Digital Marketing: Real Strategies & Examples to Succeed in 2020

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Digital Marketing

Jul 14 2020

32 min read


32 min read

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The future of Digital Marketing is bright - and filled with ever-evolving technologies and players. These are the principles and strategies top digital marketers are using to stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Times have changed.

Last year, the average US consumer spent 6 hours and 35 minutes every day on digital devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers, reported eMarketer.

That's more than a third of all waking hours.

Needless to say, you need to start marketing online if you want to reach the modern consumer.

If you want to keep up with the wave, you need to master digital marketing strategies across multiple channels.

In this article, we’ll cover the ins and outs of digital marketing, give you actionable strategies that work, and highlight examples of successful digital campaigns.

This guide to digital marketing is comprehensive. To head straight to the topic that interests you most, click the links below:

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is marketing done through online channels and digital devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers.

As opposed to traditional marketing, digital marketing allows marketers to more effectively track campaign ROI as well as target their campaigns to specific audiences.

Digital Marketing vs. Online Marketing

In the marketing industry, there is very little difference between the terms "digital marketing” and "online marketing."

They both cover marketing methods that rely on internet-based channels like online advertising, social media, search engines, websites, and more.

Although technically digital, TV and radio marketing efforts are typically excluded from the term “digital advertising” and are considered traditional media.

One difference is that digital billboards are considered part of digital marketing, but are not viewed as part of online marketing.

Digital Marketing Platforms

The most common digital marketing platforms are social media sites and apps, search engines, and video sharing sites.

Social Media

Social media sites are some of the most important digital platforms you can use for marketing.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Messenger

Search Engines

Search engines are a great source of targeted traffic.

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yahoo!
  • Baidu


YouTube is still king, but other video sharing platforms are starting to build out a niche for themselves.

  • YouTube
  • IG TV
  • Facebook Watch
  • TikTok

What Is The Future of Digital Marketing?

Before we can dive into strategies and examples, let's take a step forward. What is the current state of digital marketing, and where is it going?

The future of digital marketing is mobile...

When trying to understand the future of digital marketing, the first thing you have to wrap your head around is the ever-increasing importance of mobile devices.

Time spent on mobile devices alone already exceeds the average time US consumers spend in front of the TV:

Mobile has also become the leading source for search engine visits and searches, making up over 61% of Google searches in Q4 2019:

The future of digital marketing is in advertising...

As a result of the increased usage of mobile devices and the mobile share of search engines and social media usage, the digital advertising landscape has also migrated to mobile from desktop computers:

In 2019, mobile advertising spend was more than double the ad spend on desktop devices.

And with good reason.

New mobile ad products, like Instagram Stories Ads, give your business access to the entire mobile screen and buy you the undivided attention of mobile users.

In the future, as even larger parts of companies’ advertising budgets move to mobile, just increasing your ad spend won’t be enough to drive results.

CPC (cost per click) continues to grow on most channels, inching ever closer to the point where it could be less cost-effective than offline marketing.

But the developments of mobile usage and rising CPCs aren’t the only things that will affect the future of digital marketing.

The future of digital marketing is off your computer...

New digital channels, like smart TVs and digital out of home (DOOH) media like digital billboards, are starting to make waves.

In fact, DOOH advertising spend exceeded traditional billboards in the UK in 2019. And it’s no wonder why.

It’s one of the most exciting new developments within digital media.

With digital billboards, you can show your ads when the crowd’s demographics are most in line with your target audience. For example, you can show your ads when London financial workers in a particular district leave their office.

Simply put, the future of digital marketing is bright.

It will continue to eat up market share from traditional channels and provide exciting new ad products in the years to come.

Why Is Digital Marketing Important?

There are over 4.54 billion internet users, which constitutes almost 60% of the world’s entire population.

That makes the internet one of the most important tools you have for reaching potential customers.

Leaving the rest of digital marketing to the side for now, let's take a snapshot of digital advertising vs. traditional advertising.

Here are just a few of the deficiencies of traditional advertising:

  • You have to commit to a certain budget ahead of time without knowing the results.

  • You cannot show laser-targeted ads only to users who fit a certain profile (and are likely to buy).

  • You cannot personalize ads to show relevant content to different audiences.

  • It is difficult or impossible to adjust an ad campaign that is already running.

And here are just a few of the strengths of digital advertising:

  • You can target users based on their browsing habits, Facebook Likes, and even search history.
  • You can use personalization to show the right ad to the right person.
  • And you can adjust the creative, budget, and targeting in real-time.

These are just a few of the reasons why the top five marketing channels singled out as the “most important” by CMOs are all digital:

Regular TV comes in 6th place, and print, radio, and regular OHH bring in the rear.

It’s clear that if you want to get your marketing message out there in 2020, digital is the way to go.

The 10 Most Popular Digital Marketing Channels

With new connected devices being released every year, there are a plethora of different digital marketing channels available.

In this section, we’ll take a close look at the six largest, most effective, and most important digital channels for your marketing campaigns, and four up-and-coming heavy hitters.

