Digital Marketing—Important Features, Opportunities, and Challenges
Digital marketing taken as the umbrella term for all your marketing efforts carried out and delivered online through a myriad number of digital channels such as websites, social media, mobile apps, email, search engines, etc. Businesses connect with their present and potential customers in real time, leveraging the power of Internet to communicate their messages through digital technologies and digital mediums. Reports and statistics suggest that people spend twice as much time online as they did a dozen of years ago. The rise of the internet, smartphones, and other internet-enabled handheld devices has drastically transformed the way people shop and buy products and services. It has rendered traditional ways of marketing a bit ineffective and less profitable for corporations.
Digital Marketing Challenges
Marketing has, still is and always will be about connecting with the right people at the right time and the right place. In today’s technologically driven world, an effective and efficient marketing strategy means connecting with the customers where they are most of the time—the Internet. It is where digital marketing can prove its real worth by attracting, delighting and converting customers online.
Tactics that fall under the umbrella of Digital Marketing
From your website itself to the entire spectrum and range of your online branding assets—digital advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimisation(SEO), content marketing, email marketing and mobile marketing among others fall under the category of digital marketing. And only a digital marketer who truly possesses the ability to leverage the potential of these high values online marketing medium can hope of achieving the real objective of their business.In the following section, we will briefly cover some of the most important types of digital channels that organisations employ to increase their online sales and customer loyalty.
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Paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the sponsored results you see on the top of the result pages returned by search engines. The best about PPC is that you only pay when the visitor clicks your website link. Another significant advantage offered by Paid Search is that you can tailor your PPC ads so that they only appear when a specific term is typed in by the visitor in the search box of the search engine. It helps you in taking your advertisement to a particular group you wish to target. PPC ads are flexible, active and visible helping organisations reach out specifically to their intended target audience. To achieve the success in paid marketing you must have a flexible budget and long-term planning.
Pay Per Click Marketing
Paid search are also contextual advertisements, meaning they are displayed on SERPs (search engine result pages) when the user types any particular term. For example, the term’ sports shoes’ in the search box may cause Google or any other popular search engines to display the name of one or two manufacturers on the top of their results pages.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Let us start with a typical day-to-day example. You are looking for more information on a good local label manufacturer for your clothing lines. You open Google and type ‘label manufacturers’ in the search box. The chances are that you will usually click on the first few links on the result pages. What happens to me then if I make superior quality ‘Labels’ at a price lower than my competitors and still witness losing out to him on the business front just because his website managed to secure a higher rank for itself in the results returned by Google. It in a very simple way explains to you about the advantages and features of having an SEO optimised site. Search engine optimisation (SEO) refers to the process of optimising the content, technical setup and reach of your website to attract the attention of search engine robots or crawlers. A well-defined and structured SEO plan enhances your online visibility be getting the top spot for your websites on the results returned by the search engines.
It augments your visibility, as well as prestige, increasing traffic to your website ultimately leading to better sales and revenue. Simply put, SEO is a set of metrics or practices for good digital marketing strategy. We can look at the entire process from the other end of the spectrum. Websites that have more engaging content, better information, are easy to navigate and have a lot of incoming links (attesting to its credibility and information dispensing capabilities) are liked more by search engine spiders and they are bound to score higher in their rankings. Now if you wish to have a website ranked high in SERP, you are forced to create a well-constructed and easy-to-use website, with relevant information present in a compelling and coherent manner. It also creates a lot of incoming links to your site as people will recommend you by linking to your site or talking about it in social media platforms. Keep updating your knowledge that is the secret of it SEO as other than that you can not achieve the success.
As we know content is the king, and there are of course some very obvious reasons that fully justify this saying. In this age of instant gratification and information overload. As a person gets bombarded by hundreds of messages every day, his attention span starts getting shorter and shorter. It presents a real challenge to digital media marketers who must keep looking out for new and innovative means of ensuring that their messages succeed in striking a chord with their intended audience by capturing their attention. With digital technologies taking over, the entire process of making your message conspicuous in the crowd has undergone a sea change. According to a 2013 eMarketer survey, the time US adults spent on digital media surpassed the time they spent watching TV. This data clearly shows the growing importance of digital media and how it has outpaced traditional media and many other channels of content delivery, which stayed as the preferred channel of content distribution for ages.SEO:Then there are statistics to back my claim (it is open knowledge) that 67 percent of all the clicks generated by the websites occupying the top five positions in SERP. It means only 33 percent of the visitors look beyond the first five results and this percentage is likely to fall to a negligible level when we talk about the results displayed on the second or third page of the results returned by search engines.Everybody you see around you is in a mad rush to go digital, reviving up their SEO, PPC, Adwords and social media campaigns. Precipitously chasing ‘likes,' ‘shares’ and ‘pins,' marketers are somehow missing the woods for the trees forgetting that content is still the key differentiator when it comes to success (or failure) of their digital media strategy.
