In my last post, I discussed a basic 1 month digital marketing plan for generating B2B leads online using paid ads. This post is about tweaking your existing strategy and devising effective digital marketing strategies that deliver results at manageable costs. If you’re a startup, you’re probably short on marketing budgets. And your definition of digital marketing is probably sharing ad-hoc content on social media or trying to do Search Engine Optimisation.
The first step towards marketing effectiveness is the obvious but oft-forgotten question – are you getting any tangible (leads/sales/revenue) results from either?
Unless you’re already a well-established brand online, my guess is that you’re probably getting abysmally bad results. One-off hits on social platforms and discouragingly low traffic inside Google Analytics. You see, most startup owners, brand managers and marketing directors mistake digital marketing to be a magic wand – share some content on social media sites and start getting more business.
It does not work that way. Digital media is a noisy marketplace. 10x, even 100x noisier than Chandni Chowk (the busiest market in Delhi). It’s worse than Rajive Chowk Metro station at its worst – there are just so many people, brands and companies talking, talking talking.
How do you as a brand stand out and make yourself heard?
You have to have a sound digital strategy in place. It might / might not involve a lot of spending. But using your inherent powers of the will and sheer persistence (we all have these abilities – we’ve just forgotten how to use them), you need to bring that strategy alive till it starts showing results. If you’re a seasoned businessman, then you know what I’m talking about. Digital won’t make you rich overnight – It’s like a Rome-wasn’t-built-in-a-day type of situation. However, a smart and focused strategy can considerably speed up the process of constructing your online brand.
Now, after you’ve faced some poor results at Digitally marketing your startup, your next step, in all likelihood, would be to Google and pour through the countless blog posts, ebooks and Youtube videos created by other digital marketers. And all this probably yells the same thing again and again – create and share good content. I thought it would be a good idea to give my own twist and share how we as an agency look at existing digital strategies and make them more effective to offer true value to our clients.
So, here are 3 types of effective digital marketing strategies which you can adapt or adopt and take your startup, corporate, team or brand to the absolute next level of online marketing magic and effectiveness. Please note – nearly all of these will will fail unless done without 2 critical ingredients – persistence and patience.
3 interesting and proven ways towards effective digital marketing strategies
1. Insight-Based Content Marketing
Insight-based content marketing on digital platforms is perhaps the online version of traditional advertising which relies on the “Big Idea” – a creative campaign which derives from an insight around the audience that the brand wants to attract and influence. It’s an extremely potent method which can deliver stellar results.
Example: When Cadbury Dairy Milk was launched in India in 80s, it had virtually no competition. Owing to its great product and simple, effective advertising, it became a household name. However, towards the late 90s and 2000s, Dairy Milk started facing tremendous competition from local players such as Halidram’s and Amul and other chocolate players such as Nestle. In fact, the whole “there are worms in Dairy Milk” fiasco damaged the reputation of this brand considerably. They desperately needed a brand makeover to regain their lost market share.
This is when Piyush Pandey and Co. at Ogilvy cracked a brilliant insight-based campaign for Dairy Milk. We as Indians usually have a craving for something sweet after our meals (particularly after dinner). They used this simple insight (common sense if you’re an Indian), to crack the “Khaane Ke Baad Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye” campaign. This simple, yet insight loaded tagline worked wonders to connect Dairy Milk with the common Indian. There was a time when Dairy Milk became synonymous with after dinner sweet cravings!
Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to execute a highly successful insight-based digital campaign in my career when I was part of an amazing digital agency called Drizzlin. The campaign was called “Breaking Stereotypes”. Read more about it here.
These types of campaigns are personally my favourite. They have incredible potential to go viral and deliver stunning results for your clients. However, executing these requires a lot of hard work, brainstorming, saying no to mediocre ideas, and perfect execution.
2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
According to this research done by Google in 2015, 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. It’s common knowledge that 80% clicks happen on the first page of Google. That’s precisely the reason SEO campaigns are so effective. They rely on ranking websites high (page 1) of Google Search for target keywords.
