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What Are the Different Types of Digital Marketing?

Reem Abouemera

August 3, 2022
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As technology has evolved over the years, digital media has increasingly dominated the marketing landscape. While we once considered digital marketing to be a simple ad on a website, that's no longer the case. Today, digital marketing is an umbrella term for several sophisticated forms of advertising that can help you reach millions of people simultaneously.

Just like media itself, digital marketing changes constantly. To stay competitive, your brand needs to change with it. But don't worry, we're here to help. 

In this guide, we'll introduce you to some of the most popular types of digital marketing and explain how each one can serve your business goals. By the end of this post, you'll better understand which digital marketing strategies are right for you and how you can implement them to your advantage.

So, without further ado, let's jump in!

Types of Digital Marketing

There are dozens of different types of digital marketing, from search engine optimization (SEO) to social media marketing (SMM). Which ones should you use? It all depends on your specific business goals. Here's an overview of some of the most popular types of digital marketing — you may even be using some of them already.

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Today, search engines like Google account for roughly 93% of all web traffic, meaning your website needs to be optimized for search if you want to be seen. That's where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.

SEO is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in search engine results with the ultimate goal of improving visibility and organic traffic from search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

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SEO is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools available because it can help you attract a substantial amount of traffic at very low cost compared to other forms of online marketing.

To execute a successful SEO strategy, you'll need to conduct keyword research, create quality content, optimize your website's design and architecture, and build backlinks.

So, when should you prioritize SEO? Simply put, SEO should be your go-to if you're not seeing the traffic or sales you want from your website. It's guaranteed to get you the results you want faster than any other marketing strategy on this list (although it does take time to see these results).

If you're worried about competing with paid ads, don't be. Between 70-80% of users completely ignore paid ads in favor of organic results. By optimizing your website for search, you're already ahead of the game without spending a dime.

Pros:

  • Increases traffic
  • Boosts brand visibility
  • Cost-efficient compared to other marketing strategies (especially PPC)
  • Easy to track

Cons:

  • Takes time to yield results (but it's worth the wait!)
  • Success is highly dependent on content quality and tech capabilities
  • Lots of competition (the rest of the internet)
  • Requires continuous monitoring and tweaking

2. Social Media Marketing

More than half of the world (58.4%) uses some form of social media, which makes social media marketing (SMM) one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. SMM is the process of using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn (among others) to create content that promotes a product or service while also building relationships with potential and current customers.

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SMM is an excellent way to connect with your target audience and create a community around your brand. It's also one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies out there, since you can use free platforms to reach a large number of people.

When you’re planning your social media marketing strategy, you can hire social media marketers for a variety of different goals, including:

  • Building brand awareness by creating content that puts your brand in front of new people
  • Driving traffic to your ecommerce store or website
  • Generating leads by collecting contact information from potential customers (this could also work for growing email lists and is known as email capture)
  • Generating revenue in the form of donations or sponsorships (also known as influencer marketing)
  • Improving customer loyalty by creating a community of customers and followers who are passionate about your brand

Depending on which goals you pursue, SMM can take a lot of different forms. For example, if you're mostly interested in building brand awareness, your focus should be on creating valuable content that will reach as many people as possible.

On the other hand, if you're focused on driving traffic to your ecommerce store, you'll want to create shareable content that promotes your products.

No matter which route you take, the key to SMM is consistency. You have to maintain a consistent presence on social media and consistently publish content that is relevant and helpful to your audience. Only then will you begin to see real results!

Pro Tip: Hooks are the real key to social media success. A hook is a short, attention-grabbing message that encourages people to keep reading or take action. Copy.ai's free Hook Generator can help you create hooks for all your social media posts in seconds!

Pros:

  • Highly personalized targeting through Facebook & Instagram ads, allowing you to tailor your message to the right people
  • Can be very cost-effective since most social media platforms are free to use
  • High conversion rates as social media platforms encourage interaction and engagement

Cons:

  • Social media algorithms are constantly changing and new content formats are regularly introduced, which makes it hard to keep up
  • You need to invest time and resources into creating high-quality content
  • Your results will vary greatly depending on which platforms you use
  • It requires strategic planning and dedication to be successful

3. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is the most popular form of online advertising. PPC ads are typically displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) or websites that are partnered with the search engine.

