A Quick Guide to 5 Types of Digital Marketing

by | Jun 16, 2020 | Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing

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When it comes to digital marketing, there’s a lot of confusion. Is inbound marketing also digital marketing? Is content marketing digital marketing? What about outbound marketing? 

There are so many different types of digital marketing, and the differences between digital marketing and inbound marketing and every other type of marketing you can do from your computer aren’t always clear. 

Let’s get that straight right now too. 

If you’re totally new to the industry, you might want to check out this inbound marketing vocab list to bring you up to speed. 

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5 Types of Digital Marketing

Think of digital marketing as a huge umbrella. 

It encompasses every marketing strategy you can implement on a digital platform. If you can do it, or see it on a smartphone, tablet, computer, or Elon Musk’s spaceship, it’s digital marketing. 

Inbound marketing is a methodology, a specific way of marketing, that draws people into your company. 

The goal is to draw people to your website or platform with great content and positive, helpful interactions. In an age where consumers value agency, inbound marketing allows the consumer to navigate to the information, decide what information they’ll read or download, and then make a decision based on what best suits their needs

If you offer the best content, the most information, and have quality, positive interactions, you’re the company most likely to come out on top.  

Inbound marketing, though, is just one type of digital marketing. Here’s a look at all 5 types of digital marketing we’re going to talk about today:

01. Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is primarily used in a digital capacity, where your website functions as the central hub to which all traffic is drawn. 

Most inbound marketing tactics are relatively inexpensive and rely on organic results, rather than paid ones. Inbound marketing and digital marketing serve different goals, but can work together beautifully to deliver the results you’re looking for. 

02. Content Marketing

Content Marketing is a marketing tactic that supports an inbound marketing strategy. Used most often on digital platforms in the form of blogs and content offers, content marketing works to draw in qualified potential clients by offering up high-quality content that answers people’s most pressing questions about your product or service. 

03. Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing is a marketing method that uses your social media platform to provide quality content to your followers. Social media advertising is the paid version of social media marketing. 

04. Email Marketing

Email Marketing has been used since email came out. For many, it’s those spammy emails you get from Target and Art Van about their latest sales. Email marketing that’s done with inbound marketing methodology at heart helps nurture leads by providing the relevant content leads are looking for, when they need it. 

05. Outbound Marketing

Outbound Marketing is any type of marketing that shouts or advertises your product. (Don Draper, we’re looking at you.)

In the digital marketing world, outbound marketing means paid ads, social media advertising, and pay-per-click. 

While these methods are all still under the digital marketing umbrella (and very useful in specific situations), they don’t fall under inbound marketing because they push your product to people, rather than pulling them into your website naturally. 

As we’ve all learned, outbound marketing doesn’t have to be bad or annoying to consumers. Outbound marketing advantages actually do exist — outbound marketing can help you get more of the right people to your website, right now. It just costs a little bit of money. 

But it is good to remember that outbound marketing is separate from inbound marketing. 

While inbound and outbound marketing can and do work together seamlessly, they have opposite goals. Inbound marketing aims to pull people in, and outbound marketing works to push a message out. 

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How All 5 Types of Digital Marketing Can Work Together to Drive Leads

Now that we’ve got clear definitions of what each of those types of digital marketing are, and how they’re different, it’s important to know how they all fit together. 

And more importantly, how they can work together to drive leads. 

Let’s start with inbound marketing. 

Inbound Marketing Frames Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Inbound marketing is the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. It provides the guidance your digital marketing strategy needs by dictating how you market. The inbound methodology gives you the foundation you need to truly build a digital marketing strategy by forcing you to answer questions like: 

  • Who do you want to market to? Your ideal buyers, defined by buyer personas.
  • How do you want to market? By pulling leads in with great content.
  • Where do you want to market? On your website, which you’ve designed to be a lead generation tool.

Once you have the answers to these questions, you have a foundation to build the rest of your digital marketing strategy on. 

Content Marketing Delivers the Value You Need to Pull in Leads

With your inbound marketing framework in place, you can start to develop content that’s geared to your buyer personas. 

Content marketing strategy helps you deliver value to those leads, and when written or developed for keywords, it helps your website rank higher on search engines. 

The content you create works to: 

  • Help you rank for keywords
  • Increase your site traffic
  • Pull in more qualified leads
  • Nurture those leads through the buyer’s journey

The more aligned your content strategy is with your inbound marketing strategy, the more leads you’re going to pull in.

Social Media Marketing Amplifies Your Strategic Content

Once you’ve spent a ton of time developing content that you know will speak to your ideal buyer, you can amplify it with a social media marketing strategy

Your social media platforms enable you to share your message with your followers on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Houzz, Twitter — whatever social media platform you have the greatest foundation on. 

Social media marketing takes all that hard work you’ve done creating content, and broadcasts it to an even greater audience that you’ve already curated. Your followers on social media are people who already have an interest in your product or service. That means your content should be hyper-relevant to them. 

The better you’re able to promote your content on social media, the more qualified leads you’re going to pull into your website. 

Email Marketing Nurtures Leads for your Sales Team

Your content marketing and social media marketing efforts are driving a ton of people to your website. Thanks to your inbound marketing strategy, you’ve optimized your website with calls-to-action, landing pages, and forms that are capturing qualified leads’ contact information. 

Email marketing helps you take that contact information, and turn it in into something valuable — an email list. 

With that contact information, you can enter those leads into email marketing campaigns that are specific and relevant to their unique pain points. 

Maybe you have a regular newsletter. Maybe you’ve got unique email marketing campaigns set up and segmented to address each unique buyer persona. 

Either way, your email marketing strategy uses more of that great content you’ve been creating to keep building relationships with and nurturing those leads. By answering their questions and solving their pain point, you’re keeping those leads warm and in your sales funnel, until they’re ready to talk to your sales team. 

Outbound Marketing Pulls in Qualified Leads, Now

The only downside to inbound marketing, and the digital marketing tactics that support it, is that it can take a bit of time. 

Content has to be indexed by search engines before it can climb in rankings, and that can take time. 

Outbound marketing solves that lag by delivering the qualified leads you want to your site, right now. 

When done well, by identifying long-tail keywords with buyer intent, and by targeting your social media advertising audiences intuitively, outbound marketing is a great way to draw in only the right leads, right now

And it serves the secondary purpose of helping you build brand awareness. The more recognizable your brand, the more likely people are to follow your blog, sign up for your newsletter, and follow you on social media. 

And as your digital platform grows, you’ll only continue to pull in more and more of those qualified leads you want. 

Digital Marketing Delivers Leads

So there you have it. That’s how all 5 of those types of digital marketing can work together to deliver leads. 

When you implement a digital marketing strategy that’s founded on inbound, and supported by digital outbound marketing tactics, you develop a lead generation machine that’s always working to draw in qualified leads for your company. 

It’s a long, complex process to both understand and implement, but we can say from years of experience — it works. 

Not sure about digital marketing? Sounds great, but also like a lot of work? Yeah, we get it.

We’ve helped dozens of clients implement a digital marketing strategy from the ground up. We can help you too.

If you have questions about where to start with your digital or inbound marketing strategy, or if you think you’d like a bit of help getting started, let’s chat. A quick conversation can help you align your efforts in no time. 

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