For a business that wishes to compete in today’s online marketplace, digital marketing is an absolute necessity. Whether you’re starting or have been using digital marketing solutions for years, it pays to know about the different kinds of online marketing solutions out there.
Here are the seven types of digital marketing we’ll be talking about today:
- Content marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Mobile marketing
- Affiliate marketing
Before we get started on what these are, let’s agree on what digital marketing is.
Digital Marketing: Meaning and Importance
Digital marketing is easy enough to understand. It’s a type of marketing that relies on digital strategies and channels to connect with audiences and customers.
Digital marketing campaigns take place on devices like computers, phones, and tablets. If you scroll through your phone or browse through your laptop, you’ll easily see a ton of examples like videos, shopping and product websites, search engine marketing, banner ads, posts on social media, etc.
Why You Should Care About It
We’re sure you already have an idea of why digital marketing is so important otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this right now. To make sure we adequately cover our bases, let’s review the reasons why it’s so important.
It’s the Biggest Marketplace
At the start of 2022, it’s believed that there are 4.95 billion internet users. If you take into consideration Statista’s 2021 estimate that 2.14 billion of them are digital buyers, it’s a hefty percentage.
Provides Unparalleled Access and Control on Target Audience
Before digital marketing, campaigns relied on billboards, flyers, TV commercials, and other similar mass marketing channel options. The most targeted you could get was by putting an ad in a broadsheet or magazine with a certain audience.
Online marketing channels have given marketers unparalleled control over not just who sees their collaterals, but also when they see it, the location of the people who see it, their language, and more. This makes paid advertising more efficient and results in a faster return on investment.
A Direct Line to Your Customers
Relationship-building and networking have never been easier. Your company website, product pages, social media pages, etc. are a direct line to your customers. All you have to do is post something online, send a newsletter or an email to your customers, or run an online campaign to directly engage and communicate with them.
Sell Faster at Any Time With Less Effort
Your social media pages and website don’t care what time it is. They’re available 24/7 to anyone in the world. This means that even when you’re sleeping or vacationing you can still generate revenue with minimal effort and manpower.
Digital marketing has made online selling more accessible to a wide variety of people, allowing previously untapped markets to have a global customer base. As an example, consider how Amazon, which has a primarily US market, has sellers from all over the world. Though most sellers are still from the United States, the second-largest group of sellers is from China. This speaks of the business diversity and accessibility that the different digital marketing solution options have made possible.
Indeed, digital marketing is here to stay. To remain competitive, it’s important to learn as much about it as we can and put them to use. In the next section, we tackle the seven types of digital marketing that you and your company should know about to improve KPIs (key performance indicators).
7 Types of Digital Marketing Strategies
#1. Content Marketing: What’s Your Story?
Content marketing is indispensable and is the cornerstone of every online digital marketing strategy. It encompasses the planning, creation, distribution, and publication of online content on digital channels like websites, social media, press releases, apps, podcasts, and more.
You’ve no doubt come across many examples of content marketing. To give you an overview, here are common types you’ll see online:
Some of its common goals include:
- Increasing brand awareness, retention, and loyalty
- Achieving conversions (converting potential customers to sales, getting people to sign up, etc.)
- Building brand authority
- Lead generation
- Community-building for engagement and retargeting
This is, however, only one of the first steps. To make sure that your content marketing gains traction and the right exposure, you’ll need to harness the power of search engine optimization or SEO.
#2. SEO: Putting Yourself Out There
The best content in the world won’t do you any good if no one sees it. This is where search engine optimization comes in. It means employing tactics that help get your content noticed and picked up by search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) so that your content gets more traffic.
How does SEO work? Search engines like Google and Bing have bots that “crawl” pages and index them. After crawling, algorithms consider hundreds of factors to determine the relevance of each page and how to display them in search engine results pages (SERPs.)
As a marketer or a business owner, your goal is to get your content seen by as many people from your target audience as possible. While algorithms are complex and largely unrevealed, certain best practices can help you gain ranking and ultimately organic traffic.
One of the biggest arsenals in your SEO toolbox is keywords or the words that people use during various searches. If your page can match the intent of search results with the keywords on your website while showing relevance, you have a good chance of ranking higher on SERPs.
