What pops up in your head when I say the words, ‘digital marketing’? To some, the very first thing they can link it to is Facebook or Instagram ads. Others, take a more ‘technical’ route and integrate it with one of the most used buzzwords of the millennial generation- ‘SEO’.
The fact is, although, it is very much true that each of these belong to the same family of digital marketing, they’re all different elements of it. Moreover, these are not the only elements. Common perception fails to make clear another fact- that digital marketing can be done both online and offline.
Yes, I know that sounds a little confusing to hear, which is exactly why I’m going to first explain what the term, ‘digital marketing’ even means.
Technically, digital marketing is just another method of advertising and marketing products or services that stem from electronic devices. Thus, since they can be done both online as well as offline, each of the two categories have within it subcategories such as the ones we spoke of right at the beginning of this post.
Now knowing this flow chart shall surely help you gain some insight regarding the following context: The average individual spends about roughly 4 hours and 30 minutes per day on their phone alone.
The only implication this has for us, of course, is that as experts in the marketing field, we follow where the majority goes. And the majority, it seems, is pretty much hypnotized by the virtual world.
This is why the idea has shifted from having a traditional ‘working’ space to moving things online. Hence, as more and more individuals convert to the tech-savvy route, it also becomes increasingly necessary to appeal to people’s knowledge in this domain- as well as help them figure out which such strategies are best for marketing their brand.
Maybe the concept of it interests you- and yet you’re unaware of how to make use of it for your benefit. Broadening the horizon in such a situation will not only help you feel just a little smarter at that next convention where using ‘digital marketing’ for business has become all the rage, but also gain a powerful insight into the working of its elements.
If you’re reading this post, chances are you’ve come across this term at some point in your life. Putting it simply, search engine optimization can be categorized into three parts:
- Quality of traffic: The idea behind this is to not just spur engagement that isn’t relevant to your brand. By using keywords that mean something to your business and what you do, you can attract people who are genuinely interested in it.
- Quantity of traffic: Once the filtering process is over, interested people who come to know of your brand through search engine result pages (SERPs) shouldn’t be so small in size that it completely nullifies the process.
- Organic results: It’s important to understand that organic traffic is unpaid traffic. Ads on the other hand which come up from SERPs do not form a part of these organic results and usually appear right at the top of the page as depicted below.
Here’s how search engines work. If Google is the search engine you use, then understand that it has a crawler which goes out , collects information and captures all the content that’s available on the Internet. Then using that content, the crawlers build an index. Further, an algorithm is used to feed in the index which then matches your query with the data that is already present within the index.
Now we come to the ‘optimization’ part. Optimization is just another form of making the content that you already have, easily accessible to these crawlers so that they can capture you content, store it in their index and then produce it when asked, thus forming a chain like cation.
The methods that involve such optimizations obviously vary- internal and external links which help crawlers detect pages with more ease, title tags as well meta descriptions which are just of the right length and informative at the same time.
2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Marketing is basically a technique wherein through the uses of optimization and advertisements, a marketer helps the website in question to appear higher in search results.
So how is SEO different from SEM?
Basically, the main concept behind SEO is use the search engine to increase the amount of visitors for the website and appear high on results. SEM, on the other hand is a broader strategy that employs the use of paid search (we’ll come to that too later) and SEO tactics.
As a result, SEO allows you a higher chance of appearing in search results, and paid search will help you to promote your content according to your target audience, but SEM will make the use of both these techniques to obtain the results of a) appearing in search results and b) sending targeting an audience that is most likely to convert to buyers.
Hence, the main components of SEM include, SEO of course, paid search- such as pay per click ads (PPC). Usually, SEM comprises more of PPC advertisements rather than focusing too much on SEO. Which means that if you’re using SEO as well as PPC campaigns independently, they automatically fall under SEM.
Now this does raise the question of which is a better way to advance your business. Since SEM can’t be as optimal as it would be with the help of organic SEO, I’d prefer employing SEO as my primary strategy. That being said there are a lot of cases where PPC makes more sense than SEO.
Let me explain using an example.
Supposing that you’re launching a campaign which requires immediate visibility- since the campaign is timebound and related to say, the festive season. It could be a promotion, sale or a new product launch that has to generate results during the season that the campaign is relevant to. In this case, using a PPC activity would be more beneficial than SEO, because SEO takes longer time to deliver results.
3. Content Marketing
The thing about content, is that it’s timeless- and that it’s everywhere. As a result, employing it’s use in a marketing strategy is not only sensible, but pure genius.
Content marketing’s main charm is that it’s all about storytelling- but at the same time, promoting your brand. The idea is build a strong relationship with your target audience by churning out content that is high in quality, relevancy as well as consistent.
The strategy requires you to carefully understand you customers, potential clients and over all audience. They key lies in knowing what they’re looking for and how can your content bridge the gap between what they want and what you deliver.
An extension of this itself is known as content mapping. The term is descriptive enough to give you an idea of what it’s saying- it’s about understanding what your audience wants at each and every stage on their journey with you as a brand.
Most people don’t just end up at your website and get ready to open up their pockets to you. It’s a whole process and a repetitive one at that, that includes discovery of your brand, exploring options, receiving a retargeted add and then finally- converting to buyers.
A good content marketing strategy understands the classic Sales Funnel which means that the pool starts from people who have visited your website. Of them, 75% of them are just looking for information. Content such as Blog Articles, YouTube videos, Podcasts, Interviews etc. helps them get what they’re looking for in terms of knowledge. These are no-risk content marketing principles since they don’t require a registration to access the content and hence, a chance of losing you as a customer if you’re not willing to do so.
