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Struggling to succeed online? Here is a 5-step Framework for Mastering Digital Marketing

Mastering Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is an exciting way for people and businesses to promote their products, services, ideas and even, themselves. However, it’s also a rapidly evolving field with newer methods and channels sprouting every single day. Understanding the basics, let alone mastering digital marketing, is becoming more and more complex. It’s hard even for someone like me who has been in this industry for over 7 years to explain someone where to start. I have a simple, 5 step framework which can help you master online marketing.

Unlike other forms of marketing, digital marketing is a strange beast to conquer. What was critically important today suddenly becomes absolutely irrelevant 6 months down the line! After all, we are at the mercy of tech giants sitting in Silicon Valley, constantly innovating and messing around with their software and policies. A Google update now or a Facebook update then can completely change the rules of the game. How do you then understand this ever-changing, critically important medium of marketing? Do you start with your own Facebook page, do you start your own blog? When do you advertise and how? How can you reach the maximum number of people with the minimum amount of money? You will probably have a ton of questions around digital marketing.

To prevent myself from going insane, and to make better sense of digital marketing, I thought about it long and hard. I went back to the basics. I tried connecting random dots in my head from past experience. After 2 weeks of painful, confused and finally, an enlightening revelation, I came across a simple plan to break down and build a robust digital marketing plan for any business, in any possible scenario. This was a breakthrough moment for me because I had just created an extremely simple, and highly effective framework to mastering online marketing. And now, I am sharing it with all of you, my dear readers! I hope you too will be able to succeed online by applying yourself to this plan whole-heartedly.

[Please note – I’m just sharing the framework right now. I will add a bunch of examples and other links to help you get started]

A 5-step Framework for Mastering Digital Marketing

Step No 1: Ideate {the “why”}

The first step to mastering digital marketing is to ask why and find out what the market space looks like. This is the research phase where you will have to delve deep into the psychology of your target customer. Even before you come up with ideas for marketing your products, creating your website and your first piece of content, you need to intimately understand your customer. There are some tools you can use but a lot of it will involve asking questions. What are their needs and wants? What are their aspirations in life? Where do they hang out online? What do they do when they are online? What are they most afraid of?

online content research

Asking all types of questions to understand each and every trait of your ideal customer will help you in crafting the perfect digital marketing campaign for that person.

Step No 2: Create {the “what”}

Once you can confidently claim to know your target customer, it’s time to create. By creation, I mean creating the right content or technology which aims to fulfill the needs, wants and desires of your customer in the best possible manner. Since you now know a lot more about them, you are better placed at creating the right type of content, for the right type of platform.

You need to create content which resonates with your target market on a logical and emotional level. Without content, these customers will never be able to find you or understand your offer.

Here’s an example of great content which does a beautiful job of selling something as mundane as a blender!

For a lot of folks, mastering digital marketing stops at mastering content creation. But that’s only part of the story.

Step No 3: Distribute {the “where”}

Distributing your content is key to the success of any content marketer. Content is only as good as the audience it gets. Therefore, your content should be present where your customer is present – this is an important step which most marketers miss out. They don’t go to the customer but wait for the customer to find them. As a marketer, it is your job to find your customers. If they are present on Pinterest, ensure you are present on Pinterest. If they are active on Linkedin, aggressively distribute your content on Linkedin.

content promotion

In fact, marketing experts like Neil Patel and Derek Halpern feel that creation is only 20% of the job, 80% of the job is promoting it! Only after you have distributed your content effectively can you understand how well your content is working.

Step No 4: Monetize {the “how”}

Depending on your larger motives, this step can make your online marketing activities commercially viable. Without monetization, there’s only much you can do, or so many people who can hear your marketing message. You need to put in time, effort and resources in order to ideate, create, distribute and innovate your way to marketing success. And you need money to do that on a consistent basis.

monetising content
After WW created a world-class product – the money just flowed in

A lot of digital marketers (include me, when I first started out), make the mistake of aiming for profits right from day 1. In my humble opinion, that is a recipe for disaster. You first need to answer the why, what and where of your marketing plan before you can answer the how. And the best part is, monetization usually becomes quite easy once you have created enough world-class content – it becomes easy to attract a decent audience then.

Step No 5: Innovate {the “wow”}

Lastly, you need an element of “wow” in all the previous 4 steps to really capture your market. Call it innovation, newsworthy, shareworthy, wow, a-ha – whatever. But you need to be able to do all the tasks I’ve listed above with a certain uniqueness that will help you stand out from the crowd.  Starting out with an innovative approach at the outset is a great idea, but it is also an “ideal”. Sounds good in theory, innovation is tough to practice.

Check out Buzzfeed, Scoopwhoop, Upworthy (and tons of other sites) for some truly innovative content.

I can say from my own experiences that a breakthrough in innovation usually happens when you’ve spent enough time doing step no 1, 2, 3 and 4 to be able to say enough – “this is what the world is doing, now this is what I will do.”

And without innovation, you cannot survive in the long term.

Living Cycle of Marketing

Rinse and repeat. This is a cyclical plan. After step 5, you have to again do step 1 through 4. Do it enough number of times and you will definitely be on your way to mastering digital marketing. Watch how rapidly that elusive success comes knocking on your door!

Looking back in hindsight, this is the plan that I have usually followed whenever I’ve worked on either my own projects or my client’s projects. As part of my digital marketing training, I’ve messed up all these components several times but that was all part of the learning curve. My hope with this blog is you don’t make the same mistakes I did. Like any skill, mastering digital marketing will take tons of practice and hopefully, this framework will serve as a helpful tool, guiding your boat through stormy oceans.

Here’s a presentation of my ideas:

[slideshare id=59916724&doc=recoveredfile1-160323051856]

We’re now part of one giant collective and collaborative brain. Digital is making this brain more and more exciting and complex at the same time. Millions and billions of people are part of this giant brain with trillions of new ideas being formed, destroyed and modifyed every second.

You are now a brand of your own. A Facebook update, a harmless tweet or that video you uploaded from your last trip to Goa – all this content has the potential to reach millions of people, in a few days.Truly mastering digital marketing means that you’re able to do all or at least 3 of the 5 steps I have listed above, super-effectively. That said, digital marketing works best when it’s combined with an element of offline. Having an isolated, digital-only approach might not create an effective campaign. At best, it will get you samples of insights on how consumers are interacting with your product/service/idea/content.

Thanks for reading this post. Would be very happy to hear your feedback or criticism in the comments below. If you liked what you saw, please share this post on Facebook/Twitter or with your friends.

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