Digital marketing is no longer just nice to have. As a business, it’s important to understand what digital channels are available, when to use them, and why they’re necessary.
If you’re a business transitioning from traditional marketing to digital marketing, you likely manage digital marketing as a one-time project rather than an ongoing project. Treating digital marketing as a one-off job, however, can make your business fall behind on trends and, as a result, lose customers due to poor conversion rates.
To develop a successful digital marketing strategy, you should know the different digital marketing channels available, understand which are the most suitable for your company’s advertising needs, and implement and maintain them regularly.
If you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in place or haven’t updated your strategy in a while, it’s time to look into the four most common channels of digital marketing to promote your brand online and drive more traffic.
In this article, we explain the uses and benefits of these four channels so you can generate and convert more online leads.
1. Email marketing: Reach more customers with thoughtful, targeted email content
According to Gartner research, email is one of the three most preferred methods of brand communication, alongside a website and direct mail (full content available to Gartner clients).
As a business, you can use email marketing to communicate with your audiences regularly. You can advertise your content or events, provide discounts, or direct your customers to specific locations such as your website or blog posts.
When starting with email marketing, try out these few different types of emails:
- Newsletters to share relevant information about your business
- Follow-up emails to remind website visitors of items in their carts
- Welcome emails for new customers
- Promotion emails for new launches, special events, or other offers
Email marketing works best when the emails you send meet customers at the stage they’re in the buying process—a mass-market strategy won’t work. So, finding the right balance of the number of emails to send is important, or you risk irritating your potential customers.
Sending well-timed emails can ease potential barriers to purchase and encourage your leads to engage and buy. Also, you should closely monitor how each email is performing to evolve your email marketing strategy.
2. Social media marketing: Connect with your buyers directly
Traditionally, social media has been used to build brand awareness, drive traffic, and generate leads, but that’s evolving now that social commerce is maturing. For instance, Instagram lets you sell to your audience directly on the app, eliminating the traditional way of advertising that makes users switch to a different site or app.
The different social media channels you can use for your digital marketing strategy include:
You don’t have to be active on all social media platforms, but it’s important to have at least some presence because younger customers will want to engage and discover your brand through social channels.
As discussed, social media is no longer only a brand-building platform. With the invention of in-app checkouts, you no longer need to link out to shopping sites to make sales. You can now connect content marketing directly to the checkout experience, which eliminates potential customer drop-offs due redirecting or switching between apps or sites.
On social media, you can leverage paid ads, influencer marketing, or your own branded content to connect with your audiences directly. From creating brand awareness to selling products, social media marketing is useful at every stage of the buyer journey, so developing and maintaining a social media presence is crucial to your digital marketing strategy.
3. Organic SEO: Convert more leads with a targeted organic SEO strategy
SEO, also known as search engine marketing, optimizes your website to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher you rank, the more organic (free) traffic you receive. Websites and content blogs are the key digital channels that benefit from good SEO.
There are a few different ways to optimize your website for higher SEO traffic:
- On-page SEO looks at the content on your webpage. When a user performs a search, the search engine looks at your webpage to determine if its content is valuable to the user based on the keywords entered. To increase on-page SEO, ensure each of your webpages is optimized for the keywords you want to rank for.
- Off-page SEO looks at everything happening off your webpages. In this method, search engines consider site authority to rank your website. So, if your site has a lot of content centered around the keyword entered, it’s more likely to rank higher on SERPs.
- Your website’s authority will go up if websites or publishers with high authority link to your site in their content (this is called backlinking). To increase off-page SEO, network with sites that have high authority, write guest posts for publishers that can link back to your website, and generate attention to gain organic backlinks.
- Technical SEO looks at how your webpages are coded. Things such as image compression, structured data, and CSS file optimization are all types of technical SEO. If your website doesn’t load fast, search engines are less likely to rank you highly.
Organic SEO is great for your marketing effort because all of the traffic you produce is free. That said, remember search engines change what they value regularly, so be sure to keep up with the optimization. Just because you’re ranking well now doesn’t mean you’ll be ranking well in six months or a year.
According to Gartner, 46% of consumers use online search, such as Google, as one of their first steps to finding new products (full content available to Gartner clients). Therefore, have at least some search engine optimization to get your brand discovered online.
4. PPC: Increase the visibility of your digital marketing ads
PPC drives website traffic whenever users click on your ads, and for each click, you pay the publisher a set amount. Many different types of PPC channels exist, but here are some of the most common ones:
- Google Ads: Pay for one of the top slots on Google SERPs for specific keywords; ads are displayed above the organic search results.
- Paid ads on Facebook: Pay Facebook to publish images, slideshows, or videos to the news feeds of users who match your targeted audience.
- Twitter Ads campaigns: Pay Twitter to place your posts or ads into the feeds of your target audience.
- Sponsored messages on LinkedIn: Pay LinkedIn to send direct product-related messages to users based on their industry and background.
PPC marketing costs more than organic SEO, but it also offers benefits traditional SEO doesn’t provide. For instance, it’s more immediate and lets you check if your marketing messages are resonating with your users. It also helps build brand awareness; you’re assured your brand is getting in front of your target audiences.
However, PPC marketing is not as long-lasting as a well-optimized webpage with a high SERP rank. To get the best results, use PPC and SEO in tandem.
Your digital marketing strategy should never be static
No matter which digital marketing channel you use, be mindful about how you use it. If you’re going to market with emails, monitor what messaging resonates with your audiences. Also, track data and evolve your strategy for each digital channel. Your digital marketing strategy should be fluid and changing based on trends and what’s working.
Use customer experience surveys to find what your customers want, like, and need to develop more appealing messaging. Optimize customers’ experience for mobile marketing as well.
Digital marketing can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Use the software tools we’ve suggested across this article to refine your marketing strategies.