Are you a business owner, marketing executive, or student looking to understand what is Digital Marketing?
Do you know what are some of the important digital touchpoints and how you can amplify them for performance?
Have you looked at Digital Marketing Guides, references and researches only to be confused by the scale of it all?
If you are someone looking to understand Digital Marketing in the simplest manner possible, congratulations, you have come to the right place.
In very simple terms, Digital Marketing involves the act of marketing and selling a range of products and services by having a presence on any of the digital platforms. Some of them are websites on search engines, profiles on social media platforms, email marketing campaigns, or app-based promotions and sales.
In this article, we speak to leading experts and ask them to help us to come up with a simple guide for digital marketing.
Digital Marketing: How does it work?
Let us begin with a common scenario-
‘Imagine you are in the plumbing business. You need to reach out to new customers, promote your business, and generate more sales and revenues. What you can do is create a business website for your plumbing services, use social media to promote your business, and run ads on search engines so that people can click and come to your website.
In the past few years, the avenues for consumers seeking information, making purchases, or opting for services have changed remarkably. Every time we need something, we use Google. The search results thrown up by Google informs our decisions.
The same is the story for social media platforms. You keep browsing and follow your favourite brands. They come up with a new product on their social media feed. You click on the link and are redirected to the brand’s eCommerce site, which lets you make the purchase.
In a nutshell, digital marketing allows a brand to be present in front of its target audiences on a digital platform where they are present. The key to a successful digital marketing strategy is to communicate and engage with your potential target audiences.
What are the 6 Main Touchpoints of Digital Marketing?
In this section, we are going to list the six major touchpoints or digital platforms, which form the core of a brand’s digital marketing efforts-
For a brand, a business website is like the replication of their physical brick-and-mortar store except that it is open 24×7. Every brand needs to have a business website to build credibility, promote its products and services, have contact information, and reach out to its target audiences. Having a business website is the foundation of a good digital marketing strategy. A landing page can also work and it is quite debatable whether you need a website or a landing page. 1st of all, a landing page is a single page that includes everything like your product information, clientele, testimonials, CTAs and an enticing lead capture form. Now the question arises: what should I create a website or a landing page. I’d like to conclude my answer here: If you have short term goals and want to quickly push your product or service to your target audience then a landing page is an option and anyways a website is the best option anytime.
Is it possible to create a website or landing page without any coding skills or technical knowledge?
Ideally, yes you could do that with open source content management systems like WordPress, Magento and for a landing page, Unbounce could be a great option for people who have no clue about coding. These content management systems will allow you to create enticing websites for different businesses with their drag and drop options. You can also learn using these tools from Udemy and YouTube without spending a dime.
Check out how to create a landing page for beginners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIKfUdu_nIY
Is it compulsory to be a website developer to learn digital marketing?
Not at all, You could be a great marketer without developing a website. You could learn both and that’s possible but if you focus on one thing you will be an expert in that area. Focusing on two different things could be good for some folks but that’s not worth it for a long time. If you want to be an expert, focus on one area and dig deeper so that you can become a master one day.
2. Social Media-
No other platform has increased in scope, prominence, and membership than social media platforms have. With more than four billion active users, brands cannot ignore social media. Having a presence on social media pages allows brands to promote themselves in front of target audiences. It also enables direct communication, query answering, branding, and sales.
How can I use Social Media Channels?
You can use Social Media with two approaches – ADs and the Organic approach. ADs are simply giving money to social media channels and they would present your content to your target audience. It is not rocket science and doesn’t need long term efforts.
It’s just spending money on my honey.
Jokes apart! All you need to set up a money budget and you are good to go.
How can I use Organic Social Media Approach?
To get started, follow these 4 steps and stay consistent for a longer period of time. I am sure you will achieve your goals.
1) Optimise your channels: Create your profile by giving relevant information about your business, product or service. A good display picture, an enticing banner and a link to your website can get you a plus point.
2) Content Sourcing/Scheduling: Stay consistent with the content schedule; don’t skip a day or a weekend. Content can be in the form of data and information, statistics, infographics, videos, and Gifs. There are many tools that would let you schedule content in advance like Hootsuite and Buffer. Try their FREE version as well.
I also recommend checking some best Hootsuite alternatives like Recurpost and Social Bee.
3) Engage with the audience: If someone is commenting on your content, don’t miss a chance to send a reply back. The ultimate goal is to keep talking to the audience and invite them to your website.