SEO is far too broad a topic for an article like this but there are loads of resources online that can tell you more. Take, for instance, this crash course for beginners from Moz. You’ll also find countless digital marketing solutions providers offering digital marketing services online who can demystify and help you with SEO.
Some of the common digital marketing solutions services you can get help with are:
- Optimizing your website, articles, product pages, etc.
- Using keyword research to help identify the best keywords
- Content creation
- Link building
- Improving website and content quality
- Optimizing viewability in cell phones
- Improving user experience
These online digital marketing services all ultimately help you rank higher and get more traffic.
#3. Email Marketing: Initiate Contact With Your Target Audience
Push and pull marketing strategies are traditionally used together for effective marketing. When a user looks for information that your website offers, that’s pull marketing. When someone receives a newsletter in their email, that’s push marketing — content is being “pushed” to them.
Email is a form of push marketing that remains relevant in digital marketing. Consider the following:
- Email has a 4,400 percent ROI.
- Each year, around 102 trillion emails are sent — a number that’s expected to reach 126.7 trillion this year.
- Globally, there are more than 4 billion email users.
- Nearly half of online consumers say they wouldn’t mind receiving emails from their favorite brands weekly.
Email marketing is an ideal medium for building relationships, increasing brand awareness, promoting content, generating and nurturing leads, and marketing your products.
Since email marketing typically involves large numbers of email addresses and standardized content, one of the digital marketing services is to look for is email marketing tools. Tools like Hubspot, MailChimp, and Salesforce enable digital marketers to create, send, test, optimize, and monitor email marketing campaigns more easily.
#4. Social Media Marketing Strategy: Leveraging Relevant Groups and Communities
On average, people spend 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media each day. It’s, therefore, no surprise that many digital marketing solution efforts are directed towards a strong social media presence and over 50 billion brands are on it.
When we’re talking about targeted audiences, there are only a few ways that allow us to tap and engage relevant groups the way social media does. Whether it be starting your own social media page, joining and starting your own social media groups on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and the likes, marketers can now directly communicate with their audiences.
Aside from building brand loyalty and lead generation, we can also listen in on what our audiences are interested in and learn what’s important to them. Communicating with like-minded individuals also offers opportunities to come up with unique and highly relevant content.
An excellent example comes from Gillette, a personal care brand that manufactures and sells razors. In 2019, they came up with a short film on YouTube that depicts many men’s modern struggle with traditional concepts of masculinity. As of writing, the video has been viewed over 37.8 million times. The #GilletteAd hashtag reached over 150 million people while related Instagram posts earned over 800 likes.
Let’s take a look at other reasons why social media marketing should be part of your digital marketing strategy:
- Can use it to create an image of authenticity
- Doesn’t require a huge capital
- Provides opportunities to learn about your competitors
- Can build a community and relationships for your brand
- Learn more about market behavior
Implementing social media marketing is far from a one-and-done deal. There are many steps from building a quality community to establishing clear goals, engaging with your communities as well as consistent and regular content creation. Note that these are only some of the things you have to do.
However, if you can manage it, you’ll have a ready-made online community that you can leverage at any time. In 2019, 68 percent of marketers believe that their social media marketing efforts have been somewhat to very effective.
#5. Mobile Marketing: Smartphone and Device-enabled Marketing
Over 83 percent of people globally have a smartphone. That’s a market population of over 6.6 billion people. Nearly half have made online purchases in the last three years while using them. Add to that the three to six hours people spend on their phones daily and you’ll want to give your mobile marketing strategy higher priority.
The prevalence of smartphones and devices has made them an essential part of any digital marketing plan. Any content or initiative you have should be compatible with cell phones and should be considered.
Here are some ways to make mobile marketing work for you according to ForbesBooks:
- Sixty-six percent of all email is opened through a smartphone. Make sure your emails, website, and other content are viewable and compatible with smartphone viewing.
- Enable smartphone payments. Can customers pay for your products or services through their smartphones?
- Mobile coupons and deals are the new and better way of offering promotions. They’re less likely to get lost and are more likely to remain top of mind when a customer is deliberating a sale. You can also change and update your offers without incurring additional costs.
