Online Marketing Foundations: How to Begin Researching for a Digital Marketing Strategy

The line between marketing and digital marketing has blurred. Offline marketing was previously considered “traditional” compared to online or digital marketing. However, with more people getting their information from the internet than from print media, the lines have blurred. Additionally, with many marketing tactics living in the digital sphere, it is often difficult to determine which tactics will prove most effective. That is why there is a need for basic research in digital marketing.

Why Should You Research Into Digital Marketing?

As previously stated, the lines between marketing and digital marketing have blurred. When it comes to determining which strategies will prove most effective in gaining traffic and sales, there are important differences between the two. For example, while SEO will help you gain more organic (i.e., non-paid) traffic from search engines, paid ads will help you gain more immediate results in showing up in the organic results of a search engine.

In addition to helping you determine which strategies will be most effective, researching allows you to gauge the effectiveness of these strategies. When properly conducted, a/b testing can prove how successful certain strategies are in driving traffic to your site.

If you are serious about generating leads and building a business, you should research digital marketing.

How to Begin Researching Into Digital Marketing?

The best way to begin researching into digital marketing is with a clear goal or mission in mind. For example, you can research the following:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Paid advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Mobile marketing
  • Generic performance marketing

Once you have your goal or goal statement established, you can begin your research. In order to properly conduct research, you must have a specific purpose in mind when you do your searches. For example, if you are conducting SEO research, you must be researching to improve the rankings of a specific webpage or landing page.


SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a form of online marketing that can help your website or landing page appear higher in the search engine results when a user enters a search term into a search engine.

SEO involves using “keywords” or “words” or “tags” in the copy (i.e., the text) of your website or landing page in order to attract the attention of search engines.

The best way to find keywords or phrases that potential customers are searching for is by entering your search term into a search engine and examining the search results. For example, if you are selling clothing online, you might enter the following search terms into a search engine:

  • Men’s Jeans (capsule list) (size 14)
  • Flat Front (cap sleeve) (size 16)
  • Short (pants) (regular) (blue)
  • Denim (jeans)((washed)) (no holes)
  • Dritz Kidz (jeans) (size 16)

If your goal is to rank number one in the search results for those search terms, you might want to incorporate some of the keywords or phrases from the list above into your copy. Some search engines will even suggest keywords and phrases that they think you should incorporate into your content.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is any type of advertising that is paid for by a third party, typically a business or brand trying to market a product or service.

Traditional advertising, also known as “old school” advertising, is considered “paid advertising.” Digital or online advertising, often referred to as “social media advertising,” is one form of paid advertising. Since its inception, social media advertising has gained popularity and is continuing to grow.

The primary difference between traditional and online or digital marketing is the fact that the latter involves marketing a product or service via online or digital channels.

Paid advertising can be considered a short-term marketing strategy; that is, the goal is to achieve a specific result (e.g., a sale) within a certain timeframe (e.g., within a month). Like SEO, paid advertising can be effective in gaining quick results.

Social Media Marketing

Since its inception, social media marketing has gained popularity and is continuing to grow.

As previously stated, paid advertising is one form of social media marketing. When you market a product or service using social media, you typically do so for free. However, if you want to achieve truly organic growth via social media, you will have to pay for advertising.

When you engage in social media marketing, you are typically attempting to build a brand for yourself or a business. For this reason, you will often see entrepreneurs and marketers talk about “brand awareness” and “build[ing] a brand for [themselves] on [social media].”

The goal of social media marketing is to create interest in a product or service among a target audience via social media channels. Once you have created interest in the product or service among your target audience, you can then move into the next phase of marketing, which is the conversion phase.

The conversion phase, also known as the “funnel” in marketing, is the stage where a potential customer (or existing customer) takes the action you are looking for.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a type of marketing that involves sending emails to past, current, and potential customers to promote a product or service.

With the resurgence of email marketing, which is often considered a “semi-digital” form of marketing, businesses are discovering the power of this channel. If you are looking to gain quick results via email marketing, you can try a/b testing to see which combination of marketing material and email design will generate the most clicks and opens.

Affiliate Marketing

Often considered “the mother of all digital marketing forms,” affiliate marketing is a form of marketing where a business contracts with a third party, known as an “affiliate,” to promote their products.

Affiliate marketing is growing in popularity each year, particularly among online marketers. In an effort to gain more customers, many companies are encouraging their employees to look for opportunities to become an affiliate marketer. Even if you are an independent affiliate marketer, you will likely hear about opportunities to make money online via affiliate marketing.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a type of marketing where businesses create marketing content (e.g., articles, videos, etc.) to attract and engage with potential customers.

To put it simply, content marketing is the practice of creating marketing content to promote a product or service.

Content marketing can be considered a long-term marketing strategy and has the potential to generate leads and sales over time.

Mobile Marketing

With more and more people getting their news and information through their smartphones and tablets, mobile marketing is becoming a popular way to gain traction online. While there are many tactics you can use to market to mobile users, the most successful businesses consider SEO, paid advertising, and email marketing to be the backbone of their strategy.