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Learn Digital Marketing 101

Posted on November 29, 2015

I recently attended a Red Academy workshop on Digital Marketing, which was very interesting! Here’s a recap of what I learned.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is everything online, engaging with your audiences using many different digital channels. We all engage with digital marketing whether we realize it or not. Most of us have Facebook and have received email newsletters before!

4 types of digital marketing

  • Owned – Channels you own and control (website, social media accounts, company newsletter)
  • Paid – Marketing you paid for (social advertisements, paid blog post)
  • Earned – When other people want to write about or mention you on their own free will! This is the best kind because it’s authentic and it comes externally

4 types of websites

  • Brand – Organizations talking about themselves
  • E-commerce – Selling something
  • Lead generation – Want your contact details
  • Content – Publishers and media companies

Tracking digital marketing

There are four different types of tracking codes used for digital marketing. In this blog post, only the first one will be covered, along with content marketing and A/B testing.

  1. Universal tracking code – Looks like: UA-793429-1 from Google Analytics which is a piece of code to add to your website
  2. Event tracking code
  3. Social interaction tracking code
  4. Campaign tracking code

Google Analytics

What to measure and how to do it through Google Analytics! When you first look at Google Analytics, you’ll see numbers like:

  • Sessions
  • Unique users
  • Pageviews
  • Pages per visit
  • Average duration
  • % New sessions

While it feels like an overwhelming amount of data and information, it really doesn’t tell you anything because you haven’t set any objectives. You wouldn’t know which numbers are important to your business and if they doing good or bad.

1. Set website objectives

So, your first step would be to set your website’s objective. Why does your website exist?

Create DUMB objectives:

  • Doable
  • Understandable
  • Manageable
  • Beneficial

Your objective could be to build your brand so you convert users into customers, raise awareness on a topic by providing resources, generate pageviews so you can sell advertisement on the site, and so on.

2. Set website goals

What are the specific actions that will support achieving your objective?

Create SMART goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Reasonable
  • Timely

Your website goals could be to capture leads, generate clicks, receive page views, collect email subscribers, grow social media followers, and more.

Measure your goals against KPIs

KPI – A key performance indicator is a type of performance measurement. Choose the main metric that will help you understand how you’re doing against your objectives. Focus on conversions.

Set your targets

What does success look like? How will you know if you failed? Decide beforehand what your targets are so they can be indicators of success or failure. Each KPI needs a target.

Identify segments

When you have your results of success or failure, you need to figure out why you received that result. Identify segments to analyze such as:

  • People – Location, income level, gender
  • Behaviour – New visitor, returning visitor, frequency of visits, recency
  • Outcomes – Conversions, clicks, downloads, bounce rate, social media follower growth


Objective: Create awareness

  • Goal: Build brand
  • KPI: Branded traffic (# of searches for company name)
  • Target: 7k visits/month from keyword search (vs. visits from links)
  • Segments: Traffic sources converted visits (which traffic sources worked or didn’t work?)

Objective: Generate leads

  • Goal: Capture leads (get user email and contract information)
  • KPI: Newsletter signups, e-book download
  • Target: 45/month, 150/month
  • Segments: Visitor type, content type viewed, document type, geography

Objective: Highlight events

  • Goal: Engage community via local events
  • KPI: Visitor loyalty
  • Target: 50% repeat visits
  • Segments: 1, 2, 3+ visit buckets (sort by how many times they visited)

Content Marketing

How do you create content that converts? What will motivate people to take action – whether that call to action (CTA) is to fill out a form, subscribe for a newsletter, make a purchase, etc.

A/B Testing

You should always be testing to figure out the most effective content. You could be missing out on huge potential! A/B testing means to have identical versions of something, but changing one element in one version and analyzing to see which version performed better.

What you can test

  • Blog posts – Ex. Length, order, title, image
  • Videos
  • Images – Ex. With faces vs. without faces
  • Facebook post
  • Tweets
  • Email subject lines
  • Email content
  • Best days to post
  • Best time to post
  • Marketing campaigns
  • Calls to action
  • Almost everything!

How do you test?

That depends on the platform you’re using to track the results. For example, there’s Unbounce, a local Vancouver startup that creates landing pages and allows you to easily A/B test between two landing pages you create from their platform. In Mailchimp, a free newsletter platform, there’s an A/B testing feature that automatically tracks the effectivness between two different subject lines. If you’re using Facebook ads, they allow you to upload up to five different images to use with the same text so you can compare which image received the most engagement.

However, if you want to A/B test on something like which line of text worked better for Facebook posts, you’ll have to track the results manually. So once you figure out what you want to test, do some research to see if there’s a platform out there that will help you track it!

Paid ad campaigns

Once you start getting into paid ad campaigns, you’ll want to have a very good handle on tracking analytics across different websites since you’re throwing money at this, you need to know if you’re getting your money’s worth!

For example, it’s not enough to just have an Ow.ly link on a paid blog post review. You’ll know know if their audience clicked the link. But once you get into more advanced analytics, you could track if their audience clicked the link and all of their activity when they landed on your own website. They clicked, but did they visit a few pages and then purchase an item? How long did they stay? Did they subscribe to our newsletter? It would be very insightful to know their complete user journey.

There is definitely a lot more to learn about digital marketing and analytics!


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