For PPC ads (also known as paid inclusion, sponsored listings, and paid links) to be displayed, advertisers need to bid on keywords they think people will search for when looking for products or services like theirs. 

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The amount you're willing to pay per click (CPC) will determine your position on the SERP. It's an auction-based system, so the CPCs can fluctuate based on demand.

The higher your CPC, the higher your ad will be displayed on the page. However, you need to be careful not to overbid, as you'll end up paying more for each click than you're making back in revenue.

PPC is so effective because it follows a cost-per-click model, which means that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This makes it a very effective way to generate leads as you're only paying for results.

The catch is that PPC can be very expensive, especially if you're bidding on popular keywords. It's important to do your research and understand how much you should be paying per click before you start your campaign. Plus, remember that PPC is a quick fix, not a long-term solution.

With that in mind, you should only opt for PPC when you're looking for immediate results, promoting a time-sensitive offer, or targeting a specific audience.

Pros:

  • You only pay when people click on your ad, making it a very cost-effective way to generate leads
  • Immediate results (you can easily rank on the first page of the SERP for popular keywords)
  • Very targeted (you can target people by location, device, time of day, and more)
  • Time-efficient (once your campaign is set up, it will run on autopilot)

Cons:

  • Can be very costly if you're bidding on popular keywords
  • It's a quick fix, not a long-term solution
  • People are often skeptical of ads and may not trust them as much as organic results

4. Content Marketing

Last year, 90% of marketers who included content marketing as part of their digital marketing strategy said they plan to continue investing in it this year. If anything, this number is only going to increase as the benefits of content marketing become more and more apparent.

But what is content marketing? As the Content Marketing Institute defines it, "Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action."

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It's clear from the definition that content marketing isn't purely about selling — it's about creating relationships with your customers by providing them with valuable information they can use.

For that reason, content marketing is often referred to as "inbound marketing" as opposed to "outbound marketing" (i.e., traditional advertising) or "push marketing" because it draws people in by providing them with helpful information before asking them to buy something.

Content marketing can take many different forms, including blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, infographics, podcasts, videos, webinars, and more. No matter what, the key is to create helpful and relevant content for your audience. That way, they're more likely to trust you and buy from you when they're ready.

For instance, if you sell software that helps businesses manage their social media accounts, you could create a blog post with tips on how to get the most out of social media marketing. Or, if you sell products for dogs, you could create a video showing people how to train their puppies with your products.

Content marketing is an extremely effective way to build trust and relationships with your customers. And because it's so cost-effective, it's a great option for small businesses and startups working with limited budgets. Content marketing may be perfect for you if you're looking for a way to generate leads without breaking the bank.

Pros:

  • Very cost-effective
  • Builds trust and relationships with your audience because you're providing them with helpful information and not just selling
  • Can be used to target a very specific audience
  • Content is incredibly versatile, so you can get creative with your approach
  • Fuels all other types of digital marketing, making them more effective

Cons:

  • Results might not be as immediate as with other types of digital marketing
  • You consistently need to produce high-quality content to see results
  • The market is crowded, so it can be difficult to stand out from the competition

5. Online PR

Online public relations (PR) is precisely like the standard PR you know, but it's done entirely online. That means using digital techniques and social media platforms to get the word out about your brand, product, or service.

The goal of online PR is usually twofold: first, to build relationships with influencers in your industry, and second, to get your news out to as many people as possible.

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There are a few different ways to go about online PR. You could, for instance, use social media to get in touch with influencers and ask them to promote your product or service — this is known as influencer marketing. Another option would be to use a platform like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to connect with journalists looking for sources for their stories.

Generally, you can use online PR either on its own or in conjunction with other digital marketing tools such as SEO, content marketing, and social media. For instance, you could use online PR to build relationships with influencers and then use those relationships to get your content in front of more people.