01 - Search Engines (Organic SEO & PPC)

Google processes over 3.5 billion searches every single day and gets 259 million unique visitors in the US alone every month.

And it’s not just people searching for answers to obscure questions or looking for song lyrics or memes. According to Clickz, 62% of eCommerce purchase journeys start with a search engine.

So essentially, unless you want to lose the majority of the world’s population as potential customers, you need to give search engines the attention they deserve.

Ranking content for relevant Google searches is one of the most high-impact marketing efforts you can take in 2020.

It’s the only digital channel where you can jump to the last stage of the buying cycle, by targeting keywords like “tiger king t-shirt large” or other product names.

That makes it integral in driving short-term sales and revenue.

02 - Content Marketing & Blogging

Partly because of the importance of search engines, the vast majority of marketers are actively investing in content marketing and blogging.

Most internet users regularly read blogs, making it one of the most popular content formats on the internet.

Content marketing is effective throughout every stage of the buyer’s journey, but the relevant content type will vary based on the user’s current situation.

For example, let’s imagine that you market an A/B testing tool. A general blog post with generic advice about digital marketing might be useful to create the first interaction with someone who has never heard about your product before.

But that content won’t help you convince users at the bottom of the funnel to choose the product you sell or promote.

Instead, you should highlight the benefits of the product with competitive comparisons (vs. posts) and social proof (customer success stories and testimonials).

03 - Social Media (Paid & Organic)

Across the major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and more, there are over 3.8 billion social media users worldwide in 2020.

In the US alone, there are over 246 million unique social media users, constituting 75% of the total population.

In other words, you can reach the vast majority of your potential customers through social media marketing alone.

Most people think social media is only good for driving brand awareness, but more and more, it’s also becoming a key channel for driving conversions and sales later in the funnel.

Any marketing plan worth its salt includes social media remarketing for nurturing leads and closing customers with special offers and social proof.

04 - Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing channels, with a much higher return on investment (ROI) than other alternatives.

The average ROI is 42$ for every dollar spent across all industries.

Because email marketing is permission-based (the user actually asked to receive the messages) many subscribers look forward to receiving your emails.

This attitude sets the stage and makes email the perfect medium for building relationships, nurturing leads, and closing sales with personalized recommendations and deals.

The other reason for the high return rate is the low cost. You don’t have to pay to distribute ads, but rather have the ongoing software costs of paying for an autoresponder or email marketing solution.

An effective email campaign can help compound the effects of all your other digital marketing efforts.

05 - Display Advertising

The Google Display Network alone includes over 2,000,000 sites, including YouTube and other Google properties, and can reach over 90% of the world’s internet users.

Showing cold display ads to users who are unfamiliar with your company and your products isn’t the most effective approach.

You need a different strategy with this ad format.

The massive reach of display advertising makes it a perfect platform for remarketing to previous website visitors.

While it’s not the most modern or glamorous digital channel, it’s effective if you know how to use it to your advantage.

06 - Video Marketing

85% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, and 99% of marketers who already use it plan to keep using it in 2020.

But why has video become such a popular content format? It’s simple.

Video is more engaging than other digital content formats. Native video gets more engagements than any other format of Facebook posts.

It’s also a great selling tool. Seeing what the product looks like in use or on a person can help alleviate any outstanding doubts, and convince a customer on the fence to finally make the purchase.

Case in point: 80% of video marketers say that video content has directly helped increase sales.

07 - Affiliate Marketing

If you are a long-time reader of our blog, you probably already know a lot about affiliate marketing.

But here’s a quick refresher to help jog your memory:

Affiliate marketing is essentially a referral-based marketing channel. You pay other digital marketers to promote your products or services on their own platforms and channels on a performance-based basis.

For example, Amazon has an affiliate program known as Amazon Associates. If you recommend an Amazon product to your blog readers or YouTube subscribers, and some of them click your unique affiliate link (a link with your user ID), Amazon will pay you between 1-10% of total sales revenue, depending on the product in question.

86% of online publishers use affiliate marketing to get additional revenue. That means almost every website you visit is likely to feature affiliate links in its content.

Amazon’s affiliate program is a key source of income for almost all product review and comparison websites and YouTube unboxing channels.

08 - SMS Marketing

SMS marketing is another form of “permission marketing” like email, where you earn the prospective customer’s consent to send them promotional text messages.

But unlike email, SMS is a much younger medium for marketing, and SMS inboxes are much less likely to be drowning in promotional messages or having a lot of unread messages.

While ZipWhip reports that consumers have 96 unread personal emails in their inbox, on average, for SMS that number drops to 0.5.

They state that 68% of businesses already use texting in some form during the marketing and sales process.

Of course, it’s not a good idea to overuse SMS messages, as you risk alienating loyal customers.

09 - Web Push Notifications

Chances are, you’ve already seen a dialogue box like this pop up when you’re browsing the web:

Clicking yes will allow the website owner to send push notifications directly to your web browser application. (It works on mobile devices as well as for desktop computers.

That makes push another permission channel, only possible to use after someone has already visited and interacted with your website.

In 2019, 85% of online stores used web push notifications, and it’s easy to understand why, when it has 80% deliverability, on average.

