What is digital marketing?

In today’s digital age, you might think this a strange question to be asking. You’d be surprised at how many small business owners don’t really ‘get’ what digital marketing is all about and why it’s important to their success. In this article, I thought we’d go back to basics and take a good look at what digital marketing involves and why you need to be doing it if you’re serious about growing your business online.

To provide the simplest definition, digital marketing (also known as online marketing) is an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies. One of the things that separates digital from traditional marketing is the capabilities of modern technology. Online marketers are focused primarily on targeted, measurable activities.

what is digital marketing

Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.

Digital marketing’s development since the 1990s and 2000s has changed the way brands and businesses use technology for marketing. As digital platforms are increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life, and as people use digital devices instead of visiting physical shops, digital marketing campaigns are becoming more prevalent and efficient.1

Rise of digital marketing

As you’d expect, the rise of digital marketing has increased in line with advances in technology. For example, 20 years ago, most people browsed the internet using a PC or laptop. These days, more than 70% of website visits are made using a smartphone – an increase of 20% in the last decade2.

Why online marketing matters

As the web becomes more accessible, people are spending more money in response to online advertising. Here are some key facts that highlight its importance in 2022 and beyond:

  • Blog posts are the top B2C marketing content format, with 83% of companies using it within the last 12 months.
  • In 2021, the younger shoppers used social media for every step of their purchase journey. It has been reported that social media use for e-commerce needs will double in 2022.
  • E-Marketers are predicting social commerce to be an $80 billion industry by 2025.

FirePush – Digital Marketing Statistics for 2022

All of the above statistics pretty much answer this question. You might like to check out these facts and figures, too2:

  • 64% of UK adults say the internet is an essential part of their life
  • On average, people are online for around 24 hours a week – twice as long as 10 years ago
  • 19% of people spend more than 40 hours a week online – an entire working week!

If your business doesn’t have a strong online presence and a robust digital marketing strategy, you’re missing out on the best chance to reach your target audience – and generating those all-important leads, conversions and sales – it’s essential to reach out effectively online.

Digital marketing is all about social media right? Wrong!

I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve met at networking events who assume my role as a digital marketer means I manage social media accounts and nothing else. In fact, as you can see from the definition provided above, it has a much broader reach.

Key Internet Statistics to Know in 2022 (Including Mobile) – BroadbandSearch

Yes, social media is important. After all, 45 million people in the UK use social media and spend an average of 1 hour 50 minutes it every day4. Still, it’s only one string to your bow when it comes to digital marketing. There are lots of other types of digital marketing you can take advantage of to get the most from your online presence and make a big difference to your bottom line. Let’s look at how you can use some of these marketing tactics to help get you the results you want.

Social media management

Note the inclusion of the word ‘management’ here! As with all forms of digital marketing, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about managing social media. For example, you might prioritise Facebook over other platforms because research shows that 1 million people log into it every minute, compared to just 87,500 people using Twitter.5

But what if your target audience doesn’t use Facebook? They might actually prefer Twitter. Or LinkedIn, YouTube, Reddit or any number of different platforms. So, the onus is on you to find out where they’re hanging out online so you can connect with them (after all, you wouldn’t give a speech to an empty room, would you?)

READ MORE: Managing your Social Media Business Accounts

Your business type matters, too. If you have a highly visual product or service such as giftware or photography, you’ll want to look at image-based platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest to help showcase your wares. On the other hand, if you run a corporate business, like an accountancy or law firm, you might find that B2B platforms like LinkedIn will help you find prospective clients.

Other types of digital marketing

According to Statusbrew, adults aged 18-34 are the most common age demographic for following brands and businesses on social media, with around 95% of them doing so. Furthermore, there is a 71% chance that a consumer will use social media to recommend a brand after having a positive experience with them. This highlights the importance of having a strong social media presence for your business because you can reach a larger target audience.

Similarly, 71% of small-to-mid-sized businesses use social media to market themselves, and 52% post at least daily. On Facebook for example, engagement with brands is over 10 times higher than on other social platforms, which is why it is such a popular platform for marketing.

Don’t be one of those companies that miss out. Harness the power of digital marketing and make the most of the online opportunities available to your business to increase your brand exposure.

Website marketing

Your website should be the hub of your online marketing activities. You could think of your other tactics as the spokes of a wheel, all of which ultimately lead back to it. However, whilst linking back from other activities such as social media, blogs and email are important, your website needs to be well-optimised in the first place.

READ MORE: Writing for the Web – A Different Approach

Around 3.8 million searches are made on Google alone every single minute, so this is one opportunity you don’t want to miss out on5. Take the time to research the best keywords for your business and weave them into your front-end copy as well as including them in back-end data such as page titles and meta descriptions.

