Do you want to become a successful digital marketer?
Do you have a proper understanding of digital marketing fundamentals?
Are you struggling to get clarity on what marketing actually is?
Do you know how to stand apart in this world full of digital marketing campaigns?
Do you want to create a personal brand?
If you have answered YES to any of the above questions, or all for that matter, this article is definitely for you!
I have accumulated all the required concepts with the best possible examples to help you get started with digital marketing. However, I would recommend you to research more on each topic once you get a basic understanding of the things here. You can reach out to me about anything related to digital marketing in the comments. Excited to have a chat with you.
In this article we will cover the following topics in depth:
- Digital Marketing
- Integrated Digital Marketing
- CATT Marketing Funnel
- Personal Branding
So let’s get started!
What is Marketing?
Before beginning with Digital Marketing, it is very crucial to understand Marketing properly, as Digital Marketing is just a type of Marketing.
Marketing is all about sales and advertisements!
Do you agree with the above line?
If YES, congratulations. You are among the 90% people who don’t actually know what marketing is all about!
But, you need not to worry anymore. Once you read this article carefully, you will understand what the majority of the world has failed to.
Marketing is not just rolling out ads and selling the product or service, but it actually starts even before the development of the product or service.
Marketing is the process of getting customers who are interested in a product or service. It involves customer research, product development, branding, product distribution, sales, advertisements, feedback, and many more things.
The aim of marketing is to understand the customers, maintain a continuous relationship with them, and come up with a product/service fitting so well with the needs of the customers that it sells itself.
Now, you must be thinking how can you understand your customers so well?
Well, it’s not rocket science!
How do you get to know someone you just met?
By asking questions, right?
Similarly, marketing starts by asking the consumers who they are, what they want, and what they care about. Marketing starts with a question. Unless you talk to your potential customers and understand their needs precisely, you cannot possibly come up with a product or service that perfectly fit their needs.
Once you have the required product/service, marketing helps in building a brand and bringing in customers who will eventually make the purchase.
With that being said, you must be wondering what exactly is a brand?
It is a perception that exists in the mind of the consumers about your company. It is a feeling or sentiment that develops as a result of all the interactions with the company. Advertisements can surely increase your brand awareness, but the customer experience builds trust which actually changes the perception of a brand in the mind of customers.
Ok, so is Sales the same thing?
Sales is an essential part of Marketing, but they both are not the same thing. Sales focuses on just converting the leads into customers. They do not have a say in the product development, and their role is to sell what has been made.
Once we get the attention of potential customers and build a trust with them, the sales team takes over and looks after the process of selling to those people.
Now, you know your answer next time some asks you:
What the heck is marketing all about?
Let’s bust a few marketing myths!
- Marketing is completely based on creativity.
Many people believe that marketing entirely depends on how creatively you create the ads, content, and other things in order to attract the attention of customers.
However, marketing is actually based on science. It is rooted in the human psychology and understanding the market. In fact, the basic laws of marketing have not changed since the dawn of human civilization.
- Marketing can be completely outsourced to a marketing agency.
It is a process that starts before the product development and continues for the entire lifetime of a company. It clearly is not something that can entirely be outsourced to a marketing agency. The founding team of the company should have a good marketing knowledge to understand and connect with the customers well. Although, certain parts like social media marketing, paid advertising, etc can be outsourced.
- Marketing is more important than the product.
Marketing is a game of perceptions. However, product is the reality. Marketing should never be more important than the product itself. A bad product may get a lot of customers due to marketing, but eventually all the customers will be gone. However, a good product sells itself and does not require forced marketing. Word of mouth marketing plays a major role for a good product as the customers become the brand ambassadors.
Sometimes, marketing can even backfire if the product is not up to the mark. Let us understand this through the example of a very popular edu-tech company: Whitehat Jr., which teaches coding to kids.
You all must have came across various ads by Whitehat Jr. making misleading claims on social media. One of the ads showed a 7-year-old girl as a TEDx speaker and making thousands of dollars. These over promising ads along with multiple cases of bad customer experiences brought the company into a very negative limelight. Many complaints were also filed against the company which had a major affect on the brand’s image and caused a huge loss to the company.
Now let’s see how a marketing plan is made?
In 1960, Jerome McCarthy proposed the 4 P’s of Marketing as the foundational elements for any marketing plan. Let us understand them briefly.
- Product: It focuses on what the product/service offers and how it is different from your competitors.
- Price: It refers to the cost of your product/service.
- Place: It refers to the place where the product/service can be purchased.
- Promotion: It covers the marketing methods to make people aware of your product/service.
Do you think the 4 P’s technique is sufficient to meet the expectations of customers in today’s era?
