Much like martial arts, there are many types of marketing.
Here, we’re going to focus on the 14 types of marketing online.
Because there are so many different forms, each requiring it’s own set of skills, it would only make sense to call them disciplines.
Some choose to master one discipline, others choose to study many. And just like with martial arts, there are many more who pretend they know when they really don’t.
The 14 types of marketing online.
1. Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving rankings of a website or web page in the unpaid “organic” search results.
The path of the SEO is to make webpages rank higher in the search engine results pages (aka serp) to increase visibility.
The higher a page ranks, the more visible it is, and therefore will receive more traffic.
At one point, Search Engine Optimization played by a fairly well defined set of rules: Optimize a page for a specific keyword, get links from other websites that use that keyword.
While there is still some level of this, with the introduction of Google’s Penguin update, many SEO’s who thrived by manipulating the system have found the ground shrinking beneath their feet.
In 2013, Author Rank was introduced and has become a huge factor in how content is ranked in search engines. Many in the SEO industry suspect this will disrupt the game forever.
In a nutshell, AuthorRank gives more credit to verified authors over anonymous publishers.
As social media becomes more woven into the fabric of the internet, search engines factor elements such as social shares, +1’s, Facebook likes, and Twitter retweets in addition to the traditional “links using the right words”
However, it’s still very important to understand that search engines are still only robots. Sophisticated robots, but robots nonetheless – and the first understanding of what a web page is about is going to be based on the text on the page.
There are a number of tools you can use if you decide to follow the path of the SEO, but I highly recommend the following:
2. Pay per click
If done well, Pay per click is one of, if not the fastest type of online marketing to drive targeted traffic to your web properties.
But when done haphazardly, can cost a company thousands of dollars with little to no return.
It’s one of my favorite lead generation techniques because once your campaign is optmized, you’re able to calculate a fairly accurate and predictable ROI.
Whatever you do, don’t go into Ppc under the misconception that you’re just going to target a couple of keywords, write some copy, then watch the dollars pour in.
Far from it actually.
With Ppc, the entire goal is to turn passive viewers into interested prospects, and interested prospects into buyers.
To do this you must first entice users to click on an advertisement and send them to the perfect landing page with copy that matches the ad .
The idea is that you want to keep similar phrasing throughout the experience so your new visitor stays grounded throughout the experience.
Pay per click ads are no longer just displayed on the sidebar on search engines, but can be displayed on niche websites, or act as “sponsored stories” on social networks. They can be displayed as product listings, or as a video advertisement. They are targeted, either by search term, profile interest, or by the website on which the pay per click ad is displayed.
For some excellent resources on getting started with Ppc check out:
- 5 Often-Overlooked Ppc Tips For Beginners
- Ppc Hero’s Beginner’s Guide To Ppc
- 5 Steps To Pay Per Click Advertising That Actually Works
Think of email marketing as the bridge between the top of your sales funnel ( Awareness – Seo, Social Media, Online Networking) and the sale.
Sure, email is not as sexy as it’s younger, hipper counterpart – Social Media, but it’s one of the most direct and private forms of communication. Because of this, it’s still one of the most effective types of online marketing in terms of driving sales.
The best email marketers embrace the private nature of email communications and take care to treat their email subscribers a little more special than non email subscribers.
This could be done by giving access to exclusive content, special email subscriber discounts, personalized deals, or other “insider” goods not accessible to the outside public.
Email is also a popular form of marketing because, when your email campaigns are set up properly, you can tie exact dollar amounts to individual customers.
This allows you to create hyper targeted messaging that reflects you understand where your customer is in the buying cycle. Are they “just looking” or are they an evangelist? Creating email marketing programs for each stage of the customer lifecycle allows you to deepen loyalty and directly increase revenue.
One major disadvantage for email marketers is the constant evolution of spam filters in email programs. Companies must also make ensure their program does not violate spam laws such as the United States’ Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM)
And of course, we haven’t even talked about Autoresponders:
For resources on getting started with email marketing:
- 107 Ways to Dominate Email Marketing
- How To Open The Door To A Second Wave Of Sales
- Getting Started With Email Marketing In Four Minutes
4. Video Marketing
Did you know Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world, and the third most visited site, period?
