What Is Digital Marketing? Types, Strategies & Best Practices – Forbes Advisor
Creating a solid digital marketing strategy for your business begins with a better understanding of the types of digital marketing methods that yield the best returns. Below, we introduce you to six types of digital marketing: social media marketing, search engine marketing (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, mobile marketing and content marketing.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is one of the most popular forms of digital marketing. In the United States alone, over 308 million people access a social network at least once per month. People of all ages use social media for entertainment, interacting with others, gaining information about specific interests and shopping.
For businesses hoping to gain visibility and sales, social media statistics reveal that incorporating social media into your marketing mix can be a sound strategy. Social media is the go-to source for brand information for 78% of internet users. Nearly half of U.S. consumers report they’ve made a purchase through social media.
Top social platforms include YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat and X (formerly Twitter). New platforms, such as BeReal and Poparazzi, are entering the market regularly.
The social landscape is ever-evolving. For example, Twitter, now X, was once a top platform, but the social channel now appears to be struggling. Twitter has lost approximately 32 million users since Elon Musk purchased the platform in 2022. TikTok didn’t even come on the international scene until 2017, but now has more than 1.7 billion monthly active users. Digital marketers need to remain attentive to social media channel changes.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital digital marketing strategy for businesses that benefit from driving traffic to their websites. SEO is the process of optimizing your website so search engines, such as Google rank your website high on search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO is all about driving organic traffic to your site. Unlike paid advertising, with SEO, visitors who find your site come from unpaid searches. Approximately 8.5 billion searches are done on Google daily, which presents a lot of opportunities for businesses that want to promote their product and services. Ranking high on Google is key to driving more traffic to your website.
In a survey conducted by Search Engine Journal, 49% of respondents reported that SEO delivers the highest return on investment (ROI) of any digital marketing channel. You can get started with SEO on your own for free by learning more about Google Ranking Factors or with the help of top SEO tools and software. You can also work with an SEO service or agency to create an SEO plan and manage your SEO for you.
PPC advertising is precisely what the name implies: you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your digital ads. The amount you’ll pay is determined by the platform you’re advertising on, the potential traffic for your promoted post and the number of competitors willing to pay for similar ads.
Google Ads is the largest PPC platform in the world. Many businesses who engage in SEO marketing also engage in PPC advertising on Google. Paid ads on Google appear above organic search results and that positioning advantage can drive even more traffic to your website.
Google Ads is not your only avenue for PPC advertising. You can also purchase PPC ads via the Microsoft Search Network on Bing and partner sites as well as on top social channels, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Amazon and TikTok.
Email marketing is another top digital marketing strategy you’ll likely want to add to your marketing mix. According to Statista, businesses earn an average of at least $32 for every dollar spent on email marketing. For some sectors, such as retail, e-commerce and consumer goods, that number is $45.
To be effective at email marketing, you must develop a strategy for collecting email addresses from clients and prospects. Many businesses collect emails with every customer encounter, sometimes offering a special incentive for joining an email list. Your business website is also a terrific place to offer incentives to visitors so you can grow your email database.
Growing and nurturing your email list is vital to successful email marketing. You also must respect the communication preferences of your list and only send relevant information that your base wants to receive. Also, failing to manage the legal aspects of email marketing, including staying compliant with CAN/SPAM Act mandates, is paramount for email marketing success.
Rather than managing business email manually, most marketers acquire email marketing software. The best email marketing software makes it effortless to keep your email database updated, handling new subscribers and unsubscribes for you.
Your email software should also make it easy to segment your email database based on customer interests, create attractive email designs, manage email scheduling and measure email metrics, including open rates, click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates and bounce rates.
There are more than 310 million smartphone users in the U.S. alone, so it should be no surprise that mobile marketing has become a popular digital marketing strategy for businesses.
Mobile marketing typically is conducted via text, also called short message service (SMS). Text open rates are estimated to be as high as 98%, which is one reason mobile marketing can be so effective. While text messaging is the most common way to market via mobile devices, notifications from mobile apps and social channels can also be received on smartphones. The business applications for mobile marketing are expanding every day.
Every form of digital marketing relies on compelling content to attract interest and engage prospects and customers. Content marketing is the term used to describe the different types of content you can develop to deploy in your digital marketing campaigns.
Content marketing can take many forms, including blogs, infographics, whitepapers, ebooks, videos, podcasts, quizzes, slide decks and webinars. Unlike advertising, content marketing is not blatantly promotional but instead employs more subtle tactics to inform, educate or influence a desired target market.
You can use content marketing to establish authority on particular subjects or create buzz for your brand. One of the key advantages of content marketing is that you can do it on virtually any budget. A do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to content marketing will cost you mere pennies or, if your budget allows, you can work with copywriters, videographers, designers and other content development experts to create content for your business.
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