Digital marketing is the biggest force of nature to come into the advertising world in at least a generation. Those marketers who have mastered its intricacies reap its benefits. For marketing professionals who are new to digital, however, it can seem intimidating and confusing. If you are interested in starting a digital campaign, but unsure where to start, here are some helpful tips.

Understand Why Digital Works

First, it’s important to understand why digital marketing is so powerful and effective. In short, it is highly targetable. That means that you can specify who will receive your ad based off very precise demographic information. Digital allows you to pinpoint people by geography, income level, gender, age, and several other parameters unavailable to traditional media.

Identify Different Types of Media

A good digital marketing campaign should balance all three major types of media, but it takes some work to do so. These first type of media is paid media, like ads purchased and placed on Facebook or Google. The second is earned media, which is essentially word of mouth, or “buzz.” The third is social media, which, in this context, refers to organic reach of unpaid social posts that rise to the top of the platform’s user’s algorithms because of their high engagement and interaction numbers.

Set SMART Goals

You must be resolute in your goals for any advertising campaign. With digital marketing, one of the best guidelines you can follow is the SMART system, which is an acronym. The “S” is for “Specific.” Set a clear goal that everyone involved can understand in a few words or numbers. The “M” is for “Measurable.” You must assign metrics and numbers to a goal to track its success. “A” is for “Attainable.” While it’s good to have lofty goals in life, in business, an unrealistic goal does you no good. If you want to see growth, shoot for 5%, not 50. If you beat it, you can always recalibrate. The “R” is for “Relevant.” As you strategize, focus on the channels that will deliver and filter out the rest. Finally, the “T” is for “Timely.” An open-ended goal that isn’t on a schedule is a recipe for failure.

Build Your Strategy and Set it in Motion

Now, it’s time to strategize and implement your digital marketing campaign. If you’ve identified the balance of which types of media you’re shooting for and set SMART goals, the rest is tactics and deployment. Research and decide what sites, channels, and platforms you want to buy, and set the plan in motion with effective, creative messaging.

Digital is a powerful tool in the advertising arsenal. Use these guidelines to help you build your first campaign, and each subsequent one will get easier and better.