Digital Marketing has become an indispensable tool in the hands of marketers all across the business spectrum. Be it a traditional brick and mortar business or a tech startup dealing in an AI product, any marketing strategy nowadays involves a balanced combination of traditional and digital marketing techniques.
But there is a lot of mist around the definition and application of digital marketing, making it a ‘mysterious thing’ for those who are not tech-savvy. In this post, we will understand digital marketing in a simple manner so that the reader does not get overwhelmed by the jargons thrown by digital marketing gurus and they themselves can decide which digital marketing is best applicable for their business scenario. If you have recently started a business, you can also go through this valuable digital marketing resource for small businesses.
What is Digital Marketing?
Simply put, Digital Marketing is a marketing strategy that involves the use of digital platforms including social media platforms, blogs, and websites to promote a brand.
Many experts believe that marketing using any electronic medium can be termed as digital marketing. However, others believe that marketing using a traditional electronic medium such as a Television or a radio should be regarded as a traditional marketing strategy. For simplicity, we will stick to the former definition.
Different types of Digital Marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Affiliate marketing
These are some of the online digital marketing techniques in use today. Let’s go through each one of them to understand them in detail.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
With the rapid increase in the usage of smartphones, finding an answer to your query has become super easy. Whether you are looking for a cake supplier nearby or you want to know the best hotel in your vicinity, chances are that you will invariably lookout for this information on the internet.
PPC or pay-per-click marketing is a type of digital marketing in which advertisers pay an amount every time one of their ads is clicked i.e. they pay for every click on their promoted links. You must have seen that when you search any product on Google, on top of the search result, there are links with the ‘Ad’ prefix. When you click on these links, the advertisers have to pay for those clicks.
The cost per click depends on the nature of the keyword, how hard it is to rank for that keyword etc. Essentially, it’s a way of paying search engines to send prospective clients to your site. Many experts don’t consider PPC marketing as a sustainable way of bringing clients on board. For them, organic traffic to your site is a better and sustainable marketing strategy.
However, some of the major established brands are known to have used this strategy given the massive competition in the online sphere. PPC marketing can be broadly put in the category of Search engine marketing (SEM) which is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages primarily through paid advertising.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Before we understand what is social media marketing, check out this post –What is Social Media to understand what exactly social media mean and what different forms it has taken over the years.
Now that you clearly understand what social media is, let us try to understand what social media marketing is. SMM is the use of social media platforms and websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to promote a good or service. According to datareportal, there are around 4.14 billion social media users. Even if this number is contentious, this gives an indication that if you are not spending on social media marketing, you are losing a lot of eyeballs.
Email marketing involves sending emails to a group of people in order to promote a product or service. Over the years, email marketing has evolved dramatically. Email marketers have also adapted to the way how users view emails and the privacy associated thereof. Nowadays, when you visit a website, you see access to a lot of free offerings, including free ebooks, newsletters etc. In order to make use of these free materials, you just have to provide your email address.
Marketers typically send free stuff initially building a funnel and present their products or services at a later stage of email transactions.
Broadly speaking, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing.
Content Marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of digital content such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc. that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to arouse interest in its products or services.
In simple words, Affiliate marketing allows you to earn a commission while promoting products or services. If you have a website, you can promote a service or product using affiliate links. When a user clicks on that affiliate link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission.
With several blogs and websites doing well, advertisers are using this marketing technique more and more.
Digital marketing is here to stay. Companies all over the world are spending millions of dollars on digital marketing campaigns. Also, with the increasing penetration of the internet and widespread usage of smartphones, digital marketing is bound to be a major marketing tool for marketers world over and it would not be wrong to say that one who has won the digital marketing war has won the marketing war.
Pro Tips for Paid Online Marketers to reach your target audience
Digital is becoming an increasingly important channel for marketing and sales today. Consumers are using the internet to research and guide their purchase decisions, and to engage with brands and topics that they care about. Whether you are a start-up or a multi-million dollar business, you cannot afford to ignore digital marketing, especially as it has been one of the most resilient types of marketing channels in recent times, despite the global pandemic.
There are multiple options for organic and paid promotion on digital, and if one really wants to make the most of the medium, it makes sense to explore both these sides. While organic methods will usually need some time to start showing results, paid advertising is a great way to reach out to your relevant target audiences online and drive visits, conversions and sales in a short time span.
