The 3 Pillars of Digital Marketing

What are the three key pillars every business should focus on when developing a digital marketing plan?  Hint: every one of them requires content. In this episode, Chris and Ryan discuss the three fundamental pillars that every digital marketing campaign is built upon.

So the idea for this episode actually came to us two weeks ago back on Episode 15, when we had Neil Schaffer as a guest on the show and he was discussing his book, The Age of Influence during that episode. He discussed the three pillars of digital marketing, which consists of search, social and email. 

If you haven’t listened to the episode, go back and listen to it. In case you missed it or if you need a refresher, here’s an excerpt from what Neil had to say on the three pillars of digital marketing: 

Here are some of the podcast episode highlights:

Chris Casale: [00:03:51] it all goes back to those three pillars. He mentioned search, social and email, and it really starts with search. It’s funny, I feel like I read, you know, at least one new article a month that says SEO is dead. You don’t need to worry about SEO anymore. And, you know, I feel like that’s done just as a matter of click bait, just as a way to engage people and get them to click on the article, because SEO is very much alive. It is not going anywhere. 

  • 68 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine, according to Bright Edge
  • 53% of all website traffic comes from organic search. That all starts with content because you have to be found on the search engines in order for you to be relevant in the world today. 

Ryan Smith: [00:05:58] People are searching for ‘where do you buy’ or searching for something ‘near me’. Right. Whatever that product is, it could be a ‘car dealership near me’, where to buy pizza, whatever it is. These are things that people are searching for. 

So when you’re a local, it’s obviously important to incorporate those main keywords, but also your geo location. So search is still a major pillar in this. And you have to not only create the content on your Web site, which includes creating articles, creating blog content, creating that products page, not just showing the features, but writing the benefits of it, using sort of this keyword rich copy. That is one aspect of it. 

Ryan Smith: [00:06:43] I think another aspect of search that now this just pertains primarily to the local. It’s your Google My Business page. That is something that is extremely overlooked by a lot of businesses. That is huge in getting yourself for search, and again, when we talk about search we’re talking about SEO. So this is organic and this is free of getting your visibility up there. So it is optimizing your Google My Business page. 

If you’re not sure where that is. Just do a Google search for Google My Business or you go to You’re going to have to claim your business if you haven’t done so already. But once all of that happens and you’re verified, now you can create content on your Google My Business page. 

Ryan Smith: [00:07:30] You have to think of Google My Business, while it is a Google owned property, you have to think of it as your second website because you can create content there. You can have reviews there, which is a big part, also as a signal to get organic rankings. You can update your address and you can have your map locations. If you’re a business that has multiple locations in different parts of your town or even in different states, you know, you can manage all of that through there and you can do each location separately. 

Chris Casale: [00:09:31] Yeah, I always advise clients that a SEO is a six to nine months strategy. You really are not going to start to see the results of it for six to nine months from the time that you build that appropriate content and distributed on your website. And if you haven’t been continually doing it throughout the length of that, you know, six to nine months, essentially, if you stopped because you didn’t see anything, it’s going to tail off very quick. So it’s important that you stay focused with it. 

I also think that as SEO gets a bad rap because there are a lot of companies out there that sell, you know, quote unquote, SEO services, and they use a lot of black hat techniques, essentially techniques that are used to game Google to rank the pages higher in the search results. The thing is, Google’s been cracking down on that for years and companies and websites that have engaged in those techniques have been very heavily penalized. Some of their pages completely deindexed, so they weren’t found in the search results. 

Chris Casale: [00:10:46] there was a survey done by Ahrefs that showed that 70% of search queries contain four words or more. So people aren’t typing in one or two words to find what they’re looking for. They’re typing out the entire phrase. 

Chris Casale: [00:11:07] data shows that organic or leads from organic sources have a much higher close rate and they’re better quality in terms of engagement overall. So your search pillar is a very important one.

Ryan Smith: [00:13:52] Don’t ever overlook the importance of creating content. Coming up with a content marketing strategy. Find out who your audience is. 

Ryan Smith: [00:15:59] I think it’s just important when we dive into SEO, the importance of it and you just can’t create content, not understanding who your audience is, what kind of keywords they’re using, and still in hope that you will become, you know, number one on the Google search engine rankings, but it takes a lot of work. It takes a long time to do it.

Chris Casale: [00:16:23] I think that’s very relevant. And I think, you know, you talk about knowing your audience and making sure the content is crafted for them. You know, search in particular, organic strategy is a core tenant of inbound marketing. 

When you build content that is, you know, targeted at your ideal customer, what you’re essentially doing is putting out information and resources.  You’re creating content that they find in the search results on their own time. 

