Top 10 Types of Digital Marketing to Promote a Business Online

digital marketing

As people spend more and more time in front of screens, digital marketing has become the most important tool to reach customers in an effective way. Digital marketing targets users of all kinds of electronic devices from desktop computers to smartphones. To successfully promote a business online and engage an audience, you need to make use of various types of digital marketing.


These days, merely having a website is not enough anymore if you want to get qualified leads. You also need to be visible on as many types of digital marketing platforms as possible, from search engines to social media sites and smartphones. To build a successful online business and stand out from the crowd, you need a complex digital strategy based on a thorough market study, in-depth business analysis, and constant feedback.


Top 10 Types of Digital Marketing

Ideally, you should use a mix of different types of digital marketing in order to reach your audience through various channels. In this article, we have collected the most frequent types of digital marketing of our times that can help you achieve the highest success rate. They are as follows:


  1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  2. Search engine marketing (SEM)
  3. Social media marketing (SMM)
  4. Content marketing
  5. Email marketing
  6. Online advertising
  7. Landing page marketing
  8. Smartphone marketing
  9. Affiliate marketing
  10. Viral marketing


1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is probably the first thing that comes to mind when people think about different types of digital marketing. Online businesses basically live at the mercy of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. If you are doing SEO right you can attract significant organic traffic to a website. The goal of SEO is to optimize content in a way that makes it appear among the first results on a search engine results page (SERP).


There are several methods you can use to rank high on a SERP, such as building a mix of inbound and outbound links or optimizing the content for specific keywords. Probably the hardest thing about SEO is to constantly follow the changes of search engine algorithms and update your strategy and methods accordingly. SEO is essential for any website, as these days every business optimizes their content for search engines. Therefore without SEO, it’s basically impossible to stay competitive in a market.

RELATED: [FULL ANALYSIS] How GDPR Impacts the SEO and Digital Marketing Industries

2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEO is not the only way to increase incoming traffic from search engines. Search engine marketing (SEM) makes it possible to advertise a product in search engines and make it appear among paid search results. Search engines usually display paid results above organic results on SERPs. They almost look the same as organic results with only small differences in appearance, for instance, Google shows a small “Ad” label next to the related URL. On the screenshot below, you can see the paid search results for the “web hosting” search query:

google search results

The most frequently used paid search services are Google AdWords and Bing Ads. They allow you to buy ad space based on target keywords, location, viewer demographics, and other data. Actually, search engine marketing is a pretty effective method, as search engines only show your ad to the audience you want to target. In most cases, you need to pay for SEM results according to the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model, meaning you are only charged when someone clicks your ad.

3. Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Without a doubt, social media is the queen of 21st-century digital content. Therefore, it’s also one of the most important types of digital marketing you need to focus onespecially if you want to promote a B2C business. Social media is not simply a marketing channel but also a way for people to keep in touch with their friends and family, get the latest news, or follow topics they are interested in. There are a plethora of social media platforms you can choose from, such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and many others. You need to find the ones that are relevant to the niche you target and promote the business there.


Sharing quality content on social media sites is an excellent way to engage viewers and position a brand as an authority in a specific niche. It’s also important to place social sharing buttons below each blog post and content page so that visitors can share it across their network. In addition, every social media platform offers different solutions for organic and paid advertising. Paid Twitter and Facebook ads, hashtag campaigns, and influencer marketing are among the most popular methods of social media marketing.

social media marketing

4. Content Marketing

Content marketing is another type of digital marketing you can use to promote a business online. In fact, content marketing is an indirect way of marketing, as you publish content that the audience finds naturally while browsing the web. The main goal of content marketing is to make viewers interact with the content by reading, sharing, and commenting on it. You can use it together with other types of digital marketing such as SEO or SEM as well. For instance, you can build the content around targeted keywords in order to achieve an optimal result.


High-quality content also allows you to persuade an audience about the expertise of a business in a certain niche. Gaining the trust of customers is one of the most important long-term goals of digital marketing. You can publish shareable content either in the form of blog posts, white papers, reports, or webinars or by guest blogging in popular publications in the same niche.  

