Difference Between Digital Marketing And Online Marketing

what is the difference between online and offline marketing - explained
  1. Digital marketing and online marketing are two terms you hear frequently. What’s the difference between the two? Digital marketing is the use of digital technologies to market a product or service. Digital technologies include mobile phones, social media, online marketing, and display advertising.

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Online marketing is more specific of a term. It is marketing that takes place online. Although most of digital marketing occurs online, some of it is offline. An example of marketing that is digital but not online is sending a promotional text message to customers. Mobile phones don’t rely on the Internet to transfer text messages, so it’s not online marketing. They are, however, a digital technology. Mobile apps are also considered a form of digital marketing because they operate separately from the Internet.

Online marketing includes a wide range of types of marketing too, such as email marketing, search engine optimisation, social media marketing, and content marketing. And because online marketing is a subset of digital marketing, email marketing, SEO, social media marketing, and content marketing are all digital marketing as well. The difference between digital marketing and online marketing might have seemed confusing at first, but it’s really not complex.

The two terms are confusing when used in marketing concepts, leaving you with a conundrum on contextualising the concepts. The contrast between online marketing and digital marketing might have looked confusing, but at the end of this article, you will realise it is not complex as portrayed and how it is gaining traction in Singapore.

To understand and be able to discern between online and digital marketing, it is important to understand the term marketing itself briefly. Marketing is the administrative practice which services and goods are conceptualised from theories to goods for clients. It employs the 4 P’s of marketing which includes:

  • Classification, choice, and advancement of a product
  • Definition of prices
  • Choosing the mode of supply conduit to the client’s place
  • Generating and executing a promotional plan.

We are focusing on the last component which forms the basis for both online and digital marketing of a product or service.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing encompasses all platforms both online and offline to advertise the essence of your services or products. In a nutshell, in digital marketing advertising is not limited to the use of the internet. This way, digital marketing is used to describe all forms of marketing happening on the internet.

Digital marketing precedes traditional marketing methods by shifting from hardcopy-based platforms to virtual-oriented methods. The choice of investing or not investing in a strategy is settled on, not by the embracing of technology by an organization but by using past experiences of your company’s ad campaigns. The experience is to help bridge gaps of the disconnect generated between the non-adoption and adoption of a technology. In the long run, digital marketing aims to attract new clientele while ensuring your existing customer base is contented with your services or products.

Forms of Digital Marketing

Channels used in digital marketing are several for it forms the basis of internet marketing.

  • Mobile Advertising

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Mobile advertising develops advertising messages and acts as a conduit for transmitting this information to a customer without the use of onscreen internet connectivity. An example of the mobile ad campaign is sending SMS to your clients notifying them of an impending offer of your organization.

  • Display Advertising

Display advertising is branding by use of flyers on apps and web pages with the sole aim of dispensing commercials products’ and services’ info to prospective customers on the digital space. By this, you build exposure to your brand by making your prospective clients engage with your products. The more your clients gets into touch with the products, the more popularity you generate for your site. These ads materialise on distinct parts of apps exclusively set aside for marketing at a cost.

Digital marketing generalises the scope it focuses on including both online and offline capable modes of advertising. To some extent in analysing digital marketing, the concept of online marketing or its forms keeps rearing its head because digital marketing is the basis upon which online marketing is formed.

Online Marketing

The dominance of online marketing’s concept in digital marketing is a pointer to a relationship between these two concepts, but in actual context, they are two distinct elements of marketing. But to bring the distinctions into context, it is important to understand what is online marketing.

The online market is a subsection of digital marketing with a unique characteristic. Online marketing which is a downgrade as compared to digital marketing, depending on your perspective. Online market to work as expected, necessitates the need for a continuous link to the internet. An example of this form of advertising is undertaking a pay-per-click commercial on a website.

It’s reliability to an exclusive internet connection for its operation limits coverage and scope as compared to digital marketing and its components. The internet linkage it depends on limit its reach to some users who are not connected to the internet grid.

Despite this limitation, it is the most preferred mode of marketing on the internet. A great chunk of businesses in the world and to be precise to Singapore due to its location as a go-to for cutting-edge online advertising, depend on this method of marketing.

Singapore as a country focuses on internet connectivity for her citizens. Studies show that 78% of Singapore’s population is covered by the internet. Thus, employing the aid of online marketing in Singapore is a sure way of reaching masses who are prospective clients to brand your product or services.

Forms of Online Marketing

Online marketing takes several forms due to its great scope and popularity. The forms are:

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  1. Search engine optimisation (SEO)

SEO involves improving the website on-page elements, off-page factors and user interactions with your website.