Here are a few tips to help you execute an effective online PR campaign:

  • Make sure your press release is newsworthy — if it's not, no one will want to share it, and it'll result in poor coverage and low engagement rates.
  • If your press release is newsworthy, make sure it's well-written before distributing it via email or social media channels. You'd be surprised by the extent to which a poorly crafted release can damage your credibility in the eyes of journalists or influencers who may have otherwise been interested in sharing your story.
  • Be active on social media and try to build relationships with influencers in your industry. If you can get on their radar, they may be more likely to share your news when you have something to announce.
  • Keep track of what works and what doesn't. Online PR, like all digital marketing, is constantly evolving. By tracking your results, you can figure out what's working and adapt your approach accordingly.

All in all, there are no hard and fast rules regarding online PR, so you'll have to experiment a bit to see what works best for your business. Done correctly, online PR can be a great way to build relationships, get exposure for your brand, and drive traffic to your website, eventually leading to more conversions.

Ideally, you should go the online PR route when:

  • You want to build relationships with key influencers in your industry
  • You have newsworthy information to share (e.g., a new product launch, an event, etc.)
  • You want to increase brand awareness and visibility

Pros:

  • Builds relationships and trust with industry influencers
  • Can help you get exposure for your brand
  • Can lead to increased traffic and conversions
  • Boosts credibility in front of your target audience
  • Contributes to building and developing a positive brand image in the eyes of both consumers and the industry

Cons:

  • You need to have something newsworthy to say
  • Digital public relations news messages tend to get lost in the clutter
  • The impact of online PR depends on the quality and reputation of the influencer, journalist, or blogger you're working with
  • Can be time-consuming to execute effectively

6. Email Marketing

Did you know that 89% of marketers use email as their primary channel for lead generation? If you thought that email marketing was dead, think again. Email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your audience, especially if you already have a relationship with them.

Even if you don't, it's still a great way to build relationships and keep customers informed. The fact is, people like getting emails from brands — as long as those emails are relevant and interesting.Roughly 61% of customers say email is their preferred method of receiving offers from brands, so there's clearly an opportunity there.

But what does email marketing entail? Simply put, email marketing is a promotional tool that involves sending emails to subscribers to either promote a product or service to make a sale or build a relationship with the customer.

Email marketing can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including:

  • Sending out coupons and discounts
  • Announcing new products or services
  • Educating customers about your brand or industry
  • Sharing blog content
  • Building relationships with customers

For instance, say you own a women's clothing store and want to announce a new line of dresses. You could send out an email to your list of subscribers with images of the new dresses, information about where to find them on your website, and any special offers or discounts associated with the launch.

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The best part about email marketing is that it can easily be customized to each subscriber. You can segment your subscribers into different groups based on age, location, gender, interests, and more. That way, you can always make sure you’re sending relevant emails tailored to each group’s interests.

That's ultimately what determines the effectiveness of email marketing: the relevancy of your emails. If your emails are relevant, your subscribers will be more likely to open them and engage with the content. And that's what you want, right?

Pro Tip: Email marketing is ideal for remarketing campaigns and other lead-generation efforts. For example, if someone visits your website but doesn't make a purchase, you can use automated email marketing to follow up and remind them about your product or service.

Pros:

  • Can be highly personalized
  • Great for building strong relationships with customers
  • Can segment subscribers to send relevant content
  • Can lead to increased traffic and conversions
  • Independent of constantly changing algorithms
  • Constant communication keeps you top of mind with customers

Cons:

  • It requires a lot of effort to stay in front of customers all the time
  • It's challenging to find diverse ways to keep email content fresh
  • Requires some technical knowledge to set up
  • Your emails can land in the spam folder if you're not careful with content and design

7. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is all around us — you can’t scroll through your social media feeds without seeing an influencer promoting a product or service at some point. The industry is expected to reach $16.4B this year!

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As you've probably already guessed, influencer marketing is a type of marketing that involves working with individuals who have a large following on social media platforms. The influencer will promote your product or service to their followers in exchange for compensation for the endorsement, which can take the form of money, free products, or other perks.

