You’re fresh out of college and like many graduates around the world you’ve been smitten with the world of digital marketing. You’ve decided to give content marketing a try but you have no clue what it is or what digital marketing is in general. It’s time to cast your worries aside and put on your thinking hat, because you’ve stumbled upon the right page. In this post we are about to take you through the various concepts of digital marketing.
The Need for Digital Marketing
As it often happens in a start-up, there are many difficult decisions to be taken. How to implement the business idea? How to acquire the necessary investment? How to market the product or service? And to make matters worse, they’re also low on budget.
The lack of money in most businesses handicaps the entrepreneur, leaving them with fewer choices in almost every aspect of the business. But the one aspect that is hit the hardest by a low budget is marketing. On a low budget it is almost impossible to market a business effectively, or so we thought.
However, we no longer live in a world where if you’re not seen in newspapers, billboards or posters you’re invisible. Internet has taken the world by a storm and we’ve taken to the internet to solve our every little query or problem. A platform that is so vast and versatile should definitely be used to gain a professional edge over competitors. Digital Marketing helps you achieve that.
What is Digital Marketing?
Simply put, marketing a business on the internet is digital marketing. Various tools can be used to advertise a brand on the internet and they allow us to interact with and engage our target audience.
For small businesses digital marketing is often considered to be a cost effective alternative to traditional marketing. For the big players it is a top-up, something that helps their business above and beyond their regular means of marketing. But a look at the recent trends will tell you why digital marketing is more than just that.
There’s a lot more to digital marketing than meets the eye and it cannot be completely understood without understanding the limitations of traditional marketing, potential of the internet and the way business-customer relations have evolved over the recent few years.
Flaws of Traditional Marketing
It cannot be disputed that traditional marketing has its own merits. The effectiveness of traditional marketing cannot be challenged and its reach cannot be underestimated. However,there is always the other side to every coin and traditional marketing too has its own ugly side. There are a set of concerns that can be easily addressed with the help of digital marketing. They are as follows:
1. Less Interactive
Traditional marketing simply lets your target audience know that you’re still there in the market. It offers no scope for a consumer to gain better knowledge about the product or service that he is contemplating to pay money for. The lack of interaction between the customers and the marketing medium is definitely a major drawback of traditional marketing.
A company that has just taken baby steps in the business world will certainly not be able to afford costly advertisements in printed medium such as newspapers, air commercials on television or buy a billboard space in city centre.
3. No Metrics to Measure
It is quite difficult to carry out an in-depth analysis of a marketing campaign that uses traditional mediums. Digital marketing on the other hand, offers sophisticated software to track the progress of a marketing campaign.
Potential of the Internet
The statistics given below should be sufficient for you to understand the massive potential of the Internet. A look at the figures given below will convince you why the Internet is capable of a lot more when it comes to benefiting us professionally.
For quite some time, internet was used only for correspondence within organisations. Later on E-mail evolved into an outbound marketing tool and joined the arsenal of print, radio and TV advertisements. A large number of businesses started investing in creating websites and search engines brought these websites right to the comfort of our homes.
There was an explosion of websites on the internet and as a result competition increased drastically. This made it necessary for search engines to evaluate websites and rank them according to their user experience on the search engine results page. This gave birth to SEO, an integral part of any digital marketing campaign.
Why Digital Marketing is as effective as Traditional Marketing?
Traditional marketing has very limited reach. The range in which a billboard or newspaper advertisement is effective is quite negligible compared to the internet. Moreover, a billboard or newspaper is only regional whereas the internet is both regional as well as international. With the help of internet a business can reach out to a target audience having a peculiar set of characteristics such as interests, location, age and gender. This increases the effectiveness of digital marketing.
2. Better Choices
Traditional marketing does not offer your target audience a choice regarding the way they wish to consume your content. Digital marketing on the other hand offers many options for the same. A person who prefers to watch a video to understand things will watch a YouTube video tutorial. A person who is fond of reading will prefer to read the blogs that you publish.
