The 9 different types of digital marketing: Which is right for you?

It can be a complete minefield when you’re trying to figure out which type of digital marketing is going to be right for your business. Everything sounds amazing, often promising the same things; but which type of digital marketing is going to be right for you? In this article, I hope to shine a bit of light on the subject so you can make the right choice for your business. Here they are; all the different types of digital marketing.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is one of the first and still strongest types of digital marketing you’ll come across. 94% of all the clicks in search results go to organic listings – not PPC. The methods have changed over the years; but the aim is still generally the same. Get you higher up in the list when your customers do Google searches.

What is it?

SEO is a type of marketing which main goal is to get you to rank higher up in Google searches.

Who’s it for?

Most businesses will need it – some more than others.

You can find out if it’s worth it for your business by doing a little keyword research – use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool for free and find out how many searches are being done for keywords around your business. If you’re a local business you might be able to do some yourself.

How much is it?

Depends on the competition in your industry – but a good SEO agency is likely to charge upwards of £1000 – £2000 per month.

What should I look out for?

Look for a couple of things – do they have a decent/large blog themselves? Do their tactics include content marketing?

Content marketing is the only way to do SEO these days – be wary of anyone who offers guarantees and claims to be able to rank your website highly without adding pages and text. They may well be using black hat techniques. 

types of digital marketing seo ppc

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

When people refer to pay per click advertising, they are likely talking about the ‘sponsored’ links you often see in Google searches; however they may also be referring to ads in other search engines too, like Yahoo or Bing.

They’re one of the only types of digital marketing that is completely short term – when you stop paying, the ad ceases to exist.

They are links to your website that you pay to get ranked above or alongside the ‘organic’ listings shown in a search. SEO is about ranking highly long term in the organic listings – PPC is usually about simply paying a search engine directly to be up there.

What is it?

The ‘sponsored’ links you’ll see in many search engine results. They’ll usually have a note somewhere to let you know they are sponsored.

They can also be picture ads featuring on other websites.

Who’s it for?

Just about anyone can use PPC and profit.

Approach with extreme caution however – it can be a ruthless money pit if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Couple of quick tips – choose to keywords that you think are very relevant searches to your products. Make sure you optimise your page content for those keywords – this can reduce the cost of your ads. Monitor the traffic coming in and sales/leads too closely; so you can cut out any ads or keywords that are losing you money.

How much is it?

Varies considerably. A click may cost 30p in the canine food industry and upwards of £100 per click in the insurance industry. It depends how much a click is really worth to you and what profits it’s bringing in.

An average ad is likely to cost between £2 – £3 per click.

An agency can cost anywhere from a few hundred per month to a few thousand, depending on the size of your business and complexity of your campaigns.

What should I look out for?

I’d look for a Google Certified agency if you’re going down the Google route; I would completely avoid large companies like Yell.com who offer cheap setup and monitoring and claim to be Google Certified partners.

I’ve seen many clients who’ve had astonishingly bad experiences with this – you’d be much better off saving your £100 per month, doing it yourself and putting that money into your budget instead. I have literally seen them set up ads for a business who didn’t even sell the products they had put up advertising for.  It’s because they work at high volume and don’t take the time to find out anything about your business. They literally hadn’t spent the time to check the products they sold in this case. And, many times they charge you to monitor the ads monthly – but do nothing for that money.

Public Relations (PR)

pr-types-of-digital-marketing-magazines

Public relations cannot be overlooked – and although it’s not strictly just a type of digital marketing, I had to include it because it can have a huge impact on your digital marketing results.

Of all the types of digital marketing; PR is most likely to result in the most exposure quickly (apart from maybe viral marketing – but more on that later.)

What is it?

PR is all about exposure – whether that’s in a news article or giving a talk at an event, it’s aim is to get your business well known out there and in the right places.

Who’s it for?

Again, I’d recommend it for everyone, but particularly new businesses. One of the biggest hurdles is getting noticed when you start out – so PR is a great way to start.

