Brief History of Digital Marketing
Marconi used a radio to publicly demonstrate the transmission of wireless signals in England in 1896. After this pioneering act, others were quick to follow in his footsteps and do the same across long distances. Not long after, a Met opera performance was broadcast on radio, leading to a ticket-buying frenzy among the general public who wanted to catch the next show. This was the very first time a digital marketing strategy was employed to further sales. Yes, you read that right: the earliest use of a digital marketing plan did not involve smartphones or Facebook or the likes. If you are both shocked and confused, read on to understand how digital marketing entails the use of more than just modern digital media, including digital billboards, radio and TV.
What is Digital Marketing
In a nutshell, digital marketing is a way of creating awareness and trust about your brand or product/services through digital or electronic devices. And these are not restricted to just online marketing channels. In fact, offline marketing channels like TV, radio and electronic billboards play a major role in digital marketing even today. While people mostly associate online marketing channels/techniques like SEO, PPC, social media marketing, email marketing and others with digital marketing, a good digital marketing strategy will also use offline marketing channels to boost brand recognition and recall.
Why do You Need Digital Marketing for Your Business?
Given the sheer number of people that are on the internet these days, trying to find relevant information about local businesses that best suit their buying needs, not having a digital brand presence can prove to be a death sentence for upcoming brands. And if prospective customers are not on a desktop, they are navigating a sea of content on either a mobile electronic device or the television, radio or even an electronic billboard. Even magazines, books and newspapers are accessible on either a smartphone, tablet or an e-reader.
Digital marketing was not always the conclusive game-changer that is today – two to three decades ago, it would have been unheard of to set aside resources for it. Today, it is very easy to get a well-planned digital marketing strategy off the ground, run and even improve it. If you feel like a fish out of water when it comes to digital marketing tactics and do not know what exactly you need, you are certainly not alone. Many agencies will offer you a ‘complete package’ of various digital marketing services while making you think you need all of them. However, most online businesses do not need such heavily loaded, not to mention high-costing, approach. A unique digital marketing strategy that takes your individual needs into consideration is the one you must opt for as it is sure to yield great results when executed well.
Besides the aforementioned factors, digital marketing offers businesses one major edge over traditional marketing methods like print that are quickly becoming a thing of the past. With the former, you can gauge customer reaction, evaluate campaign reach and effectiveness, collect and analyse invaluable customer feedback and always come back stronger than before. You can control everything, right from the audience/customer demographic your campaign targets to the exact timeframe for which an ad is displayed. This, coupled with the conveniently economical ways of digital marketing make it a must-have for any marketer who wants to make their brand stand out.
Types of Digital Marketing
There are many sub-categories that fall under the two broad umbrellas of online and offline digital marketing based on the channel a marketer uses to communicate his marketing message. While online marketing includes SEO, PPC, social media, email, content, influencer/affiliate, mobile and viral marketing, offline marketing includes radio, TV and electronic billboard communication. Let us take a good look at each one of these channels:
SEO stands for search engine optimization and as the name suggests, it is the science and art of getting your web-pages to rank higher in SERPs (search engine results page).
You can find a detailed post on Search Engine Optimisation here, we cannot emphasize the importance of this digital marketing method enough. It consists of both on-page and off-page optimization tactics: while the former is all you do with/on your website to win customers over, including authoring on-point, useful and engaging content, the latter is what you do outside your website, including linking activities. The ultimate goal of SEO is to increase the number of website visitors by ranking highly in Google (or other search engines’) SERPs (search engine results page) for certain target keywords. Add to this the fact that SEO is the least expensive of all the marketing techniques listed here while also yielding highly long-term, sustainable results, and you just cannot afford to ignore it.
You must bear in mind here that SEO deals with unpaid or organic search results which are populated by Google based purely on merit, i.e. how suited your website (and its contents) is to the user. Given that Google has a vise-like grip around 90% of the global search market, this branch of digital marketing can help you attract up to 22,000 website visitors from just being the top search result for a keyword. SEO also lets website owners maintain an uncluttered website structure that is easy to crawl and index by search engines. Whatever your business goals, we highly recommend that you adopt this marketing technique.
Pay-per-click marketing deals with paid search results on Google and involves bidding on specific keywords that will garner the most web traffic for you.
It goes without saying that this branch of digital marketing, along with SEO, demands a thorough analysis of keywords, especially those that are relevant to your business. You can use the Google Keyword Planner and Google AdWords to carry out your research and arrive on a set of keywords that are popular yet cost-effective for you. It is then a matter of executing both short as well as long term PPC projects that will charge you every time a user clicks through to your site through the paid ad on Google.
