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Digital marketing techniques that actually work (and ones that don’t)

Digital marketing is a broad landscape. There are lots of techniques you can use under its umbrella, some which are perfectly suited to your goals, and others that might not be the right call when working with a finite budget and restrictions on time.

All digital marketing techniques have the capacity to succeed in the right context, but marketers must always choose wisely. Using the right technique means choosing the correct channels, the right timing, and a well-researched market.

After all, we don’t talk ‘strategy’ in digital marketing for nothing!


What do we mean by digital marketing techniques?

When we talk ‘technique’ in digital marketing—at least, for the purposes of this article—we mean the application of different marketing methods as opposed to the methods themselves.

In other words, while some might call social media marketing a technique, we’re using it to mean the ‘how’ and ‘why’ as opposed to simply the ‘what’.

This means that there’s much more that relies on control and experience when it comes to digital marketing techniques, and it places more onus on the marketer. After all, we can’t simply tell you that SEO works.

It does, of course, when handled by the right team who knows what they’re doing—but digital marketing doesn’t just sort itself out.

Even something as tried and true as SEO can easily flop when employed via poor technique, of which there are many. Keyword stuffing, writing for the machine instead of the person, and many more approaches will fall flat and often see your efforts unrewarded.

Well-planned digital marketing techniques with strong rationales behind them will ensure your chosen methods are far more likely to succeed.


What digital marketing techniques work? Which don’t?

Choosing your channels isn’t even half of the battle.

You need to know how you’re going to employ them, what you intend to do, and to what scale you intend to grab customers. The techniques you have at your fingertips depend on how you break down your marketing strategy. Therefore, the techniques that will work—and those that won’t—will depend on how you proceed.


SEO may be the most technical digital marketing method available. It takes a lot to really get it right, and there are plenty of ways to go wrong. At the same time, the things that define good and bad technique for this digital marketing channel are fairly set in stone despite constant tweaks to search algorithms and guidelines.

What works: The old marketing adage ‘content is king’ reigns as true as ever, particularly for SEO. If you don’t have content, you don’t have anything to optimise in the first place. Google continuously pushes the importance of “good” content, and this should form the core of your SEO technique.

Your content needs to be written for the human performing the search, and not the search engine itself. Attempting to appeal to the search engine can manifest as practices like keyword stuffing, wherein your chosen keyword is used in excess rather than in a natural way that is balanced by answering the relevant questions tied to said keyword.

Good SEO is honest and aims to help your customers both current and prospective. Answer their questions, give them valuable information, be the result they’re looking for. Build a rapport with your customers and reward them.

What doesn’t work: SEO practice that goes against the rules of companies like Google falls under the term ‘black hat SEO’, and it’s everything you want to avoid.

Trying to create content that is designed only to appease the algorithms is essentially akin to cheating the competition. Once you get caught, you’re disqualified. This could lead to a drop in ranking at various levels or could even result in being deindexed from SERPs.

Black hat SEO doesn’t work not only because it eventually gets punished, but also because it doesn’t serve your user. Internet searchers are savvy and have short attention spans. That’s not an unfounded attack on our lovely readers; research suggests that the average read time for a blog post is significantly less than a minute.

You don’t have time to waste, particularly not when you’re borrowing a reader’s. Give them what they clicked for, or they’ll click away—and probably won’t return.



PPC, or pay-per-click, is a commonly utilised way to support your marketing strategy. While organic traffic to your sites is preferable in many ways, PPC ads shouldn’t be discounted as a consolation prize or a way to ‘force’ your marketing to work.

What works: PPC campaigns need to be planned out and intelligently built. This means knowing your keywords, having goals so that you can measure success, and knowing who you’re trying to reach out to with your ads. Keyword research is instrumental for this since a search PPC campaign—the most common kind, with Google Ads being the most popular system for this purpose—will rely on the keywords you wish to target and the searches related to these words.

Luckily, PPC campaigns aren’t a one and done deal, and you can refine and add to them over time as you gain more insight or wish to expand your reach. Research and analysis are essential to ensure your campaign is an ongoing success and effective ROI.

What doesn’t work: As the name suggests, you pay for every time a person clicks on your PPC ad, so in some ways there’s a certain level of protection from wasting your budget on something that doesn’t work. However, not every click is a guarantee conversion, so PPC shouldn’t be approached with a scattershot attitude to keywords or generating leads.

Similarly, trying to do too much in one campaign is going to water down your returns. You need a tight focus with some wiggle room around your targeted terms to catch adjacent topics and long-tail keywords.

Programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising is a digital marketing technique that is a kind of sibling to PPC, but it’s a wider reaching and more digitally enhanced form. Software and AI helps the ads reach audiences with more nuance and with greater consideration as to when they’re being targeted.

What works: Much of programmatic advertising works on its own, given the automatic nature of the channel, but it still needs intelligent input from marketers to work to its full potential. Programmatic ads can be delivered based on varying parameters including time of day and geographic location, and they can take the form of videos, banner ads, and more.

As always, a keen understanding of your audience is needed, but so is a two-way conversation with your results. The click-through rate (CTR) of your programmatic ads can reveal valuable insights to your audience that allow you to adapt and refine your focus to better capture the right people and ensure that cross-device targeting enhances your chance of ROI.

What doesn’t work: Much like other digital marketing channels, sloppy and lazy technique will not get you far. Programmatic advertising can target some impressively niche demographics and satisfy specific criteria for your campaign, so know your audience deeply, get creative, and make the most of this format.

Treating it like a one-size-fits-all form of PPC will not serve you with the same level of efficacy. Additionally, don’t try to swim upstream, and use logic to dictate your choices. For instance, targeting people in the very centre of England for water sports equipment isn’t necessarily useless, but it would work far better for people who live near lakes and coastal towns.


How do I choose the right digital marketing techniques?

By enlisting the help of an experienced digital marketing agency, you can ensure that your hard-earned money is always channelled towards effective, intelligent marketing decisions.

Aqueous Digital knows how to speak to your audience in the most effective and relevant ways, helping you expand your Liverpool SEO, retail conversions, or whatever else you’re looking to achieve.

For a friendly conversation about our specialised marketing services, get in touch today.

Further reading on SEO

How to conduct a thorough digital marketing audit of your website

Why digital marketing is important to business owners

Digital marketing trends to get ahead of the curve

Short-form vs. long-form content: Which is better for your website?

Digital marketing channels: Which one should you choose?

Content Optimisation: How to improve existing content on your website

How AI is becoming more prominent in digital marketing

How to create a results-driven digital marketing campaign

SEO for YouTube: How to optimise YouTube videos for search

How to boost your website’s domain authority

What is Evergreen Content and why does it matters for SEO?

Why we build backlinks to your website

How to develop a content strategy for SEO

Content is King. What is content marketing?

Creating great content: How to write for SEO

How digital marketing has changed over the years

How video content can elevate your website

Top 20 Facts about Manchester You Never Knew

SEO for Manchester Companies

Aqueous Digital’s Ultimate Guide to the cost of SEO in the UK

Aqueous Digital’s Guide to the Top 501 SEO and Digital Marketing Terms

How video content can elevate your business

How long does SEO take to work?

Beginners Guide To SEO

What is Technical SEO?

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