Are you looking to implement digital marketing to acquire more customers, but don’t know which channels to tap on? This article explores 5 important digital marketing channels and offers insights into how you can best leverage them for optimal results in your digital marketing campaigns. 

What Are Digital Marketing Channels?

Digital marketing channels are the touchpoints you have with your target audience. In a digital marketing campaign, these channels are strategically selected to influence prospective customers to engage with your brand and ultimately purchase your products or services. 

In order to effectively shape a customer’s emotions and perceptions about your brand, you’ll first need to understand where your customer is on their journey. This journey is known as the customer journey or user journey, and it can be illustrated using the marketing funnel. 

Laying the foundation – The Marketing Funnel

The marketing funnel is an extremely important concept in marketing that should underlie key marketing decisions. It breaks down the customer journey into 4 main stages – this allows for more efficient planning of channel usage at each stage. Here’s what the marketing funnel looks like:

The customer journey along the marketing funnel.

It’s crucial marketers understand each stage of the funnel so that they use the right digital channels at each stage to move a customer from one stage to the next.    

Stage 1: Awareness

Awareness sets the foundation for the subsequent stages. In this stage, the main objectives are to educate customers and increase brand awareness. 

Stage 2: Consideration

Consideration is where potential customers decide whether or not they require your product or service. Trust building with your customers is very crucial here.

Stage 3: Purchase

At this stage, it’s important to highlight how your product or service is distinctly different from your competitors, to convince customers you are the right choice. 

Stage 4: Advocacy

The last stage is where you should aim to retain and engage customers after successfully converting them. Ensure they have a strong brand recall – the objective is to make them loyal advocates of your brand. Word-of-mouth reviews are powerful. 

Now that you understand the customer journey, it’s now time to understand 5 important digital marketing channels that can move them along their journey. 


Channel 1 – Organic Search 

Example of organic search results on Google’s search engine result page. 

What is Organic Search?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, organic search is the largest source of non-paid website traffic. It is therefore important to leverage it as best you can. After all, as long as you have a website, are on social media or have a business page, you can show up on the organic search – the question is, will it be on page 1 or page 10? 

How does Organic Search Work?

To answer this question, we have to first understand how organic search works – organic search is a tool that connects prospective customers with your company. 

In this day and age, your prospective customers are searching for your product or service or any related information on search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo!. These search engines then answer their query by listing the top ranking websites that have the most relevant information. 

The higher up your website ranks, the more likely you will get clicks, and therefore, your chance of converting potential customers increases. The key to using organic search to boost your business is to apply the right Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques. 

According to an industry study done by ClickFlow and Backlinko, research has shown that the first result on Google gets 31.7% of all clicks, while the second page’s results get a mere 0.78%. 

If you’d like to find out more about SEO, here’s an article that explains what it is and how it works

The Pros and Cons of Organic Search

As with any of the digital marketing tools you’ll encounter in this article, Organic Search has its own set of pros and cons.


       1. Draws Customers With Purchase Intent

When a prospective customer uses a specific keyword to research a product, service, business or query, it signifies a high intention and a need on the customer’s part. Therefore if they encounter your website on the first page of a search engine, these are customers who are more likely to convert on your site.

       2.Good Source of High Traffic Volume

For organic search engines, Google is the number 1 in the world, receiving more than 3.5 billion searches daily. If your website is able to rank on the first page of Google with proper SEO techniques, your business will be able to convert a lot more customers. 

       3. Sustainable

Organic search is a sustainable digital marketing channel to drive non-paid traffic over a long period of time. After all, as long as you have the resources and skills to consistently rank on the first page of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), getting traffic to your website will not be an issue. 

       4. Builds Trust and Industry Authority

Ranking high on the organic search engine results pages demonstrates that you have domain authority, as search engines tend to rank web pages they trust higher. It is also likely that you will be seen as an industry leader, thereby building trust between you and your customers.



       1. Technical Expertise Required

There are hundreds of ranking factors that determine the order of websites that are displayed on the search engine results pages (SERPs). It is therefore not easy to outrank competitors unless there is someone with sound SEO knowledge working to plan and execute on and off-page SEO on a regular basis. 

       2. Time Delay

With the multitude of websites that are on the Internet, it requires time for search engine spiders to crawl through and rank your website. Typically, it takes around 3 to 6 months to see results from SEO. Fortunately, organic traffic from SEO grows over time.

       3. Costly to Maintain

Companies have to spend on resources to create and maintain the quality of their content in a bid to rank and maintain their ranking positions on Google. This includes SEO tool subscriptions, content writers, and even an SEO specialist – this could be in-house, a freelance consultant or an agency. 

       4. The Algorithms are Constantly Updating

Google tweaks its algorithms often. To stay ahead of the competition, you or whoever is handling SEO in your company needs to be aware of the changes and constantly be tweaking keywords, optimising existing content, and thinking of creative and relevant new content. 

When to use Organic Search?

Organic search is best used at all stages of your customer’s journey, particularly the purchase stage, where searchers with high purchase intent are likely to buy something after conducting a search.

Organic Search in Action

To allow better understanding of how organic search might look like for a brand, let’s take a look at Amazon. This long-tail keyword “afterglow wireless headset ps4” is a high purchase intent keyword, and it is imperative that a brand ranks on the first page of Google to increase sales.

How Amazon utilises organic search to rank high on SERP.

Channel 2 – Paid Search 

Example of paid search advertisements appearing on Google’s search engine result page.

What is Paid Search?

You may think of Paid Search as SEO’s cousin. Essentially, paid search is similar to SEO in that it generates high-quality leads and conversions by attracting high intent visitors to your site. Paid search results show up on the top and bottom of SERPs

For most businesses, paid search is one of the most efficient advertising channels because it is great at generating high-quality leads and conversions in a short span of time. 

After all, your prospective customers would only discover your website on a SERP if they searched using a keyword that is related to your product or service. 

How does Paid Search Work?

There is only one payment model that is used with paid search. 

The Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Cost-Per-Click (CPC) model. This model allows advertisers to only be charged when their search advertisements are clicked by someone. 

Screenshot of keywords average cost-per-click from Google Ads.


How high or low you rank on SERP depends on the amount you are willing to pay during the bidding process. Google will recommend a bidding amount, but it’s up to you how high or low you want to pay per click based on that amount. 

Another factor to consider is the quality score on your paid search ad. This is also determined by Google, and it’s based on the expected click-through rate, the ad relevance to your keyword and the landing page experience. 

Ultimately, your bidding amount and quality score combined will determine how high or low your paid search ad appears on SERP. 

The Pros and Cons of Paid Search

As with any of the digital marketing tools you’ll encounter in this article, Paid Search has its own set of pros and cons.


       1. Easier to Get Started than Traditional Advertising

Paid search doesn’t need advertisers to pay a hefty amount of money to advertise, unlike some other forms of digital advertising and legacy advertising that require a five-figure budget just to get started. You decide the amount of money you’re willing to spend per click, and that’s a huge advantage compared to other forms of paid advertising. 

       2. Trackable and Measurable 

Most platforms of paid search advertising provide detailed analytics information of the campaigns. These details may include things like performance based on keywords used, to allow advertisers to understand which keywords work and which don’t. Also, budgets can be tracked as well as other granular data, which ultimately allows you to better understand and therefore improve your existing campaigns or start new ones. 

       3. Speed and Real-Time Amendments 

Getting a digital advertising campaign such as paid search going is significantly more efficient compared to traditional advertising. In traditional advertising, the advertiser and publisher have to undergo a series of checks before the campaign can even start. With digital advertising, it’s just on the marketer to launch and stop a campaign with the click of a button. Besides this, the speed of reaching the top of a search engine results page is exponentially increased compared to SEO.  

       4. Control over Campaigns 

Again, like most digital marketing efforts, paid search campaigns allow audience targeting to allow only specific people to see the ads. For example, some campaigns can solely target women and leave all men out within the target demographic, allowing minimal ad wastage and better budget allocation. 



       1. Technical Expertise Required

Like organic search, there needs to be someone who has platform knowledge and understands how to set up an SEM campaign. The person also needs to have technical expertise like keyword research, data analysis and campaign optimisation. Companies will also need to be kept abreast of the latest updates that paid search platforms will have to maximise budget efficiency. 

       2. Ad Budgets are Finite

After spending the right amount of money, companies may find themselves ranking on the first page of SERP in merely a few hours after the money is spent. However, this is temporary, and once the campaign’s budget is run dry, the ads will be nowhere to be found. This is why it is recommended that SEM and SEO campaigns be run concurrently. 

       3. Costly to Maintain

The demand for keywords in paid search advertising is always rising. However, there are only a finite number of spots available on the first page of SERP. This is inevitably leading to the rise in the cost of paid search advertising. 

       4. Rise of Click-Fraud

Click fraud is when either an individual, generated script or computer program repeatedly clicks on a PPC advertisement, thereby falsely charging the advertiser. This is done by not only competitors, but also publishers and even customers occasionally (although this is not exactly click fraud, but something that only looks like it because a customer falsely clicks on an ad multiple times). 

Fortunately, Google has introduced invalid clicks, through which it identifies fraudulent clocks and deems them invalid, thereby filtering them out. 

When to use Paid Search?

Paid search desires the same outcome as organic search, only the means to get to the first page of SERP differ. Therefore, it’s best used in the  purchase stage of your customer’s journey. 

Paid Search in Action

Looking at Amazon once again, they understand that SEO isn’t the only way to rank high on SERP. They also use paid search to achieve the same results as SEO, only paid search provides results much faster than SEO. 

It should be noted however, that using paid search and organic search in tandem is important, and relying on one solely isn’t the most effective tactic. Let’s take a look at a common long-tail keyword that is searched, “wireless headphones Singapore”. 


How Amazon utilises paid search to rank high on SERP.


It can be seen that Amazon’s paid search ad for a long-tail keyword, ranks them at #2 on SERP. 

Channel 3 – Display Advertising

What is Display Advertising?

Display advertising consists of graphic advertisements that may take the form of text, images, audio, video, flash, banners or any combination of these, that are shown on websites or mobile apps. 

How does Display Advertising Work?

One of the most common platforms that display advertisements can be found on is the Google Display Network. You’ve probably heard of Google display ads – essentially, the Google Display Network is where Google display ads are showcased. 

The Google Display Network is a collection of websites, apps and videos that number over 2 million, making it an extremely popular platform for digital marketers to use. 

If you’re wondering what display ads look like, here are 3:



Example of a display ad on the Google Display Network.


Example of a display ad in the headline format on the Google Display Network.



Example of a display ad within a page on a website.

The Pros and Cons of Display Advertising


       1. Format is Appealing

Advertisers are able to use images, videos and interactive media in display advertising, thereby maximising its appeal to people who are each attracted to various formats. The attractive content that display advertising can produce to garner the attention of prospects is one the biggest advantages of display advertising. 

       2. High Visibility in the Digital Space

The Google Display Network is always expanding, and so are other ad placement platforms. What this means is that there is an increasing number of websites becoming a part of these ad networks, which translates to more opportunities for advertisers to have their ads on relevant websites that would best capture the attention of their target audience.

       3. Easy to Optimise for Better Results

Digital ads are able to leverage machine learning to better optimise campaigns to achieve the marketer’s desired results. For instance, if the campaign’s objective is to reach out to a certain demographic, the algorithm will optimise the campaign to hit that target audience as best it can. 

       4. Easy to Track and Measure

Display advertising, like most digital marketing channels, is able to provide granular data to the campaign manager, thereby allowing him/her to gain the insights necessary to better optimise the campaign and achieve better results. 



       1. Targets Users with Low Intent

Unlike organic search and paid search campaigns where potential users search up your product, display advertising is usually shown to users when they are not looking to view your product or service. Conversions are therefore much lower with display advertising campaigns. 

       2. More Difficult to Control Where Ads Appear

Unlike traditional advertising where the placement of the ad is carefully curated, with display advertising, there is little control over where your ads will pop up on a website or mobile application on a content level. 

For instance, an airline company’s ad may pop up beside news of a tragic plane crash. The airline company would have to do preliminary research to pre-identify websites they want to omit their ad placements, and may overlook some negative placements along the way. Regular tracking and analysis would be required to spot and remove any negative placements via the ad campaign settings.

       3. Technical Expertise Required

The process of setting up, analysing and optimising a display ad campaign requires technical expertise on the advertiser’s part. Once technical expertise is there, however, these processes can be completed in a very short period of time. 

       4. Risk of Ad Fraud

There are many methods that ad fraudsters use to intercept or stop a digital ad from being seen by its target audience. One of the most common methods of interception is to set up bots to manipulate the clicks and impressions an ad gets. What this does is give the campaign manager false information through analytics software that will lead to wrong follow-up actions. 

When to use Display Advertising

Display advertisements may be used at 2 stages of a customer’s journey. First, awareness if the customer hasn’t seen the product before. Second, at the consideration stage if the ad is a retargeted ad to a prospective customer who has visited your site before and is already aware of your product or service.

Display Advertising in Action

To illustrate display ads in each of these 2 stages, let’s use LinkedIn as an example. Here is what one of their ads looks like in the awareness stage:

A LinkedIn display ad at the awareness stage.


At this stage, the call to action is to learn more about the service they are offering. The ad is driving customers to read about how they can get started with the service. This builds interest with the target customer while driving them down the funnel to the consideration stage. 

At the next stage, consideration, their ad looks like this:

A LinkedIn display ad at the consideration stage. 


This ad provides the prospective customer with value by offering them the steps to launch their first ad campaign on LinkedIn. By this time, the customer would already know a little bit about the service LinkedIn is offering if they clicked on LinkedIn’s awareness stage ad. Now, it’s up to LinkedIn to convince their customer that their service will benefit them, in order to drive them to the next stage – purchase. 


Channel 4 – Social Media

What is Social Media?

You’ve probably heard of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are also new platforms like Clubhouse steadily gaining popularity. 

In essence, social media is a computer-based technology that allows users to share information via the networks they have access to on these social media platforms. The medium they use to share information would differ widely, depending on which social media platform they are using. Clubhouse for example is purely an audio platform. 

With social media users numbering 4.2 billion people worldwide at the start of 2021, it’s in the vested interest of brands worldwide to leverage these platforms to market their products.  

How does Social Media Marketing Work?

Marketers should use social media to create unique content that speaks to their target audience. This may come in the form of blog articles, videos, carousel posts and podcasts among many other forms of content. 

Not only this, but brands should engage with their audiences to build rapport and gain mindshare with them. This may be done through answering questions and actively responding to comments with a tone that is aligned to your brand’s persona. 

Social media is also a good place to do advertising. Platforms like Facebook allow you to target your audience demographic, interests and behaviour. 

A Facebook Ad from IKEA. 


A Facebook Ad from NTUC FairPrice.

The Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing


       1. Your Customers Spend Most of their Time Here. 

According to Statista, the daily average social media usage of internet users worldwide is 145 minutes per day as of 2019 and 2020. In addition to this, The Next Web, a technology-focused media company, states that a quarter of social media users between the ages of 16-64 use social media networks to conduct product research online. It can therefore be seen that implementing a strong social media strategy will greatly increase brand awareness. 

