How is digital marketing different from traditional marketing?

Photo of people shouting with the words Digital Marketing overlaid

I’m sure you’re familiar with what marketing is; the most basic definition is that marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services. So what is digital marketing and how does it differ from traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing isn’t dead

Even in 2018, there’s still plenty of room for traditional marketing in your business’ marketing strategy. For example, flyers are still a great way to advertise your business. Potential customers can keep hold of them for when they need your services most. There’s also evidence that the older demographic will reach for printed materials and directories before they will search for a business on Google.

Traditional marketing has one major downside – it’s hard to measure or manage. Can you tell how many people read your latest flyer? How many people put it straight into the bin without reading it at all? Similarly, if you took out a billboard advertising your services then the billboard advertising company may be able to give you a rough idea of how many people have driven or walked past your billboard. However, it would be extremely hard to tell how many people read the advertisement and followed up on it.

At its most basic level, digital marketing means using the Internet to market your product or service. Digital marketing is different from traditional marketing in that it allows you to closely measure and manage your marketing efforts. This can allow you to manage and predict your future advertising spend and stop you from wasting money on adverts that aren’t landing at all. With some fine tuning and careful management, your advertising budget can stretch much further.

The following are some examples of the different types of digital marketing that you can carry out.

A photo of a person holding a tablet that has the words Online Marketing at the top. Split into SEO, Content and Lists.Google Ads

Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) allow you to place text based adverts at the very top and bottom of Google’s search results. You can also choose to have your adverts displayed on other websites that participate in Google’s Ads program. Properly managed, you’ll find that Google Ads can be one of the cheapest and easiest ways to bring in a flood of new customers if your landing page has been well-built and your budget is right.

Google Ads comes complete with some fantastic reporting tools. You can build conversion actions into your site. If you’re running an eCommerce site, you’ll be able to see how much you’ve had to spend over a period to generate £x in sales. If you’re running a site for a service then you’ll be able to see how much you’ve had to spend to generate x number of enquiries.


Search Engine Optimisation is the process of ensuring that your website is set up in such a way that Google considers ranking your website above others for certain search queries. This can be really important for your business; a properly optimised website can bring in a ton of new visitors (and therefore leads and sales) indefinitely.

Social Media

If you have a large social media following then you’ll want to leverage it to get your business offering out there. If you don’t then it’s time to build one. Updating your business’ social media feeds consistently should create an influx of traffic from your social media accounts. Don’t forget to ensure that you have analytics software installed on your website to make sure that you can measure the impact that your social media campaign is having on your website’s traffic.