What is Digital Marketing? And how does it work?

By NIIT Editorial

Published on 06/01/2020

6 minutes


Reaching out to the customers is an important part of all businesses. Traditional marketing includes giving advertising in magazines, newspaper publications and other OOH (Out Of Home Media). However, with the increasing use of the internet, there is an entirely new form of marketing that has come into being- digital marketing. Here is all there is to know about it.

What is digital marketing?


Digital marketing can be defined as the act of using online marketing tools like email, search engine and social media marketing to sell products and reach out to customers. Digital marketing involves using different electronic media and channels such as websites, emails, social media, search engines and other digital media channels to reach out and address the needs of the existing and prospective customers.


What are the types of digital marketing?


Digital marketing consists of many online activities that you use to reach your customer. We list some of the most frequently used ones-


a) Content marketing


In this, the focus is on creating and distributing content that is relevant to the brand or product. The content should be relevant, consistent and helpful to the customers. It ultimately aims at increasing the brand reach and driving up sales. It can include blog posts, podcasts, videos, ebooks, studies, and research papers.


b) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)


It is the process of getting quality traffic from free and organic searches from search engines like Google or Bing. In this, a focus is needed on what kind of traffic you drive to your website. It is crucial to appear in relevant searches, and hence the content that you put on your website needs to be SEO-friendly. The process involves keyword research and integration, optimising the subheadings, building backlinks and writing descriptions.


c) Search Engine Marketing (SEM)


It aims at increasing the visibility and driving up traffic for the brand using paid methods. SEM can include Google AdWords and Bing Ads


d) Social Media Marketing (SMM)


It includes using social media to attract traffic. You can use this to build exposure and interact with your customers.


e) Pay-per-Click Advertising (PPC)


This is the type of advertising wherein the marketers pay every time someone clicks on their ad. It is a type of paid search.


f) Email marketing


It is one of the most widely used types of digital advertising. It can help you form relationships with your customer and build trust. However, make sure that the content in the email is relevant and true and does not include any phishing links or wrong information.


g) Instant messaging marketing


Reaching out to customers via Whatsapp, Messenger, and WeChat is the latest trend. This gives your marketing a personal touch and is particularly useful when you need to attract a younger crowd. It has been observed that people tend to trust the information received over instant messengers rather than that received over SMSes.


How does digital marketing work?


Digital marketing is similar to traditional marketing. However, the tactics used are different from those of traditional marketing, as digital marketing is designed to reach today's consumers.


Brand presence


Most purchasing decisions today begin with an online search. If you're planning to purchase something, you probably begin by searching on the internet to learn about the best available options. Your ultimate buying decision is based on the reviews you read, consultation from friends and family, and your budget.

Hence, an online brand presence is absolutely necessary, regardless of what product or service you provide.




The key is to develop a digital marketing strategy that will put your product/ services in all the places your consumers are, and then using various different digital channels to connect with them.

Firstly, you will need quality content to keep your consumers updated with the industry news and how you and your product will help address their needs and solve their problems.

Secondly, you need social media through which you share that content and then engage with your consumers.


Online search


Another tool is Search engine optimisation (SEO) which can help you to optimise your content so that it will show up on top search results when someone is searching for the information you've written about.

Then comes Advertising through which you drive paid traffic to your website.

Finally, you need email marketing to follow up with your audience.

All these, when put together, make for an efficient, easy-to-operate digital marketing machine.


What is the role of digital marketing?


There are several ways in which digital marketing can help brands in taking their business forward. Some of the important ones are listed below.


  1. Reach the right audience


Digital marketing helps you directly reach the people who are your target. Social media is integrated into everything today. Be it schools, work, entertainment, and everything beyond that as well. Social media advertising can pay off huge dividends if the strategy is managed well. You can specifically target your customers right down to the age, location, and even their preferences. This not only saves money, but it also results in more sales per click.


  1. You can compete with anyone irrespective of the budget.


In offline marketing, corporates with big advertising and marketing budgets score big. However, that is not the case with digital marketing. All you need is an effective strategy and a focused approach. You can convert an equivalent number of customers with an even lesser budget. This is one of the biggest advantages of digital marketing.


  1. More focused


In offline marketing, you have no control over who sees your ad, nor do you have control over its visibility so that you can maximise its effectiveness. In digital marketing, you can control who sees that ad, when and where they see it, up to a large extent. You can filter down huge demographics to sections and groups that you can then specifically target and create an ad that can resonate with the group.


  1. Can be super-personalised


The best thing about digital marketing is that it can be personalised to suit the tastes of your audience. You can target them down to an individual level. Known as segmentation or personalisation in marketing circles, this can help people connect with you and listen to you. Take, for example, an email marketing campaign. Emails can be used to address individuals personally. This makes them comfortable to sign up for your services and buying from you. They will stay with you as long as you continue to send them relevant content.


  1. Advanced analysis


In case of TV or magazine ads or OOH (Out of Home) advertising, you cannot do an accurate analysis of the ad’s reach, whether it increased the sales or reached marketing goals. However, with digital marketing, you can track down the behaviour of everyone who has interacted with your ad to the last click. You can know if someone has seen the ad, whether they interacted with it, whether they liked it, whether they shared it, or whether it prompted them to buy the product. You can also learn a lot about who is interested in your ads, what are they like, who spends more, what they do online, and which websites they visit, among others. All of this is pretty easy to track. This can, in turn, help you create more relevant ads, and streamline your content to optimise your results.


  1. Easy to scale


This is a significant feature of digital marketing. You can scale your marketing budget according to your needs. Digital marketing does not need regular heavy cash flow to keep your ad up and running. You can increase and decrease the marketing budget as per your need. If at all, you have a large order, which requires more budget allocation, you can choose to scale down your digital marketing campaign. Once, the order is complete, you can again go back to spending more with the profits incurred. Doing this for the traditional types of marketing is very difficult.


  1. Integrates with mobile technology


Mobile transactions are increasing as time passes. People are searching for information and reviews about your brand and products, or use it to browse your store or even contact the customer care. Thus, an integrated mobile experience, along with the physical experience, can help increase the sales.

In today’s world, businesses need digital marketing to stay on top of their game. This is because the customers are online, and that is where the brands need to be to connect with them and drive up their sales.

Digital marketing is a growing field, and there is a rising demand for trained professionals. NIIT offers a range of courses in digital marketing- right from Email marketing and basics of social media, to a full-time Post-Graduate Program in Digital Marketing and Branding. You can reach out to an NIIT customer care executive online or contact your nearest centre for more information.

Post Graduate Programme in Digital Marketing and Branding

NIIT offers programmes, especially designed for young guns. Focused on intensive learning that lays a strong foundation, they are not just about the nuts & bolts, but also about comprehensive skills required for a career in Digital Marketing.

Students Enrolled