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What Is Digital Marketing? - An Overview & Summary Of Digital Marketing Channels

Connect Hebrides Web Design -  Digital Marketing Explained
Website Marketing
SEO Marketing

The Definition Of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing, also known as online marketing, is used to achieve business objectives and goals via digital channels in order to educate, engage and market a product or service to potential consumers.

Digital marketing has evolved with the development of the internet to be customer-centric focused and supersedes the outdated producer-seller-centric model of traditional marketing.

The digital marketing channels comprise the internet and other forms of digital communication such as :- 

  • Search engines

  • Websites

  • Social media

  • Email

  • Mobile apps

  • Text messaging

  • Web-based advertising


In-short, if a marketing campaign is using any of the above online media channels, it is digital marketing.

Traditional Marketing v. Digital Marketing – The 4Ps/7Ps/4Cs Models

The marketing process is about understanding the competitive marketplace and ensuring that the producer can tap into key trends, reaching consumers with the right product at the right price, place, and time.


This is the basis of traditional marketing, which is any type of marketing that is not online. The 4Ps of marketing, also known as the producer-oriented model, have been in existence since the 1950s. It was the marketing-mix foundational model for business. The producer-seller-centric 4Ps model encourages a focus on Product, Price, Promotion and Place.


The 4Ps marketing mix encompasses a range of factors that are considered when marketing a product, including what consumers want, how the product or service meets or fails to meet those wants, how the product or service is perceived in the world, how it stands out from the competition, and how the company that produces it interacts with its customers.


However, three newer Ps, first published in 1984, have expanded the marketing mix to become the dominant framework for contemporary marketing management decisions. This is the 7Ps model, also known as the services marketing mix, which goes beyond the four basic marketing principles of the 4Ps product marketing model.

Because services have unique characteristics and are more complex than products, an extended 7Ps marketing mix is used, comprising the original 4Ps, extended to 7Ps by People (representing everyone involved in the buyer's journey), by Process (ensuring a smooth delivery of a service), and by Physical evidence (all of the environmental elements that surround the consumer in service delivery).


Both the 4Ps and 7Ps are very widely used by marketing practitioners, but there are some limitations to the overall theory. 

In the 1990s, the 4Cs marketing mix model was introduced as a more customer-driven replacement of the 4Ps producer-driven model. The 4Cs model focuses on companies building a relationship with their customers as opposed to the 4Ps model of helping companies to build marketing campaigns. 


The 4Cs model focuses on Consumers (sell what prospects want and need), Costs (represents the total cost of ownership - the costs to satisfy the wants and needs), Convenience (considers all of the factors affecting the ease of buying - the convenience to buy), and Communication (the two-way nature of dialogue between consumers and brands, which should include continuous interactions between consumers and brands. The focus is no longer on convincing the public about the virtues of a product, but on providing value to potential customers). 

This approach to marketing shifts the focus from producer and product to the consumers and their needs. Instead of the focus on mass marketing of the traditional 4Ps model, the 4Cs model is aimed at niche marketing where a business promotes and sells a product or service to a specialised segment of a market.

The theory is that the more familiar a company is with the consumer, the better it can align its strategies to that potential buyer, and the greater its conversion rates will be.

Because it is the customers who form a company’s marketing mix, they are the main focus of the 4Cs customer-centric marketing model. This forms the basis of digital marketing which takes advantage of the evolution of technology and shifts in consumer behaviour, and presents a solution for both marketers and consumers.

However, the 4Cs and 4Ps/7Ps models can complement and reinforce each other. The 4Cs model shows the consumers' – the buyers' – perspective, the 4Ps/7Ps model demonstrates how the marketing mix should be coordinated from the perspective of the organisation – the producer/seller.

How Does Digital Marketing Work?

The internet has become an indispensable tool for almost any consumer seeking to make a decision. Today’s internet users spend a daily average of nearly three hours on the internet, using it for communication, entertainment, research and information.