       2. Content can be Spread Rapidly

Every post you create that adds value to your audience has an increase in its ability to be shared to their personal networks, thereby increasing your brand awareness amongst people who might’ve previously never heard of your business. 

       3. Tap on Untapped Markets

Your business may see an increase in traffic to your website as social media allows you to target demographics that you might not be able to reach on other digital channels you’re using. This can be done by adjusting your demographic settings when advertising on social media, or creating content that is viral, as mentioned above. 

       4. Connect Directly With Your Audience

When your brand has a persona on social media, this humanises it, especially if you regularly engage in dialogue with your audience. Since people prefer to do business with other people rather than companies, leveraging social media in this manner can potentially lead to higher conversion rates. It’s also important to leverage social media advertising to showcase your brand, its products and services to your audience. Properly crafted and targeted social media ads are a great source of traffic and leads.  



       1. Negative Feedback is Publicly Displayed

If someone had a poor experience with your product or service, they might very well turn to your social media page to write a bad review, or perhaps share it on their own social media page. Since content can be spread rapidly on social media, this might have a severe negative impact on your business. 

       2. Social Media Strategies Require Expertise

Coming up with social media strategies and a content calendar may be overwhelming, as is finding the time to post content, monitor responses and measure the effectiveness of your content and ads on social media platforms. This might mean having to hire a social media manager or an agency to handle this aspect of your business. 

       3. Results Take Time 

To see a positive ROI on your social media strategies, it’ll take time. Efforts need to be sustained over a period of time to determine the effectiveness of a campaign – patience is key. 

       4. Cancel Culture 

Cancel culture is more rampant today than it has ever been. While there are many positive impacts that come about because of it, as a business, you should be acutely aware of the content you put online, as well as how you respond to your audience. 

Case in point:  On International Women’s Day this year, Burger King UK put out a tweet saying “Women belong in the kitchen”. The intent behind the tweet was to raise awareness of the lack of opportunities for women in professional kitchens in the UK. However, an overwhelming group of people took offence to the tweet, leading to Burger King UK deleting their tweet and issuing an apology. 

The aftermath of Burger King UK’s distasteful tweet on International Women’s Day this year. 

When to Use Social Media Marketing

Social media is versatile, in that a variety of content can be created for every stage of your customer’s journey. 

At the awareness stage, original content and posts can be curated to reach audiences who might have no idea about a new product or service you might have. At the consideration stage, ads can be targeted at certain groups of people. 

At the purchase stage, ads targeted at driving a customer to make a purchase can be displayed to them. Also, if customers are satisfied with your product or service, you can encourage them to write a review for you on social media. They may also choose to post about your content independently, thereby giving your company social proof. 

Social Media Marketing in Action

At the awareness stage, you can use social media to promote your organic content, such as blog posts. This allows your customers to understand the value your product or service will provide them. 

Take a look at how Canva promotes their blog posts on their Twitter account:

Canva utilises Twitter to promote their organic blog content.

At the consideration stage, once your customers continue through their journey, they’ll need more information about your product or service that would convince them that it stands out from your competitors’. This is when retargeting ads on a platform like Facebook would come in handy. 

Take a look at how Zapier, a task automation service provider does this:

Zapier uses Facebook ads to retarget their customers at the consideration stage.

If your customers are still on their journey along your marketing funnel up until this point, it’s now time to use social media ads to give your customers an incentive to carry out a purchase. This could come in the form of a promotion to users who have previously interacted with your company on one of its platforms. 

This is an example of how Casetify, a phone case and electronic accessory company uses Instagram ads to target their customers at the purchase stage:

An Instagram ad from Casetify targeting customers at the purchase stage.

Your interaction with your customers shouldn’t end at the purchase stage, as creating loyal customers and brand advocates who will give your brand social proof and word-of-mouth referrals is imperative to roping in new prospects. 

There are a variety of ways brand advocacy campaigns can be carried out on social media. One possible way is to respond actively, perhaps with some humour and wit, wherever a customer tags your brand. This would encourage more people to generate organic content around your business. 

Take a look at how Netflix US does this:

A witty one-liner like this would encourage more people to become advocates of your brand.


Channel 5 – Email

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is using email as a platform to target current or potential customers using a variety of content in an email to send a commercial message. The content in an email marketing campaign might include advertisements, business requests, newsletters, or sales promotions. 

Email marketing is very powerful because it targets people who are on your mailing list – people who have agreed to let your business contact them, making them people with higher intent. Therefore the chance of converting with email marketing is higher than the other digital channels on this list.

How does Email Marketing Work?

One of the fundamental and most crucial steps to take when deciding to push out an email marketing campaign is to ensure your email list is up-to-date and is targeting the right group of people. 

It is also important you are constantly building upon your existing list. An easy way to do this is to add opt-in forms on your website and social media channels. 

Once your list is curated, it’s also imperative that you choose the right email marketing software to segment, send and manage your email campaigns and subscribers. 

Some of the popular email tools include Mailchimp, Sendinblue and HubSpot, just to name a few. 

Other steps in the email marketing campaign process include building responsive-design emails, with formats that cater to the various interfaces people will view the email on. 

These days besides monitors, people use tablets and mobile phones. Crafting the copy, defining campaign goals and monitoring the effectiveness of the email campaign to optimise future ones are also some of the steps that need to be taken. 

The Pros and Cons of Email Marketing


       1. High conversion rates

As mentioned above, email marketing generally has a higher conversion rate compared to the other digital marketing channels on this list due to the fact that your email subscribers generally already trust your brand and have a higher intent than prospects derived from other channels.  

       2. People Check their Emails Daily

Most people access their emails more than once a day, providing ripe opportunities for your business to garner the attention of the people that matter the most – those with high intent. 

       3. Email Marketing Drives Traffic to your Website

Good email marketing incorporates hyperlinks to your website or sales landing pages. This therefore will lead to an increase in site traffic and if your email content is crafted well, leading people to want to take action, this might even lead to customers converting on your site. 

       4. Easy to Track and Manage

With the right email marketing software, measuring the results of your email marketing campaign will be a breeze, allowing you to optimise your future campaigns based on the data collected. 



       1. Might be Treated as Spam

Sometimes, people forget they gave you their email address. This might lead to them marking your email as spam or unsubscribing from your emails. Also, if your email is too pushy and/or doesn’t add value to your subscribers, this might also lead to them unsubscribing. 

       2. Undelivered Messages

There are some internet service providers that filter out emails which use specific keywords that signify a higher likelihood of being spam. There is therefore a chance that your sales jargon may be misconstrued as spam and a portion of your subscribers won’t receive your email. 

       3. UX Differs

Your email might contain large-sized photos or graphics that might not download successfully. This might lead to your subscribers losing interest in your email and unsubscribing. 

       4. Crafting Efficient Campaigns Requires Skill

Good email marketing campaigns are crafted and optimised by people with the right skillets – from design to copywriting and knowledge of how to analyse data and optimise future campaigns or do A/B testing on campaigns. 

When to use Email Marketing

Email marketing campaigns can be used to target customers at the consideration and purchase stages of their journey along your marketing funnel.  

Email Marketing in Action

To generate new subscribers to your email list, consider offering potential customers the option to sign up on your website or through your social media platforms. 

Here’s an example of what this might look like:

Offer users the option to sign up to be a part of your email list on your website.


At the consideration stage, send your subscribers an email that outlines the unique offers you have in store for them. Here’s how Trouva, a marketplace for independent boutiques in the UK, showcases their finds:

At the consideration stage of your customer’s journey, show-off your unique products and services to stave off competition. 

At the purchase stage, send customers an email with an attractive offer that would persuade them to make a purchase on the spot. For instance, use a limited-time free shipping offer:

Persuade your customers to make a purchase by sending them an email with attractive, limited-time offers.


Mastery is Crucial

If you’re a digital marketer navigating the contemporary landscape, it’s well-known in the industry that the word ‘digital’ preceding marketer is becoming increasingly redundant. Being a marketer today requires one to be apt and confident with leveraging organic search, paid search, display advertising, social media and email to drive customers down their marketing funnel. 

If you find that you’re not aware of industry best practices when it comes to using these 5 digital channels, or that you don’t feel as confident as you know you should be when it comes to crafting the best strategies with these 5 digital channels at your disposal, it might be time to upgrade your skills and expand your knowledge with a course. 

At Equinet Academy, we run courses that will set you up for success with the 5 digital channels:

  1. For organic search, consider taking our WSQ Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Certification Course, where you’ll learn how to rank your website on page #1 of Google organically.
  2. When it comes to paid search and display advertising, our NICF WSQ Google Ads Search (SEM) and Display (PPC) Certification Course will make you a Google Ads certified professional.
  3.  For social media and email, our WSQ Social Media Marketing (SMM) Certification Course and Email Marketing Course would be ideal for you to take if you wish to learn the best tools and strategies that are available for you to adopt for future campaigns.


Using these 5 digital marketing channels well and at the right stages along your customer’s journey will see them making a smooth transition from one stage to the next. How well they convert along the way is up to how efficiently and effectively the channels are used. 


In today’s digital world, companies have realised the importance of growing their online presence. To achieve that, many have outsourced their digital marketing strategies to digital agencies in a bid to tap into the skills and experiences of digital marketing specialists.

In order to implement digital marketing strategies successfully, it is crucial for businesses to start with a Digital Marketing Objective and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from the onset. With the formulation of business and marketing goals, companies will then be able to determine if they are headed in the right direction.

What are Digital Marketing Objectives, KPIs, and Metrics?

A digital marketing objective is considered more broad-based than a KPI, for example – Sales. A KPI on the other hand is more specific and follows the SMART principle, for example – to increase sales by 10% by the end of this month. Many marketers use both terms (Objectives and KPIs) interchangeably.

What is a SMART KPI?

One way to evaluate the relevance of a performance indicator is to use the SMART criteria. It is an acronym and it represents Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.


Goal setting has to be specific to ensure that it is easy to communicate and comprehend during team discussions.


By having a measurable goal, it allows you to review whether that goal has been reached.


It is crucial to set a reasonable and realistic target in order not to get demoralised when you fail to achieve it.


To have an impact on the overall performance of an organization, your goal should align with your business objectives.


Goal setting has to be time-constrained, to install a sense of urgency and motivation to achieve the goal.


Metrics are values used by marketers to measure and track the performances of their campaigns. However, it is important to differentiate them from vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are measurable data that look great on paper but do not necessarily make an impact when it comes to fulfilling the campaign objectives. Some examples of metrics include:

  • Registered accounts – A software as a service company can have 10,000 registered accounts, but only 100 active monthly users.
  • Pageviews – If it is a landing page for an ebook download, having 100,000 pageviews will not be relevant if there are only 10 downloads.
  • Number of page likes/follows – The total number of followers a brand has may not be indicative of its success, especially if sales conversion rates are low.

Types of Digital Marketing Objectives


Diagram depicting the 4 different types of Marketing Objectives

Referring to the diagram above, Marketing Objectives can be categorized into the 4 types: Awareness, Interests, Leads and Sales.


Building awareness for a brand requires consistent marketing. Customers are more likely to purchase from brands they are more familiar with. Establishing brand awareness is valuable when promoting a company’s products, especially in the early stages of a business.

A good example is Tim Hortons awareness campaign to promote its Dark Roast. This involved driving around the city of Toronto and offering Canadians a place to cozy up with a warm drink in the winter. During the bus ride, people were able to sip on the cups of coffee, relax, and give testimonials on the new dark coffee drink.


It is important to produce content that appeals to your website visitors if you want them to spend a longer time and stay engaged. The more relevant, interesting, beneficial your content is, the more interest your website visitors will show.
There are various ways website visitors show their interest such as, signing for an account, registering for a free email newsletter, or finding the address of the store location.


Leads can be viewed as the stage before the completion or transaction of the sale. However, the type of leads may vary for different companies and industries.
For a restaurant, the leads could be reservations made online or through phone booking, whereas for an interior designer, the leads could be contact form enquiries.


Businesses with an e-commerce platform can define online purchases as a sales objective. Sales are the proceeds a company generates from selling products and services. It contributes directly to the revenue of the business.

With the type of objectives defined, a business then needs to align the goals with the relevant KPIs.

Importance of Aligning KPIs and Metrics With Marketing Objectives

To measure business performances more effectively, the marketing team needs to ensure that the marketing objectives of the company have to be aligned with relevant KPIs and the right metrics. This is an effective way to gauge the health of a business – by accurately and efficiently managing the agreed-upon targets and goals.

A negative example of this would be setting social media post likes as KPIs for a sales objective, as achieving likes would not directly benefit the company in terms of revenue.


Diagram depicting the relationship of Objectives, KPIs and Metrics

Referring to the diagram above, Marketing Objective can be seen as setting a clear course for the team members of the company to follow.

A KPI is an alignment value to the objectives set. It helps in tracking the progress in achieving a specific goal. As for the Metrics, it is considered a performance value that directly impacts KPI.

From the relationship represented, we can derive the 3 marketing objective models, specifically; Traffic, Leads and Sales models.

Traffic Model


Diagram depicting the various constituents of the Traffic Model

In the above example, assuming a company sets its Marketing Objective as website traffic (sessions) and is targeting 10,000 website visits per month. The KPIs are split into both paid and non-paid sessions. Paid sessions are when your users click through to the website via paid ads.

By utilizing web analytics, a company can use historical data from the previous year to know how many non-paid sessions the business has. Hence, by leveraging on the data derived, it is possible to forecast the number of paid sessions that are needed to attain the desired Marketing Objective.

Consider Drop-Offs

There are times when website visitors do not act according to expectations. You set out for the visitors to complete a certain desired action but they might not complete the intended visitor’s journey of the website. This causes a drop-off in the user’s actions.

As a result, the marketer needs to have an effective strategy to generate more clicks to compensate for the drop-off rate. For example, if the marketer is looking for 100 paid sessions, with an estimation of 20% drop off rate, there will be a need of 125 clicks.

By having different paid initiatives like Google or Facebook advertisements, it will help to achieve the required additional clicks. However, if the marketer aims to target more non-paid sessions, then there is a need to focus on areas relating to search engine optimization (SEO) or partnerships with other websites through acquiring referring hyperlinks (backlinks) from them.

Leads Model


Diagram depicting the various constituents of the Leads Model

Taking an example of an air-con servicing business, the KPIs can be subdivided into both online bookings and Online to offline. An online booking is usually leads coming from a website through an enquiry form, whereas some prospects would prefer calling in for more immediate attention.

It is necessary to verify whether the calls-in are leads generated by digital marketing efforts. If it is an existing customer, then it will be disregarded as an online lead.

The Leads from the online bookings are subdivided into 2 metrics; sessions and conversion rate. Sessions, which are also known as web traffic, is a common way to measure online business effectiveness at attracting an audience. More sessions will also directly impact the number of enquiries made through calls.

