Digital marketing is all around us. From our email boxes filled with special offers from our favorite brands to text messages reminding us to order pizza from a specific store to brand marketing popping up on our most-viewed Instagram accounts, companies are always on the hunt for the latest and greatest way to draw attention to their brand using digital media.
In this edition of Surge Web Design's blog, we'll discuss some of the most common types of online marketing and their advantages and disadvantages. Not every tool will work for every business, so it's worth discussing what makes a digital marketing strategy viable and valuable.
Common Digital Marketing Techniques
Pay-Per-Click Banners and Inserts (PPC)
Perhaps one of the older digital marketing techniques we'll discuss here, pay-per-click advertising involves inserting some sort of clickable media (usually a banner at the top or side of an existing web page, or sometimes inserted into the middle of a page or article) with a rate of pay attached for every click achieved. The intention is to drive clicks directly to your business' website.
Cons: However, with low risk often comes the potential for low rewards. I think we've all had the experience of trying to read an article on our favorite news source and ended up not finishing the article because we were bombarded with this kind of PPC marketing. For successful PPC ads, it is important to be conscientious about where you're placing your ads and the quality of the banner/insert so that you don't become one of the dozens of ads on a single page. It requires a certain investment of time to achieve that, but if you have the time to research and manage those things, you can get a reasonably effective ad at a very reasonable rate.
Direct Digital Marketing
Direct Digital Marketing encompasses a few significant subtypes of online advertising. Email marketing and mobile marketing are the two primary types and the ones we'll discuss here.
Pros: With email and mobile marketing (mobile advertising encompassing texts or push notifications for those who have your brand's app), the biggest advantage is that you already know your audience. You've gathered emails and phone numbers from some other brand-related source and are contacting those individuals directly. When you already know that the people you're contacting use your product or services, your odds of another successful conversion are higher.
Cons: The cons for this type of advertising can be somewhat similar to pay-per-click ads as discussed above. It is easy to get lost in the sheer volume of these types of ads that an individual receives on any given day. Some people have become more wary or cynical about giving email addresses and phone numbers for this reason, and may even give false emails or phone numbers just to dodge this type of contact. The fact remains, however, that many people rely on coupons and information in direct digital marketing to get them deals on their favorite products and services. There's a reason companies shell out for the digital storage of this information in order to keep reaching their most loyal customer base. (Add "cost of data storage" as a con for smaller businesses, though.)
Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Affiliate (Influencer) Marketing
Advertising through social media can take a few forms. Everything from paid ads directly through Facebook to having someone manage a business-specific social media page to arranging collaborations with experts or influencers in your industry can all count as Social Media Marketing. What these ads entail continually shifts as our use of social media channels evolves.
Pros: As of 2021, approximately 7 in 10 Americans report social media use on any social media venue (Source). By taking advantage of Social Media Marketing, you've got a significant, committed audience. Because so many Americans use social media, it's also likely that, when they go looking for information, they'll use social media as at least one source; that makes it pretty advantageous to at least have your basic business information available on social media platforms. When you pay for targeted social media ads, it's also possible to target those ads fairly well–meaning you're reaching a very specific demographic that is more likely to follow through with a call to action to your products or services. With wise choices in Affiliate Marketing (e.g. Influencer Marketing), you can also take advantage of the prestige that some industry experts have garnered by having your product associated with them.
Cons: Just as having your brand associated with a positive influencer in your industry can be an advantage, if you collaborate with the wrong influencers, you can also do significant damage to your brand. That means there has to be an investment of time and resources to investigate your potential affiliates to make sure you're developing a smart partnership. Somewhat related, but also an issue by itself, social media can be fickle. Staying updated with trends and platforms and demographics can be a full-time job on its own. If you are a smaller business, you could potentially see a big break by using Affiliate Marketing, or you could see your fledgling brand drift away in a cycle of "likes" and "dislikes".
At Surge Web Design, we specialize in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)--another form of digital marketing. We've discussed this topic at length in some of our other blogs, including "7 Benefits of SEO Marketing (Search Engine Optimization)". Especially when it comes to small- or medium-sized businesses, we've found that designing a high-quality website that targets search engine traffic creates powerful, long-term advantages for your business with very little downside.
We have a team of qualified web designers and content writers who can help you create a website that represents your brand, drives traffic to your business, and is a useful resource to current and potential customers. We are based in Boise, Idaho, but contract with businesses throughout the United States.