While it may seem that a standard commercial might be the easiest way for a business to engage in video marketing, this is simply not the case.
Video can be incredibly social, and smart video marketers are blurring the lines of what’s acceptable for branded content.
Because of this, video can be an incredibly powerful tool to deliver the right message to the right market and attract the right kind of customer from the very beginning. (Understanding your target market and a well defined brand character go a very long way in making this actually work though.)
Personally, video marketing is one of my favorite types of online marketing because it fuses together so many different elements: Copywriting, Seo, and of course Video Production.
Unfortunately, the biggest misconception about video marketing is that you can shoot a video on your webcam, slap it up on Youtube, then watch the revenue pour in. This couldn’t be any further away from the truth, and if video marketing is something you’re considering, I would highly recommend you get the proper training before taking your video efforts to the next level.
It may seem strange to see blogging on this list, because many of the things we’ve talked about may seem encapsulated in blogging.
But really, a blog is just a channel. It can host videos, podcasts, text articles, news topics, sell affiliate advertising, provide instruction or insight – however at the end of the day, what you’re talking about isn’t “blogging”, you’re talking about content that fills the channel.
Blogging makes this list because managing that channel is really a skill on it’s own.
Scheduling content, tagging and categorizing content appropriately, managing internal link architecture, optimizing navigation items – these are just a handful of items that a real “blogger” manages.
Blog management is critical to the success of the blog as it’s fundamental structure is what helps search engines index your blog for the content you want to be known for, and visitors to go to appropriate pages within your site.
If you’re considering following the path of the blogger, the “Problogger” book is an absolute essential read.
For more resources on blog management:
- The Ten Types Of Blog Managers – Which One Are You?
- Blog Siloing Revisited
- Blog Structure – Higher Rankings With What You Have
6. Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of those buzzwords that keeps flying around, yet very few people (including marketers) really understand what it’s about.
If “blogging” is really about how everything is distributed and structured, content marketing is the practice of creating media that brings the person interacting with it towards one of the following four goals:.
1. Be Shared
The primary purpose of this kind of content is to spread throughout a community and get maximum exposure. Generally this kind of content will appeal to the different extremes of your market’s personality.
This can be done through humor, shock, motivation, sadness, anger, being remarkably cool, making people smile, cute, or incredibly honest.
The trick for something to “go viral” is that it has to appeal to a humanity that is shared with a large group of people. (This is why more viral videos feature cute babies or animals more than anything else)
2. Be Discussed
The goal of this kind of content is to start a conversation within a community.
This can be done by leveraging big news items (newsjacking), addressing a common problem, exposing a dirty secret (or really any controversy) or creating a valuable, game changing resource.
When looking to create discussion content, there is one singular purpose, get people talking. Yes, this can lead to “viral” sharing, but the intent of the two types of content is very very different.
3. Generate Leads
While the first two types of content marketing are essentially about raising awareness, getting the lead conversion process to work properly is about creating content that gets your viewer to first identify their problem, then say, “I need help”
After that, it’s about offering a solution to help fix that problem. (in fact if this is a problem for you, request a strategy session with me, and we can find ways to fix this)
4. Make Sales
Structure wise, this is very similar to “lead content” but the lead nurturing cycle is a lot shorter if not virtually non-existent.
Generally speaking, the reasons this kind of “selling” content takes place is because
A.) the cost of the product is low, and therefore is a lower risk or
B.) the key phrase people are using to discover the content indicates they’re further along in the decision making process (they’re searching for product reviews, comparisons, etc)
Content marketing has to always have one of these four goals at it’s core in order to keep it focused.
Without one of these four goals, you’re creating content for content’s sake – which over time will leave you frustrated and your viewers confused.
For great resources on content marketing:
- The Scribe Content Marketing Library
- How To Profit From The Digital Revolution
- Content Marketing w/ Brian Clark and Chris Brogan
7. Social Media
While one true unified definition of Social Media marketing exists, many have embraced the use of social platforms to promote their brand.
If I were to define the starting process of social media marketing:
I would look at various social media channels in a very similar way as a traditional media buyer.
