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If you are using the internet, you might have heard about digital marketing.
What is digital marketing?
It’s a marketing methodology based on the application of digital media.
By using online marketing strategies like search engines, social media, emails, and content and the integrated use of all of them, businesses can reach the targeted audiences, connect them and grow their profit tremendously.
Before the last few years, people were using traditional marketing techniques. Some people were using electronic media like TV and radio but that all was outbound marketing.
Although these methods are still useful for marketing purposes such as brand awareness, better and more efficient marketing methods are popular now called inbound marketing.
Here, in this post, we are going to learn digital marketing, especially inbound marketing techniques.
But, before that look at the difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing.
|Traditional Marketing||Digital Marketing|
|Use of traditional methods like poster ads, newspapers, TV & Radio broadcast ads, etc.||Use of modern methods like SEO, SEM or PPC ads, SMM, content marketing, etc.|
|Attention for short-time||Attention for the maximum time|
|Interruption marketing can make people annoying||Permission marketing with the engagement of people|
|Mostly expensive and require a large budget||Cheaper than traditional marketing if used strategically with no limits on expenses|
|Targeting & retargeting can rarely be used||High-purpose targeting & retargeting can be used for improving ROI.|
|Less scope for analysis||Highly measurable with a better scope of detail analysis|
Now, you have got a clear picture of why to choose digital (inbound) marketing over traditional (outbound) marketing. Still, there are some push-type (outbound) marketing techniques in digital marketing like PR and push notifications that you might have seen while surfing the internet.
Here, I’m going to discuss mainly inbound digital marketing. You will learn how it works and which skills are required to grow your business efficiently.
There are many factors involved in digital marketing categorized into assets and tactics.
Digital Marketing Assets
Similar to your own house, the website is your online address.
You can create a static or dynamic website depending on your needs.
If you want to succeed in digital marketing, then consider building a good-looking, performance-ready, and mobile-responsive website.
No matter what purpose you will use it; whether it’s just a blog or a full-featured e-commerce store, the website is an essential part of your digital marketing strategy.
2. Blog Posts
You might have seen many blogs for influencers and experts on various topics.
Do you know, what the blog means?
It’s a regularly updated part of the website where the bloggers publish content like blog posts including text, images, infographics, animation, and videos.
Businesses having 16+ blog posts per month gets 350% more traffic and 450% more leads than their competitors having 0-4 blog posts per month. (Source)
Although the blog is a vital part of the business and helps to grab more leads & sales, some websites do not feature blogs.
Still, they require content like images, text, and video to describe the products & services.
The blog is something that you can DIY or outsource to professionals or agencies.
3. Ebooks and Whitepapers
Ebooks & whitepapers give more information about your products, and services to grab more leads and engage them with your business or at least create brand awareness.
Whenever you launch a new product, using white papers and downloadable ebooks can engage prospects and attract them to buy your products or services.
You need to be creative here. Use an eye-catching & colorful design and make people read your release by providing value through it.
4. Interactive Tools
Interactive tools help you engage with the audience and grab leads.
Contact forms, lead-capturing tools, and live chat apps are a few interactive tools you can use in online marketing.
These tools help people easily connect with you ask you about your products, and sign up for your newsletter.
Here you can get more leads by providing quality work & value to your customers.
5. Social Media Channels
Social media is the best source of traffic, especially in the initial phase. Some of the social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. can help you in creating brand awareness and capturing leads effectively.
6. Earned Online Coverage
There are some free & paid services to get online coverage to reach the maximum number of people.
Online PR, influencers’ blog posts or social media posts, and reviews by fellow bloggers are some of the techniques to make yourself visible to the mass online community.
Although it’s similar to traditional marketing, it’ll help you to create brand awareness among the people.
7. Other Branding Assets
These assets include your logo, fonts, custom design, and anything useful in generating maximum revenue from your digital marketing campaigns.
Digital Marketing Tactics
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
By optimizing the web pages for search engines you can rank higher in SERP (Search Engine Results Pages), and therefore get more organic (or free) traffic than your website.
There are two types of SEO
On-Page SEO deals with how you explain your site to search engines. It mainly includes site design, content, navigation, and overall web page quality.
The best part of on-page SEO is the ease of control over the optimization process. There are many things that you can focus on and rank higher than your competitors.
As all people don’t know insights into SEO, learning about it and the DIY approach can bring more positive results to you.
These simple things include clean & mobile responsive site design (using the responsive theme is always the better way), clear URL structure, use of proper tags, optimizing images using title & ALT text, quality content around the targeted keyword, etc.
There are many other basic as well as advanced techniques for On-Page SEO that you can get from the web.
Though SEO is an essential part to rank in SERP & receive more search (organic) traffic, make sure you haven’t compromised the user experience during Search Engine Optimization which is not great.
