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.

Stop creating Facebook pages, Start building websites instead

 

Stop creating facebook pages start building websites Digital Marketing Digital Defynd

What a dumb thing to say, you might say. How can you compare a website with a facebook page, that’s like Apples and Oranges. But this is such an interesting and deep topic, that we need to begin from the beginning.

Around 6-7 years ago, the facebook bug bit everybody. It was this new cool looking platform that was much fancier than the likes of MySpace or Orkut. More importantly, its time had come. The internet was growing at a good pace, people were looking to ‘connect’ and facebook happened. We logged on and no one ever looked back.

Then brands got pages, Fans converted into Likes. Advertising opened up. Companies acquired thousands, millions of likes, whom they thought were subscribers, just like you have them in email. They were right then, they are wrong now. Facebook reach over time has decreased. It has decreased so badly that it is derogatory to use the term decrease to signify what has happened. There are brands with lakhs of fans, and the average reach for something they post is around a few thousand. That’s not even the 10% reach that a lot of people assume the reach to be. Organic reach is down, it’s practically dead. Brands get to make their content reach out to only 1-5% of their fans. That’s like saying, that if you spent Rs 5 at acquiring every fan and you now have 1,00,000 fans, then you have effectively spent around Rs 5,00,000 to reach out to around 5,000 people(considering reach to be 5%) with every post. That hurts.

While part of the blame lies with facebook, brands are to be blamed as well. Facebook kept asking brands to focus on engagement, discussion, community, but brands kept focusing on branding, sales and more sales. What most brands don’t understand is that facebook’s algorithm has over time penalized them heavily and made their reach become lower. But most brands haven’t paid heed to that and have found an easy alternative to keep themselves happy, Boost post(using which in itself is flawed, considering most people do it from the page itself, but more about that later).

So this is where we stand. You have either spent the money and don’t organically get to reach out to fans. Or you haven’t spent any money, don’t have any fans, and naturally don’t reach out to anybody. Either way, you are stuck. Facebook pages are still extremely helpful, relevant and perhaps the backbone of most organisations’ social media strategy, but if you put all your virtual eggs in the e-basket of facebook, then sooner or later, you are surely going to suffer. Move out, get out, and think afresh. Start from scratch in terms of understanding what can you do better, how can you engage fans, what do people like. Now while a lot of answers will come to your mind right from LinkedIn to twitter to Instagram(Do read 10 Instagram tips to make your campaign rock), one suggestion I’d personally like to make is building a website and making it grow. Might sound like the most boring idea in town, but there’s a logic behind it, so let me explain.

Social Media is easy.

You see what has happened over the past few years is that we have all got comfortable with easy. Social Media, primarily is easy, and that’s why everybody does it. Now the more people got used to easy, the more they forgot the basics. For instance, building a website. So let’s say, you did a wonderful campaign on facebook 2 years ago, and a fan of yours wants to access it. Can s/he do it easily? No, because social media doesn’t work that way. It’s more like Snapchat, things vanish after a point(They don’t really, but you get the point). A website on the other hand stores all information at one place and also allows Google to keep crawling and tracking it slowly. What you get after many months and years is a content repository that is not just relevant today, but will be useful tomorrow as well. You get a collection of posts and blogs that can be re-purposed, reused, re-promoted and more. The thing is, that if you slowly  build a website, then it can eventually do wonders for you. Your website is in your hands, you control it, you define the content, you find numerous ways to reach out to your fans. No third party controlling what happens to it, nobody determining where your subscribers go. If you carefully nurture it over time, then it grows in SEO, if you write great articles on it, then you get multiple people to share it too.

Despite those reasons why most people shy away from making one grow, is because a) They either don’t know how to build one b) A wordpress or any other blogging platform doesn’t look as easy to master. Only if we move over our inhibitions and work hard towards going back to making beautiful websites for brands, can we succeed in owning and becoming better at our online campaigns. What is more important is that a website enables us to track a lot of behavioral traits of a user, right from visiting patterns to using cookie tracking for retargeting or capturing email ids for custom targeting on facebook(soon enough on google) or the plain old email marketing, which if done well can work wonders for you.

So you do need a facebook page, you do need to build it too, the same way you need all other social media profiles too, but more importantly, you need a good strong website at the back end. Facebook pages will grow, virality will happen, reach will dwindle but over time facebook might as well give up on you. Your website, on the other hand, it stays with you; you can change it the way you want and get users to engage the way you like. Use facebook to reach out to people, invest in it to promote your brand, but don’t let facebook become the backbone of your entire online marketing campaign.

If you enjoyed reading this, you might also like reading Its time to migrate from the city of Facebook.

10 simple lessons from Kolaveri Di

The fact that Kolaveri Di has taken an entire country by storm is a fact that we all know. Here are few ‘lessons’ we all could learn from the same

 

 

1. Under promise, Over deliver – Calling it a ‘Flop Song’ reduces one’s expectations

2. Social Media is not = Facebook – Other sites, one of them by the name of YouTube can also be used to make powerful campaigns

3. If you are good, the campaign works – And if you are not, then no amount of marketing can help you

4. When many like, others follow – You need to wait till your campaign reaches the tipping point Even overnight success takes decades to happen

5. Social Media campaigns are global – Age no bar, language no bar, caste no bar Powerful campaigns can even bring North and South together

6. Online is not about babies and beautiful – Not so beautiful faces(only)Beautiful In the online space, if you are good, you are good If you are not, even angels can’t help you

7. Online TV is no more a hypothetical term – There is a 90% chance that you did not hear this song first on TV. (The rest 10% didn’t have an internet connection)

8. Social Media Success can make other media talk about you – First some cover you, then others join in, and finally rest wonder why they haven’t talked about you so far

9. Be certain about online medias uncertainty – They would have not known when recording the song as to how successful will it eventually become Nobody knows if you will do well on social media, but the only way to know it is to try

10. Simplicity wins – At the end, it’s a simple song that everybody can relate to, that’s exactly why it works. People’s lives are complex already, don’t over complicate them

And just in case you are one of those people who hasn’t even heard the song so far( what! like really?) , then here you go