The digital ecosystem has grown exponentially which means that virtually every consumer action and interaction is now online. Consumers today rely heavily on digital means to research products. Some 77% of customers research a brand online before engaging with it, and 71% of consumers say they use the internet to research products before buying.


The internet has led to a shift in the way companies reach consumers. Digital marketing has become a mainstay of the modern business environment. The capabilities offered by the rapidly developing information technology segment have contributed to the speed, effectiveness, and affordability of digital marketing strategies. As a result, it has become strongly associated with more efficient strategies, optimised resource allocation, increased level of customer satisfaction, greater precision and responsiveness of marketing campaigns, and stronger customer involvement.

Digital marketing uses a range of strategies to reach customers, whether the aim is to tempt them into making a purchase, increase their brand awareness, or simply to engage with a brand.


Modern digital marketing comprises a broad system of channels, including :-


  • Website Marketing.

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC).

  • Content Marketing.

  • Social Media Marketing.

  • Email Marketing.

  • Mobile Marketing.

  • Affiliate Marketing.

  • Marketing Analytics.


To achieve the true potential of digital marketing, businesses have to discover and develop cross-channel strategies that make an impact through engagement marketing.

Engagement marketing is the method of forming meaningful interactions with potential and returning customers based on their data which has been collected over time. By engaging customers in the digital landscape, sellers can build brand awareness, position themselves as a thought leader, and place themselves at the forefront when the customer is ready to buy.

Digital Marketing Channels Summarised

Website Marketing

Website marketing is a strategic process to promote a website to increase its visibility to relevant traffic. A website is the centrepiece of all digital marketing activities. It is a very powerful channel on its own, but it is also the medium needed to execute a variety of online marketing strategies and campaigns.

When strategising an integrated marketing plan for a brand, the right web design is essential. The standard for web design is no longer just function or visibility; it is all in the details that lead to how a user will engage with the brand. From layout to colour, these critical elements work together to build a digital tool that, when strategically used, can improve online marketing campaigns significantly.

It is clear that a high-quality brand website is now an integral component of any effective digital marketing strategy, and, no matter what the industry is, a website that is up-to-date, informative, and aesthetically pleasing builds trust with potential clients and, therefore, can impact customer acquisition and conversion rates.

A well-crafted website can benefit a business in many tangible ways, including increased sales and leads. Effectively, a superior website is its own campaign, constantly working to support the brand. What is more is that in comparison to other marketing initiatives, a website is easily trackable, allowing brands to better understand consumer behaviour, and provides  insights into what is, and is not, working.

Marketers have a plethora of internet marketing techniques and channels at their disposal, such as search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing to achieve their objectives. None of these, however, will be effective without a well-designed website.

Website design is regarded as the cornerstone of digital marketing for the following reasons :-

  • Differentiation - It is important to differentiate from competitors by aligning storytelling and visuals for a powerful, influential, and effective impact on both the market and consumer.

  • User Experience - A well-designed website will create a journey for the user to engage, explore and interact with the brand. Building meaningful first impressions - from brand to consumer - impacts the bottom line and the overall objectives for a brand.

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - SEO is all about making a website more visible on search engines, and good web design makes it easier for search engines to find and rank a website. Good SEO practices include linking the website with keywords that apply to what the target market is searching for. It is very important to incorporate SEO into website design for users to properly interact with a website. Best SEO practices include researching what links and keywords should be implemented into a website, continuously updating these links to stay relevant and actively positioning content to increase visibility in search results. 

  • Conversion Rate Optimisation - Monitoring conversion rates when analysing metrics of how a website is performing is critical to offering the ideal customer experience. Because a conversion rate is correlated directly to how a user engages with the website, it is a hugely important factor for a company to leverage in making marketing decisions. Web design, when properly strategised for conversion, directly impacts conversion rates.