You can use it to promote your latest blog posts or special offers to a targeted audience of your previous website visitors.

10 - Facebook Messenger Marketing

In 2019, Facebook Messenger had over 109 million active users in the US alone. That makes it a major digital channel in itself.

But you can’t go around just spamming random people on messenger. You have to ask for permission.

Once they do signup, the results are outstanding.

Facebook Messenger campaigns can see open rates of up to 88% and click-through rates of up to 56%.

Just imagine how effective your marketing activities would be if you had those numbers across all channels.

Note: In response to the growing number of marketers using Messenger, Facebook has introduced a promotional folder in the app, but the open rates are still significantly higher than email.

Which Is The Most Popular Digital Marketing Channel?

Search is by far the most popular digital marketing channel among marketers.

With the ability to easily target interested buyers by keywords and search phrases, it comes as no surprise that over 93% of surveyed marketers spend money on search engines through PPC advertising.

In second place with 83% is social media, because of its wide reach and unmatched mobile ad formats.

What Is The Most Effective Digital Marketing Channel?

82% of surveyed marketers singled out an email as the most effective channel for reaching prospective customers with marketing content.

Because the leads you contact through email marketing have qualified themselves as interested prospects by signing up for an offer or to your newsletter, a larger percentage of them will be interested in your offers by default.

You can also reach the same users with promotional messages over the long term, and adjust your approach based on how they interact with your emails.

It’s no wonder why marketers highlight it as being the best way to communicate with prospective customers.

Which Digital Channels Will Still Be Around In 10 Years?

Consumers are convinced that most major digital channels will still be around in 10 years, but email has been singled out as a channel with staying power by 70% of consumers.

People have less faith in Snapchat, and even Twitter barely crosses the 60% mark.

3 Lesser-Known Digital Marketing Channels

In this section, we’ll focus on three promising digital marketing channels that you might not have heard about, much less invested in.

If you’re already using other digital channels to their limits, you might want to give one of these a try to expand your reach even further.

Digital Out Of Home (DOOH)

DOOH, also known as digital billboards and digital signage, is a growing digital channel.

21% of all billboards in the US are now digital, and in the UK DOOH represented 50.1% of all outdoor marketing spend in 2019.

What makes it such an improvement over static advertising, is that it makes smaller-scale campaigns possible — and offers more options and new functionality.

For example, you can create engaging, interactive experiences that potential customers can enjoy while waiting for the bus, like in the image above.

Facial recognition technology can be used to measure the mood impact of an ad, which can be a great asset to the marketer for evaluating brand awareness impact in real-time.

DOOH is an exciting channel to watch over the coming years, and if you’re looking for new ways to increase brand awareness, it might be just the channel for you.

Smart TV & OTT

The advent of smart TVs that are connected to the internet has given birth to a new digital advertising channel: OTT.

OTT stands for over the top, and in this case refers to streaming services that are provided over the internet, rather than cable or satellite TV.

There was a 127% increase in OTT ad spend in 2019, including 33% new advertisers joining the platform.

What makes OTT better than regular TV ads, is that you can target very specific audiences, similar to social media ads.

You can target them based on not just the time and the program they are watching, but based on their history, age, address, and more.

Podcast & Online Radio Advertising

With analog radio on a downward turn, you might think that audio-only advertising is on the way out.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Podcasting, the internet’s answer to the radio, has taken the world by storm over the past few years. Plus, many major radio stations have made the move online as well.

As a result, 169 million Americans, around 60% of the US population, listen to online audio weekly. On average, they listen to 15 hours and 12 minutes of audio every week.

Edison Research also states that 28% of US consumers now listen to primarily podcasts in their car. The growing audience of podcast listeners and the growing number of podcasts shows no sign of slowing down.

The podcasting advertising market grew 42% in 2019 and is predicted to grow to $1 billion in the US alone by 2021.

By choosing the right podcast, you can enjoy an intimate introduction to an audience that is highly likely to be interested in your product or service.

Different Types Of Digital Marketing

There are many different digital marketing tactics you can use on different channels and platforms.

To make it easier to digest, we’ve separated the marketing approaches by channel and whether it is paid or organic.

Search Engines

We already covered why search engines are such an important channel, and now you will learn the digital marketing approaches you can use to attract as many visitors and potential customers from search engines as possible.

Organic: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the organic approach to getting traffic from search engines.

41.45% of all Google searches end in an organic click, whereas 49% end in no click at all. Ads only get clicked 3.58% of the time, making organic search results a much more powerful marketing tool for your business.

By producing high-quality, keyword-rich, relevant content for your target audience, constantly optimizing your site speed and structure, and building backlinks, you can get thousands of targeted visitors from Google without ever paying a dime.

A good place to start is to develop an SEO Keyword strategy so you can start ranking your content.

Paid: Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

While users are less likely to click ads than the organic search results, ranking in the SERPs organically can take a long time.

With PPC, you can immediately show up at the top of the page for relevant keywords and search terms.

If you want to get started, all you have to do is sign up for a free Google Ads (previously Google AdWords) account.

