Digital Marketing is one of the fastest growing and dynamic fields in today’s business environment. As a Digital Marketing Manager, one of your primary responsibilities is to maximize ROI through improving the website, social media accounts and marketing strategies. This includes using a variety of different digital channels to connect with customers as well as keeping up-to-date with emerging technologies.
In this post, we review the Best Channel For Digital Marketing, types of digital channels, digital channel strategy, and marketing channels examples.
Best Channel For Digital Marketing
Digital marketing continues to be an important part of a company’s overall strategy. This overview of the latest digital marketing channel trends will help you keep up with the growing world.
Email is still the most popular channel for digital marketing.
Email is still the most popular channel for digital marketing. It has been proven to be one of the most effective channels as well.
Email marketing is an easy way to communicate with your customers and build relationships with them. Email can help you stay in touch with customers even if they don’t visit your website often, which makes it a great way to keep up with new developments in your industry or products that you might want them to know about.
Social media’s popularity continues to rise with marketers.
Social media has become an essential part of digital marketing. With more than 2 billion active users on social platforms, it’s not hard to see why many companies are turning to this channel for their marketing efforts.
Social media can be used in a number of ways:
- To brand your business and build awareness of your products or services.
- For customer service and support.
- To manage relationships with customers and prospects through CRM (customer relationship management).
- As an effective lead generation tool that converts visitors into leads, who then become paying customers or loyal followers who bring in revenue for you over time as long-term sales/repeat purchases/etc…
Search engine marketing (SEM) remains a steady performer.
SEM is a great way to drive traffic to your site. If you want people to visit your website, then search engine marketing (SEM) is the best channel for you. SEM includes many different types of advertising, including text ads (banner ads), mobile rich media (full-screen video or animation) and display ads that appear as part of the organic results on Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
When used correctly by an experienced agency, SEM can be incredibly effective at driving both brand awareness and sales – especially when combined with other channels such as social media advertising or content marketing.
Mobile marketing sees a slight drop in use, but remains an important channel.
Mobile marketing is still an important channel for marketers, but it has seen a slight drop in use. While its popularity might have declined among marketers, this doesn’t mean that mobile is a bad channel for your business. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: mobile marketing can help you reach your target audience on their preferred device and drive engagement with them wherever they are—at home, at work or on the go.
The best way to use mobile marketing effectively? Create a mobile-friendly website and make sure your social media profiles are optimized for different devices (like iPhones). Then create content that resonates with people when they’re on the go (like this article!).
Affiliate marketing is the only channel that shows a decline in use and satisfaction.
Affiliate marketing is a form of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. In contrast to referral marketing, an affiliate can be rewarded for serving as an agent in converting a sale to their respective merchant.
Digital Marketing remains popular as more channels are added and used.
Digital marketing continues to be popular as more channels are added and used. Email remains the most popular channel with marketers, but social media’s popularity continues to rise, as does search engine marketing (SEM). Mobile marketing also saw a slight drop in use, but remains an important channel for marketers.
types of digital channels
It was in October 1994 when the first web-based banner ad was born courtesy of an advertising campaign for AT&T. The copy read: “Have you ever clicked your mouse right HERE? YOU WILL”. In the four months that followed, 44% of internet users had actually clicked on it, giving the company heaps of advertising mileage.
The publishing of that ad, which is now better known as display ad, has been referenced as the earliest form of digital marketing. Then again, display ad is only part and parcel of the entire digital marketing industry.
Almost three decades after the launch of the iconic banner or display ad, the industry has evolved beyond ads. It now encompasses a wide range of internet-based strategies using digital marketing channels to deliver content and promotional offers.
What is a Digital Marketing Channel?
Digital marketing channels are platforms that you can use to reach your target audience with information about your brand, product, or service. Utilizing these channels allows you to help your customers with any questions or challenges they may have while positioning your business well so that you can be a step closer to your marketing goals.
Not all digital marketing channels are cut out for each and every one of your business objectives though. Some are more suitable for certain types of audiences, while others are set up differently depending on what they’re capable of doing. As such, you must know which digital marketing channel to use and then implement the best practices to achieve a particular goal.
