Digital Marketing Channels: What Are They + How To Use Them + Bonus Tips
The first web-based banner ad was created in October 1994 as part of an AT&T advertising campaign. "Have you ever clicked your mouse exactly HERE?" read the copy. "YOU WILL." In the four months since, 44% of internet users have clicked on it, providing the corporation with a lot of advertising mileage.
The publication of the ad, now known as a display ad, has been cited as the first form of digital marketing. However, display advertising is still a small fraction of the whole digital marketing sector.
Decades after the introduction of the classic banner or display ad, the industry has progressed beyond advertisements. It currently comprises a wide range of internet-based methods that supply information and promotional offers via digital marketing platforms.
Understand Digital Marketing Channels
Digital marketing channels are venues via which you may communicate with your target audience about your brand, product, or service. Using these channels helps you to assist your clients with any problems or difficulties they may have while also presenting your company properly so that you may get closer to your marketing objectives.
However, not all digital marketing platforms are suitable for all of your business objectives. Some are better suited to specific sorts of audiences, while others are built up differently based on what they can perform. As a result, you must understand which types of digital marketing channels to employ and then follow the finest techniques to reach a certain objective.
The majority of your objectives will most likely be related to generating leads, increasing brand recognition, enhancing conversions, and so on. Ultimately, increasing revenues. You and your digital marketing agency can devise a strategy that targets one or more of those objectives.
In the next part, you'll learn which channel has the most potential to meet your company's and audience's demands.
Digital Marketing Channels
✧ Content Marketing
Your website is an essential tool for your business since it gives you a dedicated platform to educate consumers about your brand, goods, and services. This necessitates a thorough grasp of your target demographic as well as an efficient content marketing approach.
Whatever the size of your company, creating a website may provide your firm with the internet presence it requires to connect with and/or sell to prospects. According to another poll, 69% of Americans had made an internet purchase. Whether your company is involved in e-commerce or is more service-oriented, whether B2C or B2B, you should surely invest in a website.
Your website is an excellent platform for content marketing efforts. You may deliver meaningful and relevant material to existing and potential consumers through blog posts and announcements to assist them to overcome their trouble points. Because websites support multimedia, you can readily spread many forms of material, such as articles, infographics, and even videos.
With the velocity at which people consume material, having the appropriate balance of these top-performing content kinds may raise your site traffic and engagement significantly. Ultimately, this may lead to increased brand awareness, authority, and new sales prospects for your company.
How does this help you?
- Organic traffic has increased. People will naturally draw toward your website if it has high-quality, relevant, and intelligent material that demonstrates your thought leadership.
- Creating leads. When people visit your website, it indicates that they want to learn more about your product or service, making them prospective consumers of your company.
- Make content assets in a variety of formats. Certain forms of content are more successful at certain stages of the purchase cycle. For example, you should reserve product videos for audiences in the consideration funnel rather than when they are first becoming aware of your company.
- Use social media and email marketing to spread the word about your work. Promoting your content makes it simpler for people to locate and share it with others in their network.
✧ Email Marketing
There are various reasons why email is so difficult to replace as a channel that offers medium to high ROI for your organisation, but one thing that cannot be taken away from email is its adaptability. Although email is not the most cutting-edge technology, it allows you to implement the most recent trends in content marketing, such as personalisation and automation, without jeopardising your marketing budget.
Emails may also help with other marketing goals, which is why 73% and 63% of B2B marketers believe email is their top strategy for generating leads and driving revenue, respectively.
Emails may benefit you in a variety of ways other than lead creation and income production.
- Email has grown to 3.9 billion users in 2020, with the amount predicted to rise to 4.3 billion users by 2023—more than half of the world's population!
- Email is the most effective channel, with 73% of respondents rating it as outstanding, compared to 72% and 67% for SEO and paid search, respectively.
- You may expect a $42 average return on investment for every $1 spent on email marketing.
- Mobile devices account for up to 62% of all opens, compared to 10% on desktop computers.
How does this help you?