As for the conversion rate, it is the percentage of visitors coming to your website or landing page that converts. It could be in the form of:

  • Making a purchase
  • Submitting a form
  • Engaging with your online chat
  • Signing up for a subscription
  • Download items like eBook, software trial or mobile app

Sales Model


Diagram depicting the various constituents of the Sales Model

Many businesses tend to base their marketing objectives on revenue. Referring to the diagram above, the multiplication of both Sales transactions and Average order value (AOV) will directly contribute to the marketing objective of achieving $1 million in 2020. AOV is especially important in e-commerce enterprises.

What is Average Order Value and how is it calculated?

Average Order Value is the average amount spent by customers on making online purchases. It is calculated by dividing the total revenue generated in a specified period by the total number of customer orders. For example, if an e-commerce retailer generated revenue of $100,000 in Feb 2019 with a total number of 1,000 purchase orders, the AOV for Feb 2019 would be $100. The formula as shown:

AOV = Total Revenue / Number of Orders Taken

Making Sound Judgements through Customer’s Insights

Imagine a case scenario of an online clothing shop that retails 4 blouses each priced at $15, $20, $25 and $30. After factoring in the sales revenue and number of orders, the AOV works out to be $22. You can deduce that:

  • The sale of the lesser-priced blouses represents the major portion of the revenue.
  • Most of the online customers are not buying more than 1 blouse in a single order.

Techniques to Improve the AOV

To encourage online customers to purchase more than 1 item in a single transaction, you can implement these techniques as outlined below to improve the AOV.


Upselling encourages customers to purchase a more expensive item. An example would be a customer going to a hotel’s website to book a standard room. However, he may have chanced upon a good promotion and went ahead to book a higher-end suite instead.


Cross-selling is a method used to encourage customers to add products that are complementary to the originally purchased item. Going by the same example, right before the customer completes the hotel booking; he may have seen an amazing deal on a spa package and added it to the transaction as well.

Ending Thoughts

Ultimately, if a business has a clear understanding of what their objectives are, it will be possible to align them to the relevant KPIs and metrics. This will not only let you know how your efforts are paying off but how you can further improve on them in the long term.

Learn how to research, craft, implement and evaluate a digital marketing plan. Gain a comprehensive overview of the most current digital marketing strategies, frameworks, and methodologies practiced by digital marketing industry experts via a 2-day interactive Digital Marketing Strategy workshop. Takeaway a toolkit of templates, checklists, cheatsheets, and e-guides to assist in the development and implementation of an effective digital marketing strategy.



Digital Marketing Tools an extensive list

Digital Marketing Tools Cover Image

Whether you’re running a social media marketing, email marketing, or any digital marketing campaign, it’s always handy to have a couple of ready-to-use tools in your arsenal.

This extensive list includes more than two hundred digital marketing tools, software, and platforms that can boost your productivity and marketing ROI.

We’re constantly adding new tools to this list. If you have digital marketing tools to suggest, drop us a comment below.

Categories range from search engine optimisation, digital analytics, to social media, marketing automation, and many more.

Filter by:

Name of ToolShort DescriptionCategory

AB Tasty
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Act-on (Email Marketing)Email Marketing
Act-on (Marketing Automation)Marketing Automation
ActiveCampaign (Email Marketing)Email Marketing
ActiveCampaign (Marketing Automation)Marketing Automation
ActiveTrail (Email MarketingEmail Marketing
ActiveTrail (Marketing AutomationMarketing Automation
Ad Text GeneratorDigital Advertising
Adobe Advertising Cloud (Formerly Adobe Media Optimizer)Digital Advertising
Adobe AnalyticsDigital Analytics
Adobe SparkContent Marketing
AdrollDigital Advertising
Adwords Bid ToolDigital Advertising
AdwordsRobotDigital Advertising
Agency Analytics (SEO)Search Engine Optimisation
Agency Analytics (Social Media Analytics)Social Media
Agora PulseSocial Media
AhrefsSearch Engine Optimisation
AMZ TrackerSearch Engine Optimisation
Answerthepublic (SEO)Search Engine Optimisation
AnyleadsEmail Marketing
Atomic AllyContent Marketing
Audiense (formerly SocialBro)Social Media
Authority LabsSearch Engine Optimisation
AuthoritySpySocial Media
AWeberEmail Marketing
BabbleHubSocial Media
BannerSnackDigital Advertising
Beam Us UpSearch Engine Optimisation
BenchMarkEmail Marketing
BombbombEmail Marketing
Brand24Social Media
BrandverityDigital Advertising
BrightLocalSearch Engine Optimisation
BROWSEOSearch Engine Optimisation
BufferSocial Media
Buzzstream (Content Marketing)Content Marketing
Buzzstream (Digital PR)Digital PR
Buzzstream (SEO)Search Engine Optimisation
BuzzsumoContent Marketing
CakemailEmail Marketing
CampaignerEmail Marketing
CanIRankSearch Engine Optimisation
CanvaContent Marketing
ChartBeat (Content Marketing)Content Marketing
ChartBeat (Digital Analytics)Digital Analytics
Check My LinksSearch Engine Optimisation
Chrome DevToolsSearch Engine Optimisation
Citation Labs' Broken Link FinderSearch Engine Optimisation
Citation Labs' Link ProspectorSearch Engine Optimisation
ClickableDigital Advertising
ClicktaleDigital Analytics
CloudAppContent Marketing
CognitiveSEOSearch Engine Optimisation
Constant ContactEmail Marketing
ContentbirdContent Marketing
ConvertKitEmail Marketing
CORASearch Engine Optimisation
CoScheduleContent Marketing
CPC ROI CalculatorDigital Advertising
Crazy EggDigital Analytics
CrowdbabbleSocial Media
CrowdboosterDigital PR
CrowdfireSocial Media
CurataContent Marketing
CyfeDigital Analytics
DataboxDigital Analytics
DecibelDigital Analytics
DIBZSearch Engine Optimisation
disavow.itSearch Engine Optimisation
Display Ad BuilderDigital Advertising
Domain Hunter PlusSearch Engine Optimisation
DripMarketing Automation
DrumUp (Content MarketingContent Marketing
DrumUp (Social Media MarketingSocial Media
E-goiMarketing Automation
eClincherSocial Media
EloquaMarketing Automation
EmmaEmail Marketing
EthnioUser Experience
EverypostSocial Media
Falcon.ioSocial Media
Fanpage KarmaSocial Media
Fat RankSearch Engine Optimisation
FlashissueEmail Marketing
FlipboardContent Marketing
FollowerwonkSocial Media
ForecheckSearch Engine Optimisation
FormisimoConversion Rate Optimisation
Free Broken Link CheckerSearch Engine Optimisation
FreshmailEmail Marketing
Friends+MeSocial Media
FunnelyticsDigital Marketing
GeckoboardDigital Analytics
GeorankerSearch Engine Optimisation
Getresponse (Email Marketing)Email Marketing
Getresponse (Marketing Automation)Marketing Automation
GIMPContent Marketing
Google AnalyticsDigital Analytics
Google Analytics 360 SuiteDigital Analytics
Google Search ConsoleSearch Engine Optimisation
Google TrendsDigital Analytics
GoSquaredDigital Analytics
Grin.coSocial Media
GroupHighSocial Media
GTMetrixSearch Engine Optimisation
HatchbuckMarketing Automation
Headline AnalyzerContent Marketing
HEADMaster SEOSearch Engine Optimisation
HootsuiteSocial Media
HotjarConversion Rate Optimisation
Hreflang Tags Generator ToolSearch Engine Optimisation
Hunter.ioSearch Engine Optimisation
IconosquareSocial Media
iContactEmail Marketing
IFTTTSocial Media
Ignition OneDigital Analytics
Ignition OneDigital Analytics
iMailCampaignMarketing Automation
ImprovelyDigital Analytics
Infogr.amContent Marketing
InfusionsoftMarketing Automation
InspectletDigital Analytics
Instagram for BusinessSocial Media
InstapageLanding Page
IridionConversion Rate Optimisation
JustReachOutDigital PR
KapostContent Marketing
Keep-alive validation SEO ToolSearch Engine Optimisation
KenshooDigital Advertising
KeyholeSocial Media
Keys4UpSearch Engine Optimisation
KeywordditSearch Engine Optimisation
Keywords EverywhereSearch Engine Optimisation
Keywordtool.ioSearch Engine Optimisation
Kissmetrics (Digital Analytics)Digital Analytics
Kissmetrics (Marketing Automation)Marketing Automation
KlearSocial Media
KWFinderSearch Engine Optimisation
Landscape by SproutSocial Media
LaterSocial Media
LeadformlyLanding Page

LeadGen App
Landing Page
LeadPagesLanding Page
Likeable HubSocial Media
LinkMinerSearch Engine Optimisation
LinkodySearch Engine Optimisation
Lipperhey (previously Linkstant)Search Engine Optimisation
LithiumSocial Media
LithiumSocial Media
LitmusEmail Marketing
LocalyticsDigital Analytics
Long Tail ProSearch Engine Optimisation
Loop11User Experience
LuckyOrange (Conversion Rate Optimisation)Conversion Rate Optimisation
LuckyOrange (Digital Analytics)Digital Analytics
Lumen5Social Media
Mad MimiEmail Marketing
Magento Business Intelligence Pro (formerly RJMetrics)Digital Analytics
Mailchimp (Email Marketing)Email Marketing
Mailchimp (Marketing Automation)Marketing Automation
MailerliteEmail Marketing
MailjetEmail Marketing
MailshakeEmail Marketing
MajesticSearch Engine Optimisation
MarketMuseContent Marketing
MarketoMarketing Automation
Matomo (Conversion Rate Optimisation)Conversion Rate Optimisation
Matomo (Digital Analytics)Digital Analytics
MavSocialSocial Media
MeetEdgarSocial Media
MeltwaterDigital Analytics
MentionSocial Media
MixpanelDigital Analytics
Mobile-Friendly TestSearch Engine Optimisation
Monitor BacklinksSearch Engine Optimisation
MonsterInsightsDigital Analytics
MoonsearchSearch Engine Optimisation
MouseflowConversion Rate Optimisation
MozSearch Engine Optimisation
Muck RackDigital PR
Netpeak SoftwareSearch Engine Optimisation
NinjaOutreachSocial Media
NUVISocial Media
Odoo AdspikeDigital Advertising
OktopostSocial Media
OmnisendMarketing Automation
OncrawlMarketing Automation
OntraportSearch Engine Optimisation
Open SEO Stats(Formerly: PageRank Status)Search Engine Optimisation
OpenlinkprofilerSearch Engine Optimisation
OptimizelyConversion Rate Optimisation
OptinMonsterConversion Rate Optimisation
Oracle MaxymiserConversion Rate Optimisation
OwlerDigital Analytics
PagemodoSocial Media
PageSpeed InsightsSearch Engine Optimisation
Panguin ToolSearch Engine Optimisation
Paper.liContent Marketing
PiktochartContent Marketing
PingdomDigital Analytics
PitchboxContent Marketing
Portents SERP Preview ToolSearch Engine Optimisation
Post PlannerSocial Media
PowtoonContent Marketing
ProofSourceConversion Rate Optimisation
PTEngineDigital Analytics
PutsmailEmail Marketing
Pyramid AnalyticsDigital Analytics
QuestionDBSearch Engine Optimisation
Reach MailEmail Marketing
Responsive Design CheckerSearch Engine Optimisation
RetargeterDigital Advertising
Rival IQSocial Media
RmoovSearch Engine Optimisation
Robots.txt GeneratorSearch Engine Optimisation
SalesForceMarketing Automation
Scoop.itContent Marketing
Screaming FrogSearch Engine Optimisation
Search Ads 360Digital Advertising
Search Analytics for SheetsSearch Engine Optimisation
SECockpitSearch Engine Optimisation
Seed KeywordsSearch Engine Optimisation
Semrush (Digital Advertising)Digital Advertising
Semrush (Search Engine Optimisation)Search Engine Optimisation
SendibleSocial Media
SendloopEmail Marketing
SendyEmail Marketing
SentiOneSocial Media
SEO HeroSearch Engine Optimisation
SEO MonitorSearch Engine Optimisation
SEO Tools for ExcelSearch Engine Optimisation
SEO Web Page AnalyzerSearch Engine Optimisation
SeobilitySearch Engine Optimisation
SEOQuakeSearch Engine Optimisation
SERProbotSearch Engine Optimisation
SerpstatSearch Engine Optimisation
SimilarwebDigital Analytics
Simpli.fiDigital Advertising
SisenseDigital Analytics
SitelinerSearch Engine Optimisation
SizmekDigital Advertising
Smush Image Compression and OptimisationSearch Engine Optimisation
Email OctopusEmail Marketing
Social BladeSocial Media
Social HubSocial Media
Social OomphSocial Media
Social PilotSocial Media
Social RankSocial Media
SocialbakerSocial Media
SocialBeeSocial Media
SocialflowSocial Media
SpredfastSocial Media
SprinklrSocial Media
Sprout SocialSocial Media
SpyFuDigital Advertising
SpyFu KombatSearch Engine Optimisation
Structured Data Markup HelperSearch Engine Optimisation
SurveyMonkeyDigital Analytics
TagboardSocial Media
TailwindSocial Media
Talk WalkerSocial Media
ToutAppEmail Marketing
TraackrSocial Media
TrapitSocial Media
Trellian Keyword DiscoverySearch Engine Optimisation
TrendspottrSocial Media
Tube BuddySocial Media
TweepiSocial Media
TweetdeckSocial Media
UberflipContent Marketing
UbersuggestSearch Engine Optimisation
UnbounceConversion Rate Optimisation
UpcityDigital Marketing
UsabilityHubUser Experience
User TestingUser Experience
Vertical ResponseEmail Marketing
VidIQSocial Media
VisageContent Marketing
Visual Website Optimizer (VWO)Conversion Rate Optimisation
Visual.lyContent Marketing
Web CEOSearch Engine Optimisation
WebEngageMarketing Automation
Website Penalty IndicatorSearch Engine Optimisation
Where Goes?Search Engine Optimisation
WhitesparkSearch Engine Optimisation
WincherSearch Engine Optimisation
WishpondMarketing Automation
Wondersear.chSearch Engine Optimisation
WooboxContent Marketing
WoopraDigital Analytics
WoorankSearch Engine Optimisation
WordPress.orgLanding Page
Wordstream Free Keyword ToolsDigital Advertising
WordtrackerSearch Engine Optimisation
WyngContent Marketing
YeswareEmail Marketing
Yoast SEOSearch Engine Optimisation
YorocketSearch Engine Optimisation
ZapierDigital Marketing
ZohoEmail Marketing

Digital Marketing is an incredibly diverse field and with that comes an equally diverse range of tools to match.

While there is no shortage of tools for every niche, it can be quite exhausting wading through so much information and trying to determine if a tool can fulfil what you need.

We will continue updating this page regularly with new tools and links to reviews so be sure to bookmark and check back from time to time! We also cover some of these tools hands-on in our digital marketing courses.

