Which Digital Marketing Tactics & Channels Work Best for Private Equity?

Learn how private equity firms can use the top three digital marketing channels to promote their firm

Planning how to best reach prospects and build your private equity firm’s brand involves prioritizing which digital marketing tactics and channels you want to focus on. 

The big three digital marketing channels are as follows:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine marketing

Let’s get you up to speed on each.

Email marketing

Email marketing takes three primary forms:

  • Cold biz dev email
  • Cold (non-opt-in) marketing email
  • Opt-in marketing email

Cold biz dev email

Cold biz dev email is where your team members send personal emails to prospects to make an introduction and work to build a relationship. 

Cold biz dev email is the single most important channel for a private equity firm. While every other channel is about sowing seeds and spreading fertilizer, cold biz dev email is the only channel that harvests the crop. If you do nothing else, send out biz dev emails.

Cold (non-opt-in) marketing email

Cold (non-opt-in) marketing email is a way for you to broadcast noteworthy announcements (like acquisitions or exits) to a large group of prospects. 

Platforms like Clickback enable you to send these announcements to lists of prospects that you have assembled but who have not explicitly opted in to receiving communications (though the platform allows them to opt out). These announcements give you a chance to showcase your firm’s successes to a wide group, strengthening your brand image.

Opt-in email marketing

Opt-in email marketing is when you send announcements and newsletters to contacts who have explicitly opted in to receiving mailings from your firm. These mailings can take the form of:

  • Noteworthy announcements
  • Top performing pieces of content
  • Recently published content
  • Upcoming events and webinars

While theoretically non-opt-in and opt-in email marketing campaigns can be identical, you can send to opted-in audiences more frequently without the risk of tarnishing relationships with prospects.

Generally, email marketing is a fantastic digital marketing tactic for a private equity firm because your efforts are focused on an owned audience where you have some visibility into who you’re reaching.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing takes two primary forms:

  • Organic social
  • Paid social

Organic social

Organic social is when you put your content or announcements out on a social media platform and see if the platform’s algorithm deigns to put it in front of your prospects. Approached correctly, you can give your posts a boost with algorithms by following best practices like:

  • Posting frequently
  • Posting at optimal times of the day
  • Writing post content that encourages readers to linger or engage
  • Publishing video content
  • Engaging with others’ content
  • Limiting the number of links you include in your posts

Note that gaining organic exposure on social media is more common for personal social profiles than it is for business profiles, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t limit social promotion to just your business page.

Paid social

Paid social is an incredible channel to promote the content your firm puts out on social media to your prospects. When you “sponsor content,” you can put hard dollars behind a social post to make sure it gets in front of the prospects you care about. The process looks like this:

  • Post an organic post on social media
  • Export a list of contacts from your prospect database
  • Upload the list to the social site’s ad platform (called “matched audiences”)
  • Sponsor your organic post targeting your prospect list

The beauty of paid social is that you can dramatically increase exposure to your firm and stay top of mind with your prospects. The downside of course is that you have to pay for that exposure each time you want it to occur.

Which social media platforms should a private equity firm be on?

100% a private equity firm should promote itself on LinkedIn. You can also adopt YouTube once you start producing video content.

Other than that, you don’t need to worry about many other platforms, unless you know your prospects tend to hang out in other places and your message feels appropriate for those other platforms.

Search engine marketing

Search engine marketing takes two forms:

  • SEO (organic search)
  • Paid search

SEO (organic search)

SEO is about creating content that search engines feel best addresses a searcher’s query. If a company can succeed at getting their website content at the top of search results for high volume, high purchase intent keywords, then they can create engagement at a very low cost.

Where you’ll see the greatest value from an investment in SEO is in focusing on industry related keywords like “real estate private equity firms.” Ranking in the top 10 positions on Google for a keyword like this would give the impression that your firm was among the top 10 PE firms in that sector (like with the example of Ascentris below).


While optimizing your website for specific keywords is certainly important to rank organically, to compete with SEO you’ll need to dedicate some budget towards a contractor or agency who can help you build links that lend authority to your site. (We’re happy to provide a reference to a great SEO contractor.)

Paid search

Similar to paid social, paid search is a way to improve exposure where organic reach doesn’t cut it. But unlike with paid social, you don’t target audiences so much as you target keywords.

Below is an example of how Regal Healthcare uses paid search to position their private equity firm as one focused specifically on the healthcare sector.


Build Out Your Marketing Plan

Each of the above channels should play an important role in your overall private equity marketing plan. Looking at specific channels and subchannels, my recommendation would be to prioritize them as follows:

  • Cold biz dev email
  • Organic social
  • Paid social
  • Cold (non-opt-in) marketing email
  • Opt-in marketing email
  • Paid search
  • Organic search

If you have questions about how to get started, connect with me on LinkedIn so we can kick off the conversation.

Connect with Jack on LinkedIn to learn more about how content marketing can differentiate your firm.

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