Digital marketing can’t be ignored, no matter what industry, business, or location you’re in. However, there isn’t just one option — the opportunities are endless. Whether you’ve got a small budget and are looking for something incredibly cost efficient to help launch your new startup, or a big brand with even bigger budgets looking to make some serious noise, there are many different channels, platforms, and types of digital marketing you’ll be able to use for your digital marketing strategy and learn while becoming a digital marketer yourself.
Before we jump into the different types of digital marketing, it’s important to know why this space is so exciting, and why you should care about the wide world of digital marketing. What makes us so excited?
- It’s affordable. Most forms of paid digital marketing are incredibly cost efficient, and allow a much more targeted approach to your marketing spend. While costs can vary across platforms, there’s something that fits everyone’s budget. Facebook ads start at a low $1 per day! If you’re not utilising digital marketing for paid (e.g. content marketing — we’ll get to that), you can distribute your content for free through your own digital marketing channels.
- It’s targeted. Speaking of targeting, digital platforms take advantage of the ability to know exactly who’s online and to show them specific messaging. Traditional marketing involved a lot of hoping your message was seen by the right people, but digital gives us the confidence to know.
- It’s full of data. Ever seen a television advertising report? There’s not a lot of reliable data, nor actionable data. Digital platforms give you the ability to see who’s seeing your content in real time, whether it’s through running a paid campaign on Google Display Network, or checking your website data through Google Analytics.
- You’re where the people are. It’s no surprise our lives are online (the average internet user now spends 6 hours and 43 minutes online each day — eek!), so it’s a no-brainer that we should put our efforts into reaching people where they spend so much time.
Yep, there’s plenty to be excited about (we could write a whole article just on that!), so where do you begin? Below are 11 types of digital marketing to consider.
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Paid search
- Display advertising
- Email marketing
- Messenger marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Video advertising
- Audio advertising
Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most important tools in digital marketing — so what is it? It’s optimising your online content to appear higher in search engine result pages (SERP), and it’s free. SEO tactics are used to increase your organic search position on sites like Google and Bing, and take advantage of one of the best things about search: incredibly high intent levels. When thinking about intent, there aren’t many traditional or digital marketing channels out there that give you the ability to get in front of potential customers who’ve shown such high intent to convert (we’re talking way down the funnel). Customers are telling you what they’re looking for, and SEO helps your business give them exactly what they need in that moment.
A quick crash course on SEO. Search engines rank results by three main factors: quality, relevance, and authority. So we’re making relevant content, giving users a quality experience, and building authority throughout — simple right? SEO is generally split into two types, content-related and technical, both of which are of utmost importance for your digital marketing strategy and for gaining what’s considered golden in digital: free traffic to your website.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing actually encompasses a lot: social media, blogs, video content, and emails just to name a few. However, it’s the concept of content marketing that many are referring to when looking at jobs in this field, or building out a digital marketing strategy for their business. Content marketing is simple: it’s giving information and solving problems through high quality and useful content; whether that’s a blog just like this one, or a quiz on what type of bread you are (maybe not so useful!), it all falls under the field of content marketing.
Generally used as a “top of funnel” approach within marketing, content marketing is a way to establish your authority and influence user behaviour later on in the journey. It’s also a part of many other digital marketing tactics like blog posts for SEO (did someone say authority building?). Ever heard the phrase, “content is king”? There’s a reason for it. Almost all types of digital marketing rely on good content at the core, and you’ll find better success across the board if you start with your content first.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media isn’t new (we’re sure you’ve read your fair share of content on social media marketing), but there are constantly new platforms entering the market, new formats, and new ways to make the most of one of the most popular platforms out there (more than half of the world’s population are on there!). You’ve got two options: where to play and how to play.
Let’s start with the where. With so many platforms out there, picking the right social media platforms depends on your digital marketing strategy as well as where your customers typically are. Are they a younger more savvy audience spending their days scrolling through TikTok, or are they an avid Twitter user? Figure out who your customers are, and you’ll know where it makes the most sense to put your efforts. Wondering what the top social media platforms are? We’ve got you:
Secondly, the how. You’ve got two options when it comes to social: organic (publishing your content on social media regularly for free) or paying for ads to reach specific audiences. Organically, using social media helps brands build their community, keep their audiences updated, and humanize the brand (for a level up, read about social listening as a business tool), while paid social advertising gives brands a way to reach very specific audiences in a social context, and to push them to complete a desired action, all for a very affordable cost. As one of the most long-standing and in-demand skills in digital marketing, social media marketing is a must have for any business or aspiring digital marketer.
4. Paid Search
We’ve covered SEO; paid search operates on the same premise. Paid search is used for immediate returns when you don’t have time to invest in a long-term digital marketing strategy like SEO, and encompasses paying to get your business in front of people when they search for specific related terms. Most of the time, this is a PPC (pay per click) solution, meaning you only pay when someone clicks on your search listing. Sounds great right? It definitely is. However, with users showing such high intent, it means big competition for that top spot, which can often come with a hefty price tag depending on the terms your bidding on. You’ll need to think about things like quality score (yep, Google is judging you) and specific landing pages to ensure you keep your costs down.
Still confused? Let’s say I want my business to show up when someone searches for “digital marketing services”; I’d bid on the chance to be seen for that keyword and tell the search engine how much I’m willing to spend to get someone to click, which will be cheaper if I have a quality website. Think of it as an almost instantaneous auction between advertisers that happens every single time someone searches.