However, it's not a pay-to-play situation — you don't just give an influencer money and they post about your product. The relationship should be strategic, and the influencer should genuinely be a fan of your product or service.

The most important part of influencer marketing is authenticity. If an influencer's followers can tell that they're being paid to promote a product, it will not be effective. The whole point is that influencers have built up a level of trust with their followers, and if that trust is broken, it can damage both the influencer's and the brand's reputation.

So, what makes influencer marketing work so well? For one, it uses existing word-of-mouth networks to spread your message more widely than possible with traditional advertising channels alone. And people are more likely to believe a recommendation from a friend than an advertisement, so the promotion is more likely to be welcomed by the audience.

To ensure your influencer marketing campaign is successful, you need to research and find influencers who are a good fit for your brand. Once you've found them, it's important to build a relationship with them — treat them like partners, not just another marketing channel.

And finally, don't forget to measure the results of your influencer marketing campaigns so you can adjust and improve them over time.

Tip: It's best to use influencer marketing when first starting and trying to build up your brand awareness. You can also use it to generate buzz when you release a new product or service.

Pros:

  • Leveraging the influencer's existing network instead of starting from scratch
  • Being associated with a well-known and respected individual can work wonders for your brand
  • Can be more authentic and believable than other marketing channels

Cons:

  • If not done correctly, it can damage your brand's reputation
  • There's always the risk that the influencer will say or do something that reflects poorly on your brand
  • Requires careful planning and research to find the right influencers
  • It can be costly to work with top influencers
  • Distrust of influencers is rising, so you need to be careful and transparent about your relationship with them

8. Native Advertising

Native advertising is a type of online marketing we all encounter daily, even if we don't realize it. It's a form of advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears — if you're seeing an ad in your Facebook feed, it's a native ad.

Native advertising (also known as sponsored content, advertorials, or in-feed ads) is effective because it's less intrusive than other forms of online advertising like banner ads. Because it's less intrusive, people are more likely to pay attention to it and engage with it. (Engagement with native ads is 80% higher than with banner ads!)

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Better yet, native advertising allows you to get your message in front of people who are already interested in what you have to say. Have you ever searched for something on Google and then started seeing ads for that thing everywhere you go online? That's because Google knows you're interested in that topic, so it serves you relevant ads.

The same principle applies to native advertising. If someone sees a native ad about a topic they're interested in, they're more likely to click on it and learn more about what you have to say.

Native advertising takes many forms, but the most common ones are:

  • Within content: This is usually within a website page hosting a blog post or a video (you'll find the ad labeled as "sponsored" or "promoted").
  • Alongside other ads on websites or apps: Sometimes, you'll notice a chunk of space labeled "sponsored" or "promoted," containing a group of ads that look similar to the organic content around them.
  • In social media feeds: These are the ads you see in your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. They usually blend in with the rest of the content, which is why they're called "native."

To ensure your native advertising is effective, you must ensure it's relevant to your audience and blends in with the rest of the content on the page. You also need to have a clear call to action — tell people what you want them to do after seeing your ad.

Pros:

  • Less intrusive than other forms of online advertising
  • Blends in with the rest of the content on the page
  • Optimizes targeting capabilities (can be contextually targeted towards specific audience segments)
  • Yields higher engagement than traditional banner ads
  • Increases click-through rates in comparison with traditional display ads

Cons:

  • It can come across as sneaky, deceptive, or misleading if not labeled with a disclaimer
  • Refining the customer targeting is somewhat complicated
  • It can be costly

In conclusion

Digital marketing is a huge, constantly evolving field. While it may seem overwhelming initially, there are plenty of digital marketing strategies you can use to grow your business. With a little help from the tips in this post, you can start to develop a comprehensive digital marketing plan that will help you reach your target customers and cement your place in the online marketplace.

Copy.ai can take the project's content and copywriting aspects off your plate. With a couple of clicks, you can get professional-quality content without having to iron out the details all by yourself. Learn more about how Copy.ai can help you meet your digital marketing goals!

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