Why is digital marketing important for business?
Any business requires promotion for its growth. Promotion involves communicating the existence of your business to the maximum number of people and also to convince them to buy your products and services.
Television, Radio and Newsprint advertisements, Hoardings, Fliers, Leaflets, Direct Marketing are some of the traditional methods of business promotion.
In the new millennium, the internet is the most powerful medium for business promotion as billions of people have access to it and they are the potential audiences to receive communications regarding your products and services.
Have a look at the attached graph; this is data released by World Bank about internet usage.
You will find that internet usage has increased rapidly in China since 2006 and in India since 2009. It is clear that the internet is an effective medium to advertise and promote your products as more and more people are accessing it. Also since the usage of smartphones has increased exponentially in the last few years, the internet becomes mobile and is a very handy tool for the consumer further increasing its usage. Please see the attached graph. This will make us realize why is digital marketing important to businesses. You will see that Digital Advertising is the fastest growing media in India in 2016 and 17.
This trend will continue in the future and hence it will be imperative for businesses to go digital.
Any communication or transaction with your customers through the Internet or Digital Channels can be defined as Digital Marketing.
In this blog, we will see the various concepts and tools in Digital Marketing and how Digital Marketing helps business. We will also give the steps in implementing a Digital Marketing project. Digital Marketing is a rapidly evolving and changing field with immense scope for innovation. There are not set principles of Digital Marketing like other branches of knowledge. We give basic concepts and tools in Digital Marketing. After which you have to practically implement the same. Then Digital Marketing can be deployed by ‘doing’ and ‘trying’ the concepts and tools. So wishing you the best in your Digital Marketing journey.
Here we go:
Build your website
Building a website is the first milestone in your organization’s digital marketing journey. The whole Digital Marketing project revolves around the website. The website gives basic information about your company and its products and services and this is your first advertisement post in the digital world. The website can also collect leads of people interested in your product or services. Hence with a website, you can potentially reach the millions of visitors who visit the internet. Internet users visiting your website become aware of your products and services and can contact you in case of any requirement. Thus you can increase your marketing reach.
Get a domain name
The first step in building a website is registering your domain name. If your business is well established, your brand name can be your domain name, if it is available. If its a new business, you can create an innovative and catchy domain name for your website. ‘GoDaddy.com’ is a registrar for internet domain names where you can register your domain name for a fee. There are several other registrars which you can yourself find out.
Host your website
Your website will require storage and servers to reside on and hosting your website means creating server space and an IP address for your website on the World Wide Web. There are various hosting services providers such as HostGator.com or GoDaddy.com. One of the crucial factors of selecting a website hosting service is the page loading speed. Page loading speed is crucial for the performance of the website. It also improves your SEO Rankings in Google Search resulting in improved search result ranking of your website, as we will see later in this blog. Obviously, a faster loading web hosting service will cost more.
Create Content and design the website
Once your domain name is hosted, then you have to design your website and create content for it. A well written and relevant content will become popular on the internet. So you have to create good content to adorn your website. Content is the single most important factor in the success of your website. To begin with, WordPress, which is the best open- source or free Content Management System in the World, can be used to create content for your website.
WordPress has built-in ‘plugins’ for almost all website functionalities. Some of them are: Creating Posts, Creating Web Pages, Back up of data, Managing Comments( approving, unapproving, spamming, answering or deleting), Titles, Subtitles, Bold letters, Fonts, Italics, Alignment, adding links, pictures, videos etc., adding social share icons, Adding Meta descriptions, snippet views, adding tags, creating users and giving them permissions( read/ write), managing subscriptions, analytics, improving performance, creating a mobile version of the website, SEO etc. Some of the functions are built- in, whereas some plugins are free and some paid.
WordPress also has several themes for different types and uses of websites and also customizations for those themes.
Thus, WordPress helps you create a website without knowing web designing and development. Almost 20% of all internet is powered by WordPress. WordPress is also very user-friendly to use with simple drag and drop functionality.
Having created a website, we now delve deeper into Digital Marketing. Your website is the digital asset of your business, but it will be useful only if people visit it. So getting people to visit your site, ie increasing the traffic to your site is an important activity in Digital Marketing.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Most of the internet traffic on the internet is guided by ‘Search engines’. You all must be familiar with Google as a search engine. The user types in words relevant to the topic he is searching for( called as Keywords) and the search engine throws results of matching websites. Needless to say, your website should be Search Engine friendly, so that whenever the keywords are typed, your website should show up at the top of the list. The techniques used to improve your search engine rankings are collectively called ‘ Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)‘.
Since these search results are naturally obtained, they are called as “Organic Search Results’.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
If you want a guarantee that your website will be returned at the top of search results, you can pay the search engine for this service. So whenever the keywords are typed, your search engine will always be returned at the top of search results. The search engine typically charges for the number of times your website is clicked after being displayed in the search results. This is called the ‘Pay per click( PPC)’ model. Of course, when two or more parties are bidding for the first spot in the search results for the same keywords, the one which is paying more per click gets the first spot; the second highest gets the second spot and so on. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is an effective way of attracting traffic to your website. This is an important tool in Digital Marketing for business growth. There are several SEM products available on the market. Google Adwords, a Google SEM product, is the most popular. Google Adwords allows advertising messages to be displayed; thus you can create a copy for your ads in Google Adwords. Refer the following attachment.
