Digital Marketing For Dummies Guide

Tips, strategies, and downloadables for your brand during economic change – and how to retain customers through it all.

Tips, strategies and downloadables for brands during economic change and how to retain customers through it all.

It’s no surprise that life throws curveballs, yet it’s how we’re able to adapt and redirect our efforts in a productive way that determines if we thrive, or just merely survive. That’s why it’s important in times of economic change to look at your marketing efforts holistically and create a plan of action focused on the best and most supportive way to communicate with your customers. The goal of this Digital Marketing for Dummies Guide is to help you pivot your strategy, get the right communications out, and use this time to make sure your marketing tactics are supporting your business and your clients in the most effective way possible.

We’ll dive into 3 of the most important and effective areas of digital marketing where you can focus your efforts. We also have suggestions for free tools and downloadables to help you along the way!

1. Email Communication and Best Practices During a Crisis

Email is your first line of communication for any industry disrupting event,

let alone something as life-altering as a pandemic. That’s why the first step in digital marketing for dummies is making sure that you’re saying the right things, in the right way, to the right audience, for the right reasons. Once you’ve nailed down the content of your emails, make sure you take a look at the more technical aspects and adjust accordingly to ensure your deliverability.

Check out our resource below, the complete Email Deliverability Checklist.

Areas to Focus your Efforts:

Deliverability matters and should be a concern

There has been an increase in COVID-19 emails and decrease in overall engagement which inevitably affects deliverability. Focus on subject lines and content that is valuable for your audience. Avoid using COVID-19 or Coronavirus in your subject line.

Create relevant and thoughtful content.

It’s no longer business as usual, so making sure that the message you’re sharing via email can pivot as the times change. Try a more service-based approach to your content (instead of sales-oriented) and focus on opportunities where you can help your customers during this time – that could be through free content, free shipping, suspending fees, etc. Avoid promotions or offers related to COVID-19 or using the word “COVID” in your codes.

Use email as a communication channel to create conversations first (and sales second).

Customers may be hesitant to buy, but they can still learn and communicate with your brand. If you give before the sale and provide customers with valuable, useful, and joyous content, it can make all the difference in building a lifelong relationship with the customer. Not to mention, it will help with deliverability because your customers will want to receive the emails you’re sending.

Clean up and tweak current lists.

Cleaning up lists is always important, but if you have parameters around inactivity then you might want to adjust them, especially if they’re set for a 30-90 day time period. Customers who might have been hyper engaged before the pandemic might be less or not active during this time, but that doesn’t mean they should be marked down in value.

Update email messages and any “always on” automation tracks.

Automation can work wonders for marketers and many times a brand can have multiple tracks running at the same time. However, it’s important to see if the content and cadence of these emails makes sense during this time. Audit all tracks and content to make sure nothing comes across as potentially offensive, insensitive, or outdated.

The Complete Email Deliverability Checklist

Because Every Digital Marketing for Dummies Guide Should Include Free Tools

2. Social Media Strategy, Tactics, + Tips

What if we told you that the original purpose for social media wasn’t to promote your business.

Its intended design was, well… to be social! Social media is about making friends, celebrating each other’s accomplishments, growing your community, supporting each other in times of need, and sharing ideas, information, and inspiration. Do that first, and the elevated social media influence of your business will follow.

Once your motivation for using social media is in the right place, you can employ these Digital Marketing for Dummies tactics below to help refine your presence, increase the quality of your communication and engagement, and prove your reliability to your customers by being a consistent voice of trust.

Areas to Focus your Efforts:

Align social media goals and communication plans when pivoting for a crisis.

Focus on the unified external messaging to your community. It’s important to demonstrate that you don’t “have an agenda” during this time. What you say and How you say it (i.e. showing that you care) will have a profound impact when speaking to your audience.

Think of your platform as a way to engage in conversation (rather than a megaphone) – this will help you stand out as a trusted voice in the community that people want to follow.

You should also use this platform to give informational updates such as revised hours or changes to buying/picking up/delivery that will affect your customers.

Focus on your current customers.

