refer/backlink you, to increase your external attention (extra votes).

If that doesn’t work, you write guest posts on their website (spend a night) and link back your website to generate external attention. If the website you’re writing for is of greater authority, you have a higher chance of ranking higher on your website.

c. Technical SEO

This is a poor SEO, but best of all.

Her mom was strict with her. She made her do all the household work from a very young age, making her talented.

Technical SEO focuses on the back end of your website (strict work from the very beginning) and how your page is coded.

Image compression, structured data, and CSS file optimization (household works that she learned to do well) are all forms of technical SEO that can increase your website’s loading speed (the efficiency with which she works), thus helping you rank higher on Google (hence helping her finish all the tasks in the Miss World competition quickly, thus higher chance to win).

If you’re not a developer already, let your developer do this technical SEO part (this takes more hard work).

Free video tutorial to get you started:

SEO Marketing Free Video Tutorial by Simplilearn

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the creation and promotion of unique, educational, and informative content to gain brand awareness and increase the traffic, generate leads, and then turn them into buying customers and finally loyal fans. Also, it’s done to retain your current customers by providing them with continuous valuable content. It’s not a one day process, it’s a long process, but once you get into it, it’s amazing.

Content marketing can be done in a few ways. These two are the most common:

Writing blog posts: You can demonstrate your industry expertise or help your prospects (prospects are the people who are more likely to become your customers) learn something they are confused about and generate organic search traffic for your business. Gradually these website visitors can be converted into leads (leads are the people who might eventually become your customers) when they find your content valuable.

Videos: Here, you produce educational and entertaining video content for your customers and make them learn something. YouTube is a great platform for this. It’s the next largest search engine after Google.

If you post videos here, it vastly helps with SEO. Also, as this is a social channel, you can get more exposure more easily.

Free video tutorial to get you started:

Content Marketing Free Video Tutorial by Simplilearn

3. Social Media Marketing

You promote your content like blog posts or videos and even infographics through your social channels, ultimately promoting your brand and building brand awareness. You can also post information via texts; however, multimedia is way better perceived by humans, especially in social media.

Here are 5 top social media channels:

a. Facebook: Facebook is a social networking site that helps you easily connect and share with family and friends online.

b. Instagram: Instagram is a free, online photo & video sharing and social network platform.

c. Twitter: Twitter is a social media site whose main purpose is to share people’s thoughts in 140 characters, to a wider audience.

d. LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a professional networking and career development social media platform.

e. Pinterest: Pinterest helps you search visual ideas and save (Pin) them to a collection (Board), which can be made private or available for the public.

Free video tutorial to get you started:

Social Media Marketing Free Video Tutorial by Simplilearn

4. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing

Saw those annoying ads over Google search results or any website which you never click? Oops, why? Let us support the publisher.

Every time you click on that ad, the publisher gets some amount of money. The amount of money he/she earns depends.

Example of a Google Ad | Image by Author

That’s pay-per-click marketing. You pay a publisher, like Google, where you get your link on the top slot and pay “per click.” As you do it on Google, it’s Google ads. You can do it on other’s websites too.

After Google ads, Facebook ads are the next common one:

Facebook ads: Here, you pay to promote your video, image, or slideshow to a wider audience relevant to your business. Facebook targets them based on your business demographics (the study of a population, based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, education income, and employment) and interests and hobbies.

Free video tutorial to get you started:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing Free Video Tutorial by Simplilearn

5. Affiliate Marketing

Were you asked to buy that book from Amazon or that online course made up of a 12-year-old kid by clicking on the link on that blog post you just read?

Or saw those gears/tools link in the YouTube description of your favorite YouTuber?

Yes? Awesome.

Example of Affiliate Links | Image collected from Internet, edited by Author

Do you think those are for you? Were they put for your best interest at heart? Maybe. I am not anyone to guess. However, those are affiliate links — links that pay.

Sounds weird?

Yeah, affiliate marketing is promoting other’s products on your website or YouTube channel or any social channel and earning a commission for every sale made through that link.

An affiliate link looks like any other URL. However, they contain additional information like your unique site or affiliate ID along with the ID of that particular offer that you are advertising, thus allowing the audience to land on the correct site.

Free video tutorial to get you started:

Affiliate Marketing Free Video Tutorial by Simplilearn

6. Email Marketing

Your Spam folder isn’t simply filled with 99+ emails. You got those because you are a victim of email marketing.

Marketing that happens through email is email marketing. Via emails, you send discount codes to your customers, ask them to join as a beta tester, or request them to do some other activity. Email marketing is done for one of three primary objectives: to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness.