4) Follower Management: You have to follow the people who will be interested in consuming your content and be your customer. You can find them by simply inspecting your competitors and see who are these leads.
What are the best social media platforms to start with?
I’d say start building a presence on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. You need to stay active on forums like Reddit and Quora. Since Facebook organic reach is very minimal but you can start building a community group on Facebook. I’d create a group rather than a FB page. You can also build a presence on other social media channels like TikTok, Pinterest and so on. Just make sure if they make sense and are relevant to your business model.
Tip: Always use Hashtags but don’t exceed the limits. Example: While tweeting do not use more than 2 hashtags, 7 on Instagram and 4 on LinkedIn.
A PRO TIP: If you are a new business with 1-3 staff strength and want to explore social media as well. You should do it but keep in mind that you can’t focus on all channels. The best practice is to start building a presence on a few channels and once you have a good presence then put your leg on other channels. If you have a big team then this tip is not for you. Go Ahead with multiple channels.
3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)-
SEO is one of the most important aspects of Digital Marketing. SEO is a long term effort that helps businesses to rank higher on search results. There are two types of search results – Search results via ads aka Pay Per Click (PPC) and Organic search results (SEO). They both are good but achieving organic results are far better than paying to search engines.
You can start SEO by doing On-Page Optimisation and Off-Page Optimisation.
What is On-page optimisation and what are the best practices?
Let us start with the basics. Google offers certain guidelines and suggestions to webmasters to ensure that their sites are most friendly for its users.
On-Page SEO is like a Checklist of Guidelines, which informs webmasters about what works best and what doesn’t. This is why it is important to revisit your On-Page metrics every once in a while, to see they are perfectly aligned with Google’s guidelines.
If your On-Page SEO is not optimized, Google will not show your web pages to audiences in its search lists. Sounds interesting, right?
Check out my recent blog on 6 BEST ON-PAGE SEO TECHNIQUES IN 2021
What is Off-page optimisation and what are the best practices?
Off-page optimization means optimising the website technically. Now you must be wondering, I don’t have any technical knowledge and how can I do it? So the answer is straightforward: Technical SEO mostly should be looked at by the developers and not the marketers. As I said, focus on one thing. If you want to become an SEO expert, you need to leave these tasks for the developers but you can also learn them from the internet.
The important part of off-page SEO is LINK BUILDING and that’s something a developer should not focus on. Link building is a vast topic and I have written a brief article and explained the best practices.
I did SEO for 2 months and I didn’t get the results?
Oh yeah, That’s a good observation! My answer is I did a workout (gymming) for 2 months and I didn’t look good. I hope you got the answer if not, SEO should be a long term goal and it will surely take your time and effort. You will see results when staying consistent. Looking good is not that easy.
A PRO TIP: Check out a complete SEO question and answer guide
Even though email marketing is one of the older digital marketing techniques, it continues to deliver the highest ROIs. Maintaining contact, conveying information, and seeking feedback through email can help promote, market, and sell products and services in the most cost-effective manner possible. Businesses should always follow a strong email marketing strategy.
5. Paid Advertising-
In addition to the above organic processes of digital marketing, brands should also go for paid advertising on search engines and social media. Google AdWords and social platform ads can help in giving timely boosts, especially if you are running holiday and festival campaigns. You can set the targeting and ensure your brand is only showing to your target audiences.
6. Content Marketing-
Brands should realize that they are competing with thousands of similar brands vying for the same target audiences. This means that any content, which is being produced by the brand should be of high quality. Content Marketing involves using the website’s blogs and other strategies like Guest Posting, Blogger Outreach, and others to push and publicize branded content on digital platforms.
The Final Word
Making the transition from purely offline platforms to online or digital marketing is the need of our times. The COVID-19 Pandemic has accelerated the transition making it necessary for brands to start using search engines and social media for improving marketing and sales.
Digital Marketing has several benefits. Most notably, allowing brands and businesses to be present in front of target audiences when people are looking for similar products or services. It also works to effectively shorten the sales process and the buyer’s journey.
Experts state that digital marketing allows businesses to deliver in the most 360-degree manner possible. It helps in branding, engagement, credibility building, exposure, visibility, and sales!
Shahid Shahmiri is a digital marketer by profession. He helps online businesses to grow with smart marketing tactics to achieve better sales and leads. He is passionately focused and driven to grow businesses online and can manage the marketing and lead generation process with proven tactics and experiments. Shahid is accountable for analyzing marketing, SEO, growth and dealing with all promotional and media channels.