In the past decade, we’ve watched as digital marketing has become a significant part of an organization’s overall marketing strategy.
Not only does it allow businesses to tailor their messages specifically to their target audience but talk directly with those who are most likely interested in their products or services.
At present digital marketing encompasses a myriad of marketing tactics and various technologies geared towards reaching consumers.
In this article, we’ll look at the most common types of digital marketing and go into a bit about how they work.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing or SEM collectively refers to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEM aims to bring in as much targeted traffic as possible to a website via search engines; in particular, the focus is on Google search.
The approach entails both paid and free methods, like running PPC advertising (Bing Ads, Google AdWords), guest blogging, link building, etc. Some agencies may also use marketing platforms that speed up the process.
That said, the common misconception is that SEO is free, a concept honestly perpetuated by shady SEO companies, when in fact, it isn’t.
Everything from building backlinks to guest posting and keyword research is time-consuming and has a dollar value associated with it, depending on the quality. But each element is important to rank high on the search engine results page.
At the core of all SEO and PPC is keywords. Keyword research and using the right keywords as part of the campaign are the cornerstone of success. The first step is to identify relevant keywords that prospective customers will most likely use when searching for products and services that you’re selling.
Google’s Keyword Planner tool is often the first place people start. However, many other tools help identify the high volume and low competition, aka low hanging fruit, across various industries.
That said, the decision to target one set of keywords versus another could mean the difference between running a successful campaign or wasting your time.
Email marketing is another form of digital marketing and happens to be one of the oldest types of digital marketing, which involves sending emails. It mainly works by sending offers, discounts, and information via email.
While at first glance, the method may be written off as ineffective, simply because most people receive a sea of emails, most of which goes into the ‘spam folder,’ but there is a trick to getting read. One of the tricks is to make your mail worth reading, eye-catching, and worth the reader’s time.
Fortunately, there are many tools that agencies and individuals use to assist with email marketing.
Email marketing can play a major role in the digital marketing strategy of industries since it helps get the message (usually information) to the people you’re trying to reach.
The important thing to keep in mind is that sending unsolicited emails may mean that your email starts landing in the spam box. That’s why buying an email list from a third party may not always be a good idea.
A mailing list can be created using various methods, like offering a free eBook, a free membership, maybe a discount, etc.
You can then craft your messages so that it does not come across as being spammy. It should offer value to the reader, enough value for them to click and start reading.
SEO strategies can be tied in with an email marketing strategy, with the former being responsible for bringing in traffic, which for instance, signs up for a free course or eBook.
As a strategy, email marketing can be used both in the short and long term. However, sending an email every day isn’t a good idea.
Affiliate marketing is a lot like referral programs. As an affiliate, the marketer will work with brands, businesses, and individuals under a referral agreement to promote their product in exchange for a commission, usually from every sale.
Businesses may work with several affiliate marketers, which helps them reduce the cost and heavy lifting associated with digital marketing while only paying for performance.
The drawback, though, is that you’re putting your brand’s reputation in the hands of someone you might not know well, which means that monitoring and tracking systems need to be a lot more extensive.
An instance of affiliate marketing is an ad running on a podcast or radio ad that offers listeners a discount for the product. The customer will receive a 30% discount on the purchase, and the show receives a percentage of the sale made using the code. So, it’s a win-win.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies because businesses are only paying when there is a sale.
Content marketing is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, and it is still highly effective. Content marketing works because it allows marketing teams to answer questions proactively.
Marketing teams will create videos, written content, and other assets which are geared towards informing the potential audience and answering questions. Often well written and optimized content will show up in search results which is a big win!
The content drafted and published is often intended to help consumers along their purchase journey, from awareness to buying the product or service. For instance, a consumer who wants to buy a new pair of gym shoes will start by searching online.
The consumer wear company’s content marketing team will put out content about the features, price comparison, and other details about the shoe that the potential user stumbles across.
The user will then read the content and determine if that’s the running shoe they want to buy. Also, another piece of content will show all the popular running shoes as well as their price points.
Once they (a potential consumer) have been educated about all the factors, that puts them in a good position to make a decision.
The guidance offered by the brand will most likely result in a purchase. The significant reason for investing in content marketing is that it is far less expensive than other forms of digital marketing. Also, it can produce 3x more leads than other forms of digital marketing.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing leverages the power of social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and many others to market products and services.
Today, it is more important than ever before for businesses to invest in social media marketing to grow their following and potentially reach new customers.
Depending on what type of business you own or the industry you are working for, there is a social network that is best suited for marketing it. While most businesses will do pretty well on Facebook, but if you’re selling a B2B product or service, then LinkedIn is the best place for that.
Also, if you’re in a primarily visual industry like a wedding photographer, that’s where Instagram can be invaluable as a social media marketing platform.
Social media marketing works by creating targeted ads and campaigns to grow the brand’s following on social media. The hope for a business is that with more likes, shares, comments, and people joining a page, the more prospects can be converted.
Campaigns can be created to target people from a certain demographic. The ads can be used to promote services, products and even get them to like your page so that they are kept updated with the latest and greatest your company has to offer.
As a strategy, social media marketing can be both short and long-term. However, social media needs to be used with targeted ads and with an end goal in mind because you can’t run ads forever.
Influencer marketing is a lot like affiliate marketing in the sense that it (the influencer) utilizes their position of power, usually industry experts and social media influencers, etc. The added power helps market a product or a service to the target audience.
In the past couple of years, influencer marketing has become increasingly popular via sites like YouTube and Instagram. Companies will enlist the help of a well-known social media influencer or celebrity, which helps promote their products or services by recommending them.
The collaboration may involve offering discount codes, prize draws, and blog posts for the audience. The approach helps to build some buzz around the brand and related business.
Usually, businesses will try to find someone who has a large following of people made up of those who are their target audience. The influencer is usually active on social media and has an audience that trusts them. Influencers may either ask for outright payment for the recommendation or want a cut from the sales.
The influencer will then create videos, blog posts, etc., that show off the product, and that almost always brings in sales. However, the key is finding an influencer who is followed by the people you want to target.
For instance, if you’re selling tires, you don’t want to hire a social media influencer with an audience of people who drive cars. Most car owners don’t care about what tires they have.
However, you’ll want to hire a social media influencer who has an audience made up of car enthusiasts and car lovers.
As a strategy, influencer marketing campaigns run best in short bursts to get sales or improve traffic. However, most influencers will not continuously promote your product since it will disengage their following.
In addition to the above, there are various other types of digital marketing. Many are hybrids of the above-mentioned types. Some others include video marketing, mobile advertising, etc.
Not to mention that there are continuously new forms of digital marketing that utilize the latest mobile applications, and that’s to be expected as technology evolves.
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