So really, it’s inbound because you’re essentially creating content that they’re finding at the time that’s right for them and their customer journey. And that’s what makes search so critical, is that you’re making the information available so that your customers can find it at the moment that they’re ready for it.  

Second Pillar of Digital Marketing – Social Media

Ryan Smith: [00:18:08] It’s still important when you’re creating that persona of your ideal customer avatar (ICA). You also want to know where they live on social media. Are you a B2B? At the enterprise level? Are you B2B for an SMB? Then you want to go to LinkedIn? 

It’s very important to understand that with LinkedIn you have to create that content. Going back to LinkedIn, please check out Episode 12 Proven LinkedIn Strategies to Boost Your Brand with Nat Bibby. Fantastic. So much knowledge dropped there with it. Please check that out. 

You’re going to learn a lot of content, how to create that content and how you want to purpose it. So the big thing with social media is you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. You can take that existing content that you’ve already created. And let’s say you started with the blog. OK, what do I do with it? Well, a couple things. 

You can create images that maybe pull a quote out and you can use that and put it on Instagram, for example. You know, what do you use? There’s so many different tools that you can use. That Adobe Spark is a really good one. WordSwag is very good. Those are two apps that you can use. I’m sure there are others. Those are just the two that I use and have a lot of great success with. 

And then, of course, you can link back to your article that you’re promoting with it. So that’s one way of repurposing content in other ways. Do a video. You wrote this article out. Now create a video on it. Create the video uploaded into LinkedIn, if that’s where your audiences. 

OK, maybe your audience lives on TikTok. Create a 15 second video on Tick-Tock. And the reason why I say 15 seconds is if you go back to Episode 13, How to Get Started as a Micro Influencer with Evan Morgenstein. He gives you all the things that you need to know to be successful on TikTok. 

Chris Casale: [00:20:33] Since the dawn of time word of mouth has been the most effective marketing ever. And that’s relevant because when you’re looking for somebody to do business with or you’re looking for a new product or a new service, you trust those that are closest to you that are in your tribe. Right. Or in your and you’re very close network. 

Well, social media in many ways is just the next evolution of that. Right? It’s a digital world today. 3.5 billion social media users worldwide spread out across all different platforms. 

Third Pillar of Digital Marketing – Email

Chris Casale: [00:23:03] Pillar number three is email. And I can tell you, similar to the first pillar with search, I hear constantly email is dead. Stop using email. Email is very much alive as well. That is ridiculous. In fact, email, I think, is larger or more successful today as one of the pillars of digital marketing than anything else. 

Ryan Smith: [00:23:49] You want to send people back to your website. One of the things that you want to do on your website is have a place where you can collect email addresses. You collect these email addresses, in real quick – can do that is with a lead magnet. It could be with a guide. You sent people to a landing page. 

Why Don’t Emails Work?

Ryan Smith:  [00:24:19] I think the people who look down on it and don’t do it, and we’ve had guests on this podcast that have looked down on emails. And I will say this: 

I think if you look down on emails and you’re not having success with it, it’s one of two problems with it. It’s not the email. It’s either your audience or your messaging sucks, or at three it’s both. 

And then you’re not going to see success. You’re going to have poor open rates. You’re going to have even poorer click through rates to get back to your website. It’s very important that you build a good list. 

Ryan Smith: [00:26:47] Emails are a way to get to know them. And more importantly, it’s also a way for them, the recipient, to get to know you. So you want to create content and then blog articles that you’ve already written on your Web site that maybe they haven’t found yet. And it’s going to be blog articles that are informative. Not that I’m all about buy, buy, buy. It’s not, it’s the opposite. It’s ‘this is your problem and here are solutions to it’. 

Chris Casale: [00:29:04] You have to treat the email pillar the same way you do the search pillar and the social pillar, which is creating quality and sharing it with the right audience at the right time. And that’s where you’re going to see the most success with it. 

Chris Casale: [00:29:34] In fact, according to some HubSpot data I’m looking at here, 

  • 73% of millennials prefer communication for businesses to come via email. 
  • 35% of business professionals check email on their mobile devices, which just shows that always connected mentality. Right? 

I think social media and text messaging and things like that have become the more informal channels. So email is a valid formal channel of communication. You just have to treat it right and make sure you’re delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time in order to see the returns from it. 

Rate, Review and Subscribe to the Digital Marketing Happy Hour Podcast

Digital Marketing Happy Hour podcast

If you feel like you learned something of value or maybe laughed a little, would you please consider leaving a rating and review

Finally, if you haven’t done so already, please subscribe to the podcast, so that you don’t miss another episode. It’s a seamless way to stay informed and up-to-date on digital marketing. 

Have any topic ideas you’d like to learn more about or have feedback from this episode?

Send an email to


Apple, Spotify, iHeart, Stitcher, Audible or whatever podcast platform you prefer.