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Digital Marketing Strategy: A Basic Guide for Business Professionals
Almost a decade ago, when the concept of internet marketing had just developed, it was quite easy to develop a website and make it viral among people. Even the word viral would not be appropriate because only a small fraction of people used the internet. No matter how the websites were made, the appropriate keywords would take it to the top lists. Today, when we think about the digital market, things have changed way faster than anyone could have imagined.
If we try to remember those moments, businessmen or analyst didn’t consider internet marketing to be making any effect on consumer behaviour. It was true as well because the internet was considered as an elite service. Not every common household or mobile device had any internet connection. Some would actually prefer those days back and get rid of the spam messages or emails.
The Shift of Technology
The sudden shift from traditional hoarders, brochures, pamphlets, or even letters to digital ads, mobile apps, spam on our inbox and even online marketing has overwhelmed us with a lot of data and information. Today, with 70% of the whole world’s population holding the modern technology of mobile devices and internet access, there is a huge plethora of space for digital marketing to flourish. But at the same time, each website faces a lot of competition about who gets to be viewed or clicked first.
Digital strategy is very important when it comes to making it to the top lists. Just inserting a few keywords into the portal and then launching it for the public doesn’t simply work. The strategy not just includes every possible way to make people gain interest in the ad or something else, but also includes the consumer’s market behaviour and influencing them to buy a product or service.
Since digital marketing is a highly competitive and a mind storming activity of the early 21st century, one needs to know the basics to understand how it works for the benefit of people and even the company. This basic guide would help amateurs and even professionals to know about the available options, creativity, motivating innovation among people, and in the end, teaching us how to move forward when stuck into a certain situation.
The Basics of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing, also known as internet marketing is a systematic procedure of making ads and showing it to people to influence their consumer behaviour. It is not just the internet where digital marketing plays a major role; instead, it covers all digital means of communications like television, smartphones, display advertisements and other digital means. In an age where almost every consumer’s behaviour is influenced through digital means, digital marketing can thus be categorized into smaller sections. They are-
- Website marketing, also known as inbound marketing.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay Per Click Advertising
- Marketing automation, which even includes email marketing and marketing through messages.
- Social Media Marketing
- Video Marketing
Though there is a lot which can be added to the list, these are the topmost and the common categories of digital marketing.
Digital marketing would gain and is even gaining every businessman’s interest because it is one of the fastest and cheapest means of sharing information to consumers in the market. We might find about a sale in a particular store only once we check the billboards or its advertisement in the newspaper, but many would actually get to know about it quickly if it is shared on a digital platform online. Moreover, one of digital marketing advantage is that it covers a wide variety of mass in the market with quiet less cost.
If a businessman is lucky enough or uses the correct set of strategists in digital market for advertisement, then they might actually get to advertise in front of a huge group of people with no money spent at all. The most fundamental rule to achieve this success is to know one’s customers well enough and even identify what they would like in their lives. It might actually sound easy and tough at the same time, but with proper knowledge and use of strategies, anyone can gain the top position on any digital platform.
A Brief History of Digital Marketing
Now that you have got an idea about what digital marketing is and what are its categories, let us dive into the history of this life changing phenomena.
To look back in time, the very first online digital marketing and advertisement started around the period of the 1990s. This is also the time period when Google, Yahoo and even the first web banner ads were gaining prominence all over the technological market and media. These media giants later went on to create one of the most successful firms in the whole wide world which manages a segment of digital marketing as well.
Later, The Web 2.0 literally changed the way people started looking at the internet, thus influencing digital marketing as well. Just before that period, businessmen or advertisement agencies were more focused on sharing information to the mass. After The Web 2.0, it became a matter of experience into which people wanted to be a part of.
Businessmen were no more interested in just sharing or conveying information, but actually luring or manipulating people into buying a service or commodity. Back then, the main focus was to make them realize that with the help of a particular thing or service, the consumer’s life would become easier. Digital advertisement focused less on spam and more on making an impression in just a glance.
But along with this shift in the pattern of digital marketing, it was actually the consumers and not the company which took control of the marketing trends. The user generated contents like blogs, social networking sites, active vlogs like on YouTube took over on what was worth sharing or consuming. This made most businessmen prioritize their marketing strategies for the new generation of millennials.
Digital Marketing Practices
Let us look into each of those categories of digital marketing in detail and understand how every platform influences the trends of digital marketing.
