Marketing of products and services through the use of digital technologies, mainly through the internet, including mobile phones and other digital medium falls under the umbrella of digital marketing. This tutorial explains how you can use popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to promote your business and create greater awareness about the products and services you offer.
This tutorial is primarily going to help all those readers who are into marketing and advertising, specifically those who aspire to make a career in Digital Marketing.
Before proceeding with this tutorial, you should have a good understanding of the fundamental concepts of marketing and advertising.
Digital Marketing Overview
In simple terms, digital marketing is the promotion of products or brands via one or more forms of electronic media. Digital marketing is often referred to as online marketing, internet marketing or web marketing.
Digital marketing has been around for quite some time but it hasn’t been very well defined. We tend to think that digital marketing encompasses banner advertising, search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click. Yet, this is too narrow a definition, because digital marketing also includes e-mail, RSS, voice broadcast, fax broadcast, blogging, podcasting, video streams, wireless text messaging, and instant messaging. Yes! digital marketing has a very wide scope.
What Digital Marketing is Not?
To clearly define what digital marketing is, it’s sometimes easier to start with what it’s not. For instance, it does not include more traditional forms of marketing such as radio, TV, billboard and print as they do not offer instant feedback and report.
Why Digital Marketing?
In digital marketing, a reporting and analytics engine can be layered within a campaign which allows the organization or brand to monitor in real-time how a campaign is performing, such as what is being viewed, how often, how long, as well as other actions such as response rates and purchases made.
- The use of digital marketing in the digital era not only allows for brands to market their products and services but also offers online customer support through 24×7 services to make the customer feel supported and valued.
- The use of social media in digital marketing interaction allows brands to receive both positive and negative feedback from their customers as well as determine what media platforms work well for them.
- Digital marketing provides increased advantage for brands and businesses. It is now common for consumers to post feedback online through social media sources, blogs, and websites about their experience with a product or brand.
Not surprisingly, billions of marketing dollars spent on traditional channels is already starting to shift to digital marketing campaigns and this will continue to increase as the Web matures.
Digital Marketing SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial, or natural search results on the search engines. Simply put, it’s the name given to the activity that attempts to improve search engine rankings. In many respects, it’s simply quality control for websites.
SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, and news search engines. Employing a sound SEO strategy will help you position your website properly to be found at the most critical points in the buying process or when people need your site.
Search Engine Crawlers
The leading search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, use crawlersto find the pages for their algorithmic search results. Pages that are linked from other search engine indexed pages do not need to be submitted because they are found automatically.
Search engine crawlers may look at a number of different factors when crawling a site. Not every page is indexed by the search engines. Distance of pages from the root directory of a site may also be a factor in whether or not pages get crawled.
Points to Note
You should be careful to keep the following points in mind in order to ensure your brand is well positioned on search engines −
- Search engines want to do their jobs as best as possible by referring users to websites and content that is most relevant to what the user is looking for. This is determined by the site content, how fast your site loads, how often your site is linked to from other credible online resources, and user experience, including design, navigation and bounce rate.
- The items that the search engines don’t want are: keyword stuffing, buying links, and poor user experience (too many ads and high bounce rates).
- Domain naming is important to your overall branding. As a best practice, use sub-directory root domains (example.com/events) versus sub-domains (events.example.com). Other best practices with domain names are to use consistent domains and keywords in the URL.
- Optimize for different types of results. In addition to optimizing for desktop experience, focus on mobile and tablet optimization along with other media.
- Content on the site should have title tags and meta descriptions. Although meta tags aren’t as important as they used to be in the past; if you do use them, ensure they are formatted correctly.
Social media today is essentially word-of-mouth marketing. Getting people to connect with you online in the social arena helps spread the word about what your company is and what are your products and services.
SEO and Social Media
For many teams, there are different sets of people who work on SEO and social media separately; however, this scenario is changing lately.
- The two may still officially belong to separate teams, but social media marketers will need to be more informed on the SEO strategist’s agenda, so that the SEO strategy can go hand-in-hand with content promotion.
- SEO strategists too need to know how to work with social media marketers in order to receive the social signals it needs to make sure their company ranks high in search.
There are two functions of social media for business −
- Are you participating in the conversation and sharing?
- Are you listening and monitoring what is being said about you?
Start Social Media Marketing
If you’re starting from scratch with your social media strategy, here are the basic steps to get you started −
- Step 1 − Choose your social networks
- Step 2 − Fill your profiles completely, remembering to load in your keywords
- Step 3 − Find your voice and tone
- Step 4 − Pick your posting strategy – how often, when, and what type of content
- Step 5 − Analyze and test
- Step 6 − Automate and engage
Although we’ll be getting into the specifics in the latter half of the tutorial, here are a few things to consider in your general social media strategy.
