How to start digital Marketing in 2023
Digital marketing is a beast. Which channels should you be on? What do SEO and PPC mean? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of digital marketing? Where do you even start Digital Marketing in 2023?
Graphic illustration working remotely
Digital marketing is more than just a website and a fun viral video “Design by Spoon Lancer”.
To help you out, we’re looking at the top 10 types of digital marketing. The lines are blurred between the various options, but you’ll have a menu.
When choosing, the usual questions will apply: WHY do you want to use digital marketing, and WHO are you trying to reach with your marketing efforts? This will help you select the right formats and channels to achieve your objectives.
Types of digital marketing
- Content marketing
- Search engine marketing
- Display Advertising
- Mobile Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
Let’s look at the top 8 types of digital marketing, the pros and cons of each, and a couple of next steps you can consider if you want to get started.
1. Content marketing
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Content marketing involves creating and distributing content text, pictures, multimedia that adds value for your audience instead of just broadcasting an advertising message. If you’re in B2C (business to consumer), content can mean social media posts, blog articles, and fun videos; if you’re in B2B (business to business), it might be more white papers or reports, webinars, and educational videos.
It’s free because it’s about attracting customers to you and your brand instead of paying to push your message out to a cold audience.
Content is versatile and can help you build your brand as you educate, entertain and inspire your audience; it fuels all the other types of digital marketing, driving search engine optimization, social media, email, etc.
With everyone now waking up to the importance of content and pumping out blog posts, videos, and whatever else, it’s a very cluttered space that makes it hard to stand out
To be effective, you need to come up with consistent, high-quality content that meets the needs of your customers while also representing your brand and achieving your business objectives
strawberry heart poster
Content is at the heart of your entire digital marketing ecosystem designed by aran & xa.
The next steps
Design a simple content strategy
4-5 core themes you want to focus on, at the sweet spot between what your ideal customer wants and needs on the one hand and what your brand wants to communicate on the other;
the formats you want to use (video, audio, articles, etc.);
and the channels where you’ll post each piece of content (on your website, specific social channels, etc.)
Start simple if you’re a strong writer, maybe go with a regular blog post, or if you’re confident on camera, record a weekly video and then build from there!
2. Search engine marketing
Search engine marketing is about getting your website to appear at the top of the results when someone searches for your brand, products and services, and other relevant words and phrases. Think Google (let’s face it, that’s the main one) and Bing (often installed on business computers, so good for B2B). It includes both organic or natural search (search engine optimization, or SEO) and paid search (pay per click, or PPC) and both desktop computers and mobiles (as well as smart home assistants these days see number 10 audio marketing).
Character for Content Analytics
The point of search engine marketing is to make sure your customers can find you. Design by Antung’s*.
Search engine optimization does what it says: optimizing for search engines! This means creating content that people are actively searching for and ensuring that this content, and the platforms where it’s sitting, is optimized from a technical point of view. Everyone should be doing this, no matter your business or industry.
When your brand appears in the organic search results, it comes across as more ‘authentic’ and objective in the eyes of your customers.
You may not have to pay specifically for the search results, but it does take time and effort to create amazing content and do the technical optimization of your website.
You’re at the mercy of Google’s changing algorithms, and with all the content out there now, it takes a lot of work to rank highly in organic results.
The next steps
SEO starts with content, so get that content strategy in place first (see point 1). Do keyword research to find out what people are searching for, and stay on top of the latest updates from Google. If you’re starting, you can use a plug-in to help you optimize your site (e.g., Yoast for WordPress), or if you’ve got a bigger budget, you can work with an expert to do a complete job.
Pay-per-click is paid search advertising, such as Google Adwords or Bing Ads. It looks almost the same as the natural search results, except it appears at the top of the page with a little box that says Ad. You can buy a top-ranking position via an auction based on keywords, geographical location, and demographics it’s especially useful for e-commerce and local businesses.
PPC can quickly buy you a top ranking if you’re willing to pay for it
You only pay when someone clicks (hence the name!)
It can get expensive, especially when you’re targeting popular keywords
A lot of customers are skeptical of paid ads and are more likely to trust the natural search results
The next steps
If you have the money, you can use PPC to complement and boost your work to optimize for natural search. Again, you’ll need to do keyword research and then play around with different combinations of targeting and ad copy to see what works, ensuring you track and optimize as you go. PPC can get complicated, so you’ll want to work with an agency.
3. Display advertising
You can think of banner ads as billboards on the internet highway “Design by MindArt89”.
Display advertising, also known as banners, is a lot like the traditional print ads you’d get in magazines, except that they are online, and you can target specific publications you know your audience reads. It has become much more sophisticated now with programmatic advertising (where ads are booked, analyzed, and optimized automatically using algorithms) and retargeting (like when you look at a pair of shoes on your favorite department store website and then those shoes follow you onto every website you visit for months afterward).
- You can target and retarget customers very effectively
- Display ads are really easy to track and allow you to measure conversion in real time
- Customers can have ‘ad blindness,’ ignoring your ad to focus on the content they are trying to read.
- You need to find a way to maximize impact so that people notice you but not so much that they get annoyed!