On-page elements include the uniqueness, authoritativeness, freshness, helpfulness, organisation and amount of content on your website that the search engines deem are the most helpful for a particular search query.

Off-page elements include the quality and quantity of backlinks, the relevance of the backlinks as well as social signals, the page speed, security and how mobile friendly/mobile responsive is your website.

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User interaction considerations include the click-through-rate from search engine results pages (SERPs), how long and how much a visitor coming in from a search engine interacts with your website. Search engines use these metrics in order to gauge how useful a website is to their visitors.

  1. Search engine marketing (SEM)

Forms the context upon which online operates. SEM directs internet traffic to a web page by procuring advertisements on search portals or search engines. SEM is a broad aspect encompassing search engine optimisation (SEO) and paid search advertising (PSA).

PSA focuses on acquiring leads by attaching advertisements on search portals. PSA works best in the form of pay-per-click campaigns (PPC) while SEO is the employing of boosting searches skills to safeguard good ratings with search portals.

  1. Social media marketing (SMM)

Social media marketing is suited to social media platforms as a tool for transmitting info on products to tech-savvy age brackets. The coverage guaranteed by social media platforms makes it a go-to reach this materialistic or shopping-inclined generation. Most leads these days are converted to customers from social media platforms. The dominant players on this field include likes of Facebook and Twitter. They account for about 65% of social media marketing across all platforms in the world.

  1. Website

Websites are the foundations on which online campaigns take place. Website as a base for marketing services, always take the forms of an individual blog, business or private web page accommodated on a communal platform such as Tumblr and WordPress.

To sum up, these two means of marketing are difficult to dissociate, but their differences are the main source for unprecedented development in the entire sphere of internet marketing, which is continuing to open up marketing for businesses in Singapore, and the globe.

How to Do Online and Digital Marketing Right in Singapore

Now that we have looked at the different types of online and digital marketing, let us move forward and look at tactics on how to do both right in Singapore.

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Creative Elements

The human brain is wired to interpret visuals faster than blocks of text. As you embark on doing online and digital marketing, use the visual elements to stand out from the competition on online platforms such as social media. Whether it is the mascot, font, logo, colour scheme, or any other visual that defines your brand, use it to make your brand easily recognisable to the target audience.

More importantly, spice up your ads with creative visual elements to grasp the attention of the audience and lure them to take the desired action especially on popular social media platforms in Singapore such as Facebook.

Budget and Spend Wisely

There are different forms of digital and online marketing strategies in Singapore. Each of them has its own highlights and the cost varies. Before you start running a campaign, consider the price and value factor and budget wisely to avoid plunging your business in a financial turmoil.

The next important thing to note that is that every platform you intend to use for digital or online marketing offers a different value to your Singapore brand. Analyze and compare the value proposition of every platform to find one that you should invest more time and money into to get value for money.

Just because one platform worked well for a particular company does not mean that, you will get the same results from it. Therefore, decide how each platform is going to do for your specific advertising campaign. For example, Google Adwords deliver the best results when there is a clear demand for the service or product you are offering. This advertising platform also works when you are targeting a specific group of potential customers who are searching for your brand and what it offers online.

Do Your Research

Well, you might have ideas for what is going to work best form your Singapore brand and audience based the results achieved from past online and digital marketing campaigns. Nonetheless, it is imperative to carry out extensive research of the market. The data collected should inform every decision that you make.

You might anticipate your target customers will respond to your campaigns a certain way, when in fact they are going to go in a different direction. Research will help you identify the right campaigns to invest time and money into today.

Over the years, we have seen companies spend thousands of dollars on paid advertising. They are happy to see clicks roll in even if the clicks are from people tangential to the service or product or service they are offering. If you opt for sponsored posts or any other form of paid advertising, use a platform that allows you to target a specific group of customers. Create custom ads and campaigns for each group of customers.

The Buyer Process

Singapore online and digital marketing landscape is very dynamic and competitive. Understanding the buyer journey and what you need to provide to them at each stage of the funnel will help enhance your marketing campaigns. Thanks to advancement in technology, there are many buyer analytics tools that you can use to see how customers interact with your product or website at each stage.

For example, you can use analytics to see which pages a website visitor visits before converting. Use this information to wire your Singapore digital marketing campaign to make it easy for the potential customers to make the final decision.

How well do you the Target Audience

Even before you start creating a Singapore digital marketing campaign, you need to have a full grasp of the target audience. You need to know who the potential buyers are before you try to market a product or service to them. Note this is an important step whether you are doing marketing in Singapore online or offline.