If local business is important to you, make sure your geographical keywords are well-represented. Registering with Google Business Profile and other local directories, and keeping your entries up to date, will give you a better chance of being found online. And whatever your business type or location, make sure your site is mobile-friendly, or you could end up sliding down the SEO rankings.

Blog content

Leading on from the above, all well-written and optimised content will help improve your online presence. Creating content such as blog articles requires a slightly different approach from ‘standard’ website content. Research long-tail (multiple words) search terms you can include in your web copy as well as shorter terms, known as ‘seed keywords’.

Make sure you include your seed and long-tail keywords in the preview ‘snippets’ for each article. These will appear in on-screen search engine results and will also be used when search engines read out a verbal response to voice searches.

READ MORE: What makes good website content?

If your web platform provides tools to help with page optimisation, such as Yoast for WordPress, make sure you follow the recommendations to give your content the best chance of showing up online. However, as with any form of online content, be wary of ‘keyword stuffing’ or ‘keyword cannibalisation’ as these will do you more harm than good.

With blog content creation services from Imagine, you’ll benefit from:

  • An easier life, as you’ll have more time and resources to run your business
  • The reassurance that your digital content creation is in experienced hands
  • Well-researched, relevant and interesting content that engages current and prospective customers
  • Access to a range of content types you may not have the skills or resources to produce in-house
  • Raising your brand awareness and growing your online reach with consistent, regular content
  • Better results from your digital marketing at a cost-effective price
  • Knowing how well you’re doing with regular insights and ROI reporting

Email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is another tactic it’s all too easy to get wrong. With 188 million emails sent every minute5, how do you make sure your lovingly crafted messages stand out from the crowd?  To start with, just like all the content you create, your emails need to be relevant and interesting if they’re to engage your readers and not be filed under ‘Bin’, or worse still, ‘Spam’. It’s also important to make them attractive and user-friendly, with a well-designed template and sensible use of imagery, video and embedded web links.

You might wonder why you need to bother with email when you can engage with your audience on social media. But, believe me, it’s worthwhile. By creating a clean, segmented and GDPR-compliant database, you can communicate in a much more personal way than you can on public social media pages. Think exclusive access to special offers, loyalty discounts, insider information and other perks you wouldn’t want to offer all and sundry.

Why send email marketing campaigns?

Sending out email shots is a great way to engage with both new and prospective customers. As well as promoting your products and services, you can send them information, news and updates that they’ll find interesting and relevant, so it’s not all about sales. It’s a genuine opportunity to grow ‘know, like and trust’ with your audience and establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Your email list is also your own business asset, whereas social media platforms are owned by Facebook et al. In the ever-changing world we live in, how would your business cope if your favoured platforms suddenly shut down – cutting you off from your contact base?

Find out more – get in touch today

To find out more about our email marketing campaigns management services and how working with us can benefit your business, please get in touch to arrange an internet consultation.

Call us today on 01636 922 747 or complete our contact form and we’ll call you back shortly.

Need help developing your digital marketing plan?

As a Chartered Marketer, I’ll help plan your digital marketing activities so they start getting you the right results. It all starts with strategy and planning, so if you’re not sure where your digital marketing is going for the rest of 2022, get in touch today. I offer a one-hour internet consultation so we can explore your requirements and discuss how Imagine can help.

  • We always start by carrying out an assessment of your website’s performance and current web presence to identify any weak areas. We’ll also look at where your competitors are on the digital highway and what seems to be working well for them.
  • Next, we’ll talk about your business objectives and what you want your online presence to achieve. For example, if you want a new website, do you want it to act as a simple promotional brochure site to inform new and existing clients about your business, or are you aiming to generate enquiries and sales?
  • We’ll also look at areas such as your ideal clients and the best online platforms to communicate with them. In addition, we’ll research new opportunities for enhancing your income growth and client retention levels.
  • Once we have all this information in place, we’ll work with you to define your digital marketing strategy and put a personalised digital plan in place that meets your individual business needs.
  • Over time, we’ll measure the effectiveness of your marketing activities so we can assess together what works and what doesn’t.  We can then decide where best to concentrate your future marketing efforts, with the emphasis always on improving your company’s online presence.

Call me today on 01636 922 747 or complete my contact form and I’ll call you back shortly.


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Ofcom
  3. E-marketer
  4. We Are Social
  5. Statista

FirePush. 2022. 30 Digital Marketing Statistics for 2022. [ONLINE] Available at: https://getfirepush.com/blog/digital-marketing-statistics/. [Accessed 9 May 2022].

Statusbrew Blog. (2021). 100 Social Media Statistics For 2022 [+Infographic] | Statusbrew. [online] Available at: https://statusbrew.com/insights/social-media-statistics/#social-media-statistics-for-businesses.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2019 and has since been updated for accuracy in 2022.

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