Strengths and Weaknesses of Digital Marketing Channels
Every marketing channel has strengths and weaknesses that make it more suitable for certain campaigns. Which would work best for your organisation? Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each digital marketing channel allows you to choose the best option and can help get a headstart in kickstarting successful digital marketing campaigns for your business.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Digital Marketing
Let’s begin with weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of doing digital marketing itself. You may be wondering whether or not to invest in digital marketing, rather than say focusing on more traditional methods or letting good old word-of-mouth do its thing. Let’s be clear – the world is becoming more and more digital, meaning that digital marketing is becoming essential. However, there may be some cases where it’s not the right time for you and we’ll try and highlight these here.
- Almost everyone uses the internet, so there’s a lot of potential for reaching customers
- There are many, many channels to reach audiences
- Very easy to target smaller niches or groups of people
- Access to data on user behaviour to understand customers better
- Offers both cost-effective options and larger budget options
- Readily available data allows for science-like testing and campaign monitoring
- In most cases it requires a decent amount of technical expertise to do it well
- Because it evolves so fast, you need to keep up-to-date on trends
- In competitive niches, it can be hard to break in as a smaller company
- Doing marketing for one channel well sometimes requires doing other channels too (e.g. SEO needs content)
- It’s something you need to continuously work on/invest in
Digital marketing has some cons but it’s mainly pros. Because basically everything is digital now, it means that the potential for reaching customers is huge. It also offers tonnes of options, such as social media, SEO, content, email, and many more. Because it is digital it means that data is readily available which makes testing, targeting and learning much faster. On the disadvantages side for digital marketing is that it essentially requires either money or time and effort (albeit you need these for traditional options too). Because digital marketing evolves so quickly, it can be hard to keep up too, so if the will to learn and change isn’t there, it may not be the right option.
More info here about our multi-channel digital marketing offering.
Website Design & Branding: Strengths and Weaknesses
First is website design, branding and site content. It’s perhaps not always considered digital marketing, but we include it as it’s the foundation for everything else you do. If your website doesn’t look good or is slow, it will impact all of your other marketing efforts. Your website and content should be designed and curated in such a way that it attracts potential customers and makes them enjoy the experience of interacting with your business. Your brand should be consistent, your website fast and user-friendly.
- A good looking website builds trust and excites potential customers
- Improving your website impacts all other marketing channels positively
- Having a clear brand makes creating content and doing social much easier
- Fast websites impact other channels such as adwords and SEO
- Having good UX (user experience) makes it more likely users will convert
- It’s a big one-time cost to do a website redesign
- It doesn’t do any work on its own – a pretty website that no one sees won’t bring customers
- Doing site redesign requires multiple expertise including branding, design, content, web dev and SEO
- If it’s a big/old site, then redesigns can get complicated (and technical)
The advantages of website design and branding mainly come down to the fact that they impact so many of your other marketing efforts. So doing this once can mean big impacts on the other work you do, which is a great advantage. Good design and branding helps basically all channels, and website speed and UX directly improves SEO and paid search campaigns. On the flip side, it can be a big investment to get these done and it doesn’t work to just do this on its own. If you only redesign your website it’ll have no real impact, because you need the other channels to go out and reach people. It also requires multiple skill sets to get it done right.
Find out a bit more about our design and brand work here.
Content Marketing: Strengths and Weaknesses
Content marketing is different from the other channels in that they all kind of depend on it. SEO needs content, social needs content, email needs content. There are many forms of content marketing, from blog posts, to email courses, to video content so it’s important to choose which is best for you.
- Easy to set up with not many technical skills required
- Is necessary for many channels – SEO, social, email
- Comes in many forms, such as video, written, infographic, images, podcast
- It’s a great way to show your customers who you are as a company
- Generally improves SEO
- It’s something you can begin for free (doesn’t require an advertising budget)
- Easy to track and measure performance
- Great for building brand awareness, storytelling, sharing your vision, and becoming a knowledge source
- Creating regular, relevant content can take up a lot of time
- Can require a lot of planning and management of resources, such as writers
- Ensuring the quality of content is consistent can be a challenge
- Doing it well requires a lot of strategy, planning and testing
- It’s generally not something that directly brings customers on its own, works better as a long-term “assister”
The advantages of content marketing are that it’s something you can get started on without too many skills or too much budget. It’s something you can do in a variety of formats and on a variety of channels, so almost certainly there’ll be a format that suits your company. The disadvantages are that when trying to execute properly, it requires a lot of strategy, planning and testing. It also tends to be a longer game which assists other channels.
Info about our content marketing is this way.
Email marketing: Strengths and Weaknesses
Email marketing generally involves sending emails to a database of potential customers, including newsletters, special offers, or other information they might find useful to generate interest. You can capture emails from your website with signup forms and then once you have those, stay in touch through regular outreach. You can also segment your email database into personas, and build automated sequences to free up time.