3. No Interruptions
Traditional marketing reaches out to a broader audience, of which many people could be uninterested in your product or service. It is not the type of marketing which is targeted towards a specific demographic. As a result millions of people every day have to put up with annoying commercials and phone calls. It is a world of tailored marketing and one should not make the mistake of targeting the wrong individuals.
4. More Interactive
An aspect in which digital marketing is quite different from traditional marketing is the fact that it encourages interaction between consumers and business. Social media has not just helped people to connect with each other but also with big organisations. With the help of digital marketing you will find yourself in better touch with your followers, clients and prospects.
You can use various techniques to make them visit your website, check out your products and services, compare them, purchase them and also provide feedback about your services. Thus it is a better medium as it allows you to urge your potential customers to take immediate action.
A digital marketing campaign will cost a company a lot less than marketing through traditional channels. There are some highly effective methods of marketing your brand online such as pay-per-click, social media advertisements etc. Employing these techniques may require a business to spend some more money but it is still quite cost-effective compared to traditional marketing.
6. Measure Results
Like it was mentioned earlier in the article, there are many sophisticated software available on the internet such as Google Analytics, SEMrush etc. These software make it possible for us to know which keywords should be targeted according to our niche and the relative performance of those keywords.
This way you will be better informed about the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. If you find that a particular strategy isn’t working you can always alter it to produce better results.
7. Levelled Field
The best part about the search engine results page is that it is the ultimate leveller, brings all brands to an even ground, big and small alike. A powerful digital marketing strategy makes it possible for small players to take on the biggest players of their industry. In traditional marketing, the richer of the two has an upper hand, making it simpler for them to be visible.
What is content marketing?
If I were to define content marketing for a novice in a nutshell, I would say content marketing is about creating relevant, creative and valuable content and distributing it on the internet to attract your target audience and direct them towards taking profitable actions (giving you the money). Instead of aggressively pitching your product or service you are providing them with useful and relevant information to help them solve their queries.
Going about your Content Strategy
As a fresher you may have read many articles on digital marketing and have definitely come across this commonly misunderstood phrase, ‘content is king’. A good content strategy not only relies on volumes of content but also good link building techniques and a sound SEO strategy.
If you’ve figured your way around link building you will realise that link building is almost as important as content. Businesses indulge in mass production of no-brainer content because it is relatively easier than building links back to your website. For this reason many SEO agencies will tell you why link building and great content go hand in hand.
The possible pitfall of not acknowledging the importance of quality link building is walking down the path of black hat SEO techniques. A website that uses such SEO techniques to rank higher on search engine rankings page generally believes in producing a mammoth amount of content and stuffing unnatural number of keywords into it.
You should avoid making such mistakes and instead create a strategy that not only focuses on creating quality content but also uses a good SEO strategy. There are three essential elements that every content marketing strategy should include and these are as follows:
Aspect 1: Creating a Good Content Strategy
Before we delve deeper into the various aspects of a content strategy, make sure you have studied the target audience for whom you will be producing content and how they can potentially benefit from your content.
A good way to understand their needs and requirements is to put yourself in their shoes and try to understand what they want from you. They sure have some pain points in their professional or personal lives and it is their solution that they are hoping to find in your content.
Aspect 2: Content should solve problem
The aim of producing content should never be to entangle the visitor in your words but to solve their problems. It is definitely difficult compared to mass producing content and stuffing keywords into them, but it is also more rewarding. Creating such blog posts could help you earn money seven days a week for many years to come.
The time that you invest in creating a fresh piece of content which is unique and not just a reworded blog from the internet will be appreciated by your visitors. The good thing about informational content is that when visitors learn that they can come to a website and find solutions to their problems,they will keep coming back. This way any business can have a steady stream of leads for many months and years to come.