Frankly, there is no end to this list because there are new tools being launched every day. Do bookmark this page and check back regularly as we will be adding new tools every now and then.

If we have missed out on your favourite tool, drop a comment below and we’ll add it in!

Digital devices

Today’s consumers are increasingly “digital”, with an 85 percent smartphone adoption rate in Singapore – Google, The Consumer Barometer, and Singaporean consumers spending an average of 12hr 42 min on digital devices.

Shifting the focus to the digital customer and creating a seamless digital customer experience is the key piece of the puzzle for organisations embracing digital marketing transformation.

What is Digital Marketing Transformation?

The Altimeter Group defines digital transformation as “The re-alignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle”.

In a survey conducted by the Altimeter Group, 88% of organisations indicated that they were undergoing digital transformation efforts. Yet, only 25% had mapped out a digital customer journey and have a clear understanding of new digital touch points.

This reveals a lack of fundamental understanding on the objective of digital transformation and a gap in the implementation of the process in many organisations.

What about digital marketing transformation – a subset of digital transformation?

I-Scoop defines digital marketing transformation as “The transformation of the connected marketing function and operations for a channel-agnostic customer journey with ever more digital touch points.”

Basically, it is the shift of culture, processes, and focus of marketing departments from a traditional marketing approach to a more customer-centric and technology-enabled (e.g. digital and data-driven) marketing modus operandi.

The digital customer isn’t concerned whether he interacts with your brand digitally or non-digitally. He cares more about his experience with your brand – whether it’s a positive or negative one. Incidentally, for most of his buying journey he is interacting with your brand via digital channels or touch points.

From conducting research on your industry’s products and services on Google, selectively browsing content on your website, to following your social media page and searching for reviews of your business online, he is the captain of his buying journey.

How Can Companies Transform Their Marketing Departments?

In order for marketing departments to transform for a channel-agnostic customer journey with ever increasing digital touch points, the following challenges need to be overcome:

Getting C-level buy-in:

Are marketing personnel able to get C-level Executives to give the go-ahead in formulating the change required? Can C-level Executives envision the potential returns on investments in digital technology, platforms, channels, and people?

Marketing automation for example, powers revenue performance management. RPM, enabled by marketing automation, allows for lower cost of customer acquisition, more predictable sales forecasts, and increased ROI due to shorter and faster sales cycles and higher than average product pricings.

Here are some of angles of approaches to increase your chances of getting C-level buy-in:

  • Present how you are going to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns and benchmark them against other business units within your organisation and industry standards. It would be advantageous if you had already run micro campaigns and have some data to back up your plans.
  • Offer competitive insights and emphasise how your competitors are going to have first-mover advantage if you don’t start adopting backbone digital marketing solutions.
  • Illustrate the benefits of doing digital marketing such as improved productivity and anticipated cost savings. For example, traditional media buying of ad space is no longer considered productive since programmatic advertising and real-time bidding were introduced.

Integrating marketing and operations:

Can marketing departments collaborate with sales and operations departments to map out the digital customer journey and ensure a more connected, seamless customer experience?

One of the benefits of this integration is delineated marketing and sales funnels which boosts audience engagement and fosters strong brand relationships. 

Closing the digital skills gap:

Do marketing personnel possess general knowledge on various digital marketing disciplines? Do they specialise in any digital marketing disciplines? A digital marketing proficiency survey conducted by Equinet Academy and Cooler Insights revealed that more than 50% of Marketing Executives are not confident in developing a digital marketing strategy.

To alleviate this issue, HR teams can scout for digital marketing courses for junior to mid-level marketing managers and executives to attend. Topics range from search engine optimisation, digital marketing strategy, to content marketing. These courses can help marketing teams better align their marketing strategy across various departments, improve their communication with their digital marketing agencies, and make better use of their marketing budgets.

Establishing new digital marketing roles:

Are there sufficient digitally-skilled marketing personnel to head and execute specific digital marketing campaigns? Is outsourcing to external digital marketing agencies always the right solution?

There are roles which are more suitable in-house and functions that make more sense when outsourced, depending on the size and scale of the company. For example, it can cost anywhere from $2600 to hire a university fresh graduate for a digital marketing executive role. Multiply that by approximately 6 months + on-the-job and external training costs before she gains the competency required to perform as well as an experienced digital marketing campaign manager from a reputable digital marketing agency, and you may find that it can cost you more than outsourcing the job.

Organisations undergoing digital marketing transformation should establish these emerging roles within their core teams:

  • Content Marketing Strategist
  • Digital Advertising Campaign Manager
  • Full-Stack Developer
  • Search Engine Optimisation Specialist
  • Marketing Automation Specialist
  • Data Scientist 

Inaugurating a culture of digital optimization (agile marketing):

Are there internal frameworks and workflows in place to govern a continuous optimisation process that constantly measures and improves the performance of marketing campaigns?

These frameworks and processes are typically overseen by CMOs but should involve the role of the CIO as well. Think of it as an innovative partnership between the CMO and CIO.

Adopting cornerstone digital technology:

Have organisations integrated backbone digital technology (e.g. marketing automation software, marketing analytics software) that contribute towards enhancing productivity and maximising returns?

Developing and executing “always on” digital marketing campaigns:

Are there sufficient skilled marketing personnel to create and run continuous branding and awareness, engagement, acquisition, and post-acquisition campaigns in a world where consumers are actively researching and consuming information on-the-go?

Such as:

  • Optimising and maintaining a website’s rankings on the search engines to convert search users with buying intent into paying customers
  • Monitoring brand mentions via web and social media monitoring tools in order to efficiently respond and engage with brand advocates and vice versa
  • Setting up lead nurturing campaigns that trigger marketing messages via email, mobile, and display ads to capture customers at the right moment

Reshaping thinking towards a customer-centric approach:

In a digital-enabled world where consumers hold all the power, have marketing teams shaped their strategies and tactical campaigns around their customer personas and customer journey maps? Is the ultimate goal for a seamless end-to-end customer experience and digital customer experience the driving force behind all marketing initiatives?

To Summarise

Your customers are already digital and they expect a seamless customer experience whether digital, offline, or both. As such, one of the main focuses of digital marketing transformation is to evangelise new customer centric thinking. To support this focal point, organisations have to establish a culture of digitalisation, de-silo business departments, and adopt backbone digital technology among other challenges.

Digital marketing transformation is inevitable, as organisations continue to adopt new backbone digital marketing solutions to stay competitive. The key is to accelerate this process and gain first-mover advantage in order to capture the significant market share portion in this digital economy.

Not sure where to start? Check out our course selection diagnostic tool now. Complete a 3-question survey and determine a suitable digital marketing course for your needs.


Further reading:

Sign up for a course:

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is intent-based advertising that can help advertisers gain high quality traffic to their websites.

Unlike Search Engine Optimisation which focuses on increasing your organic search rankings on search engines like Google and Bing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), on the other hand, requires you to pay to play on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This is why SEM is also commonly referred to as Paid Search.

Organic vs paid search results

Pay to play?

Paid Search relies on an auction model to decide which advertisers stand a chance to show their ads on SERPs, and also the ranking order in which their ads appear. To participate in the auction, advertisers key in a Cost-Per-Click bid, an amount they are willing to part with when searchers click on their ads. This is also the reason why you would’ve also heard terms such as “buying keywords”, “bidding for keywords”, or “Pay Per Click (PPC)” being thrown around when discussing about SEM campaigns in general.

In order for ads to show on the SERPs, advertisers must enter the following into a Paid Search platform such as Google Ads (formerly also known as Google AdWords):
1) Keywords
2) Ad Copy
3) Landing Page
4) Maximum Cost-Per-Click Bid

Infographic to show relationship between advertisers and consumers

The SEM auction

The two main components that most major Paid Search platforms take into consideration at the time of the ad auction are your Maximum Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Bid, and a Quality Score factor. (more on what Quality Score is in just a bit) In the following scenarios, we’ll examine what happens in the absence of a Quality Score factor, and how a Paid Search platform such as Google Ads takes these two components will be multiplied to form an equation called Ad Rank :

1) Scenario #1: Paid Search auctions are based purely on Max CPC Bids advertisers are willing to pay, WITHOUT taking the Quality Score into consideration.

keyword bidding process illustration

Result: Advertisers will be purely ranked on the SERP according to who can pay the highest dollar.

Possible Outcomes:
i) Advertisers with the most financial muscle can manipulate and dominate ALL search queries, whether relevant or irrelevant to their business
ii) Searchers will be frustrated as the SERPs will turn into a “spam”- like environment where results are not closely related to their search intent

2) Scenario #2: Paid Search auctions are based on Ad Rank, taking both Max CPC Bids and Quality Score into account.

Infographic on auction taking into account of quality score as well, reshuffling the order of the advertisers

Result: Ad Rank ensures that the auction creates a fair and optimised experience for searchers through the use of a Quality Score factor as a multiplier. (We’re leading up to what makes up a Quality Score in just a bit, bear with me!)

Outcome: While advertisers who have deep pockets will still have an upside against advertisers by keying in higher Max CPC bids, with Quality Score coming into play, smart advertisers can still stand a fighting chance by maximising their Quality Score to achieve a higher Ad Rank and ad position.

Components of the Quality Score

We all want to be that smart advertiser that pays less but ranks on a higher position. To do that, it is important to understand what makes up the Quality Score to make your advertising dollars work harder for you.

i) Landing Page Experience

Does your landing page content resonate with the searcher’s query, and the ad copy that was shown to them?

is the landing page relevant to the search query?

ii) Ad Relevance

Does your ad copy resonate with the searcher’s query? Have you included a Call-to-Action (Sign up, Learn more, Download now. etc) in your ad copy to encourage clickthroughs?

example of a call to action shown in an serp

iii) Expected Clickthrough Rate

Google Ads takes into account how well your keyword has performed in the past, based on your ad’s position. Note that this is a prediction based on what Google sees in your account and across all advertisers so you do not have much control over this, but rather, take this as a signal to help you assess whether your keywords lack relevancy or specificity.

example of clickthrough rate

Keyword Research and Targeting

Last but not least, similar to SEO, keyword research is a key determinant of your success with SEM campaigns. Your ads will have limited visibility if you are too conservative with your keyword targeting. Conversely, you could start racking up high advertising costs without seeing any tangible results if you’re too liberal with the keywords you bid for.

The most important thing when you decide if a keyword is worth bidding for on Paid Search is intent.

Intent is when someone is searching for midnight food options when they’re up watching the World Cup, or when someone has car troubles and needs a reliable workshop to have a look. Intents are business opportunities.

Getting Started with SEM

If you’ve reached this part of the article, you would have attained a basic understanding of how SEM works. To gain an overview of what else you need to take note of for SEM, Google has produced a series of bite-sized videos for your viewing.

If you’re not sure where to start on researching and building your keywords list, here are some keyword research and analysis tips from the pros. We understand that self-learning is not for everyone – if you’d prefer a guided and structured method of learning, do check out our 2-Day instructor-led Google AdWords Fundamentals Certification Course *. Not only do we help prepare you for the Fundamentals Certificate Examination*, our instructors also impart real-world best practices, tips, and share stories of their own experiences.

*To become AdWords certified, you need to pass the AdWords Fundamentals assessment and one of the additional advertising assessments that are available through Academy for Ads. The additional assessments are Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Video Advertising, and Shopping Advertising. For more information, visit here.


In line with our vision to equip every digital marketer with the job-related skills sets they need to succeed, Equinet Academy partnered with CoolerInsights to conduct a survey of 200 respondents that endeavours to understand the current proficiency level of digital marketers in Singapore.

In the past few years, Digital Marketing has become fast-paced and hyper competitive. We found that while more organisations and brands are embracing the digital transformation process, there are still significant skill gaps to overcome. New digital marketers, or those transitioning from traditional marketing, often do not recognise the complexity of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

The full infographic can be found at the end of this article. The survey is intended as a preliminary study, and may not be not conclusive.

Here is a summary of our key findings.

52.4% of respondents are the sole digital marketer in their company/department.

digital marketing survey proficiency statistic singapore 2018

When it comes to being a one-man show, your 100% is divided between many channels and that doesn’t always translate to good results. Businesses need to adopt a systematic approach to create a sustainable long-term strategy for their digital growth. Digital Marketing is more than just having a presence on Facebook, or a company website. While social media may make for quick, easy, and free engagement with your community, it takes more to make your customers remember you.

There are multiple channels out there, all of which can synergistically generate increased business for your organisation. While not all channels may be suitable for your industry, even expanding to one additional channel can work wonders. For example, a fashion brand can tap on the visual nature of Instagram to attract sign-ups to their weekly email subscription (marketing automation), where they can send promotions and content.

55% of respondents are not working with any digital marketing agency.

brand and digital marketing agency collaboration

Why is this a big deal?

Referring back to the previous point, over half of the marketers surveyed are the sole digital fighter in their department. With more brands shifting their advertising budget to digital channels, it is important to know how to allocate your budget wisely instead of blindly splashing it on the keywords with the largest search volume. A good agency can help to fine-tune and optimise your campaign results, generating more bang for your buck.

If you are considering working with a digital marketing agency, or are curious about what one should considering before hiring an agency, take a look at our Comprehensive Guide To Choosing A Digital Marketing Agency. We are also curating a list of agencies that walk the talk – just click on this link here to check them out.

If you are an agency and wish to submit your listing, submit your entry here for a quality review.

30% do not have a monthly budget

survey infographic monthly marketing budget

Paid advertisements are a fast way to gain traffic, conversions, and sales. As the adage goes, “it takes money to make money”.

Not having a monthly budget can mean two things: they either don’t have a fixed amount to spend and/or don’t track their budgets, or that they don’t do paid advertisements at all.

While there is no universal rulebook to setting PPC budgets or SEM campaigns, many in the industry would agree that tracking the budget is a good idea as it prevents you from overspending and allows for better calculation of returns on investment (ROI). Furthermore, tracking and analysing your results would allow you to better justify the budget to your boss and let him know if you need more help to hit your KPIs.

There is a lack of structure in place.

empty office

Some companies are still wondering “what is this digital thing?”. In many organisations, marketers merely take a digital role such as managing the Facebook Page, on top of their traditional marketing duties. They may hire an agency to take care of their digital growth.

Sometimes, they may not know what they want or are not able to set concrete digital marketing growth KPIs. For example, a food delivery start-up wants to increase brand awareness. Neglecting to set a timeline and budget would hinder the efficiency of their campaigns, as those are important variables for choosing the suitable growth tactics.

Walter Lim, Social Media Marketing Trainer at Equinet Academy and Founder of CoolerInsights, said “Digital Marketing literacy is generally low, and even if companies choose to work with an agency to better boost their digital growth, there may still be a chance of them getting misled. Therefore, it is always wise for companies to educate themselves first by taking digital marketing courses, so that they are able to better express what they expect from the agencies, should they choose to hire one.”

To add on to this issue, the industry is rapidly evolving and tertiary schools are not keeping up with it fast enough. Interviews with graduates from 10 different Singapore-based tertiary institutions highlighted that the digital marketing curriculum and courseware were partially outdated and very theory-based.