The overall cost per click (CPC) will vary based on how in-demand a specific keyword is, i.e. the competition you face while attempting to land that keyword, and the quality score of your site, i.e. a measure used by Google to determine the spot where your paid ad will be placed on its SERP. It is important to note here that the term SEM (search engine marketing) is a combination of SEO and PPC, i.e. unpaid and paid search marketing efforts. A well-thought-out PPC strategy can give your web traffic a nudge in the right direction. Small businesses may not be able to go for this digital marketing method, especially for longer periods. Hence, it is best to do a business needs analysis before deciding what to do. Please note that both SEO and PPC campaigns can be tracked or measured using the supremely handy Google Analytics tool.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms so as to connect with your audience and build your brand.
Everybody is on various social media these days and this can only mean one thing for new businesses – promoting their brand on appropriate channels to gain a vast fan following is a no-brainer. Paid/sponsored ads on social media are a viable option as they reach the demographic you intend to target and run for the duration you have set. Moreover, such paid ad campaigns are measurable and can also help you understand a customer group better. Paid ads aside, setting up a brand page can help you interact directly with customers and hear what they have to say about your product/services.
Frequently posting compelling, topical, on-trend content will lead to it being shared by people on social media and subsequent brand recognition or awareness. If you are a B2B (business-to-business) company, LinkedIn is the way to go. If you manufacture very visually appealing products, Instagram could be the way forward. However, having a Facebook page that is alive and kicking (read: one with regular, well-timed content, including contests, sale reminders, informative videos about a product, etc.) works well for almost all businesses. Whatever social media channel you choose to employ, the key is to study your prospective customer base and make your social media presence a welcoming and standout one to them.
Content marketing is a type of marketing which involves creating relevant and consistent content to attract defined audience.
Content marketing forms the very backbone of digital marketing as it can lend itself superbly to other branches and help in transforming passive website or social media page visitors to active customers. All you have to do is to have your ear to the ground and thoroughly understand what your consumers need and desire. No matter what type of content you create, be it blog posts, vlogs, picture montages, you name it, if it adds value to the lives of customers and enhances their experience, it is a win for you. It is important to remember here that content marketing is a continuous process and it pays to invest in a good content marketing team. It is also crucial that you pay attention to content placement and look for avenues that will provide you with the maximum visibility. Additionally, you do not always have to sell you product/services to people – just communicating with them will help you reap benefits in more ways than you know. Once you have created quality content that people would not mind spending a few minutes browsing through, you can share it on various marketing platforms and of course, your site.
Email marketing is a process of sending commercial messages to group of people via email.
Some of us may view email marketing as a slightly archaic method that may not yield as positive an outcome as others. But modern technology has given us the gift of personalization and tracking tools that will help you design an email campaign that stands out and monitor its opening rate, click-through rate, etc. Let us warn you that emailing someone out of the blue will not be appreciated and can affect your company’s reputation negatively. Instead, target those who have opted in to hearing from you and avoid buying email address lists from third parties. Keep your current/prospective customers informed about the latest developments in the industry, a new product/service launch or the posting of a new blog article, ask them for their feedback on a past purchase, give them a recurring service reminder, etc. Being considered a trusted source of information can land you a spot in someone’s recognised email senders’ list instead of just being part of a tall stack of spammy emails.
Influencer marketing is a type of online networking advertising which includes influencers to endorse and make reference to your products.
We have all swooned over celebrities and waited for their next social media update with baited breath. And then there are industry experts or content creators with legions of fans of their own. Many companies work with such influencers to create brand awareness and convert at least some of their huge fan following into profitable leads for themselves. Many others let affiliates or brand representatives reach out to a varied demographic and generate sales. Furthermore, Google AdSense is a good way for website owners to make money by carrying ads about various products and services while brands gain more visibility.
Many online businesses even have influencers take over their social media channels for a day or two to work their magic and guide their followers onto their social media page or website. While these influencers or affiliates may be offered an upfront amount or a percentage of or commission on sales and leads, this form of digital marketing needs to be well-researched in order to work. For not only are you entrusting those outside of your company to speak for you, you must be very sure that their image/personality will compliment you. We highly recommend that you work out the details of your collaboration with such influencers and affiliates beforehand for an effective campaign.
Viral marketing is a type of marketing where consumers give or share information about the company’s goods or services through social networks.
