Broadly speaking, the term digital marketing encompasses any digital communication exchanged between business and customer.
Whether for promotional purposes, or to foster healthy customer/business relationships, the key point is that technology is used to create an ever strengthening bond between client and company.
But, think how many digital devices you alone have. Most people have a smartphone (8 out of 10 UK adults, according to Ofcom), and many will have devices surplus to that, a laptop, tablet, e-book or smart watch, to name but a few.
Every digital device offers an opportunity to communicate with your audience, be that via social media, email marketing, SMS, SEO targeting and more!
Below, we take a deep dive into 11 essential types of digital marketing, and explain how you can use them to your best business advantage.
Search engine optimisation pretty much does what it says on the tin: It takes into account on-page and backend factors to ensure your business ranks as highly as possible in search results for key terms.
To understand SEO, you need to know a little about how a search engine works. A search engine will decide upon you site’s position on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) depending on how well the content on your site matches the search term.
So, when it comes to SEO, you need to know what your customers are searching on Google, and think how your content can match their query (the co-called ‘user intent’).
The better you match the user intent, the higher your ranking will be.
Free plugins/tools Keywords Everywhere, SEO Minion, Google Analytics (free to SME’s and used to track your keyword optimised content)
SEM Rush = £80.80 per month
Any business with a website.
Got a business, but not a website? Learn how to build a website in our handy step-by-step guide: how to create a business website.
PPC (Pay Per Click) is a form of online advertising that charges the advertiser each time a user clicks on one of their online ads.
The paid search ad is the most common type of PPC advertising. Such ads appear on the search engine results page of those specifically searching for something to buy.
But ads don’t simply appear in the search engine results willy-nilly, the ad must match the user intent, otherwise it’s deemed irrelevant and won’t appear. To match the ad with the user intent, search engines use something called the ‘Ad Auction’.
The ad auction determines the relevance of ads by automatically assessing an advert’s applicability in relation to the customer’s original search.
If an advert is deemed ‘relevant’ after the Ad Auction, then it will appear in the SERP.
This is very much dependent on how many ads you place, and how much you spend on the ad auction. In theory, PPC can become quite expensive, but it’s possible to set an achievable budget on your Google Ad words campaign. So, you could choose to spend £20 or £200 per month on a solid PPC campaign, depending on your budget.
Retail businesses that have an ecommerce platform.
Learn more about selling online in our guide on how to start an online shop.
Display advertising is a form of paid, digital marketing, designed to increase the click-through rate to your business landing page.
Through the clever combination of striking imagery, well-written copy, animation, and even video content, display advertising is most commonly used to increase brand awareness.
Display ads can also be used to generate new customers as they’ll lead potential customers to a landing page via a click-through path. The point of a display ad is to engage the potential buyer by developing their interest in your product or service.
This is wholly dependent upon the platform that hosts your ad. For example, Facebook and Instagram charge per thousand clicks (£10 and £5 respectively), whilst Google charges per click. Plus, the size of the campaign and the length of time you choose to run it for will also impact the cost.
For more information on display ads and how your business can benefit from this simple marketing method, be sure to pay a visit to our what is display advertising page.
Similar to PPC, display advertising is best suited to those businesses selling a product online that’s clickable and easy to market.
Content marketing uses a variety of mediums (namely, graphics, editorial and video) to entice your buyer onto your site via interesting blog posts, great imagery or cool videos. And it’s not to be sniffed at: according to a survey carried out by Marketing Profs, 72% of marketers consider relevant content creation to be the most effective SEO tactic.
So, according to the professionals, if you want your site to land at the top of the SERP, great content that hits the SEO-nail on the head is the best way to do so.
As the old adage goes, how long is a piece of string?
In seriousness, this totally depends on your in-house capacity. If you have someone able to write well that’s able to blog for your business, then get them involved. However, if creative juices are running dry, a freelancer is an obvious option.
You can hire a freelance copywriter for £20-£30 per hour, and getting them to spend a few hours a week on creating some interesting content for your site could be a worthwhile investment.
Or, you could hand your digital marketing over to the professionals. Our free online form compares a variety of agencies that are selected to suit your business needs. Pop to the top of the page to receive free online quotes.
Any business with a website and some blog-able news. Or, a business keen to capture their success on camera to create some memorable (and shareable) videos. Your blog should cover the stuff your customers are interested in and are therefore likely to search.
For example, if you own a salon and your business has a website, you might consider writing a blog post. You could write “Secrets from the salon: the 10 best beauty hacks that’ll transform your routine” and then fill a blog page with interesting beauty tips that your customers will love reading. Also, this content will feature in a broad range of search terms, therefore maximising your website’s outreach.
Organic social media marketing refers to social media activity that occurs without a paid promotion. This means creating a business account on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn (or any other social media platform).
For example, when you make a post on your own Twitter, you’d use relevant hashtags, or @ tags, to keep what you’re posting engaging and relevant. The same principle applies to using social media for your business.
Using the (free) tools available to make the most out of your business profile on various forms of social media. Similar to how you might nurture a personal profile, give the same TLC to your business profiles and organic traffic should start to roll in.
A whopping £0.00
Businesses looking to foster a more personal relationship with their customers, willing to put some time and effort into maximising the potential gains to be had from slick social media.