If you plan to embark on social media marketing, know which platforms the potential customers spend most of the time on, their interests, age, career and any other information that could influence their buying decision. Here in Singapore, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the best platforms that you can use for this purpose.

Consider Integrating All Marketing Channels

Integrating all your Singapore marketing channels will help you reach a larger audience. One of the easiest ways of doing this is through consistent messaging. Make sure that all ads are integrated across all platforms you decide to use. The ads should also convey the same message to the audience to avoid any confusion and spur the highest possible level of engagement.

You should also note that each social media platform is has a different feel to it and so you need to get your Singapore digital efforts to match each platform while at the same time maintaining the voice of your brand. At the end of the day, you will realize that an integrated marketing campaign will deliver more results than a single initiative. For instance, Facebook Sponsored Ads do well on their own when used to promote a new product or a sale, but works even better when supporting other initiatives such as email marketing.


Geo-fencing is a new aspect of Singapore digital advertising that has a lot of potent power to marketers especially those working in the B2C space. As the name suggests, it allows Singapore digital marketers to target customers based on their physical location with the goal being guiding them to the specific business location.

When combined with other digital advertising strategies, Singapore marketers are able engage with customers at the right time and using the right message to boost in-store traffic. The message used to engage with the customer is based on their interests. Research studies shows that this type of campaigns results in three times more foot traffic and on average, increases sales by 27%.

How SEO and Content Marketing Influence Digital Marketing

As you’ve read, the internet, content marketing, and SEO are the defining pillars of an effective digital marketing strategy. As a marketer, what you need to do is to figure out how you’ll be combining these strategies to effectively launch and grow a more profitable business venture.


Search Engine Optimization or SEO for that matter stands for the process that you’ll be following to format your website and all of its content to improve its rank in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

That’s one very crucial aspect of digital marketing when you consider the fact that the internet is swamped with all kinds of blogs and websites constantly fighting for search engines’ attention. To be more specific, there are more than 1.5 billion blogs and websites in existence at the time of writing this.

By targeting niche keywords, what you’re doing is reducing your online competition. And with every SEO effort you employ, you’re simply taking your ranking in the SERPs a notch higher.

Content Marketing

Content marketing, on the other hand, is all about creating assets that are valuable to your customers and prospect. These assets also go a long way to raise awareness around your brand and inspiring trust in the customers you attract.

It’s through the content you post that your customers learn to trust you and even engage with your business. And with social media share buttons worked into your content, your customers will have an easy time sharing some of the posts they like, thus increasing the amount of traffic you’re getting.

The biggest hurdle in digital marketing is generating quality leads. It turns out, the market has evolved a great deal, and the overt sales pitches that could have worked wonders some years back are no longer cutting it in the modern world of marketing.

So if you’re looking to start winning customers through digital marketing, then you might want to start by dropping any strategy that involves targeting your prospects through pushy ads.

Instead, learn to embrace passive activities such as content marketing and SEO, all of which seem to suggest that you care about your customers’ concern to craft useful content around them.

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These methods also support your digital marketing plan by helping you direct inbound traffic to your site.

So Why is Digital Marketing that Important?

Whether or NOT your business is already killing it in the meat world, digital marketing still stands as an essential marketing strategy you cannot afford to overlook. As you could have noticed, there’s the IOT version of digital platforms; where everything is interconnected, starting with online communities, forums, and social media channels.

Digital marketing comes in handy because it gives you access to a much more significant customer base. And while at it, it also goes to a great length to ensure that your brand gets a more authentic image.

That said, here are five more benefits of digital marketing to consider looking into:

Range of Influence

Through digital marketing, your business, however small it is, stands a chance to connect with people from far off places in the world. This can go a long way to grow your customer base and tremendously boost your revenue potential.

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In simple terms, think of the internet as a content economy. Users visit the internet to learn more about various things of life, and business owners and bloggers are the people they trust for this type on information. In return, these businesses owners get to convert a section of these users into real customers, and that’s how their businesses grow.

Another way to look at it is that the internet provides the much-needed opportunity for businesses to brand themselves as the experts in the fields they’re in. As a business owner, the more knowledgeable you’re about a given subject, the more you’ll be able to educate the online community and influence customers, and that’s how you win in the content economy.

Precise Targeting

With offline marketing, your options to track customer behaviour and results are limited. However, digital marketing strives to make this a whole lot easier and overarching by offering a series of tools that you can use to dig for a great wealth of data on your marketing strategy and weigh on where you’re headed with your campaign.

