All you need to know about digital marketing. [2020]

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Would you believe me if I tell you that there are still a lot of business owners who completely have no idea about digital marketing? I mean, the year is 2020! ( Well, almost at the time of writing)

Not kidding, it’s found that Malaysian companies spend only 10% of their advertising budget on digital marketing. That’s relatively low compared to a country like United Kingdom, where companies are known to have spend at least 50% of their marketing budget on digital marketing year after year.

But before we talk about digital marketing, we have to look at the definition of the term ” marketing ” first and how it’s has shifted throughout the years. Back in the days, marketing used to be the study of connecting your brand with your customer.

Today, it’s no longer the same. The vice president of eCommerce for Fairway Market, Julie Barile states that ” with digital media, marketing today is all about building a deeper connection and more meaningful relationship with your customers” And we support that statement a 100%!

Think about it. Did marketing back then provided any value beyond connecting with your potential customers? No, it didn’t! Try asking any marketers back then if their marketing campaign brought their existing customers closer or increase their brand awareness.

Their answer is most likely to be “Well, that’s for sure. We placed our TV advertisement on the country’s most famous TV channel after all. ” Sorry to burst your bubble, but it doesn’t work that way. Traditional marketing avenue is just full of assumption with no exact data to work on.

Digital marketing on the other hand is an entire different story. Precise data, valuable customer feedbacks, test driving your business plan are just some of the benefits it provide. A true revolution of the entire marketing history.

Well, that’s for the brief introduction on what is digital marketing. Now, let’s dive into the very particular of it.

Quick links
In this article, we will dive into every single thing you need to know about digital marketing. Read on to get a full glance of it, or simple click on any of the quick navigation here to instantly scroll to the question/ session you would like to learn about.

1.1 What is digital marketing
1.2 Why digital marketing in today's world
1.3 Examples of digital marketing
1.4 Platform for digital marketing
1.5 Budget needed for digital marketing
1.6 Can digital marketing work for every type of business?
1.7 Should I hire a full time digital marketer for my company or engage an agency?
1.8 Okay I'm convinced. How do I get started with digital marketing?


To say that there’s only one true definition to digital marketing is inaccurate. How each marketers define it is very different.

In Catalyst Digital, we believe that “Digital marketing is the revolution of marketing, because it’s capitalizing on the fact that we are living in a digital era, and it is harvesting the very essence of the harmony between so many different datas across social media platforms and molding it into a marketing resource. With the right leverage, marketers now can create a perfect environment to engage with their potential prospect. Building a relationship that no traditional marketing avenue can achieve.”

We will break it down for you at the next bit.
How digital marketing works


Well, before, we answer that question. Let us throw you one first.

“What is the purpose of marketing?” It’s to connect with your potential prospect and put your brand in front of them right?

Well, guess what. More than half of the global population is estimated to be online using mobile devices in 2020. There. You get it now?

We are not saying that digital marketing will replace traditional marketing for sure. We are saying that both of them can go hand in hand together. In fact, it’s recommended that you should use both of them together! Kelvin Tai, the CEO of PrintingLab.my, one of Malaysia’s pioneer in online printing e-commerce says that:” Offline marketing is not replaced per se. It merely became a supplement for digital marketing and had since taken a supporting role.”

It’s true that offline marketing couldn’t provide a targeting precision on par with digital marketing. But what it can do is to act as a vessel to collect more business data. It also can act as a channel to your respective online platform.

All we need to do is to combine QR code into printing. And that’s the epitome of combining both online and offline marketing avenue.


Here are some of the digital marketing examples:

  1. Facebook marketing
  2. Google Pay-Per-Click ad ( PPC )
  3. Search Engine Optimisation ( SEO )
  4. Content marketing
  5. Native advertising
  6. Email marketing
  7. Affiliate marketing

Let us provide you a quick insight into each of them as well as their usage.


Facebook marketing as the name suggests, involves running marketing campaign on the platform itself. Back in days, people tend to only use Facebook casually for games and also communication purposes. Today, the platform had evolve into a full fledged platform that allows businesses to grow with ease by leveraging the platform as a marketing tool. Tap here to see how you can get started with Facebook marketing.

There are in total 11 types of campaigns you can run on Facebook, but here are the more common advertisement types:

Traffic advertisement on Facebook is designed to drive traffic to a destination of your choice. It’s very useful if you want grow a new platform of yours whether it’s a smartphone application or a website.

All you need is to get the targeting right and display the right message to your audience.

Engagemeent advertisement on Facebook is designed to enable more people to engage and see your post on Facebook. This is very useful if you want to promote your Facebook page or a certain post.

However, do note that engagement advertisement is known to attracted large quantity of low quality likes and irrelevant followers. Here’s why this is happening and how you can avoid this issue.

-Lead generation-
Lead generation advertisement on Facebook is designed to help you collect valuable information from your potential prospect. You can use this to run surveys, collect email address, newsletter subscription form and more.
Need help? Download our Facebook marketing starting kit for FREE. Click here to begin download.