Off-page SEO almost spins around the links.
Although there are other methods, getting maximum high-quality backlinks from the authority sites in your niche is considered as the best way to boost the off-page SEO score.
One important thing,
There is another term called Black-Hat SEO commonly used in this field. But, it’s not a legitimate way of SEO, and Google or other search engines can penalize your site for breaking their guidelines.
Black-Hat SEO includes shady tactics such as keyword stuffing, buying backlinks, duplicate content, and click-baiting. However, it’s not good for a long-term business.
Now, after the latest makeover of Google’s search algorithm using Black-Hat SEO can throw down you in SERP forever resulting in a massive loss of effort and money.
2. SEM Or PPC Ads
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is the best way to get quick results legitimately.
In most cases, SEM has proven to be a robust digital marketing strategy and gives quick and better ROI over traditional marketing.
When you opt for the SEM, the search ads & display ads can build the sales funnel for you resulting in a high profit from your marketing campaigns.
You need to pay per click only when the audience engages with your ads.
SEM or PPC ads are difficult to understand so you need to focus on the keyword research, ads quality score, maximum bid, landing page, and overall website quality to achieve maximum ROI.
According to the SEL report, Google makes 78% of $36.7 Billion in US search ad revenues.
It shows online advertising has huge scope.
When you use SEM for your digital marketing campaigns, make sure you know about a few terms like a maximum bid for keywords, ad extensions, quality score, and ad rank.
Sometimes, you may lose your money without getting satisfactory results only because you don’t know how to use SEM techniques properly like PPC ads from AdWords, etc.
3. SMM (Social Media Marketing)
It’s a process of promoting your content and ultimately the brand using social media channels to improve social signals, creating or increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, and generating leads for your business.
When you normally use social media for your brand promotion, it’s limited to your friends, and followers and even if you have a big audience there is a scope for betterment.
The people who hang primarily on social media, especially mobile users can be targeted using SMM techniques.
Advertising on social media can bring you massive results including traffic and leads which are useful for B2B companies having a problem in lead generation.
Youtube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the top five social media channels where you should focus to get better results from your SMM campaigns.
Still, there are many other social media channels you can leverage for digital marketing purposes.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing has got enormous popularity in the digital marketing era.
Due to the best results that have been achieved by email communications, almost every business includes email marketing in its digital marketing campaign.
You have seen, every professional has at least one email account that he uses regularly. So, email is a powerful tool for both B2B and B2C companies.
It’s not limited to just plain text; you can include images, videos, and CTA buttons or links to drive traffic, generate leads & make sales.
Sending personalized emails or promotional emails with discounted prices, coupons and deals make people happy. If you are not using spam techniques, then most probably your audience click the CTA button or link in your email.
Here are a few tips to improve email open rates and click rates of your email marketing campaign.
- Build a targeted email list of genuine people who are interested in your products, services, or business
- Use engaging subject lines to improve open rates.
- Use a clean and responsive email template with a clear CTA to improve the click rate.
Using email marketing automation software, you can save time, effort, and money that can be used for other productive work.
The last thing about email marketing is providing value to your customers.
Find the problem your audience is facing, give a solution or relate it with your product/service and deliver the value to acquire that customer in your sales funnel.
Proper nurturing or providing value to your prospects, and then correlating your products with their problems can convert them into leads and ultimately in paying customers.
Using drip marketing may be beneficial in this case because the open rate, click rate, and conversion are higher compared to a regular marketing campaign.
Segmentation of the audience by geography, demographics, and psychographics is useful to categorize your potential customers and follow up with them according to their interests and behavior.
This technique gives more loyal and targeted customers where the chances of getting sales are maximum.
To promote content, deals & discounts, events, etc. as well as to direct people toward the business’s website, often email marketing is used.
5. Content Marketing
You might have heard many times that the content is a king. Is it really a king?
The content is the core of all your digital marketing campaigns.
Along with high-quality content, promotion is similarly important for getting better results. Stellar content has the power to increase brand awareness, growth in traffic, and generation of leads turning them into buyers.
All of the above tactics are the most common elements of content marketing.
6. Affiliate Marketing
It’s one of the popular digital marketing techniques, especially among bloggers.
Affiliate marketing is a true marketing solution where affiliate publishers and business/sellers both get benefited from sales of the products and services.
Publishers can get commission depending on their performance & affiliate module set by the merchant whereas the seller needs to pay only when a conversion occurs.
There are some free as well as premium tools to create the affiliate program yourself and these tools can automatically manage the rest of the work even when you are sleeping.
7. Mobile Marketing
In the last few years, the percentage of mobile users is increasing rapidly.
If you look at the web, mobile traffic has occupied the market, and the main reason is an increase in smartphone usage.
