Right so you want to learn about Digital Marketing and possibly apply it for your business or in your job. And you’ve taken the first correct step in reading about it here. Congratulations, you’re now 1-step ahead of others who do not know what digital marketing is.
Digital Marketing can be confusing for the first timer. I should know that! My first exposure to digital marketing was in 2000 when I joined a company that was providing consulting services to large brands on how to use the Internet for marketing. I knew about marketing and zilch about anything digital.
Surprisingly enough once I got over the initial confusion of trying to remember terminologies like CPM, CPC, Impressions, API, Auto-Responders, SysArch’s and the like I realised that digital marketing was no different in the real sense to what I already knew- Marketing.
Traditional Vs Digital Marketing
That’s right. Digital Marketing is nothing but applying the same fundamental rules of marketing on a different channel. In this case, the channel is via the Internet. In marketing we use Radio, print and television to advertise brands. In digital marketing we use online publishers like Google or Yahoo to do pretty much the same thing- influence prospects to become our customers. In marketing we do market research to understand consumer buying behaviour so that we can communicate better. In digital marketing, we get real time data of consumer buying and behaviours so that we can sharpen our messaging better.
In traditional marketing, we buy media based on viewership or readership while in digital marketing we buy media based on specific actions- it could be someone seeing our advertisement or someone clicking on it, filling up a form or buying something.
In traditional marketing we hire advertising and branding consultants to help us frame out the right communication messages that will help us influence consumers. In digital marketing, we instead hire out digital or content or SEO agencies to pretty much do the same thing- albeit in a different way.
However, the one big difference and what excites me even today after over a decade is that unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing is clearly an ROI driven route which allows me as the business owner or marketer work on the medium that gives me the best ROI- and I do all this in real time 24 x 7 !
Digital Marketing – How it can help you target the world
Today digital marketing spend is growing faster than traditional marketing growth and the reason is not surprising. The ability to control spends coupled with the ability to do deep dive analysis of customer behaviour coupled with real time control is fueling this growth.
Today there are over 3.4 Billion people worldwide on the Internet. And digital marketing allows companies to target them no matter where in the world they are located. You may be a small business in say West Samoa, but you could easily target and sell your services and products to someone in Iceland with the same level of efficiency that a Coca-Cola could do.
Before you begin Digital Marketing
While theoretically you can sell to any of the 3.4 Billion people on the Internet with digital marketing, practically doing so would be challenging unless you focus on implementing digital marketing in the right manner. You could join Digital Marketing Boot Camps or courses like Digital Marketing for Business Owners to come to grips with how to effectively implement it.
Before one begins creating a digital marketing plan, it is important to first create marketing plan for your business. This handy guide to create a marketing plan for SME’s can be used to first create this plan.
Digital Marketing Components – How to Use them
There are essentially 6 key components that make up digital marketing today.
- SEO or Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media Marketing
- Pay-Per-Click ( PPC) Advertising
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
These components keep changing as technologies and user behaviour changes. Until Facebook appeared, social media marketing was unheard off and off late since the past few years, content marketing has begun to take centre stage as one of the key components.
Subscribe to How To Do Digital Marketing and we will keep you updated when similar guides for each of the above components are made available on the platform.
Having a website that communicates your company’s products and services clearly to your prospects is the first fundamental component of implementing digital marketing. A website is your digital calling card for everyone to see and interact with. Think of it as your super-salesman, working for you 24 x 7, 365 days a year without pay!
Developing a website is today an easy task, even for those who have no knowledge about programming. Content Management Tools such as WordPress have made it easy to build and deploy websites within days without complex programming.
Key aspects to keep in mind when you are developing a website are the following:-
- The Website Theme or design– You can use free themes that are available on WordPress or buy themes for as low as $2 on platforms like Theme Forest. You can select the most appropriate theme based on your business or need.
2. Website Speed: Today, increasingly more people are using their smartphones to access the internet and therefore having a website that loads extremely quickly on mobile devices is of critical important
3. Website Responsiveness: A website is said to be responsive when the site scales itself depending on the device through which it is being accessed. Today search engines like Google actually give higher importance and rankings to sites that are responsive rather than sites that only show up properly on desktop devices. So if you’re wanting to capture the world, you need to make sure that your site is 100% responsive
SEO- Search Engine Optimization
SEO or Search Engine Optimization refers to the process of improving your website page rank on popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing so that it begins to appear on the top level pages. Getting your website ranked on Google page 1 without having to advertise is what SEO is all about like in the example shown ( highlighted in Yellow)
SEO is a highly intricate form of digital marketing and is a multi-billion dollar industry by itself. The importance of SEO lies in the fact that if you are able to get your website ranked on page 1 , you are assured of getting what is called Organic Search Results , which is essentially highly relevant visitors to your website without having to pay any money!
