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.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of getting quality traffic from free, or organic, search results on the search engines (like Google and Bing). It’s important that the traffic you drive to your website is relevant to your industry. If you manage to attract a high volume of visitors searching for Macintosh computers while what you actually do is selling raincoats, the traffic will do you no good. SEO is one of the most important types of digital marketing. By optimizing your content for search engines, you can increase a steady stream of relevant traffic that will only grow over time. Without search engine optimization, people simply won’t be able to find you on the Internet.
Search engine marketing is all about getting your website to appear at the top of the results when someone searches for your brand, your products and services and other relevant words and phrases. Think Google (let’s face it, that’s the main one) but also 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).
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 that 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 afterwards).
Compared to other channels like TV, print and even online display advertising, social media adds a whole new dimension of engagement and interaction. Instead of just broadcasting messages out at a mass audience, you can really interact with your customers and listen to what they have to 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 paid—like Facebook ads. Pretty much every business should be on at least a couple of these social channels.
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 with pushing seasonal promotions and discounts (think Black Friday deals or Mother’s Day), while you can also use email newsletters to ‘nurture’ your prospects by giving them a lot of value beyond just pushing your products and services.
Influencer marketing involves partnering with influencers—celebrities, experts, authority figures—who have an existing audience. When they promote your product to their audience, often on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube, loyal followers will jump on their recommendation and buy from you. You might naturally think of the Kardashians or some uber-cool young actress helping to promote your product to individual customers, but influencers can also be effective for B2B—it’s just that you’ll just be partnering with more serious and specific thought leaders or experts in your industry.
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 with e-commerce sites (one of the biggest programs is Amazon Associates). The affiliate will promote your product on their website and if the customer clicks through and buys, then the affiliate will automatically receive a commission for driving that sale.