50% are not confident in developing and executing a digital marketing campaign, however, 62% are confident in leading a digital marketing team. Why the disparity?

digital marketing strategy planning

Perhaps the 62% of respondents felt that being familiar with the technicalities and hands-on responsibilities are unimportant when taking on a leadership role. It is not uncommon to assume that a leadership role only requires them to do overall planning and strategising.

However, it is important for a digital marketing team leader to know how things work. He or she may not have to do the ground work, but knowing how various digital marketing tools work together, or the difference between custom audiences and lookalike audiences, or how to review performance and allocate the advertising budget accordingly, makes it easier to guide the team members.

To promote digital marketing literacy, at Equinet Academy we have a Certified Digital Marketing Strategist (CDMS) programme where a learner will learn all 6 core modules of Digital Marketing that include:

View the full infographic below.

Infographic Digital Marketing Industry Proficiency Survey Statistics Singapore 2018

If you find your marketing team lack digital marketing skills and knowledge, you can consider bridging the skills gap by enrolling them into our hands-on digital marketing certification courses.


In this article, you will gain a foundational overview of digital marketing and what a digital marketing strategy can do for your business.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies via the internet, social media, mobile phones, or any other digital medium.

It is also an umbrella term that encompasses different marketing strategies such as Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Email Marketing.

Compared to traditional marketing methods such as print, billboards, and TV, digital marketing is primarily data-driven. Many popular digital advertising platforms today provide access to campaign reports for comprehensive data analysis.

With the combined forces of both the internet and technology, Digital Marketers today are able to collect and analyse data of different customer behaviour or user engagements, enabling them to facilitate more personalised content and advertisements toward clearly defined audiences for better engagement and results.

Why Digital Marketing?

Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing boasts the following benefits:

Trackable and Measurable

Technological advancements have made it fairly easy to measure the efficacy of marketing campaigns through digital analytics dashboards such as Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, and Adobe Analytics.

Google Analytics Report on Traffic Acquisition from Various Marketing Channels

Google Analytics Report on Traffic Acquisition from Various Marketing Channels

Through the deployment of digital analytics, the data collected over a period of time are right at your fingertips. Each and every user interaction (touchpoint) with your business produces its own set of data, allowing you to segment the data and understand how each touchpoint contributes to your bottom line (sales or conversions).

Examples of digital touchpoints

Examples of digital touchpoints

A conversion can be any action a user takes such as downloading a white paper, submitting an enquiry form, or making an online purchase.

From here, you can find out which touchpoints resonate with your target audience i.e. contributed the most conversions, and reproduce this success on future campaigns.

Efficiency in Optimisation

The emergence of media buying platforms has allowed marketers to purchase ad spaces across various websites and mobile apps and review live reports within hours.

This allows marketers to review ad campaign performance and make tweaks on the fly such as optimizing ad creatives to improve audience engagement.

Google Ads allows for ad creative tweaking on the fly

Google Ads allows for tweaking of ad creatives on the fly

Broad and Targeted Reach

With billions of users on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn, your reach is primarily limited by your budget. Many of these social media platforms also allow you to target your ads to specific audiences e.g. by demographics, and interests, and behavioural patterns e.g. retargeting.

Retargeting is a form of marketing that enables you to show relevant ads to users who have visited certain pages of your website. For example, if a user visited an online shop selling groceries and navigated to a product page selling apples, the grocery shop could target the user with ads related to apples after the user leaves the site and browses other websites, social media platforms, and mobile apps.

3 Pillars of Digital Marketing

3 Pillars of Digital Marketing

3 Pillars of Digital Marketing

There are 3 Pillars in Digital Marketing. They are:

  1. User-Journey
  2. Digital Channels
  3. Creative and Content

1. User-Journey

The first pillar of digital marketing is the user journey.

The user journey is a customer’s encounter and interaction with your brand across all channels digital and non-digital which shape his emotions and perceptions about your brand.

It typically starts from the awareness stage and ends at the purchase or advocacy (loyalty) stage:

  1. Awareness: The customer is first aware of the brand.
  2. Consideration (interest/evaluation): The customer needs to evaluate his decision and consider other brands.
  3. Purchase (Desire/action): The customer is ready to make a purchase.
  4. Advocacy (Loyalty): The customer spreads word of mouth and recommends the brand to his friends.
User Journey - From Digital Channels to Website and Taking Action

User Journey – From Digital Channels to Website and Taking Action

A customer typically interacts with your creatives or content on various digital channels (social media, search, display ads) and lands onto your website.

When he browses through your website or mobile app, your goal is to encourage him to take important actions which are referred to as conversions, such as filling in a contact form or adding a product to a shopping cart.

2. Digital Channels

The second pillar of digital marketing are digital marketing channels.

A marketing channel is a medium organisations use to communicate or deliver messages to consumers.

In digital marketing, digital channels are avenues where your customers come to know about your business and what it has to offer. This is where your traffic (users) come from.

Examples of digital marketing channels include:

  • Organic Search (e.g. Google)
  • Paid Search
  • Display
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Referral (e.g. Traffic through other websites)

Organic Search

People use search engines for various reasons ranging from research, shopping, to entertainment, with Google alone handling over 40,000 queries per second (3.5 billion search queries per day).

The organic search results appear below the paid search ads.

Organic Search Results

Organic Search Results (Below the paid search ads)

In order to rank a website on top of the organic search engine results pages (SERPs), marketers implement a digital marketing strategy known as search engine optimization (SEO).

Paid Search

The paid search ads results appear all the way up at the top of the SERPs.

Paid Search Ads Results

Paid Search Ads Results

In order to advertise your website on the paid search ad results on Google, you will need to sign up for a Google Ads account and implement a digital marketing strategy known as search engine marketing (SEM).


The display channel refers to ad placements that appear on webpages when users browse them.

An example of a display ad banner appearing on a news article

An example of a display ad banner appearing on a news article

To have your ad appear on website placements, you can start with Google Ads or a demand-side platform.


There are roughly around 4 billion email users as of 2020 – Statista. Email is still one of the most popular mediums businesses use to communicate with their customers today.

Digital marketers implement digital marketing strategies also referred to as email marketing and marketing automation to send targeted and relevant emails to properly segmented email subscribers.

Social Media

Social Media needs no introduction. People use it daily to keep up to date with news or connect to friends and family across the globe.

Businesses are on social media to connect to potential customers by engaging them in a more personal and authentic way. With the help of various social media marketing tools, you will be able to understand the needs and interests of your target audience across various social media platforms. This will help you better tailor your content to better engage your target audience.


Referral traffic acquired are a result of users clicking on hyperlinks (backlinks) and navigating from one website to another (the hyperlink target or website). This means traffic coming from other websites instead of a direct search into Google.

Referral links are forged through strategic online partnerships or as a result of earned media. Implementing online PR is one of the most effective methods to earning brand mentions, acquiring backlinks, and generating brand awareness.

How Do the Different Digital Channels Impact the Business?

These are just a few examples of digital marketing channels, and between what you decide to use, it is important to analyze digital marketing analytics reports to understand which digital channels return the highest investment in order to allocate the right budgets accordingly.

Digital marketing campaigns also usually involve integrating multiple digital channel strategies (multi-channel) such as search engine marketing, content marketing, display advertising, and email marketing.

Do not confuse this with omni-channel, which like multi-channel, also involves engaging customers via multiple channels. Omni-channel is more accurately defined as providing a consistent, unified, and seamless customer experience regardless of whether the customer interacts with a brand on social media, in the physical store, or on the online store. 

Physical brochures that in-print QR codes to link the customer back to the online store, and membership systems that tailor product recommendations based on customer purchase history both online and offline are examples of omni-channel strategies.

Digital marketing can and should be integrated with offline marketing channels such as print advertisements, live industry events, popup booths, and in-store promotions to maximise target market reach and lead nurturing.

An example of an online/offline marketing integration would be launching a trade show (offline) and launching a Facebook Advertising campaign (online) to promote the offline event. And during the event (offline), collecting personal details of leads such as emails and phone numbers to follow up through email and mobile marketing (online).

Digital Marketing Funnel

Digital Marketing Funnel

By delivering an omni-channel customer experience across the user journey, all the way from the awareness to the post-purchase stages, businesses can engage their audiences at various touchpoints.

For instance, businesses can launch online PR campaigns to create awareness, implement content marketing to help customers evaluate their products, drive high purchase intent traffic to their website via SEO, digital ads, and email, and nurture leads to repurchase through Email Marketing, Digital Advertising, Marketing Automation, and Social Media Marketing campaigns.

The selection of digital marketing channels depends on a variety of factors such as:

  • Marketing objectives: Are your goals to increase brand awareness or encourage purchase?
  • Marketing Budget: Do you have sufficient budget to span your marketing campaigns across multiple digital channels?
  • Manpower: Does your marketing team have the necessary knowledge and skills to manage multiple campaigns and digital agencies?
  • Customers: Which platforms are your customers on? What are your customer touch points?

3. Creatives and Content

The third pillar of digital marketing are the creatives and content.

These are content in the form of visual graphics, text, and videos created and marketed by your brand that your customers interact with and digest, also referred to as Content Marketing.

Creatives come in the form of:

  • Ad banners
  • Video advertisements
  • Text ads

While Content comes in the form of:

  • Blog articles
  • Explainer videos
  • Infographics

Read also: 120 Types of Content for your next Digital Marketing Campaign

What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?

A Digital Marketing Strategy is a plan or course of action towards achieving set marketing goals. Goals are determined by what your business objectives are and in order of priority. Once these goals are set, digital marketing campaigns will be developed and executed to achieve them.

A digital marketing strategy is different from a digital marketing campaign. When talking about digital marketing strategy, we are referring to a master plan or a blueprint to achieve a long-term or macro goal. Campaigns on the other hand are the specific tactics used to achieve more micro, short-term goals within the digital marketing strategy.

Why is Having a Digital Marketing Strategy Important?

Having a strategy is about as important as having a plan to achieve any goal. It fully optimises the workflow implementation, allowing high efficacy while overlooking various areas to review data analytics and acting upon them accordingly.

This makes way for continuous improvement in the various digital marketing strategies ranging from search marketing (SEO/SEM), conversion rate optimisation (website user experience), email marketing & social media marketing to build towards your business goal, gaining new customers and building deeper relationships with existing ones.

Your business also needs a competitive and sustainable content marketing strategy to reach and convert more customers through leveraging on the power of online content, while integrating the different digital marketing channels with traditional media.

As businesses continue to adopt digital transformation in their core operations and in new channels of reaching customers, having a good digital marketing strategy is vital for this success.

Key Components of a Digital Marketing Strategy

Some key components of a digital marketing strategy include:

  • Defining the brand: Utilise brand guidelines to define your brand. Consider the Unique Selling Points (USPs) of your business.
  • Developing customer personas: Understand demographic information such as age, gender, location, as well as the motivations that drive people to choose the products and services. Use Google Analytics to assist in creating buyer’s persona and segment them according to the keywords in organic traffic
  • Defining S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound goals.) marketing objectives and KPIs: E.g. Achieve a 20% increase in leads generated from contact form within the next 6 months
  • Identifying target markets: Use market research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and Facebook Audience Insights to conduct market research and identify potential target markets
  • Performing competitive analysis: Use web and social analytics tools such as similarweb, Semrush, and SocialBakers to analyze your competitors and conduct a SWOT analysis.
  • Managing and allocating resources appropriately to achieve objectives: Resources include manpower (in-house team or outsource, external marketing agencies) and budget.
  • Reviewing and optimising campaign performance: Use digital marketing analytics tools such as Google Analytics to track, measure, and report your digital marketing campaigns’ performance

These are just some of the components of a digital marketing strategy.

How Do You Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy?

A digital marketing strategy involves setting marketing objectives based on the analysis of market information and target audiences, selecting digital marketing channels and platforms, determining channel-specific delivery tactics, and defining macro marketing KPIs to measure the performance of the digital marketing strategy.

On the other hand, an example of a digital marketing campaign centres around creating brand awareness (micro objective) by launching a viral marketing campaign (tactic) on a specific social media channel like Facebook. Short term (micro) KPIs are used to keep track of the progress and success of the digital marketing campaign.

Before developing any digital marketing campaigns, you should first have a strategy. Part of the strategy includes creating a customer journey and touchpoint map that looks something like this:

Customer Buying Journey and Touchpoint Map

Customer Buying Journey and Touchpoint Map

This map will act as a key reference document when determining which digital marketing channels to target and which digital marketing tactics your team should execute.

The implementation process of a digital marketing strategy which we cover in our 2-day digital marketing strategy course looks like this:

What is a Digital Marketing Strategy - An implementation process marketing departments can apply

Digital Marketing Strategy Implementation Process

For a more comprehensive example, check out a digital marketing strategic plan sample completed by one of Equinet’s graduates from the Certified Digital Marketing Strategist (CDMS) programme.

You may also download a free digital marketing strategic plan template (Word Doc) to start planning a digital marketing strategy for your business.

Digital Marketing Examples

There are many types or categories of digital marketing. Examples of digital marketing include:

  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Email Marketing
  • Marketing Automation
  • Digital Advertising
  • Content Marketing

Let’s have a look at how Equinet Academy integrates and implements several Digital Marketing Strategies such as SEO and Content Marketing, Email Marketing, and Social Media Marketing.

Digital Marketing User Journey and Conversion Funnels Example

Digital Marketing User Journey and Conversion Funnels Example

In the Awareness stage:

  1. Equinet markets the Digital Marketing Career Handbook to aspiring digital marketers via the Facebook sponsored posts. (Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing)
  2. Equinet also ranks on top of Google for digital marketing career-related keywords such as “digital marketing career progression” and “digital marketing salary singapore”. (Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing)

In the Evaluation stage:

  1. Equinet sends out emailers to subscribers on the upcoming course schedules. (Email Marketing)
  2. Equinet also has a course recommendation tool for users to answer questions and receive course recommendations (Content Marketing)

In the Purchase stage:

  1. Equinet runs retargeting campaigns by targeting display and social media ads to users who have visited any course pages. (Digital Advertising and Social Media Marketing)
  2. Equinet also ranks on top of Google’s organic and paid search results for course-related keywords such as “digital marketing courses” and “seo course singapore”. (Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing)

In the Advocacy stage:

  1. Equinet emails course followup surveys to graduates of each course and sends followup reminders to attend group mentorship sessions. (Email Marketing and Marketing Automation)

In the above example, you can see that multiple digital marketing strategies and digital channels are applied in an integrated manner throughout different phases of the user journey.

Also, creatives and content are present at every stage of the user journey, allowing users to interact with the ads, emails, and website content.

You can view more digital marketing examples in our case study resource library.


The overall digital marketing strategy can be summed up into this framework:

Equinet Digital Marketing Strategy Framework

Digital Marketing Strategy Framework

The user journey or buying funnel starts from the awareness stage and progresses down to the interest (evaluation/consideration), action (purchase) and loyalty stages.

