9 Types of Digital Marketing to Ru(i)n Your Business

As a newcomer to Digital Marketing I was taken aback by the jargon that was thrown at me. I had to do some reading and now present 9 types of digital marketing as a Glossary of Terms. Each one of them has the potential to disrupt business in a significant way.

Content Marketing

Content nowadays focuses more on the user experience and less on product features. This has popularized new forms of content like blog articles, videos, how to guides, cheat sheets, user stories etc.

Content marketers play a key role in delivering the content that they create. So, they must understand the online behavior of their target audience and optimize their content accordingly.

Content Marketing is a process driven by the stage in the customer’s journey. Content for generating leads will be different from what is used to nurture a prospect or retain an existing customer.

Digital Marketing

Also known as Online Marketing or Internet Marketing. Digital Marketing is an umbrella term for online marketing tactics that businesses use to connect with their customers.

A web banner used in Digital Marketing is a substitute for printed advertisement in traditional marketing, but other tactics like Social Media Marketing have their origin in new technology.

Digital Marketing remains a popular growth hacking strategy, but established businesses now adopt Digital Marketing when realizing that their customers increasingly buy online.

Email Marketing

In a world of information overload, unsolicited emails are considered spam and ineffective for gaining new business. Still, email allows businesses to connect with their customers in a direct and personal way. This dilemma sets the stage for Email Marketing.

Email marketing sends emails through orchestrated campaigns that leverage psychology, artificial intelligence, and automation. One of its key principles is that recipients opt in by providing their name and email address and can unsubscribe at any time.

Measuring bounce, open and click through rates have been standard practices in Email Marketing. However, to determine ROI one needs to measure the sales conversion rate. This can be rather tricky due to the noise of other factors that influence buying decisions.

Inbound Marketing

This is an umbrella term for Search Engine Optimization, Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing. Its ultimate purpose is to draw attention to a company’s brand, products and services. This is commonly achieved by driving traffic to the company website.

Influencer Marketing

Some argue that this is different from Affiliate Marketing, but the purpose remains the same. That is, use other people (influencers) to sell your products or services, in exchange for a benefit or reward.

Influencer Marketing can have a positive impact on business growth, when business succeed in tapping into the authority, credibility and following of the influencer. Influencer Marketing is a real hype, but it carries risks and could alienate customers from your brand.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automaton uses software and technology to automate repetitive tasks, streamline workflows, and measure performance. It supports other marketing activities (e.g. Email marketing) and cuts across from lead generation and conversion to performance review.

Marketing automation solutions vary from integrated platforms to focused apps. Common features are email marketing, campaign management, forms and landing pages, and lead scoring, but solutions tend to be somewhat unique.

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) commonly refers to paid search in contrast to organic search (SEO). SEM is also referred to as Paid Advertising, which includes Pay Per Click (PPC) and other types of online advertisement (e.g. banner ads).

Marketers have an ongoing debate on terms like SEM, Paid Advertising and PPC, which is indicative of their importance. Whatever terms prevail, they all help to make your brand and content stand out from the crowd.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) seeks to increase the position of your website in organic search rankings. SEO considers a range of on-page factors (e.g. keywords) and off-page factors (e.g. backlinks). These factors are matched to the ever-changing algorithms of online search engines like Google.

SEO software and tools can assist in this intricate task, but the actual work is still done by people. So, online businesses require a good understanding of SEO, particularly when they want to connect with new customers via online search engines.

Social Media Marketing

Social media networks like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn have millions of users worldwide. Social Media Marketing (SMM) helps businesses to engage with their target audience amongst these millions with conversations and compelling content.

SMM has helped businesses with their brand visibility, customer service and content promotion, but it demands considerable skill, time, and effort. SMM is therefore a good candidate for outsourcing to a specialized agency.


I can’t claim to be a digital marketing expert, so updates, revisions, additions, and new perspectives on the above are most welcome. Best leave a comment or try contacting me by other means.

About Author:

Willy Simons came to Kenya from The Netherlands in 1994. He is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Oakar Services, Esri Eastern Africa and Spatiality. He blogs about business, geospatial technology and cloud computing.