5. Display Advertising
You know the banners you see on websites encouraging you to take notice of whatever they’re selling? They’re utilising display advertising! Advertising your business through any sort of visual — images, video, GIFs, text — on publisher websites can be one of the most effective types of digital marketing for reaching the masses in contextually relevant places. Want to show your banner to a female business-savvy audience? Buy up some banners on women’s networking websites!
Typically, display advertising happens either through a network like Google Display Network, the biggest ad network in the world where you can take advantage of advertising across a variety of publishers and websites, or through a publisher of your choice that aligns with the audience you’re trying to reach. It’s great for brand awareness, and a type of digital marketing that’s constantly evolving too. Read about native advertising, it’s a winner!
6. Email Marketing
Often referred to as “more valuable than gold”, an email list is the holy grail for any business. Build a strong email list, and you’ve got a free platform to reach a qualified audience every single day. The question is though, what do you do with your email list and how can you make the most of it? That’s where email marketing comes into play.
Email marketing allows you to keep your subscribers updated with useful and relevant content — new collections, sales, or sharing your blogs each week for example, are all great ways to help you find success on the platform. The biggest rule to remember? While promoting your products and services seems like a great idea, there’s a fine line between useful emailing and spamming your audience, so use email marketing strategically! Start with the basics, newsletters and updates, and work your way up to creating a powerful automated and segmented email series, built for purposes like onboarding, or winning back lapsed customers.
7. Messenger Marketing
We hear a lot about 1:1 marketing, and digital platforms helping brands achieve more personalised messaging to their audiences. Well, messenger marketing takes that to a whole new level. Rising in popularity over the past few years, brands have utilised conversations to build personal relationships with their customers in a place where they feel comfortable, helping push them to convert, or answer any questions that might influence their decision.
Messenger marketing is something that can be used either manually, or in combination with chatbots to automate much of the conversational workflow. With the proliferation of messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat, plus the fact that almost all social media platforms have their own direct messaging features, many brands are using messenger marketing as a way to qualify leads, or to provide 24/7 customer support without needing to pay a team to be available at all times. With over 2.6 billion people using messenger apps worldwide, it’s imperative to think about how your brand can utilise the medium to connect with your customers.
8. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing sometimes sits within influencer marketing, content marketing, or both, and involves paying commission to content producers for any conversion events that are attributed to them. Let’s say we ask a publisher to write a content piece for our business with a link to buy our product. We might offer the publisher 10% off all sales that come through their site, and they become an affiliate for our business.
You may have seen this happen through tracking links (e.g. the long URL string that helps a business track where their sales come from) or a special discount code. There are many affiliate marketing networks globally, some more general and some specific to a niche like fashion or tech. There’s also the option to start your own affiliate network, which takes a bit of work, but can cut out the fees that go along with signing up with a pre-existing network.
However you choose to do it, affiliate marketing is loved by digital marketers. It encourages publishers and content creators to produce original content for your brand, and you only have to pay if a sale happens. How good does that sound?
9. Influencer Marketing
We’ve all heard of the Kardashians making millions of dollars per post. So where does influencer marketing fit within the digital marketing landscape? Typically influencers help a brand with social proof and brand awareness, almost like a paid form of word-of-mouth referrals. We’re hoping that if an influencer tells their loyal audience to buy a product or service, they’ll trust the recommendation. Digital Marketers have found a plethora of uses for influencers, whether it’s the typical payment for posting that many are familiar with, a collaboration on a product, or a guest writer on a company blog. Any time you’re using someone for their credibility and audience, you’re engaging in influencer marketing.
When selecting influencers, think about who influences your audience. Who do they listen to or turn to for advice? Align your passions and brand values with someone who feels the same way — this is where the magic happens! Want to make the most of your influencer marketing efforts? Call out your influencers in your paid advertising to further push the social proof for your brand.
10. Video Advertising
Ever find yourself in the black hole of YouTube? You’re not alone. Over 2 billion people per month are right there scrolling with you. Often falling under the category of content marketing, utilising video as part of your marketing is an easy way to reach people not only when they’re looking for content to watch (#dogvideos anyone?) but also when they’re looking for reviews, how-to guides, and product information. The same way people use search, they’re using video!
As with many other types of digital marketing platforms, you have two options: paid and organic usage. With organic, we’re treating video similar to how we would our website and our socials — keeping people up to date, and sharing useful relevant content. With paid advertising however, we’re taking advantage of contextual moments to deliver relevant video content. For example, if I’m a new health food company, I could target people watching workout videos with a relevant message.
11. Audio Advertising
With podcasts on the rise, and music-listening habits shifting thanks to major players like Spotify and Apple Music, we’ve got a new medium to play in and for reaching our audiences. Branded podcasts can fall under content marketing, too. With more basic options like inputting audio ads within podcasts relevant to your business, or more advanced options like audio ads targeted to specific demographics, interests, or contextual moments on Spotify, the world of digital audio advertising is only just beginning. While we’re still looking at ways to track listens that result in purchases or sign ups, there is a big opportunity in audio advertising that opens up a new creative way of thinking and reaches audiences in key moments throughout the day.
The world of digital marketing really is endless, with new platforms, ideas, and new types of digital marketing popping up daily. While it’s always hard to know where to start, we recommend starting with you, your business, and your customer. Who are you talking to, where do they spend their time, and what makes sense for your business? There’s plenty out there, and now is the perfect time to jump in!