Let's first quickly run through the criteria you're employing digital marketing for, which is needed to narrow down the list of channels you need to get your marketing strategy in action:
1. Company goals
Getting the word out: If your current offline efforts aren't matching how your competitors are increasing their popularity, this is a good goal to evaluate how digital channels can be leveraged to bridge that gap
Your USP: Your target audience needs to know about your products or services, and differentiators that separate you from another 'me-too' player in the market. the goal is to solve customer's problems for which they are looking for solutions
Traffic & Sales: Probably the most important reason, slotted at the end to flow in as a reason after brand building and USP-promotion, driving traffic and creating a sustainable sales funnel.
2. Customer goals
Post analysis of your customer's cadence ie their browsing habits or channels they are most present, start identifying the channels that would most serve targeting your audience.
3. Budget Estimates
Since marketing is a cost-intensive segment, its great to have a ballpark figure of the budget you're going to spend on your final digital channel strategy
4. Talent competencies
Having a mix of developers, designers and domain specific resources for search or social channel marketing must be factored in before choosing your channel mix.
With the above goals that are central to your business idea now firmed up, the obscurity around what channel to adopt has just cleared a little.
Doing your preliminary research through expert articles like these gives you a good head start before you become the lead for one of the best digital marketing channels, who would try to hook you to their services, usually even though it might not be the best fit.
Listed below are the most popular channels, considering generic marketing direction and typical goals that organizations have.
This rule of measuring what's best according to the majority of what businesses adopt must give you enough reason to find the best suite, but also explore channels that are specific to your sector, like classifieds for real estate aggregators, or a hospitality search engine that caters to your target audience.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
This is the term that governs the domain of having your brand present on relevant search result pages through a paid exchange with renowned search engines like Google or Bing. However, if you have heard of Pay Per Click and not SEM, it's because it is one of the main features of SEM that has gained popularity.
For relevant keywords or search phrases your target audience might enter in their search of solutions you can perfectly meet, search engines like Google offer an SEM tool like AdWords to bid and position your brand link or product thumbnail above the 'organic' search results (more about 'organic' in a bit though). When prospects click on your brand ads, you pay Google.
Search engine Optimization (SEO)
Michael Hyatt talks about how your social media pages on Facebook or Twitter are embassies, where you hold temporary ground on someone else's property, while your website is a home base, where you have supreme control.
Using a natural way by optimizing your website through elements like keywords and metatags is the best way to move your website up the search engine result pages (SERPs). A common user behavior is to usually trust a written news article little more than you would an advertisement.
So more than paying and placing your brand with a keyword, refining your SEO strategy to push your site to the # 1 or # 2 position to your target audience is a great sales conversion method.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media has opened up consumers to have continuous dialogues with their favorite brands. There is almost no other medium that can guarantee as much engagement as social media does.
Almost all organizations, like SEO, have an SMM strategy to promote their offerings.
But getting the right media platform is critical. While Twitter might be great for branding, it might not be great with lead generation or targeting, which is more target-oriented platform like Facebook might offer.
Display and Affiliate Advertising
The images, videos or pop-ups you see on websites you visit, is part of the display advertising offering. A display network usually consists of websites that are open to showcase your ads to their audience.
Today's main business model is run on display advertising, as free websites like a blog usually make money through the revenue shared with the display network.
The most popular networks include Google Display Network or Facebook Audience Network. The advertiser pays a commission to the network and the publisher when prospects click and engage with the ad. Affiliate Marketing, on the other hand is based on performance where an advertiser usually shares some part of the revenue or pays only when a sale is made, not when a click happens.
There are a host of other channels including ones that are hinged on emerging technologies like podcasts, advertising through smart home speakers like the Echo dot.
In fact, around 50 Echo devices are shipped every minute, making this the next new platform where the best will compete.
Using the mentioned channels in line with your business goals, be it even email marketing or public relations, in line with your business goals, there is no stopping the kind of possibilities you can experiment and incorporate.
Find out the best combination of channels or sub-channels that can deliver the goods in taking your business places, and you would have begun on the path to great digital marketing of your business.