How much is it?

Varies widely – but the average cost per hour has been found to be $125 (or £96). However, you can do some of your own PR for free. (I will be writing on that soon – sign up to the POP Content email list if you want to make sure you don’t miss the article!)

What should I look out for?

Look for the results people have produced –  where have they managed to get their previous clients into? How popular were the articles? Did they bring in leads?

Also – find out what types of businesses they’ve worked with. Often PR agencies will specialise in certain industries and will have better connections with your industry if you pick the right one.

Social Media Marketing

social media wtf digital marketing types

Social media marketing is a great way to get exposure and connect with your customers. Talking with your customers directly is a great way to get them to know, like and trust you – which is ultimately the best way to make a sale, and maybe even a brand advocate.

If you’re considering all the different types of digital marketing – this is likely the one that will help you grow your relationship with your customers fastest.

What is it?

Social media marketing covers everything that you might do to drum up business on your social media channels – from Facebook and Twitter to Snapchat and LinkedIn – where ever you’re connecting with your customers socially – it’s social media marketing.

Who’s it for?

Most people can benefit but especially if you are a B2C company or you’re just starting out in general

How much is it?

Again, if you want it done well, you’ll be looking at a few hundred pounds a month at a minimum. However, if you’re a small business and you have 20-30 minutes a day – it can be much more profitable to simply do it yourself.

Get involved in the conversations going on and remember not to be totally self promotional – no one likes to follow an advert.

What should I look out for?

Follow count isn’t always the best indicator of success – basically there’s some dirty tactics you can play, like buying followers, that could suggest a social media marketer is good when really they have a lot of fake accounts following them. Saying that, I’d be nervous to hire someone who only had 20 followers themselves.

Instead, I would check out their clients accounts – look at their following and try to see if their content is being interacted with. You can also find reviews if they have any from real clients. It’ll be a much better indicator as to whether their work has brought in sales and leads.

Content Marketing

content marketing is like a big digital marketing cuddle
Content marketing is like all the best bits of digital marketing – wrapped up into one big cuddle

Oh, content marketing. You are my hero. Content marketing is the ultimate type of digital marketing – because it includes all the best stuff, working in harmony.

It mixes great content on your website, SEO, PR and Social Media Marketing in tandem.

Using all the methods together can make your business a serious success.

Because it’s a combination of lot’s of the other types of digital marketing – it’s definitely my favourite.

What is it?

Content marketing is a method of digital marketing that uses good content that your customers want to read to encourage new sales and leads online. It can be content anywhere – from YouTube to podcasts, tweets to infographs – but most often it’s blog content on your website, driving new traffic through search engines like SEO.

Who’s it for?

I would say everyone! But I’m biased. Also – it’s for everyone. If you want to get ahead of the competition before they tap into your content marketing secrets – get going now.

It might already be too late.

How much is it?

The cost of a website, good domain name and hosting – probably £20-£50 a year. If you can do it yourself.

Honestly though, it does take some serious time, skill and dedication – if you do hire out, the monthly cost is the same as SEO companies – upwards of £1000-£2000 per month.

However, you can also choose to go on courses or learn from a consultant like myself and save a lot more in the long term by doing a lot of it in house.

What should I look out for?

I personally believe in being honest and open – so somewhere showing their pricing is always a good indication that you won’t get ripped off. Although I know it can be a tricky one to price as content marketing work can vary depending on the competitiveness of your industry.

Look for an agency with a good blog, which posts useful stuff regularly and one that has decent reviews.

If they’re only charging a few hundred per month for a full service – it’s likely not content marketing – or it won’t get you anywhere fast.

Simply put, there’s so much work to put in from writing, to editing for search engines, to content promotion, website optimisation/alterations and PR work for the business in general – a few hundred wouldn’t cover the cost of anyone good at what they do.

