Traditional marketing might not be dead. But it’s definitely on the way out…
After all, the key ingredient in any effective campaign is attention. And with people spending an average of 6 hours per day staring at a screen these days, our attention’s well and truly online right now. If you want your business to succeed in 2021, then, the bulk of your budget needs to go on digital marketing endeavors instead.
However, in this ever-changing internet landscape, different types of digital marketing (each with its own unique processes, pros, and cons) seem to spring up all the time! Staying on top of the trends, and knowing which ones promise the best bang for your buck, is no mean feat.
Know the struggle and want some expert insight into the various options at your disposal? Well, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn all about the different kinds of digital marketing, the potential on the table, and how to leverage them.
What Is Digital Marketing?
It’s one thing to understand that digital marketing’s important. It’s another to know what it actually involves! Before we dive deeper into this topic, then, it’s worth starting with a general rundown of digital marketing itself.
We’d define it as any and all marketing efforts that exist in the digital arena. Or, to put it another way, if someone has to engage with your ad on an electronic device, then that’s digital marketing.
And yes, we do mean any electronic device- it doesn’t even have to be connected to the internet. Those old-school TV and radio ads? That’s digital marketing too (albeit a somewhat outdated version of it).
The fact that almost everyone interacts with digital products makes this form of marketing something of a business imperative. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to reach your target audience, stimulate interest in your products/services, and stand out from the competition.
The Different Types of Digital Marketing
As we’ve just seen, digital marketing’s an umbrella term that describes a wide array of individual strategies. To succeed in this arena, you need a solid grounding in each of them. With that in mind, here are the primary types of digital marketing to sink your teeth into in 2021.
‘Content is king’ when it comes to digital marketing. That infamous phrase, coined by Bill Gates back in 1996, has stood the test of time and remains relevant to this day. Here’s what it’s all about:
Creating valuable content that ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs), or drives engagement on social media, and sends qualified traffic to your website.
It doesn’t matter whether the content’s written (such as blog posts and web copy), audio (such as podcasts), or visual (such as videos, images, infographics) in nature either. If it’s relevant, high-ranking, and valuable to your target audience, then it can and will prove useful to your business goals. Do it right and the content you publish will generate leads, drive sales, and produce newfound brand awareness.
Remember, the internet has hit maturity and people are thirsty for content like never before! We’re consuming it all over the web, on a wide variety of platforms, and supply isn’t even close to reaching demand. That’s why it’s pivotal for high-quality content creation to be a core component of your marketing strategy this year.
Not all content’s made equal though. And there’s one type in particular that deserves special attention: video. Indeed, video content’s become so popular these days that video marketing has become a new digital channel in its own right.
It’s no surprise either. After all, it’s no secret that video’s now the go-to form of content for most consumers. We watch countless hours of it across a host of platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, to name a few. Then there’s Netflix and Amazon Prime (not to mention that ancient device known as ‘the television’).
Video marketing, as you can probably guess, is the process of leveraging videos to promote your business and grow your brand. Publish them regularly online and you’ll develop your brand, cultivate trust, and increase conversions to boot.
The best part? It doesn’t have to involve expensive sets, costumes, actors, and post-production. It could be as simple as turning your smartphone camera around and filming a video of you on the way to work.
Not only are these videos cheaper and easier to produce, but they also lead to better results too! They’re more authentic, which appeals to your audience.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing (SMM for short) is an almighty opportunity for savvy marketers and business owners everywhere. With billions of active users across a wide array of platforms, it’s an unprecedented way to put your products/service in front of a target audience. You can share content, generate awareness, establish authority, form loyal followings, and extend your reach like never before.
The secret to successful SMM is to pick your platforms wisely and post contextual content at scale. A solid presence across each platform never hurts. Yet the best results occur when you focus attention on the ones that serve your target audience.
For instance, Facebook serves an older demographic, whereas TikTok’s used by a younger generation. If your business sells life insurance, then you’d be better off focusing on Facebook! Furthermore, you’d need to post content that’s appropriate (AKA contextual) for it and your audience.
In the case of Facebook, that might mean publishing lots of attention-grabbing images and entertaining copy. If LinkedIn was your go-to platform, then professional copy, a few well-chosen hashtags, and on-brand imagery would be required.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO’s another pillar of digital marketing. It’s a giant topic, but the basic idea is to structure your website/content in a way that can be found and ranked by search engines. If you rank high on SERPs, then people will click on your site, driving targeted traffic to it and boosting brand awareness in the process.