- Conversion and brand awareness. Emails are delivered directly to consumers' inboxes, allowing you to offer both branded and marketing material. This makes email great for generating conversions and, eventually, business development and success.
- Nurturing. A sequence of emails addressed to consumers can help you create a relationship and trust with them so they will finally make a purchase.
- ROI. Email continues to be the channel with the best ROI among all marketing tactics, according to statistical data.
- Create timely subject headlines. This technique encourages people on your contact list to take advantage of your promotional offers before they expire.
- Make your email marketing initiatives more personalised. Send triggered emails containing the appropriate content based on where they are in the purchasing cycle whenever someone does a certain action, such as browsing your product sites or signing up for a free trial.
- Email should only be used for customer feedback and support. A smart strategy to enhance sales is to provide excellent customer service. Email applications range from surveys to evaluations to issue solving.
✧ Social Media
Social media marketing is on this list for a variety of reasons, but it isn't just about the 4.48 billion social media users. Social media has developed from being a means for individuals to make personal relationships to something grander, bigger, and greater than what it was initially envisioned to be.
You may reach out to potential consumers in a more personal and honest manner these days. As a result, because the platform was meant to stimulate connections rather than sell to your prospects, it's easier to aim your efforts toward organic social media marketing.
As you endeavour to understand the requirements and interests of your buyer personas, you must devote time to establishing connections with your target market. Finally, this can assist you to produce highly qualified leads on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, which account for 80%, 13%, and 7% of qualified B2B leads, respectively.
Although this can immediately lead to sales, keep in mind that social selling isn't actually about selling at all, so focus on creating a strong, pleasant connection first.
How does this help you?
- Customer involvement. Social media helps you to connect with your brand's fans. With social media, you can reinforce your firm image by putting names to faces and providing a personal touch, making your brand more relevant to the general public.
- A larger audience. Social media posts are simple to distribute, creating chances for word-of-mouth marketing that may help you build your audience or client base. Even better, it won't cost you a fortune to have your material spread.
- Be unique. This applies to the topics you cover as well as the method you use to create your content. Remember that creativity is an important aspect of social involvement.
- Incorporate hashtags into your postings. When you utilise the # tag, word spreads quickly, allowing everyone to notice and join the conversation.
✧ Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Did you know that every second, approximately 63,000 Google search inquiries are performed? Consider how many people use the internet to search! Given that consumers use search engines for research, commerce, and entertainment, business opportunities abound!
When prospects or consumers are looking for items or services, they will often choose whoever ranks higher. At this level, standing out from the competition means you'll be collecting fresh prospects naturally, delivering a constant flow of leads down your sales funnel.
Improving search engine rankings will be much simpler if you use contemporary SEO best practices such as keyword research, blog post optimization, and linkable content production.
How does this help you?
- Search engine rankings. Because consumers primarily use search engines to get information while shopping for products or services, creating excellent and optimised content consistently may catapult you to the top of search results.
- Creating links. Backlinks from high-quality sites are likely to follow when you begin to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Optimise your website using on-page and off-page optimisation techniques. On-page SEO entails selecting the appropriate keywords and supplying meta descriptions for your content, but off-page SEO includes link-building strategies such as guest blogging. On-page and off-page SEO work together to provide signals that Google may use to rank your site.
- Use local SEO to advertise your business in your neighbourhood and surrounding places. One approach to performing local SEO correctly is to constantly publish your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) across your website, business directories, and social media profiles, since they act as keywords that assist Google and people find your business.
✧ Paid Search Engine Optimisation (SEM)
On the surface, sponsored search (also known as SEM) may have the potential to provide ROI. After all, unlike SEO, where people find you organically, you're paying for each click (and technically for free).
The benefit of employing sponsored search is that your advertising appears above organic search results, increasing its visibility to users. Even if you have to pay every time a person clicks on your ad, there is still a lot of value (both monetary and non-monetary) to be obtained from the sponsored search. Being above organic results means you're still grabbing that interested searcher before they've even looked at their other alternatives (your competitors).
You may earn an average of $2 for every $1 you spend on Google Ads. That's 100% ROI right there. In contrast, failing to use the paid advertising channel might result in a 50% decrease in revenue.