In today’s modern-day and age, anyone can become an online sensation if they put out offbeat content that you just cannot afford to miss as a consumer. This content can be in any form, including videos, blog posts, etc. and revolve around a variety of genres or topics, like travel and food, beauty, online journalism, etc. Advertisers these days seek out such content creators in an attempt to have information about their products/services placed strategically within the content. Although there is no sure shot way of making content go viral, this form of digital marketing can garner short-term yet remarkable upswings in web traffic or the number of people who show interest in your brand.
Mobile marketing is a way of marketing through SMS.
Sending marketing messages through SMS and push notifications is a time-tested way of getting the recipient’s attention, especially since more than 90% of such messages are opened right after receiving them. This, coupled with mobile search and social ads is a powerful way of influencing a customer. Modern geofencing options ensure that you can target a specific demographic with precision and ease. Sending customers news about deals, discounts, coupons and sales, loyalty point updates, etc. are a great way to engage with your customer. Simply make sure that you give enough thought to annoying and intrusive pop-ups, mobile site responsiveness, slower internet/data speeds on the go, etc. while attempting to incorporate mobile advertising into your overall marketing plan.
Radio and TV Ads
Radio and television took the world by storm when they were first invented but today, they are fast giving way to other more powerful media and communication channels. To top it all off, today, there exist online and/or mobile radio and television. Traditionally it was difficult to know exactly how many listeners of radio, watchers of TV and readers of print ads acted on the message communicated to them. But with the advent of digital radio and TV, it is easier to reach the people you want to reach, when and where you want to reach them. This laser focus is a big draw even at a time when these advertising channels are sinking into obscurity. One should also consider advertising with online/mobile video/audio streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Gaana, Saavn, etc. though they may not fall in the umbrella of conventional radio or television.
Did you know that you may have to shell out anywhere between one to fifteen lakhs per month to rent an electronic billboard in a major Indian city? It all depends on the location of the electronic billboard, your advertising competition and the features (extra blinking lights, life-size figures of mascots or brand ambassadors, etc.) you want to include, of course. However, many argue that the charm of a digital hoarding is lost in today’s times where everyone has their noses buried in their phone and hardly takes notice of them. Still others claim that the more attention-grabbing, grand and glitzy your ad, the higher the conversion rate for your business. And then there are those local businesses who erect a cannot-ignore electronic billboard in the midst of a busy thoroughfare just before an important event/season for a temporary but sizeable spike in interest in their brand. Whatever the truth of the matter, a very important facet of this kind of digital marketing is the high costs involved. Hence, it is entirely left to you to decide when and how to use them.
How to Craft an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy
As mentioned earlier, many businesses shy away from including digital marketing in their overall advertising/brand promotion efforts solely because they do not know what they can achieve with it, where to start or how far to go with it. If you too fall in the same category, you can simply draw up a lean or basic ideation sheet with goals or objectives you would like to reach, the budget you can spare for various marketing efforts, the customer demographic to be reached, market research requirements, possible digital marketing services you will need and so forth. Knowing the kind of results – long term or short term – each digital marketing category can bring in is imperative as it will help you decide where to concentrate your resources.
To simplify the entire process, we highly recommend that you answer the five important of questions of why, where, when, how and what, i.e. why do you want to employ digital marketing, how do you hope to achieve your goals, when and where do you want to strike and what demographic are you targeting. Once done, you should sit down with your top management and decide if you would like to hire an in-house digital marketing team with managers for the different sub-teams (say, an SEO manager, a content lead, etc.) or outsource it all to someone like us. Whatever path you choose to take, remember that you can change strategies as you go while constantly evolving to suit your customers and carve a niche for yourself.
It all boils down to one thing – constantly assessing where you are in terms of marketing objectives and where you want to be in both the near and far future is the only thing that will help you grow your business. Whatever kind of digital marketing you favour over the other, it is important to distribute your marketing efforts and track campaign results from time to time. Having a team of competent digital marketing professionals, whether in-house or otherwise, who are well-versed with the company mission and vision is also a must. If you have any questions about digital marketing or suggestions about future posts, do let us know. And for everything related to the latest in online marketing trends and news, keep checking our blog.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is a way of creating awareness and trust of your brand or product/services through digital or electronic devices.
What are the types of Digital Marketing?
SEO, PPC, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Influencer/Affiliate Marketing, Viral marketing, Mobile Marketing, Radio and TV Ads, Electronic Billboards.
Why Digital Marketing is important for business?
Digital marketing offers businesses edge over traditional marketing like customer reaction, evaluate campaign reach and effectiveness, collect and analyse invaluable customer feedback which helps businesses to grow.
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