Google started off as an archive of websites. In year 2000, Google ventured into paid advertisement as well. It started back in the year 2000. There’s a few types of Google advertisement and here are some of the more common one:

-Search network campaign (Text ads) –
This Google advertisement campaign is one of the more common ones. How it works is that marketer will bid for a keyword of their choice and then display a text ad which appear and response to a potential prospect’s enquiry on Google.

This is very useful because it gets you in front of potential prospect that is longer for an answer or a solution on Google.

-Display network campaign –
This Google advertisement campaign display your message, image or video on various Google partners website and also Google platform itself. While Search network campaign (text ads) only appear when there’s an enquiry, display network campaign can appear before or after a potential prospect had display an interest in your product.

You can use it to get in front of a potential prospect for the first time or use it for remarketing purposes.


Search engine optimisation or better known as SEO, is basically how the search engine sees your website and content. The better or more relevant your content is to the audience, the higher the ranking of your content for a particular enquiry.

Unlike other digital marketing avenue, Search engine optimisation is a FREE marketing channel. What’s tricky here is how do you get your website ranked as the top 3 results of an enquiry. It’s often not as easy as you think it would be.

Here are some of the methods to increase your SEO:

-On-site optimisation-

This kind of SEO focuses on optimisation within the website. This includes the architecture of the website , how it's built, image compression, structured data, loading speed and many more.

On site optimisation also includes keyword research work. Which means knowing what your audience is searching and looking for, and then you providing them the answer in a content format of your choice. In the long run, this will push your search engine ranking and improves your SEO score.

-Off-site optimisation-

This side of the SEO deals with how you manage the optimisation work beyond your website. This includes building backlinks with other websites which acts as a signal of credibility towards your content as well as your site.


Content equals creating value. Content marketing is amazing, because if used right, you are able to forge a whole new market for yourself.

One individual that excels in this is Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary is the active CEO of Vayner Media and is constantly posting contents on different social media platforms since more than 10 years ago. His original intention is never to make any hard selling or sales directly, but more towards providing value to people from all walks of life.

However, as time goes by, Gary unknowingly became the go-to icon for business tips on a global scale. Gary preach about practicality, self-awareness and hustle, and his words inspire more than thousands of entrepreneurs every single day.

The value Gary is getting back? Amazing publicity for his media company, side hustles like getting his book published, secured multiple speaking opportunities and got invited as keynote speaker for many renowned business conference.


Native advertising is about creating advertisement that doesn’t look like an advertisement. Mostly found within digital media company today, within their written or video content.

Why is this marketing style popular? Well, it’s an established fact that people hates ad, or rather what made them hate ads. There’s a study with lots of data backing this statement.

Native advertising is about matching the style and format of the advertisement with the platform it is placed on. The idea behind is to display ads that are less intrusive, in a format that the consumer would like to consume.


Email marketing is still one of the most cost effective marketing avenue in 2020. Used right, it can help you to boost your relationship with your existing customer base and also act as an avenue to capture new leads for your business at zero cost.

The only thing that you need to do is to have a proper plan before sending it out.

Here’s a few strategy you need to have it ironed out before you can kickstart your email marketing campaign:

-A clear subject title-

When you are sending an email, regardless of the identity of the receiver, you must make sure that you have a clear subject title.

Having a clear subject title helps the receiver to understand what you're trying to achieve and is more likely to open your email and read it if it makes sense to them on first glance.


Everyone hates spams. One of them is generic emails. If your email doesn't look familiar, chances are they won't response to it or even read it.

Hence, always make it an effort to place a factor of personalisation within your email. Even if you don't know the actual name of the receiver, it's good to put the name of the organisation.

You can find more tips from our previous article on email marketing by clicking here.


There are a lot of platforms for you to kickstart your digital marketing campaign. Of course, it’s best if you can have presence on every single digital platforms but that is not necessary. Here’s a quick run through of each of them:


This social media platform need no introduction. With more than one billion users on it, there’s no doubt why this social media platform is so popular globally, and is one of the most sort after marketing platform for all businesses.

Here’s an article you can read to get started with Facebook marketing on a beginner level.


Any email provider would work: gmail, hotmail and Ymail etc. What you need here is a newsletter database platform. Our personal favourites are Mailchimp and GetResponse. With a newsletter database platform like Mailchimp, you can easily store details on your contacts and segment them into groups for effective email marketing.

Here’s an article you can read to get started with newsletter marketing.


There are a few digital marketing route you can opt for when it comes to Google – Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Pay-per-click advertisement. Google is said to the best platform to gather quality leads.

Think about it, people that comes to Google already have an intention/ question in mind and they are looking for an answer. That’s why leads from Google are generally better in terms of quality.


Instagram is a platform that is popular amongst the youth/ young adults. It’s a social media platform bought over by Facebook in 2012, in effort to capture younger audiences within the market as well. If your business is for the younger audiences, you can’t miss out on Instagram.


