If you type that question into Google, you’ll get billions of results. There may be a misconception that digital transformation is just about technology, but that’s not the case.

Digital transformation is a foundational change in how an organization operates, communicates, and engages with customers. It’s a disruption to the ‘traditional’ way of operating to become more digital. It’s also about cultivating a digital culture and upskilling the people in your company as it takes a team to work through a transformation.

As Brian Corish, Managing Director of Accenture Interactive simply puts it: “Digital transformation is reinventing the business model. It’s reinventing processes” 


Affiliate marketing is a process where brands or advertisers commission affiliate partners (often referred to as ‘commission partners’) to promote their products or services to specific segments of their audience and generate profit.

A branch of performance as well as content marketing, affiliate programs or campaigns are based on capturing a consumer’s attention at the right stage of their journey by generating compelling content across channels and inspiring them to click a link with the aim of generating sales.

If a consumer converts as a result of a piece of affiliate content, the brand pays a commission to the affiliate.

For a detailed rundown of the concept, explore our definitive guide: affiliate marketing explained.

As an affiliate marketer, you will be responsible for managing professional relationships and developing a variety of content-centric campaigns to engage specific target audiences at the times they’re most likely to convert.

Here are some of the key duties and responsibilities you will take on as an affiliate marketer:

  • Sourcing the right affiliate networks and partners
  • Managing and nurturing affiliate partner relationships
  • Collaborating with various internal departments and marketers to develop campaign initiatives
  • Developing, curating, and creating compelling affiliate marketing content across channels, mediums, and touchpoints
  • Managing campaigns, measuring results, and continually evolving your business’s affiliate marketing strategy

While salaries or incomes differ depending on a range of factors including following, niche, and current industry trends, leading influencers make an incredibly healthy living from their craft—especially when they build their brand the right way. Which brings us onto our next subject.


There are many distinctive aspects to look at when choosing an agency. It is important for a digital marketing agency to research and understand the mindset and products of the companies that they are collaborating with.

We have listed a few key points to keep in mind before hiring a digital marketing agency:

  • Define your goals and objectives
  • Do your research!
  • Make sure your selected agency understands your company values and products
  • Make sure the agency is up-to-date
  • Ask for their fields of specialization, portfolio, and references

Let’s look at each of these in more detail

1. Defining your goals is crucial

Before hiring a digital marketing agency, you need to decide on the needs of your brand. Determining what you want to achieve means that you can express yourself correctly and get the results you expect. 

Identifying internal needs will help your company filter accordingly, even when you start your search for an agency. Deciding your budget, but most importantly understanding why you want to hire them is the first step.

You might want to introduce a new product or service or maybe your goal is essentially to build a community online. In both cases, deciding why you need to work with an agency and determining an in-house plan for this will reduce your agency search process in a positive way.

Here are some best practice tips for working with a digital agency if you’re not sure what to expect. 

2. Do the necessary research

There are many different digital agencies in the industry, but it is unclear whether all of them can provide the desired service. This makes it more difficult to find the right one.

You may encounter a variety of agencies, though you would want to make sure that the agency you want to hire is in line with your prospects and goals.

If you proceed with the right research, you will save time and money in the long run, since you will be able to understand which agency is reliable or which is successful as a result.

3. Ask to see their latest projects & results

You should request a portfolio including their recent jobs and projects, providing concrete evidence of the agency’s capabilities. Coming across agencies that can share their work and results without hesitation will be key in your decision making.

The most important thing is to choose an agency that will offer you a suitable strategy, a specific plan, and a targeted result that you’re aiming for.

An agency can ask previous clients to act as a reference as a result of their ability to present their successfully completed projects. This is something you’ll want to consider before making a deal with a digital agency.

4. Make sure the agency is up-to-date

The digital world is an ever-changing living environment. And as marketers, we need to be able to cultivate an adaptable mindset. Yesterday’s trend may become obsolete tomorrow.

In this case, it is very important that the agency you will work with, especially if it is a long-term plan, always keeps up to speed, follows developments and popular topics, and incorporates them into its marketing strategy.

