Is Digital Marketing Hard? The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Is Digital Marketing Hard

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Table of Contents

Digital marketing is made up of powerful strategies that can be used to grow your business. It allows you to reach out to people in different ways, including social media ads and email campaigns. 

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows – there are plenty of pitfalls for marketers when trying to do digital marketing. This blog post will walk you through the good, the bad, and the ugly side of digital marketing strategies to know what to expect before starting.

Is digital marketing hard?

Digital marketing is a complicated area with a lot of moving parts. But when we break down each component, digital marketing is pretty easy. 

My experience with digital marketing

I never considered myself a fan of traditional marketing strategies until I discovered digital marketing. 

You see, I started my digital marketing career in 1998 by teaching myself web design. 

It was difficult during that time because we had limited resources and had to code everything by hand. Much of the work was done through trial and error as tutorials were hard to come by or cost a small fortune. 

As a high-school janitor who just wanted a better life, learning digital marketing was the obvious choice. 

But as technology progressed, even over the course of a couple of years, digital marketing became much easier. 

And by 2004, WordPress had arrived, allowing us to build websites in minutes instead of weeks. 

And fast-forward to today, digital marketing has never been so easy. We have a wide range of tools for every budget that has reduced the barrier to entry to its lowest point. But it does still require work. 

That means anyone can learn digital marketing and grow an online business – if they’re prepared to put in the work. 

Digital marketing has evolved from a one-way conversation (aka advertising) to a two-way dialogue between company and customer.

There’s no roadmap when it comes to figuring out which channels work best for your particular industry or even what mediums within those channels will be most effective at driving conversions. That means it’s going to take some trial and error.

However, thanks to advanced technology, many marketing automation tools can do the heavy lifting for us. 

What is digital marketing, in a nutshell? 

Digital marketing is the process of reaching out to new and existing customers through different channels, such as social media or email. 

The goal is to generate interest in your products or services and spur them into action – whether that’s signing up for an event, purchasing a product, taking a survey, etc. But it can feel daunting when you first start – so I want to break it down for you.

There are three main types of digital marketing: SEO, SEM, and SMO. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) – is the process of getting traffic from search engines by making sure that your site appears in the top positions when someone does a search related to what you offer. This type of marketing often utilizes social media because people who post content about topics surrounding your company or industry may also be interested in talking with your business directly!

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – occurs on both desktop computers and other mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones through keyword-based ads shown alongside relevant pages on popular sites like Google’s AdWords program. You pay each time someone clicks on your ad.

Social Media Optimization (SMO) – is the process of getting traffic from social media sites based on posts or tweets that are shared about what you offer, like a tweet with a link to an article written by someone in your field. You can also get visitors and potential customers through influencer outreach who share content related to what you do because they have followers interested in it as well.

Search Engine Optimization

The Good:

SEO helps businesses rank higher and be found more easily for relevant keyword searches. SEM drives conversions through cost-effective advertising campaigns. This is the top layer of inbound marketing

The Bad: It can be difficult to measure ROI; it takes time and resources to monitor keywords manually. There are technical complexities that need tweaking periodically. You’re competing with many other companies in your industry who also want their web pages on top of Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages). You may not have enough content or know where to start when optimizing. 

The Ugly: You can’t tell if your SEO efforts are working until months have passed. While it’s the best way to get found in Google, it’s not necessarily the most effective digital marketing technique for turning visitors into customers.

Search Engine Marketing

The good: SEM can get you in front of customers almost immediately. By buying ad placements at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), you can leapfrog over the organic listings. 

The bad: SEM is expensive. Buying ads through the internet can become very costly over time, so it’s best to strategize a budget before investing in a campaign.

The ugly: SEM is difficult to scale. When you invest in SEM, the only way to grow your customer base is by buying more ads or investing in PPC.

Social Media Optimization

The good: Social media is a great way to build your online community and showcase what you have to offer. It’s also free, or at least much cheaper than other digital marketing techniques, because it doesn’t require a lot of up-front investment.

The bad: SMO can be time-consuming and difficult for some businesses to maintain just on their own. You’ll need extra hands in the marketing department if social media is going to work as an important part of your strategy (which it should) or the use of automation tools at the very least. 

The ugly: SMO isn’t always 100% accurate when it comes down to which social network will deliver the best ROI. Focus on one platform first before trying different ones so that you know where all of your efforts are being spent. Not to mention Facebook has been decreasing the organic reach for a while now. 

Digital marketing channels

Digital marketing can be broken down into four main channels: 

Paid advertising – There are many different kinds of paid ads that you might use, depending on your goals–from Facebook Ads to Google AdWords. This approach is great for B-to-C businesses because it’s usually an affordable option with a high level of targeting. But if you’re trying to reach out and engage new customers rather than just selling more products or services, this may not be the best investment for you. 

Earned media – You generate these clicks by producing content that people want to share with others on social media(think video content). The goal here isn’t necessarily traffic; instead, it’s about creating buzz around your company so that people want to follow you on social media. 

Owned media – This is content that your company or organization has created–so it’s the result of a lot more work than earned media, but it can pay off in spades if done right (think webinars). You’ve got control over this platform and what information you share with potential clients. 

Paid advertising – There are many different kinds of paid ads that you might use, depending on your goals–from Facebook Ads to Google AdWords. This approach is great for B-to-C businesses because it’s usually an affordable option with a high level of targeting. But if you’re trying to reach out and engage new customers rather than just selling more products. 

Key elements of a digital marketing campaign

Competitive analysis – know how much work is required for the traffic you want and know your competition’s marketing strategies.

Keyword optimization – use keywords people search for in your market and industry. Build links strategically across websites that already rank well but don’t do anything shady or too aggressive, like purchasing fake backlinks from sketchy sites. 

Content marketing – write articles about your target audience’s problems, or even what you sell on your own, or on other reputable blogs with large audiences, is smart content marketing. 

Social media management – share content related to your business without being overly promotional via social networks, so it reaches new potential customers through Facebook advertising campaigns and influencer outreach who have followers interested in these things as well.

Email marketing – collect a list of prospects for segmented email campaigns based on specific interests. 

Direct response copywriting – use persuasive copy, such as a call-to-action to get visitors on your site, purchase a product, or sign up for something in order to provide them with more information.

Digital marketing; the good, the bad, and the ugly 

The good: Digital marketing is an incredible way of reaching people who are looking for what you have, and businesses that use it properly know they’re giving their customers the best possible experience. 

The bad: Digital marketing can be expensive and produce a low ROI if not handled properly. 

The ugly: It’s difficult to know who’s providing accurate information or know who to take marketing advice from. Anyone can claim to be anything online. 


Much like traditional marketing, there are so many different elements to a digital marketing strategy. 

However, with the use of advanced technology, we can implement powerful strategies like SEO (search engine optimization), content marketing, social media management, email marketing, and direct response copywriting. All of which offer unique benefits when used correctly. 

To learn all of these digital marketing techniques is hard. But focusing on a single area, learning and eventually mastering it, is the way to progress in this industry. 

And the great thing about digital marketing today is that everything can be monitored; your results are easily tracked. And the big secret to becoming a successful digital marketer? Find out what works, and do more of it. 

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