Digital marketing introduction: A know-it-all guide!
It’s the year ‘2020’, a time when we are more digitally connected with each other than ever before!
In other words, for all the marketing enthusiasts, this is like the perfect time to talk about a digital marketing guide.
After all, the total number of people around the globe using the internet right now is anywhere around 4 to 5 billion; meaning, around 60% of the world’s population is digitally connected at this very moment. Further, this number is only increasing with each passing year.
So, it probably shouldn’t surprise you when I say that digital marketing is the need of the hour for any given business!
Online Marketing V/S Offline Marketing:
Now, when I say that digital marketing is important, it doesn’t mean that I am shrugging off the importance of traditional marketing methods. After all, both of these marketing methods have their own unique place and are equally essential to generate leads and create brand awareness.
However, at the time when social distancing is on the rise, doesn’t it seem much more viable to divert the majority of your marketing expenses towards digital marketing?
I do realize that some of you might be thinking, “Everything will be soon back to normal”. But given the vast impact of this pandemic; both physically as well as psychologically, I believe that it would be much longer before people could normally attend social gatherings like they used to.
Now, before I give you a digital marketing introduction, let me first help you understand the difference between online marketing and traditional marketing with the help of these pre-covid examples:
Example 1: Suppose, it is Monday morning, and you are traveling to work on a jam-packed bus. There is no place to breathe, and nothing really to do, except stare at your smartphone- maybe read an interesting blog (How Google search engine works?), watch a funny video, or listen to some good music. But as you try to perform any one of these aforementioned activities, you soon find yourself watching or even nowadays listening to an advertisement. This ‘advertisement’ is nothing but a form of online marketing strategy.
Example 2: Now, imagine the same scenario, wherein you are traveling to the office via bus. However, the only difference between this example and the previous one is that today the bus is mostly vacant. Thus, you happily hop-on and take possession of the elusive window seat. But as you feel the cold breeze coming through the window slits; you soon find yourself randomly looking at some billboard. Now, this very billboard is one of the crucial offline marketing methods used by a ton of brands.
However, if you compare both of these examples, you will soon realize that, even in normal times, the chances of you finding a window-seat is pretty rare. Further, even if you did find the ‘window-seat’, wouldn’t you rather look at your phone than some random billboard?
But as I mentioned earlier, the main purpose of this article is not to argue as to which marketing method is better but to provide you with our digital marketing guide.
According to Wikipedia, “Digital marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes the internet and online-based digital technologies such as desktop computers, mobile phones and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services”.
However, if I were to define digital marketing in simple terms, it would be- “Marketing of any given products or services, by making use of the various online assets and digital marketing strategies available”.
In layman’s terms, any type of marketing that you do for a product or service, with the help of online assets and strategies can be termed as digital marketing.
A few examples of digital marketing are the advertisements that you see on your smartphone or computer when you are browsing through YouTube or Facebook. Further, even the promotional e-mails that you receive in your mail-box are all a part of an online marketing campaign.
It seems that Bill Gates was correct when he had said, “The internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.”
Online marketing Assets
The various online assets that you can use for developing a digital marketing strategy are:
Social media accounts
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin, etc. are one of the most important digital marketing assets of the present time. These platforms are not only perfect for organically communicating with a large number of audiences but that too in the most cost-effective way. After all, a single post on any of your social media accounts would cost you nothing, but if you decided to publish it in a newspaper, or a billboard, it would bleed your brand millions!
A website or mobile application (depending on your business needs) is pretty much the most important requirement to perform a digital marketing strategy, which we will be soon discussing in detail.
A website/app helps you to establish your online presence; thus, making it an online marketing asset.
Any kind of written content that can be used as a tool for brand promotion, brand awareness, sales, etc. is an online asset. Further, ‘content’ is often deemed as a ‘king’ in the world of digital marketing; as most of our online marketing strategies revolve around it. However, when creating content, always ensure that it is well-researched and structured because bad-quality content will only prove to be detrimental to your marketing efforts.
Thanks to the ever-increasing consumption of video content; the various forms of online ads such as product demos, display ads, etc. play a pivotal role in online marketing. Thus, every year, companies spend millions of dollars signing top-starts, athletes, to be a part of their video advertisements.
To be honest, these above examples of online marketing assets are just the tip of the iceberg, as digital marketing is a creative field, and marketers are constantly innovating and discovering new marketing assets. Further, it wouldn’t really surprise me, if a fellow colleague from the digital field discovers a new marketing asset, right at this very time!