And because it’s so easy to target the right audience, most consumers find Google Search Ads helpful rather than disruptive.

z75% of users said PPC ads made it easier to find the information they were looking for.

Search engine marketing can help you deliver the right offer to the right customer at the right time — a win-win situation.

And even if a user doesn’t click, you will get a brand awareness lift by showing up for relevant searches — and you only pay for clicks.

Social Media

With a wide variety of platforms, content formats, and tools, there are a lot of different approaches to social media.

By using a variety of different social media channels and marketing tactics, you set yourself up for success.

Organic: Posting & Sharing Content

But just creating a page for your business isn’t enough.

The potential reach of organic social media pages has gone down significantly in recent years.

You may only reach a few percent of your followers by posting on a Facebook page today.

It can still be an effective way to nurture an existing audience, but you need to take the right approach.

Instead of spammy posts like factoids about your business or product, you need to create posts that speak to the core values of your company that your customers share.

You can share inspiring customer stories, showcase how you give back to your community or give away free advice.

Organic: Communities & Group

Rather than focusing on a social media page, which is a one way street of communication, it can be much more effective to create an online community for your users to interact with you and each other.

One of the best ways to set this up is to establish a Facebook group. Even with much lower numbers, Facebook groups tend to have much higher engagement, leading to a lot more visits and lower bounce rates.

Organic: Social Video

Using video on social media is a must if you want to succeed in 2020 and beyond. With IG TV and Facebook Watch and Twitter’s video support, there’s native video on every major social media platform.

And that’s not all. Video is the consumer’s favorite type of branded content on social media, by far.

45% prefer video, while only 22% selected photos, the runner up.

Organic: Reddit & Quora Marketing

Reddit is another sizable social media platform you can’t afford to ignore.

But what makes it a special target for social media marketers, is that those users categorize themselves into subreddits based on their interests and careers, making it easy to find and engage with your target audience.

There are over 130,000 active subreddit communities in 2020. Instead of creating your own community from scratch, you can take advantage of large, thriving groups that already exist.

Paid: Social Media Advertising

If you don’t want to invest the time and creative effort to build an audience organically, the fastest way to reach your target customers on social media is to simply advertise.

You still have to put effort into your creativity and messaging, but you don’t need to hustle for followers, you can just pay for clicks and conversions instead.

The average cost per click cost of Facebook Ads is $1.72 across all industries, and you have the potential to reach 1.66 billion daily active users.

Paid: Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is when you pay a social media user with a significant number of followers to promote your product or service.

Because they have an existing following, you don’t have to invest months or years of posting, engaging, and hustling to reach an interested audience.

Influencer marketing drivers on average $11 in revenue for every $1 spent, which makes it one of the highest ROI marketing channels after email marketing.

Email Marketing

Like we already covered in the channel section, email marketing has perhaps the highest ROI of any digital marketing channel.

But if you don’t follow the right approach, you won’t be able to generate results.

Drip Campaigns

A drip campaign is basically an email campaign divided into multiple stages. Typically, you send an initial welcome email, and then a series of follow-up emails designed to deliver value to your prospect, as well as familiarize them with your product or service.

Cart Abandonment Email

A cart abandonment email is an email that is sent to a potential customer after they abandon a shopping cart on your eCommerce site.

Cart abandonment emails have an average conversion rate of 15.11% and can save a significant portion of potentially lost revenue.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is another form of organic digital marketing where you use a variety of channels to distribute your content.


Blogging is one of the oldest forms of content marketing, and it’s still one of the most popular.

Just on WordPress-powered blogs alone, more than 77 million blog posts are posted every single month.

Organic YouTube Videos

Organic YouTube videos can be a great way of interacting with your audience, as GoPro is a great example of.

70% of marketers consider YouTube a critically strategic important social media channel, and with good reason.

If you can make something visually appealing with your product, that’s what you should film and upload to YouTube, not just product introductions or lectures.


Podcasting is another potential channel for you to repackage and redistribute your content.

By going into an audio format, you can also tackle other content formats, like long-form expert interviews, without having to transcribe thousands of words of text.

Over 90 million US consumers listen to podcasts every month, the majority of which listens to podcasts in their car.

This makes podcasting the perfect medium for building relationships with professionals who commute to and from work.

Display Advertising

The display advertising channel has changed a lot over recent years as mobile becomes more and more prevalent.

Website Display Ads

The most typical form of display advertising is an image or image and text-based ad placement on websites browsed on either mobile or desktops.

Since Google Ads and other major display ad publishers now offer responsive formats, the size and position of the ad placement will change based on the user’s device and screen size.

In-App Ads

Do you want to show marketing messages to users who are in other mobile apps? That’s exactly what in-app ads will let you do.

In-app interstitial ads are another part of display advertising on mobile devices. You can target app placements in the Google display networks, but you can also use specific in-app ad networks like InMobi and Unity Ads.

Spending on in-app ads is expected to reach $201 billion per year by the end of 2021.

Video Marketing

While video marketing is expensive and challenging, and usually requires its own marketing strategy, for the most part, it relies on the same old digital platforms; Google Ads & Facebook Ads.