The next steps
For display ads, you need to consider the creative making it clear, impactful, and memorable and the placement choosing a relevant context that fits your message and matches your audience. If you’re a small business and know your market well, you can directly approach specific publishers about advertising on their site; or use a third-party solution like Google Display Network or Facebook Audience Network.
4. Mobile marketing
Communication app design
Given the time your customers spend on their phones, mobile marketing has to be a key ingredient in your digital marketing strategy. Design by Sandeep Kasundra.
Mobile marketing is almost as broad as digital marketing and will overlap with many other types. It involves doing everything you’re doing on a desktop but adapting it to mobile and doing mobile-specific things like in-app advertising, sending text messages, and using social messaging apps. It’s especially important if you’re targeting a younger audience who spends all their time on their phones.
Customers (including you and me) are on their phones much more than their computers, so mobile marketing means reaching them where they spend their time.
Mobile marketing can be hyper-targeted using specific audience segments or geo-fencing to reach people in a specific location.
You have a very small space to play creatively on the phone, mobile ads have a low click rate (with the few clicks you get mainly due to fat finger syndrome), and most apps get downloaded once and are then forgotten.
People want to avoid being interrupted by brands and marketing messages when communicating with friends and family.
The next steps
The absolute priority is ensuring your website and content are ‘mobile friendly’ to work and look good on all devices. This usually means keeping things short and simple, using clear text and big buttons, and putting captions on your videos so people can get the message even when they don’t have sound. That’s already a great place to start, and then you can consider more specific mobile advertising, text message campaigns, or apps later.
5. Social Media Marketing
- Illustration for an e-book cover that represents an influencer
- Social media creates a unique opportunity for two-way conversations with your customers. Design by Design Vero.
- Social media adds a new dimension of engagement and interaction compared to other channels like TV, print, and online display advertising.
- Instead of just broadcasting messages to a mass audience, you can interact with your customers and listen to what they say.
- There are all sorts of channels Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat and options ranging from organic for example, Facebook groups, page posts, stories, and Messenger to pay like Facebook ads. Every business should be on at least a couple of these social channels.
- Your effort can be multiplied as people like, comment on, and share your content with their friends and connections.
- Facebook ads, in particular, have become very sophisticated, and you can target specific customer segments with your content to get your message seen by the right people.
Mark Zuckerberg, who is behind these social channels, constantly making changes, adjusting their algorithms, or finding new ways to make money, and it’s hard to stay on top of all these changes and to keep your marketing working effectively. It may sound simple to post on social media, but you need a proper strategy and a lot more time than you think to do it properly and consistently.
The next steps
Your social channels should be part of your content marketing strategy (see point 1), and the same steps apply: decide on what content you want to create, what format, and then what channels you will distribute it on. An added step is to create a calendar so that you know when you’re posting what content on which channel. Remember that social media is interactive, so it’s not just about pushing out your pretty pictures and posts but also responding to your customers and having real conversations.
6. Email marketing
Email marketing graphics
Who can resist a Black Friday deal?! Design by Visual Media. Email may seem old school in a world where everyone is instant messaging or Snapchatting, but email marketing is still one of the most effective digital marketing tools. Especially e-commerce sites and retail brands are seeing a lot of success pushing seasonal promotions and discounts (think Black Friday deals or Mother’s Day). At the same time, you can also use email newsletters to ‘nurture’ your prospects by giving them much value beyond just pushing your products and services.
Having an email list means you can stay in touch with your followers independently of any changing algorithms (say, if Mr. Zuckerberg suddenly decides to close down your Facebook group)
Staying in regular contact with your email list will help you build relationships and will keep you top of mind when they’re ready to buy
Many emails are left unopened, so you’ll need to develop strong subject headings to grab people’s attention away from their cluttered inboxes.
It would be best if you found a way to keep adding value so that they stick with you and don’t unsubscribe
The next steps
Choose an email software (e.g., Mailchimp, Convert Kit, Get Response) and then start to collect people’s emails. It would help if you gave them a reason to opt in.
For instance, offer them a step-by-step pdf guide or a set of free design templates, and check the regulations (if you have European customers, you’ll need to pay attention to the new GDPR rules).
Once you start collecting those emails, you should stay in regular contact with your list, so create a weekly newsletter and ensure it’s packed full of value (and content!), not just sales messages and promotions.
7. Affiliate Marketing
- Affiliate marketing means outsourcing to other individuals or companies who will promote your products in return for a commission. It’s especially popular with bloggers and e-commerce sites (one of the biggest programs is Amazon Associates).
- The affiliate will promote your product on their website which is the core factor of successful Digital Marketing.
- And if the customer clicks through and buys, the affiliate will automatically receive a commission for driving that sale.
- Your affiliates are doing the hard work of marketing and sales for you!
- There’s no upfront cost as you only pay for conversions (when the affiliate is successful, and someone buys from you).
- You won’t have 100% control over your brand, and you’ll need to educate them on your brand identity and messaging.
- You can outsource it, and that’s it; you have to spend time tracking and monitoring your affiliates.
The next steps
Start with a competitive analysis to see what kind of programs are out there. And what level of commission they offer decide whether you want to run your program in-house or partner.
Ensure you do a proper onboarding so that they understand your brand guidelines and what’s permitted and not.