  • Brand Influence - By nurturing a consistent relationship with customers and users, a brand begins to build influence, which, in turn, becomes brand loyalty. Brand loyalty and trust occur when a consumer is loyal to a brand, not simply if the consumer is an occasional buyer of its products.

Many variables impact this brand influence, and increasingly, the presence of digital marketing is facilitating these connections via a digital ecosystem. If customers are converted into advocates, this will help immensely with launching new products, keeping retention up and impacting the overall bottom line, particularly through online community engagement.

Understanding that an increasing number of consumers will engage with brands online before making a purchase, it is clear that an integrated website marketing strategy is essential to reach and convert leads both on and offline.

With a solid digital foundation in place, anchored by a well-strategised website, a company can effectively leverage positive brand image to increase sales, build PR, generate a robust social media presence, and create a top-down marketing campaign across all media.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising the content, structure, technical setup, and reach of a website's pages, so that the pages appear at the top of a search engine results page (SERP) for a specific set of keyword search terms. SEO is 'the art and science of making web pages attractive to search engines', thus increasing search engine traffic to the business's website.

A solid website is a brand’s identity in the online world, speaking to its credibility and reputation. Its design engages visitors, provides personalised user experiences, and converts them into leads — but to do that, the site should strive to capture quality traffic from high-ranking search results.  To achieve that aim, and to maintain and retain a competitive advantage, it is essential that good SEO web design is incorporated into every website project.

Strong website SEO strategies are hugely influential in digital marketing campaigns since visibility is the first step to attracting customers and building a lasting relationship.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

Pay-per-click advertising, or PPC, is a type of digital marketing which involves advertisers paying a fee (fixed or determined by an auction algorithm) to a publisher each time one of their digital ads is clicked online. They only pay for advertising if their ad is actually clicked on. It is essentially a method of ‘buying’ visits to the advertiser's website, in addition to driving unpaid visits to their website.

PPC advertising enables advertisers to reach potential customers on a number of digital platforms such as Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook.

Essentially, the PPC ads are targeted to audiences seeking a particular product or item when they key specific keywords or phrases into the search engine. Advertisers create these paid ads and compete with others (via an auction algorithm) for positions on their chosen social platform or the search engine results page (SERP) for their selected search engine. The ad appears when users' search criteria are matched with the keywords or phrases linked with the ad.

These ads also involve retargeting, meaning that marketing automation tools can craft unique, personal cross-platform ads based on the customers’ actions.

Some of the many advantages of PPC advertising are as follows :-

  • Optimised PPC is cost effective.

  • The PPC ad will be displayed prominently on the first search engine results page (SERP).

  • It gives more exposure and brand visibility as targeted traffic is directed to the advertiser's website.

  • It can provide instant traffic to the advertisers's website.

  • It results in higher click-through rates, more conversions, and increased revenue.

  • Multiple ad campaigns can be run for each keyword.

However, PPC marketing is not as simple as just paying for clicks and gaining traffic. A strong PPC campaign consists of choosing the right keywords, arranging those keywords into well-organised targeted ad groups, and setting up PPC landing pages (either individually, or as a website extension) that are optimised for conversions.

Content Marketing 


The goal of content marketing is to reach potential customers through the use of interesting and relevant content. It uses storytelling and information sharing to increase brand awareness.

As in any marketing strategy, the goal of content marketing is to attract leads that ultimately convert into customers, but it does so differently from that of traditional advertising. Instead of engaging prospects with potential value from a product or service, it offers value for free in the form of written, video, or audio disseminated material. The tools of content marketing include blogs, ebooks, newsletters, whitepapers, online courses, infographics, podcasts, and webinars.

Content marketing is about building a sustainable, trusting relationship with customers that can potentially lead to recurring sales over time, rather than a single one-off transaction. It can establish strong relationships throughout the sales pipeline.