Almost everything a customer does online leaves a trail behind that may come in handy in your marketing campaign. With this data, you can refine the marketing messages you employ or your overall marketing strategy and crank up your sales and profits.

Low-cost Campaigns

If you have an internet connection, then you can afford digital marketing. Of course, it’s taxing and time-consuming. But one thing it isn’t is expensive.
Take social media, for example. Any business, regardless of size and the resources it has can engage with customers on social media, be it Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

You can even establish yourself as a global brand by targeting customers from far-off places, right at the convenience of your home or local office.
With these platforms, you also get to enjoy a one-on-one interaction with your clients, which gives you more convincing power, in addition to helping you establish a more loyal relationship with your customers.

Instant Feedback

Another way digital marketing trumps its traditional counterpart is by creating room for instant feedback.

With the information you get, you can figure out what your customers prefer or if they like what you’re already offering them. If your customers feel like they want you to change something or if they have a complaint about your product, they have the internet to turn to, and the feedback they leave behind will reach you almost immediately, regardless of where they are.

Other than that, you have online surveys, forums, blog comments, social media, and emails to solicit for reviews so you can figure out where to improve and keep on growing your customer base.

Faster Implementation

Developing a marketing campaign is much easier and faster when you’re using digital channels as opposed to going the traditional way.
What you can achieve in a matter of hours, traditional marketers have to spend weeks doing it. From researching, to creating, and approving a campaign, there’s so much work involved in setting up a conventional marketing campaign.

Digital channels, on the other hand, are so much faster and easier to implement. This allows you to create as many campaigns as you wish in the frequency you prefer without going through the hassle of following so many unnecessary protocols.

And since their cost is also low, you have room to experiment by running a series of small campaigns to find out which approach generates the best results.

What Are Some Means Of Offline Marketing And Online Marketing?

Offline marketing or direct marketing refers to using means like radio, TV, direct mails, brochures, catalogues, magazines, newspapers and billboards. As you can see, some of these methods are outdated while some are extremely costly that small businesses cannot possibly afford. It is reasonable to not spend quarterly marketing budget on a 30 second ad on TV.

Online marketing which is sometimes referred as internet marketing includes online banners, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Google ads, content marketing, email marketing, mobile marketing and of course social media. Most of these methods are free and there is no need to set up a whole department for that.

Advantages of Offline Marketing

Unlike internet marketing or online marketing, offline marketing means do not rely on the availability of the internet. However, this may not be a big advantage as more than 50% of the total population of earth has access to the internet.

Tangibility is a huge advantage of offline marketing as it is all about the real world instead of a whole world trapped behind users’ laptops screen. Offline marketing gives users an opportunity to experience the service or product in real world. In order to understand this point, compare shopping clothes on a website or in a physical store. In physical store you can touch the actual cloth and fell the fabric; that’s not the case with online marketing.

Advantages of Online Marketing

Dramatically reduced cost is the biggest advantage of online marketing or internet marketing; this advantage alone makes online marketing a significantly more suitable marketing strategy for small businesses all over the world. Online marketing is not only cost efficient but it is also cost flexible where you can decide how much you want to spend and how much you want to gain.

There are ways to measure the performance of offline marketing but nothing comes near the accuracy of results of measuring performance of online marketing strategies. There are hundreds of analytics tools available on the internet that allow businesses to measure the performance of their internet marketing efforts on hourly basis. It means businesses can evolve and put more efforts on strategies which are working well for them.

Online marketing has made it unbelievably easier for businesses to target their customers. Based on demographical factor like sex, age, geographical location, income group, marital status and many others, businesses can approach the exact target audience without wasting their resources on others.

Final Thoughts

A combination of digital and online marketing strategies will help your business get a firm footing in Singapore. However, you need to have a team of experts steering the campaigns. We take pride in been the most reliable and top rated digital marketing agency in Singapore. Call us on +65 6789 9852 for a free and non-obligatory consultation session.

What is the difference between digital and online marketing?

Digital marketing is the use of digital technologies to market a product or service. Digital technologies include mobile phones, social media, online marketing, and display advertising. Online marketing is more specific of a term. It is marketing that takes place online.

What are the online marketing strategies?

Broadly speaking, there are 3 online marketing strategies:
– Search engine marketing (SEM)
– Social Media Marketing
– Website

What do I need to know about Google online marketing?

Google Adwords deliver the best results when there is a clear demand for the service or product you are offering. This advertising platform also works when you are targeting a specific group of potential customers who are searching for your brand and what it offers online.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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