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Digital Marketing

 

Any marketing done via digital channels like search engines, websites & blogs, mobile applications, emails, social media, etc. comprises Digital Marketing. Like conventional marketing, Digital Marketing or Online Marketing too has metrics on which any given campaign’s efficacy is measured. Online marketing campaign objectives are primarily:

  • Brand awareness
  • Enquiry or lead generation
  • Product or service sales
  • Communicating to and engagement with the target audience and the existing consumer base.

Drive brand awareness & lead generation through a selection of digital channels, paid or organic(free), and justifying and managing the company’s digital marketing budget while doing so.

There are many specific roles for digital marketers. For instance, one Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of an SEO Manager is ‘organic traffic growth’, whereby he/she has to increase traffic to the website via better search engine ranking positions for relevant, targeted keywords. On the other hand, a Content Marketing Specialist is responsible for managing the company’s content generation and calendar. Example KPIs are time spent on blog section, overall blog traffic & subscribers to YouTube channel (in the case of video content). A Social Media Manager manages one-way and two-way interaction with the audience on social media platforms, through ads, posts, status updates, direct messages, etc.

Working with a digital marketing agency exposes marketers to a variety of challenges; sometimes difficult but always interesting. Diverse skills go a long way and no two days at work will ever be the same. You won’t find yourself stagnating even after a considerable period of time, as there are always a variety of projects to work on, with diverse challenges and unique characteristics.

You’ll keep expanding your skillset organically by working with clients from different work cultures and with different needs,. You’ll learn to lead campaigns and projects as your creativity reaches new levels of innovation. You’ll end up highly self-motivated and develop into a great communicator. Over time, you’ll be well versed in SEO, SEM, SMM, content marketing, email marketing and marketing analytics.

Consumers spend around 37% of their social media time interacting with branded content. As per Statista, in 2021 over 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online, up from 1.66 billion global digital buyers in 2016. In 2018, global e-retail sales amounted to $2.8 trillion. Interestingly, projections show that global e-retail sales are going to grow to around $4.8 trillion by 2021.

Digital Marketing allows more targeted, more efficient marketing of your products. In fact, you can formulate different branding strategies for different segments. For businesses who’ve put strong focus on SEO, as much as 80% of traffic arrives from search results. Some businesses find that they can generate high RoI on paid ads like those on Google Ads & Google Display Network, and focus most of their attention on inorganic activities.

There are many facets of digital marketing, and many factors determine the right mix for your particular needs. For example, a b2c consumer service like Amazon probably won’t advertise their marketplace much on LinkedIn, which is a network for professionals. Bootstrapped startups might focus on SEO and other organic, more ‘guerilla’ ways of marketing than spending on extensive paid campaigns.

For finding the best channels, you must evaluate your business, brand, products/services & identify the pulse of your customers. Trial and error is also a key part, and the sooner stakeholders realize that, the better. Even the most thought out, expensive campaign can fail due to unforeseen circumstances, and we see major brands have digital PR nightmares to deal with all the time. A consultation with a digital marketing agency can aid you in determining what forms of digital marketing are most likely to fulfill your goals.

Reaching your target audience in a cost effective & measurable way is, succinctly put, a primary goal of digital marketing. Digital marketing will boost brand loyalty and is pivotal to online sales funnel conversions. Some other reasons:

  • Quickly identify & gauge demand in new markets, test the waters, and start marketing activities easily across borders.
  • Reach the right customers, often at much lower costs, than conventional marketing methods.
  • Use web analytics and other online metric tools to gain tangible, measurable insights into your marketing efforts, understand how customers use your website and optimize communication and user experience.
  • Much higher ability to specifically target various user archetypes compared to traditional channels which are broad in nature and hence not necessarily as cost efficient.
  • Integrating marketing campaigns successfully on social media helps build customer loyalty & ensures higher retention rates over time.
  • The ease with which people can share content online can be extremely beneficial to a well marketed, quality product. The digital word-of-mouth effect can generate great returns.