In some cases, this may cause a slight change in the original plan or may cause you to deviate from your intended path. In this case, if the agency you hire is really successful and experienced in its field, you may want to trust them.

5. Avoid those who say ‘’we have everything you need!’’

Agencies that promise absolute success in every area or sector generally offer an average service. Rather than opting for such agencies, working with agencies that are fully specialized in a few specific areas will definitely play a big role in the growth of your brand, and help you, both financially and in terms of authenticity.

When it comes to digital marketing, it will be effective to work with agencies that specialize to your needs, instead of choosing agencies that cover every issue that arises.

Although digital marketing may seem easy to do to those not in the industry, content creation, competitor analysis, and the ability to reach your target audience with the right approach are much more complicated than they seem. Plus things always change as new digital marketing trends emerge every year. 

In addition, the workload can be heavier than you think. For this reason, companies or brands may need to cooperate with successful digital agencies in order to have a certain place in search results, on social media, and most importantly to reach the targeted audience.

Although it’s common to outsource content creators or social media specialists, more comprehensive support may be required when it comes to digital marketing. However, it is also important to decide where and how to get this necessary help.

Know how to pick a digital agency for your business

The secret to picking the best agency is understanding the fundamentals of digital marketing yourself. With DMI’s Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing you’ll learn the skills needed to succeed, from social media marketing to PPC to email marketing to SEO and digital strategy. Put yourself in the driving seat today with up-to-date and applicable digital skills. 


1. Social Media Marketing Tools

There are a multitude of tools and apps that support social media marketing, from content discovery, management and scheduling. With social media marketing now essential for every brand and business, developing a social media strategy that drives brand awareness and ROI is integral to success.


SkedSocial is an all-in-one Instagram tool that allows you to schedule posts, visualize, and plan your feed, while also publishing to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Snapchat. A key feature of SkedSocial is the ability to automatically schedule Instagram Stories and Carousels. Everyone managing social media accounts knows the hassle of logging in on evenings and weekends to post stories; SkedSocial looks after this for you, and automatically too – so you need no notifications or reminders!

While SkedSocial is ideal for Instagram-first digital marketers, another content management platform that’s making moves in 2022 is The social media scheduling and management tool recently joined forces with Brandwatch to launch a social listening tool using digital consumer intelligence, so the offering within the platform is developing all the time.

This Twitter hashtag tracking tool allows you to find the best hashtags to reach your audience and delivers you custom suggestions. It also allows marketers to monitor the performance of branded hashtags and identify Twitter influencers.

Meet Edgar

Not just a social scheduling tool, MeetEdgar allows you to share and recycle previous posts by automatically pulling posts from your content library to keep your social fresh every day. The result is a library of evergreen updates, so your social is always on. The various plan options are designed for freelancers and small businesses who can benefit from automated recurring tasks.


Hootsuite is a social media management platform that allows you to manage content for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube from an integrated dashboard. From the centralized platform, social media marketers can schedule content, monitor keywords and brand mentions, and generate highly visual reports.


The BuzzSumo platform that helps you discover what content is popular by topic. It’s the perfect tool for content marketers, allows you to discover new keywords and find trending topics. As you search for trending topics and keywords, you can also gather shareable content ideas that will be of value to your audience. It also allows you to easily find influencers to follow and connect with in your field.

2. Influencer Marketing Tools

Influencer marketing is exploding as it becomes increasingly accessible for every business or organization, and there are many tools that specifically help with sourcing and reaching out to influencers. If your goal is to engage with influencers, check out our guide on how to build an influencer marketing strategy.

Strawberry Socials & Melody Socials

These tag-team-tools allow you to search for creators and influencers on Instagram and TikTok respectively, with some great features. The ability to search based on multiple criteria including hashtags and location makes sourcing micro to macro influencers faster and more powerful. And it’s especially useful when looking within specific locations or niches. The system works by filtering a list of potential influencers, which you can then sort through to select the ones that seem like a good fit. Then you can download the information in a detailed spreadsheet that includes their handles, bios, follower counts, and contact information.