But not all paid marketing online will give the same results, and a large part of their success boils down to the right selection of target audience.
Why it is important to target right
The right message at the right time to the right audience – this dictum sums up the basics of pretty much any type of marketing, including digital. With the right targeting in place, you can ensure that you are engaging with only the people who really matter, and all other things being good, this one thing can greatly increase the chances of your campaign’s success.
This is important even when you are catering to a large and diverse audience group. Unlike most traditional ATL and BTL channels, where there is always a chance of spillage and therefore a need to cast a wider net just to be able to reach your target audience, digital marketing offers the opportunity to be very precise in your targeting.
In case you are wondering if it will really make that big a difference to your campaign metrics, consider the scenarios below.
- Marketing to the wrong audience can be an expensive mistake.
Suppose that you are doing a CPC campaign for a specific health package at many age groups can benefit from. You decide to use a creative tone and design that would likely appeal to a wide demographic audience that is looking for health packages in general. However, if you are not very clear in your audience targeting, it is possible to attract a lot of people who might be looking for something more general, and who might not be interested in what you are promoting, and who might quickly move on to your competitors. Even if we take an average CPC of $2.5, you would end up spending a significant amount on attracting visitors that aren’t quite keen to complete the purchase. Moreover, not just the target audience but the manner in which you are delivering your messages can define your overall expenses. In some cases, Text message marketing, for example, using channels like tatango, can be more economical and in some cases, email marketing channels can make more sense. All in all, you need to factor in the audience and also how you are going to deliver your messages in order to manage the overall cost.
- Wrong targeting can compromise your Quality Score
Having the wrong targeting can also affect the quality score or relevance score that you can otherwise earn. Most large platforms such as Google and Facebook assign a quality score based on how relevant is your ad content to your target audience. One of the ways they measure this is by looking at the time spent on your landing pages. If there is a high bounce rate, it signals a low relevance between what your target audience wants, and what you have to offer. This bumps down your quality score, and you might need to spend more to reach the same audience, as compared to a competitor that has a better quality ranking.
So, how can you really get your targeting right?
There are many different ways you can go about this. Some marketers might want to approach this the way they approach traditional – that is, plastering the ads across all possible digital mediums, and ensuring that it is seen by all. This isn’t always the best approach, and also requires a huge investment. I would instead urge you all to focus on some basics, which are often forgotten, and how you can use these basics to get the most out of your paid campaigns.
- Target Audience Segmentation
If you appeal to a niche market, segmenting your audience is easy. However, if your market consists of a rather broad group of people across different demographics, it would be good to invest the time to get your segmentation right. You can have multiple audience segments based on certain common characteristics in each group. These characteristics could be anything from age, location, life stage, interests, intent, their socio economic class and so on.
You could always go with a generic campaign targeting all these different groups, or you could create different campaigns and landing pages for each subset of your audience. I recommend the latter approach, as this usually performs better as compared to a one-size fits-all approach. Google PPC campaigns allow you to segment by demographics and intent, whereas Facebook can allow you to be as granular as you wish to be.
- Understanding Audience Motivation
So, once you have narrowed down your audience segmentation, the next step to consider is what it is that they really want, and why would they want to buy the product or service you are selling. This will help you to understand them better – from their preferences and latent motivations to their decision-making process, and allow you to choose the right channels and the right messaging. For example, if your target audience has a heavy presence on social media, consider campaigns on those platforms and using a hashtag generator to maximize your reach to them.
You could get your data from market and customer research, and base your targeting and communication on solid audience data. As a marketer or business owner, it is natural to have some gut instincts. And while we should always trust these, it would be good to back up your instincts with facts and data, to be on the safer side.
- Exclude the groups that aren’t relevant
What is really great about marketing online is that not only can you get really precise about who you want to reach out to, you can be as precise for those you do not want to reach out to! If your audience group contains subsets that would not be the best fit for your campaign, you can easily choose to exclude those subsets from your overall targeting. This can come in handy in remarketing campaigns towards interested prospects, where you can exclude the people who have actually made a purchase. This will prevent wasted clicks, and will allow you to have a sharper focus on a specific group.
Getting your target audience right might not be a cakewalk, and would entail multiple rounds of trial and error, and can consume time and resources. However, when you do get this right, it will definitely reap rich rewards, with regards to campaign efficacy and performance.