Organic activities like Search Engine Optimization(SEO) and some forms of Content Marketing tend to take longer, but are more reliable and can give big returns by way of impressions and traffic over time. Paid activities like social media marketing(SMM) and search engine marketing(SEM) have much quicker impact, but aren’t always economical. It also depends on your competition. It’s much harder to stand out in a cluttered domain versus an industry where you’re a first mover or early entrant.

Constant monitoring & fine tuning of your marketing campaigns is essential to optimize returns and meet objectives quicker.

22% of the world population is on Facebook. Total number of daily active users is 500 million. One of the top 10 reasons people say they’re on social media is to buy products advertised to them. By implementing successful digital marketing strategies, you can reach a diverse group of people, anywhere in the world. Communication is instant resulting in faster feedback from consumers about your products and services. Monitoring their experience, you can take steps to improve your offering and customer service. Businesses measure accomplishment by their conversion rate – whether their objective is sales, impressions, enquiries, downloads or something else. Digital Marketing helps you realize that.

You must create and publish great content, after duly identifying what your target segment is looking for online. If you have a static home page, add a section to it that pulls in latest news articles and blogs about your products or industry. Forums or reviews can help establish two-way communication with your visitors, a positive signal for search engines as a. .

Google indexes your pages based on the number of incoming links, keywords frequency and how often these pages are updated. Also, your credibility increases as you keep generating relevant, engaging content for your audience. Once you are recognized by the industry, other sites will be more inclined to share and link to your content, another big boost for SEO. Backlinks are a ranking signal as Google views highly linked-to pages as more authoritative than ones with minimal backlinks.

Once you generate new content and update your website, you can also link back to it through your social media presence. This interconnected crossweave of channels and outlets can have an exponential effect on your overall online presence.

Mobile website optimization is calibrating your site design, site structure & page speed to make sure that visitors can view your website in different mobile devices of varying screen sizes without any compromise to site layout, depiction of information, user experience and website performance.

Because of hardware and connectivity issues, page speed is even more important for mobile users than desktop users. Beyond optimizing images, you'll want to minify code (JavaScript & CSS), leverage browser caching & reduce redirects.

For mobile screen sizes, too big/small buttons on website can result in faulty touch screen navigation due to accidental clicks by a visitor’s finger scrolling the page. Mobile website optimization addresses all such issues for a seamless experience for website visitor. It is also about fortifying a responsive design using CSS3 media queries to serve the same content to mobile and desktop users using a fluid grid and adaptive design to fit any screen size of the user.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO comprises a set of activities that allow your website to be crawled and indexed by Search Engines as optimally as possible, so your website shows up on search listings when people search for terms that are related to your website.

Your website’s ranking will be different for different search queries or keywords; it is important to try to optimize for many keywords so that your website appears in the top results and traffic is diverted to it, increasing the chances of conversions. Page titles, internal linking, meta-tags, content structure, inbound links, site performance, content quality, social signals etc. can be optimized to improve the SEO rankings of your website.

When you search for something on a search engine like Google or Bing, what you input into the search field are known as keywords, or keyphrases. So for example, if you’re looking to find a digital marketing agency in Mumbai, your keyphrase might be ‘digital marketing agencies in Mumbai’. Google’s Keyword Planner is a tool that allows digital marketers to find keywords relevant to them based on search popularity, and also gives data related to suggested bid prices should the marketer be considering running a Google Ads campaign.

From an SEO point of view, keyword research allows you to identify frequently searched words and populate your website content with them strategically. Keyword density and content relevance are important factors to consider when trying to rank high on search engines for terms relevant to your business. These words serve as keys to divert traffic to your website, and are thus aptly called keywords.

Local SEO is the process by which you signal to search engines the relevance of webpages or web content for specific geographies. When people search for location-specific things – say for example ‘restaurants near me’ –restaurants that have optimized their online presence to show up for that given location via local SEO activities stand a far higher chance of drawing visitors.

For brick-and-mortar businesses marketing online, it is essential to list on Google My Business Listing, which will ensure your business address and other structured metadata pops up on Google when somebody searches for either the business by name or by its offerings. Online local directory submissions help a lot too, sending strong signals to Google about the presence of the business in a particular locality.