Snapchat is another platform that is popular amongst younger audience. Allowing users to create virtual stickers and augmented reality short videos on its platform, and later sharing it with friends and family. In Asia, not alot of marketing efforts are being done on the platform as of now. But it still remains as one of the best platforms for content marketing amongst younger audiences.


How much budget is needed for digital marketing? Zero.

Well we are not kidding, in some aspect, digital marketing is FREE. Let me give you an example, if today you are to create a cold email database and send out your cold email as newsletter marketing. It’s FREE.

If you decide to create content on Instagram one day and share it with like minded individuals, it’s FREE. So the bottom line is, the budget needed for digital marketing depends on the type of digital marketing campaign you’re trying to run.

But let’s say you’re trying to run paid ads, which means you pay Google or Facebook to display your ads on their platform, then you will need a certain amount of budget for such campaign. Here are some of the factors that affects the amount of budget needed:

-Size of audience- (More people = more budget)

Size of audience is how many people you're currently targeting within your advertisement. For example, if you want to run an ad targeting the whole United States vs running an ad targeting only Houston, of course the former would be much more expensive. It's a simple, logical equation.

-Duration-(Longer campaign= more budget)

Duration is basically how long you want to run your paid campaign. The longer the campaign duration, the more expensive it gets. Pretty logical.


We would say that digital marketing can work for 99.99% of the businesses, regardless of your business nature or how niche is it. Let us provide you an example:

We have an existing client, who set up international school globally. He wonder if there's any digital marketing method that could help him gather a PE investor that is looking to put 15 million or more to set up a school.

Our answer? You can run paid ads on LinkedIn and curate lots of content to boost up SEO and also awareness.

While his business nature is very niche, there are bound to be government bodies, investors or private bodies that are looking to set up schools.

And what he needs to do? Making sure that his name shows up when people are searching for it online. Content marketing and paid LinkedIn ads are the solutions here.

Even if you don’t plan to expand your business and just want to maintain your relevance within a small community, digital marketing avenue like newsletter marketing and content marketing can assist you as well.

1.7 Should I hire a full time digital marketer for my company or engage an agency?

Well, for this statement, it’s all about the value for money here. Let us just share some thoughts on the pros & cons for both sides.

The first thing to remember is that digital marketing is a constantly changing field of study. Google algorithm is always on the change, so is other social media platform. To truly grow business and brands on the platform, one must constantly be on their toes and learn as it goes.

What's good with hiring a digital agency

1. You're getting assistance from someone who worked in and out within the digital industry. Their knowledge will be up-to-date and you can have a peace of mind working with them.

2. You do not need to hire multiple staff to handle your campaign. A campaign usually comprises of many other elements as well, such as design, copywriting, funnel crafting and so on. Hence, you normally would need to hire multiple staff of different skills to handle it in-house. Engaging a digital agency that provides you a one stop solution, saves you on overhead cost and hassle.

What's bad with hiring a digital agency

1.You're not sure of their work quality. There's no telling if the digital agency is well versed with different digital knowledge or they are just putting up a fake front.

If you’re truly thinking about hiring a digital agency, please first refer to this article we crafted to help you avoid bad digital agency hire and what you can do in case you accidentally hired one. Now, let’s move on to the pros and cons of hiring a permanent staff.

What's good with hiring a permanent digital marketer?

1. You have full view and updates on what they are currently doing for the campaign. You won't be left in the dark, communication would be easier for you as well. You will be able to know the current progress of the campaign instantly.

2. You will have a full dedicated digital marketer with 100% focus on your company only. Other digital agency would have multiple clients at once, and hence, would not be able to dedicate 100% concentration to your company only. A permanent staff however, can.

What's bad with hiring a permanent digital marketer?

1. You need to make sure your digital marketer is updated on the latest digital knowledge. What used to work won't work all the time. Training needs to be placed and scheduled for your staff.

2. They are on your payroll. You can't just cut ties with your staff even if you're not satisfied with their work. And worse, you still have to pay them every month regardless of their performance. You can fire a bad digital agency right away so long you didn't sign any binding contract. But you can't instantly fire a staff.

1.8 How do I get started with digital marketing?

We got your back. Here’s all the useful resources we have to get you started:


Digital marketing is a tool all businesses need to look at if you want to grow your business or stay relevant in this digital era. You don’t need huge budget to get started. All you need is to have a proper digital plan, discipline and remember to take action. That’s it for this article, and I will see you again soon.

If you want to read more of our articles, do check out our Knowledge Archive. If you want weekly updates on topics pertaining to life and business, do let us follow us on Instagram and Facebook

If you like how we write our article and would like to start a project with us, tap the link here.
Jin Chi

Jin Chi

The founder of Catalyst Digital. Born in year 1995, a huge fan of blue ocean strategy as well as lean startup. You can contact him by email at [email protected]


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