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a different kind of engagement, as you connect with customers within their own mailboxes. Although email marketing is one of the oldest types of digital marketing, it’s still very successful. It’s an excellent way to increase brand loyalty and upsell to existing customers. According to the Radicati market research group’s latest email statistics report (2017-2021), the number of emails sent and received per day by businesses is still growing, at an average rate of 4.4%.


There are many different ways you can reach out to customers through email marketing. Besides creating newsletter campaigns, you can send them confirmation emails, thank-you emails, and email notifications about product updates. If you promote a local business, event invitations are also an excellent way to engage the local audience. These days there are many awesome tools you can use to run professional email campaigns, from marketing automation platforms such as MailChimp to newsletter plugins for popular content management platforms like WordPress.

email icon

6. Online Advertising

Digital marketers have been using online advertising since the first days of the web. Displaying banners or ads on other websites belonging to the same niche is the most common form of online advertising. You can use online platforms such as Google AdSense that allows you to automatically serve ads on other content sites. Ad networks usually let you configure the parameters of the sites your ads appear on based on keyword, location, audience demographics, and other data.


Bigger online magazines frequently have their own advertising departments as well. Therefore, it can also be a good solution to contact them and buy an ad space on their website. Some niche magazines, such as A List Apart web design magazine, also have sponsorship programs that allow you to feature a brand, logo, and other visuals on their platform for a certain period of time (usually a week).

7. Landing Page Marketing

Targeted landing pages can work excellently with other types of digital marketing and increase conversion rates significantly. In the broader sense, a landing page is any web page on which visitors first land when they arrive at a website. In this sense, homepages frequently function as landing pages as well. However, many brands create specific landing pages for their marketing campaigns, too.


Digital marketers link landing pages to ads displayed as banners on other websites or appearing on search engine result pages. Thus, when users click an ad they are directed right to the landing page designed for the specific marketing campaign. There are several tricks you can use to create a converting landing page such as eye-catching headlines, a clean and mobile-friendly design, and highly visible call-to-action buttons. Below, you can see the landing page of the Slack messaging app on which you can see all the necessary elements of a well-performing landing page:

slack homepage

8. Smartphone Marketing

People use their smartphones all the time, therefore these days smartphone marketing is also among the most important types of digital marketing. This is especially true if your target audience is the younger generation. In fact, you have many options to reach your prospects through their smartphones. According to the recent report of the Esendex business communication provider, text messages have had a 94 percent global average open rate in 2018. As a result, smartphone marketing is an incredible opportunity to promote a business online.


Besides sending text messages to subscribers, you can further engage an audience by providing them with free mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. Your app can also perform specific actions that increase visibility. For instance, it can send users real-time push notifications that appear on their smartphones when new content is available on the website. Popular messaging platforms such as Messenger and Telegram also allow you to create marketing bots with which you can acquire new customers in a human-centered way.

9. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing makes it possible to reduce your marketing workload by outsourcing it to external service providers. With affiliate marketing, you only pay for conversions, after your affiliate closed a deal and the customer purchased the product. Affiliate marketers do all the related marketing activities from banner placements to landing pages. Probably the best thing about affiliate marketing is that it has no upfront cost and you can decide on the terms and rates you pay to the affiliates.


Probably the most notable online affiliate program is Amazon Associates that lets anyone promote Amazon’s products and earn a commission after closed deals. Smaller businesses can also make use of affiliate programsit’s an especially popular type of digital marketing in the tech sector. However, you should only start an affiliate program if you have the means to properly monitor and educate the affiliates.

homepage of Amazon associates

10. Viral Marketing

Viral marketing makes use of all types of digital marketing mentioned in this article. The essence of viral marketing is to create a post, video, meme, or another short-form content type that spreads across the web like a virus. To make a successful viral marketing campaign, you need to promote the same content across multiple channels such as Twitter, Youtube,  blog posts, newsletters over a short period of time.


Wrapping Up

To reach the best business results, you need to decide which types of digital marketing you want to use. There are some types you should use anyway such as search engine optimization and social media marketing, while others depend on the industry. When you plan the types of digital marketing you will use don’t only think about software but also hardware. If the target audience uses a certain type of device you need a presence on that kind of device as well. Also gather as much feedback from existing customers as you can, as there’s no better way to build trust and engage them on a personal level.


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