Social media is a great channel to interact with your current customers and make sure that they’re heard. By leaning in and serving the customers who passionately care about you (and your industry), you will not only maintain that trust, but you’ll also attract even more followers who want the same.

If your customers are wanting to help, ask them for reviews/testimonials, encourage them to join your loyalty program/referral program (don’t have one? Create one!), or use other channels to spark more customers following the brand across all of your social media outlets.

Conduct a social media audit.

  • What’s working for you? 
  • What’s not working? 
  • Who’s connecting with you on social? 
  • Which network(s) does your target audience use? 
  • Who is your targeted audience? 
  • How much money are you willing to spend? 
  • How many hours a week can you devote to engaging? 
  • How does your social media presence compare to that of your competitors? 


Once you know these answers, you’ll have a better idea of what your strategy should be moving forward.

Set up accounts and improve existing profiles.

With your audit complete, determine which networks to use (and how to use them). Set up new accounts where you don’t yet have a presence and optimize your existing accounts starting with your most trafficked platform.

Create a social media content calendar.

  • Create a posting schedule
  • Content mix ( Different B2B/B2C)
    • Example:
      • One-third of your social content promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit.
      • One-third of your social content shares ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses.
      • One-third of your social content involves personal interactions with your audience.

Test, evaluate, and adjust your strategy.

Track your data to gain valuable insights on:


  • Brand awareness → “New people who come to your page”
    • Metric to track: Impressions
  • Community engagement → “New visitors who see and stay”
    • Metric to track: Reach 
  • Conversion → “Users who trust you enough to buy” 
    • Metric to track: Revenue and website clicks

Set multiple timetables to track these metrics so at the end of each period you can re-evaluate your strategy and content. If what you’ve done is working, try it again! If not, try something new for a short period of time and and re-evaluate again. This is a constantly iterative process.

Get Your Social Editorial Calendar Now

A Digital Marketing for Dummies Must-Have!

3. SEO Best Practices to Improve Your Google Ranking

You don’t have to be an SEO wizard to start incorporating some of these Digital Marketing for Dummies tips into your marketing strategy.

When optimizing your site for Google, there are a variety of really helpful tools (some of them are free!) that will jumpstart your optimization and help you rank higher. It’s all about finding the right keywords that you can easily rank high for and then leveraging simple strategies to give yourself a boost!

Areas to Focus your Efforts:


Conduct keyword research! Use a keyword tool (like this free one) to target keywords that have search volume and align with the content on your page. You might find a keyword that closely matches what you offer or are discussing on your site that you just missed. Seize this opportunity and make that small change to reap big SEO rewards!

Tag + Describe.

Make sure your web pages have title tags and meta descriptions. A title tag is the title that you want displayed on search engine results and should include the keyword that you’re targeting. A meta description is a snippet of info that describes the content on your site and should contain a commonly searched phrase. This Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Simulator tool will help you check and see if you’re doing it right. 

  • Title tags need to less than 60 characters
  • Meta descriptions need be less than 160 characters

Go Fast(er).

Make sure your web pages are fast! This website speed checker tool will tell you how long it takes your page to load, which is not only important for the overall user experience but affects how high you can rank. The sweet spot is for your site to load in less than 3 seconds – if your site is slower than that, the tool will offer suggestions on how to speed it up!


User experience is a huge part of SEO, so make sure that your pages are loading properly on desktop and mobile! This also includes how navigable your site is and how easy it is for the user to click, tap, and load. It’s also worth noting that Google now prioritizes how your website loads on mobile devices over your desktop site – so think mobile first!


We don’t live in a “Set it and Forget it” type of world – everything is changing constantly, from entire industries to trending keywords. Though you may have nailed down a few great keywords, it’s important to track which ones are driving traffic to your site and which are underperforming. A great tool that will help you do this is the Google Search Console! For help setting this up on your site, check out this guide.

If you’re still curious about SEO, check out Ian’s video Most Searched Words on Google! 

Looking for a more in-depth explanation of all things SEO? Check out Ian’s 2020 SEO for Dummies Guide Guide, complete with explanation of key concepts, strategies that you should be implementing, and actionable steps you can take to rank quicker!

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