The 9 Key Digital Marketing Channels

By October 15, 2013Marketing Strategy

There are tons of ways to market a product on the web.  Here is a brief overview of the nine top digital marketing channels used, according to a report released by Forrester.

In House Emailing

The most important marketing channel in e-commerce is your own list. I have had companies where 85 percent of business came from emailing our customer list, even during the growth phase of the business

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is key when you can capture someone looking for something specific.  This is good when you solve a problem or fit a commodity that people search for.  If you are more of a lifestyle brand, SEM can be tricky.  A lot of times, companies only see real success in targeting people searching for their brand (known as branded keywords).  You usually pay per click so just grabbing people who are browsing can get very expensive and minimize your return on investment (ROI). Once you are large and recognizable, the ROI in search can significantly increase.

Product Listing Ads

Product Listing Ads (PLA) are becoming more and more popular in e-commerce. These are somewhat of a subset of search engine marketing but allow for richer ads that include things like product price, pictures, etc.  This is great when you have individual products that can be searched for.


This is one of the marketing channels with the highest ROI.  It’s pretty simple—when someone visits your site a cookie is placed on their computer, so now when they browse the web, they will see your ads wherever they go.  This goes with the traditional idea of impressions. People don’t generally purchase the first time they engage with your brand. If you can reach them over and over again, chances are you have a much higher chance of converting.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a buzzword that constantly means something different.  Search engines like Google are always changing their algorithm, and it is your job to keep up and implore best practices so that you can be at the top of the search lists where you matter. Currently, it is very important to have relevant content on your site. Make sure the information on your website pertains to exactly what someone would be looking for with your product.  Blogging will help as well as other blogs writing about you.


This is not referring to having a Facebook page. Facebook marketing is a whole category in itself. The ability to target most of the world (because of its usage), based on their interest, location, etc. is unmatched.  If you have a product that fits a certain demographic or interest base, then Facebook has all the potential in the world to make you successful.


Affiliate is a commission-based form of marketing. This is great to lower your risk by only paying out when an action is taken, like someone making a purchase on your site. You can use this on deal sites, with bloggers and ambassadors, or even standard content sites that are willing to take this deal. The downside is the traffic can be of lower quality, so you really have to monitor it.  This is also only so scalable as not everyone will take this deal.


It’s really better to use social for your community building and branding. I never advise banking on social to drive a ton of top of the funnel leads. It helps word of mouth but is hard to rely on.  Make sure you are at least managing social, though, as a lot of your customers will use it to gauge your companies quality as well as communicate with you.


Behavioral targeting is becoming more and more popular. This is targeting banner ads to people that demonstrate similar online behavior (like web surfing habits) to your customers. This has been shown to be very successful in the tests I have done.

If you have any questions or would like to speak more about digital marketing, please feel free to email me at [email protected].

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