Content marketing Continues
Content marketing can resonate more powerfully with your target audience if it is consistent across multiple channels. It is better if you stick with 2-3 messages as more than that is most likely to confuse your audience. Also, digital marketers must remember that successful content marketing strategy depends significantly upon some painstaking research. You have to spend some time and resources gathering information about what your target audience likes, what arouses their curiosity, what dampens their spirit and who or what influences them among other things. It will help you tailor you content in a way the customers are most likely to respond.Content marketing has been used for ages and now also used heavily. When the web started need of content was felt more than ever. As here people can easily share and read whatever they like sharing of knowledge and information become a passion and lifestyle for many. Many people earn their livelihood by building content. And increasing web-based search data manipulation has forced Google and other search engines to focus more on genuine content. It's important for everyone to understand the need of it. With the rising need of content now the major thing that is looked upon is quality. Just any content will never attract readers rather content that touches the nerves and builds thrill while reading can keep people interested. Knowing that today's content builders are using new and more innovative techniques to bring more interesting pieces for us. This is the reason we can see a lot more analytical and well designed graphical content with lot more advanced videos. One more part that is Paid Marketing also needs good and technically sound images and videos.
Social Media Marketing
You are wrong if you assume that social media is all about posting selfies and videos of pets doing some tricks. A large number of people treat social media as an official search guide helping them find and discover more about a particular brand before they establish a connection with it. Statistics show that 47 percent of Internet users are on Facebook and an incredible 88 percent of the products purchased are Pinterest pinned. Pointing to the massive growth of social media as an online marketing tool and how marketers can efficiently tap it for commercial gain.
It is though important to remember that sharing regular posts on your Facebook and Twitter account is not going to do the trick. For the desired result, it is imperative for marketers to embed social elements into every aspect of their marketing. The more engaging and informative the content, the more is its likelihood of being shared and commented on social media platforms. If a person likes your content and shares bit, he is also going to turn into your loyal customer. The icing on the cake, of course, is that such people will also invite their friends to try out your products and services.
Close to 70 percent of United States adults have made purchases influenced by a company’s email. Our beloved email has been at the helm of business for the past two decades, but this trend, for now, will continue in the future despite all the hullaballoo associated with other mediums of communication. Email still retains its number one position as the easiest and most efficient way of direct communication. There is a simple logic behind the popularity of this critical media. People are very attached to their mail, and they keep checking their smartphones or computers for the arrival of any new mail. Expert digital marketers adopt at devising successful marketing strategies know very well that just any email will not do. Successful email campaigns need to be informative, relevant, engaging and appropriate to the purpose. An email marketing campaign efficiently fulfilling the below five mentioned criterions is going to serve your purpose well.• Trustworthy—People are not going to pay attention to any email they believe has not originated from a reliable source.• Relevant— when I am looking to buy a new phone, I probably will not be paying much attention to an email informing me about the best quality dog food the company manufactures.• Conversational- the mail should seek to start a conversation by arousing the receiver’s curiosity• Strategic—the mail should be strategically focused to achieve its objectives• Coordinated well with other communication channels and medium
Pew Research shows that over 40 percent of the people in the United States sleep with their smartphones close to them so that they do not miss out on anything important. Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives and any marketer ignoring this critical mean of personal communication would be doing so at his peril. You will be hard pressed to mention a time of the day when you do not have your mobile with you. They stay in our pocket, sit next to our working next and even remain close to us when we go to sleep. From videos, messages to in-app advertising, there are different ways in which you can take the help of this important communication medium to convey your messages efficiently.The research clearly shows that there 35 percent of the respondents their digital marketing strategy apparently integrated into their overall marketing strategy. Fewer than half of the businesses said that digital marketing is still not an integral part of their overall marketing strategy. This number though much less than what it was a few years back, still suggests that many organisations are conducting businesses with no sound digital strategy in place.
Lack of coordination in your digital marketing communication strategy will lead to all your efforts going waste. With so many channels of digital marketing available, you need a tool that allows you to align all your digital marketing together closely. The absence of a cohesive and coherent marketing strategy will make your entire campaign look like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle with a crucial piece missing. Marketing automation software helps streamline and automate entire marketing tasks and workflows so that you remain acutely aware of the impact your digital marketing mix is generating. Above all, it measures the return on investment (ROI) in real time allowing the organisations to keep a close tab on the results their marketing and promotional efforts are producing.Important reasons you need a cohesive and well-connected digital marketing strategyWhere should you start if you wish to develop a coherent, coordinated and efficient digital strategy? Experts believe it is not that a complicated process as it is initially made out to be, but still the majority of marketers and organisations find the entire process bewildering.
Digital strategy—how you need to develop one?
The first and foremost requirement for mapping your digital strategy is to work against a pre-defined benchmark. You know where you are now, but need to have a crystal clear idea of where you need to be in future. A digital media marketing without a clear strategy is still commonplace. You are likely to come across many different organisations that are using digital media to advance their cause despite the lack of a crystal-clear strategy. Many of them are successful without a strategy does not mean that a well-defined strategy is not a necessity. On the contrary, an organisation not making practical use of it may be missing out on other profitable opportunities which could further add to their competitiveness and profit.