- SMS is faster than email and ideal for sharing promotions, updates, and rewards. Give your audience the choice to opt-in so you only end up sending them to relevant groups.
- Evaluate and explore unique opportunities for presenting social media content on cell phones. Chances are, you’ll find different ways to engage audiences and offer deals via cell phone.
- In the world of smartphones and businesses, more isn’t necessarily better. Sending an unending stream of text messages, emails, alerts, and more can have customers opting out in annoyance. Learn about your customers’ preferences: what kind of deals they want to be informed about, how often they want to hear from you, and what types of notifications are most useful for them.
You should also time your promotions right. For example: don’t send information about a deal that ends in a few hours or that has already ended.
- How quickly does the mobile version of your pages/app take to load? A slow-loading page will have customers navigating away from it before you even get a chance to make an offer. In addition, it can negatively affect your search engine ranking.
- Does your store have a physical location? If you have in-person visits and encourage them to check in and review you, they can be used as recommendations while boosting your social media activity. You can also offer discounts and special promotions to individuals who take the time to check-in and leave reviews.
- Increase your wireless phone brand presence and awareness with a mobile app. A mobile app can provide a quick and easy way to access your businesses’ latest deals, news, and offers. If you have the resources for it, cell phone apps are a great way to engage and retain customers while encouraging repeat business.
- Similar to the way QR (quick response) codes work, near-field communication (NFC) lets you reach out to users in a given location by scanning NFC tags. You can incorporate NFC tags in posters and other printed collateral inside your store to make offers, hold contests, and tell them more about your products or services.
#6. PPC Marketing: Cost-Effective, Results-based Marketing
One of the disadvantages of traditional mass media marketing is you can’t be sure of how many people see your ads and how many of them are serious potential buyers.
But what if there was a way for you to only pay for the views you get from interested buyers? This is what pay-per-click or PPC marketing is all about. As the name implies, you only pay whenever someone clicks on your ad. It’s a much more efficient way to ensure that you’re only paying for “conversions” — in this case, people who show interest by clicking on your content that then leads to your website, product page, etc.
How can you use PPC? PPC is open to everyone. You only need to know how it works and have a budget, keywords, and a campaign to use them with.
The most often used PPC marketing is Google AdWords. To be part of their program, you’ll need to come up with keywords that are relevant to your promotions. Since keywords are usually terms that are used by a lot of users, you’ll have to bid against other marketers for the same keywords. The more popular a keyword, the more expensive it will be. Another great thing about PPC is you can control your ad spend from the beginning by specifying your budget upfront.
Whenever a search engine such as a Google user enters your keyword, your ad will be triggered and shown to that individual. However, you don’t have to pay for it unless that same user clicks on your ad.
Note that there are other types of similar paid advertising you can employ such as payment based on how many people see your ads (pay per view or pay per impression). PPC campaigns allow you to:
- Reach relevant audiences both old and new
- Increase awareness of your brand
- Boost conversions and increase sales
- Evaluate and optimize campaigns based on measurable results
#7. Affiliate Marketing: Make Other People Sell for You
This is the second and last type of a paid digital marketing solution we’ll be discussing. What is affiliate marketing? A company with products to sell can rely on other people to sell for them and pay them a commission whenever their efforts lead to a sale. In principle, it’s quite similar to how Avon, Amway, and Herbalife operate except the selling happens online and with links.
In affiliate marketing, your “salespeople” will promote your products online and to their network by using your unique affiliate link. Each conversion or sale generated through that link will earn them a commission.
If you’d like to make affiliate marketing part of your strategy, you can partner with an existing affiliate network (faster, but they have their own commissions) or set up your own with affiliate marketing software. While the latter entails lower costs, you’ll have to create your own network.
Conclusion: Choose Your Channels and Create a Strategy
There are so many ways to make digital marketing work for you that few businesses can do without it. We encourage you to create your specific strategy and choose from this list which types of digital marketing offer the most advantages.
While this article offers an overview, we encourage you to learn more about your chosen online marketing channels so that they can work for you. You may also want to consider digital marketing services providers or digital marketing agencies who can guide you and offer you the best online marketing services based on your needs.