Facebook tops the list of social media strategy
For many, social media starts with Facebook. Just having a page, however, does not suffice. Sophisticated content marketing is now the way to foster engagement on Facebook. If your business doesn’t have a content marketing strategy or a blog, but wants to maintain a strong Facebook presence, it may be time to create a content marketing strategy for Facebook. We’ll get to know more on this in a subsequent chapter.
Optimize for mobile
All social media efforts need to be optimized for mobile. You’ve probably heard, but everyone needs to make sure their websites are optimized for mobile. Social media managers need to be aware of this to ensure that the format of any promotions they do (especially those that include driving people to their company websites) are optimized for mobile. Any images used on social media should also be view-able on mobile for optimized user experience.
Emphasize on human experience
It may be digital, but you need to consider the “human experience.” Google and Facebook have made changes to their platforms to push businesses to focus more on the “human experience.” For social media marketers, your social media posts need to be more relevant, provide more value to your audience, and the engagement needs to be more “human.”
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. It ultimately aims to drive profitable customer action.
Content marketing is an umbrella term covering a set of strategies, techniques, and tactics to fulfil business and customer goals by using the most relevant content to serve, attract, convert, retain, and engage customers. Content uses blogs, podcasts, video, and social media sites as a vehicle. It’s a practice now being used by 86% of businesses today. However, effective content marketing is not so easy to find.
Goals of Content Marketing
Given the fact that content plays a role in virtually all marketing techniques and tactics, there are no goals that can’t be reached using content. However, from a content marketing perspective, we see that marketers focus on some key goals such as −
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
- Customer retention and loyalty
- Customer evangelism
- Up-selling and cross-selling
Although these are the typical goals found in content marketing research, think out of the box and look at the goals of your “audiences”.
Start Content Marketing
Here is brief set of guidelines that you can follow to start content marketing −
- First, find a reason to start using content marketing. Knowing what the reason and the purpose is important. In a few years from now, people will say content marketing doesn’t work. It’s like in social media: people start saying it doesn’t work because they often forget for what and whom they wanted it to work in the first place.
- Know the different people and types of customers and prospects you want. Be aware of how they “act”, what they want, and how they will use your content.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Before dreaming up new content, see what you already have. Often, the best content for your customers and business is already in the mind of your customers and the people in your business. You just need to present it in a way everyone understands.
- Once you know what content you have, figure out what you need.
- Now, it’s time to get that content organized and check out the best formats and channels. Know the different formats of content your prospective customers use and there are some good tips and tricks to make sure that your content is “engaging”. Align the content to the types of channels you think that it will be best received.
- It’s time to make sure that the content is found or used! If not there is little sense in spending all the energy, is there? Promote, connect and engage.
Finally, test, measure, and optimize continuously. Try different types of content. Check analytics. Monitor your expenditure. And always adapt.
Digital Marketing Email
In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It usually involves using email to send ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations.
Any email communication is considered as email marketing if it helps build customer loyalty, trust in a product or company, or brand recognition. For instance, when a company sends a commercial message to a group of people using electronic email mostly in the form of advertisements, requests for business or sales, or donation solicitation.
Email marketing is an efficient way to stay connected with your clients while also promoting your business. Doing so, you can easily and quickly reach target markets without the need for large quantities of print space, television or radio time, or high production costs.
Additionally, while using email marketing software, you can maintain an email list that has been segmented based on several factors including the length of time addresses have been on the list, customers’ likes and dislikes, spending habits and other important criteria. Emails are then created and sent out to specific target members on the list, providing them with a personalized email detailing information that they are interested in or have requested.
Email marketing can be carried out by −
- Email newsletters
- Dedicated Emails
- Lead Nurturing
- Sponsorship Emails
- Transnational Emails
Email newsletters offer the following three advantages −
- They can spread your brand awareness. By building habitual communication with your email subscribers, you enable them to recognize your brand and associate it with a positive sentiment.
- They can leverage the existing content. Many companies do quick summaries of their most popular blog posts and link to the articles from their newsletter.
- They give you the freedom to include different types of contentthat might be important to your organization.
Digests are generally easier to consume than newsletters as they generally consist of links and lists. One popular option is the blog digest, which collects notifications about the articles you publish throughout a certain time frame and releases an email with the links.
Dedicated emails also known as stand-alone emails, contain information about just one offer. For instance, you can use a dedicated email to notify your target audience about a new whitepaper you’ve released or invite them to attend an event that you’re hosting. Unlike newsletters, dedicated emails don’t need to include many graphical elements to separate the different blocks of text and prioritize information.
The concept of lead nurturing introduces a tightly connected series of emails containing useful content with a coherent purpose. Lead nurturing is timely, automated, and is typically a low financial investment.
If you want to reach a totally new audience and generate net new leads, you might want to try sponsorship emails. In sponsorship emails, you pay for inclusion of your copy in another vendor’s newsletter or dedicated send.