Although it can be one of the most expensive types of digital marketing – you get out what you put in, and I’d advise everyone to do it.

Even if it’s a bit of DIY, some content done well is better than none!

Affiliate Marketing

affiliate marketing together
Marketing’s easier with more people on your side

Affiliate marketing is where you site back and relax – and let someone else do the marketing for you. The only catch is, if they bring in a sale – you share the profits.

The great thing is, unlike the other types of digital marketing – there’s no cost upfront.

What is it?

Affiliate marketing is where you recruit ‘affiliates’ for your business, and they draw in leads. Affiliates are like sales people that you pay on commission. The ‘commission’ is determined entirely by you; some organisations offer a percentage of the sale made, others offer a flat rate per product.

You can even outsource setting up the system to places like ‘shareasale’.

Who’s it for?

I’ve mainly seen it used for B2C, e-commerce businesses, simply because you have to be able to track the direct sales and where it comes from for it to work well. Any website with a direct sale made online could work though.

How much is it?

That’s the awesome thing – it doesn’t have to cost you a penny!

Be wary though; it does mean giving control of your brand over to strangers. It’s usually only a good thing, but might depend on your product. You want to avoid the system being abused. Make sure you set out clear terms and conditions before you dive in.

What should I look out for?

Make sure you set the boundaries of what is and isn’t allowed; what happens when there’s a return made? How often will the affiliate be paid? Are there certain words or website’s you don’t wish your brand to be connected with?

Obviously you want to make the deal worth an affiliate’s time to get involved – but you don’t want to be taken advantage of either.

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is amazing – if you can get some content of yours to go viral, it could turn your business into an overnight success.

To make your next marketing campaign can take a combination of a number of the other types of digital marketing – such as content marketing, PR and social media marketing – but it can also lead to some amazing results for your business.

Check out the dollar shave club – they went from nothing to 12,000 orders in two days with this video:

What is it?

Viral marketing is when you do something either incredibly weird, hilarious or “on trend” in a current popular topic, which gets you noticed and shared – a lot. It usually causes a big spike in traffic to your website over a short period of time.

Who’s it for?

Viral marketing can help any business out there – however – I’ve mainly seen big wins with B2C businesses. Mainly because consumer goods going to reach a much bigger audience than a business service…like insurance. Not impossible, just harder.

However I’ve even used some forms of viral marketing with success myself – not resulting in millions of views, but if you reach a few hundred of the right kind of customer it can mean big things for your bottom line.

How much is it?

Some companies offer viral marketing services – I’d argue I’d use these same methods in a content marketing service.

If you’re looking for something as big as the dollar shave club – it cost them about $4,500. However, you’ll have to take the time to think of a good idea, something completely new – and hopefully hilarious.

Remember to work on promoting your video after too – because it could be the best video in the world, but if only your mum sees it – not many customers are going to sign up.

What should I look out for?

Be wary of any companies offering guarantees – like I say, even if you had the best video, it doesn’t mean it’s going to get noticed by the right people. If you’re looking to work with a video company – come to them with an idea of how you want it to come across – bring along videos you like.

Of all the types of digital marketing, this one can be the riskiest – but it can also have one of the biggest payoffs.

And check out their portfolio first; sometimes film-makers have a certain style, and if it doesn’t fit with what you have in mind – probably go somewhere else.

Influencer Marketing

instagram influencer marketing digital marketing type

Influencer marketing is relatively new – but it’s a very exciting type of digital marketing.

It’s vastly different from the other types of digital marketing, but can be equally as effective.

What is it?

Influencer marketing is where you drive sales by striking a deal with someone who already has a following and “influences” your target market. It’s a bit like how Pepsi might sponsor Britney Spears as it’s spokes person. If your target market was other entrepreneurs for example, you might try to get Richard Branson on board to help market your business.

But these days, with social media, it goes even further than that. You can strike a good deal with a popular instagrammer and get her to wear your brand of clothes in a couple of photos – and spend a few hundred pounds in order to reach millions of your target market.