The company website is considered one of the core components of digital marketing strategies. Using a website for digital marketing purposes is also known as inbound marketing. Through the use of the official website, any businessman can connect directly with the consumers by sharing their ideas, aims, details of the products and even services.
The company website is considered important because it is what creates the company’s credibility and branding. Consumers would prefer to know more about the company from the company itself.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Marketing is a form of digital marketing through which a company increases its products or service’s visibility on the search engine itself. To explain it in simple terms, if a user or consumer type for any product or service on Google, then Search Engine Marketing would work by showing the company’s products on the front page of the search engine. It has been estimated that there is a change of 70% click rate if the company’s information is found on the first page of Google search engine.
It should also be noted that most of the SEM strategies are paid advertisement. Moreover, Search Engine Marketing doesn’t just work alone since this result is also determined by Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is another form of digital marketing through which a company increases its visibility on the search engine with the use of particular keywords. These results are mostly unpaid results and together with SEM and SEO can increase the visibility to any consumer. This system of strategy is also known as natural, organic or earned results.
When a consumer types something on search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo, they scan to whole internet database to find which keywords, terms or phrases matches with the search and are more relevant. The important aspect of Search Engine Optimization is that the keywords and relevance are mostly typed in HTML format and along with it, there are other factors that determine the page’s visibility. Those factors are –
- Secured sites (HTTP vs HTTPs)
- Mobile friendly websites
- Schema Markup
- Content quality
- Webpage content length
- The speed of the website
- Social signals
- Quality backlinks
- Properly optimized images
- Age of the domain
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
Pay-per-click advertising is a form of paid digital marketing strategy where pop up advertisements or any forms of advertisements are used to direct consumers to that page. While browsing through the internet, you must have noticed advertisements popping on the edges or sides of the screen for a particular product or website you must have looked up through that device. By clicking on those advertisements, a consumer is directed to the official website.
Pay-per-click advertisement is usually paid advertisement on the internet where the advertiser pays the publisher every time an advertisement is being clicked. The more the clicks, the more the website gets more prominence and viewership.
Remarketing, also known as behavioural retargeting is a technique of digital marketing, where targeted advertisements are being shown to the consumers based on their search history. This is also a form of pay-per-click, but the advertisements are more specific, targeted towards particular audience members and more refined. You must have come across such advertisements when you have visited a particular website and then sense that most advertisements are again based on that website, and more specifically on the products or services which have been viewed.
When a user visits a particular website, the webpage automatically leaves a cookie on the web browser of the user device. This cookie sends data to the tools like Google Adwords and shows specific products, services or websites as an advertisement after you leave that website.
Email Marketing and Marketing Automation
Email marketing or marketing automation is a form of digital marketing where marketing is done through emails or messages to specific consumers. Though this might seem to be a backward technique of marketing, in reality, email marketing attracts most of the audience viewership to the website. This technique is effective because most of the emails sent to people are based on a particular pattern, where emails are sent to a specific audience, mostly high profile accounts, or accounts which have subscribed to certain web pages, or to consumers who show a trend of visiting a website often.
It has been estimated that email marketing has a higher chance of web viewership with a return of almost $45 or every $1 given for advertisement. In this whole technique of digital marketing, marketing automation works by automatically sending messages or emails to visited or subscribed consumers.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is one of the most successful, cheap and trending modes of marketing. As the term mentions, social media marketing is usually done on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or other sites. It should be noted by all businessmen that most of the consumers prefer a company’s presence on Facebook, Instagram or on Twitter with a good viewership and audience.
Social media marketing can be both paid and unpaid marketing since the viewership will be based on the number of likes the page or post have, number of shares and even comments. Along with it, marketing strategists and businessmen must have sufficient knowledge about which social media site would gain more attention on a particular website.
Video marketing is a form of digital marketing through the use of promotional videos and ads. Most of the video marketing is done through YouTube, social media sites and websites. Video marketing strategies have a far wide viewership if it is made attractive and interests the audience.
Moreover, a video is likely to get 50% more organic results on search engines since it is more attractive than a basic advertisement. Through the use of videos, the businessman or a company can share more inputs about a product or a service, making consumers feel confident enough to buy those things.
Digital marketing techniques have taken all over the online and offline marketing worlds. If used properly and efficiently with proper strategies, it can create a fortune for any business owner.