This influencer and blogger outreach software streamlines influencer marketing and lead generation process with automated outreach, perfect for sourcing influencers on Instagram and YouTube. The system filters through millions of influencers to help you find the one that will capture your audience’s attention. The software also allows you to track conversation histories, email opens, clicks, and replies.


Upfluence is an influencer search and management tool that offers influencer marketing, affiliation management, and performance-tracking functions. Upfluence also offers a free Chrome plugin that allows you to analyze an influencer’s profile straight from your browser, and is compatible with Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest. The plugin allows marketers to see how well an influencer’s posts have been performing over the past 60 days on any given platform.

3. Email Marketing/Marketing Automation Tools

There are many platforms and tools that can help with planning and executing email marketing campaigns. Dive deeper into this topic with our practical guide to the top email marketing automation tools.

Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor is a web app that allows you to capture data to an online mailing list, manage it, and send HTML e-newsletters to it. Other features include automated email journeys, and a Link Review tool that automatically searches your emails and flags any broken or outdated hyperlinks for your attention.


The classic all-in-one marketing, automation, and email marketing platform, MailChimp allows you to manage your mailing lists, create custom email templates, and nurture and automate your entire marketing campaigns. Find out more about how to use MailChimp.


HubSpot is a high profile tool, focused on inbound marketing and building a solid content marketing strategy. This is a great tool to help with everything from content curation to optimization, as well as social scheduling and email automation systems.


GetResponse is an automation platform that facilitates automated responses, audience segmentation, personalization and reporting and analytics. You can also use the platform to create landing pages and responsive forms, and automated emails based on various subscriber behaviors.

4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Tools

SEO is crucial for making your website more visible with many emerging trends. Here’s everything you need to know about SEO and why it is important.


SEMrush is used for keyword research and online ranking data, including metrics such as search volume and cost per click. The platform also collects information about online keywords gathered from Google and Bing search engines. Specializing in keyword research, competitor analysis and Google Ad campaign optimization, the platform allows you to improve online visibility and discover marketing insights.

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is an advanced SEO site audit tool that can be used to crawl both small and very large websites. Using this tool helps you to improve onsite SEO, by extracting data for review, and checking for common SEO issues. Learn how to dig deep into your website with our Screaming Frog walkthrough.


Ahrefs is a web crawler site that can be used to highlight weak areas of your website, interrogate backlinks, discover keyword rankings, and measure SEO health. You can also use Ahrefs to conduct keyword research for Google, YouTube, and Amazon, and find content that’s performed well (in terms of social shares and/or links) on a given topic. Check out our comprehensive video tour of Ahrefs interface.


Moz is an SEO and data management software that helps businesses increase traffic, ranking, and visibility of sites in search results. Moz offers full service SEO solutions, from site crawling to keyword recommendations.

5. Paid Search & Social Tools

Managing paid advertising across search engines and social media requires a lot of upkeep if you are looking to maintain robust campaigns communicating many messages. Dive deeper into search engine advertising with our creative ways to use paid search, and plan your campaigns with our Pay-Per-Click Campaign Toolkit.

Google Ads Editor

Google Ads Editor is a free tool for managing Google Ads campaigns, allowing you to make changes to your Google Ads campaigns offline, and then upload the changes to the platform. This tool is especially useful for Google Ads accounts with multiple campaigns and long lists of keywords or ads, allowing you to use bulk editing to make multiple changes quickly (check out our Google Ads Creator Template to help with preparing and implementing Google Ads for search marketing campaigns).

Bing Ads Editor

When managing Microsoft ads, the Bing Ads Editor allows you to research new keywords and bids, and make edits, using a desktop application to streamline PPC campaign management. The tool enables advertisers to build out campaigns and make bulk changes to campaigns before pushing them live.


The AdZooma platform supports digital marketers with online advertising, providing intuitive advertising tools to manage and optimize Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Ads all in one place, allowing you to manage multiple accounts without switching platforms. Manual, regular tasks can also be automated through the platform with rule-based automation.