Who’s it for?

Mainly B2C eCommerce business owners, but not solely. For example, I could attempt to get an influencer in my industry to tweet about me – and this would also count as influencer marketing and be great exposure.

How much is it?

Depends entirely on your industry, the influencer and what you’re looking for. Sometimes you can offer a product for free in return for a blog article about it. Other times you need to pay people to wear your products – reach out to people and be friendly – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

What should I look out for?

Look out for dodgy looking social accounts – check out their followers to see if they’re legitimate people and not spam. And if a blogger is claiming a certain percentage of traffic per month, ensure you get them to verify it by sending you their google analytics stats.

Digital/Online/Website Marketing

types of digital marketing online

Digital, online, website marketing – these are all the same things. And they cover any of the above. It’s an ‘umbrella’ term. So I would make sure you figure out which of the services you really want in the above list before going to an agency that does this, so you know exactly which types of digital marketing you should ask for.

What is it?

It’s an umbrella term for all of the above; it doesn’t usually include PR but often includes a mishmash of any of the above.

Who’s it for?

Everyone who wants to be successful online – whatever you do – don’t just invest in a website and let it sit!

How much is it?

Depends entirely on how much you do yourself and which services you’d like to use. See different costs for above services.

What should I look out for?

Check out which types of digital marketing agencies have on offer and that they offer the ones you’re looking for. Doing it all doesn’t mean they do it well though; get in touch with past clients and ask the agency as many questions as you need to feel comfortable. Sometimes it’s better to go to a few different specialists instead of an all in one.

Obviously, don’t expect them to giveaway all their knowledge for free; but asking how they do things and what kind of tactics they use is completely legitimate. The last thing you want is to get blacklisted by Google or ruin your customer fan base by using the wrong digital marketing agency.

Summary of the 9 types of digital marketing

Here’s a quick summary of the main goals of each of the 9 different types of digital marketing, in case you’re still not sure which is right for you:

SEO: Increase traffic from search engines

PPC:  Increase traffic from search engines

PR: Increase exposure for business

Social Media Marketing: Build customer relationships

Content Marketing: Increase traffic from search engines, exposure, sales & leads

Affiliate Marketing: Increase sales & leads

Viral Marketing: Increase exposure – short term

Influencer Marketing: Increase exposure – targetted

Online/Website Marketing: Coverall term; could include any of the above methods/goals

 

I hope you found this guide useful, and hopefully you’re now armed with lot’s of questions for your digital marketer! You might even now know more than your digital marketer about all the different types of digital marketing.

If you’d like to find out more, just leave me any questions you have below in the comments or contact me with any questions you might have – I’d be happy to help.

And if you loved this article about the 9 different types of digital marketing and want to find out more about how to do content marketing yourself – sign up to our weekly email list here. Happy to say – we never spam. We’re big spam haters. Apart from the food. We love food.


  • abhijeet

    type of keywords

  • Very interesting article Awesome information

  • Emmanuel Olukanmi

    Great list and nice break down but I noticed email-marketing is not on the list

    • Amy

      Thanks Emmanuel! Gosh you are right – maybe I’ll need to do an updated list soon! 🙂

  • Karan Singh

    thanks for sharing some interesting article’s thanks a lot it’ll help those people who are interested in digital marketing like me .

    • Amy

      Thanks Karan! No problem, happy to help! Let me know if you’d love to read up on anything in particular in the future – I’m always scouting for ideas 🙂

  • John Alert

    Why do you miss the email marketing please?

  • lokesh Kumar

    Thxx for letting us know about types of digital marketing.. this is really awesome . This article is very efficientive

  • Nicely written article amy. In your next update you can think of including mobile marketing too. By the way there is a small typo if you want i can point it. It is here (Affiliate marketing is where you site back and relax)

  • StephniPeterson

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    Thanks for sharing this informative blog.

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