In the current times, the marketing landscape has changed a lot which is majorly due to the mass adoption of the Internet. The 4P’s technique is no longer sufficient for digital marketing as the customers expect more from the new-age companies. They are not just interested in what the product offers, its price, and where they can buy it. But, they are also interested in knowing things like how will it be beneficial to them.
To better fit in this digital era, the 4 P’s have been modified in order to come up with the SAVE Framework which broadens the focus on the customer needs. Here’s how it takes each of the 4 P’s to the next level:
- Product becomes Solution: Customers are not interested to know the various features of your product unnecessarily. So, instead of bombarding them with details about your product, it focuses more on how the product is useful for the customer in solving their problems.
- Place becomes Access: The physical place for buying the product hardly matters. With everything moving online, it is very essential that customers can easily access the product on the internet. The company needs to be present online at different platforms using social media, email marketing, etc.
- Price becomes Value: Although cost of the product/service is important, more focus should be put on what value it is providing to the customer. If the value provided is good, the price becomes quite insignificant.
- Promotion becomes Education: Gone are the days when people buy things through advertisements directly. Nowadays, brand engagement and building trust are very important. So, first the consumers should be educated on the related topics forming trust, and then only the product/service should be promoted.
Alright, understanding the basics of marketing was indeed a long journey, but if you are with me till this point, you would have completely understood the marketing fundamentals.
Now, let’s dive deeper into the concepts of Digital Marketing.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing is simply the use of online tools and platforms for marketing purposes. These can include social media, blogs, webinars, emails, paid online ads, and many more.
India alone had around 700 million internet users in 2020 which is expected to grow to 970 million by 2025 according to a research by Statista.
This shows the potential of Digital Marketing and the impact it can create in the future is increasing exponentially.
Why to use Digital Marketing?
- Better Targeting: With Digital marketing, you can target a specific set of audience not only based on their location, gender, or other basic details, but also on the basis of things like their online activity, interests, patterns, etc.
- Instant Feedback: It provides a means to get instant feedback of the customers through likes and comments. This helps us in understanding customers’ reactions and improvise the campaigns accordingly. However, it’s not possible in case of traditional methods like TV ads.
- Easy Analysis: Using the various online tools available to analyze and measure the parameters of a digital campaign, it is very easy to optimize and target your efforts. It includes measuring the impressions, conversions, etc from different channels used.
- Two-Way Process: Digital Marketing allows brands to easily form relations and connections with the customers, building trust with them. This is possible as digital marketing has made it easier for brands to communicate and understand the customers.
- Cost Efficient: It is easy for small brands and individuals to opt digital marketing even with very less budget. Traditional Marketing like TV and Billboard ads generally costs a fortune.
Great. So are you ready to throw off the traditional marketing methods?
Traditional Marketing is as important as Digital Marketing, and each has its pros and cons. Also, it is not necessary for everyone to use Digital Marketing. Some local businesses can even work perfectly by using traditional marketing only.
Okay, but what is Traditional Marketing?
Traditional marketing consists of those channels which do not include the digital channels or the use of internet. Some of these are:
- Broadcast (TV, Radio)
- Print Media (Newspapers, Magazines)
- Outdoor (Billboards, Fliers)
- Events (Conferences, Meetups, Webinars)
- Guerilla Campaigns(Unusual, Creative Marketing Campaigns)
Traditional marketing is generally used to create a brand awareness among masses. Things like ads in TV, Radio, Newspaper, Billboard, etc have become very common and they have tremendous reach.
If we have a general product with a very wide targeting, traditional marketing provides the best medium for reaching millions.
For example: Traditional Marketing is very apt for brands like Hindustan Unilever, which have products including foods, beverages, cleaning agents, personal care, water purifiers and other fast-moving consumer goods. These goods generally cater to all people with the buying capacity and does not need any specific targeting.
However, traditional marketing methods lack in having customer engagement, quick feedback, proper analysis, targeting specific audience, and other things that Digital Marketing provides.
To give you a context of its reach, India has TVs in around 200 million homes reaching close to 1 billion people. Newspapers have a reach of 470 million people. (Source: Wikipedia)
On the other hand, Digital Marketing has a reach of around 100 million people in India. (Source: Wikipedia)
Generally, it is not wise to entirely depend on digital or traditional marketing while making a marketing strategy, but rely on a mix of both.
Unlocking the Giant: Integrated Digital Marketing
By now, you must have understood that Digital Marketing is a huge field with multiple methods like content marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and many more.
Also, if you see around, the world right now is filled with multiple advertising and marketing campaigns, all trying to grab the customers’ attention.
So how can you stand apart from the noise and get the desired results?
