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Digital Marketing 101: What You Need to Know

Digital marketing – that’s like social media, right?

This is, without a doubt, the most common response I receive when I talk about what I do for a living.

The short answer is “yes”, but in reality, digital marketing encompasses much more than just social media.

For example, have you ever wondered how Facebook is displaying an ad for the exact bag you were looking at on Amazon last night?

Or how Amazon knows you didn’t buy the bag and emailed you this morning, offering it to you at 15% off?

Or how Amazon’s product was the top search result on Google in the first place?

As it turns out, it’s not magic. It’s digital marketing.

Traditional vs. Digital Marketing

Before we go any further, let’s differentiate traditional marketing from digital marketing so there’s no confusion.

Traditional marketing generally refers to offline marketing tactics such as print advertising, television and radio commercials, telemarketing and cold calling, direct messaging etc. In the past, these methods were effective as they allowed broad distribution of company messaging in a medium that was easy for consumers to access.

However, the way we create and consume content has changed drastically since the invention of the internet. These days, 78% of internet users conduct product research online and 40% of shoppers consult 3 or more channels before making a purchase. As a result, the way companies market themselves needs to change accordingly.

That doesn’t mean we need to do away with traditional marketing completely. It simply means we need to adapt our marketing tactics to ensure content can still be widely distributed to consumers via a medium they easily and frequently access.

Given that in the first quarter of 2015 the number of mobile-only users overtook desktop users, this means migrating marketing to the digital world.

Outbound vs. Inbound

In the past, you may have heard marketing tactics being referred to as ‘outbound’ and ‘inbound’ methods.

Outbound marketing is also referred to as “push” or “interruptive” marketing, whereby marketers push their message out far and wide, hoping it will resonate with those who see it.

Outbound marketing is often (and perhaps unfairly) used synonymously with traditional marketing as in the past, extensive audience targeting was not available for traditional channels – if someone was watching Channel 3 at 5PM, they saw your ad, whether it related to them or not.

In contrast, inbound marketing, also called “pull” or “attractive” marketing, involves attracting customers and prospects to your website by creating targeted content that speaks to their specific needs and pain points. This is about understanding your customer’s personas and behaviours and providing useful information – in the form of blogs, reviews, case studies etc. – that allows them to find your business naturally through a search engine or social media.

Digital Marketing Tactics

The image below provides a brief overview of some common inbound and outbound marketing tactics.

The tactics in the middle can be considered “hybrid” inbound/outbound channels. This includes digital marketing.

aamplify inbound & outbound marketing

Whilst search engine marketing (SEM), social advertising and remarketing are by definition “push” marketing tactics, they are not considered “interruptive”. This is because, in contrast to traditional outbound marketing tactics, these digital tactics allow for extensive audience targeting.

Social media advertising platforms require an audience to be defined before marketing activity can start. This can be as broad or narrow as you like and is often based on characteristics of a person’s interests, behaviour and network on the platform.

SEM requires targeting based on intent as the marketer chooses keywords related to website content that they think a user would search when looking for information. Demographic targeting is also available.

Email marketing has evolved extensively since it was first invented in the 1970’s. Traditionally, email has been used as a bit of a “spray and pray” tactic in which lists were purchased and “blasted” with marketing information, irrespective of whether it related to the receiver or not. These days with the help of marketing automation, email has transformed into a nurturing tool that allows businesses to contact customers and prospects with targeted information that relates to their purchase history and online activity.

These tactics allow companies to increase their brand awareness in new, targeted markets, whilst employing inbound marketing to nurture known prospects and customers with targeted content that educates, builds trust and delivers value.

It is for this reason that both inbound and outbound tactics should be an integral part of your overall digital marketing strategy.

Getting Started with Digital Marketing

Just like traditional marketing, digital marketing requires time, a budget and some clearly defined goals to work towards.


Digital marketing is not a “set and forget” activity. It requires regular ongoing monitoring and optimisation to ensure a positive return on investment (ROI). Employing someone full-time to produce content, set-up, monitor and report on marketing activity is a good way to ensure nothing slips through the cracks and money isn’t spent unnecessarily.


It’s probably no surprise to hear digital marketing costs money.  

The amount of money one can spend on digital promotion is solely dependent on your budget. Big companies have big budgets and so if you’re a small company looking to compete in the same space as these large enterprises, you have to be smart about your online strategy.

Make sure you keep an eye on how your money is being spent and refer to industry benchmark statistics (namely click through rate, conversion rate and bounce rate) to check if your campaigns are performing in line with what’s to be expected. Optimise your campaigns regularly to ensure money is only spent on top performing content, and measure on-page activity using marketing automation and/or Google Analytics to gain a better understanding of how users interact with your website.

Tracking On-Page Activity

One of the many advantages of digital marketing is the opportunity to track and analyse user activity to make informed decisions about how to optimise your marketing strategy going forwards.

Scroll-depth tracking allows marketers to track how far down a web-page users read, and therefore how long your webpages need to be to maintain user interest. This can be set-up using Google Tag Manager, and results tracked in Google Analytics.

Heat mapping allows marketers to track where on the web-page people spend the most time, and therefore, where your most valuable information needs to be. Crazy Egg and Hot Jar are great tools for this.

Conversion tracking with Google Analytics allows marketers to measure the buyer journey through a series of pre-defined conversion goals. Conversions are often tracked as “Events” (key on-page activities such as button clicks, form submissions etc.) or “Page Views”. Using conversion goals to understand where in the buyer journey most users drop off enables marketers to better optimise campaigns for success and increase their marketing ROI.

We’re Here to Help

If all this sounds like a lot of hard work, we’d be happy to help you out.

Whether you’re looking to kick-start your digital marketing strategy, or just learn more about how it could work for you, get in touch and find out how Aamplify can start creating magnetic demand for your business!


Monique Lees

Monique uses her wild imagination and infectious excitability to bring clients' stories to life online.