Most of your goals will probably relate to generating leads, raising brand awareness, improving conversions, and so on. Ultimately, getting more sales. Together with your digital marketing agency, you can develop a mix of strategies to target one or more of those goals.In the succeeding section, you’ll see which channel has the greatest potential to address your business’s and audience’s needs.
Effective Digital Marketing Channels
Your website is a must-have tool for your business as it provides you with a dedicated platform where you can educate audiences about your brand, products, and services. This requires a solid understanding of your target audience and an effective content marketing strategy.
Whatever the size of your company, when you create a website it can give your business the online presence it needs to communicate and/or sell to prospects. In fact, another study showed that 69% of Americans have purchased an item online. Whether your business is concerned with e-commerce or it’s something that’s more service-oriented, be it B2C or B2B, you should definitely invest in a website. To reduce costs, you can build the website using WordPress, and the good news is there are many free WordPress themes available.
Your website is an ideal channel for your content marketing campaigns. Through blog posts and announcements, you can provide existing and potential customers with valuable and relevant content to help them solve their pain points. Because websites have multimedia capabilities, you can easily distribute different types of content—from articles to infographics, and even video.
At the rate that people are consuming content, having the right mix of these top-performing content types can exponentially increase your site traffic and engagement. Ultimately, this can result in better brand recognition, authority building, and new sales opportunities for your business.
How Your Website (Content) Can Help You
How to Use Websites: Best Practices and Top Strategies
Related Content: The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing, Content Marketing Resources, Every Blog Content Format You Can Create, and Free Content Marketing Tools [A Complete List]
There are several reasons why it’s so hard to dislodge email as a channel that delivers medium to high ROI for your business, but the one thing you can’t take away from email is its versatility. Although email may not be the newest technology available, it allows you to apply the latest trends in content marketing, such as personalization and automation, without hurting your marketing budget.
Email also has the ability to support other marketing objectives, so it’s no surprise that 73% and 63% of B2B marketers say that email is their top tool for generating leads and driving revenue, respectively.
Beyond lead generation and revenue, email helps you in many more ways as follows:
How Email Can Help You
How to Use Email: Best Practices and Top Strategies
Related Content: Why Does Email Marketing Work?, Templates for Email Marketing Campaigns, 8 Email Marketing Tools That Will Save You Hours, 10 Insane Statistics Prove Email Marketing is More Powerful than Ever, and Your Guide to Understanding Email Marketing Data
Social media marketing is on this list for some very worthwhile reasons, but this isn’t just about social media users reaching the 4.48 billion mark. From being a channel that people use to establish personal connections, social media has evolved into something grander, bigger, and better than what it was originally envisioned to be.
These days, you can reach out to potential buyers by engaging them in a more personal and authentic fashion. As such, it’s easier to direct your efforts toward organic social media marketing since the platform was initially designed to foster interactions rather than sell to your prospects.
You must invest time in cultivating relationships with your target market as you try to understand the needs and interests of your buyer personas. Ultimately, this can help you generate highly qualified leads on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook—which account for driving 80%, 13%, and 7% of qualified B2B leads, respectively.
Although this can directly drive sales, you should remember that social selling isn’t really about selling at all, so prioritize building a strong, positive relationship.
How Social Media Can Help You
How to Use Social Media: Best Practices and Top Strategies
Related Content: How to Leverage Social Media to Grow Your Business Exponentially, Build an Effective Social Media Plan in 5 Simple Steps, 6 Social Media Tools Businesses Shouldn’t Go Without, and Social Media Crisis Management Examples (and Lessons)
4. Organic Search (SEO)
Did you know that over 63,000 Google search queries are performed every second? Just imagine how many people are searching on the internet! Given that people use search engines for research, shopping, and entertainment, the opportunities for businesses are huge!
When prospects or customers look for products or services, they’ll tend to go with whoever ranks higher. Standing out from the competition at this stage means that you’ll be capturing new opportunities organically, driving a consistent flow of leads down your sales funnel.