Video Ads

Video ads are not just limited to YouTube, they are also available on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and more.

One thing to note is that the most powerful video ad formats on mobile devices tend to be full-screen story ads.

A Pepsico story video campaign achieved a 14% sales lift among the audience that saw the ad, versus the average 6% sales lift of their TV campaigns.

Organic Social Video: YouTube, Facebook Watch, Tik Tok

YouTube is still the largest video-sharing platform, but it’s getting some competition from Facebook Watch, Tik Tok, and other platforms.

If you can match your strategy and creative to the channel, you can get traction with video without paying for impressions.

Just take a look at this smart Tik Tok video from Chipotle:

They understand that Tik Tok started as mostly a lip-syncing platform, and let them inspire them to create a fun take on Adele’s live “Someone Like You” performance featuring their products in the process.

SMS Marketing

As the smartphone plays a bigger and bigger role in our lives, SMS has become an important marketing tool.

Scheduling Meetings

A whopping 70% of consumers prefer SMS when scheduling appointments, meetings, or sales calls.

Because unlike with email, most consumers actively check their SMS inbox at all times and answer quickly, it’s a much more efficient way of ironing out the details than waiting for email responses.

General Promotional Messages

Many companies hesitate to send promotional messages and rather focus on using SMS for notifications to keep their customers in the loop.

But surprisingly, the majority of customers would rather get promotions through SMS, and receive notifications and billing confirmations through email alone.


Remarketing is a specific form for digital display and social media advertising where you specifically target users who have already visited your website or engaged with your social media campaigns.

Efficiently implementing retargeting can improve your conversion rates by up to 144%. To see an increase like this, you need to match the product to the prospect.

If you only show users a product they’ve already visited the page for and considered purchasing, you will see much better results than if you just promote a single static remarketing ad.

Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy That Works

When developing a digital marketing plan or strategy, you need to consider not just the platforms you want to use and your goals, but also your target audience and your existing customer base,

Before you can turn someone from a random internet user into a customer, you need to understand what makes them tick.

Understand Your Target Customers and The Buyer’s Journey

Before you choose a picture or write a line of ad copy for an advertisement, you need to understand the audience you are about to show your ad to.

  • What are their interests, hobbies, and passions?
  • Where do they like to hang out online?
  • What other brands do they follow on social media already?

These are just a few of the questions you need to answer when creating a target persona or customer profile to guide your marketing efforts.

But beyond the basics, there is something else you must figure out to effectively market on digital channels. You must know which stage of the buyer’s journey they are currently in.

Most marketers divide the buyer’s journey into 3-7 stages, depending on how complex or simple they want the explanation to be.

Dividing it up into five stages is perhaps the most useful model from a digital marketing perspective.

When you target customers with a campaign, you need to have an idea of whether they are in the research or comparison stage, or if they are already ready to buy.

Sure, targeting someone based on their interests might lead you to think that they are already interested in a solution to their problems, but that’s probably not the case.

Combine Multiple Channels to Create a Reliable Marketing Funnel

To create a successful campaign, you must combine the different marketing channels and tactics with each stage of the buyer’s journey that matches up best.

We’ve outlined the basics in the graphic above, but let’s cover it in a little more detail.

Awareness: Drive Targeted Traffic

  • SEO: Target early stage keywords to drive top-of-the-funnel traffic

  • Content Marketing: Write informational content about general concepts in your industry. Interview experts for your podcasts.

  • Organic Social Media: Maintain an active social media presence.

Consideration: Re-Engage Visitors & Catch Searchers Mid-funnel

  • SEO: Target middle of the funnel keywords like “best workout apps” or “X product vs. X product.”

  • Content Marketing: Write comparative posts and explore your product in-depth.

  • Organic Social Media: Showcase your product in use or share more in-depth video content.

  • PPC: Target middle of the funnel keywords and competitor brand names.

  • Display Ads & Social Media Ads: Retarget previous visitors with relevant blog content based on their history.

Conversion: Use Social Proof to Close the Deal

  • SEO & PPC: Target product names and other late-stage keywords.
  • Content Marketing: Write case studies and offer white papers and guides as lead magnets.
  • Organic Social Media: Share customer success stories on your social media pages, and answer any questions in DMs.
  • Social Media Ads: Retarget previous product page visitors with product videos or video testimonials from customers or other social proof.
  • Display Ads: Retarget previous product page visitors with special offers or success stories.
  • Email Marketing: Nurture leads with a drip campaign and convert them with a special offer, and recapture abandoned carts with emails.

Nurturing: Help your customers succeed

  • Email: Send welcome, onboarding, and customer success emails. (For example, tips on how to use your product.)

  • Organic Social Media: Engage with your customers through dedicated Facebook Groups or other online communities. (For example, a private coaching group for confirmed customers.)

Expansion: Personalize the Upsell Messages

  • Email: Send personalized offers based on user activity. (For example, the product categories they browsed, or previous purchases.)

  • Social & Display Ads: Show ads with personalized offers based on user activity. (For example, product page visits.)

Use Email Marketing to Nurture & Convert

Although we covered it in the funnel, it’s too important to skimp on information.