It has also been discovered that PPC results generate 150% more conversions than organic traffic. A sponsored search may be a win-win situation for your marketing operations.
How does this help you?
- Brand recognition. When your advertisements show at the top of SERPs, target customers enjoy quick brand exposure and remember.
- Conversions and lead generation Prospective clients, like SEO, are seeking answers to their issues, but the difference is that SEM requires less labour. Without the nitty-gritty of on- or off-page SEO, you may use SEM to tailor your advertising to appear in front of motivated consumers depending on their demography or region.
- Remarket to your Facebook audience. As the world's largest social network, you may utilise Facebook's retargeting technologies to bring back people who have shown interest in your ad but weren't ready to buy yet.
- Users that click on your adverts should be sent to the appropriate pages on your website, such as landing pages with a contact form. You may then collect personal information from your visitors and utilise it to engage them in your marketing activities.
The number of mobile phone users grows by the day, and this trend is projected to continue in the next few years. As a result, serving promotional material to mobile consumers makes perfect sense. And, owing to geo-targeting tactics that employ location information to more readily propose items or services, customer experience may be continually enhanced.
Smartphone users also spend 90% of their mobile time on apps and games, making mobile apps a lucrative marketing medium. Last but not least, mobile may collect client data, which you can then utilise to develop a successful mobile marketing plan.
How does this help you?
- Sales have increased. Mobile shopping is popular, therefore mobile marketing should be a priority, especially if you're in the retail industry.
- Creating demand for your product/service while increasing the value of your brand. Modern customers expect firms that can provide the information they want or need to their mobile devices in real-time.
Make a mobile website or app. A mobile-optimised website or app is critical for providing a great and engaging user experience. Quick-loading websites, compressed graphics, top-to-bottom scrolling, huge buttons and text sizes, and similar characteristics are required.
Investigate mobile technologies such as QR (Quick Response) codes that clients may scan to navigate to your website, access or store your company information, or pay for their purchases—anything to make the contact between you and your customers more immediate.
✧ Display Ads
Display advertisements allow you to better express your advertising message by using graphics, music, and video. These are shown on websites, email platforms, social media, and a variety of other digital channels that provide ad placements, typically in the shape of a banner.
Display advertisements often have cheaper cost-per-click than search ads since there is more advertising space available throughout the web than on a search engine. The main distinction is that you do not target keywords. The success of display advertising is determined by how effectively you can match your ad to the audience of the host website to generate conversions.
One of the best features of display advertisements is their ability to follow consumers for remarketing purposes. For example, if a visitor visits your website but does not convert, you may use a cookie to follow them and retarget them with a suitable display ad later on. It should come as no surprise that with this much contextual relevance, you will get significantly more conversions at a reduced cost-per-click (CPC).
How does this help you?
- Brand recognition. Because your advertisements are delivered through the Google Display Network (GDN), you will have access to millions of websites, each with its unique audience.
- Conversion and sales. When done right, your adverts might drive visitors to perform the desired action, such as purchasing your goods or downloading your company software.
- Emphasise your distinct selling offer (USP). Let your consumers know how your company can assist them, whether it's through quality, value for money, or a unique style of customer care that they can't receive anywhere else.
- Avoid too sales-y call to action (CTA) wording. Because this is the first time that visitors will experience your brand, use CTAs that are more focused on the demands of your consumers rather than those of your company.
✧ Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the collaboration of merchants and affiliate marketers to promote a product or service via referrals. When you come across anything with labels like "sponsored post" or "affiliate link," you can easily recognise this form of marketing.
Affiliate marketing, as a marketing or promotional channel, may be beneficial in generating leads and increasing sales. Affiliate marketing is a full-funnel approach that should be implemented regardless of where your target audience is in the customer journey.
How does this help you?
- Increased market reach. Affiliate marketers, also known as publishers, are interested in promoting your products or services to a large number of people through websites, social media platforms, blogs, or newsletters.
