Digital Marketing for Dummies: Tips for Startup Businesses

There's nothing as exhilarating and as nerve-wracking as launching a business.

But now what?

You need to get out there and let your audience know about it. Grab as much attention as possible.

You'll want more signups, subscribers, and followers. Why? Because they're all potential customers. But how do you get your business in front of your target audience?

In this fast-paced industry, launching is only the beginning. The next step is to build a powerful online presence because that's where consumers are.

But dipping your toes in digital marketing can be overwhelming. Too many mistakes will result in losses. That's why we want to give you this guide to digital marketing for dummies.

Think of this article as a crash course. In this post, we'll walk you through the initial steps of digital marketing. Plus, we'll give you a few digital marketing tips.

But before that, let's talk about the importance of focusing on your customers. Marketing isn't about making your business look good. It's explaining how you're going to solve customer problems.

Focus on Your Customers

Marketing is about building human to human relationships. That said, you need to know who you're selling to. Then build your digital marketing strategies around your audience.

Who will benefit the most from using your products?

Get to know your audience at a deeper level. Don't stop at age, location, and gender. Find out their interests, habits, and buying behaviors.

Here are a few questions to help you dive further into your customer demographics:

  • What are their needs? Their major pain points?
  • How are they buying goods or services?
  • What do they value?
  • Which social media channels are they most active?
  • When are they most active online?
  • What terms are they using to find your business?

Learning more about your audience needs a bit of investigative work.

As a startup business, you probably don't have current customers yet. Additionally, you also don't have online analytics to go by.

So it's best to consider doing a survey. Or you can look at your competition.

But before finalizing your customer avatars, here are a few things to remember:

  • Your target market will change depending on your campaign
  • You can have multiple customer avatars
  • You'll continue to find other target audiences in the long run

But why is it important to focus on your audience?

Because you'll need to build a digital marketing plan that appeals to your audience. For one, your content should inform and inspire them.

In doing so, you can provide a unique user experience. As a result, they'll be more receptive. This means it'll be easier to engage with them as well as boost your brand equity.

Develop Your Brand Story

Online marketing is always evolving. Establishing an undeniable online presence is more critical and complicated today.

To get your business in front of your audience, you'll need a website. Then you'll need blog posts, video content, a social media account, and so on.

But all these should come after developing your brand story.

Before we get started on digital marketing for dummies, let's first talk about the importance of developing your brand story.

As said before, marketing is about building human to human relationships. And what better way to connect with your audience than telling a story?

So how will you communicate your brand story?

For one, make your audience the hero of your story.

Take KraveBeauty as an example. Liah Yoo, a beauty influencer turned CEO, created KraveBeauty because her audience is overwhelmed by the number of products available in the industry.

KraveBeauty aims to help its audience use fewer skincare products.That's why its brand story is for customers to "Press Reset" on their skincare routine.


Good stories give brands a powerful voice, especially in a noisy, saturated industry. So take the time to develop yours.

Here are a few key points you can bring up when developing your brand story:

  • Focus on your customers
  • Understand their pain points
  • Talk about how your goals will help solve customer problems
  • Give your audience a peek into who you are as a company

There's no need to create a long-winded essay about your business. It's not a PR stunt or a scheme to manipulate customers.

Although it's your brand story, the focus should still be on your target market. What value can they get from your product or services?

Let's use our previous example again. KraveBeauty emphasizes that their goal is to be more transparent in their products. This means providing safe, eco-friendly products without using too many harmful ingredients.

That's the value its audience is going to enjoy.

Powerful brand stories focus on customers. Think of your brand as a guide or a supporting character.

Now you know who your target market is. And you also have a brand story in place. The next steps will help you get started on digital marketing.

Ready to dive in?

Getting Started: Digital Marketing for Dummies

Build a Website

Online presence is crucial in today's digital market. And it's also more complicated.

For one, you'll need a user-friendly, intuitive website. Then you'll need an SEO-optimized blog post, be on social media platforms, and so on.

But before we get into the details of other online marketing strategies, let's start with building a website.

Think of your website as a real estate in the digital landscape. This is where you'll house the information that your audience will need.

Again, focus on your audience when creating a website. This means providing a smooth, efficient, and memorable user experience.


digital marketing for dummies book

For one, entice them by providing content that answers their questions. When people visit your website, they should be able to immediately understand what you offer.

Additionally, your website must answer these questions:

  • What are you offering?
  • How can you make the lives of your customers better?
  • What should they do to buy in?

Secondly, your website must have an intuitive interface. How do you achieve this?

  • Your website must be fast
  • The navigation menu must be easy to find and understand
  • Have a chatbot so your visitors can ask for help
  • Create a FAQ page

Aside from structure and content, your website must also be search engine optimized. This is crucial in boosting your online visibility.

The results of your search engine optimization efforts will not happen overnight. But it has long-term benefits. The most important one is increasing the number of organic visitors to your website.