Email marketing has much higher engagement rates than typical display or social media campaigns, much higher than even remarketing campaigns.

The average open rate is 22.71% for all industries, and 2.91% click-through rate, and that’s including email marketers that ignore best practices.

With email segmentation, you get 14.31% more opens and 100.95% more clicks than with non-segmented campaigns.

Just imagine a social advertising campaign where over 25% engaged with your ad, and almost 6% clicked through on the link.

And you don’t even need to pay for each impression like with an ad campaign.

It’s no wonder that email marketing pays for itself many times over.

Use emails to welcome your customers, help them use your products, get to know your values, and finally, recommend further, relevant products at the right time.

Make sure that you include email marketing as part of your overall marketing mix, or you will struggle to drive consistently positive ROI over the long term.

5 Inspirational Digital Marketing Examples

The best way to learn the possibilities of different digital channels is to examine success stories.

Here we’ll dissect five next-level examples of digital marketing.

GoPro’s YouTube Marketing

Their most popular video has over 124 million views.

What else is there to say?

With 8.79 million subscribers and almost 2.5 billion total video views, they are one of the biggest YouTube success stories among consumer product companies.

But what made them so successful?

Instead of promoting their products with boring product videos and talking about their features, they instead show what is possible with their product.

Do you like mountain biking and want to share the joy with your friends? With a GoPro, you can easily film your adventures and share them.

It’s a textbook copywriting move; benefits over features.

They’ve managed to successfully ally themselves with extreme sports with a visual, natural aspect, and deliver thrilling video experiences to their audience while promoting their cameras.

Amazon’s Email Marketing & Personalization for eCommerce

Amazon is a great example of integrating data and offering personalized marketing emails and messages across marketing channels.

When you finish a book on an Amazon Kindle, Amazon will send you personalized recommendations based on the book you just finished reading.

On the surface, this might not seem as sexy or business-changing as GoPro’s YouTube strategy.

But hang on.

What could be more advanced than having the opportunity to sell another product to an existing customer, right when they run out?

This might be difficult to put into practice as a small business or solo affiliate marketer, but you can learn from the principle.

Do you market consumer products like makeup or skincare products? How long do they typically last?

By creating a custom audience of previous customers of certain products, you can automatically send them a special offer for a refill when they’re likely starting to run out of the original product.

Amazon also sends other types of personalized marketing messages, based on your product browsing history.

Create email segments based on how customers interact with your online store, or blog, to get better results on all your email campaigns.

Squarespace’s Collaboration & Creativity on Instagram

Squarespace has done a great job of tackling a highly visual social media platform as a SaaS company.

Instead of showing the ins and outs of their page builder, or highlighting boring statistics or features, they collaborate with their customers to show how the finished product can look in as many ways as possible.

From professional photographers to small businesses, they’re able to appeal to a broad target market and sell without selling.

Again, they are showing the results, the benefits, not the features. Plus, they are collaborating with creators who already have an existing social media presence, at the same time.

If you want to get started on Instagram in 2020, take notice.

Lucky Charms’ St. Patrick’s Day Snapchat Campaign

Last year during Lucky Charms’ marketing team decided they wanted to do something special for St. Patrick’s Day.

Of course, as the token “Irish” cereal, the compatibility is already there, no matter what they decided to do.

But instead of a funny image post or video on Twitter and other social media, they decided to go all out to engage with a younger audience.

They created a gamified Snapchat filter to promote their new cereal “Magical Unicorns.” In the game, two Snapchat friends compete to eat the highest number of marshmallows.

Over the course of the campaign, they reached over 32 million unique Snapchat users, with an earned reach of 12 million users installing the filter game organically as a result of a whopping 6% share rate, 3x the average rate for filters.

Since Snapchat filters are interactive by nature, it can be a great way to get “double your money” on a branding campaign, since anyone who uses the filter will share it with at least one friend.

While you might not have the marketing budget to get a game developed, you can learn from the principle.

What is a strategy you can take to incentivize sharing the post with their friends?

Making use of nostalgia or humor can often be enough, as those emotions are best enjoyed when shared.

Ford’s Mustang Instagram Story Ads

Snapchat and later Instagram stories revolutionized visuals on mobile devices and made portrait the format of choice.

With a set of sleek, fast-paced videos, Ford was able to market the new Mustang perfectly with Instagram Story Ads.

Beyond the striking visuals and the smooth transitions, there’s nothing innovative about this ad campaign.

And it just goes to show, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to do effective marketing.

Digital Marketing Best Practices in 2020

If you want to create a successful marketing campaign in 2020, you need to follow the best practices outlined below.

Optimize Your Website, Landing Pages, CTAs and Images for Mobile

When over 52.3% of all website traffic worldwide is from mobiles, you can safely assume at least half of the traffic you generate from digital marketing will be smartphone users.

With the high mobile share of both search engine and social media usage, you might even be looking at much higher mobile traffic, depending on your industry.

So you need to optimize your website, blog, landing pages, images, and CTAs so they render properly on a mobile screen.

You can use the Google mobile-friendly test to see if your website stacks up.