Few important reasons for you to have a digital channel strategy
You are without a purpose
Many organisations with a clear-cut digital marketing strategy also do not have clear strategic goals. Lack of preset goals and objectives often leaves them directionless when it comes to achieving more online whether regarding gaining new customers or building better relationships with the older ones. The absence of goals means you are unlikely to make a conscious effort to reach these aims or employ analytics to measure how successful you have been in achieving your goals.
Others will gain at your expense
A highly globalised and connected marketplace offers new opportunities and threats. If you are not serious about your digital marketing strategy, the chances are that your laidback attitude will cost you dearly as you will most likely lose your market share to your competitors and new start-ups. So, Analysis of business to your website play's a great role in changing the business. It improves the ROI and makes you more competitive and focused in achieving the target.
Knowing the customers
It is important to connect with your present and potential customers at the emotional level. It will generate consumer loyalty, and your clients will stay with you for a long time. Some tools like Google Analytics can help you measure the volume of its customers. You need other tools and feedback forums to comprehend the needs and requirements of your customers better so that you can efficiently fulfil them. With that content that solves their query and bring solution in every day life.
online value proposition
A structured, streamlined and well-defined online customer value proposition can act as a powerful differentiator helping your online service stand out from your peers. Better service eventually translates into more consumer loyalty and more profit.
It is often seen, especially in the larger companies where there are many organisations and branches. It leads to wastage of precious resources as different parts of the marketing team utilise different tools and strategies to achieve the same marketing objective.
Importance of digital marketing
The world is in a constant stage of technological flux. It is the era of smartphones, super fast internet, 3D gaming and Facebook. Digital marketing and social media platforms have completely changed the way we do business. Any business which lags behind in embracing the digital medium to advance its cause is in a danger of losing out to its competitors. Keeping this important point, we present below few of the first benefits and advantages of digital marketing.
Level playing field
The digital revolution has more or less levelled the playing field for organisations where small firms can compete with equal vigour with their larger counterparts. The starting cost of online marketing is only a fraction of the thousands of dollars you had to spend on traditional advertising channels such as Yellow Pages, radio, television, newspapers, etc. A small firm with limited resources can easily challenge the might of big corporations through an appropriate and well-structured online marketing strategy. In the traditional way of commercialization, a smaller company can struggle to match the finesse of the fixtures and fittings of its larger competitors. It is not the case online as a well-designed and structured site which offers pleasant customer experience, and fantastic service is the real king.
What happens when you place your ad in TV or newspapers? First and foremost you are required to pay this traditional medium of advertisements a large sum of money without having anything to know what impact your ads are creating on your target audience. With online marketing, you can clearly see in real time what strategies are working and what are failing to leave an impact. Armed with a detailed report, you can quickly change your strategies to improve your ROI. These measures help in regulating the business and different aspects of it. We know detail analysis is very helpful for every business to know and understand the risk, growth and other areas of it, here, digital marketing analysis also plays an important role to improve the functions of the organisation. It enhances the scope while achieving the success.
Online marketing needs less expenditure than traditional mediums of advertising like televisions and newspapers. You can get a much better result at a fraction of the cost of what you have to bear in traditional forms of advertising. Reducing expenses and increasing profit benefited most of the business houses in bringing optimum result and output from the company. The same has to be built through years and rather than general cost cutting which deprives the business of many vital functions digital marketing processes has the power to bring that without any effect. It were certainly cost friendly but applied without proper digital skills can be fatal and bring huge loss as well. So, hiring the right professional is imperative. He no only reduces cost, keeps things tidy but also coordinates among staffs.
In the crowded world of WWW, you need something extra to draw and hold the attention of your target audience. Apart from the word-of-mouth publicity and maybe your personal relationship, nothing builds your brand better than a high-quality website. A well-structured and easy to navigate website with regularly updated content shows how fast your business is growing, and how you are fully capable of delivering full value to your client. After years of work to develop the brands to a level it is seen that brands are very sensitive to many changes and people who use it are very sensitive to all those changes happening in the brand they use. So, social media to search engine if we can build a steady and reliable brand presence the growth and ROI can be maintained with growing use of digital marketing.
Challenges of Digital Marketing
Traffics and Leads
First and foremost marketers are at a loss as to from where they are going to generate enough demand for their product. Digital channels are relatively cheaper than traditional medium, making them within reach of even small businesses. It intensifies competition as the barrier to entry is very less.
The digital world is growing precipitously, and so are online threats. Any breach of security can severely damage an organisation’s credibility and its brand value. Also, with the plethora of social platforms available, digital marketers often fail to comprehend where they need the security and improving them is needed.
Huge quantity of data
There is a humongous volume of data related to a customer’s behaviour, likes and dislikes, spending propensity, purchasing pattern, etc. It’s tough to access all data, as well rummage through the humongous amount to find what will serve your organisation’s cause well.
Hiring the right talent
It may not be a new challenge, but is certainly the one that keeps plaguing digital marketers. Human resource is one of the biggest sources of a company’s competitive advantage and organisations the world over continue to grapple with the challenges of hiring, training and retaining the right people.