Low risk offers include E-books, Templates, Reports and other resources which post a risk that since they’re not very accessible, most visitors won’t have the inclination to associate themselves with you only for information.
After this, the funnel becomes more narrow as 23% of the your total website visitors are no comparing. They know about your brand and they like you- but they want to dig deeper. Here comes the role that social media plays in all of this, testimonials, trials, FAQs etc.
Now, we have arrived at the last step of the funnel, which means that the people who have carried on trust your brand. They’re the ones who will contact you, have enquiries and then, purchase. It filters out at nearly 2% of your total website visitors.
A content marketing strategy that encapsulates such theories is obviously bound to generate business for your brand.
Social media marketing has some major benefits that it can bring to your business. Some of these include-
- Growing awareness of your brand: Since the network has widened considerably, making use of social media marketing tactics can help brand grow as more and more people start to know about it
- Increasing traffic: This is one of the best methods to increase traffic organically. Word of mouth and SEO too are helpful, but social media marketing can really help you obtain a full-fledged network, even if you don’t have one to start with
- Promoting your products and services: This is the last part which most people relate to. The sole reason why people invest so much in marketing is not just make people aware of their brand or increase engagement, but to directly get their products viewed for purchasing.
A strong social media strategy creates a strong identity about your brand, which brings people to establish more faith in it. It’s all about having a voice that your target audience wants to hear and it’s important to do this through social listening- i.e. identify trends with your target audience to build that voice.
Apart from this there are multiple targeted tactics to increase traffic to your brand or promote it.
Some of these tactics that help in increasing traffic are:
- Directing Referral Traffic to your website
- Link building
- Driving Conversions
Other strategies to promote your brand include
- A/B Testing for better results
- Effective Hashtag strategy
- Promoting your content through advertisements
5) Pay-per-click Advertising (PPC)
Despite the fact that paid ads is extremely popular in the marketing world, the truth is, there are many who don’t completely understand how it works, it’s advantages, so on and so forth.
That’s why I’ll start right at the beginning
“Pay-per-click, PPC, as the name suggests is an advertising model that comes under SEM. Using PPC means that the advertiser only has to pay when people interact with their add through impressions or clicks.”
Technically, it’s a cost friendly mechanism that can generate very target-specific leads for you. SERPs such as Google or Bing use it to a great extent but what benefit does it have over SEO?
One word to explain this : keywords. This means that any business that doesn’t have a domain authority might have a hard time coming in the top rankings of a search engine because keywords have become highly competitive.
That being said, a PPC campaign is most effective when it is cohesive with SEO.
Now, understanding the best practices when it comes to a PPC campaign is extremely important so that you can maximize your effort as well your budget.
PPC Ad Copy
We all have those links that pop up right at the top of your search result. But, how many of you end up clicking on them? The fact is, a good ad copy will be one that solves what the searcher is looking and be clear through its language.
Search ads usually have headlines, a URL and a short description- which may sound easy, but with the character requirement it all needs to speak directly your audience and of course, include the main keyword that you’re using to pop up in the results in the first place.
This is second most important component of PPC and the is the page that the visitor gets redirected to after clicking on the ad. This page has to be an epitome of structure, clarity and in essence, everything your brand stands for- because it’s the very first step that will convert a new visitor into a lead or customer.
This takes place when your ad must be tested in order to increase your clickthrough rate as well as conversion rate.
Since the main components of your add are not too many i.e. include headline, description, landing page and target keywords, making small changes to either of these elements can change results for you largely.
6) Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is basically another kind of marketing technique wherein the marketer earns a commission by promoting another company’s products.
Thus, affiliate marketing basically uses the current reservoir of network that the affiliate marketer has, by cutting him a share to promote, increase brand awareness and sales for his own brand.
The entire process is built up on four major components the merchant, the network, the affiliate and the customer.
The merchant can also be referred to as the brand in this case. Their entire prerogative is to create the product and market it.
The second component is the affiliate. The affiliate could be a single induvial or even another company but the important point is that this is where all the marketing takes place. The main job of the affiliate is to promote the merchant’s product in order to attract and convince users to use the product.
The consumer forms the third aspect. Of course, they complete the final circle as they create sales for the merchant.
Next, comes the network, who act as an intermediatory between the affiliate the merchant. This is done in order to manage payments and product deliveries between the two parties.
I believe that since the advent of many of the above technologies, email marketing has in a way been pushed back to the ‘non priority’ list. Which is why I want to establish the fact that it’s really not.
Although an email isn’t a personal message to a customer, but neither is it spam. It can be used as a strong relationship building and profit building tool.
What email marketing does is reach out to your target audience through a platform where conversions and revenue building are possible by making use of customers valuable information.
The main reasons why email marketing is used to build relationships. Since there is personalized engagement involved, it helps to seal a bond between the customer and the brand. Apart from building brand awareness, promoting content, generating leads and marketing your products, it has the added function of nurturing your leads. This means that engaging with interesting content, you can harness their interest to steer them towards conversion.
It might come as a surprise that two thirds of customers have actually made a purchase directly due to an email marketing message. This tells us exactly how effective a tool it is when it comes to your digital marketing strategy.
Digital marketing presents a sea of opportunities for you to learn, establish and become better at marketing your business. Different strategies can be employed according to different situations and it presents the added incentive of costing a lot less than setting up a physical space for your business.
It’s accessible, result-driven and most of all, highly target specific. All you have to do at your end, is tap into that potential and hopefully, this post has encouraged you to do that.