The concept of SEO’s nothing new, but what it takes to be successful changes all the time. Become a master of it and you can get serious traffic without spending a dime.
As far as precise methods go, make sure you learn more about crucial principles such as user experience and backlink generation. However, another cornerstone of SEO is finding the keywords your audience is searching for and incorporating them into your content.
Fail to find those keywords and, unless you already have an audience (or get very lucky), it’s highly unlikely it’ll ever rank on SERPs. And that, in turn, means nobody’s ever going to see it! Only by leveraging SEO does your site stand a chance of ranking high enough to send traffic to your website.
Search Engine Marketing
SEO’s an effective way to drive traffic and leads to your website. However, it also takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. If you’re cash-rich and time-poor, then search engine marketing (SEM) could be the better option.
Think of this particular digital marketing strategy as a paid version of SEO. Where optimizing your content around keywords will help it rank on SERPs organically, SEM allows you to pay for that privilege. Through advertising platforms such as Google AdWords, you can bid for certain search terms and place number 1 in SERPs (for those terms) if you win.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to choose between SEO and SEM. It isn’t one or the other! Most effective marketers use a combination of both to give themselves the best shot at showing up in front of their prospective customers.
Email marketing’s the old dog of digital. It’s been used since the ’90s to engage with audiences and increase conversions! As you’d expect, email marketing has shifted in shape and style in that time, though the basic premise remains the same:
Create an email list (through things like content upgrades and lead magnets), send emails to develop a relationship, and deliver occasional promotions to drive sales. Despite its relative age, email’s one of the most popular types of digital marketing on this list!
For good reason too. Few other forms of digital or traditional marketing provide such direct access to prospective customers. Furthermore, most digital endeavors are forever changing; you’re at the mercy of the platforms you use and any changes they decide to make.
By comparison, your email list is a constant. This is one marketing asset that you own and can use to communicate with past and potential customers for free.
Yet that doesn’t make it easy! Generic email blasts to everybody on your list won’t cut it anymore. Nowadays you have to avoid spam at all costs, personalize your content to ensure it’s relevant to the recipient, and cultivate trust before you have a hope of converting.
If email’s the old dog of digital, then influencer marketing’s the puppy! It’s the new kid on the block, although it’s becoming more popular every year. Indeed, with brands expected to spend $15 billion on it next year, the rise of influencer marketing’s clear for all to see.
Here’s how it works:
First, you find someone with a significant social following in your industry (such as a celebrity, public figure, YouTuber, sport’s star, and so on). Next, you work out a deal and pay them a fee to promote your product or service to their audience. Then all that’s left to do is sit back and watch the leads and conversions roll in!
Or that’s the idea, anyway. The general principle’s sound: you save the extensive effort that’s required to cultivate your own following and pay to leverage someone else’s instead. The predominance of purchased followers and wannabe influencers can make it hard to separate the good ones from the bad.
But don’t be put off! Influencer marketing’s still worth dabbling with this year. As social media plays an ever-burgeoning role in our lives, it stands to deliver a serious ROI.
Do you like the idea of third-parties generating leads and sales for your business? Affiliate marketing would be another attractive type of digital marketing to try.
Anybody that creates content, generates traffic, and/or has a following could sign up for your affiliate program. They’d then promote your products/services and receive commissions for any traffic and sales they send your way. In effect, you’d have your own personal sales team working in the background to advertise your operation!
Of all the digital marketing options in this list, affiliate marketing would be ideal for new businesses. With a minimal following and a limited budget, you’d be able to tap into other peoples’ traffic and audiences without having any immediate overhead to pay.
We do recommend being particular with the parties you allow into your program though. Just like influencer marketing, the best affiliates will have audiences in your general field. This should lead to higher conversion rates and justify the effort it often takes to run an effective affiliate program.
Don’t Forget the Different Types of Digital Marketing
Peoples’ eyes are well and truly online nowadays. We’re spending more time than ever before staring at screens, scrolling through news feeds, and consuming vast amounts of content. The result?
Your marketing efforts need to be online too. With traditional marketing (such as billboards, print, and TV commercials) fast becoming less relevant, it’s crucial to invest in digital marketing instead. With any luck, the information in this post has highlighted the best types of digital marketing strategies at your disposal!
Keep them in mind and you should be one step closer to reaping the many rewards they have to offer. Would you like professional help getting started with digital marketing?
We can help. Contact us today to find out more and access a free, no-obligation consultation.