Content marketing works in conjunction with other types of digital marketing; it is a way to incorporate search engine optimisation (SEO) into fresh website content, and the content created can be shared as social media posts and in email marketing publications, or even in pay-per-click campaigns.

Social Media Marketing


Social media marketing is the process of creating content for social media platforms to promote a company's products and/or services, build community with its target audience, drive traffic to the company's website, and increase sales.

While social media marketing as a whole is incredibly valuable and beneficial to business growth, the strategy will differ based on which social networks the target audience is located on. The strategy can be segmented, creating tailored content for each social media platform to drive engagement and promote the business.

Several social media marketing platforms currently exist, many of which are constantly evolving, such as Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Clubhouse.

Incorporating social media into a company's marketing strategy provides the following benefits :-

  • It increases and enhances brand awareness and reinforces social trust.

  • It boosts website traffic.

  • It boosts audience growth and customer retention.

  • It creates sales and lead generation.

  • It allows for faster and easier content distribution with an increase in peer group and other community engagement.

  • It provides industry, marketplace and competitor insights.

  • It allows for a coordinated and consistent marketing effort, and an objective, data-driven strategy.

There are a range of social media management tools that help businesses to get the most out of the social media platforms listed above.

Nowadays, businesses use social media in a myriad of different ways such as social media listening and engagement, social media analytics, social media advertising. As a whole, these are often also known as social media management.

Email Marketing 

Even though email is one of the oldest forms of digital communication, it is also one of the most effective digital marketing strategies, and it is still the quickest and most direct way to reach either current or potential customers with important information.

Email marketing is also the most profitable and cost-effective direct marketing channel. For this reason alone, email should be a key pillar of any digital marketing strategy. What makes email marketing so powerful and lucrative is that it gives a seller direct individual access to an audience's inbox.

Email marketing is a direct marketing channel where businesses send promotional messages to people; it is typically used to generate sales by sharing promotional offers, nurturing leads, or expanding the impact of content marketing efforts.

Modern email marketing has moved away from one-size-fits-all mass mailings and instead focuses on content, segmentation, and personalisation. A well-designed email marketing strategy, built around marketing automation, not only drives sales, but helps build a community around a brand.

To succeed, marketing emails should satisfy the following five core attributes, they should be :-

  • Trustworthy.

  • Relevant.

  • Conversational.

  • Coordinated across channels.

  • Strategic.

Marketing emails can be promotional, informational, or serve a specific purpose in the buyer journey. Promotional email marketing campaigns are used to promote special offers, new product releases, gated content like ebooks and webinars, and the brand at large. Informational emails are newsletters which share news related to a business, or to inform customers of company announcements, new product releases, changes to the service, etc. Another important type of marketing email is the re-engagement email. As the name suggests, re-engagement emails help reconnect with customers or subscribers who have not been active lately.

Email marketing is important because campaigns can be personalised to a greater extent than those on social media, and costs are considerably lower than for other channels. In addition, the reach and conversion rate associated with email marketing makes it ideal for small businesses.

Mobile Marketing


Mobile marketing (also known as SMS marketing) is any advertising activity that promotes products and services via mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. It makes use of features of modern mobile technology, including location services, to tailor marketing campaigns based on an individual's location.

Mobile marketing is a way in which technology can be used to create personalised promotion of goods or services to a user who is constantly connected to a network. Proximity systems and location-based services can alert users based on geographic location or proximity to a service provider.

Mobile marketing may include promotions sent through SMS text messaging, MMS multimedia messaging, through downloaded apps using push notifications, through in-app or in-game marketing, through mobile websites, or by using a mobile device to scan QR codes.

Mobile marketing ad formats, customisation, and styles can vary, as many social media platforms, websites, and mobile apps offer their own unique and tailored mobile ad options.


Mobile marketing is an indispensable tool for companies large and small as mobile devices have become ubiquitous. The key players in the space are the brands (and companies that they represent through advertising), and service providers that enable mobile advertising.

