16 simple ways to become better at Digital Marketing in 2016


16 simple ways to get better at Digital Marketing in 2016 by Prateek Shah Founder Digital Defynd

Nothing in digital marketing is simple, the title is well just to make you click and read on.

There’s almost nothing that changes as fast as the digital industry. New ideas, new technologies, new companies, they all make changes happen drastically. Users want something today, and something completely different the day after. While there is no one sure shot way of being sure about what the future holds in store, one can always look back, connect the dots, witness what is currently happening and plan for the future.

Presenting what I think are some ways in which you can plan well for 2016, some thoughts and perspectives which can help you shape your digital marketing strategies better for the year that lies ahead. Here are ’16 simple ways to become better at Digital Marketing in 2016′ –

1. Never forget the 3Cs

The 3Cs of digital marketing are these 3 pillars, 3 commandments, 3 rules which you should never break. The sad reality is that most brand managers and digital marketers tend to make the usual mistakes of not abiding by these 3 Cs, and as a result, most campaigns suffer.

a. Content

..is king they say, and they are right. But just to clarify, content doesn’t just mean what we write, it is about the very thought that goes into creating something valuable. Write well, produce well, but most importantly think well on the drawing board to make sure somebody finds your ‘content’ worthy of ‘consumption’

b. Creativity

Creativity doesn’t mean Photoshop, or that video editing software, or Canva for that matter. Creativity is the creation of something interesting, something enticing, something that makes people come towards it, something that draws attention. Be creative at the very core of what you do, right from the time you think of that product.

c. Common Sense

Now it’s one thing to have great content and be innovative, but another to go overboard. Don’t let creativity and content get the better of you, and make sure your ideas do end up catering to the very people they are meant for in the first place. Make things simple for the user they are intended for. People don’t want to see the best creativity and content, they just want something they can understand and relate to, try and give them that.

3cs of Digital Marketing Creativity Content and Common Sense Creativity Content and Common Sense
2. Research before you begin

Digital marketing gives us the power that traditional marketing never could, the power of instant search and research. No matter if it is a campaign in Africa or a video that is doing really well in Australia, you can watch it all, and find it all on the internet. If only we would start investing 10% of our marketing efforts in doing due research, analysing existing case studies, studying different models, our ROI of all sorts would naturally improve. Research before you invest, and the returns will surely be better.

3. Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket

2013-2015 practically belonged to social media, but there seems to be a shift already. Brands are realising they facebook can’t just be their entire digital marketing strategy. Digital Marketing needs to go beyond social, and needs to mean much more than just facebook and twitter. Go back to SEO, invest in email marketing, try indulging in good old blogging and essentially keep trying.

(Recommended read : Its time to start migrating from the city of facebook )

4. Digital Marketing is not free. You need to start spending money.

One big problem with many people’s perception towards digital is that they hope and expect it to be affordable if not outright free. Yes, there are stories of people having made it big online simply with brilliant content, but those examples are few and far between. If you really want your brand to do well, you need to get serious about spending some serious money in 2016.


5. Build something concrete

So you have a facebook page, and a twitter handle, maybe even a LinkedIn or an instagram account. But do you have something concrete that actually supports all this? Is there something sturdy where you try to redirect all this traffic to? Is your website up to date and responsive? The problem is we have got so consumed by the fluff, that we have almost forgotten to concentrate on that which is concrete. Let us go back to building rich and beautiful websites whose content gets discovered and shared on its own.

You might be interested in reading Stop building facebook pages, start building websites instead


6. Learn. Even if you outsource.

The thing with digital marketing is that it keeps evolving practically every day. Now no matter who takes care of your digital marketing, you need to remember that digital marketing is so vast that nobody can truly know everything. In such a scenario, it becomes important for you as an important stakeholder to try and stay up to date, and know what the industry is up to. One great way to do that of course is to keep coming back to Digital Defynd : )

You may want to check out this podcast on the present State of Digital Marketing Education in India


7. Define what you want to measure. Stop shooting in the dark.

So a lot of people invest in campaigns and then complain that they didn’t work. Whether or not something will work entirely depends upon how you define success. Before you go on to investing any time money or other resources on a campaign, define what you want to get out of it. Branding/Leads/WalkIns or Sales? A campaign without an objective is much like a football match without a goal.

