When anyone describes marketing today, they’re most likely talking about digital marketing.
Print ads, billboards, telemarketing, radio, and television were the main sources of marketing to audiences for decades. But today, there are many digital marketing channels that have changed the industry completely.
In this short guide, I’ll cover the best digital marketing channels your company should focus on today. Many of these channels have been used for the last few years (which your marketing team probably utilizes) and some are still emerging today.
Understanding Digital Marketing Channels
Digital marketing channels are online platforms that you utilize to help reach your target prospects and customers with content around your brand, product, or service. These channels help your company build relationships with audiences and educates them about why your business is useful to them.
The one thing to remember about any digital channel is that not all these platforms work the same, meaning you will typically need more tailored strategies for each in order to achieve your marketing objectives.
And you might want to be highly active in all of them, but there are some channels where you may focus more time and energy than others. This is totally okay!
Determining Which Digital Channels to Utilize
All of the main digital marketing channels will provide value, but there are a few ways to determine which channels you might want to prioritize.
And under each channel can be sub-categories, too. But choosing where your marketing team will focus their efforts should be based on your overall goals.
The best place to start is with some research. Start gathering intel from different platforms and begin answering questions like:
- Where is your target audience typically active?
- How much budget do you have to work with?
- What are your overall company goals?
- What are your marketing goals? How do these channels help our goals?
- Where are your competitors most active?
Best Digital Marketing Channels
One of the benefits of being a digital marketer is: there is no shortage of digital channels to test out and be active on! However, the challenge is knowing how to be effective on each channel, given your target demographics.
Below you’ll find the best digital marketing channels your company should be utilizing and building a strategy around. Some of these should be glaringly obvious, but there might be some new ones you have not explored quite yet.
1. Social Media
There are billions of people active on social media channels, whether that is LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
For example, 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active social media users. And these platforms have become the easiest way for your company to reach and connect with audiences around the world.
Each social channel can offer you different results and a potential need for a different strategy, but most will help you cultivate direct relationships. And there are multiple use cases for using these various social channels.
You have the marketing side of social media, social selling, and customer social media, as well — which all play a pivotal role in your company’s success.
And as a digital marketing channel, social media is one of the best places for your company to be highly active and engaged.
2. Paid Advertising
Paid advertising can be done via search engines (Google, Bing) or social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). And his channel can be a great way to keep your brand front and center.
Plus, with many ad targeting capabilities, you are able to get in front of your target buyers and customers with the information you want them to know.
Whether you want to generate brand awareness, drive more leads, or boost sales — paid channels are a standard option for marketing teams.
However, paid ads are becoming more difficult and expensive. Some industries have very expensive cost-per-clicks and plenty of competition that can make your ads blend into feeds and drive up your costs.
More than 70% of advertisers believe their ads are relevant to the audience they are targeting. Yet only 8% of people think ads they see online are always relevant according to a survey from Adobe.
Your marketing team can still find success in paid advertising. But it will be about being more strategies, identifying new ad opportunities, being creative, and looking at channels that will generate the most value.
3. Organic Search (SEO)
Search engine marketing has been around for quite some time, and organic traffic can drive some of your best leads. When people are actively searching for information about your product, services, or something your company solves — the buyer intent will typically be much higher.
Need some convincing?
- 57% of B2B marketers stated that SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative.
- 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
- 81% of people perform some type of online research before making a large purchase
Yet, SEO is also getting more challenging as algorithm updates roll out, advertising on platforms like Google increases, and competition grows. But is SEO dead? Absolutely not! There is still a strong opportunity for your brand to focus on this digital marketing channel and win.
Great SEO doesn’t happen overnight and results may take time, but this is a long-game approach. Focus on the user, quality content, strategic keywords, technical optimization, and more.
4. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is how your brand begins collaborating with online influencers to market your specific products or services.
And thanks to the cultural impact of social media, you’d be living under a rock to not have heard about influencer marketing. But what you might not realize is that this digital marketing channel can be narrowed down into additional sub-categories.
- Celebrities: Think actors, athletes, or those in the public eye that have hundreds of thousands of followers or in the millions. These celebrity influencers can drive huge brand awareness and sales during campaigns. However, it will cost you, and the impact might be short-lived until you pay again.
- Customers: Your customers can also be influencers, but you might refer to them as customer advocates. But building and nurturing customer relationships can elevate your “word of mouth marketing,” which helps grow your customer base. Referral programs and customer advocacy software can help you nurture strong customer relationships.
- Employees: Some of the best influencers are your employees, which you may not have thought about before. Known as employee advocacy, your employee influencers can also have a big impact on your brand awareness, social reach, and sales. Typically, employee advocacy platforms like EveryoneSocial become strong digital channels that employees can easily create and share content to their networks from.
There is no question, podcasting has become a huge digital genre! And while you might not always be able to measure direct impact, more businesses should explore creating a podcast.
Podcasting is relatively easy to set up and you can get visibility on big channels like Spotify and Apple with ease. We launched our own podcast called Engagement Drivers and took about two days to end up in Apple, Google, and Spotify.
But people also love listening and learning, which can be easier than reading during busy schedules or work commutes.
And podcasting has become more relevant for B2B and B2C businesses. This new digital channel is an effective way to build connections with your target buyers, provide value, and re-purpose content.
Certainly, podcasting can become saturated, but that’s like any digital marketing channel. And your podcast doesn’t need a massive production budget or expensive equipment.
You certainly want to put a strategy together, but you don’t need to overcomplicate it.
Getting started now with podcasting is better than dragging it out for months trying to be perfect. Here is a good article about getting started with podcasting if you need some help.
The idea of chatbots is quite young compared to other digital channels, but you might also know it as conversational marketing. This is a process where your website has an automated-conversation tool that takes buyers through marketing and sales funnels, answering various questions in real-time.
Additionally, you can mix up having real people monitoring these chats to answer questions and have conversations with people looking to learn about your product or services.
One of the well-known leaders in this space is Drift, which we also use at EveryoneSocial.
What makes conversational marketing so great is it’s more engaging, can remove website barriers, and helps connect buyers with your sales team faster. And this digital marketing channel has exploded and generates solid results for companies who build their conversations well.
- 79% of companies say that live chat has had positive results for customer loyalty, sales, and revenue (Kayako).
- A study showed that 9 out of 10 consumers would like the option to use messaging to contact a business (Twilio).
- 80% of routine questions can be answered via chatbots (IBM).
- 72% of people who have used chatbots find them to be helpful and informative (SUMO Heavy).
One of the oldest digital marketing channels is email, but even today it’s still worth dedicating time and effort towards.
Capturing emails and contact information is essential as you now have built a community of people who have clearly shown some interest in your content, product, or services. And it’s a way to continue to share and distribute information directly to them.
There are various forms of emails you can set up, like newsletters to customers or prospects, and automated emails that target specific audiences in your database.
It’s easy to neglect this channel compared to some of the others, but it’s still a critical component of your digital marketing strategy.
Here are just some of the benefits of email marketing:
- For every $1 you spend on emails marketing, you can expect an average return of $42
- 59% of B2B marketers cite email as their top channel for revenue generation.
- 77% of B2B companies use an email marketing newsletter as part of their content marketing strategy and 79% of B2B marketers find email to be the most successful channel for content distribution.