You will see that all the advertisers have written headlines about their businesses. You can also create ad extensions, ie your communications for your different products. SEM is evolved a lot and has become very popular with big Corporations, online shopping businesses such as Amazon, Flipkart etc. and is a source of 80% of all revenues of Google.
See another example of the paid search results for the keywords “hotels in Mumbai”. It is clear that the website booking.com has paid the maximum bid per click; therefore it appears in the first position of Search Results.
A paid search result can be recognized by the presence of small prefix ‘Ad’ before the website. Please note the natural or Organic search results for these keywords would be totally different. If you are in a highly competitive business and require a high number of leads, SEM is recommended as it definitely increases the traffic on your website.
Google Adwords gives a host of analytical information about the effectiveness of the campaign, revenue generated through the campaign, financial information such as the number of clicks, number of conversions, orders and revenues and hence ROI etc.
Email marketing forms an important part of the Digital Marketing strategy of a company. Email marketing relies on a database of email addresses to whom you can send your promotional literature. There are several tools available which manage your email marketing campaigns. They provide a lot of analytical data such as the percentage of opened emails, bounce rates, automation of email campaign, the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign and so on. You can sign up for any of the email marketing service providers such as Zoho or MailChimp. See an example of email marketing.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media marketing refers to marketing via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter etc. Since these media are very powerful with a lot of traffic, social media marketing is an effective way of Digital Marketing.
Social Media Marketing works best to drive traffic to your website. Social Media Marketing(SMM) gives a lot of analytics on the effectiveness of the advertising campaigns, conversion rates etc.
Here we would like to add the interdependence of the various Digital Marketing Tools. eg Social Media Marketing and Email marketing go hand in hand. The traffic derived from Social Media has details of the emails of the users. This data can be used to enrich your e- mail marketing campaigns which in- turn would increase the conversion rate through social media.
Thus an important concept we learn here is all the Digital Marketing tools are inter-dependent and we need to integrate these tools with each other to increase the overall effectiveness of your overall Digital Marketing campaign.
Web analytics has a crucial role in a Digital Marketing Effort. Since digital channels can access the digital footprints of the users, they can give a complete trail of the user in the digital world and the behavior of the customer can be analyzed. This is the basic difference between traditional marketing channels and digital marketing channels and hence the effectiveness of digital marketing grows many times over.
Web Analytics is available in the individual Digital Marketing tool level such as Google Adwords or any email marketing tool and it is also available as a separate tool which integrates all digital channels and gives a unified view of the Digital Marketing Channel effectiveness. Google Analytics is a well- known Web analytics tool which comes in a free as well as premium paid version.
Web Analytics gives a whole gamut of data regarding the people visiting your website, their geographic locations, their age group, gender and even their interests. This demographic data is crucial in knowing about your target customers and their behavior. You can also get advanced information such as the user visited which website prior to visiting yours, how long the user was on your website, which pages he visited and so on. With such detailed insights obtained from web analytics, you can decide your marketing and communication strategy for your target customer segments and make your marketing more effective.
See the kind of data a module of Google Analytics gives. It has a number of sessions per day, a number of users visiting the site, a number of page views, new vs returning visitors etc. It is a very rich tool which can give you great insights about the usage on your website.
Advanced topics in Digital Marketing
Mobile apps refer to applications for specific functions which are very easy and fast to use. They are very convenient to the user as they can be used on the go. This is an emerging field and has a lot of potential in the future.
Ever wondered why that when you try to search on Google through your mobile phone, the mobile phone displays the search results you had searched from your laptop computer. This is because of the technology called Universal Analytics. This technology has revolutionized Digital Marketing and integrated all Digital channels such as mobile, laptop or standalone digital devices. Thus the user can be tracked through all the digital media he uses. This has increased the effectiveness of Digital Marketing multifold times.
Advanced Analytics works on the concept of the id of the user. So every individual user is given a unique user id and all the devices he uses are tagged with that id. Thus with a single id, the user is tracked on different channels.
Advanced Analytics also can integrate offline channels and data sources such as ERP systems or any other offline excel based data sources with online digital channels. This has helped Data Analytics a lot.
E-commerce has payment gateways through which customers can make online payments for the goods or services. Thus the complete cycle of order to cash can be completed very conveniently with the help of a few clicks. E-commerce also comes in with a lot of web analytics which helps you convert prospects into customers. Having the e-commerce channel promotes the business as customers have another channel to consume your goods or services. Premium Google analytics gives detailed e-commerce measures; so don’t be surprised when you get an instant email when you go to the payment gateway and then change your mind. As more and more people use online channels to consume goods and services, e-commerce will grow in the coming years.
A Final Word
We have seen in this blog, the importance of Digital Marketing for business. Digital Marketing helps promote and grow your business. Digital Marketing is an ever-expanding field of knowledge and can be mastered only by implementing it. So what are you waiting for? Learn the basics of Digital Marketing and start implementing it in your organization.
Author: Amit Mukherjee