What Is Digital Marketing?

If you own or run a business in today’s world, you probably understand that marketing your brand is essential to a successful business. What might not be as obvious at first glance is that digital marketing is much more complex than simply posting a few pictures on social media or having a webpage.

While there is a lot of nuance to digital marketing, it can be narrowed down to eight main types:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC)
  • Content Marketing
  • Marketing Analytics

There are many ways to categorize digital marketing, so different companies and educational institutions might say that there are 4 or 9 or some other number, but these 8 make up what is most commonly agreed to be the core types of digital marketing.

Why does it matter that you know all of these types? Simple. Effective digital marketing has to use not just 1 or 2 of these tools, but should instead use as many of them as possible. Which ones exactly depends on what is the best fit for your brand and how your audience interacts with the different types of digital media.

Today we will be taking a brief look at each of these digital marketing tools to hopefully give you a better understanding of what they are and why they are effective.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has long been one of the most important digital marketing tools for businesses of all types. Though it has changed over the years as search engines have become more nuanced and technological integration has changed, the basic element of SEO has stayed the same.

Put simply, SEO is the creation of digital footprints online that make your content more likely to show up on search engines such as Google and Yahoo!.

In the past, this was done by including keywords (and later hashtags) to your website or other content in order to make sure that web crawlers would find your content while browsing the Internet. That has changed significantly.

In today’s Internet, having effective SEO means ensuring regularly updated content, back-end website development to ensure searches can locate meta-signatures of content on a website, and phrasing that is relevant not only to your industry, but to the way people search the web.

More and more, people search the Internet by using voice commands or simply typing in a question they would like an answer to, and having effective content that answers peoples’ questions is key to a successful SEO presence online. But again, it’s important to have your Internet presence indexed and sorted properly on the back end as well so that your website can be found by customers when they need it.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is as old as the Internet itself, and is still very effective. Having customers sign up for email lists to receive updates, discounts, and so on gives you direct access to their inboxes, which means more chances for you to close new sales and even find new customers!

Writing an effective email marketing campaign is important, however, because if your emails are perceived as SPAM, you can lose the prospective leads from them.

Effective email marketing tends to have a few things in common, including creating a sense of urgency, being personalized, and giving customers control over their email preferences.

Letting customers know that you have a sale going on, and that it ends this Sunday is a good example of effective marketing. It has a set time frame, and customers will start to notice that your offers have that expiration date.

Simply including a person’s name and having locally or personally interesting content for them is another effective use of email marketing, and this can be matched with your CRM or other software you use internally for maximum effectiveness. This also includes allowing them to click a link and change what they get in their emails. If they feel like what they are receiving is relevant, you’re more likely to close a sale.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is kind of a blanket term for some of the other tools on this list, but the important thing to remember with this is that having your content be easily accessible on mobile devices is extremely important in today’s world. People were already using their smartphones extensively before COVID-19, and since then it has only become more extensive.

Besides social media presence (discussed later), it is important to have mobile localization of your website for easy browsing on phones or tablets as well as active responses to text and other direct marketing tools so that customers feel like they are communicating with a person rather than a robot.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is relatively new to the scene compared to other elements of digital marketing, but it is still important to keep in mind when looking at your marketing plan. This entails partnering with content creators and others with an online presence to promote your product or service.

If you spend any amount of time on social media, you will regularly see posts from creators you know promoting a product or company in what seem to be organic videos. These kinds of marketing tools help bridge the gap between your company and people who might not even know they are interested in your product.

In order to use this effectively, you will want to make sure you have several of the other methods of digital marketing strongly in place first. Customers will need an effective landing page to visit, resources to learn more, and people who can answer their questions, emails, and calls.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is exactly what it sounds like – but it’s more than just posting random content online. Instagram and Facebook have become two of the most significant purchasing platforms for purchases in the past two years, and that means your business is going to face a lot of competition.

As with most marketing, you will want to be consistent, express your brand’s value to the customer, and engage people in human ways to really get your point across. It’s also important to make sure you’re not just selling products with every post. Instead, make sure to let people see who you are and what you do as a business! Building connections will lead to more sales.

Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC)

Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC) is one of the easiest ways to get your brand out there and drive traffic to your other online content. By paying either a small fee for promotional boosting on search engines or social media platforms, or paying per click (hence the name) when people click on your ad, you can increase traffic with less up-front cost.

PPC is extremely effective so long as your SEO and other elements of your marketing are optimized as well. This is because generally promoted content shows up for people who search something that your website or social media can help them with.

People are already actively looking for either solutions to a problem or a product that they want or need, and PPC gives you the chance to be among the first they see when they look.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a bit more convoluted than most of the other tools in digital marketing because it relies heavily upon getting customers to your content somehow first. That means having effective SEO, good social media, and very likely an easy-to-use mobile web platform.

Content marketing is more of an investment in building a lifelong brand identity as well, rather than an attempt to make short-term sales. The goal is to bring quality content to your potential customers that makes your website a resource available to them all the time, even when they are not actively buying.

The end result is that customers get to know your brand, your online presence becomes a place people can look to for solutions, and your blogs, YouTube channel, and other content create a welcoming environment that brings growth and builds relationships between consumers and your brand.

Marketing Analytics

Perhaps the most frequently unknown element of digital marketing is marketing analytics. The greatest benefit of digital marketing is that nearly every element of it is trackable. From click-throughs and website visits to email opens and social media likes and shares, everything is quantifiable.

This has many benefits for a business, but it also requires that you have someone who understands the numbers to make sure you are keeping up with the latest trends and shifts in not only your industry, but digital marketing as a whole.

Knowing how to spot drops and increases as early as possible to maximize investment of resources is key to effectively using marketing analytics, as is maintaining a consistent presence that allows you to easily see the Return On Investment (ROI) of your money spent on your marketing efforts.


Although these are just brief overviews of digital marketing tools, it is important to familiarize yourself with at least the basics so that you can oversee your marketing.

If you find all of this a bit overwhelming, don’t worry! There are specialists you can bring in to help you with your digital marketing. If you are interested in learning more about how to do that, you can schedule a consultation with PixelPop Marketing to find out how you can boost your revenue through digital marketing.