Paid social boosts your website (or brand profile) presence in third party feeds and pages via sponsored content or advertising. For example, if you take a scroll down your newsfeed, you might notice that some posts are tagged ‘sponsored’, such tagged posts are paid social in action.
Video advertisement, boosted posts and optimised adverts (designed to generate more clicks) are all examples of paid social media. Paid social essentially gives any post a kick directly into the sightline of any business’ specific demographic, making sure your post is seen by the people that matter most: your customers.
This depends on the platform, and the number of paid posts you make. However, companies spend roughly £200 – £700 per month on their paid social strategy. Which, might sound steep, but there’s a high ROI to match.
Those businesses with more budget than time, willing to invest in making sure fewer social posts have more impact.
Email marketing works by managing the customer’s previous engagement with your brand and communicating with them accordingly. Email marketing is an efficient way of communicating with your customers by landing right in their inbox, and is an umbrella term that describes the sending of emails – from those with commercial intent, to those more tightly aligned to a strategy of brand awareness.
Email CRM combines customer relationship management with email marketing, and requires your CRM system to either merge with a pre-existing email database, or for the CRM system itself to host your business email account. It’s quite a hefty topic, which is why we’ve written an entire page on Email CRM – check it out if email CRM has tickled your fancy.
There are lots of CRM platforms that can support an email marketing campaign, and they range from £0 to £115 per user, per month. For more information on this, take a look at our best CRM for small businesses page.
Any business looking to drive sales and build healthy relationships with its customers.
Influencer marketing involves businesses working with people of influence to help broaden their customer reach. This involves identifying those who act as influencers and operate within the same niche as your business, contacting said influencer offering a sample of your product.
The influencer then features your product as part of a social media status, YouTube video or pops a mention in a podcast. Their followers then become interested in your product and, all being well, will seek to find out more via your website or social platforms, which in theory, will lead to a sale.
That’s all very well and good, but who is an influencer and where do I find one?
An influencer is a person able to have an impact upon the purchasing choices made by others. This impact comes as a result of he/she having specific knowledge, authority or a unique relationship with a large online audience, with whom they proactively engage.
The best place to find an influencer is on social media (hint: Instagram or YouTube are the favoured influencer mediums).
So, do your research, and before you approach anyone with ideas of collaboration, make sure your brand is well aligned with the image they portray, as a mismatch of values could prove detrimental to both parties.
But, if that all sounds a bit too time consuming, you could get in touch with an influencer agency. An agency will act as the middle man between your business and influencer, with a bank of contacts and good knowledge of the industry, an agency is an efficient (yet costly) way of working with influencers. We recommend:
The cost of working with an influencer very much depends on the size of their following and just how ‘influential’ they are.
Sometimes all it takes is sending some freebies, other times costs of £100 – £1000+ might be involved.
Those looking to push towards a slightly younger audience (as 75% of all Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 24). Also, those businesses with the communication resource available to contact and work with influencers, because it can take quite a lot of time and energy.
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based strategy that sees a business pay another business (known as the affiliate) to generate online traffic to their website. The affiliate gets paid for each new customer they generate for the business in question, whilst the business will receive traffic from areas of the web they were otherwise unable to reach.
As above, affiliate marketing is a performance-based digital marketing method, meaning that you’ll pay on delivery (so to speak). So, depending on what deal you make with your affiliate partner, will depend on how much the strategy costs.
Businesses looking to expand their online presence and network who aren’t afraid of some negotiation and are prepared to work with others.
Lead generation works by one company attracting prospective customers and converting them into willing buyers for another company.
A lead generation company will attract the original customer and use their content to convert them into a solid lead. This lead will then be passed onto your business, meaning that the hard ‘salesy’ bit is already done. By the time the lead is passed to your business, they are (in theory) primed and ready to purchase your product.
This very much depends on the industry. There’s also a distinction between leads that follow through with the purchase, and those that seriously considered it, but didn’t end up buying.
So, a lead could cost £30, whereas a qualifying lead could cost £60 (note: this is an estimated cost).
B2B businesses, tech companies or businesses selling high-value products/services such as cosmetic surgery or large-scale domestic equipment like solar panels and boilers.
Viral marketing refers to a marketing message that spreads at an uncontrollably fast rate. The success of a viral campaign relies upon the people that share it, and the likability (and further shareability) of the content.
So really, it’s the consumers in this instance who do the heavy lifting of the campaign via liking, sharing and generally talking about it. All you have to do is create some killer content and hope the right people see it at the right time. Via the power of social media and the internet, it’s word of mouth at its finest.
This depends on how much your original content costs to produce. But, once the content’s done, the overheads are pretty low. So if you’re confident in your content creation but low on budge, the vial option is worth considering.
Brands unafraid of the buzz, keen to create some waves.
Now we’ve seen the 11 most popular forms of digital marketing, it’s time to start marketing your own business to success!
We’ve got a whole host of useful resources when it comes to marketing your business efficiently and effectively. For more information and cool inspiration, be sure to read our page on digital marketing strategies: top tips and hints.
Or, if you’re thinking you’d like to leave it to the experts, head to the top of the page and fill in our free webform. We’ll source a selection of digital marketing agencies ready to accommodate your individual business needs and provide you with a quote.
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Types of digital marketing – Startups.co.uk
Broadly speaking, the term digital marketing encompasses any digital communication exchanged between business and customer.