The 5 Digital Marketing Strategies Businesses Say Work Best

While email remains king in the types of digital marketing businesses find successful, other tactics are quickly closing the gap, new research finds.

Specifically, 54 percent of businesses view email as the most effective form of Internet marketing, according to a study from the marketing research firm Ascend2. However, a number of other types of digital marketing tactics aren't far behind.

More than 40 percent of the businesses surveyed believe optimized websites and blogs, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media are among the most successful online marketing tactics.

Mobile marketing and e-commerce marketing are viewed as the least effective forms, according to the study.

Contributing to email marketing's success is the ease in which it is conducted, the researchers found. Just 11 percent of the businesses surveyed thought email was one of the most difficult types of digital marketing to execute. Social media tops the list, with nearly 50 percent of businesses saying it was the hardest to accomplish. [5 Major Email Marketing Mistakes]

Content marketing and SEO were among the other toughest tactics to execute.

Overall, the vast majority of businesses using some form of digital marketing report seeing positive results from it.

"Nearly nine out of ten companies rate digital marketing successful to some extent, with more than a quarter achieving 'very successful' results,'" the study's authors wrote.

Businesses have a wide range of motives for using Internet marketing. Wanting to increase customer engagement, sales revenue, leads for their sales teams and brand awareness were the most important reasons.

"Reducing marketing and customer service costs are surprisingly least important," researchers wrote.

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The study revealed that the majority of the businesses believe their digital marketing efforts are only getting better. More than 70 percent of the business surveyed said the effectiveness of their digital marketing continues to improve, with just 4 percent saying it's getting worse.

In order to achieve all of their goals, there are a number of challenges businesses are facing.

"The most challenging obstacle to success is clearly the lack of an effective digital marketing strategy, followed by an inadequate budget to fund programs," the study's authors wrote.

Among the other challenges business must overcome to achieve better digital marketing results include a lack of training and expertise, an inability to prove a return on investment and increasing competition.

The study was based on surveys of 333 marketing, sales and business professionals from around the world.

Originally published on Business News Daily