Digital marketing is exactly what it sounds like: any form of marketing that takes place online or via an electronic device. So, as you can imagine, it’s a very broad field, covering a whole range of strategies, channels, and activities that are evolving all the time. To better understand the nuts-and-bolts of what digital marketing is all about, read on for a look at eight of the most important and frequently used digital marketing tactics.
1. Content marketing
Content marketing is, in and of itself, a fairly broad element of digital marketing. In essence, however, it’s the process of building brand awareness or driving sales via content assets. Common assets and channels used in content marketing include blog posts, podcasts, webinars, and infographics, as well as long-form or in-depth tools such as e-books and whitepapers. The idea behind content marketing is that it allows you to demonstrate your industry expertise and offer something of genuine value to your audience, rather than simply giving them a sales pitch.
2. Search engine optimization (SEO)
The goal of search engine optimization is to increase the quantity of organic traffic your website receives, thus growing your audience and, in turn, your prospective leads. (Organic traffic refers to the users that visit your website freely rather than via another digital marketing channel such as pay-per-click, which has costs associated with it.)
SEO involves strategically optimizing your website through tactics such as keyword use or backlinks to boost its ranking in search engine results. For example, a well-optimized website will appear on the first page of a Google search, where it will be more likely to attract clicks, rather than on the third or fourth page.
3. Social media marketing
The main goal of marketing—any kind of marketing—is to connect with your audience at the right time and in the right place. Today, the right place, more often than not, is on a social media platform. Social media marketing involves leveraging free, organic platforms to build brand awareness, establish social trust, drive traffic, and generate leads. Major social media platforms to be aware of include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn, although new platforms are emerging all the time.
4. Pay-per-click (PPC)
If you’ve ever searched for a product or service online and then later saw an ad for a company offering that product or service pop up on your screen, you’ve experienced pay-per-click advertising. A form of paid search advertising, PPC is a targeted marketing strategy in which a publisher, such as Google, displays your ad in exchange for a payment based on the number of users who click on the ad. Google Ads is perhaps the most common type of PPC, but similar advertising programs are available on other search engines and social media platforms.
5. Affiliate marketing
Although affiliate marketing has been around much longer than the Internet, it has become a hugely popular and effective tool in the online age. In this form of digital marketing, you pay a third party, such as a social media influencer, to promote your company’s products or services. For example, if you own a company that sells kitchen utensils, you might get someone who has a popular cooking blog to feature links to some of your products. In exchange, the blogger receives a commission from you every time a purchase is made via the link on their site.
6. Sponsored content
This form of digital marketing is a hybrid of content marketing and affiliate marketing. Essentially, it operates in the same way as affiliate marketing, but instead of the third party promoting a link to your product, they create value-added content that discusses the product and your brand in greater detail. So, a sponsored content marketing campaign for your kitchen utensil business could involve the cooking blogger using one of your products to create a new recipe and then highlighting that product in a blog post on their site.
7. Online PR
Online PR is exactly like traditional PR, but it operates in the online space rather than in the realm of print and other conventional media. With online PR, the aim is to secure earned coverage with digital publications, blogs, and other content-based websites. A journalist writing a feature piece about or a review of your company that appears in an online magazine is an example of online PR.
8. E-mail marketing
People have been predicting the death of e-mail marketing, not to mention e-mail in general, for many years, but this form of digital marketing is still going strong. Companies use e-mail marketing to directly communicate with their audience. Types of e-mails that can be used in a marketing campaign include subscription newsletters, welcome e-mails, information about special promotions or discounts, and content-based e-mails.