Throughout the user journey, the customer interacts with the brand via different digital channels (organic search, social media, email) and takes actions via CTAs or calls-to-action on ad creatives or website content (e.g. landing pages).

If you want to learn more on how to develop and implement a digital marketing strategy, sign up for our digital marketing strategy course or browse our range of digital marketing courses across multiple digital marketing disciplines, channels, and platforms.

However, if you aspire to be a Digital Marketing Strategist, we have a pathway to complete all 6 core modules.

Not sure which course to take? Check out our course selection tool now. Complete a 3-question survey and determine the course suitable for your needs.

Marketers discussing project work.

Engaging a digital marketing agency can be a big step and a huge investment, with many companies offering packages at eye-watering prices. The market in Singapore is fairly saturated and people are wary of the small agencies that claim to be a one-stop shop for everything. Some of my clients and friends who have worked with agencies even complain that they overpromise and underdeliver.

Others say that agencies maximise their chances of winning by submitting low bids, but after signing the contract, they pressure the clients to “top up” more to gain access to even the basic deliverables. Agencies, on the other hand, complain that clients steal their ideas and make them their own without payment, or credit of acknowledgement.

However, not every digital marketing agency is a bad egg. Agencies who don’t just pitch-and-go do exist. They believe in deepening the client relationships and building an ecosystem that incentivises client advocacy and referrals.

So here’s the million dollar question: How do I choose the right digital marketing agency to give me the best bang for my buck?

This article aims to empower you to make educated choices when deciding on an agency. There will be That One agency that will give you the best return on investment for your marketing dollars, I assure you. Go forth, and choose!


First step: Research.

Find out about the core competencies of each agency, and try to look for an agency that has prior experience in that particular field. It’s also good to ask around for word of mouth recommendations, especially from friends or colleagues who have done similar projects.

Always check to see if the digital agency has a working website. A Facebook or Instagram page does not suffice and will not be enough. If you can only find them on Yellow Pages or Greenbook, they are not a digital marketing agency that can keep up with the times.

If their website appears outdated and neglected, carry on with your search. If they can’t manage their own digital presence, how can they manage yours?

Any reputable agency will have an updated portfolio with a client list, that features work from their area of expertise. They should have testimonials too.

Check if the agency specialises in your domain, because not all agencies are the same. Some handle large B2B clients and niche industries. Some assist small companies. Others may act as an intermediary between freelancers and client.

Find out how well they know your industry, and if they’ve had clients from your industry. You’ll feel a lot less anxiety about signing the contract if you can see proven results from previous clients within your industry.

Caveats to note

Some say to avoid the agency that has a fixed approach to everything because then all of their work may end up looking similar. However, others think that it just means they deliver consistently. It’s up to you to decide.

Even if they don’t have recent work in your industry, you can ask them how they will gain the knowledge they need about your company, the field of work, and sales goals. However, watch out for agencies that work only in one industry or field. They might have conflict of interests with your competitors. You should walk away.

If you choose to continue, ask the agency how they plan to work over any issues of conflict of interest. You’re paying for a digital agency to gain an edge over the competition. Not to be thrown into the same basket as them. No matter how pure the agency’s intentions are, only one can be king.


Remember the frequent changes Facebook made to their algorithms? In 2016, the social media giant started prioritising live videos in News Feed. Facebook also tweaked their news feed algorithm to predict which posts a user may find “informative”, and prioritise such posts in the user’s News Feed.

Informative content could relate to a variety of posts based on the individual’s likes, reactions, and forms of engagement such as shares and content.

For marketers, this means that they basically need to start providing value-added content that’s subtly linked to their brand to get engagement, instead of just pushing out promotions all the time.

Häagen-Dazs has some excellent examples of value added content. All screenshots are taken from Häagen-Dazs Singapore’s Facebook page.
Social Media Marketing by Häagen-Dazs Singapore Facebook posts by Häagen-Dazs Singapore

Well taken images, a warm and friendly tone, great copy and storytelling.

In 2017, Facebook also announced another game-changer. They revamped the Reactions on your news feed to weigh more than your Likes. Over the past year, Facebook has learned that any Reaction left on a post is a strong indicator that the user was more interested in that post.

Reactions bar on Facebook posts

This update meant that if a user selects a Reaction on a post, even an ‘Angry’ reaction, Facebook will begin showing similar stories in the news feed. So as marketers, they should aim to create content that elicit a Reaction over a Like.

What about the time Instagram transitioned from being all about pretty and filtered pictures, to a huge direct-to-consumer/audience marketplace? There were no special press releases for this change, but a gradual evolution of how Instagramers use the platform.

This change gave birth to a new kind of influencer marketing – one that gives more weight to using an individual’s influence to amplify your brand message. This article by Forbes provides an excellent overview of this topic.

It’s not just all about social platforms. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing are improving constantly. Screenless SEO is a huge new development, thanks to Alexa, Siri, and other intelligent personal assistants. It is a new SEO tactic based purely on spoken language, which changes the landscape for content marketers. They will now have to re-think how they present content, and write copy in a conversational manner. (source:

Knowing what’s up isn’t just about keeping abreast of the trends and hot topics. It is also having an eye on the social and cultural changes on each and every platform.

There’s a lot to be gained from early movement, and your agency should be there to give you the information to make that right move at the right time.


This analogy probably has been repeated ad nauseum. But it’s true.

For a digital agency to be effective, they need to have fairly broad skills sets. Businesses should work with the agencies that can offer a multi-prong approach that aligns with your goals, issues, and strategies. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution for every business.

Here are some important 21st century skills to consider when vetting agencies.

  • Web design
  • Website hosting
  • Branding
  • Digital and inbound marketing
  • Video, visuals, and graphics
  • Copywriting
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Online PR (Public Relations) and Community Growth
  • Digital Marketing Analytics

Think that’s a lot? Well, okay, maybe you don’t need all. But in order for your marketing efforts to be well-rounded, your agency should have a motley blend of marketing professionals working together.

Let’s pretend you are expanding your grandfather’s carpentry and furniture shop. You engage an agency, looking to revamp the website and come up with a sleek brand identity.

Now, let’s check off the boxes. For a website, you’d need someone to code it, whether they’re using custom code or templates. You’ll also need a decent web user experience (UX) to go with it. So you’ll have to get a marketing expert to map out the customer journey. Next, web copy. Not all web developers do web copy. And don’t forget the images! You’ll most likely have to provide them. Otherwise, the agency might arrange to get in a couple of photographers (who might be freelancers, not in-house) to snap some pretty pictures of sample interiors and furniture. And if you’re not into that, the agency might suggest that they get in an interior modeller to create images for you. You’ll also require regular content updates and maintenance, so you’ll need a content marketing strategy, as well as a SEO guy to push your website visibility. And that’s not the end of it!

Get to know who you’ll be working with on a regular basis. When you partner an agency, you’re gaining new teammates. Make sure these new co-workers are people you’ll look forward to collaborating and communicating.


Let’s face it: in business, cost-cutting is necessary. Everyone has bills to pay. Many digital marketing activities such as SEO, community management, analytics report, and content creation require a high level of time commitment. Even web design can be outsourced.

It’s not unusual for an agency to save on costs by outsourcing those tasks to freelancers or interns. So a prospective marketing firm might offer web design, but will these designs be outsourced, or will there be a design team in-house?

It’s okay to outsource some things. Some agencies have professional freelancers that they work with regularly, rather than the cheapest option randomly plucked from Fiverr, Upwork or Carousell.

HOWEVER, you’d want to ensure that most functions important to the project are created in-house, for consistency. Otherwise, there’s the danger that your digital marketing agency is just doing little more than managing others, and is not involved in the creative process.

Walter Lim, Social Media Marketing Trainer at Equinet Academy and Head of CoolerInsights, advises that it is important to check if the agency staff handling your account has experience in the tasks you’re paying them to do. Whether it’s for web copy, running a digital marketing campaign, or designing new packaging. There are some firms out that that outsource virtually every aspect, from copywriting to analytics reporting. When this happens, employees or freelancers end up working in silos, losing sight of the ultimate goal: to raise the online profile of your brand.

If you’re doing a complete rebrand or revamp, it’s better (and more reassuring!) to know that there are experienced professionals in-house to review content and ensure that the quality and style remains consistent and aligned to your goals.


Budgeting is important
The cheapest agency may not be the best. Then again, the most expensive ones aren’t necessarily the best either. But one thing’s for sure, remember to do your own due diligence (DYODD) ensure that the agency is good at spending your money.

No, not that your agency should splash your dollars around buying ads, buying content, sending out promotional emails for you everywhere, every day. The team you hire should be good at giving you value for money.

Anyone can spend money on advertisements. But creating good content and coming up with a proper strategy can help cut your digital ad spending by up to 50%. Demand for paid advertisements have skyrocketed in the past few years, and is expected to continue climbing.

Gone are the days when digital or online advertising only required a few clicks of the mouse and some educated guesses.

Now you need tracking, reporting, benchmarking to ensure good results. In 2017 Q3, Facebook reported that the average price per ad increased 35%, but will be compensated by more sophisticated ad delivery methods. (source: AdEspresso by Hootsuite)

Your agency should be able to explain to you in a clear manner where they’ll be spending your budget on, and why.


If you don’t look out for the red flags you’ll be waving the white flag.

  • They recommend an all-encompassing social strategy.
    • 99% of the time, your business doesn’t have to be deployed across every social media channel. If they can’t justify why they chose that channel, it’s a huge warning sign
    • If you run an industrial shipping company, maybe Instagram isn’t your best bet. However, if you’re looking to do marketing for a bunch of villas in Bali, Instagram is the perfect platform for you to induce some serious beach envy and wanderlust.
  • If their promise sounded too good to be true, it probably is.
    • The agency should not make guarantees or blanket statements. Executing an effective strategy takes time, work, and patience.
    • A good SEO agency can get you on the first page of rankings, or even the first position. But if they claim to guarantee it: RUN. Because it’s highly likely that they’ll be using black hat tactics that would be harmful to your brand in the long run.
    • Arbitrary metrics for SEO, such as ranking for keywords but not showing search volume, and not being able to explain how the metrics will convert to leads/business for you.
    • Likewise, if they’re oversimplifying things by focusing on web traffic and avoiding discussion about leads and conversions, you know that they’re not a very creative bunch.
  • Prices are too good to be true.
    • If they’re priced far lower than their competitors for the same services, ask them for their deliverables. Chances are, the deliverables that they’ve omitted or claim to be optional will turn out to be essentials and be charged at a premium during the project itself.
  • Billing breakdown is too complicated to understand.
    • A common complaint is that clients often receive bills they don’t understand for projects and initiatives that never seemed to happen. Even before you start the project, the agency should explain in a clear manner and give you a clear breakdown of what they are charging you for and why.
    • Do try to avoid turning this into an opportunity to haggle or bargain. Think of it as a preview into what you’re likely to get when you engage the agency.


Marketers discussing project work
Last but not least, we have our blind spots. Before you go shopping for an agency, take some time to reflect yourself or with your team about expectations, priorities, problems to solve and (important!) budget.

Set some time aside to read up about Digital Marketing on your own, so that you’ll know which questions to ask. This is also to avoid getting swindled by agencies that pitch you the stars and moon but don’t deliver.

A good agency will be able to address your concerns eloquently. Both parties should try to be as honest with each other as possible, and also pragmatic about expectations.

Here are some questions and advice for you to think about:

  • Expectations and agenda
    • What do you need the agency for? Figure out if it’s to make up for manpower crunch, lack of skills, or to solve a problem.
    • What are the branding guidelines? What about the target audience and objective of engagement? Will you want them to provide post-project support?
    • Pick a range of figures for a budget you’re comfortable with. Check out this article by Ice Cube Marketing for a brief overview of the rates in Singapore.
  • Meetings and discussion
    • Do you prefer to hold meetings in-person? How much time are you willing to spend travelling to the agency? Would you be able to hold meetings over the phone or Skype?
    • You might think that driving 20 minutes to a bi-weekly meeting isn’t much, but regular commuting could be an annoyance when you’re busy juggling higher priorities.
  • Project Timeline
    • Rome wasn’t built in a day. Fully-functional websites do not magically sprout up overnight. Your article will not rank at the top of Google just by adding 3 keywords to your page. Your sales team will not be flooded with emails and calls after launching the Facebook Ad the first day.
    • An e-commerce website takes at least 6 weeks to be built, and that’s not counting the improvements you will make on web copy and design. SEO projects often take at least 6 months to see tangible growth. For inbound marketing projects, you probably won’t see a return until after 3 to 6 months.
    • If you suck at delayed gratification, buy advertisements. But even that would take about a week for results.
  • Responsiveness and Feedback
    • Some people may ask if the agency will be available on time to answer calls or emails. But what about your own availability to approve designs and content? You are not the only account the agency is handling. To avoid last-minute disappointments, be sure to give the team time to work.
    • Don’t be the client from hell that changes their mind about the font size on the website 5 minutes before website needs to go live.
    • If you’re too busy to approve content and collaborate on projects when needed, maybe consider delegating the bulk of the communication to someone else on your team.
  • Do you know what you don’t know?
    • Example: If you’re engaging an agency to do SEO work for you, having a basic knowledge of the jargons and processes behind the scenes will make it easier for you to communicate your needs or requirements to the agency.
    • Digital Marketing evolves rapidly, and many consultants themselves sometime struggle to keep up to date. As we all know by now, Google and Facebook’s algorithms are perpetually shifting. Consumer tastes and consumption patterns of online content can change significantly in weeks.
    • An additional bonus: if you understand the topic, the agency won’t be able to smoke you. Isn’t that incentive enough?

We’ve only just scratched the surface of what to look out for when shopping for a digital marketing agency. Always remember to do your due diligence online (read and read) and offline (ask for recommendations, sign up for courses).

Digital marketing strategy pdf ebook cover

This article aims to equip you with a fundamental understanding of what digital marketing is, how successful companies are doing it, and what processes are required in place to ensure a successful digital strategy for your business.

We hope after reading this, you’ll better understand:

  • The modern consumer journey and the role of digital marketing.
  • How to apply a 4-step digital marketing framework to your business.

This digital marketing strategy resource is broken down into two parts:

  1. The Shift From Traditional Towards Digital
  2. How to Implement a 4-Step Digital Marketing Framework

Part 1: The Shift From Traditional Towards Digital – How the Consumer Buying Journey Has Changed Over Time

Traditional marketing vs digital marketing

Traditional advertising methods still work today, but are no longer as effective and cost-efficient today as they were.

  • TV has been overwhelmed by online video streaming sites such as Youtube.
  • Flyers have been replaced by online banner ads e.g. Google Display Network (Ad exchanges).
  • Radio has been suppressed by podcasting sites such as Spotify.
  • Flyers and direct mail is mostly ignored today and is much more expensive compared to email marketing.
  • The sale of newspapers have sharply declined as more and more readers turn to online news sites.
  • Offline advertising methods are harder to track (in terms of viewership & browsing behaviour) than online marketing channels.