Why is SEO so important?
The importance of SEO lies in the fact that almost everyone uses Search Engines like Google to find information about businesses, about products, about services. And therefore if you are able to show your company website details when people are searching for your type of business or product or service, you are able to get very relevant traffic coming to you!
There are 2 sub components – On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.
On-Page SEO refers to the work that you do on your website that allows search engines like Google to identify what kind of website you are and how important that information you are showing on your website is to the person who is searching on Google.
Off-Page SEO refers to the work that you do external to your website that helps Google rank you in order of importance relative to other similar websites that have the same level and depth of information. This typically involves multiple factors among others like having relevant backlinks, requisite domain authority, quality content, social shares and other
Subscribe to How To Do Digital Marketing and we will keep you updated when we put up a complete guide on how to do SEO- Search Engine Optimization
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing came into the forefront of digital marketing with the growth of Facebook and channels like Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Social Media Marketing refers to the process and manner through which one uses social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Quora and others to connect with and engage with prospects and fans.
Social Media networks can be broadly divided into consumer channels like Facebook and G+ or B2B networks like LinkedIn and Twitter.
Why is social media important?
There are over 2.2 Billion people on social media. Facebook alone has over 1.3 Billion users. People on social media share posts, opinions and information within their network. And these information, opinions and posts are valued by those who are connected with them because of the trust factor. Therefore any brand, any company or any individual who is able to build a group of fan followers on social media is guaranteed of having several hundreds if not thousands of brand ambassadors who would willingly promote the company among their friends and colleagues
That’s the power of social media marketing
How to be effective on social media?
If you’re responsible for your company’s presence of social media you need to first determine which social media you need to be present on. Decide this basis your domain- Business to Consumer or Business to Business. If it’s the former than Facebook should be your primary social media marketing channel or LinkedIn if you’re in the B2B business
To be effective on any social media network, you need to follow certain guidelines:-
- Don’t buy followers- build them instead. Draw them to you with high quality content
- Engage with those that follow you with interesting posts and content
- Don’t talk company language or messaging- instead talk consumer interests.
- Invest time in building content that address why your followers started following you.
- Be aggressive- don’t be shy on social media. Your shelf value is limited. You need to continuously market yourself with new content and posts
Subscribe to How To Do Digital Marketing and we will keep you updated when we put up a complete guide on how to use and implement Social Media Marketing or take our free course on social media marketing
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Pay-Per-Click or PPC as it is commonly called means exactly that. You only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement.
The first question that immediately pops into everyone’s head at this statement is – how do you control fake clicks? The answer to that is – technology has evolved to the extent that fictitious clicks are no longer possible on paid campaigns, unless someone actually spends more money than you are spending to ruin you!
PPC advertising is extremely popular as it provides businesses an easy way to target relevant audiences, show their advertisements but yet only pay if someone clicks on the advt. You don’t pay to show your add unlike in traditional print or TV advertisements
How do you use PPC advertising?
PPC advertising is used largely to generate customer leads and enquiries. It can also be used to generate brand awareness for a new product or service that has been launched.
What is PPC|CPC|CPM|CPA
Welcome to terminologies! Here is an easy way to know what each terminology stands for
PPC– Pay-Per-Click- you pay only when someone clicks on your advt. Most advertising channels operate on a PPC model
CPC– Cost-Per-Click- this is the cost that you say you are willing to pay for every click. Most advertising channels allow you to set your own CPC bid price
CPM– Cost-per-1000 impressions- this is the cost you say you are willing to pay to show your add 1000 times on the channel. Most advertising channels also allow you to buy space on a CPM model. This is useful in certain cases but not if you are trying to do lead generation
CPA-Cost-Per-Action- this is the cost you say you are willing to pay for every end action that the person who clicks your advt will do. The action could be filling out a form or buying something. Many advertising channels like Google allow you to run CPA based campaigns
Google AdWords and Facebook are the world’s largest PPC based advertising channels and should be part of the digital marketing mix for any business of any size.
Is there a minimum budget?