Before understanding the right strategy, let us have a look at some of the major digital marketing methods.
- Search Engine Optimization:
SEO is the process of bringing in organic/free traffic to your website by improving the ranking of the website in the search engine result pages.
In order to improve the ranking, a search engine looks at numerous parameters like quality and relevance of the content, loading speed of the website, and many more. Although it does not bring in immediate results, but it is very important for long term results.
- Search Engine Marketing:
As opposed to SEO, which focuses on long term results, SEM brings in immediate traffic through search engines. It is based on a PPC (Pay Per Click) approach, wherein you have to pay the publisher based on the number of clicks on your ad. Such ads can be seen at the top of the search engine results page.
However, because of a high level competition for good keywords, the prices have even gone up to $30 per click for some popular keywords. This method, although seemed very lucrative at first, is not ideal for small brands with limited budget.
- Content Marketing:
Content Marketing is at the center of any integrated digital marketing strategy, with other methods supporting it. It refers to building, publishing, and marketing quality content that the customers want. The content can be in any form including blogs, vlogs, podcasts, e-books, memes, etc.
No one buys anything by just seeing some ads, but it requires a certain level of trust on the brand. Content Marketing helps in engaging the prospects, building trust with them, and educating them about the industry. This eventually leads to a natural sale.
- Email Marketing:
Email Marketing is a way to share useful information about your offerings and have a one-on-one conversation with the customers. Initially, brands used it to just broadcast marketing messages and it worked well.
However, nowadays, people have started to ignore and unsubscribe to such marketing messages which are not useful to them. So, it is very important to mix the marketing messages with useful information properly. Being done right, it is one of the most effective way to communicate with the customers on a personal level.
- Social Media Marketing:
Social Media Marketing is like talking to a group of people at once on various platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. People use social media for sharing and discovery, making it the perfect place to spread a word for your brand.
Sharing relevant and useful content on social media platforms helps in building a community and bringing in leads. It is also very effective in getting quick feedback from the community.
- Digital Display Marketing:
These are ads which find their place in between pieces of content like blogs, YouTube videos, etc. They are meant to interrupt the users and hence are less effective than the search engine ads which are displayed to people who are looking for relevant offerings.
With time, people have developed a sense of ignorance for such ads and have found many ways to get rid of them. These can be used, but only to a limited extent, so that they do not irritate the users and create a bad impression.
Now, each method is very vast in itself and it is quite difficult to master all of these.
But, it is also not important to do so.
By combining the different methods together to form an integrated digital marketing strategy, you can optimize and get the best results.
Integrated Digital Marketing is the way to bring together all the digital marketing methods such that they compliment each other and provide a unique customer experience.
Each method has a unique role to play in an integrated digital marketing campaign.
Let us have a look at it.
- Search Engine:
Search engines help potential customers to find your content and offerings, when they are looking for it. SEO is a very powerful method, which will eventually bring in customers who will start engaging with your brand through the quality content you published.
Quality content drives traffic, which can be easily converted into subscribers for social media and email marketing. Once people start engaging with your content and they find it useful, it is very common for them to share it with their peers on various social media channels. Also, educating your potential customers and building trust with them, eventually leads them to buying your products/services.
Emails are an effective channel to share links of the content that you have produced with your subscribers. Whenever a new piece of content is created, an email notification can be sent to all relevant subscribers, keeping them up to date. Also, some marketing messages are shared from time-to-time to bring sales using email marketing directly.
- Social Media:
It can be used to share good quality content with a like-minded community and redirect them to your content platforms like blogs, youtube channels, etc. Also, when any content is liked and shared by multiple people on social media channels, it sends a good signal to search engines while ranking different websites. This helps in better SEO of the pages whose backlinks are included in the shared content.
- Paid Ads:
Any form of paid ads including search engine ads, social media ads, display ads, etc helps in boosting the overall marketing process by driving large amounts of traffic. These can be aimed at bringing in more people to the content and social media pages, increasing email subscriptions, and many other things.
CATT Marketing Funnel
Do you know you can actually track the journey of the leads who are engaging with your brand?
Isn’t it exciting to even think of the possibilities that emerge with all that data?
Well, all of this is possible using a marketing funnel!
A marketing funnel is used to track the entire journey of a customer from the awareness stage to the purchase stage. It breaks the journey into measurable steps making it easy for you to analyze and improve each step to get a good conversion ratio.
Now, it makes sense to visualize the entire process using a funnel as the number of interested customers keeps on decreasing at every stage. Eventually, not all people who visit your website will reach till the end of the funnel and make the purchase.
Okay Yogesh, but can you be a bit more specific!!
