It was circa 1920 when the first radio ad was broadcast. That’s how far back digital marketing goes. Since that day in the past, when people first heard an advertisement on the radio, digital marketing has come a long, long way. Today, it is synonymous with online marketing. Of late, digital marketing has created a lot of buzz, and with good reason too! With almost half of the world population having access to the internet, this is certainly a lucrative platform to market your brand.
We will tell you the basics of digital marketing so that you can get started and reap huge benefits for your business.
Is Digital marketing too technical?
People who have exclusively worked with traditional marketing strategies might be resistant to adopting digital marketing. Apart from being wary of a major shift in their marketing, the reason for the resistance is the perception that it is ‘too modern’ and ‘too technical’. But this perception is far from reality.
Digital marketing is quite easy to implement and execute. Technology today is quite user-friendly and intuitive. And digital marketing is no different. While some aspects are somewhat technical, it is no rocket science. And in any case, there are professionals who can help your business move into the digital marketing arena.
Also, you don’t need to stop traditional marketing to switch to digital marketing. For businesses newly entering the digital arena, a combination of digital and traditional strategies work the best. However, there are many, many businesses today that operate entirely on digital platforms. For example, Facebook and Instagram have plenty of users running small businesses of selling jewelry, clothing, handicraft items, etc. all through social media.
Getting started with Digital Marketing is not complicated
Digital marketing has plenty of avenues to explore. What will or will not work for you depends on the nature of your business and some other aspects such as:
- The audience you are targeting. You need to choose the platform where most of your audience is active.
- The purpose of digital marketing. Do you need to drive sales or engagement? Are you looking at generating leads or creating brand awareness?
- Your competition. What are other businesses in your niche doing? Look at the digital marketing trends for your niche.
- Budget for digital marketing. How much are you willing to shell out on digital marketing?
We hear the point about there being a lot of internet users too many times. But we must appreciate this increase and understand that this number is increasing even as you are reading this. This means online platforms hold huge potential and tapping into it is the best thing you could do for your business.
Getting started with digital marketing can be as simple as starting a Facebook page to drive engagement. Of course, there are a lot of options with varying complexities. There are professionals out there who can help you getting on board digital marketing and choosing the avenues for marketing best suited for your business.
What comes under Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing opens up a plethora of options to choose from to reach out to your audience. From using a company website to other digital assets such as a Facebook page, an online brochure, a lead generation form, etc. there are many aspects all of which come under the umbrella of digital marketing.
The downside of having so many different aspects of digital marketing is that a beginner might feel lost and overwhelmed. But knowing and understanding all types of digital marketing lets you make an informed choice as to which ones will help your business.
Below are the types of digital marketing. They can also be viewed as different techniques or strategies that come under digital marketing.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Paid Ads
- Online PR
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you have even the slightest idea that digital marketing exists, you definitely must have come across the term SEO. When you put in a search string in Google, you are shown page after page of search results. SEO helps your website to show up higher in the search results.
Did you know that less than 3% people who use Google search look at the results beyond the first page? Also, the very first search result gets 32.5% traffic, the second gets 17.6% traffic and it reduces as you go further down with the seventh result getting only 3.5% traffic. This makes it imperative that you do everything you can to optimize your website for search engine and get higher rankings. Only then will you get a decent organic traffic to your page.
There are ways to improve SEO by using the right keywords in the content on your website, keeping the content relevant and helpful, and having powerful backlinks. Backlinks are when content on a particular website has a link to another relevant website so that visitors can navigate there for related or further information.
Email marketing remains a very powerful tool for connecting with your audience. With most people having an email app on their phones, people now check their emails several times a day. When personalized for the customer, email marketing can give great results.
Emails can be used to inform the audience about offers, new launches, or product features. It can also be used to encourage downloads, promote a product, or boost website traffic. If people subscribe to you, you can send them newsletters with useful information. This helps to keep the customers engaged and connected with your brand. You can really nurture the relationship with your customers with a good email marketing campaign.
Email marketing also provides you with the flexibility to send targeted emails to different groups of audience. This type of segmented email marketing is much more effective than sending the same email to a bunch of people. And the best part is that there are plenty of email marketing services available in the market which help you automate emails, track the open rate of the emails, manage the email conversions and provide you with a lot of other helpful data. A few of these service providers are listed below:
- Constant Contact
Many companies in India have now reached our mobile phones with their email marketing campaigns. One example is Flipkart. They have been sending content to promote their brand and also drive user engagement on their social media platforms. Below is an example of an email from Flipkart that encourages users to engage on social media platform Twitter.