8. Analyse. As much as you can.

Many a times, simple analysis of where your customers are coming from, what are they clicking on, why are they no visiting a page can be enough to help you optimise your campaigns better and earn better ROI. Just start analysing. And if you are the kinds who get scared by Google Analytics, try installing something simpler on your WordPress Website (like Jetpack Stats), or try shortening your URLs using bitly.com and then track different clicks on different sources, or use native analytics for different platforms to try and find out how your campaigns are doing individually on each platform. No matter how little or how much you do, you need to analyse. Start small, and keep enhancing your efforts.

9. Think visual. Think video.

Facebook is hell bent on becoming a strong YouTube competitor, Vines and Periscopes are already generating buzz, 3G has moved to 4G and smart phones are becoming smarter. No matter where you look, video creation and consumption is rising. Needless to say, you need to start investing your energy in video as well.

Do read 9 Content Marketing Trends that will dominate 2016


10. Capture data. Capture email ids.

Subscribers through followers on social networking sites, remarketing data through pixels, email ids through data capturing forms. Capture everything, capture it all. You have facebook fans, but no reach, you have email ids, but nobody opens the emails you send, you have remarketing data, but nobody gets converted into a customer. In such a scenario, it becomes important to capture everything everywhere because you don’t know what will turn out to be useful tomorrow.

More specifically, email ids are set to play a major role in the times ahead, because in addition to email marketing becoming more relevant, you can use email ids to target customers on facebook and Google. Who knows maybe LinkedIn throws a surprise in the time to come too, and we get to target customers on LinkedIn through email ids!

11. Write for people and not for brands or search engines

I read this at so many places that I thought of including it here as well. Our website, DigitalDefynd is a few months old when this is being written. While many a people recommend and suggest to do in depth keyword analysis before writing every article, we don’t do it. While part of the reason for that is that we are lazy, the other reason is that if certain keywords or key phrases don’t let my content feel fresh, interesting or exciting to read, then what is the point of writing it in the first place?

inshorts, the news app is doing well thanks to its short news format.
inshorts, the news app is doing well thanks to its short news format.

Yes search traffic matters, but over time Google is becoming more human. As it becomes more human, it will start

reading articles as a human reads articles and not keep worrying or wondering about keywords and key phrases and length and back links and so on. If a news app like InShorts (News In Shorts) does so well, it is because of the reason that people don’t like reading too much these days. We are in fact a headline reading generation, if people click and actually read, then you are mighty successful already. So while there is definite merit in writing as per SEO guidelines, I personally feel SEO is only set to become more human, and what better than catering to the future with your content right now.

12. Invest in mobile. Start with a responsive website

Flipkart Lite was launched after much hullabaloo about Flipkart going app only
Flipkart Lite was launched after much hullabaloo about Flipkart going app only

Apps were the talk of the town all through 2015. What famously started by Myntra going app only and Flipkart announcing that it is following suit ended in Flipkart backtracking from their stance (with the launch of Flipkart Lite) and last heard, Myntra is also slowly going back to the mobile website version. Apps are great, but they aren’t the only answer. People don’t need your app if they don’t need it at least once a week if not everyday. Ask yourself honestly if people will want to check out your app every week, and if the answer is no, then better can that idea of creating an app and create a beautiful responsive website instead, one whose updates don’t need to be downloaded every now and then, one that doesn’t take up too much space on somebody’s phone and one that doesn’t feel too intrusive for people.

13. Don’t ignore the new platforms. Don’t try to be on every platform.

This is one big challenge actually. Every now and then I hear a query, “So what should we do on Snapchat?”. The answer simply lies in the fact that is your target audience on the relevant platform? You may want to target LinkedIn or YouTube or Whatsapp(Check out this Liquor Ticker campaign on Whatsapp) or some other platform based on where you think your audience exists. Don’t refer to random researches that suggest that a random platform is rising in popularity and therefore you invest on it, try to instead see how your audience is behaving and in which direction are they moving. Look globally, localise that information and then act. What works in America doesn’t necessarily have to work in India.