SEO is akin to the physical maxim of ‘location, location, location’. Just as the location of a physical establishment is essential to its success, similarly high search engine rankings are like prime commercial real estate. Your website’s discoverability increases exponentially the further up it shows up in search rankings. SEO is also organic in nature, which means no amount of money can guarantee the first rank for a given search term. You can spend money on dedicated resources and efforts towards SEO, on paid directory listings and inbound links, and on deep dive analytics to gain insights on where to improve your efforts, but you cannot ‘buy’ the first position of organic search results.

When a user performs a search, search engines traverse their index for highly relevant content. Then, the engine orders the content by relevance (known as ranking) in response to the search query. The higher a website is ranked, the more relevant the search engine believes that website is to user’s query.

Many many factors go into determining search engine rankings. Taking Google for example, the ‘machine’ which takes a user search phrase, processes it and spits back relevant results in an ordered list is commonly known simply as the Google Search Algorithm. This algorithm has been refined and enhanced over many years, and is constantly undergoing change and transformation. Occasionally, Google releases guidelines and public updates describing the changes and how they may affect listings, and SEOs must adapt. This is partly why SEO is considered an on-going process. Guidelines and algorithms are continuously evolving, and other sites are always improving and enhancing their own SEO. With both these external factors in constant flux, search engine rankings keep changing.

Content Marketing

Strategically planned sharing of content (such as social media posts, videos & articles) online by a company in order to generate interest in the products/services of a company is known as content marketing. The most reliable indicators of effectiveness are quality and relevance of the content, as well as the mediums through which the content is disseminated. Content Marketing can also be very effective towards SEO. The right keyword density mixed with truly relevant, unique content plays a major roll in the long term credibility of your domain.

"There are various ‘types’ of content:

  • Blog posts
  • Longform content (Feature length articles, case studies, whitepapers, guides, ebooks)
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Social Posts
  • Webinars

What you should create depends on your target audience and where you can expect to find them, and the objectives you’re looking to fulfill. For example, offering a free whitepaper in exchange for a subscription can help you build your email database. A blog post could capitalize on a popular search phrase. Longform content helps with SEO. Topics covered in-depth indicates credibility to search engines as well as establishes your brand as a domain knowledge leader.

Videos are increasingly replacing static content like text and images. However, with such a cornucopia of content available , videos must be highly relevant, educational, or entertaining to have any impact."

"The most important thing to do is post highly relevant, keyword seeded content as frequently as possible. The exact number of posts, length of each post really depends on what your website is about. You should always start with the question “how is this content relevant to my target audience”.

A proper analysis of what the audience is looking for will be a vital indicator of what content should be posted next and when. Keep an eye on how your website is faring on the SERP of search engines. Track how your content posts are doing among users, perform SEO & decide upon the frequency of posting content accordingly."

To form a content marketing strategy, you may begin by writing out a high level mission statement identifying your target audience, how your content is beneficial to them or how it meets what they’re searching for, and importantly where on the internet you’re likely to find them..

Next, establish milestones to be achieved in specific time durations over a period. These could be:

  • Hitting a revenue target within a quarter
  • Getting more signups
  • New email subscribers
  • Improvement in search ranking etc.

If you are already into posting content, do an audit of your posts’ discoverability and engagement. You’ll soon come to know what content is doing well and what types of content need improvement or even replacement.

Having done that, decide what type of content you need to post. Whether it is a blog post, a PR article, photo or video, it has to be valuable, sharable, and if possible, actionable. Then, allocate resources i.e. who will create and maintain the content, what will be the publishing workflow, what tools will be needed, what will the content scheduling be like etc.

Maintain a weekly content calendar with due dates allotted to each content. Next, create the content. Do research about what is already available online, what your competitors are doing and how your content will add value to your audience.

After content has been created, it is time for to publish and market. When you publish something, try and monitor and gauge its effectiveness. Insights are essential to tailor your content strategy and gauge what’s working and what isn’t.