Affordable hardware and data services have triggered more people to come online. So, as a digital marketing campaign, you should take benefit from that also.
The mobile-ready design is not only one thing, and you should go beyond that. You can use some outbound techniques of digital marketing like Cold phone calls, SMS, or mobile push notifications for better results.
A digital marketing strategy based on mobile apps can make people connect with you where you can develop an Android/iOS app and tell people to install it.
If the quality of the app & your service is providing them value, then you can get repeated customers on the go.
There are other options are available in digital marketing, but the techniques I have mentioned above lead the industry.
Will Digital Marketing Work for My Businesses?
The first question that arises in everyone’s mind is whether digital marketing work for them or not.
Many people get confused with a series of questions such as which strategy should they implement, whether is it budget-friendly, how much time is required to see the results, etc.
Let me clear up one thing.
No marketing campaign can guarantee you the profit you would earn in a particular span of time.
But, with digital marketing, you can measure all the components of your marketing campaign, and after using A/B testing, you can decide which strategy works best for you or which needs to apply for your business marketing.
Actually, using integrated digital marketing (where each component co-relates with others as a complete ecosystem), you can multiply your end results effectively in a very short time.
Digital marketing can work regardless of your company type (B2B or B2C), products & services, and overall marketing budget. It doesn’t mean every business should implement the same strategies.
Breaking down your complex marketing plan and defining a correct path for your business, it’s better to outsource this work to a legit agency or hire a professional from the digital marketing domain who has better knowledge & experience about it.
For B2B companies lead, generation is the primary goal whereas B2C companies are centered around attracting customers and driving sales.
Both types of businesses need to opt for different marketing modules.
The B2B companies should focus more on professional networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter along with a strong email marketing campaign.
B2C companies need to focus on audience-based social channels like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat with PPC campaigns.
Still, this strategy is subjective and changes according to business type and marketing scope.
The effectiveness of Digital Marketing
Do you know a TV channel takes a whopping INR 3,50,000 for a 10-second advertisement reaching around the average 1/6th population of India (200M people)?
This traditional outbound marketing costs around INR 1.75 per thousand impressions. (source)
You may think about how cheap is traditional marketing.
But, it’s not a cheap marketing technique because this method has a low conversion rate and it’s not suitable for most SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses).
Moreover, it’s not targeted at a specific group of people.
Let’s take an example.
A hair transplant company spending a lot more on traditional ads like TV ads has a poor conversion rate as very few people are willing to use hair transplant therapy.
It requires a significant amount of money for spending on getting a lead or sale.
While in digital marketing you can target the people who are searching for that particular therapy only and retarget them to convert into a lead or a customer with an extremely small marketing budget.
If you measure ROI for a particular campaign, then you will please with the results that have been brought by internet marketing.
Benefits of Digital Marketing
You have already seen the benefits of digital marketing in the comparison table. Still, I will explain the main advantages of opting for online marketing.
1. Website Traffic
By using SEO & Content-based strategies, you can get a ton of traffic to your website for free. It requires more time & advanced techniques for competitive keywords.
People search for a thing/keyword when they are interested in buying that particular product or service or at least knowing more about it (potential buyers).
Using targeted PPC ads, you can get a huge number of leads. After nurturing your leads & providing value, they turn into customers and you can up-sell, cross-sell, or down-sell other products & services.
Sometimes, people will not buy from you for a certain reason, but you can again nurture them by providing more value until the conversion of getting unsubscribed from your list.
It means people will get to know what is your brand and your products/services. You can consider website traffic as the awareness stage of a digital marketing sales funnel which we are going to discuss later in this article.
You have seen how much you need to spend in traditional outbound marketing for a 10 seconds TV ad. But, using digital marketing, you can get better results only with 1% of that budget. (It’s extremely variable with business, targeted keyword & CPC amount).
The businesses that have implemented digital marketing have got satisfactory & positive results. But, hiring an expert has no excuses (or, you need to be an expert yourself).
If you implement digital marketing without understanding it correctly, then you can lose your money on unwanted things throwing down yourself on the ground again.
3. Highly Measurable
The availability of detailed analytics is the positive side of digital marketing.
From the single penny that you spend on marketing to every sale and acquisition to conversion, all things can be measured using analytics tools like Google Analytics.
So, you can define or redesign your marketing plans accordingly for maximum ROI.
4. Putting Customers in Control
Before a few years, some brands like Colgate, Bata, Parachute, Nokia, etc. had a monopoly in their niche, and some of them are still leading the market.
Since internet usage has raised tremendously, people search and compare different products for quality, price, and reliability and pick the best suited for their needs.
If you think that people will buy what you manufacture without knowing customer behavior, then you might know how popular brands like Nokia collapsed in just a few years.
It’s still trying to survive in the market & make a strong comeback which seems very difficult now.