Suggested read : Here’s why everybody is going crazy about Snapchat

14. Partner. Collaborate.

Nestle Maggi Noodles Snapdeal Digital Comeback
When Maggi tied up with Snapdeal

There is only as much one can do alone. While companies are getting acquired left right and centre, another important trend is partnerships. Not like its a new concept, but you can go a long way digitally if you partner with people, with brands, with online properties. Our website for that matter is a great example itself. While individual blogs of professionals may or may not reach out to many people, this collective power of everybody coming together is helping amplify the thoughts, messages and conversations to a far wider audience. Sometimes, a simple partnership is the very ‘Growth Hack’ that can take you places.

You must check out how Maggi tied up with Snapdeal for a marketing coup of sorts

15. There are no miracles. There is no secret. Pure hard work.

Like I personally love to say Peeche Pad Jaao“. Miracles happen every now and then in marketing, but to build and sustain campaigns over a long term, you really need to invest all your energy in demystifying the various mediums, demystifying your audience, demystifying patterns and constantly learning while you do all that.

I am a trainer myself and I can tell you training is very crucial to help you grow, but if you don’t inculcate the habit of learning things through and through, then beyond a point you will never grow. We are all trying to climb this mountain of digital marketing, and one great way to do it is to work hard in the beginning, work together, so that the more experienced you become at working hard with time, the easier your journey will become.

16. Stop Marketing

Like seriously, why don’t we stop selling under the guise of marketing. Sell when you sell, but please stick to marketing when you do the latter. Nobody likes people to be in their face anymore, and the same applies to marketing. Let us respect people’s space and privacy, and start telling instead of selling. And if you want to get better at the art of marketing without marketing, pick up a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to win Friends and Influence People.

That will be all from my side, wish you the best with all your marketing efforts in 2016! Chak de Fatte!

You can also check out the webinar version of these 16 simple ways that I conducted for LeadSquared –

This article is part of the #2016defynd series where we have experts from the industry talk about what digital marketers need to do to keep up with Digital Marketing in 2016. You can check out the entire series here.

Startup StayUncle just sent the coolest email of the year!

StayUncle Logo

Wow! Wow! Wow! EMail Marketing works. Here is how.

Its 2 am in the night as I write it, but I couldn’t help but post this right now. Saw this mail in the inbox captioned ‘I am on the way to build a million dollars company and I will tell you how’ and the text read “Hi Prateek, We are connected on LinkedIn :)” Now while that got me reading, it is only some minutes into the mail that I realised it was an automated mail sent via MailChimp sent so effctively that you can’t help but read it all the way through.

So I wouldn’t keep you from it, and would easily call this the coolest mail I’ve received this year. EMail Marketing professionals, that’s how you do it.

Mail reads –

Hi Prateek

We are connected on LinkedIn :)

A quick 3-minutes update seconds update over what has been going on with me lately.

If you read this till the end there will be small surprise waiting for you there.

I wrote to you last somewhere in February. I was getting ready to launch my first startup – www.stayuncle.com

I was a rookie at that time and needless to say the launching was a complete fiasco.

My own mother laughed at me. When will you realize you have no future in this poor country – she said.

She was at hospital at the time recovering from clinical depression. She keps blaming me for that.

We re-launched a month later. Noting better.

Around April we started seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

We were no longer doing one booking per decade. Transaction started happening daily. Well, OK every second day.

On May we got Ajay Naqvi aka Big Daddy to invest in StayUncle. He lives in Romania. His wife is really hot. and I kept her as my desktop background for a while. Please don’t tell him I said this.

That same month we moved into newer better flat at Hauz Khaz.

We bid farewell to Sanchit’s old bedroom. 