Create Content That Has Value to Your Audience

90% of all organizations use content to market their products and services, research suggests.

Content is everything that your audience interacts or consumes online.

From your blogs to videos to podcasts to social media marketing posts. Everything is content.

That's why you need to produce quality, customer-centric content. One that engages and captivates your audience.

Creating, publishing, and distributing content to attract and convert customers is known as content marketing.

This digital marketing strategy will:

  • Improve search engine ranking
  • Increase organic traffic
  • Generate more leads
  • Build your email list
  • Boost online sales

Tip: When creating a content marketing plan, 80% must not be about your product. Hard-selling your business will only scare away potential customers.

I know what you're thinking: "If I can't talk about my business, then what should I talk about?"

Provide your audience with answers to their questions.

Say you're offering copywriting services. Your content marketing plan will look like this: 

  • Creating blog posts
  • Consistently updating social media
  • Distributing newsletters to your email list
  • … and so on

Additionally, your content must revolve around topics that your target market is searching for. Based on our example above, here are a few topic examples to consider:

  • The difference between copy and content
  • Why great website copy will help you get clients
  • How to persuade customers for higher conversions

Another option is to create infographics, videos, or provide webinars to your audience. Produce quality content and establish authority in your industry. Focus on building trust.

Again, the quality of your content and where you publish will affect your business growth.

Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media provides a powerful platform for engaging and communicating with your audience. It's also a platform where you can communicate your brand story.

A good social media marketing strategy will:

  • Help build customer relationships
  • Allow you to provide better customer service
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Improve brand awareness

But don't create profiles on every single social site.

Again, it all depends on who your target market is. When you know your audience, you'll know which platform appeals to them the most. That's where you should be too.

Focus on key social channels where you'll reach prospects. For instance, if you're a B2B organization, focus on LinkedIn. If you're a B2C, then Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook are great options.

Here are a few tips for creating a social media marketing strategy:

Focus on your audience. Know the kind of content they like. Do they prefer videos over photos? Do they like interactive Stories?

Be consistent. Regularly update your social channels to maximize your growth. Posting once a month will not give you the results you want. You need to put in the effort and post regularly to see significant changes.

Consider investing in influencer marketing. This strategy involves partnering with an influencer who will promote your products or services. Doing so will allow you to tap into their audience. Additionally, it'll put your product in front of a wider audience.

So choose influencers whose social following falls within your audience demographics. Plus, choose an influencer who shares your brand values. This is important since they'll be representing your brand.

Don't Be Afraid to Invest in Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Digital marketing for dummies will not be complete without talking about paid advertising.

As a startup business, investing in paid advertising is intimidating. But ignoring this online marketing technique will put you at a disadvantage.

45% of small businesses invest in PPC advertising, based on Google Ads and Amazon PPC statistics.

But what is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising?

It's a form of online advertising where you need to pay every time someone clicks on your ad. Another form of PPC may involve paying based on how many people saw your ads.

These paid ads can appear on social media channels, Google search pages, or other websites. When someone clicks on your ad, they'll be redirected to your website or any landing page you specified.

Why is PPC a powerful digital marketing strategy?

Imagine having the ability to reach a wider audience online.

Pay-per-click advertising allows you to hyper-target your audience. For instance, on Facebook, you can target an audience based on:

  • Gender
  • Location
  • Age
  • Those who previously interacted with your business
  • Those who purchased similar products

Tip: Create targeted ads based on your customer avatars.

PPC visitors are more likely to make a purchase than organic visitors. But to attract the right customers, use the hyper-targeting settings.

Need more reasons to invest in PPC? With pay-per-click, you…

  • Pay for traffic directed to your site
  • Can place budget caps so you'll only have to pay for what you can afford
  • Modify campaigns in real-time

Best of all, pay-per-click marketing is measurable. You can easily calculate its long-term as well as short-term value based on the revenue it raked.

Lastly, make sure to analyze your results.

Which ad campaign generated positive results? Which ones are ineffective in attracting customers?

Analyzing results will help you adjust your strategy. Optimize your pay-per-click campaigns until you see improvement in your ROI.

Ready to Dive Into Digital Marketing?

Success in the digital arena doesn't happen overnight. Digital marketing requires time and effort to see positive results.

That's why you need to be consistent in your online strategy.

Most importantly, focus on your customers. Create content that they need, be in social media channels where they are, and hyper-target your audience when investing in paid advertising.

Lastly, analyze how well your online strategies are doing. Are they bringing more traffic? Are you generating leads? Is there an increase in conversion rates?

Understanding what works and what doesn’t will help you fine-tune your strategy and attract the right kind of customers.

P.S. If you mainly use social media for personal use, check out my article on how to use social media responsibly.

P.S.S. For some useful stats you can use, check out my Digital Marketing Statistics article.