- Cost-effective (costs no money) to build relationships with leads or customers by sharing useful information
- Very customisable so customers can be offered offers targeted specifically at them
- Quick and easy to create and send
- Automations can be used to achieve a lot with very little time
- Can help to nurture leads down the funnel
- In-depth analytics to measure performance
- Can take time to build a relevant email database
- Spam filters may block certain emails
- Can be annoying if sent too frequently
- Many people unsubscribe or simply ignore marketing emails
Email marketing is a great option to go for if you’re looking for something easy and cost-effective. If you have good customer research (persona information) it can be an amazing way to feed targeted content to people at the right point in their buying journey. However, it requires that you build an email database which can take time and effort in other channels to do so. Moreover, a lot of people simply ignore marketing emails, so conversion rates aren’t super high.
Social Media Marketing: Strengths and Weaknesses
Social media marketing involves using social to build and audience and engage with them. Some options are posting content on social media accounts and groups, paid advertising on social media platforms and engaging with other groups in your field of expertise.
- Can be very affordable due to free interaction and low paid promotion costs
- Content published is immediately seen by your customers
- Can help to create an audience for your blogs
- Targeting for your brand’s ads can be very specific
- Real-time feedback and interaction with customers
- Increased brand loyalty through active online presence
- High return on investment
- Growing and maintaining an online following can be time-consuming
- Generally requires a good amount of visual content and requires regular posting
- Constantly changing algorithms of social media platforms can affect your reach
- Risk of negative publicity, criticism, and scammers
- ROI is not immediate
Social media marketing is a channel that offers lots of ways to do marketing. It can be low cost and offers the ability to get to know your audience more. The targeting offered and low advertising costs means it can provide high ROI. On the cons side is that growing an audience is hard and takes a lot of time. You need to give the people what they want (and find them first) which is a lot of effort and constant commitment to keep up with.
Our social media marketing service can be found here.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Strengths and Weaknesses
Search engine optimisation means creating online visibility for your organisation by optimising a website in such a way that it achieves the top spot in online search results. In a nutshell, making your site appear higher in Google results. It uses a wide range of tactics, but generally involves improving technical functioning of your site, having good keyword-targeted content and building links.
- Gains in SEO generally last for a long-time
- Creates continuous flow of traffic to your site
- Traffic tends to be very relevant to your business
- Can be very cost-effective
- Higher long-term returns than traditional marketing
- Helps establish you as an authority or influencer in your field
- May take a long time to grow, no instant results
- No control over ranking algorithm changes
- Can become costly in competitive niches
- Potential penalties when search engine rules are accidentally broken
SEO is a great option for those that want to build a steady and lasting impact over time. The traffic tends to be very relevant, and once it’s built you generally don’t need to do much to keep it there (unless the competition ups their game). The downsides are that it does take time to build (at least 6-12 months) and you do need to keep up-to-date on search engine algorithm changes to make the most of it.
Learn a bit about what we do for SEO here.
Paid Search: Strengths and Weaknesses
Paid Search involves advertising on search result pages (such as Google) when people search for certain keywords. It’s also a scalable digital marketing channel that connect your ads to your target customers.
- Very precise targeting
- Generally paid search users are looking to buy (it’s bottom of funnel)
- Quick and easy to deploy
- Nearly instant results
- Complete control over the budget
- Easy to test and track
- Can be cost-effective in certain niches
- Full access to keyword data can be valuable in other advertising
- Requires ongoing investment
- Fleeting, no staying power
- Requires continual testing to optimise ads
- Keyword bidding against big-budget agencies/brands can make it hard to compete
- Certain keywords can get very expensive
- Strategy is easy to copy by competitors
- Poor results from poor management
Paid search is one of the best options for seeing results quickly – set up takes little time and the people you’re advertising to want to buy now. It’s easy to test and track, meaning if you put in the time you can target to exactly the people who want your service or product. On the flip side, its cons are that it requires continuous investment to keep it going. Even if you do it well, there’ll always be ad costs. Moreover, if you’re in competitive niches it can be hard to break through because of big budgets from your competition.
A bit more about our paid search offering is here.
Mobile Marketing: Strengths and Weaknesses
Mobile marketing involves advertising on mobile phones using a variety of formats such as pop-up ads, push notifications, and static or dynamic in-app advertising.
- Builds customer loyalty through a positive mobile experience
- Collects vast amounts of data for target market profiling
- Consumers are increasingly using their mobile phones to look for the information they need
- Complements other digital platforms
- Reaches a broader market
- Almost instant results
- Privacy concerns
- Navigating mobile phones can be difficult for some users
- Hard to track impact across multiple devices
- No uniform format can make campaign creation difficult
- Increased use of adblockers on mobile
Mobile marketing has advantages in that it has a lot of reach and can have quick results. It’s a good way of collecting data and improving brand experience. It’s a good complimentary channel rather than a stand alone. Its disadvantages are that tracking across devices can be difficult, and campaign creation can be hard. There are also privacy concerns with mobile to watch out for.
The vast majority of successful digital marketing campaigns for organisations include a combination of different channels, each reaching a specific audience in a certain way. Many channels have complementary strengths that boost those of other channels and makes up for their weaknesses. Knowing the market and the strengths and weaknesses of digital marketing channels will allow you to put together a better, more effective campaign.
Last Updated on December 17, 2021 by Gregor Blair