This would mean looking at the usual suspects – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube, Pinterest, Linkedin(maybe) – but then also niche networks, forums, active blog communities, and any place where there’s active two way conversation happening.
In these networks, I would be seeking a core customer type and pay close attention to the language they’re using, the questions they’re asking, and the content they’re sharing.
During this process, I would seek to identify the taste makers within the community, and determine the best ways to appeal to them.
Using this approach, I would then create content or report to a content developer, the types of content that would stand out to each smaller network, then distribute to only the communities that will find it the most relevant.
This is the exact inverse of what many “social media marketers” do.
The more commonly practiced technique is “create THEN distribute” where this approach is more “intense listening, create, distribute selectively”
Perhaps the most misused approach for social media marketers is the share everything with everyone approach.
By using a more strategic and calculated plan, you can develop marketing communications that show many layers and build a much wider audience over time.
8. Network Marketing
While Network Marketing and Social Media share similar roots, the network marketer takes the work the social media marketer does, and takes it a step further.
If the Social Media marketer’s job is to identify the smaller networks and appeal to the collective mindset of the group while identifying the influencers, the network marketer’s job is to build relationships with those influential people.
Taking those relationship skills a step further, the most notable trait of these professional networking masters is their ability to connect people within their own network with each other.
At a moment’s notice the network marketer can recommend a handful of service providers of different skill levels and price ranges. Network marketer’s commonly spend a lot of time emailing, commenting on blogs, interacting in forums.
The network marketer also realizes that for any piece of content to “Go Viral”, the content must not only be good, but they must also “plant seeds” with the bigger content distributors.
Because of their vast network, the network marketer has a pretty solid understanding of what content will gain the attention of a particular network , and if they don’t create the content itself, you can bet they know the best person for the job.
And you know the best place to start finding great professional networking opportunities? LinkedIn
For more resources on Network Marketing
- Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected
- Linked Influence: Get More Business From LinkedIn Now
- LinkedWorking: Generating Success on LinkedIn … the World’s Largest Professional Networking Website
9. Community Building
Where the last two disciplines focus more on outreach, community building is what happens after you’ve brought people in.
Community building is a field of practices directed toward the creation or enhancement of community among individuals around a common interest.
The primary belief of community managers is to use brand properties as a “hub” to facilitate the conversation between users.
Doing this increases brand loyalty, and builds a core group of enthusiasts that will be the first to interact with and share brand’s content.
If network marketers build relationships on the individual level, and Social media marketers are focus more on mass communication, Community managers are those who set the stage for interacting with the brand and with each other.
Much of community building is reliant on trust. Chris Brogan and Julian Smith’s Trust Agents will help you learn how to build that trust.
10. Location Based Marketing
At the time of this writing, one of the fastest emerging trends in online marketing.
The popular philosophy held by location based marketers is to reward users for “checking-in” to a company’s physical location.
Rewards can include discounts for the person who “check-in” the most and promotional merchandise for those who “check-in”.
Popular “check-in” style platforms include Foursquare, Gowalla, Google Places and Facebook Places.
For local businesses, the importance of claiming all of your places can not be stressed enough. Many of these “place” platforms allow your customers to leave reviews, and if unmanaged can leave a ton of missed opportunities for good customer experiences.
- 4 Rules For Location Based Marketing That Won’t Creep Your Customers Out
- 5 Location Based Marketing Platforms For When You Don’t Have A Store
- Is Location Based Advertising The Future Of Mobile Marketing And Mobile Advertising?
11. Contextual marketing
In it’s rawest form, contextual marketing is about finding opportunities throughout the web and creating funnels that lead back to their site.
Unlike social media however, this type of online marketing takes place outside of social networks:
Think Guest Blogging, buying reviews from bloggers, finding guest spots on youtube videos, and virtually any other form of “brand alignment” tactics that might be used to get another brand more visibility.
Contextual marketers will look for different opportunities to promote their business, regardless of the medium being used to do it.
A contextual marketer is the closest thing the internet has to traditional media firms, because the contextual advertiser looks for every opportunity to promote their brand.