Alright, let’s understand this using a very popular funnel: CATT Marketing Funnel.
It is based on the formula:
Wealth = n^CATT
n -> Niche
C -> Content
A -> Attention
T -> Trust
T -> Transaction
No need to worry just by looking at the formula. Believe me, it is the simplest thing you will ever encounter!
The first step is to find your niche, which refers to the product/service you will offer and the market you are targeting. It will act as the base for your building (career). The best way to find your niche is by a union of three things-
- Your Passion
- Your Talent
- Market Requirement
If your niche lacks any of the three things, it is very difficult for you to succeed, no matter how good marketing is done. Choosing the right niche, is half of the work.
The second step in the funnel is to create quality content relevant to your niche. It is very important to have some good content in the form of blogs, YouTube videos, podcasts, etc before you start focusing on driving traffic. As we have already discussed, content is the king in any digital marketing strategy, and it needs to be in place before moving any further.
Once you have a sufficient amount of quality content ready, it’s high time to bring it to people’s attention. You can now start promoting your content through social media marketing, search engine optimization, and various types of paid advertisements. The promotion campaigns will be specifically focused on your target audience.
It is the single most important factor for anyone who is making a purchase. People will not buy anything from you unless they trust you and trust cannot be developed just by looking at multiple advertisements. It develops after a certain level of customer engagement and good experience. Once you grab the attention of your potential customers, you have to win their trust through good quality content, regular engagements through emails and social media channels, etc.
Now that the customer knows and trusts you, they will not hesitate to purchase your products/services to fulfill their needs. You just have to cater the right things that they require and the sale will happen naturally without putting in much effort for selling. You can even sweeten the deal for them by giving out specific discounts.
Once you have paying customers who trust you, you can get into a new niche which resonates with the needs of your existing customers. They will become your brand ambassadors leading you to success in the new niche as well.
Start your Digital Marketing Career: Personal Branding
After absorbing so much knowledge, I am sure you must be really excited to take your first step and get started with Digital Marketing.
But how to start implementing things?
Why will someone hire an inexperienced person?
The answer to all your queries is: Build a Personal Brand.
You can start by making your own website and publishing quality content relevant to your niche.
Once you have enough content, start promoting it through social media, SEO, paid ads, etc.
Set up an entire integrated digital marketing strategy with everything in place.
Try to experiment with things, and see the results for yourself.
Doing this will help you learn things at an exponential pace and will also add a project to your portfolio, which you can flaunt.
But I am not still convinced that why should I build a personal brand?
The more people know about you, the more will be the opportunities coming your way.
Also, building a personal brand helps to connect with people on a deeper level. This is because a personal brand represents a person and not an organization, and it is easier for people to connect with someone real instead of a perception.
For example: Elon Musk has a bigger following than SpaceX or Tesla.
Once you establish a personal brand, it becomes very easy for you to build multiple companies and promote it using your personal brand.
Okay, so how can I build a personal brand?
Are there any steps to it?
The evolution of a personal brand takes some time and can be divided into six steps:
The first step is always to learn and understand the concepts of the domain in which you want to build your personal brand. Once you have understood the concepts, focus on practicing the procedures.
After learning, you need to put your newly found skills to test. Start implementing things in the real world based on what you have learned to get experience. This work can be a job, internship, freelance work, or personal project. For more information on freelance digital marketing, visit my blog here.
Now, you can blog about the things you have learned and experienced in your work. Blogging will not only help you to understand things better, but will also start building your personal brand.
Once you have learnt the fundamentals, sharpened them with your work experience, and started to build a brand through blogging, it’s high time for you to consult companies. You can start advising other brands instead of directly working for them.
Mentoring is something that will exponentially increase your understanding of things to the next level. Only when you start mentoring other people who look up to you, you perfect yourself into your ideal self.
After getting deep into the industry with a relevant understanding of the market and a good experience, you can start a business of your own and become an entrepreneur.
However, all the steps are not absolute in the order and instead they refer to a continuous process. For example: You can be mentoring people in SEO, while still learning Social Media Marketing and so on.
Digital Marketing is a vast ocean in itself with a huge potential to tap into the exponentially increasing internet using population. The world however, is already filled with numerous digital ads and marketing campaigns, and it is not easy to stand apart in the crowd. Although, it can be done by properly understanding and patiently implementing the correct techniques.
The best way to master digital marketing is by implementing things and learning while experimenting.
If you have carefully read the complete article, I would like to appreciate your will to learn. You have already taken the first step in becoming a successful digital marketer and understood the fundamentals to get started.
I would love to connect and know more about you. Feel free to share your feedback and queries in the comments. Looking forward to talking to you soon!