"Digital marketing" sounds kind of big and scary. Even the most adroit web users shy away from laying claim to being an expert digital marketer.

Over the past few years, however, I've come to realize something. I've blogged, read, researched, spoken at conferences, mingled at meetups, chatted with friends, listened in on social media, and this is what I've learned: Most people are better at digital marketing than they think.

Digital marketing is mainstream. It used to be that nobody had cars. Now, a lot of people own cars. It used to be that nobody owned a personal computer. Now, many people do. It used to be that few people owned a mobile device. Today, mobile devices are everywhere.

Digital marketing is similar. Perhaps you've not achieved expert status yet, but see how you rank according to these signs of digital marketers.

1. You know what SEO stands for.

Search engine optimization is a fixture in digital marketing. Ever since there has been internet search, there has been search optimization. The tactics have changed over the years, but the core idea remains. If you know the acronym, you're in the know about a huge component of digital marketing.

2. You can use Google.

Google is where it's at. Of all the search engines that have come and gone, Google stands at the fore as the most impressive, most powerful, and most responsible for the rise and fall of websites. If you're a Google user, then you're able to solve 90% of digital marketing problems, and you experience 90% of digital marketing challenges. (If you use Bing instead, I'll still give you a passing score.)

3. You're comfortable on Facebook.

Surely you're a Facebook user, right? Welcome to the cool kids club. Facebook is the way to keep your digital marketing mojo high. From Facebook groups to Facebook ads to Facebook organic reach, many of the highs and lows of digital marketing happen on Facebook.

4. You downloaded Snapchat onto your phone.

Maybe you can't use it, but you downloaded it. Snapchat has been the "fastest growing social network" a few times, so it's likely that you got curious and tried it out. That says something about you. It says you're curious about digital marketing and are an early adopter.

5. You know that "keyword stuffing" is bad.

Back in the day, internet marketers used to stuff their websites with keywords--"free phone, free phone, free phone, free phone, free phone." Google caught up with them, and started handing out penalties. If this is old news to you, then you're definitely a digital marketing progressive.

6. You know what a website "conversion" is.

The word "conversion" is used to describe a lot of different things. In online marketing language, "conversion" means money--or at least one step closer to money. There's an entire cottage industry surrounding this act of conversion--analytics, conversion optimization, split testing, etc. If you've been able to use this term with understanding in a recent conversation, then you have some definite digital marketing chops.

7. You've written something that is published online.

Content is at the core of internet marketing. Have you ever written an article? Published a white paper? For right now, I'm dismissing Facebook statuses and Twitter posts. A solid few hundred words on a blog or equivalent platform is a clutch move in internet marketing. It's called "content marketing," and it's amazing. The skills that it took to get that article published are the same skills that allow the biggest digital brands to succeed. You're better than you thought.

8. You can explain "blog" to your grandma.

Back when your grandma was growing up, they didn't have blogs. The word didn't even appear in the dictionary until 1999. If you know what a blog is and can explain it to your grandmother, then you're a potential high-achieving digital marketer.

9. You've heard the phrase "content is king," and tend to believe it.

When Bill Gates first published that phrase in 1996, he probably had no idea just how kingly content was going to be. Look where we are today. Digital marketing is all about content. It comes in different forms, from different places, and to disparate audiences, but the core is still there--content is king. Do you believe it? Every digital marketer I know is a believer.

10. You've purchased something online.

The grand goal of digital marketing is this: To get people to buy stuff online. If you've ever given in to the siren song of digital marketing, then you know exactly what it's like--the psychology of online marketing, the marketing funnel, and the moment of conversion. There are a lot of different moving parts involved in digital marketing. At the core is that glorious and magical moment: the purchase. If you've done it before, then you are experienced, aware, and a better digital marketer because of it.


If three or more of the statements above apply to you, you can give yourself a pat on the back for being informed and experienced in the world of digital marketing.

Digital marketing can be quite complicated. But it doesn't need to be. With a marginal awareness of these marketing facts and features, you're well on your way to making a great impact on your personal brand, your business, and the world.

How's your digital marketing knowledge?