There was only one chair one table and a wooden bed. I used to sleep on it while Sanchit slept on the ground. Just one week before we got the money in our bank account, the chair collapsed.

May was a great month also because we got Nandi our CTO formerly working with General Electric. Sometimes he shaves his head for no reason. His mother is very cute. He keeps a Gurka (old Nepali military knife) in his locker, so please don’t tell him I said this.

Tough times returned during June and July.

I was absent from India and the core team was split. I am very bad at maintaining distant communication via Skype and stuff. Don’t ask where I was.

On August I was back triumphantly. We discussed the possible directionStayUncle would take on the basis the new learning we got.

We noticed that our most common customers are young unmarried couples looking for space to hang out privately.

I don’t know how much you know about India but this is a major issue here. Hotels refuse to let unmarried couples in because of cultural orthodoxies and fear of police raids.

That was THE moment

We decided to revamp StayUncle into India’s first online hotel booking portal which lets unmarried couples book a hotel for 10 hours and pay only for 10 hours.

Initially not much changed.

When you start running out of money your brain gets into power mode and the primeval instinct takes over. You lose the common code of civilized behavior. You start making sounds..


We weren’t radical enough. We had to turn fluid and re-invent ourselves in a way we could have never imagined.

We started selling neem sticks for 50 Rupees.

We started giving massages to boys all across Delhi.

We started selling tea on the street.

We evolved. New ideas started colliding deep inside us.
The guerrilla campaigns we started running made some people run after us and others full of gaze. Here is a preview of it

We were flooded with comments and plenty of critique.

They said in future you guys are going to face troubles from India’s moral brigade, Shiv Sena (a terrorist group) and perhaps even the police.

We say thanks and we leave. We could not afford to spend too much time around well-intentioned talkers.

We chose to hang around doers instead.

The team got bigger too.

We hired Tanmay from a dying startup. He almost started a fight once because a guy said something about his sister. (trust me she’s ugly).

Then Rajan came straight from his father’s threading factory. He has the funniest laughter you will ever hear.

In October we got Shravan, the brother of Ravan the demon with 10 heads and we daily enjoy his gambling stories from his past times in London. He used to sell SIM cards on the street at that time.

I don’t know if we are a dream team.

I do know that we managed to build something unique, a special maybe slightly dysfunctional family.

A family that sticks sticks together and get chased by the police.

A bunch of great people that must hide from their parents about what exactly they are doing (promoting pre-marital sex in India), else they’ll never get married.

How do I know that?

Recently I told them that we are likely going to be out of funds after two months and unless we nail it we are as good as dead. Therefore if someone is willing to abandon the boat in advance, and seek for greener pastures there will be no hard feelings.

All of them remained.

That makes it a dream team right?

The game is on and is getting hotter by the hour.

Media is buzzing about the unusual gang of boys holding posters around Central Delhi which say – Couples need a room, not a judgement.

They seem to be alone against the world.

They get a lot of high-fives too. The ultimate satisfaction comes when a person comes to them and says – I am your client guys. Keep up the good work. Entire India needs this. Your market is huge.
We get excited when we hear that. We like huge things :D

Yesterday we got the information that the community is nominating StayUncleas a startup of the year. I made a public promise that if we win the award, I will dress a saree and walk around Delhi for entire day. Cast your vote here.

I guess I can stop now, unless you have specific questions to ask me.

Here is the surprised I announced.

I have this weird habit of sending people a list of 10 ideas that could solve a particular challenge they are facing – business or professional.

Feel free to reply back with your challenge and you can rent my brain to you for a while.

Till we talk again Prateek.

Blaze @stayuncle

Copyright © 2015 Stayuncle, All rights reserved.
Hi. A quick 3-minute update from me. We are connected on LinkedIn :)Our mailing address is:


Gurgaon sub city

And if you are still wondering, you can download all your contacts from LinkedIn, and Mailchimp and most other ESPs (EMail Service Providers) allow you to use substitution tags to personalise emails. All I can say is Good Job you guys! And I am waiting for you for just writing this mail!