Social Media Strategies That Will Grow Your Business
An online presence is something of a necessity nowadays. There is hardly a thing you can do without the Internet. Various forms of media have promoted business growth over the years and in the recent past, the digital arena has been at the core of business promotion and growth.
Marketing is at the heart of all business growth. Social media marketing (SMM) is a somewhat newer strategy but it is proving to be an effective marketing tool. If you haven’t jumped on the SMM wagon, you are missing out and it’s high time you joined the team.
How To Market On Social Media
Social media (SM) works by creating and sharing content. The quality of your content is will affect your audience. If your content is good, it will appeal to a wider audience.
It is important to research topics and ideas that you have and find creative ways to create them. This might require you to plan ahead of time. You can also choose to create your content in bulk (batching) and then schedule when you will share them.
When you share your content regularly, you can both create an audience and also retain it. Consistency creates room for engagement. You can have conversations with your audience and this creates room for growth.
People will easily associate with a brand when it has created a clear and consistent image and voice in their minds. Knowing your niche will help you target a specific audience and it also helps your targeted audience distinguish you from other brands.
Every business must have a way to analyse its business data. Many social media platforms have analytics as an option for businesses allowing them to see how they have performed. This is an important tool to discover weak points and strong points. You can make adjustments based on your discoveries.
Many social media platforms have paid advertising options. Investing in paid advertising is a great way to increase your reach and grow your audience.
Set SMM Goals
The first thing to consider when opting to market on social media is what platform to use. You can choose one or several depending on your ability to manage the platforms and your specific needs as a business. The type of content you aim to create is also a factor that will determine the platform used. There are 4 content types; audio, images, text and video. Choose an international media group to grow your business.
Having a niche means creating specific content for a specific audience. Social media allows businesses to interact with their audiences directly and this not only starts conversations, but it also creates loyalty. Customers love it when they feel like they have a personal connection with the one providing what they want or need.
Investing in ads is an easy way to create awareness of your brand on social media. It can generate a loyal fan base or following and also grow your audience.
Call To Action
Creating content should be both intentional and strategic. A call to action is adding a specific instruction to your content. When you add links to your website on social media, you can direct your audience to it by directing them to it. You can also create free content (freebie) which they can access through subscribing to an email list which provides a direct way to reaching them with other products. It is a great way to boost sales.
Benefits Of SMM
- Promotes authenticity and originality
- Even small businesses with low budgets can grow
- Get to understand the market
- Create a custom audience
- Understand your customers’ patterns
- Create brand awareness
- Allows you to promote your products and services
Wrapping It Up
Social media is a great way to grow your business. It is a low-cost investment with low risks and numerous benefits. Implementing a social media strategy would be a great way to increase your reach and sales.
How large brands use SEO and Digital Marketing to reach their target audience
Digital Marketing is becoming a must-do for all businesses today. Whether small, medium or large, there are very few businesses that are immune to the allure of digital marketing.
There is often a misconception that large and successful brands have it easy when it comes to marketing, given the reputation that they’ve already earned, and the huge marketing monies and resources at their disposal.
But here’s the real deal. Despite the obvious advantages that these brands might have, it is as much of an effort to stay on top, as much as it is to reach the top. And in the digital world, where young brands do not need huge budgets to have a presence, the competition can get even more intense, with many more players vying for the same space and the same audience on digital. Moreover, there is much information and misinformation about what works and what doesn’t.
However, there are some large players across the globe that are leading the way when it comes to doing Digital Marketing & SEO, and continue to lead both online and offline. Irrespective of the budgets they employ, these brands are focussing on doing simple things right, in a consistent manner. And while at it, they also adapt their communication and strategy as needed, to real-time market and customer dynamics.
I’d like to spotlight the top proven tactics that would be of value for small and medium businesses as well.
- Investing in User Experience
Creating a pleasant user experience (UX) online is an extremely important aspect of digital success, and for that matter, even marketing in general.
Successful brands understand that the quality of a visitor’s online experience can have a huge impact on whether they choose to interact or not with the brand. It is for this reason that they invest significant time and effort in creating a stellar experience for their online visitors, akin to their offline experience.
Right from the content and design to creating a smooth user journey, the focus is to design an experience around what the target audience needs and wants. While research can help in understanding what works best, it is important to keep in mind that your owned online assets should be optimized for both web and mobile, so as to ensure a seamless experience for the visitor.
