By Kara Coleman Fields

Source: U.S. News

IF YOU WANT TO FIND NEW ways to capture consumers’ attention, learning digital marketing might be a good move.

Digital marketing is an umbrella term for the methods businesses use to reach an audience through nontraditional outlets, including through email, a search engine results page or social media. One advantage of digital marketing is that it lets businesses, nonprofits or other organizations pursue the consumers most likely to use their services or buy their products.

“With digital marketing, you can target the exact audience that you want to reach and get detailed metrics on how well your efforts are working, so it can be a lot more effective than older forms of marketing,” says Julia Bocchese, CEO and consultant of Philadelphia-based Julia Renee Consulting.

Businesses can reach consumers through a variety of digital marketing channels. These include search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, video marketing, mobile marketing, affiliate marketing and website/conversion rate marketing.

Digital marketing does not include traditional advertising methods, such as TV, radio, billboards and print ads.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs should learn the basics of digital marketing, even if you outsource those efforts as your business grows. This will help you understand who your customers are, how to reach them and what to expect from various marketing efforts. Professionals in the marketing field who are looking to expand their knowledge may also benefit from this guide.

With multiple free resources available and no formal education required, learning digital marketing is attainable. Start with an overview, such as Google Digital Garage’s free certification course on the fundamentals of digital marketing, before diving deeper into specific disciplines.

Becoming an effective digital marketer involves learning and experimenting with multiple platforms to find the right fit for your industry and strengths. You may never have put together a digital marketing game plan, per se, but if you use search engine optimization to make the most of keywords on your website or social media to engage with consumers, you already have some understanding of digital marketing.

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