Then you should use Chrome Developer Tools to actually test how your site will look on different screens.

Carefully Target Your Audience Considering All Factors

When creating your first PPC campaigns, you need to carefully target relevant exact match or phrase match keywords. Throwing together a campaign around a handful of broad keywords won’t lead to good results.

For social media campaigns, make sure you consider the interests and passions of your target audience. You can also use Facebook Audience Insights to get insights about what your Facebook page followers are interested in other than your products.

Then you can use those insights to better target potential customers with your Facebook and Instagram campaigns.

If you want to target high-income individuals, you can even use direct mail strategies like targeting specific neighborhoods that typically have a lot of executives or other high rollers.

Use More Video Content

95% of video marketers plan to increase or maintain their existing spend on video marketing in 2020.

Let that sink in for a minute.

That means virtually every single marketer who has tried video is convinced that it works.

If you haven’t started investing in video, you need to get on board the hype train and start learning.

Video is one of the most important tools for digital marketers going forward, and mastering the format can help you succeed on multiple channels — both free and paid.

Always Use Conversion Tracking

It doesn’t matter how low your ad spend is. If you don’t set up conversion tracking — either through website analytics or the ad platform’s tracking pixels.

Not having any conversion tracking is like trying to navigate a ship through treacherous waters with your eyes closed.

When you spend on marketing without it, you have no way of knowing which keywords, ads, and campaigns are driving conversions and sales for your business.

Vanity metrics like clicks or likes don’t tell the full story. Make sure you track conversions and sales revenue.

Personalize Your Campaigns

Personalization might sound like a useless buzzword, but when done right, it can completely transform the results of your campaigns.

Think about it.

If you interact with a salesperson, how would you react if he acted as if he’d completely forgotten about your last encounter?

Relevant recommendations, ads, and promotional offers based on a customer’s browsing and purchase history are essential for success in 2020.

Install Website Analytics

Google Analytics, one of the most powerful analytics suites available today is 100% free to use.

If you aren’t currently using any dedicated analytics solutions, what’s your excuse?

Even if you don’t want to share your website traffic data with Google, you can use open-source solutions that help you monitor traffic sources and conversion events.

Integrate Your CRM and Marketing Tools With Your Analytics

For immediate eCommerce sales and affiliate link clicks, basic event and conversion tracking will show you which channels and campaigns are driving results.

But if you sell, or promote, expensive products with a longer sales cycle, it can be hard to see the whole picture. Integrating your analytics with your CRM can help you trace all generated revenue back to its source.

If you use leads and email marketing as a way to market your own digital or affiliate products, you should also integrate your email marketing tool to share data.

Use an Omnichannel Approach, not Multi-Channel

They might sound like the same thing, but they couldn’t be more different.

A multi-channel approach to marketing means you have several disjointed campaigns on different channels with no overall strategy.

An omnichannel campaign plays off the strengths and weaknesses of each channel to drive better results at every stage of the customer’s journey.

When marketers use 3 or more channels together in an effective way, they achieve 287% higher purchase rates, on average.

Don’t Write Only for the Robots — Remember Your Customers are Human

When you first get started with SEO writing, it’s easy to get lost in the concept of “writing for Google,” trying to squeeze as many topics and semantic keywords into a single page as possible.

You might even be churning out low-quality, unoriginal content at a high pace, hoping to get search engine traffic.

But if you want to succeed with SEO and content marketing, you can never forget who your actual customers are.

Google’s crawlers might decide to rank your content, but if your visitors don’t enjoy your content, and leave quickly, you’re not going to build any meaningful relationships.

To make matters worse, through the dwell time ranking factor, if the majority of your users leave your site quickly, it will impact your Google rankings negatively as well.

So never forget that you should write mainly for your human potential customers while covering SEO basics like keyword research and header keyword usage.

Always Track, Test, and Improve

It’s enough to just install analytics or conversion tracking.

It won’t accomplish anything unless you use the data.

So schedule weekly sessions to analyze and evaluate the performance of your different channels and campaigns.

If you notice that a particular channel is driving a lot of your conversions and revenue, you should invest more in that channel.

If you notice that some campaigns are starting to drop in performance, it might be time to renew the creative or check for new-and-better competing offers.

The design and content of your website and landing pages are also crucial factors in the success of your campaigns.

To make the most of your paid and organic campaigns, you should use A/B testing to ensure that you’ve created the optimal experience for your target audience.

A single A/B test could help increase your conversion rate by 69% or more. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) can help you drive even better results from all your marketing campaigns over the long term.

If you want to learn more about advanced digital marketing strategies and you prefer to turn physical pages rather than scroll, you should check out our list of 25+ digital marketing books.

Digital Marketing Tools

One of the inherent advantages of digital channels over traditional media is that they are connected to the internet by default.

That means you can easily use and integrate a variety of useful tools and SaaS apps to help you manage your campaigns and deliver better results.


Trying to do SEO without any tools would be like deciding to chop down a tree with your bare hands.

An impossible task.