A great UX can augment visitor interest, which can translate into leads and hopefully, revenue in the long run and it is worth investing time in getting this right.
- Strategic Content Marketing
Content Marketing is becoming a highly ranked buzzword today and has evolved from a “good to have” to a “must-have” element in the digital marketing mix. Loosely defined, content marketing stands for creating relevant, engaging and valuable content, and distributing it on the right channels to attract, convert and retain your target audience. In other words, delivering the right content at the right time to the right person forms the crux of good content marketing.
It is interesting to note that while the broad digital tactics might be similar across competing brands, it is really content that helps a brand stand out amidst the information clutter in the online space.
Successful brands usually have a well-defined content strategy with clearly outlined goals and KPIs in place. If we were to look for commonalities among the content strategies of these brands, we would see that they employ different content formats that span text, audio, visual, video and more. Also, we would all agree that the brands we feel closest to bring us content that is entertaining, informative, evocative, inspirational and enriching or even all of these at once! These brands invest significant time and resources to create high-quality content for each step of the buyer journey, and beyond. There are some smart brands that not only create their own content but thrive on user-generated and curated content as well.
Whether you choose to create or curate, good content is deeply rooted in an accurate understanding of your target audience and what they really want.
- Optimizing Social Media
Social Media platforms have become the place to hang out online, especially post the pandemic. Unlike the case a few years back, an increasing number of social media users are willing to engage with brands online. Social channels offer a dynamic, ever-evolving virtual space where people share about what is important to them, and connect with people, brands and causes that they care about.
Successful online brands use this as a wonderful opportunity to not only reach out and engage with their diverse audiences’ online, but also have interactions that drive preference, conversions and encourage repeat purchases. These brands also monitor their social metrics and correlate it with business performance metrics like ROI, leads and sales.
For success on social, it is also important to also identify the right platforms where your customers spend more time and build a strong presence with well-planned content, campaigns and real-time responsiveness.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEM or PPC usually makes it to most digital marketing plans, but SEO is where the real reward lies. Most purchase decisions today start with a simple online search, and organic search results command much higher credibility as compared to paid results. In fact, this behaviour is so deeply embedded, that it feels only natural to look online when we are considering making a purchase decision. This is an era dependent on search engines, and no brand, big or small, would want to miss out on the opportunities to connect with newer audiences online.
Given that Google, which is currently the most popular search engine, receives over 57,000 searches per second, SEO is something that nobody can take for granted. It isn’t enough for large brands to rest on their offline reputation, as if they do not hold their rank, they could be toppled over by newer entrants to the market. Yes, SEO can be an equalizer of sorts.
And so, successful online brands look at SEO as an investment to maintain their online turf. Not only is it a great way to strengthen the brand association with the category, but it is a great avenue for cost-effective lead generation as well. Most of these brands and businesses also optimize for local SEO, to ensure that they are discoverable by those in close vicinity, as most people search for products and services on their handheld devices when they are on the go. Social SEO is yet another tactic that can contribute to overall visibility and rankings.
- Customer Behaviour Tracking & Data Analytics
Data mining and analytics has become a veritable buzzword today, and rightly so. Digital Marketing success today cannot be perceived without data analytics. The various analytics tools available today allow businesses to fairly predict customer behaviour and plan their campaigns accordingly. It is now easy to understand what drives prospective customers to you, what makes them stay or leave, how they feel about your brand and even whether your digital marketing efforts are working the way you had intended, among other things.
From Google Analytics for your website to independent social media analytics tools, there is a tool to measure almost anything on digital. And this makes it possible to observe and understand behaviours and patterns that we might have otherwise missed.
Successful brands have a habit of closely monitoring their data from their website as well as social media channels, mining actionable insights from it and swiftly responding as necessary, to always stay on top of their digital game. Correctly interpreting data requires a certain level of expertise, but when done correctly, it can empower businesses to make the best possible use of digital.
To sum up, well-executed Digital Marketing and SEO strategies can help your business reap rich dividends in the form of higher brand awareness and preference, and a positive impact on your bottom line. But there is one thing more important than the perfect digital marketing plan. Successful online brands go a step further and ensure that there is alignment and synergy between the online and offline interaction with their visitors. There is no point in offering a great virtual experience if you cannot back it up in the real world. And if you are aspiring for digital success, this is something you cannot ignore.
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