What is the Digital Marketing Black Box?

digital marketing black box

Most businesses don’t know exactly how marketing works. Add the word “digital” to it and it becomes seen as a mysterious black box.

Of course, there is no black box. Good digital marketers are not going to hide what they do, but there are a lot of industry strategies to the technology that allow a great digital marketing campaign to work.

Without knowing the details, how can you decide on an adequate budget, work toward specific results, and make the right decision for your business?

Opening the Imaginary Box

The best way to understand digital marketing is to learn about it. You should do some basic online research, read a little, understand the common terminology, and ask a lot of questions when interviewing your next marketing partner.

Digital marketers have spent long hours developing the best knowledge to succeed at what they do: devising custom digital marketing strategies for each client and budget. They are happy to share what makes them different from their competitors and to explain the tools they use to bring customers to your website.

A digital marketing agency will help you learn about what they are working on for you. If there are aspects you aren’t sure about, you should ask them.

Generating Online Traffic

Driving enough initial traffic relative to your industry will be your biggest cost. Your digital marketer will do split testing on landing pages for further fine-tuning. The results of testing are vital and build your business and presence online. This builds an audience with specific needs for your product or service.

What you are testing:

  • Sales funnels
  • Website design
  • Content quality
  • Advertisements
  • Webinars
  • Emails
  • Sales Pitches


Business owners don’t typically have time to learn about digital marketing in its entirety. This is why a trusting relationship with your digital marketer is key. When your marketing partner provides data from testing, look over the information with them and ask for their insights.


It’s not enough to throw money at the program, then celebrate when it’s working and throw a tantrum when it’s not.


Recommendations will come from this data and you need to understand why there was success or failure in order to avoid continuing a negative result or to duplicate a successful process. Each twist and turn will get you closer to an ideal marketing solution.

Stay Focused

Follow recommendations based on statistical data. Some of this information comes from your own apps and software, but more detailed data will come from your marketing partner who knows what to track in your industry and how to make beneficial changes that will impact your bottom line. Your marketing partner is like a technology interpreter.

This process is necessary to scale your business and make profits. It takes time and expertise to optimize a strategy while staying within your budget.

Your marketing partner’s job is easier when you’ve properly allocated marketing funds.

The Marketing Budget

According to the US Small Business Administration, a budget of 7-8% of gross revenue is a comfortable budget for marketing efforts. If you don’t set at least this amount aside, it will be hard to create a marketing strategy that truly works. A full digital marketing strategy often includes:

  • website optimization
  • off-site optimization
  • content development
  • search engine optimization (SEO)
  • social media campaigns


Paid advertisements or search engine marketing (SEM) are an additional process and cost. This is why a startup needs to use a sizeable portion of investment funding for marketing in order to survive and grow an established business.

When a business is unable to fund a full-scale marketing strategy, concessions need to be made and decisions about the best marketing channels to use become extremely critical. A great marketing partner can help with those decisions based on your specific business goals, targeted audience, budget, and content needs. They will start by looking at your website. If it’s not attracting leads that convert to sales, you may need to have the user experience (UX) analyzed and redesigned. You may need to rethink your messaging and branding. Your product or service may not be hooking interested visitors.


A proper landing page will draw 10-50 consumer actions per 1,000 visitors. These actions will include email responses, phone calls, or online purchases. When designed for individual campaigns, they are capable of converting at least 2%.


What is in the Digital Marketing Toolbox?

  • an educated partner during the digital marketing process
  • a digital marketer that meets your requirements for a trusted relationship
  • the budget needed to generate enough traffic for split testing
  • frequent and well-researched updates to a process based on accumulated data from a well-designed website with active landing pages
  • knowledge and patience for the results to grow organically


This is a complex process and takes time to perfect. The results down the line are optimized visibility, maximum sales, a reputable company with loyal customers, and sustained processes at minimum costs using organically generated content. If you can get to this point in six months, the hardest part is over, and you’ve done a phenomenal job. Maintaining the process through continued testing and minor changes over time will be much easier.


Jaworski, N., CircleSocialInc.com, 2018. Digital Marketing, Do you Have What it Takes? https://www.circlesocialinc.com/digital-marketing-have-what-it-takes/


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