Aspect 3: Search Engine Friendly Content
This aspect is crucial to a content marketing strategy but it is in reality a part of an SEO strategy. SEO acts as an important pillar in your content marketing strategy and it is basically because of SEO that good content gets acknowledged on the internet. Our advice to you would be toapply for an internship with an experienced digital marketing agency. They will give you the best hands-on experience that you’re likely to get and you will develop a better understanding of content and SEO.
In your career as a digital marketing specialist, you’re likely to work with clients from various industries. Having such experience can be particularly helpful for industries such as Finance which are known to be a bit challenging when it comes to marketing. Here you can find some useful tips for SEO and content marketing of a finance business.
Type of Content you should write
You could be new to the field of digital marketing but if you’re an active user of the internet you must already be aware of the types of content that can be found on the internet. Here are some of the most popular content formats that you should include in your content strategy:
1. Blog Posts
Blog posts are the best opportunity that any business has to improve their organic search rankings. For this reason most SEO specialists prefer to work closely with bloggers who create blog posts for the business. Blog posts can also be used to amplify the impact of other forms of content.
Statistics: Following are certain statistics regarding blog posts that have been published in a recent study conducted by HubSpot,
- With regards to inbound marketing strategy, creating blog posts is the top rated priority of 53% of marketers
- It was found that 10% of blog posts were responsible for boosting the number of organic searches and such blog posts accounted for nearly 38% of the overall traffic.
- Companies that were able to create more than 16 blog posts in a month experienced 3.5 times more traffic compared to those that published fewer than 5 blog posts. They were also known to generate 4.5 times higher number of leads.
- B2B companies that published more than 11 blog posts in a month experienced 3 times more traffic than those who blogged just once a month.
- B2C companies that published more than 11 blog posts in a month experienced 4 times more traffic than those who blogged 4-5 times in a month. They were able to generate 4 times higher number of leads.
Compared to blog posts, e-books tend to be longer with more in-depth content and are published less often than blog posts. Downloading e-books is the next step that readers take after they have read a blog post on a particular topic. In order to download an e-book a visitor may have to share personal information such as e-mail address. This makes it a highly effective lead generation tool as well.
A latest trend in lead generation is designing templates and making them available to visitors free of cost. They are of immense value to your audience and this makes them a sure-fire content format to include in a content strategy. By helping them save their time you are gaining their trust and also building your authority at the same time.
Many people prefer to have visual illustrations as they believe it aids their learning and makes it simpler for them to understand a concept or solution. Infographics predominantly contain diagrams, statistics and short crisp content. There are many free tools available on the internet to help you design Infographics.
Statistics: Following are some statistics illustrating the importance of Infographics in a content strategy:
- Studies that tracked eye movement of visitors have revealed that readers pay more attention to images that carry information than plain text.
- Infographics are three times more likely to be shared and liked on social media than other formats of content.
- Use of Infographics in B2B content marketing has risen from 50% in 2015 to 58% in 2016.
Videos can be considered to be the most popular format of content as it has 40% higher chances of being shared and liked on social media compared to other forms of content. They are a highly engaging form of content and are known to be more suitable for explaining things to an audience.
Statistics: The following are some statistics from a HubSpot study that should help you to understand the importance of visual marketing with videos and how they are emerging to be the best content format.
- For Social media marketing, visual assets were used by nearly 71% of digital marketers.
- Live videos were used by 14% of marketers in the year 2016.
- Content that includes colours and visuals is known to increase the willingness of a reader by 80% to finish reading an article.
There are many people who either do not have the time or patience to read chunks of data. Such people prefer to consume information with the help of videos or podcasts. In 2016, it was estimated that each month almost 57 million people listened to podcasts.
- Between the years 2015 and 2016, podcast listening has grown by over 23%
- Smartphones and tablets account for nearly 64% of podcast listening.
- Regular podcast listeners are known to consume at least five shows in a week.
- 11% of marketers believe podcasting should be included in their marketing efforts.
Taking into account the recent trends of marketing, it is much better to be a big fish in a small pond than being a small fish in a big pond. So focus on creating quality content because it will not just make you bigger, but your pond as well.