What is Digital Marketing? (7 Types & How They Work)

Marketing, no matter what type, is all about reaching potential customers wherever they are. Billboards, magazine and newspaper advertisements, television commercials, are all channels through which businesses can market their products or services.

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Now, in the digital age, there are billions of people using the internet every day. So, naturally, the Internet is a key marketing medium that offers extensive reach and limitless marketing opportunities.

But what is digital marketing exactly? And do some methods work better than others? How can you reach your slice of the estimated 5 billion daily Internet users with your unique product or service? Let’s find out! What Is Digital Marketing? Digital marketing, also called online marketing, involves several actions business owners take to advertise their business on the Internet.

The purpose is to attract traffic to your web properties - website, social media, chat apps etc - and convert those leads to sales.

7 Different Types of Digital Marketing

The internet is a vast and wide-reaching channel. As such, there are various different types of digital marketing that businesses can utilise. Here are some of the main types and how to use them effectively.

Social media

Social media is a highly effective way to engage with customers, view your competition and develop a brand voice.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are the social media platforms most often used for promoting businesses. But there are others that you could use depending on your market. For example, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest and YouTube.

First, it’s important to understand the different platforms and how they are used. Then, you choose the most relevant ones. This way, you can put your energy into marketing on platforms where your target audience actually hangs out rather than spreading your efforts too thin.

B2C businesses and e-commerce do well on Facebook and Instagram. B2B businesses will find more value on LinkedIn. Twitter is great for customer feedback.

Ensure you have the resources - time, staff, money - to execute an effective social media campaign. Successful social media marketing campaigns depend on being creative and responsive to your followers’ engagement.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing has been around for decades and is seeing a big revival right now. It’s estimated that 80% of brands have affiliate programmes. This is because it is so effective in driving sales and generating revenue.

In short, affiliate marketing is the process by which affiliates earn a commission for marketing your company’s products on their platforms or websites. Affiliates could be bloggers, influencers or YouTube content creators, for example. Sales are tracked via affiliate links from one web property to another.

As a business owner, you may want to be selective about who you partner with. The reason is, once affiliates start promoting your brand, you no longer control the messaging or the branding. But, it is cost-effective and, ultimately, it is a win-win situation for all involved, including the customer.

You don’t always need a physical product to sell. Affiliate marketing works equally well for promoting just about anything, including software, digital courses, memberships and events.

Email marketing

Email marketing campaigns are essential for spreading brand awareness and boosting conversions. They’re also excellent for nurturing customer relationships and building customer loyalty.

Email marketing works for almost every demographic and industry. It is a highly effective way to communicate with leads and customers.

There are a few steps involved in using email as an online marketing tool. First, decide on an email marketing service provider and create a signup form on your website. Then decide on the mailing frequency, the design and content of your email message.

There are loads of email marketing platforms and advice for best practices on the Internet to guide you. Some provide templates and other tools to help you build newsletters. They will also provide analytics and help you manage your email list.

For instance, you may want to segment your list to target certain groups with more specific messaging. Or, highlight inactive users that become costly ‘ghost’ subscribers that cost more to market to than you could make from them.

Newsletters aren’t just for news. Mix up the content. For example, you could use email marketing to:

  • provide resources
  • invite customers to events
  • promote new products
  • offer discounts to loyal customers

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Content marketing and blogging

According to the Content Marketing Institute, "Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

This content should be relevant to your industry, product or service. It can be in the form of videos, blogs, podcasts, or social media posts. When creating content, consider the budget for creating content and how you can repurpose it for different platforms.

Blogging is highly effective in attracting traffic, building credibility and boosting your search engine rankings. Posts that help customers solve problems or include tips to make their life easier (with your product or service as the solution) generally perform well. This is because they offer something of value to your audience.

Plan and create a monthly content calendar to help you publish fresh and original content on a regular basis. Then, analyse your audience’s reaction to it to know where you need to make changes or try something new.

Your company website is the home base for your content marketing strategy. To this end, having a quality, reliable platform is vital, regardless of the size of your enterprise.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

The world of SEO is complicated and ever-changing. It encompasses several technical steps that influence whether Internet users find your business online. As such, it is vital to digital marketing success.

Three important elements of SEO

  1. Find keywords that generate quality traffic to your website. Effective keyword research depends on a thorough understanding of your target market and how they are searching for your content, services, or products.

Analyse what people are searching for relevant to your industry. Check how many people are searching for it and in what format they prefer to consume that type of information.

  1. Technical and On-Page SEO that shows Google your website’s quality, content and user experience. It improves the chances that your website is found organically in searches.

As Google crawls your website’s content and code, it checks it for relevancy in terms of what users are looking for. It also looks for bad SEO practices, meta tags and site responsiveness.

  1. Off-Site SEO increases your website’s domain authority. This includes actions taken outside of your website, such as digital marketing campaigns, Google ads, and high-quality backlinks from other websites, including directory listings and influencers.

Because of the complexity of SEO, a useful tool to get you started on tracking your website’s SEO is the Google Search Console. It will generate a report of your website’s search ranking and highlight opportunities to improve it.

Influencer marketing

Small businesses may question the usefulness of influencer marketing, primarily because they don’t know exactly what it is or how it works.

To understand influencer marketing, think of it as a regular Internet user who has built themselves a highly engaged and loyal audience or following. This could be on social media, blogs, YouTube or in other communities. They can influence their audience’s purchasing behaviour through content creation that includes your product or service.

Before choosing an influencer as part of your digital marketing efforts, take a look at your own target market. Consider their age and gender, geolocation, interests, what social media platforms they use, income and educational level, devices they shop on, etc.

Analysing all this will help you find an influencer that would be a good fit for your brand.

Influencers are great for:

  • product reviews on social media
  • product placements in creative content
  • sharing new product launches or brand campaigns
  • doing giveaways
  • providing coupon codes
  • or partnering with your business to create co-branded products or campaigns

Paid advertising

Paid advertising is a super quick way to help potential customers discover your business. It involves paying for advertising online that lets you target specific audiences that would be interested in what you offer.

Once activated, paid marketing ads are displayed on search engine results pages. Advertising is also available on social media channels via specific, targeted campaigns.

You’d start off by choosing a channel - such as Google Ads or Facebook - then define your target audience and serve your carefully created ad to them. Choosing your target market on these platforms once again is determined by what you’re selling as well as your audience’s interests, location, search terms, demographics and other pages visited.

With paid advertising, you ‘pay per click’ (PPC). This means you only pay once someone clicks on your ad. An advantage is you can set the maximum budget you want to spend based on your goals. The ad will run out once your budget is spent and you can analyse its effectiveness.

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Final Thoughts

Developing an online strategy is the most important step in planning a digital marketing campaign. With the tricks and tools available to every website owner, from search engine optimisation to setting up a blog, marketers can now reach consumers on any online platform.

Follow our guide to the different types of digital marketing today and watch your business rise above the rest.