- Sales leads that are qualified. Affiliate marketers have mostly trusted influencers when it comes to purchasing decisions. This helps you to connect with clients who are ready to buy based on the recommendations of their favourite influencers.
It's a prevalent fallacy that affiliate marketing works better for B2C than B2B, owing to the latter's lengthier sales cycle. However, with the appropriate technique, affiliate programmes do not have to be limited to either B2B or B2C. We recommend the following steps:
- Find the appropriate affiliates. Your affiliate partner should be well-known in their field and have a proven track record of referring clients with a high lifetime value to your company. Affiliate marketing platforms or networks are an excellent place to start.
- Create connections. This is true for your affiliates as well as your target audience. Regular contact with your affiliates keeps them interested throughout the campaign, which is important given the lengthier sales cycles in B2B. Meanwhile, providing quality, relevant material makes it simpler to develop meaningful connections with your target audience.
✧ Video Marketing
The importance of video in marketing cannot be overstated. Many individuals who are bored with their mundane routine turn to video not just for enjoyment but also for the educational benefits it provides. There are several data on video marketing, ranging from improved open rates to conversion rates, that should persuade you that this is a goldmine worth exploring.
That being said, optimising your video content – which, as an added benefit, is becoming easier by the day owing to technology advancements – may help you get the results and KPIs you desire for your website.
How does this help you?
- Participation of the audience. Video appeals to 54% of customers. When you use video, you can be certain that more people will watch, like, and share your material.
- Improved SEO. You should expect a boost in your search ranking and website traffic if your film receives a lot of internet exposure.
- Understand the many sorts of marketing videos. With the right video content, you can target specific audiences, such as brand videos for consumers in the awareness stage, case study videos for those in the consideration funnel, and testimonial videos featuring real brands or people who have benefited from your product or service for customers in the decision funnel.
- Tell your tale. Many businesses utilise this strategy not only to appear more personable but also to create continuity as they construct campaigns from one stage of the consumer experience to the next.
Factors To Take Into Consideration?
As a general rule, the channel you use should be led by the goals of your marketing campaign, whether they be brand awareness, conversion, thought leadership, lead generation/nurturing, or ROI. It's also critical to align your objectives with your company strategy.
If you are a traditional corporation looking to rebrand, social media marketing should be an excellent place to start. You may use the previous portion of this guide to narrow down the best channels for your needs.
Advertising costs change depending on the channel. Some provide tools that may be utilised for free, while others need a charge. Others, such as sponsored search, lie somewhere in the middle, with performance marketing perks in which you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
Begin with a minimal budget to get things going, then gradually increase when you observe a constant stream of great outcomes.
Knowing which channels certain personas are more active or engaged on is one approach to targeting them. With this knowledge, it is also easy to create material that will appeal to your target audience.
We’ve touched on this before in our other articles, but we’ll briefly be going over it here as a pro-tip: If you are looking at video marketing, you could also consider influencer marketing, especially with how popular micro-influencers are these days and how targeted and engaged their followers are, you’ll be getting a whole lot more active participation for your brand marketing this way.
If your competitor is selling to customers through a specific marketing channel, you can either (1) follow suit and capitalise on that channel's existing market or (2) look elsewhere where there is less competition—though you must also consider whether there is enough opportunity for you to sell in less popular channels.
Depending on the size or nature of your company, you may or may not require all of the nice-to-have capabilities that a certain digital marketing channel provides. Consider starting with basic features and then scaling up after you've determined they're worthwhile to invest in.
Even if you utilise many digital channels to sell your brand, you should be able to give customers a seamless experience in which they can easily transition from one channel or device to another. This is very much like how Shopcada seamlessly integrates our platform with major marketplaces and delivery channels which you can learn more about by swinging by our homepage here.
The various digital marketing channels operate differently and, as a result, provide varied outcomes. Furthermore, what works for one brand may not always work for you. The ideal scenario is that you try several channels and techniques to find which combination works best for you.
Take the time to track critical indicators and determine whether the findings are assisting you in maximising your ROI. Otherwise, don't be afraid to change your marketing strategy in the future.