No. There is no minimum budget that one has to spend on either of these two big advertising channels. You can spend as low as $5 a day depending on the country you are in. This is because both these publishers depend largely on small businesses for bulk of their advertising revenues.
To know more about how to set up and run your campaign on these networks, join our 2 flagship free courses- Google AdWords Training- how to use it for business leads and How to use Facebook Marketing to grow your business
Email marketing refers to the process by which one uses email as a form of communication to interact, engage and sell to your prospects or customers.
It is by far the most used and abused form of digital marketing. Abused because a large degree of what constitutes email marketing is actually spam where businesses buy or rent huge databases and send un-solicited mails to everyone. Am sure you too would have received numerous spam emails in your in-box on a daily basis.
However if done properly and professionally, email marketing is perhaps the most effective tool in digital marketing.
Email marketing process
The process of email marketing starts with building a robust email database of prospective customers. There are widely used techniques such as lead capture devices, lead magnets, subscriber lists, opt-in lists through which this list could be developed without having to resort to web scraping.
Once you have developed your email list which should ideally be an on-going process, you need to develop a campaign, test the campaign and broadcast your email. Email marketing allows you to monitor and measure the responses. Some of the key metrics used are:-
Bounce Rate– the number of emails that ‘bounced back’ i.e were not delivered to the database. This is measured on total emails sent out
Open Rate– the number of users that ‘opened’ your email, i.e viewed it. This is also measured on the total emails sent out
CTR– Click-Through-Rate- the number of users that clicked on any of the links provided in your email and visited your site. This is again measured on the total emails sent out
Subscribe to How To Do Digital Marketing and we will keep you updated when we put up a complete guide on how to do email marketing effectively.
I decided to save the best and newest baby in digital marketing for the last. In the last few years, content marketing has become the most important aspect of digital marketing.
Content Marketing refers to the manner in which one uses content to reach out, influence, engage and sell your products and services to prospects.
Why content marketing is so important
The growth of content marketing can be directly attributed to 2 clear factors
- The changes that Google did in their search algorithm that changed forever the way SEO was being done. Overnight, the algorithm no longer gave high emphasis on keywords but instead decided to focus on quality of content including depth and relevance of the content. This effectively meant that to get a good rank on the search pages, one had to generate high quality content.
- The depth of informational requirement by consumers has also changed as has the medium or source and format of information consumption. While earlier the primary source of information was Google, today there are multiple sources of information- social media networks, review sites or review platforms and vertical search engines. More people prefer visuals over text based information, Video is growing because of smartphone penetration and faster internet connection
As a result in today’s context, content has begun to play the most important role in defining the digital marketing mix for businesses.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing refers to both creation of content – be it in the form of text (like this one) or video or visuals graphics. It also refers to the distribution or marketing of the content so that it reaches a wider audience. Both these are together referred to commonly as content marketing
Content marketing lies at the core of digital marketing today. It starts with the website content and extends itself to all forms of messaging that one puts out on social media, blogs, review platforms, via email or even via newsletters.
Truly today content is king
Content Creation Formats
Content marketing formats needs to be varied depending on the medium in which the content is going to be put up as well as the audience characteristics For example if your consumers are on YouTube you need to create video content. If they are on Slide share, then the content needs to be in the form of a PDF or Presentation. On Facebook they could be either graphical visual content or video content. Textual content works well on LinkedIn if you’re in the B2B business
As important as content creation is so is the distribution of content. Creating a high quality content and not distributing it is akin to creating a great TV commercial and not showing it on TV.
Who will know about it if you don’t distribute it? Only you and your family!
There are several ways to ensure an effective distribution of content
- Email Marketing is one such manner.
- Via paid advertising using a CPC or CPM model
- Via Content aggregation platforms like Reddit, Delicious or Discuss
- Via social media networks
- Via employees, family and friends
- Via blogging platforms
To know more on content marketing and how to apply it to your business, join our free course- Content Marketing for building digital engagement
Summing up on digital marketing
As one can see, the spectrum of digital marketing is extremely wide and intense. And everything is inter-connected with each other. How well you do your content marketing will impact your website which in turn will impact your SEO and your social media following and the effectiveness of your PPC campaign.
One therefore needs to approach digital marketing from a holistic perspective and not piece meal. Understanding each component of digital marketing and how it impacts other aspects is fundamental to good marketing practices.
How To Do Digital Marketing is a platform that encourage and helps entrepreneurs, business owners, working professionals and others who are keen to understand and apply digital marketing in their day to day life.
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