Social mention is essentially someone name-dropping your brand online. It can be positive or negative. However, every single social mention is an opportunity to engage with your audience and fathom their perception of your brand. To increase your social mentions for the good, keep posting highly relevant content across various social media platforms to build a solid brand image.

It’s also good practice to give other authors and pieces of relevant content mentions and link to them. You could foster a mutually beneficial arrangement by doing this.

Paid Advertising

PPC stands for Pay Per Click, a popular advertising model in which advertisers pay a certain amount (fixed or variable) every time their ad is clicked on an ad platform (like Google Ads) or ad network (like Google Search Network).

Ads that conform to the formatting of the media they appear in are known as native ads. Native advertising melds with the medium’s content, with the objective of not coming across as in-the-face. When you're scrolling through your Facebook feed and see a ‘sponsored’ post, that's an example of native advertising. Besides sponsored newsfeed posts, they can be sponsored image posts on Instagram – mimicking the format of regular image posts – or as sponsored articles on blogs/editorials/online news publications. Native ads tend to detract a user’s attention less, and are usually only distinguishable by subtle accompanying captions like ‘Sponsored Post’, ‘Promoted Story’, or ‘Sponsored by’.

Imagine you own a blogging website. When your audience becomes large enough, companies may approach you to write about their products/services, in exchange for consideration, either cash or a barter of some sort. These typically tend to be ‘native’, and aim to ride on the credibility of the medium. Sponsored content varies in degrees of subtlety; some push product & services very directly, barely under guide, while others first aim to help the user in some tangible way, before plugging the actual offering.

"Brian Halligan, co-founder of Hubspot, invented this term, and defined it as: “marketing focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer’s buying journey. Potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.”

In other words, as a marketer, identify the pain areas, the questions and the needs of your customers, and create content, a knowledgebase, and resources on your own platform, under your own brand, instead of having your customers find this information elsewhere. By providing these answers, you’re regarded as a domain expert, and your brand gains goodwill at all points in a customer’s research journey. Simultaneously, you show your prospects how your brand can solve these problems by informing them about your offerings."

Marketing automation is the process of automating many time consuming, manual marketing tasks, allowing digital marketers to devote their energy and effort on other things. Examples of marketing automation are using tools to schedule posts on multiple social channels as well as on other outlets like website blogs, syndicated content outlets, etc. all at once, in advance, creating workflows like emailing customers of ecommerce about new product offerings, discounts, abandoned carts, etc., and even the use of scripted chat bots to get an idea of the user’s issue before assigning human customer support.

Conversion Based Marketing

Data driven marketing is gathering factual insights about diverse requirements of each customer segment across a geography, creating content relevant to each segment & publishing it at the most opportune time to attract them all to your products/services. It helps identify the right content to publish, at the right time, at the right prices, across devices, to the right customer and help brands optimize RoI on marketing efforts. You can’t generalize customer behavior online like it is done in traditional marketing. Data driven marketing takes into account different user personas and target audiences, and changes in online consumer behavior. You can spot trends in how your target audience is engaging you and what they’re looking for, and amend your strategy accordingly.

Performance marketing is the term given to online marketing activities that are chargeable based on variables, like number of impressions, quality of ads or quality of audience, and the term is usually synonymous with RoI measurability. Affiliate marketing, or commission-based tieups, fall under performance marketing as well. Sales generated by affiliate channels or sales partners are tracked, and you’re only charged based on those sales. Besides sales, other objectives can be trial signups, referrals, enquiries, etc.

A marketing funnel is a way of breaking down the customers’ journey all the way from the stage they first learn about your business to the stage when they're ready to buy your product or service. It has various stages (from top to bottom) like:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Consideration
  • Intent
  • Evaluation
  • Purchase

Suppose 100 users visited your website and 10 of them made a purchase. The conversion rate is 10%. By analyzing and making changes to your website (website performance, user experience, offers and promotions, etc.), you might increase your conversion rate to 15 or 20%. This process of trying to improve the rate of visitors turning into consumers is known as CRO. Conversion rate optimization is focused on convincing more of your website visitors to take the desired action you want them to take on your website – in other words, fulfilling your website objectives.