Digital marketing has exploded in popularity over the past decade, and it shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. To bring you up to speed on this increasingly important topic, we will define what digital marketing is, how it differs from Internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), the benefits it can provide, plus the top tools that can help you bring it to life.
We have a great guide that discusses the difference between Internet marketing and SEO if you want to learn more.
What is Digital Marketing?
Although its definition varies, digital marketing boils down to this: The use of all digital channels to promote products and services, such as:
- Affiliate marketing
- Banner ads
- Content marketing (Read: Content Marketing Tips)
- Email marketing (Learn more about Email Marketing)
- Mobile marketing
- Paid search advertising (Read our guide: What is Paid Search?)
- Paid social advertising
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media marketing (SMM) (Check out our tutorial: Social Media Optimization Tips)
- Video marketing (View our YouTube SEO guide)
As you can see, most digital channels deal with the Internet and could give your business a proper online presence. But digital marketing goes beyond the Internet, as it also includes offline channels such as:
- Billboards (both indoor and outdoor)
- SMS texts
If you want to simplify digital marketing’s definition even more, you could say that it is the method of marketing via an electronic device or the Internet.
What is the Difference Between Digital Marketing and Internet Marketing?
While you may sometimes hear digital marketing and Internet marketing (even online marketing) used interchangeably, they are not precisely the same. Why? Because digital marketing employs both online (Internet) and offline (TV, billboards, radio, etc.) methods.
Internet marketing, meanwhile, needs Internet connectivity to function so it can transmit a message and connect with leads. In short, you could say that Internet marketing is a type of digital marketing, but not vice versa.
What is the Difference Between Digital Marketing and SEO?
As with Internet marketing, SEO (search engine optimization) is a type of digital marketing. It involves using tactics to boost your website’s ranking so that it sits near the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The fact that SEO falls under the digital marketing umbrella is just one difference between the two. Another is the cost. SEO is considered more of a free strategy for building a brand since it uses time and effort to attract higher rankings. Digital marketing is seen as more of a costly strategy to expand a business since it employs paid advertising, whether online via paid search or offline via radio spots, billboards, and the like. While this is primarily true, it should be known that SEO’s time commitment and the possible need to hire experts to handle the work make it anything but free.
SEO can play a huge role in any digital marketing campaign. The better your SEO efforts, the more successful your digital marketing campaign can be since you can appear higher in the SERPs, drive more traffic and eyeballs to your site and content, and increase your conversions and sales.
SEO is an extensive topic that can take a lot of time to master. To give you a brief overview of what it involves, here are some SEO practices that are used to boost site rankings:
- Using keywords naturally throughout your site and content.
- Proper usage of title tags and meta descriptions.
- Publishing unique, compelling content that your audience desires.
- Ensuring content is up to date and fresh.
- Eliminating duplicate content.
- Making your site user-friendly via intuitive navigation, optimized page speeds, etc.
- Adding descriptive file names and alt text to images.
- Using internal and external linking.
To learn more about search engine optimization and SEO strategies, we recommend reading the following, in-depth SEO guides:
- What is On-page SEO?
- What is Off-page SEO?
- What is Technical SEO?
- Link Building Strategies for SEO
- Search Engine Optimization Tips for Bing
- What is Paid Search?
What are the Benefits of Digital Marketing?
Many companies are making the shift towards digital marketing and away from traditional marketing since the former can provide all of these benefits:
- Improved local and global reach thanks to targeted ads and the power of the Internet.
- Easy to get started, regardless of a lack of experience or a limited budget.
- Lower costs if you choose digital marketing strategies like building a website, SEO, or social media, versus TV, radio, etc.
- Several marketing options let you pick the right strategies and content types for your needs, budget, and time.
- The ability to reach highly-targeted audiences looking for your specific products or services via social media advertising, PPC, and more.
- Excellent engagement (especially through social media) lets you connect with users to figure out what they want and how to deliver it to build a loyal following.
- You can track your results via web analytics, see what works and what does not, and optimize it to improve your future marketing efforts.
Digital Marketing Tools
Now that you see the many benefits digital marketing can provide, here is a list of tools that can help you make the most of this method for reaching and converting customers.
SendGrid makes it easy to connect with your prospects and customers via email. If you are new to email marketing, you can make use of SendGrid’s free plan and user-friendly drag-and-drop editing to get your feet wet.
Moosend is another excellent digital marketing tool for those looking to connect via email. It is user-friendly, affordable, and beginner-friendly, thanks to its automations, detailed reporting, and email campaigns that you can launch without having to code a thing.
Loomly is a digital marketing tool ideal for small teams looking to boost their social media presence. Use it to manage your posts, find new content ideas to snag followers, collaborate with your team, so everyone stays on the same page, and more.
When it comes to social media management platforms, Sprout Social is near the top of the list since it lets you organize all of your content and assets in one place. This makes scheduling and publishing content across different platforms a cinch, so you do not miss anything. And while Sprout Social is great for managing multiple social media profiles, it also has extensive analytics to help you see what works and what should be avoided to ensure no post goes to waste.
Dipping into the SEO region of digital marketing, we come across Semrush, a popular SEO tool great for keyword research, position tracking, and spying on your competitors to surge up the SERPs without time-consuming trial and error.
Read our review of Semrush: Semrush SEO Tool Review
You can ensure your current content is SEO-friendly and keep up with your competitors via Ahrefs. It also works wonders for creating new, captivating content your audience is seeking, plus performing site audits to check that you are not lacking in any areas of your on-page, off-page, or technical SEO strategies.
Read our review of Ahrefs: Ahrefs SEO Software Review
If you use paid search to boost your digital marketing efforts, you will need landing pages where you can drive traffic. Unbounce is a digital marketing tool that helps you build, tweak, and publish winning landing pages that convert.
Driving traffic to your site is just part of the digital marketing equation. To get visitors to convert, they have to stay, which is what OptiMonk helps you do via customized popups that grab attention.
Infographics are a great way to convey information and grab customers’ attention. Venngage makes it easy to create infographics to be shared on your page, via social media, etc.