Free video tutorial to get you started:

Email Marketing Free Video Tutorial by Simplilearn

7. App Store Optimization (ASO)

It’s the same as SEO, just that it’s for mobile apps, while SEO is for websites.

“ASO is the process of getting your mobile app to rank #1 on a search result for any user’s search.”

People usually search using keywords in the app store rather than phrases or questions. So, ASO is the process of optimizing your app icon, title, subtitle, description, screenshots, videos, and even ratings and reviews to rank higher on those keywords.

Free video tutorial to get you started:

ASO Marketing Free Video Tutorial by Mobile Action

The Best Way To Learn Marketing

Neil Patel says, “the best way to learn marketing is to start your own website.”

He advises you to create a WordPress site for blogging or if it’s eCommerce, a Shopify site.

Sorry, Neil, I disagree with you.

Are we hear to learn marketing or run a whole business?

If you create a blogging site, that’s a lot of work for you alone.

Customizing that WordPress site or maintaining it will eat up your money if you aren’t a developer already. If you do it yourself, when will you focus on the marketing part?

If you create that eCommerce site, you need to figure out what to sell, how to do the transaction process, manage the finance and accounting, and, most importantly, do the marketing. You can’t do everything yourself, so yes, a lot of overhead costs for your tiny little head.

Here’s the better way:

Let me start by how I joined a 2 months old startup, Programming Hero.

In January 2019, during my Winter holidays, my friends went to our native place, Bangladesh, while I’m residing here in my hometown, Oman, bored.

So, I thought of learning a new skill, programming.

For that, I tried a few different mobile apps and found all of them boring. But, 2 of them stuck with me, Programming Hub and Programming Hero. The concept explanation was good for both.

I had zero skills and zero knowledge about networking, but I was seriously bored and badly wanted to show my appreciation. So, I genuinely reached out to offer a helping hand as a graphic designer (with zero skills — I thought designing would be easy).

Only Programming Hero replied to me back (now I know why I got no reply from the other one — my mail wasn’t right — that’s not the way to network). I assisted Programming Hero with designing for a few days by learning from YouTube. Due to the need for a marketing person, shortage of money to hire one, I got into the marketing department. I started off by replying to the Play Store reviews, managing our Volunteers communication server, then replying emails, slowly writing captions for social media posts, writing blogs, trying ASO (I soon realized it’s not my thing) to now maintaining all the brand’s social channels and operating all the marketing operations.

Now, why did I continually switch my tasks?

Because every time I tried something new, I went through a learning phase and started to level up. Also, you need to try enough things really quickly while not hurting the learning phase to know the possibilities of marketing and not become bored with one task.

How to make this work for you?

It all starts with marketing yourself.

1. Figure out 10 startup companies you like, it could be even any of your favorite mobile apps, like Grammarly. Collect their email address on a Google Sheet. You can get those from their website. Mind you; I mentioned startup companies, not corporate. Startups are innovative, open. Corporate are formal, closed.

2. Reach out to them as a marketing volunteer, just offer a helping hand. Now, why 10 companies? That’s because I don’t want you to be tensed about rejection. Out of those 10, I’m sure 8 will agree.

Simply mail them this:

Hello there, Team {company name}!

Just love your {product/service name}. This has made my life so much easier.

I’m learning digital marketing and would love to show my appreciation by helping you promote your {product/service} with my knowledge and also improve my knowledge while doing so.

Curious to hear back from you.

Thank you,
{your name}

3. You’ll surely get the reply. Now, why startups? Startups are open for volunteers. You don’t need to pitch them; rather, they are looking for you. If you pitch them yourself, the first impression itself is great; you read their mind — they needed you.

4. Try to get into the customer relations department at first. Communication is key in marketing, and once you master that, you’ll become a great marketer and no better chance then to start developing that skill from the very beginning. This is the reason I started off by replying to the Play Store reviews. That helped me learn to deal with different kinds of customers and increased my creativity as I had to think of new replies for different types of reviews and convert 1,2 star reviews to 5 stars.

5. Cool. You’re in. Now what?

As they are a startup, they won’t have a marketing person already, so they’ll be open for any kind of experiment, so you get to learn and explore more, slowly marketing becomes fun to you.

If they have a marketing person already, the better. You get a free mentor to learn from him.

That’s the fun part of working as a volunteer — you get to explore, experiment, learn from your mistakes, and get better. Best of all, you get to learn while working. And, get feedback too, if you have a senior marketing person.

Now what?

Show this guide to your grandma and pitch 10 startups you like and repeat until you get into one. Market your grandma and get her into one as well and then steal her earnings.

Marketing is fun, dude.

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