There are a number of great SEO solutions out there, but only a few options that any beginner can take up and begin seeing better results with:

  • SEMrush: A complete SEO solution and also includes a thorough Display Advertising database.
  • Ahrefs: A complete SEO solution with a content explorer and other unique features.
  • Moz: A leading SEO and analytics suite designed to help you succeed on Google.
  • Google Keyword Planner: Free option for basic keyword research.

Content Marketing

If you want to succeed in content marketing, you need to be aware of a large number of different factors:

  • What content is likely to get shared?
  • What topics should I cover when writing about X?
  • How can I best reach my audience?

The right tools can help you answer these questions.

  • BuzzSumo indexes and ranks content based on shareability.
  • MarketMuse checks competing search engine results and highlights relevant topics and keywords.

Email Marketing

To succeed with email marketing, you need a few different tools.

First off, you need something to help you convince people to sign up to receive your emails.

  • OptinMonster is a great tool to create exit popups and hovering lead capture forms.
  • Sumo is a 100% free lead capture tool with an available WordPress plugin.

Then, you need an autoresponder, or email marketing platform, to help you send personalized marketing messages to your subscribers at scale.

  • Aweber is our recommendation, with segmentation, eCommerce integrations, and more starting at just $19 per month.

Analytics & A/B Testing

For general website tracking and data analysis, it’s hard to imagine how you could go wrong with Google Analytics.

It’s a full-featured analytics platform with events management, source tracking, user flow reports, and it’s 100% free.

What more could you ask for?

On the A/B testing side of things, you have a lot more options to consider.

  • Sumo offers A/B testing as part of its premium solution.
  • Hotjar is an A/B testing solution that offers full-fledged analytics, including heatmaps.
  • VWO is another split testing platform that also offers analytics, user insights, user testing, and more.

Social Media

With all the different social media platforms, it can be difficult to keep up with daily or weekly posts and mentions and direct messages from your customers and followers.

With the right tools, that all becomes a lot easier, even as a one-man team.

  • Hootsuite: A complete social media solution with analytics, listening, publishing, and team management tools.
  • Buffer: Offers two separate products, one for analytics, and one for more efficient publishing.
  • Sprout Social: A social media platform with analytics, listening, engagement, and publishing tools.
  • Facebook Audience Insights: Get to know your existing Facebook page audience, and use the insights for better targeted FB and Instagram campaigns.


With the advent of new devices and platforms, it might seem like digital marketing has become as complex and difficult a landscape to navigate as traditional marketing.

But that's not the case. Unlike traditional marketing, the people, companies, and tools which make it so powerful are also invested in making it easier.

If you get to know your target audience and use the right channels and tactics to appeal to them at each stage in the buying cycle, you can create a repeatable digital strategy and funnel that will drive great results over the long term.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the 3 types of digital media?

The three different types of digital media are owned media, earned media, and paid media.

Owned media could be your website or YouTube channel. Earned media is unsolicited attention, the social media mentions, or blog posts about your product. Paid media are the ads you pay for.

What are the challenges of creating a digital marketing strategy?

The main challenge with creating a digital marketing strategy is finding the appropriate media mix for your target audience.

If you can figure that out at an early stage, you can launch a digital campaign without ever wasting a single penny.

Why should you include social media marketing in your digital marketing campaign?

Social media marketing is an essential part of a digital marketing campaign because it’s one of the most efficient ways to reach your target audience.

You can target users based on their interests and passions, or even users who have already visited your site or interacted with your posts or videos.

Who provides the digital marketing certification by Google?

The digital marketing certification is a part of Google’s Learn Digital (previously Academy for Ads) marketing education platform.

You can get certified after passing a 40-question quiz after taking their course on digital marketing.

What kinds of services do digital marketing agencies offer?

Digital marketing agencies offer everything from creative direction, branding, and website design, to hands-on management of social media, PPC, and digital video campaigns.

How does mobile marketing fit into your digital marketing strategy?

In 2020, there is no digital marketing strategy without mobile, as 77% of total digital minutes from US consumers come from mobile devices.

The best way to reach an audience through digital channels is by focusing on mobile devices.

Why do you need a digital channel strategy?

You need a digital channel strategy to maximize the results of your marketing campaigns and grow your business.

And different channels are suitable for different stages in the buyer’s journey. For example, PPC can target users right before they buy a product like yours, like intercepting a user in a store. But with social media, the vast majority of the users aren’t immediately interested in buying a product, so you have to use a different approach.

How can a brand articulate a purpose with digital marketing?

Your brand can articulate a purpose with digital marketing by outlining a clear purpose to your target customers in your content marketing and overall digital strategy.

For example, you could share stories of how you are giving back to your community on social media or interview your CEO and showcase the interview on your blog and in a newsletter.

Where do you start if you want to develop a digital marketing strategy?

When you want to develop a marketing strategy of any kind, you have to start with the customer.

What does your ideal customer look like? Where do they hang out online? What is their favorite social media platform? What kind of content do they like? What are their favorite brands to follow?

These are just a few of the questions you should answer before moving on to the nitty-gritty planning and outlining of strategy. Once you have an idea of who they are and where they are, you can start reaching them with appropriate messaging delivered on the right platforms in the right format.