We need to kick this off with some terminology. If you ask a random person to tell you an example of marketing, they’ll most likely mention a type of marketing, a marketing channel, or a specific marketing campaign. So what do all these mean?
Marketing campaign is a series of organized, strategized efforts used to achieve a marketing goal. It’s a one-off activity that starts and ends. It can be rinsed and repeated, though. Think Coca Cola truck campaigns.
Marketing channel is a set of tools and platforms used to communicate with your audience. Think email or social media.
Marketing type is anything that can be categorized—marketing channels, tactics, or techniques. For example, digital marketing joins all online marketing channels together. Then we also have B2B marketing that covers all channels and activities that can be used to acquire a business as a customer.
Now that we’ve covered the above, we’re going to dive into examples of marketing channels and marketing types, with one exception at the end. Let’s do it.
1. Inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is when whatsapp number list you pull your audience in with relevant and useful content. It’s best explained in the following image that compares inbound marketing to outbound marketing.
Picture on top is lady welcoming man. Second picture below is lady with megaphone screaming "buy" at man
Its biggest strength is contextuality. Take this very article, for example.
If you Googled the difference between marketing and advertising, clicked on this article, and are reading the article now, then this set of actions is an example of inbound marketing. (It solves your problem at the right time.)
Recommended reading: What Is Inbound Marketing? A Beginner’s Guide
2. Content marketing
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content to attract and retain customers. The content can be in the form of blog posts, podcasts, videos, infographics, ebooks, etc.
Yes, inbound marketing can be understood as a part of content marketing (if you’re wondering about that now). This is the main reason why content marketing is our most important marketing channel. It’s simple and effective:
We create in-depth blog articles (like this one) and YouTube videos that teach potential and existing customers how to solve problems and grow website traffic using our tools. We rely primarily on search engine optimization (SEO) to drive qualified traffic to our blog, which is currently getting ~330,000 organic visits per month:
Site Explorer overview of Ahrefs blog
Data from Overview report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.
This and much more is a part of our content marketing strategy. It’s hard to find any downsides here other than it takes a lot of time and effort.
Recommended reading: Content Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide
3. Word-of-mouth marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is the process of influencing and encouraging natural discussions about a product, service, or company. If done right, it can become one of your most powerful marketing channels. It certainly is for us.
Why? Research from Nielsen shows that 83% of people trust recommendations from their friends and family. It’s simply the most trustworthy and authentic marketing channel that you can’t beat, no matter how great your marketing communication is.
I can list countless examples of people recommending our product or content to others. But the best proof is more than 14,000 new customers in 2020 told us they were referred to Ahrefs by their friends:
Person said in registration form they learned about Ahrefs through friends
The downside is the lack of control you have over this channel. There are tried and tested tactics to incentivize word-of-mouth, but it’s still one of the most difficult marketing channels to influence.
Recommended reading: Word-of-Mouth Marketing: A Simple Tried & Tested Guide
4. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is the act of promoting another company’s product or service for a commission on generated sales. Commissions are typically a percentage of the sale price but can occasionally be a fixed amount.
As a company, you can create what’s called an affiliate program. You come up with a payout structure for your affiliate partners; then, you should implement a system for partnership sign-ups and the tracking of referrals and sales. It should motivate people to recommend your products to their friends, acquaintances, and audience.
Some of the biggest and most valuable websites greatly rely on affiliate income. Here’s an example of a coffee grinder recommendation full of affiliate links from Wirecutter, which is owned by The New York Times:
Picture of coffee grinder. Brief write-up next to picture. Below write-up are three links leading to various sites where consumers can purchase the grinder
Developing an affiliate program is a great way to get exposure for your products early on. But make sure you think it through. Adjusting commissions or discontinuing the program can easily backfire later.
Recommended reading: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: What It Is + How to Succeed
5. Conducting a competitive analysis
It’s only fair to mention an example of a marketing activity unrelated to promotion. Competitive analysis is the process of identifying and researching your competitors to get the information you need to gain a competitive advantage. It should be an essential part of market research.