As long as you adopt modern SEO best practices—keyword research, blog post optimization, and linkable content creation—improving rankings on search engines will come a lot easier.
How Organic Search (SEO) Can Help You
How to Use Organic Search: Best Practices and Top Strategies
Related Content: A Complete Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), 5 Reasons Why SEO Should Always be a Part of Your Content Strategy, The Most Important Factors That Impact Your Local SEO, and SEO Statistics
5. Paid Search (SEM)
On the surface, it might seem inconceivable that paid search (also called SEM) will have the potential to give you ROI. After all, you’re paying for each click you get, unlike SEO, where people find you organically (and technically for free).
The advantage of using paid search is that your ads are shown above organic search results, making them more visible to users. Even if you have to pay for every time a user clicks on your ad, there’s still a lot of value—monetary and otherwise—that can be had from paid search. Being above organic results means you’re still capturing that engaged searcher before they even have a chance to see their other options (your competitors).
For every $1 you spend on Google Ads, you can earn an average of $2 in return. That’s 100% ROI right in the bag. Conversely, not utilizing the paid ads channel can lead to 50% less revenue.
It’s also been found that PPC results gain 150% more conversions than organic visitors. Clearly, paid search could very well represent a win-win situation for your marketing campaigns.
digital channel strategy
The key elements of a distribution strategy
When building up a distribution strategy, there are many factors to take into account. For the sake of this guide we’ll look at two primary, major factors, that affect a business over time:
Control: Owned vs. non-owned distribution channels
When building up a business from scratch, chances are, none will know you. There is no customer base. There is no product recognition. So how do you unlock growth?
Usually, companies tap into existing distribution networks, where they have none, or little control over how the product will be delivered to customers.
This might dilute the customer experience. However, it will enable the first traction of growth. As the business grows and it acquires its customer base, the same company might start investing on its own platform, thus asserting more control over how the product gets distributed.
For instance, if you take a company like Apple, it leverages both on a direct (controlled) distribution strategy where it sells its products via its stores. And an indirect (partially controlled thanks to Apple’s branding power) distribution strategy.
While some businesses thrive in the long-term without building a mix between controlled (owned) distribution and non-controlled distribution, by solely relying on one or the other.
Growth type: Organic, paid and viral channels
On the other end, when building a distribution strategy, you might want to consider the kind of growth strategy to adopt. In this guide, we take into account three main types of growth:
Distribution mix matrix
From the balance between a controlled and non-controlled channel and the growth strategy (organic, paid and viral) we can find the right mix.
A solid distribution strategy will leverage on both controlled and non-controlled channel. And at the same time those who are organic, paid and viral.
As you build up your distribution strategy you want to move from non-controlled to controlled distribution channels to build a solid company.
A media-driven PR growth strategy is a viral strategy where you have not much control. You can changes the message to fit the market and as you do that you might get some good media coverage.
This is a viral strategy as it is usually inexpensive. At the same time, you’re not changing the underlying characteristics of the product.
While you’re working on the perception of the product you want to make sure also to develop the core parts of it in line with its new perceived value.
Product-driven word of mouth
In a product-driven word of mouth strategy, you iterate on the core features of the product to make it more appealing to a wider customer base. As those features will gain traction through word mouth that will also make your brand known.
With this strategy the product will evolve to fit the market needs. Therefore, you can push it further also at PR level, as a solid product, can scale in terms of attention and users’ base without too much risk.
Beware though, as many people get to know your product the more your product will need to evolve.
Search engine optimization (rank your pages on Google organic results) is an organic growth strategy, which do not control. While you can structure content to be picked up by Google’s algorithm, a change in those core algorithms might cause your website to lose traffic (and customers) over night.
While SEO rankings might be stable over time. You still want to diversify this organic growth strategy that you do not control, with a growth strategy where you have more control.