Transactional emails are the messages that get triggered by a specific action your contacts have taken, enabling them to complete that action. For instance, if you are signing up for a webinar, you will fill out a form and then receive a transactional (thank-you) email that provides you with the login information in order to join.
Transactional emails are also the messages you receive from ecommerce sites like Amazon that confirm your order and give you shipment information and other details. The biggest advantage of transactional emails is that they enjoy a high click-through rate (CTR).
Popular email marketing services include MailChimp, Constant Contact, and My Emma.
Digital Marketing Mobile
Mobile marketing is marketing on or with a mobile device, such as a smartphone. Mobile marketing can provide the customers with time and location sensitive, personalized information that promotes goods, services, and ideas.
Mobile marketing is similar to advertising delivered over other electronic channels such as text, graphic and voice messages.
- SMS messaging (text messaging) is currently the most common delivery channel for mobile marketing.
- Search engine marketing is the second-most common channel, followed by display-based campaigns.
New Mobile Marketing Channels
The expanding capabilities of mobile devices enable new types of interactive marketing. New mobile marketing channels include −
- Location-based Service (LBS) involves detecting the area the user is connecting from (geolocation) and sending marketing messages for businesses in that area.
- Augmented reality mobile campaigns overlays the user’s phone display with location-specific information about businesses and products.
- 2D barcodes are barcodes that scan vertically as well as horizontally to include much more information. A mobile user can scan barcodes in the environment to access associated information.
- GPS messaging involves location-specific messages that the user picks up when he comes into range.
Ways to Drive Conversions
Beyond having a mobile-optimized site or app, certain strategies are more likely to improve the user experience, while boosting sales. In this section, we will discuss the four ways to drive engagement and conversions.
Optimize for micro-moments
Increasingly, users turn to their mobile devices for quick, in-the-moment advice, help, or information. Instead of sitting down to research a topic or issue in depth, they’re more likely to take immediate action, and to expect instantaneous answers.
Use QR codes to streamline user experience
One way to provide relevant information as quickly and seamlessly as possible to mobile users is through the use of QR codes. Whatever you’re using QR codes for, they should ideally act as shortcuts for getting valuable information into the hands of your customers and prospects.
Use hyperlocal marketing
More than ever before, consumers are turning to their smartphones for location-specific information. And not just citywide information – but hyperlocal based on very small, specific geographical locations (like neighborhoods or even specific streets).
Use SMS marketing
Use SMS marketing to connect with users on-the-go. A few ways to do this include offering incentives, publicizing sales and events, sending appointment reminders, and sharing customer surveys.
Pay Per Click, commonly known as PPC, refers to a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Pay-per-click is calculated by dividing the advertising cost by the number of clicks generated by an advertisement. The basic formula is −
Pay-per-click ($) = Advertising cost ($) ÷ Ads clicked (#)
Essentially, PPC is a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to earn visits organically.
Search Engine Advertising
Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for an ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches using a keyword that is related to their business offering.
For example, if you bid on the keyword “marketing classes,” several ads might show up in the very top spot on the Google results page. Every time a specific ad is clicked, sending a visitor to their website, they have to pay the search engine a small fee. When PPC is working correctly, the fee is trivial, because the visit is worth more than what is paid for it.
Advantage of PPC Marketing
The unique advantage of PPC marketing is that the ad networks used to manage PPC campaigns don’t just reward the highest bidders for that ad space, rather they reward the highest-quality ads (meaning the ads that are most popular with the users).
- Ads are rewarded for good performance.
- The better the ad, the greater the click-through rates and lower the costs.
- Many marketers choose to use Google AdWords to manage their PPC campaigns. The AdWords platform enables businesses to create ads that appear on Google’s search engine and other Google properties.
Factors behind Successful PPC Advertising
How often your PPC ads appear depends on which keywords and match types you select. While a number of factors determine how successful your PPC advertising campaign will be, you can achieve a lot by focusing on −
- Keyword Relevance − Crafting relevant PPC keyword lists, tight keyword groups, and proper ad text.
- Landing Page Quality − Creating optimized landing pages with persuasive, relevant content and a clear call-to-action, tailored to specific search queries.
- Quality Score − Quality Score is Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of your keywords, landing pages, and PPC campaigns. Advertisers with better quality scores get more ad clicks at lower costs.
Your entire PPC campaign is built around keywords, and the most successful AdWords advertisers continuously grow and refine their PPC keyword list.
In conclusion, PPC advertising offers a unique opportunity to −
- Grow Your Customer Base − Connect with searchers actively looking for products and services like yours, and respond to the need by providing them with an offer relevant to their search query.
- Generate Leads at Low Costs − As pay-per-click marketing allows you to reach leads and prospects when they’re researching and looking to buy, it’s a highly effective way to bring interested visitors to your site. In addition, you can enjoy an algorithmically generated discount from the search engines in exchange for making their users happy.