What are the Online Marketing Channels?

Business owners and entrepreneurs like yourself are taking a big interest in digital marketing. Consumers are only going to become more digitally focused as search and e-commerce technology continues to develop. A crucial part of understanding digital marketing is knowing the roles of the different online marketing channels. Are you wondering what are the online marketing channels? They include the following:

  • Display Advertising
  • Website Development
  • Content Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Pay-Per-Click(PPC) Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Digital Public Relations

First, we’ll look into these different types of digital marketing channels. Then we’re going to talk about some benefits of using online marketing channels over offline marketing channels. We’ll wrap up with a breakdown of how a full-service digital marketing agency uses the different online marketing channels to create a multichannel marketing strategy that increases your ROI exponentially.

The Different Types of Digital Marketing Channels

The first thing you need to know is many of the online marketing channels are linked with each other. It’s impossible to take full advantage of a well-designed website, for example, if it isn’t filled with high-quality content and optimized to perform well in search engines. This section will only outline the differences between the online marketing channels. Strategies for using these online marketing channels will come later.

Display Advertising

Have you ever seen banner ads on the homepage of a website? This is an example of display advertising. The goal of display advertising is brand awareness. Even if you don’t have a high click-through-rate, prominent positioning on a website with high traffic makes a good first impression.

To take full advantage of display advertising, you need to have somewhere to send curious browsers. This leads us to our next online marketing channel.

Website Development

Your business website is the centerpiece of your digital marketing strategy. All other online marketing channels serve to drive traffic to the ‘money’ pages on your website. Your money pages are service or product pages that provide a way for visitors to make a purchasing decision.

A well-designed website provides a stellar user experience by giving visitors a reason to stay. It persuades users to buy without coming across too salesy. In this sense, it is impossible to make use of a business website without a content marketing strategy.

Content Marketing

When you visit a website, the words, images, and videos you see are all content designed to get you to stay. There are a couple of different types of content that make up a website.

The first type of content describes what your business does and what you are about. Most businesses call these pages “About Us” and “Our Mission”. Your about page needs to clearly explain your unique value proposition. Why should the visitor choose your company out of the dozens of other choices? The mission page is where you showcase your brand personality. Today’s consumer wants to do business with companies who have a mission that goes beyond just making money.

The second type of content is educational. These are your blog posts, videos, and infographics. Each piece of content addresses a question or problem of your target audience. You find out the questions your target audience is asking through your search engine optimization strategy.

Search Engine Optimization

According to a study by Smart Insights, four out of five consumer-geared searches eventually lead to a purchase. Search engine optimization, or SEO, encompasses all of the tactics used to make your site appear on the first results page for keywords important to your business.

There are three different types of SEO. On-page SEO deals with anything involving the actual content of your site. Technical SEO deals with all of the back-end metadata and structural design of your website. Finally, off-page SEO refers to getting quality links to your site. You can read more about search engine optimization here, and link building here.

PPC Advertising

PPC advertising is a form of search engine marketing, although Facebook also uses PPC for their advertising platform.

PPC campaigns are for companies that have a big enough budget to invest in a sustained targeted campaign for a set of relevant keywords. Think of PPC like an auction. You bid how much you’re willing to pay for each click of the advertising platform (usually Google) decides to run your ad. Check out our article on search engine marketing to learn more about the process.

Digital Public Relations

Did you know 84 percent of consumers check reviews from fellow consumers before making a purchase? It is why platforms like Yelp are so popular. Studies show your revenue increases 9 percent for each star increase on Yelp. Managing your reputation online has become a marketing channel of its own. These efforts focus on getting your business coverage from digital media outlets and social media amplification from industry influencers.

Social Media Marketing

Social media has turned from a novelty into one of the most effective digital marketing channels. Savvy companies use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to build a strong sense of community amongst their fans.

Each platform has its own strategies for success. Facebook’s advantage is the ability to create and manage a group tied to your business. Twitter’s advantage is the ability to find new people and have conversations with them to establish mutually beneficial relationships. Instagram is the platform for showcasing the visual aspects of your business.

Email Marketing

A primary goal of a good multichannel marketing strategy is building a list of qualified leads you can contact through email. Once you have a customer’s email, you can set up an email marketing campaign that provides personalized content to help them through their unique customer journey.

The best part about email marketing is several tools exist to save tons of time. Customer relationship management (CRM) software allows you to organize and segment your lists, as well as set up automatic emails at customizable frequencies.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is one of the new digital marketing channels compared to the others, as it has really only exploded over the last five years.

Today, more internet users use a mobile device over a desktop, and that trend is only set to continue as 5G network capabilities go mainstream.

Mobile marketing encompasses mobile search engine optimization, responsive web design, and mobile app design.

The Differences Between Online and Offline Marketing Channels

You are probably feeling a bit overwhelmed by the number of online marketing channels you need to consider when creating a digital marketing strategy. If you already have moderate success with offline marketing channels, you may feel like skipping out on digital marketing altogether. Once you understand some of the differences between online and offline marketing channels, you’ll realize how digital marketing has the potential to make a huge impact on your bottom line.

Difference 1: Targeting Efficiency

One difference between online and offline marketing channels is online channels allow you to target your audience with an efficiency not possible with offline channels.

With offline channels, the best you can get is knowing the demographics of a magazine subscription base or viewership of a television channel. Online marketing channels give us much more insight into the behaviors of our target audience.

Difference 2: Measuring Campaign Success

Another difference is it is harder to directly measure campaign success with offline marketing channels. Unless you use a promotion code, there is no way to tie a conversion to a particular advertisement.

Online marketing channels allow you to track every single step a prospect takes to becoming a customer. Success (and failure) are quantifiable.

Difference 3: Making Adjustments

The final difference between online and offline marketing channels is the ability to make adjustments. Campaigns ran through offline marketing channels are almost impossible to adjust. You can’t make changes once an advertisement is printed or commercial is filmed.

With online marketing channels, you can make adjustments in real-time based on continuous feedback.

Now that you understand the types of online marketing channels and how they differ from offline marketing channels, let’s look at how a digital marketing agency uses these channels to create multichannel marketing strategies.

How a Digital Marketing Agency Creates and Executes a MultiChannel Marketing Strategy

While it is possible to create and execute a digital marketing strategy on your own, the process will not be as effective and seamless as it is for a full-service digital marketing agency.

First, a digital agency audits your current digital presence to see which channels you are already using. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Technical SEO Audit
  • Website Design Audit
  • Keyword Analysis
  • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram Audit
  • Online Reputation Audit

During this audit phase, a good digital marketing agency gets to know your company and your target audience. This information gathering phase allows them to determine which online marketing channels will be the most effective for achieving the goals of your marketing plan.

The next step is to create a search engine optimization strategy. The audience analysis in the first phase is used to build a keyword list that targets each stage of your marketing funnel.

Then, a content marketing strategy is created. This outlines which content will be created for each keyword and the type of content that will be created. Out of this comes an editorial calendar that gives you the roadmap for publishing high-quality content on a consistent basis.

After your content is mapped out, a social media strategy is created. A full-service digital agency uses social listening tools to make sure you’re spending the most time on the platforms your target audience uses most.

The above is just a brief overview of what a full-service digital marketing agency does for your business. Contact us if you want to learn exactly how we increase your revenue through a multichannel marketing strategy.

Brett Pucino: Brett Pucino is a content writer with seven years of experience crafting compelling copy for brands looking to expand their digital footprint. He is passionate about building brands for both businesses and people, and he is always available for a conversation on Twitter (@BPucino).
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