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The Digital Marketing Basics for Beginners

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, more esoteric bits and bobs about, all those fun buzzwords and whatnot, ya gotta start somewhere. Where better to start than from the beginning?

Let’s take the 30,000-foot view because it’s honestly so easy to get lost in the details.

Digital marketing, what is it?

Look out the window of that plane at cruising altitude and what you’ll see is this definition; digital marketing is advertising that’s delivered via digital channels, electronic devices and the internet. That can be social media, apps, websites, emails, search engines, etc.

Whenever you access the internet, even if it’s for just a moment, the chance that you’re interacting with some type of marketing is damn near 100%.

Digital Marketing Simply Explained

Here’s the crucial thing about digital marketing basics for beginners, the whole thing is about meeting your audience – your customers, clients, fans, etc. – where they are. The only reason you advertise anywhere is that you want someone to see it and since the whole world has gone digital, those channels are where you’ll most likely be seen.

Which platform or method you land on is based largely on the demographics of whom you’re targeting AKA who’s buying what you’re selling. Other factors like your industry play into it as well.

That goes for traditional marketing too actually. The demographics dictate the channel.


Let’s take a quick example.

If your product is targeted to teenagers in urban areas, are you going to go heavy on billboard advertising in rural Mississippi? Probably not. You’d check the demographics and see where the most eyes are and you’d likely notice that Snapchat or TikTok are places to capture your audience’s attention.

So, identifying your target and creating customer personas with those demographics is the basis upon which you build your strategy.

And that strategy starts from the objective.

Are you trying to just get traffic to your website? Maybe search engine marketing is right for you. Are you looking to create leads or close sales? Perhaps an email funnel that takes a recipient on a “journey” can be the digital marketing method that works.

What Does Digital Marketing Encompass?

Smart Insights puts in a straightforward, easy to remember way. They call it the 5Ds of Digital:

  • Digital Devices – The physical devices we use to connect to the net; phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, gaming systems, etc.
  • Digital Platforms – Think Facebook, Google, Instagram, etc.
  • Digital Media – Paid, owned and earned communications like ads, email, search engines, etc. 
  • Digital Data – Info collected about your target audience
  • Digital Technology – Tech created and used for marketing and experiences

Your website is digital marketing. The content you create or commission to be created in the form of a content marketing strategy is digital marketing. Affiliate marketing is digital marketing. Even AI with chatbots and analytics are digital marketing.

What Type of Digital Marketing Do I Need When Starting a Business?

The type of digital marketing you need when starting your business is the same kind you need when you reach your 10th anniversary: the kind that works.

It comes back to what was mentioned early, meeting your audience where they are. When you’re starting your business you likely won’t have the funds, marketing budget or even the people to run huge campaigns. And that’s fine. 

The truly amazing thing about digital marketing though is that it’s very much leveled the playing field for getting your message, your product, your service, etc. in front of a hungry audience. You can do so much more with so much less these days. You can reach people with target campaigns for pennies compared to traditional marketing.

If you’re struggling to hit your stride with digital marketing, hit us up at The Snow Agency. We’ve been at this for a minute or two and generated a couple of bucks of revenue ($250M+) for our clients and we’d love to bring you to that promised land too.