WordStream is a PPC advertising tool that offers both campaign management services, and a marketing software that helps businesses save time managing high-performance PPC campaigns. Their website also offers useful, free tools, and learning resources related to digital advertising.


AdEspresso is an advertising tool that focuses on Facebook Ads, with functionality to quickly create multiple versions of a single campaign, manage split testing, and gain valuable audience insights. Check out our Facebook Ads walkthrough.


A digital ads automation tool, Revealbot works to scale and automate ad strategies for Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Google Ads, and Snapchat Ads with advanced, customizable automation rules. This allows marketers to create dozens of ad variations at scale, auto-manage them, and get cross-platform reports. You can also automatically boost your best posts on Facebook, and create social media ads in bulk with multiple variations with automated A/B and multivariate testing.

6. Data & Analytics Tools

Data and Analytics is an area undergoing huge change, with first-party data now more important than ever.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic, allowing you to identify trends and patterns in how visitors engage with your website. Available features enable data collection, analysis, monitoring, visualization, reporting, and integration with other applications. In 2022, the interface known as Universal Analytics is being replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4), check out our guide to GA4 for marketers who use Universal Analytics.


Kissmetrics is a person-based analytics platform that tracks individual visitors to your website, allowing you to understand the full user journey of every customer and tie every action on your site to a person, even when they are using multiple devices and browsers. This allows digital marketers to increase conversion rates and identify roadblocks on the user journey.


Whatagraph allows you to track the performance of all your channels in a single marketing analytics tool. The platform tracks website and social analytics data, combines it, and automatically creates visual, engaging reports that can be easily shared.

Data Boards

DataBoards is a full-service analysis and development service that turns raw data from different softwares, spreadsheets, and databases into valuable insights that allow marketers to make better, informed, faster decisions.

Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio is a free tool that enables marketers to create reporting dashboards providing an overview of marketing performance. With an intuitive drag-and-drop set of tools, users can create professional reports using a selection of templates.

7. Digital Strategy Tools

good digital marketing strategy lies at the heart of any successful organization, and there are tools that can help with collaborative strategy planning and insights.


Miro is an online whiteboard tool that allows for collaborative creation, project planning, and visualization. It comes with tons of handy templates for presentations, and for visualization and illustration. The tool has benefits for digital marketing teams when it comes to marketing strategy development, campaign design and mapping, and launch planning, bringing team members together to plan, brainstorm and co-create.

Connect Mór

This platform helps with competitor benchmarking, allowing you to quickly analyze competitors’ best social media content and predict the success of your future campaigns. Through the platform, you can see and search your competitors’ best performing posts, and use the insights to plan your future content. 

8. Marketing Management Tools

Managing digital marketing campaigns requires collaboration, project management, research and patience, and tools that facilitate communication, collaboration and task assignment can help with this.


Teamwork is a project management software that can help digital marketing teams to improve collaboration, execute marketing strategy, and increase team efficiency. Within the platform you can plan, manage, and track all your marketing tasks in one place. Working from a centralized project management software is ideal for marketing teams who need to collaborate to execute campaigns to a deadline, with full project visualization for the whole team.


Asana is a work management platform designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work. Through Asana, teams can see project progress, track individual tasks, and visualize your progress on projects.


Trello is a web-based list-making application, helping teams to ideate, plan, and manage work in a collaborative way. The structure of the platform encourages users to organize tasks into columns based on status, such as To Do, In Progress, and Done.


Communication is vital in business, and Slack is leading the way in changing the game for collaboration. It’s the leading messaging platform, with communication via channels (group chats), and direct message (person-to-person chat). Read more about how Slack disrupted the digital communications realm.

9. UX and Design Tools

This section encompasses the creation of graphic content and tools to help understand how users interact with your website.


Canva is a user-friendly graphic design platform that can be used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content. The app includes a wide range of free templates for users to use and adapt, as well as a library of graphic elements and photography content. Learn how to use some of Canva’s features with our Canva walkthrough.


