What Are The Main Digital Marketing Channels?

Digital marketing channels are specific mediums, usually online, used to reach a target audience and driving traffic to a website. The offline equivalents could include mediums such as newspapers, radio, and TV advertising. In this post, I’ll be introducing you to some of the most popular online marketing channels and giving you some tips on how to get started with them.

Common Digital Marketing Channels

Paid Search

Also known as PPC, cost-per-click, search engine marketing

Paid search marketing is paying to advertise your website, products or services on search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Paid search is frequently referred to as pay-per-click or cost-per-click advertising as you normally only pay when a searcher clicks on your ad. In the UK the most popular paid search platforms are Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Google AdWords allows you to advertise on the main Google search engine as well as multiple search partners including eBay, Ask.com and YouTube. Bing Ads shows your ads on Bing and Yahoo, and also other partners including DuckDuckGo and AOL.
Paid search ads examples

Organic Search

Also known as SEO, earned traffic, natural traffic

SEO is probably the term that people getting started with online marketing hear most often. There’s a myriad of articles on the subject (504,000,000 Google results!), and many businesses see SEO as the golden goose of online marketing as it’s essentially “free” traffic. However, the days of building a website, pointing a few dodgy directory links to it and waiting for the traffic to come rolling in are long gone. Ranking on search engines can be achieved by:

  1. Building an easy to use on all devices, loads quickly, and is readable by search engines
  2. Writting useful content based on keywords your target users are searching for
  3. Build brand awareness and high-quality links to your content

Easy, right?


Also known as customer marketing

Wikipedia defines email marketing as “the act of sending a commercial message to a group of people”. I can’t really argue with that, however, there’s a bit more to it. When done right email marketing is probably the best digital marketing channel for driving ROI. Do it wrong and you might isolate your audience, or even end up with your domain being blacklisted. If you have a website, and you have a list of customer email addresses, but you’re not doing email marketing, you are missing a big opportunity. There are plenty of providers to choose from including free platforms like MailChimp to enterprise platforms like dotmailer and Bronto.


Also known as social media marketing, paid social

The rise of social media platforms has been meteoric. As of February 2017, Facebook was close to hitting 2 billion monthly users – that’s over 60% of the worlds’ internet users! Advertising on social media can be free such as having a Facebook page or Twitter account for your business. Paid options are also available such as Sponsored Stories on Facebook, promoted pins on Pinterest and Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn. Which method and platform you use depend on your target audience and your marketing goals.

Other Digital Marketing Channels

Now I should point out that this list is by no means comprehensive. There are plenty of channels which I’ve not covered such as display, direct, or affiliates. I’ve also only focused on channels that drive traffic to your website, but if you’re a retailer then there’s also online marketplaces to consider. Additionally, new channels being developed all of the time as online consumer behaviour changes so it’s important to keep up to date with new developments.

Which Digital Marketing Channels Should You Focus On?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions in Digital Marketing, and the answer is “it depends”. It depends on your budget, your marketing goals and your target audience. To some degree, it also depends on your industry or website niche. For example, a large online retailer is likely to have a large budget for paid search, and a diverse range of other traffic sources. A small, local garage, on the other hand, is likely to be more focused on search engine optimisation to appear in local searches.

Marketing Channel Split comparision

JCH Web are based in Barnoldswick which is on the Lancashire – North Yorkshire border. Why not get in touch with us and see how we can help you “go digital”?

    By Jack Hutchinson

    Digital marketing and e-commerce specialist, based in Barnoldswick, Lancashire. Helping businesses "go digital" since 2011.