As John Wanamaker, the founder of advertising said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

What is the traditional marketing funnel?

Traditional Marketing AIDA Funnel

In the traditional marketing funnel, a consumer is made aware of a brand’s existence, compares and considers a brand’s competitor products, and makes a decision to purchase a chosen product. The consumer then enters the customer loyalty phase.

If you’ve ever sat in front of a sales presentation and signed up for a product or service after being convinced, you may have experienced the whole funnel in one sitting.

This linear process is inflexible as the consumer buying process today is no longer linear. Today, consumers enter the buying process at different stages, jump stages, and move back and forth between them.

Here’s the scenario of a typical consultation with an insurance agent selling you a policy.


The insurance agent starts by asking you whether you’re aware that you should have an insurance plan to protect your finances in the case of an unfortunate incident.


Should you develop interest, she’ll go on to explain different insurance policies (life insurance, investments, etc) that are available.


You may then inquire whether the insurance policy you intend to get is the best deal out there, and your insurance agent will highlight the key advantages of their policies compared to other insurance companies.


Once you’re convinced, she’ll hand you a form to fill in your application.

Today’s consumer decision-making process

Modern Consumer Buying Journey

Consumers today have the means to do their own product research at home online and on-the-go on their mobile phones. The control is shifting from marketers to consumers, as consumers now have to power to block ads, conduct their own research, and opt out loyalty marketing programs.

For example, a movie fanatic, Anne, may be shopping for clothes when she suddenly decides to watch a horror movie. In modern marketing, this is known as a “buying trigger” or a “micro-moment”, as Google calls it.

Anne would then search for “new horror movies” on Google and watch movie trailers, read user reviews on IMDB, and ask friends on Facebook for their opinions, in any random order, before ultimately deciding on a movie. She would now go online to compare cinema ticket prices and eventually purchase her movie tickets from Cathay Cineplexes.

Cathay Cineplexes now has Anne’s contact details and slots Anne into their loyalty program which regularly emails her membership discounts, movie bundles, etc.

Case Study – A Consumer’s Laptop Buying Journey

Here’s an interview of a consumer’s laptop buying journey:

“It all started out with a Trigger moment (Micro moment) when I needed to buy 20 laptops for our newly launched IT training course.

I then asked some friends if they knew of any cheap deals, and went to Challenger and Best Denki to source for them, but could not find anything within my budget.

Later at home, I went on Google to search for cheap and good laptops and landed on Lazada and Qoo10. I also sourced the internet for articles on the pros and cons and hardware specifications on various laptop brands.

Eventually, I narrowed down to a $650 Lenovo laptop after discount. I considered all the options and remained stagnant in the consideration phase for a few days.

While I was having lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant and surfing Facebook, I saw a sponsored ad from Qoo10 on Facebook on how refurbished laptops are better for your wallet and can perform as well as new laptops. I read the article and was convinced I should buy 20 refurbished laptops. At the bottom of the page, there were related product links to refurbished laptops. How convenient! It was then I became a proud owner of 20 refurbished Dell laptops.”

#Tip of the day

What can a marketer do, knowing how valuable this information can be?

  • Interview consumers who own both refurbished and brand new laptops to find out the reasons why consumers chose their current buys and what were their buying journey experiences like by:
  • Setting up focus group studies
  • Interviewing existing customers through online and offline channels
  • Conducting market surveys

The Consumer Buying Journey today is no longer linear. Marketers have to ensure consumer-brand interactions on as many relevant touch points as possible on the path to purchase.

Digital Marketing buying journey

Key takeaways:

  • Modern marketing is no longer “push” marketing (as traditional marketing is), as consumers today have access to a boatload of information within a click of a button.
  • Effective modern marketing is being engaging and useful (via Content Marketing, Email, Search, Social, Display, Mobile) at relevant touch points during the consumer’s journey.
  • Understanding the customer buying behaviour (e.g. which social media networks they hangout on, which websites they visit to check for product reviews, what keywords they search for on Google) through Digital Analytics is essential in order to calibrate all online marketing efforts to each specific customer profile and effective channels.
  • The trend is shifting toward a two-way communication – consumers are able to voice out their frustrations on social media, as compared to a one-way communication in the past – customers were being marketed to via radio, television, and banner ads. Marketers and PR executives need a more systematic way of managing negative reviews and customer support. No longer are brands in total control in the marketing funnel today.
  • Conduct research (e.g. customer surveys, feedback, interviews, focus group studies, etc.) to identify and understand buying triggers or micro-moments in order to build trigger-specific message and content around relevant touch points in the customer journey.

Part 2: How to Implement a 4-Step Digital Marketing Framework

Digital Marketing is basically…

Marketing via digital and online tools and channels, as opposed to traditional marketing (TV, Billboards, Flyers, Newspapers, and basically any form of print advertising).

Digital Marketing is NOT…

A one-size fits all marketing solution. It is important to look at your business goals and not limit your activities to only one marketing channel.

Digital marketing can complement your traditional marketing efforts and vice versa. For example, ABC Flower Store can hand out coupons to their shoppers upon checkout at the cashier. These coupons can then be used on ABCs e-store where customers can create a membership account and receive a discount on bouquets ordered online.

Furthermore, ABC Flower Store can track (via digital analytics) how many customers actually used these coupons, and can use the data collected (email address, mobile no., mailing address) to build a loyalty program via email, mobile, mail postage.

There are many schools of thought on how many digital marketing channels and disciplines actually exist.

Here, we’ve consolidated them into nine individual channels and disciplines:

  • Search Engine Marketing & Search Engine Optimisation
  • Display Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing & Online PR
  • Email Marketing & Marketing Automation
  • Content Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Web Design & User Experience (UX) Design
  • Digital & Web Analytics
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation

These 9 digital marketing channels and disciplines can be implemented to one or more digital marketing campaigns.

A 4-Step Digital Marketing Framework

4-step digital marketing framework model 1

Phase 1: Define

To apply this framework to your business, start off by defining your audience, business goals and buying triggers. This is crucial to ensure you kick off on good ground.

Phase 2: Implement

Based on what you’ve defined in the first phase, you then implement the most appropriate digital marketing strategies through various channels to create awareness, engage, procure, and retain customers.

Phase 3: Analyse

Once you’ve ran your campaigns, you need to collect and analyse data (e.g. which channels generate more ROI, which audiences are more likely to purchase) in order to further optimise and boost your ROI.

Phase 4: Optimise

This is the crucial phase, where you make minor to major changes (e.g. from lowering your ad spend on a digital marketing channel to targeting different audience segments) based on your digital analytics data.

An Alternative View of This Framework:

Applying the 4-Step Digital Marketing Framework on a Mockup Company

For illustration purposes and to put the following information into context, we’ll be simulating developing a digital marketing strategy for a travel company.

Let’s name this company…

Phase 1: Define

In the first phase (Define), you’re basically looking out for these 3 things:

  • Who’s going to buy from you? (Audience Definitions)
  • What will make them buy from you and when? (Micro-moments/Buying triggers)
  • What do you want them to do in order to buy from you? (Macro & Micro Conversions/KPIs/Goals)

Audience Definitions

Defining your audiences at the beginning of your digital marketing campaign enables you to reach out to them via the correct digital channels and also create effective marketing collateral (video and written content (ebooks and helpful guides), ad creatives, electronic direct mails (EDMs), e-brochures, etc.) that they can resonate with.

Note: Audience definitions may vary from industry to industry.

Defining Micro-Moments/Buying Triggers

A micro-moment or buying trigger is when a consumer discovers a problem and acts on it.

For example, Home Depot got powerful results when it used location extensions for display ads to reach home and garden enthusiasts on mobile. The brand reached consumers in their intent-rich moments—when they were looking for outdoor garden products—and brought them into nearby stores.

Your job as a marketer is to identify these micro-moments and be present when they happen.

Defining Macro & Micro Conversions (KPIs)

It is important to define both macro and micro conversions early on in your digital marketing campaigns, in order to target the right audiences and marketing channels. You can view them as KPIs of your marketing activities.

Macro conversions are the big picture goals of a business. For example, growing the membership base of a paid subscription Software As A Services (SAAS) company.

Micro conversions are the milestones that eventually lead to the macro conversion. For example, a 30-day trial signup which may lead to a paid membership upgrade is an example of a micro conversion.

Phase 2: Implement

Based on the variables, scenarios, and conditions you have defined, you can then deploy a digital marketing campaign and target the most appropriate digital marketing channels to engage with your target audience on as many relevant touch points as possible.

Defining and Implementing a Digital Marketing Strategy

Implement SEO & SEM

Based on the Micro-moments and Buying Triggers definitions, we can launch Travellers Beyond ads on Google Paid Search using Google AdWords and optimise the website to rank on page 1 on Google’s organic search results by implementing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

To learn how to rank your website on page 1 of Google both organically and on paid search, sign up for our SEO course and Google AdWords course.

Implement Display Advertising with Facebook Ads

Using Facebook Sponsored Newsfeed ads, we can target visitors who have visited, but did not book a travel package with us.

For help and step-by-step guides on how to launch a Facebook Ad, sign up for our Facebook Marketing and Advertising Course.

Implement Content Marketing via Guest Blogging

We can guest blog on travel sites with an audience of frequent travellers to build brand and product awareness.

Tip: If you include any links in your article back to, be sure to tag them with UTM parameters to report referral traffic in your analytics platform. For Google Analytics, you can use the Campaign URL Builder.

Implement Social Media Marketing

You can launch a contest for your social media fans to take part in. This will not only encourage sharing and brand awareness, it will also increase brand loyalty and brand engagement.

For this, you will require a Facebook Page:

Here are the steps to create a Facebook Page:

1. Go to
2. Click to choose a Page category.
3. Select a more specific category from the dropdown menu and fill out the required information.
4. Click Get Started and follow the on-screen instructions.

Discover the 6-step social media marketing process to creating, managing, sustaining and measuring your Social Media Marketing efforts in our 2-day Social Media Marketing training.

Implement User Experience Web Design and Conversion Rate Optimisation

Your landing pages are one of the important touch points of the consumer journey. If you fail to convert your visitors here, your would see very little ROI on all your marketing channels.

Be sure to optimise for conversions when building your landing pages. We can implement Conversion Rate Optimisation by conducting an A/B split testing experiment.

For example, we can test the CTA button with A – “Book Now” against B – “Go On An Adventure Today” to determine which CTA led to more form submissions.

You may use Google Content Experiments as a free solution for A/B testing.

Learn how to create, customise, and maintain a website from scratch in our 2-day hands-on WordPress Website Creation course.

Phase 3: Analyse

What to Analyse?

There are a ton of metrics you can measure and analyse – From audience demographics, acquisition channels, average time spent on landing pages, bounce rates, top conversion paths, to dozens of goals and smart goals in each digital marketing campaign. What you need to analyse depends on the objectives you’ve set and the type of digital marketing campaign you’re running. Below are some two key things to track and analyse for an overall digital marketing strategy.

Analyse Audiences

Segmenting and analysing your audiences can give you insights on their browsing and buying behaviour, and can allow you to focus on targeting higher ROI audiences and improve your user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).

In your Google Analytics reports, navigate to Audiences => Overview and you can segment your audiences by demographics, interests, geolocation, device types, and more.

To enable this report:

1. Sign in to your Analytics account.
2. Click Admin.
3. Navigate to the account and property where you want to use Demographic and Interests data.
4. In the PROPERTY column, click Property Settings.
5. Under Advertising Features, set Enable Demographics and Interests Reports to ON.
6. Click Save.

We can compare which country had the highest number of goal completions i.e. macro and micro conversions that we have defined in Phase 1.

To access this report in Google Analytics:

1. Navigate to Audiences
2. Click on Overview
3. Under demographics, select Country
4. Click View Full Report

In the above table, we can see that Singaporeans alone accounted for 12,107 goal completions (conversions).

We can also break down users by device category.

To access this report in Google Analytics:

1. Navigate to Audiences
2. Click on Overview
3. Under demographics, select Country
4. Click View Full Report
5. Under Secondary Dimension, select Users => Device Category

Singaporeans using Desktops accounted for majority of the conversions.

We can also analyse which age group had the highest number of goal completions i.e. macro and micro conversions that we have defined in Phase 1.

To access this report in Google Analytics:

1. Navigate to Audiences
2. Click on Overview
3. Under demographics, select Age

Learn how to analyse advanced Google Analytics reports and produce actionable insights in our Digital & Web Analytics (Google Analytics) course.

Multi-Channel Attribution

What is Multi-Channel Attribution?

Put simply, multi-channel attribution is giving relative credit to the channels which played a part in securing a conversion. Multi-channel attribution allows you to credit all digital marketing channels involved in driving conversions. The credit value (attribution amount e.g. 0.1 – 1.0) is dependent on the significance of the channel in influencing the conversions. See multi-channel attribution models explained here.

For example, in a soccer match, we have the goal keeper, defenders, mid fielders, and strikers.

When the team scores a goal, we can attribute equal credit to each player. We can also attribute different credit values to each player, depending on the importance of their roles.

For example, if the goal keeper kicked off the ball and the team scored, he would get 100% credit if we used a first-touch attribution based model. If we used the linear attribution model, each soccer player who touched the ball would get equal credit.

Attribution Modelling Illustration

Attribution Modelling Example Scenario

A potential traveler, interested to travel to the caribbean islands, Googles “caribbean island travel deals” and lands on your website

One week later, she returns to your website by clicking on a Facebook Sponsored Newsfeed ad.

The following day, she clicks on an email link to an article on your website.

On the same day, a 3 hours later, she returns to your website directly by typing in your URL into her browser’s address bar and makes a booking.

Example Buyer Journey at Various Digital Marketing Touch Points

Position Based Attribution Model

Using the position based attribution model, we can see that organic search channel was the biggest player in terms of influencing conversions.

To access this report in Google Analytics:

1. Navigate to Conversions tab
2. Under Attribution, select Model Comparison Tool.
3. Choose from default models e.g. Last Interaction, First Interaction, Position Based, etc.

Phase 4: Optimise

What to Optimise?

There are a ton of things to optimise in your entire digital marketing campaign.

Let’s leave testing and optimising button clicks, ad creatives, and landing pages to the respective digital marketing disciplines i.e. UX Web Design and Conversion Rate Optimisation.

Let’s focus on these two metrics and optimise your campaigns from a top-level digital marketing point of view:

Audience Targeting

Based on our analysis (Phase 3), we can observe that Singaporeans, age 25 – 34 years old, who mainly use desktops, are our largest target audience. They made up for 42.14% of all conversions from all age groups.

With this knowledge on hand, we can craft our marketing collateral (both online and offline) in a particular tone and style that’s targeted to this demographic. If we have data where they often hang out, e.g. which websites, social media platforms, online/offline channels, we can also launch marketing campaigns (both online and offline) to target them on these channels.

Once we have targeted one audience group, we can move on to test different audience groups by launching the same or different digital marketing campaigns to another audience group. After collecting and analysing the data, we can adjust our campaigns to the best performing audience groups.