Digital Marketing Strategies
Now that we are done discussing the different types of online assets available at our disposal, let us understand the various kinds of digital marketing strategies:
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
This is the organic process of ‘ranking’ your website or blog higher in the search engine result pages (SERPs); thus, helping your website attract more traffic, which in turn increases your overall brand visibility. Search engine optimization can be further divided into three sub-categories: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.
Now, you might be thinking, “what are SERPs?” “What does this guy mean by the organic process?” Or even on the lines of, “How is SEO going to increase my website’s traffic?”
To answer all your questions, SERPs are the search engine result pages that are arranged by Google on the basis of your website’s ranking. You can improve your website’s ranking organically (through unpaid means) with the help of SEO.
Further, the reason why ranking higher in SERPs is important: It increases your website’s overall traffic, and also because people only click on the websites that rank on the first page of Google.
Let me explain what I said earlier with the help of this example- Imagine that you want to apply for a home loan online. So, the first thing that you do is decide to search and compare for the various options available online. You open up your browser and type in the keyword, “best home loans online”. To which, Google provides you with a list of search engine page results. Now, at such times, like any other consumer, you are only going to check the top 5 or 10 search results and probably disregard the rest.
Now, trust me when I say that you are not the only person who gives more importance to top search results. Because this is what everybody else is doing as well; after all that is what consumer behavior is-to purchase what you see!
This is the reason why websites with higher ranking receive more traffic; thus, making SEO (search engine optimization) one of the most important digital marketing strategies.
PAY-PER-CLICK ADVERTISING (PPC)
PPC can be termed as the inorganic or the paid version of digital marketing. In this version, the advertisers have to pay a small amount of fee, every time one of their ads gets clicked. Although, this method does cost you money in exchange for traffic; however, it is also the only way through which you can rank your website higher without doing any type of organic activity.
There are several different PAY-PER-CLICK advertising methods that one can use, such as- search advertising, display advertising, social media advertising, etc.
Although PPC works quite differently for each and every platform, the core principles are somewhat similar. For e.g. if you take a look at both search advertising as well as social media advertising, you would realize that the core functionality is one and the same. The digital marketing strategy developed by a PPC expert would involve the same process as that of a social media advertising expert; the process of finding the relevant keywords, improving your websites quality score, refining the quality of landing page, reviewing the set keywords for maximum ROI (return on investment).
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING (SMM) –ORGANIC
Social media marketing is the process of utilizing various tools and social media assets available at a digital marketer’s disposal for sharing content and achieving marketing goals. The various social media assets that one can use are Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
However, if you have read the sub-title properly, you’d see that I have written ‘organic’ next to it. The reason why I have done so is that we have already covered its paid version in the PPC section.
The organic part of social media marketing involves quite a heavy process unlike the paid part (where bidding is the most important thing).
The various activities that one needs to perform when planning a social media marketing strategy is to understand their own marketing goals, research competitors, research hashtags, create quality content, gauze various analytic tools, share curated links, etc.
In today’s times, when more than half of the world’s population is constantly browsing through their feeds online, social media marketing can do wonders for a brand, if executed properly.
You can say that Email marketing is like the most integral part of our digital marketing guide!
After all, before all the craze of social media began, people used to connect with one another by using simple emails. Even today, when social media is on the rise, emails are still being used by people as a means to get connected with one another. Thus, it is only natural to make use of this asset as an important digital marketing tool.
Email marketing is used as a highly regarded digital marketing strategy to convert potential prospects into customers, and one-time buyers into life-long loyal consumers.
Now, if you think that email marketing is all about sending mails then my friend you are under a completely wrong impression. The entire process of email marketing involves building a list of targeted customers from scratch, optimizing the emails for higher click-through rates, and converting the potential leads into customers.
FUN FACT: Did you know that an average order value through an email is at least thrice when compared with the one from social media?
In this digital marketing strategy, the businesses try to increase their reach and revenue with the help of content assets. The different content assets and tools that businesses may use involve blog posts, info-graphics, sales copy, etc.
For e.g. imagine that you are a business trying to sell loans through content marketing. Then the first thing you will do is create an original content piece with all the required keywords (the ones that you are trying to rank). After this, you will submit this article across various websites and blogs to increase its reach i.e. perform SEO. This will help the article to be viewed by people from multiple channels and thus, in exchange help you to increase its overall visibility.
Content marketing can be used as a great source of lead generation when utilized properly.
In today’s time, to meet with the increasing demand for entertainment, people have now started producing more video and audio-based content. This type of content is available in the form of announcements, instructional videos, events, etc.
Further, thanks to the tremendous increase in the consumption of video content, companies are now splurging millions of dollars to create good quality videos. Other than that, with adjustable conversion rates, video-based content is now much more beneficial when compared with traditional means!