The Essential Digital Marketing Overview

As digital marketing becomes a greater part of the overall marketing mix, understanding how digital marketing works for your business is essential. In this article, we will explore a digital marketing overview that clearly shows the relationship between the most important aspects of online marketing.

I define digital marketing as follows:

Communication that uses digital channels and different online marketing methods to engage users with digital assets.

However, I recommend you check our previous post which breakdowns digital marketing and offers a simple analogy for easy understanding.

For businesses whose primary goal is to make money, digital marketing should not be engaged in just for the sake of it. Like any marketing or advertising effort, the primary goal of digital marketing is to generate leads and sales so that there is a return on investment on marketing.

While brand building and awareness can be an objective of digital marketing, in the long run, the belief is that these efforts will translate to tangible monetary returns. For most small and medium businesses, getting immediate ROI is often a goal and even necessary.

Digital Marketing OVERVIEW

Having a clear overview of the most important aspects of digital marketing is essential to maximise your marketing budget.

The three main components of the digital marketing flow are Strategy, Traffic and Conversion.


Strategy can refer to an overall business strategy, positioning strategy or digital marketing strategy. We have a saying at Evolve & Adapt, it is always “strategy before tactics“.

Strategy will always guide the specific digital marketing efforts that you might ultimately employ in the digital marketing flow.

Strategy will also determine how to allocate your marketing budget in the best possible way to meet your objectives.


Traffic is about driving users and target customers to your website or other digital asset such as social media channel. Marketers will always ensure marketing dollars are invested to drive traffic as without users, there is no possibility of converting them into leads or customers.

Traffic can consist of:

  • Organic Traffic – Search Engines
  • Paid Ads – Facebook Ads, Google Search & Display Ads and YouTube Ads
  • Email Marketing – Cold Lists or Clients
  • Direct/ Referrals – Offline Sources and Backlinks

Traffic is typically driven through digital marketing efforts such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), email marketing and paid search ads and/ or display ads on social media.


Conversion is the equal counterpart to traffic. Traffic without conversion is almost almost useless when the marketing objective is lead generation or making sales.

Conversions are achieved through a lead conversion system like a digital marketing funnel which we discussed in this post.

A digital marketing funnel is an automated marketing process of driving traffic to a website and motivating the visitors to complete a call-to-action.

It is essentially an online version of the traditional sales funnel or customer journey. 

I developed the infographic below to show the flow of digital marketing and how it leads to customer acquisition.

Digital Marketing Overview by J C Sum | Evolve & Adapt
Infographic developed by J C Sum, Evolve & Adapt

The dotted green line refers to the digital marketing funnel and shows where it sits over the digital marketing flow.

The landing page refers to a specific page in your website that is designed for maximum leads or sales conversion.

Notice how the funnel narrows down to the ultimate goal of customer acquisition (and retention).

Applying the Digital Marketing OVERVIEW To your Business

Use the infographic above as a tool to map out your digital marketing plan.

Think about the different types of digital marketing available to your business and see which fits best for you.

Digital marketing tactics include:

  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Paid Advertising
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing

The key message you should take away from this post is that you should always make strategic marketing decisions based on the effects on traffic and conversions.

If you are spending all your time, money and efforts or either just traffic or conversions alone, it is unlikely your digital marketing efforts will bear fruit in the long run. And remember, it is always strategy before tactics.

J C Sum

J C Sum is a certified management consultant (TR 43:2015), an American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) in marketing management as well as a certified digital marketing strategist (SSG-WSQ accredited) with 12 years of experience specializing in search engine optimization, content marketing, and analytics. J C holds a Bachelor of Arts from National University of Singapore and is the author of "Evolve, Adapt or Collapse". He has been featured on The Straits Times, Business Times, Channel News Asia, The Edge Singapore, CNA938, and Money FM 89.3.