Social media marketing
Usage of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. is on a constant rise. Also, social media users spend considerable time online on these platforms. You thus have the opportunity to catch their attention on these platforms and start a conversation about your brand. Different social media platforms include:
Social media is an effective platform since it makes way for two-way communication between the marketers and the audience. You get instant feedback from the consumers. Brands have been doing this for a while now, and you might have come across numerous campaigns. Some of them go viral, thus giving the brands extra exposure to its target audience, by dint of being shareable and likable.
For instance, an ad campaign run by Birla cement garnered a lot of attention around Republic Day last year. The ad showed how the company created the India National Flag made from a block of cement with the Braille code on it. The code was used to tell the visually impaired about the three colors in the flag and their significance.
The Facebook Ad that garnered more than 11,000 likes.
I think almost all major brands run Instagram campaigns for brand awareness and for engaging their audience. You can log on to instagram and check out Nike, Coca Cola or any brand of your liking and you would likely find regular posts by them to engage with its audience.
Content marketing is a somewhat indirect form of marketing. You don’t directly market the product or service you are selling. Instead, you create good content which informs and inspires. You make it useful and valuable for your readers. And you help them make buying decisions in your business niche.
Blogs, downloadable e-books, white papers, infographics, video tutorials, etc. are examples of content marketing strategies. The most important thing about content marketing is to create content that is useful and shareable.
One of the best examples of content marketing is of Hubspot. These guys are the masters of content generation. You can check out their website to know more on what they do and how they do it.
Affiliates are individuals who promote your product online. These could be blog owners or small time social media influencers. Usually, how it works is you provide the unique tracking URL to your website or item for sale and the affiliates plug in the link into their content such that people gain insights into the product or get influenced into buying it. So all leads who visit your website through an affiliate can be identified. Then, you pay the affiliates an agreed commission for every sale that is driven through their promotion.
This is a low-risk, low-investment and high-rewards marketing channel. It is popular and cost-effective since you pay only for actual sales and not just visitors.
Influencers can be celebrities or people who have a huge number of followers/subscribers on social media. Basically, these are influential people who are recognized by your target audience. Your target audience is more likely to buy a product when they see that an influencer they follow uses that product.
Influencer marketing is not to be confused with using celebrities as brand ambassadors for ad campaigns by major companies. Influencers are individuals with a very active social media presence and following who agree to promote your products or services for a commission.
You can run paid ad campaigns on Google or other popular websites. On Google, this means that when the keywords related to your website are used in a search string on Google, your website appears as an ad in the search results. For other websites, your ad in the form of moving banners, or clickable blocks appear on popular websites where users can see them.
Online PR covers any and all activities in the online space to boost your public image. For example, encouraging existing happy customers to leave an online review for you on review websites, Google, or even your company website. It could also involve driving conversations on online forums about your products or services. Online PR agencies create and publish content about your brand, products, and services online in such a way that it gets the attention of your target audience.
Be advised that since this involves users’ direct engagement, some comments could be negative, too. But how you handle negative feedback and comments online is also a deciding factor in how your brand is perceived by the online population.
How to make Digital Marketing work for you?
While digital marketing has a lot of advantages, one of the most important advantages remains the ability to target effectively and economically. You cannot choose to show a billboard with your ad to only a specific segment of the audience. But with digital marketing, you can create campaigns and strategies such that your audience base is narrowed down. For example, for promoting a beauty product for women in the 20-30 years age bracket, Instagram can be a good option since the platform sees active engagement from the young population.
Thus, you should really define and understand your target audience. Researching the target demographics and the online trends that show increased activity by your target audience on specific platforms and specific times can be a deciding factor to run your campaigns.
The other advantage is the ability to monitor and measure digital marketing campaigns. A lot of data can be collected on customer trends, online behavior, and response to your content. This data can be analyzed using various tools available to fine-tune your strategies so that digital marketing gives you the best returns.
Armed with the correct knowledge and some professional help, you can successfully enter the digital marketing arena and get the best out of it. Right now, with traditional marketing channels taking a hit due to the Covid-19 restrictions, digital channels can open doors to a world of possibilities.