Affiliate Marketing 

Affiliate marketing is a form of performance-based internet marketing that saw rapid growth throughout the 2010s. With the increased prominence of online marketing, affiliate marketing—also known as influencer marketing—has become popular among many organisations in bridging the gap between them and consumers.

Affiliate marketing utilises the ever-growing popularity of industry experts and social media influencers. In working with these third-party influencers, organisations will collaborate to promote their products or services for compensation. In collaboration, influencers will engage their audience with posts, blogs, or videos to bring in more business for the organisation and create new leads.

Products or services purchased via affiliate marketing typically cost no more to the consumer than they otherwise would by any other channel; rather, the sales commission is 'baked into' the retail price of the good or service.

Not all affiliate marketing programs resemble one another. There are three payment structures, and which structure is used depends on the personal preferences of the vendor and affiliate.

  • Per click: The affiliate is paid a flat rate for every individual they redirect to the vendor’s website; performance is indicated by increased web traffic.

  • Per lead: The affiliate is paid for every prospective customer who visits the vendor’s website and performs their desired action, such as signing up for a mailing list or free trial.

  • Per sale: The most common of the three payment structures, the affiliate is paid a commission for every purchase via the affiliate unique product link.

Marketing Analytics


One of the major advantages of digital marketing is that it is highly trackable and measurable.

Today, analytics allow marketers to track user behavior at a highly detailed level: how many times they click on a link, how much time they spend on a web page, how often they open emails, and much more.

The analysis of this data allows digital marketers to learn what is successful with consumers and adapt their marketing messages moving forward, it also means they can demonstrate their value to the company. Understanding all of this data and using it to make strategic decisions is an important part of a digital marketer’s work, and one that sets them apart from their traditional counterparts.

There are many tools available for measuring the success of digital marketing campaigns, and many marketers will use some combination of these tools, depending on their needs and their audience.

One of the most used tools for marketing analytics is Google Analytics, which can be customised in nearly endless ways to measure how a website is performing, which keywords are bringing users to the site, how users are navigating through the website, and much more.

Having good, accurate analytics and the know-how to interpret them can help marketers 'fail fast', quickly cutting campaigns that are not working and building better campaigns around concepts that have a proven track record of success. Not only do analytics measure the effect of campaigns – they will also inform and improve these campaigns.



Digital marketing is a subset of marketing that leverages technology, the internet, and electronic devices via digital channels, to promote products, services, and brands, and engage with consumers. It is often referred to as online marketing, internet marketing, or web marketing.

The digital channels include display, search, mobile, social, and video. Originally referred to as 'interactive marketing' digital allows consumers to interact with ads and communicate back to brands.

Thanks to the vast amounts of targeting technology and capturing of data in digital marketing, advertisers are able to reach both large audiences and smaller market segments without compromising scale. This includes being able to target by specific attribute including demographic, behavioural, psychographic (activities, interests, and opinions), and more. Not only can marketers target groups of people, they can also target specific devices and even individual users regardless of what device they may be using.

The benefits of digital marketing are as follows :-

  • It amplifies brand awareness by attracting new audiences; the cumulative effect of repeated interactions with a company amplifies brand recognition and establishes trust.

  • It improves brand sentiment by shaping brand perception; it engages potential customers across social media networks to reinforce a company's values. It also expands the audience reach through content distribution, and via search engine optimisation (SEO) to influence content visibility.

  • It increases customer loyalty by extracting insights into customer behaviour to drive marketing initiatives, encourage dialogue, and to amplify loyalty.

  • It drives revenue because it is incredibly versatile, agile, and user-focused.

Digital marketing is the interweaving of strategies and channels in order to find and retain new customers, and promote a brand. Digital marketers are especially determined to measure the success of campaigns. A number of user engagements can be tracked such as impressions, clicks, website visits, leads, and actual purchases, helping marketers to gauge the efficacy of campaigns and make better decisions for optimisation and the future.

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