Hotjar is a powerful heat-mapping and behavior analytics tool that reveals the online behavior of your website users, helping you to monitor and improve your site’s user experience and performance.


Create engaging infographics and reports with this intuitive visualization tool, with a collection of designed templates, and the facility to add your brand colors, fonts, and logo. Use this tool to easily convert data into infographics that can be published, embedded or shared.

Microsoft Clarity

​​Clarity is a free user behavior analytics tool that helps you understand how users are interacting with your website through session replays and heat maps. The focus here is on the user experience, to help marketers gain insights into how users are interacting with their site.

Google Optimize

Optimize allows you to run website experiments to test variants of web pages, and see how they perform against a specified objective. By continually testing different combinations of website content, marketers can increase visitor conversion rates and overall visitor experience and satisfaction.

10. Video Marketing Tools

Videos are a powerful promotional tool, and with the explosion in self-shot videos across social media, tools that allow marketers to make videos without hiring a professional are increasingly essential.


This video creation software allows you to combine your photos, video clips, and music to make quality videos. The easy to use templates and drag and drop features make it easy to create videos, and customize colors, fonts and transitions. To add a finishing touch, you can add a licensed song from the Animoto music library.


CapCut is a free mobile video editor app that gives you access to advanced editing features that complement the visual language and editing features of TikTok. The app is user friendly and includes many features that are ideal for creating social video.

11. Content Management Tools

No matter what kind of digital marketing you engage in, you’ll need to engage in great content marketing, and there are tools available to help with the creation, storage and sourcing of content across social and digital.


MishGuru is a marketing platform designed for Instagram Stories and Snapchat, allowing you to plan, manage, and schedule story content, as well as tracking and measuring engagement and viewership. Mish Guru collects and curates user generated story content.


Oroson is an online proofing software that is a great tool for client-facing marketing teams in particular. The platform allows you to create entire dashboards for individual projects, upload files to be reviewed, and get feedback through precise notes and pin-points. The platform works for a variety of content types from graphics to videos to pdfs, so you can share marketing materials with clients and coworkers to get specific, visual feedback. Getting feedback on content can often be a difficult process over email, so what’s great about Oroson for digital marketers is the ability to centralize feedback in one place and cut out the back-and-forth.


CrowdRiff is a platform dedicated to user generated content, allowing you to easily source, store and share user generated visuals. While their focus is on the travel and tourism industry, this tool could easily be used by many other industries that have user generated content built into their strategy. The platform works by using intelligent image discovery tools to source images, and then allowing you to easily deploy comments to ask for rights approval. Once the rights are given, the images are stored within the platform, so you can quickly build up a content library of up to date user images.

12. Social Selling Tools

Social media channels can play a central role in feeding the sales pipeline with qualified leads, and these tools make for powerful additions to your social selling strategy.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator lets you easily find leads, and offers contact recommendations, as well as letting you see who’s visited your profile. Read our ​​guide to maximizing how to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for your sales efforts.


Vidyard is a video tool that is built for virtual selling, making it easy to record and send videos that add a personal touch at all stages of the sales cycle. You can also use the screenrecord function to create engaging presentation videos, and track analytics like who has watched your video, and for how long.


Loom is another video communications tool that allows you to make connections with people without having to schedule multiple face to face calls. With Loom, you can screen record and capture video which can be shared with a link via any messaging channel, making it great for online sales


1) Identify your mindset and skills gap

Digital is not an add-on to your business, it’s now a requisite and that thinking needs to feed from the top-down. Your business needs leaders that understand the importance and impact of digital to create and cultivate a digital culture that’s embedded across the organization. 

The key to achieving this is to understand what the current mindset is. Ask yourself:

  • Are your employees worried about or scared to use digital technologies?
  • Do teams know what digital technologies and processes are in place across the business?
  • Do teams collaborate and share information using digital channels?
  • Are your employees aware of the digital activities that take place across the business? 
  • Do employees understand and know the business targets and goals – KPIs, revenue, etc?  