A contextual marketer has a lot in common with the network marketer in the sense that they are constantly seeking to expand the network.
The primary difference between the two is that while the network marketer is in charge of managing long term relationships, contextual marketers are focused on finding relevant platforms and building sheer numbers.
The key to success in this case is always to find platforms with overlapping audiences, that way the contextual marketer can have the appearance of “being everywhere” to a target market.
Similarly, a contextual advertiser performs a similar function, except their job is more related to paid media buying. Finding websites to run banner ads, youtube channels to do interruption videos, in video sponsorships, things like that.
Some Great Tools for Contextual marketers:
- FollowerWonk – to find overlaps in social media profiles
- Open Site Explorer – to see who’s linking to the high ranking pages for a given keyword
- Similar Sites – a plugin to help find sites similar to the one you’re looking at
12. Affiliate (performance based) Marketing
The act of selling someone elses product, or having someone else sell your product for you. This is the internet equivalent of having a commissioned sales job.
The person who is selling the product may use one or all of the techniques on this list in order to sell an affiliate product.
What makes this a discipline on it’s own is that often times an individual is not selling their own product.
Because of this, each affiliate program has it’s own rules, regulations, and requirements for a seller to be accepted and remain in the program.
Many affiliate advertisers will provide their own unique content in addition to the affiliate product to build the value of the sale.
The person, or company who produces the affiliate product also faces their own unique set of challenges.
First, they must create a product that is useful, then find the right people to sell their product and offer a commission that is enticing.
The product creator must also go out of their way to create a standard set of marketing materials that can be adapted for their affiliates to sell. This could include email swipe copy for email auto-responders, a variety of banners in all sizes, videos, as well as newsletters to inform affiliates about promotions and tactics that are working.
For this reason, my preferred platform for affiliate marketing is Shareasale.com because they make it easy to manage from both the product producer and seller sides.
For more resources on being a better affiliate seller:
13. User Experience Branding (UxB)
If you think about the “blogger” as the person who maintains the internal scheduling, structure, and categorization of content, and the content marketer that develops that content, then think of the UxB as the person who develops the “look and feel” that packages the content.
The goal of the UxB is to develop experiences that are intuitive and “sticky”, keeping the user on the site for as long as possible.
Questions like how will photo galleries respond, what will menu animations look like, and generally how the site and user will interact with each other.
The thought is that by making websites easy to navigate, fun to use, and interesting to look at will encourage the sites users to share with others.
The UxB disciple is constantly pushing the boundaries of web development and seeking not to create websites, but a truly immersive web experience.
Graphic Design, User interface design, Information Architecture and web development all play critical roles into this discipline.
But perhaps the most important aspect of User Experience Branding is that the every aspect of the design accurately reflects the company’s brand character and experiences across all customer touch points (including brick and mortar locations)
For more resources on User Experience Branding
- The Best Websites In The World Do These 6 Things
- 13 Of The Best User Experience Blogs
- 15 Interactive Websites With Engaging User Experiences
14. Interactive Advertising
With web technologies evolving every day, an emerging group of marketers take to creating advertising that requires users to interact with the website.
On a small scale, this could require the user to upload a photo, video or audio which is then augmented by the website to create a “branded” experience.
AMC’s “Dead Yourself” app is a good example of this.
With moisturizer without
Interactive marketing is truly unique and must be experienced in order to fully grasp just how powerful it can be.
Interactive advertising isn’t just limited to pictures and video though.
Every day there are branded, interactive advertisements that give the user something to “play” with.
One such example is how Augmented Reality is being integrated into advertising – merging the real world with computer graphics.
Here’s an example of how Cisco is using this to “get you in the game”.
And that’s it!
The 14 disciplines of online marketing.
You may have noticed there is a considerable amount of overlap for each type of online marketing. If you’re a one person show, which many web entrepreneurs are, it’s very important that you focus only on the areas that align the most with your own natural strengths.
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Do your best to be great at the things you’re great at, and find others to help in those other areas.
If there is any branch of online marketing that was missed, please feel free to leave it in the comments below. This article is intended to be updated on a periodic basis as online marketing changes and evolves.