As you build up an organic audience via search engine optimization, building an email list from the contacts that reach you organically, is a great way to move from a channel where you have little control, to another where you have more control.
marketing channels examples
No matter the size of your business, there’s a wide range of marketing channels you can tap. But the question is: Are they the right fit for your goals and needs?
To help you answer that, here’s a rundown of the 10 most popular marketing channels modern businesses use today.
1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
According to HubSpot, 62% of consumers use a search engine when they want to learn more about a new business, product, or service, while 41% use a search engine when they’re ready to buy.
Add to that the fact that trillions of Google searches are made every year, and it’s clear that the search engines are still the go-to method for finding information online.
Search engine optimization is the process of making your website rank high in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for a certain term or keyword. This allows your content to be visible and easily accessible to those searching for the term, or something similar to it.
With SEO, you obtain “organic” website traffic from the search engines, because you’re not paying for ad placement.
SEO as a technology changes constantly, and the tactics that SEO professionals employ must adapt quickly. However, “there are certain fundamentals of SEO that change very little over time,” says Moz’s Bridget Randolph. These are:
Tips on SEO
While being found online is key to growing a modern business, it’s critical that your site shows up on the first or second page of the search engines.
A HubSpot study shows that three of four internet users never scroll past the first page of the SERPs.
2. Content marketing
Bombarding existing and prospective customers with “buy” messages when they’re not ready is a big marketing no-no.
Not only will they avoid you like the plague — they’d think all you care about is the sale — but they are also likely to tell their family and friends about the experience. This will earn you negative word of mouth (more on this marketing channel below) and thus a negative reputation.
Content marketing is an approach centered on consistently developing and distributing valuable content — blog posts, videos, infographics, ebooks, case studies, interviews, white papers, etc. — to attract a specific segment of the market.
The goal of content marketing is to drive leads or customers to perform an action that’s profitable for your organization.
Companies use content marketing to:
Tips on content marketing
For content marketing to work in your favor, know that:
3. Email marketing
Market research firm Radicati predicts that by the end of 2023, the number of email users worldwide will top 4.3 billion. This makes sense. How many people without an email address do you actually know? Not many, right?
This widespread use of email is the reason why email marketing is such a powerful way to engage with people who have shown interest in your product, service, website, or brand.
Email marketing uses email to develop relationships with current and prospective customers.
It’s a channel often used for brand building, keeping customers informed, and delivering marketing messages that specifically address recipients’ needs as determined by their position in the buying journey.
Here’s a summary of the email marketing process to get you started:
Tips on email marketing
4. Social media marketing
According to statistics compiled by wearesocial.com, social media users around the world total approximately 3.5 billion in 2019, with Facebook still the number one social media platform for increasing your online following and connecting with customers.
Social media marketing leverages the use of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Pinterest to build your brand, grow your following, establish relationships, and generate sales.
Tips on social media marketing
5. Word of mouth marketing (WOMM)
How likely are you to purchase something a person you trust recommends? When was the last time a friend’s social media post made you research a product, service, or company?
According to a study by Convince & Convert Consulting, 83% of Americans are more likely to purchase a product or service recommended by a friend or family member through word of mouth.
Word of mouth marketing (WOMM), also known as word of mouth advertising, happens when customers express their satisfaction with a product, service, or a brand. It’s the result of both targeted efforts and organic sharing of experiences.
When amplified by social media, positive word of mouth from happy customers can positively affect other buyers’ intention to buy.
Tips on word of mouth marketing
6. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is the use of influencers — people with a dedicated social media following — to mention or endorse your product or service to their followers.
Influencer marketing campaigns include:
Tips on influencer marketing
7. Offline advertising
In the age of the internet, it’s easy to write off offline advertising as a viable marketing or sales channel. But remember, not everyone uses the internet to find information on the products or services they need.
According to a recent study by Pew Research, 10% of U.S. adults don’t use the internet. Worldwide, the United Nations expect more than half of the world’s population to be connected to the internet by the end of 2019 — a goal initially set for 2017 — leaving a still staggering number of people without internet access: 3.8 billion.
This only means that there’s still a wide audience demographic that you can reach through offline advertising.