Marketing Spend on Digital Marketing Channels

Based on multi-channel attribution model data, we can assign/reassign our marketing dollars to the best performing channels.

If our focus is on branding and awareness, we would most likely use the first-touch attribution model (100% credit to the first marketing channel interaction), and pump more dollars into the channel which drove the most conversions.

On the other hand, if we used the position-based attribution model (40% to both first and last touch, 20% split evenly to everything in between), we would assign more marketing dollars to the first and last marketing channel interaction.

Putting It All Together

We can put all the information gathered from your entire digital marketing campaign and present this 4-step digital marketing framework into the following table:

Digital marketing framework table summar

Modern marketing concepts are not much different than traditional marketing, in that they both focus on the buyer’s journey. One of the key differences between modern vs traditional is in the marketing/advertising mediums which have gone digital (e.g. Search Engines Vs Yellow Pages, Digital Advertising Vs Print Advertising).

The other key difference is that the consumer buying journey is no longer linear. Your job as a modern marketer is to define the relevant touch points in the consumer journey, engage them at as many of the touch points as possible (e.g. Search, Social, Email, Blogs, etc.), track and analyse audience behaviour (e.g. conversions), and optimise your audience targeting and marketing budget for the most effective digital channels.

We hope this article has given you a better understanding on how digital marketing works and how to apply a 4-step process (Define => Implement => Analyse => Optimise) to your existing business.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. We offer a range of digital marketing courses to equip you with actionable digital marketing strategies across multiple digital channels and platforms. You may also want to check out digital marketing events hosted by Equinet Academy, here in Singapore.


Having knowledge in digital marketing is the new sexy, especially here in Singapore. When someone casually asks you what you’re currently doing and you say “digital marketing”… they’ll likely go, “wah!”, “cool!”, or “nice”.

Although the marketing profession has been around for a long time, digital marketing, a sub sector of marketing, has only sparked interest in a handful of Singaporean marketers in the recent years. Meaning to say, it’s not something you hear everyday as compared to the likes of Events Management and Customer Service.

In Singapore, there are only a handful of experts in each digital marketing discipline. It’s not easy to master and keep up to date with every discipline, especially due to the rapid changing nature of all things digital. However, at Equinet Academy, we have a range of Digital Marketing courses that can get you up to speed with the essential knowledge of Digital Marketing.

Some of the disciplines within Digital Marketing include:

  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Marketing Automation
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Digital Advertising
  • Digital and Web Analytics
  • Content Marketing
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation
  • UX Web Design
  • Display Advertising
  • Online PR
  • Online Reputation Management
  • Pay Per Click
  • Video Marketing

Here, we have rounded up a handful of case studies, insights, and examples of campaigns executed by a number of digital marketing experts in Singapore.

Walter Lim – Social Media & Content Marketing Expert

What is Social Media Marketing in your own words?

Social Media Marketing is the process of using social networks like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and others to increase brand awareness, improve community engagement, generate leads, to driving customer purchases (or other conversions). This can be achieved primarily through creating useful and entertaining content which is snackable (ie bite-sized pieces) and shareable, while building and growing your online community.

How do you think Social Media Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

I like the analogy given by Lee Odden when he compared Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media, and Content to a Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich.

Quoting from his blog:

“People use search & social to discover content. Search engines & social platforms like content because it creates the basis for advertising opportunity.My favorite metaphor is Content = Bread, SEO = Peanut Butter, Social = Jelly. PBJ marketing.”

Source: Top Rank Blog

As both a content strategist and a social media marketer, I have used all three strategies to gain traffic and generate leads for my business. Readers may be interested to know that 100% of all my business comes from inbound leads, be they from my social networks (especially LinkedIn), content on my website, referrals from friends, and attendees of my training courses.

One of my recent clients was a convenience store which wanted to improve brand awareness and engagement on their Facebook page. At the same time, they wanted to lower their total SMM budget.

Through a mixture of precise audience targeting, creation of compelling content, and delivery of the right promotional mechanics (mostly contests), we managed to substantially improve their performance in the following:

  • Five fold growth in fans (from 11.3 K to 54 K)
  • 218% improvement in reactions/likes
  • 175% increases in page reach per day
  • Almost four times (381%) improvements in engaged users per day
  • More than double (223%) improvements in post clicks per day

More details here.

What is your advice for aspiring Social Media Marketers? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing is more of a lifestyle than an occupation. You need to be constantly plugged in to keep ahead of the game, and to continually learn what the experts and leaders are doing, observe the types of content, promotions and advertisements your competitors are doing on social media.

Personally, I listen to podcasts on social media marketing and digital marketing such as the Social Media Marketing podcast by Michael Stelzner, and Perpetual Traffic by DigitalMarketer. I also read books and blog posts, and attend courses and workshops to sharpen my game.

Walter Lim

Walter Lim is the Chief Contest Strategist of Cooler Insights – a boutique content and social media marketing agency. A prolific blogger and business influencer, he loves to help businesses create, nurture and grow winning brands through storytelling, social media, and PR. Connect with Walter on LinkedIn or visit his website.


Bryan Choo – Content Marketing Expert

What is content marketing in your own words?

Creating value for readers by producing useful content that a brand is associated with. It can be engineered by skilled content creators to drive enormous traffic for brands.
Content now takes different forms. articles, videos and even ‘influencer’ postings fall under content marketing.

How do you think Content Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

Our brand is built around content. That’s what we do everyday. So clients look to us to engineer their content marketing strategy.

Here are some examples of client work that went viral. We consider anything over 2,000 shares viral cause that usually means it reaches over half a million people.

1. 11 Fitspo Photographs To Bluff Everyone You’re An Olympic Athlete (Sony Advert)

2. Paragon Christmas Surprise (Paragon Advert)

It’s challenging when clients don’t understand content marketing and try to dictate the direction.

But thankfully, most of our clients do or they understand after we explain digital marketing to them.

What is your advice for aspiring Content Marketers? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Content Marketing?

Focus on creating value for the reader and the rest will follow.

To do that, you need strong ideation ability or your content won’t stand out from the clutter on the Internet.

Just creating content for the sake of content will never work.

Bryan Choo

Bryan Choo is the Managing Director at TSL Media group. Their editorial and video content network reaches over 3 million Singaporeans monthly.




Xuan Bin – Search Engine Marketing Expert

What is Google AdWords in your own words?

Google AdWords is a marketplace that matches, on-demand, an individual’s needs to businesses that are advertising their solutions.

How do you think Google AdWords complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

Google AdWords can play a role in every digital plan and campaign. Google AdWords allows you to be present at intent-rich moments – moments when individuals like you and I are looking for answers, or products and services that will fulfill a present or future need. During those moments, what do people do? They go online and perform a search. This behaviour carries throughout the entire buying decision process and each search performed by an individual represents an opportunity for the advertiser to influence the buying decision process.

Even in situations when creative ideas are implemented offline (e.g an automotive maker advertising heavily on major newspapers for a new car launch) or over social media (e.g a paid endorsement by a celebrity ambassador sharing her experience at a slimming centre), individuals who have interacted with these advertisements are likely to perform an online search to understand more about the product or service that is being offered.

In my course of work, I have ran paid social campaigns with the aim of increasing my company’s brand awareness. Having a supporting Google AdWords campaign bidding on brand-associated keywords meant that my prospects could find my website and our products and services easier. Running both Paid Social and Google AdWords campaigns in tandem, we found that search volume and clicks on our Google AdWords keywords and ads increased by three-fold over a period of 3 months.

A common challenge I hear from advertisers who have tried out Google AdWords is that they are paying high costs to advertise but getting low returns. Some have set up the right tracking mechanisms to determine their returns on investment, while some are doing this blindly. And while it is true in some cases that keywords relating to the advertiser’s products and services are more competitive than others to bid on, by first acquiring and then applying the right knowledge, an advertiser can devise ways to mitigate rising costs to ensure that they are getting more in return than what they’re spending with Google.

What is your advice for aspiring Google AdWords Enthusiast? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Google AdWords?

The best way to get into the game is to start reading the Google AdWords study guides and challenge yourself to get the qualifications! Google has made it easy for everyone to be a qualified individual by making it free for all (it used to cost USD80 when I first started!). Attaining the qualifications will help you gain a solid foundation, but nothing beats real life practice, and learning from the first hand experience from the professionals through attending a course, or keeping yourself updated through respectable online publications like Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch, to name a few.

Lin Xuanbin

Specialising in Paid Search and Online Lead Generation, Xuanbin’s digital marketing career has spanned MNCs, private companies and government agencies across Recruitment, IT, Media, and International Trade industries.

During his stints in award-winning global media agencies, Xuanbin planned and strategised digital marketing campaigns over the Asia Pacific region for some of the world’s largest companies. Some of which included, SAP, MINI, Laneige and SPRING Singapore.

Having been on both brand and agency sides, Xuanbin strongly believes in empowering brand marketers with a deeper understanding of the digital marketing landscape to achieve better alignment with their agencies; therein maximising the potential of their partnership and digital marketing performance.

Wayne Tay – Facebook Marketing Expert

What is Facebook Marketing in your own words?

It’s part of social media marketing. It’s THE largest social media platform in the West.

How do you think Facebook Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

Customers consume content from myriad of different channels – social, email, mobile app, search. Facebook is definitely one of the important advertising medium in the overall digital media strategy. Google and Facebook together accounted for 20% of global advertising spend across all media in 2016.

One of the challenges we have is to quickly grow the subscribers for our content hub. As the website’s primary purposes is to publish news, users will have higher tendencies to bounce especially from a referral source.

To overcome this challenge, we leverage on Facebook Lead Ad to re-target users for sign up who visited the website or read posted article on the Facebook, this gave the user a consistent and holistic experience to sign up within the ecosystem without any drop-off to another landing page – in a short span of 1 month, we garnered from zero to 6500 email subscribers.

How do you think Facebook Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

Be a platform specialist. Test it, Learn it, Master it. Facebook newsroom gives you the latest news about what’s next for Facebook.

What is your advice for aspiring Facebook Marketers? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Facebook Marketing?

Be a platform specialist. Test it, Learn it, Master it. Facebook newsroom gives you the latest news about what’s next for Facebook.

Wayne Tay

It’s common for professionals to brand themselves as a subject matter expert with the vast experience they have, accolades they won, and various positions they held.

However, Wayne is not your usual marketer, he hardly believes that anyone can be a “digital expert” (long enough) without constant learning because the world is moving at the speed of light in digitalization.
Instead of considering himself as a “know-it-all” expert, he’s a “learn-it-all” growth-hacking marketer and trainer. As a regional marketer, he has accelerated the growth of (B2B and B2C) digital marketing and revenues in both local and overseas markets within Asia Pacific.

He is also award-winning marketer; his drive for excellence has led him to various opportunities, winning multiple marketing awards over the decade.

You can connect with Wayne Tay via his LinkedIn profile.

Ted Chong – Search Engine Optimisation Expert

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEO/AdWords Search) in your own words?

Non-interruptive pull marketing. The beauty of search as opposed to other forms of marketing including social is that it appears infront of people when they need it most. It gives them what they want at a time they want it. Ultimately it cultivates a positive brand image without the company coming across as needy. On the other hand, push marketing is intrusive as it shuffs advertisements infront of people. If not done properly, it can leave a bad taste in people’s mouth.

How do you think Search Engine Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

No strategies should be done in silo, and it should fit into the overall strategy for the company. Search engine marketing is a lead generation tool whereas content marketing is a long term brand-building tool. Email and social media marketing are great for nurturing prospects and customers into advocates. For a successful digital campaign, none of them should be excluded. Likewise, the message across all channels should be consistent and sing the same tone. For example, if a company prides itself as a solution providing fast response time, all forms of marketing ought to be shouting that message so that it sinks into the customer. is a success case study. SEO brings in most of our leads.

The challenge with search is that it is capped. It is capped by the search volume of that keyword. Worse, if you are marketing a product that no one searches for such as ‘tongue brush’ , then you can’t even tap on search engine marketing. Thats why you have Facebook.

What is your advice for aspiring Search Engine Marketers? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Search Engine Marketing?

People always think they have to chase after the next big thing. You can never keep up with Google’s changes by the way. I think good old marketing is underrated. Instead, to get started, work on the foundation. Learn why do people buy, provide what they want and Google will reward you.

Ted Chong

Ice Cube Marketing Consultancy helps businesses in both Singapore and Malaysia improve their sales through data-driven online marketing campaigns that are cost-effective and ROI-focused.

Services includes that of SEO, PPC, content marketing and conversion optimization.


Marcus Ho – Social Media Marketing Expert

What is Social Media Marketing in your own words?

You’re probably goiing to expect a very complicated and long answer. But I’ll do the job of simplifying it for you. In short social media marketing is about building profitable relatonships with your customers.

How do you think Social Media Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

Today, social media marketing is perceived as a piece of the whole digital strategy puzzle. It is no longer ignored by any marketer. Everyone wakes up with their smartphone no further than one arm’s length away from their bed. The first thing they do after checking their e-mail is probably to open up one of the social media apps. And you probably already know that.

As for successful examples to share, there are quite a few stories I’d be happy to share. But the one story that holds a big place in my heart is the story of my very business — Techzone.

It was started in 2008, as an e-commerce store selling tech accessories; iPhone caes, Macbook covers, etc.

I was very young when I started the business, so the naive 20-year-old version of me went to IT show to distribute flyers. Much to my shock and dismay, most people were dumping them right before me!

But that was when I realised that I needed to take full advantage of digital marketing…and more specifically social media.

Back then, Facebook was just starting to get popular (this was circa 2008/9). I did many things — Created a Facebook Group (there weren o Facebook Pages), ran ads with my own savings, etc.

To cut the long story short — 18 months after, with a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, trial and error, Techzone went from a few thousand bucks in revenue to $600,000/year.

It was a decent business for anyone in their young 20s.

That was how I learned about social media marketing. The entire business was built on driving sales from social media. And finally, the company had a successful exit.

What is your advice for aspiring Social Media Marketers? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Social Media Marketing?

Marcus Ho

• Author of 2 bestselling books on digital marketing and social media
• Co-founded SocialMetric, a digital agency and been growing it for the last 5 years with offices in Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Australia
• Founded and grew Techzone.SG to be one of Singapore’s largest e-commerce platform for consumers to purchase tech products and accessories

• 2 successful exits. SocialMetric, my digital agency was exited in 2015 to New Union Holdings.
• Techzone.SG, my e-commerce platform was purchased in 2011 by a PE fund. It is now combined with a bigger e-commerce group.
• Private investments in emerging businesses

• 9 years of running digital marketing strategies and campaigns for clients such as Qatar Airways, 3M, Fuji Xerox, NTUC, Great Eastern, Tokio Marine
• Built key case studies such as:
• $1.1mil of ticket sales in less than 48 hours for Qatar Airways
• Grew 350% increase in lead flow for ERCI and 78% reduced cost per lead acquisition
• Built thought leadership and improved brand sentiment for 3M

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