Taking time to figure out where your employees are in terms of their understanding of the business can help you put processes in place that enable transparency and information sharing so everyone is on the right page. 

This mindset feeds into the skills in your business. Becoming digital doesn’t mean you need to use every channel and piece of technology on the market. It’s about choosing the right ones for your business. 

But do you have someone that can help you do that? Do you have a digital strategy? Are you confident in using key digital channels to get your message out there? There are so many digital skills that can help your business, but you need to have a plan that’s tailored to your organization to drive digital transformation. 

2) Cultivate cross-functional teams

There’s no point in your sales and marketing teams working in silos. They have to work together to ensure your company’s message is clear and consistent to engage prospects and convert leads. 

Encouraging cross-collaboration takes all knowledge and skills into account. It allows the sharing of ideas to maximize the activities in your organization and enables employees to work with and experience new technologies. It also helps instill the same language and a common understanding of digital to enable future and cross-departmental thinking.

This not only empowers employees and provides new knowledge, but it encourages teams to think outside the areas they work in and offers ways for recruits to get to grips with the company. 

For example, it could be beneficial for a new marketing member to sit in on the weekly sales meeting to learn the lingo and see the tactics used to drive conversions. Or for the sales team to review edits of a blog to understand the importance of SEO keywords in lead generation. 

It’s about enabling marketing and sales alignment to drive growth and success.

3) Offer Continuous Professional Development

Companies that invest in the right experience for their people and prepare for the future, tend to outperform their competitors, delivering 19% more growth in revenue than competitors and 15% more profit according to MIT Management

“These companies are also more innovative, better at cross-selling, and deliver a significantly better customer experience,” said Kristine Dery, a research scientist at the MIT Center for Information Systems Research. 

To prepare your employees for the demands of the digital world, you need to future-proof their careers. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) schemes provide a way to offer relevant and up-to-date learning for a range of core and specialized skills.   

There are great benefits of CPD to both your employee and organization and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Many specialist companies – DMI included – offer simple and effective ways to learn new skills and earn CPD points such as reading an ebook, completing a short course, or listening to a podcast.   

Once you identify the skills gaps in your organization, you can tailor your in-house training and CPD programs and regularly update them to reflect the changes in the marketplace to keep skills current. 

4) Develop a rewards scheme to incentivize learning

It can be difficult for your staff to fit in learning on top of all their other responsibilities. To encourage learning, it can be useful to create a system of incentives to motivate and reward. These can take many forms:

  • Offer dedicated time for training – this gives employees dedicated time to switch off work and focus on learning. It could be on a weekly or monthly basis. 
  • Credit learners publicly – shout about employees that take the time to learn through your internal networks or at meetings.
  • Spot awards  – this rewards a ‘learner of the month’ for example with a voucher or company day off.
  • Monetary bonus – a cash bonus or extra money in a paycheck on a quarterly or annual basis.
  • Offer certifications – offering a recognized certification is a great way to validate learning that can be shared in the company and on social networks.
  • Include gamification – If you have a learning management system, think about including badges or leaderboards to encourage healthy competition

Another way to incentivize learning is to develop a peer-to-peer scheme in which employees come together to share knowledge and skills. This can be done at all levels to ensure team leaders and members get the benefit of each other’s know-how.

5) Provide relevant training and functional learning

It may seem obvious to offer relevant training, but a lot of organizations are still not doing it properly. You may have a learning management system in place, but is it up-to-date with today’s skill needs? Does it reflect the external world in terms of knowledge?  

When you look at the skills required in the business, map that to the training you offer. So if you need a social media specialist, offer training in that area so other team members can be up to speed. 

It’s also crucial to offer training that lends itself to functional learning and ensure your staff are ‘job ready’. In essence, you need your workforce to have skills that are instantly applicable and relevant across business areas so they can carry out specific digital functions. 

One of the challenges with digital, whether it’s digital marketing or achieving social selling success is that it changes all the time. This means that skills can go out of date quickly and new things – software, social apps, algorithms – need to be learned to keep up.