On another hand, Samsung tried to know more about the customers’ needs and started connecting with them by providing everything they wanted to buy, and hence it’s the market leader now.
Putting customers in control and using analytics or split testing is one of the techniques in digital marketing.
Steps In the Digital Marketing (Sales Funnel)
Digital marketing works as a sales funnel which is basically a 5-step process.
1. Brand Awareness
It’s the first step where you introduce your business or brand, products & service to your audience. It makes people see, listen & know about your business and creates interest.
One business should promote its products & services regardless of segmentation with a prime target of reaching the maximum number of people and connecting with them.
The opposite person should speak about your product even if he does not want to buy from you. If many people are speaking positively about your product, then your promotion will lead to more people being interested in your brand.
Display advertising, especially banners and video ads are powerful techniques for brand awareness.
2. Lead Generation
Lead generation means converting traffic to the potential customer.
When you promote your brand, the people having an interest in your products & services will land on your page and take their first step like signing up for a newsletter, filling out the contact form, calling your displayed number, or adding a product to the cart.
It means they are the most likely ready to buy from you. But, all leads don’t convert, and there are several reasons for that.
Using something as bait (giving a free ebook, case study, how-to guide, etc.) can be a better strategy. You will get many books & case studies on lead generation, but you should pick the best one only after A/B testing on your own.
When it comes to lead generation, ask yourself only one question, why people will buy only from you, or why not?
If you put yourself in the shoes of customers, then you can find a way to get more leads and design your campaign according to it.
3. Driving Sales/Conversion
People are visiting your site, taking the initial steps designed in your sales funnel but not converting into buyers. Is there any problem?
Yes! There is a problem, and it’s very simple to solve. If you have leads but not conversion, then the biggest problem in your digital marketing campaign is communication.
Try to connect with people on a regular basis. Greet them occasionally, try to educate them, provide the value as much as you can and slowly introduce your deal by co-relating with their problem.
Tell them how your product or service is better than your competitors.
At the same time, don’t send too many emails, and make sure that you are not annoying them with frequent spam emails. That leads to an adverse effect on your marketing and ultimately on your business growth.
Using drip marketing, you can solve the conversion problem quickly but before that learn how it’s done in a proper way. If you are getting at least 4-10% of average CTR and the same CVR, then you are on the right track.
Otherwise, you need to redesign your digital marketing strategy.
Using case studies and client testimonials is better to showcase your expertise and the quality of products and services to your potential customers and make them take a positive decision.
4. Campaign Analysis
The analysis is a crucial factor affecting your overall marketing campaign, but digital marketing has an edge over traditional marketing.
You can measure every metric and define your short-term goals accordingly to match the primary goal of your business.
All dimensions you have set for your marketing can be measured via analytics tools like Google Analytics. Some of them are hits, duration, bounce rate, audience demographics & behavior, and many other technical aspects that need to be calculated.
5. Repeat Sales/Remarketing
Actually, it’s not a separate step of the sales funnel, but I have mentioned it so that you can get a clear picture of digital marketing.
The sales funnel does not complete with analytics. You can get repeat customers by putting in small efforts and being connected with them.
One who has purchased something from you already trusts you but thanking him, asking for feedback, and pulling him into your marketing stream can give you more sales.
Nothing is permanent so you always have scope for repeated sales and remarketing.
Retargeting is used in the conversion step where unhappy leads are nurtured to convert into customers and increase overall CVR. Here, you can use the same strategy for your customers to increase your revenue.
Digital Marketing is a Long-Term Game
If you are planning for short-term or for seasoned products, then using paid advertising like PPC ads can give your quick and satisfactory results under the supervision of good digital marketing professionals.
The ROI is also considerably more than that of traditional marketing techniques.
If you are planning a long-term venture, then opting for SEO and content marketing has no better option.
You can use SEM and SMM here to give a quick boost to your startup, but need not pay all the time to get better results.
Focusing on organic and social traffic is a sustainable and less expensive technique.
Is Digital Marketing Right For Me?
After reading this article, you may think about how complex is it with a lot of components involved in it.
However, it’s simple, and you can learn it yourself if you are interested.
The businesses can boost their revenue while the marketing professionals and students intended for this career can increase their grades by opting for digital marketing skills.
Due to the explosion of smartphone users and internet services, you have many opportunities in the digital marketing field. If you have already included digital marketing in your business, then you can improve it by doing segmentation and focusing on the particular areas which you think are good for you.
In a case, you have any doubts or queries don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment box.
And, if you want to promote your business or learn digital marketing in a systematic manner, then feel free to ask for any kind of by using the contact form.
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Fabulous Ankit, you are a source of my digital inspiration. I am following your blog and I have benefited a lot from your tips. I have to admit that you’re keeping me inspired. ?