Let’s say you are a manufacturer of leather wallets in Delhi, and you start ranking for terms such as “best leather wallet manufacturers”, “leather wallet manufacturers in Delhi”, then you will attract only those who search for these terms.
However, this is easier said than done. Chances are high that you’ve hired a freelancer or an agency to handle your website’s SEO. But are you getting what you were promised? Ranking high on Google is difficult since there are usually lots of other websites which are actively competing for the same terms. How then do you ensure your website definitely shows up on the first page of Google?
Target long-tail keywords.
That’s a strategy that will surely get you quicker, more definite results from your search engine optimisation efforts. The mistake most SEO agencies and marketers make is to go after high traffic, broad terms. There are tons of companies wanting to go after those terms. However, the more niche and targeted your search term is, the less your competition becomes and more effective SEO happens. This is kind of like the startup strategy which well-known entrepreneur and investor Paul Graham advocates in this fantastic essay on how to get startup ideas (I have probably read and re-read this essay about 15 times). Instead of going broad, go deep.
Going back to my leather wallet example, if the manufacturer were to target “leather wallets”, then they would face competition from a whole host of companies – manufacturers, online retailers, fashion blogs, news sites, etc. However, targeting a long tail keyword such as “leather wallet manufacturers in Delhi” would severely restrict their competition, increasing chances of ranking on page 1 for a highly relevant term.
SEO is a key ingredient of digital marketing strategies because of its potential to draw consistent, and relevant traffic from Google – a place we all visit countless times every day. By targeting highly relevant search terms (also called keywords), and eventually ranking on the first page of Google for these terms, you can ensure that your website attracts only those searchers (customers/visitors) who are thinking of those specific things.
3. Search Marketing (Paid/Google Adwords)
Paid Search marketing (Google Adwords) is a highly popular alternative to organic search. Why? Because results are fast, predictable and highly measurable. For companies with budgets, this is a highly recommended strategy since valuable time is saved. However, PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns have a risky downside as well. Put your campaign in the wrong (i.e inexperienced) hands and you risk wasting all your spend on attracting clicks but no leads/sales.
I’ve personally met many clients who quickly dismiss our expertise because “they-would-rather-do-it-themselves” only to come back after a month having been burned by poor choices and lack of actual skill. A particular photographer client of ours actually wasted almost Rs. 40,000 (620$) in 2 days because he incorrectly set his daily budget to Rs. 20,000 thinking it to be a monthly budget! Another education client based in Delhi wasted almost Rs. 2,00,000 of their PPC campaign spend in the wrong geography (Andhra Pradesh). They were flooded with phone calls from students asking for admissions. The only issue? They were speaking in Telugu!
As a matter of fact, according to this article on CNBC and this one on Forbes, billions of dollars are wasted on digital marketing spends because they target the wrong audience, poor choice of platform, lack of knowledge or expertise in managing the campaigns.Google Adwords is extremely detailed and vast, with lots of options for optimisation and driving positive ROI. A digital marketer experienced in the art and science of conversion optimisation is best placed to ensure that your money actually works in generating more business for your brand.
Search marketing can work brilliantly if the campaigns are optimised and well-designed. In my opinion a combination of SEO and PPC can be the most powerful tonic for your marketing ailments.
The myth of social media marketing
It’s common for digital marketers to pitch their services to potential clients by tempting them of “massive reach to millions of people on XYZ platform” or of “viral campaigns”. Social media platforms such as Linkedin or Facebook are quite tempting for brands and businesses because they try to garner millions of eyeballs for free thinking visitors will happily share their content.
They couldn’t be more wrong!
As a matter of fact, the same report which I discussed earlier also states….fail at making any significant impact on social media platforms. My reasoning is that these brands and marketers execute their strategies without any strong insights or specific strategy in mind. They share content for the sake of sharing. Endlessly putting out one post after another. It’s really a wasted effort.
In the end, which digital strategy you choose boils down to a number of variables such as your industry, niche, personal choices, budgets, trends and available skill sets. The important thing is to HAVE a strategy before you begin work and keep working at it, till it works for you.
I hope you took away something valuable from this post and if you did, would appreciate a your feedback, criticisms or appreciation in the comments below.