Digital marketing is wide and quite deep, it has a lot of modules in it. And each module is an ocean in itself. It is almost impossible to become an expert in every module possible. Even for someone with over 10 years of experience, covering all the subjects looks a wasted effort.
I’ve just discovered my love for digital marketing not long ago, regardless I made a discovery many digital marketing experts out there have not figured out – integrated digital marketing. So I told myself, I should make a post showing exactly the model behind this blog. And the discovery I made was – it is most important to execute digital marketing in an integrated methodology, rather than build expertise in some of the digital marketing module.
Module such as Content Marketing, SEO, Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing is mighty and deep on its own, but when they are combined in a unique way, it’s power goes up exponentially. It creates a snowball effect that is unstoppable as well as unique.
Integrated Digital Marketing is the art of using all the Digital Marketing methods available today in such a manner that each digital marketing channel complements the other by contributing positively rather than trying to reach the goal of increasing revenues and customer base on its own. The investment of time, energy and resources in building an integrated digital marketing process for your business is like investing in a automated machinery which will magically multiply the effectiveness of each component in it.
Some of the common digital marketing methods are:
- Search Engine Marketing (PPC)
- Search Engine Optimization (Organic Traffic)
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Digital Display Marketing
- Content Marketing
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing SEM, is one of the most effective ways to grow your business in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Out of the above digital marketing methods listed, SEO and SEM caught the limelight in the early moments of digital marketing. SEM (PPC ads) was so powerful because it helped marketers connect with prospects who are already looking for them. With millions of businesses out there all vying for the same eyeballs, it’s never been more important to advertise online, and search engine marketing is the most effective way to promote your products and grow your business.
For example, if someone is searching for a wrist watch, ads will only be shown to them and charged only when they click on it. This has helped marketers save a ton of money because no money was wasted in untargeted ads, it’s not the same even with social media marketing – well, we are seeing several changes to social media ads where you can run a lead campaign where you get charged per lead. The difference still lies in who was searching, it’ll always be better when a lead is the person searching for you. This is the reason why search engine marketing was is very powerful, it is measurable, targeted and active in real time. Due to heavy competition for high value keywords, the prices have shot up – sometimes as high as $30 – $40 per click for certain keywords such as insurance loans, mortgages and attorneys.
Search Engine Optimization
When the cost of the ads got higher because of the competition and higher bidding of keywords, folks familiar with Google Adwords will understand better. Marketers took a shift, then focused more on search engine organic traffic (SEO) because investing in SEO produced long-term returns. Just imagine you rank in the top 6 for a highly paid keyword, you would get more traffic than the marketer who is paying so much for every click on the ad. As I write “investing in SEO” has become obsolete because of the various algorithm updates by the search engines. Previous SEO methods are really back-firing now because the search engines do not like to be manipulated. Google keeps changing their algorithm and you just can’t tell exactly the best means to rank on first page.
email marketing is simply the use of email to create and sustain relationships with potential customers and/or clients. It is basically the same as direct mail except that instead of sending mail through the postal service, messages are sent electronically via email.
The goal of email marketers was to collect leads and subscribers and send marketing messages to them. While some of the marketers still do content marketing within the emails, most of them just used email to “blast” the marketing messages. It worked for a period of time – until the people started getting spammed and they started unsubscribing to all the marketer’s messages which added no significant value to their life. Like I said starting out, the focus now should be to create and sustain a relationship
Social Media Marketing
As social media became famous and websites like Facebook started posting record traffic numbers, marketers flocked to the social websites for ads. It did not take long for marketers to realize that social media advertising gives a very low conversion ratio and can never be the next ‘Search’. The reason is simple – people ‘hang out’ in social networks like they would in a bar and they are there to connect with their friends and family or to catch some fun. Interrupting them with your product is not effective just because they are not proactively looking for a product or service like they do while searching in the search engines. That is not good enough to run away from social media. Social media, when used in a proper manner can bring intangible benefits to the table that other channels never can. You just have to do it like a pro!
I wrote a piece earlier 15 Minutes Of Fame: The Social Media Magic, you may want to read that.
- Digital Display Marketing
Display ads are like ads on newspaper. They find their place between useful pieces of content and interrupt the user with a marketing message. With magazines and newspapers, the ads cannot animate and sometimes readers may even take some interest in it. But online ads are despised at best. Those animated and interactive banners distract the readers – and the very nature of internet with so many distractions built in make it a very poor branding channel. Ad blocker plugins for browsers are hitting record numbers in download volume and as people spend more time online, they develop ad-blindness. Most blog around now are simply spam blogs, all they put before you is ads with little or no quality content. For this very reason I’m not a Google Adsense fan, I have never been. It’s the dumbest money making strategy blogging.
Content marketing is basically an inbound marketing tactic where you attract visitors, readers and potential customers by creating good quality content. This is one of the best ways to do online marketing and it hasn’t failed anyone who has tried it, wouldn’t you agree with me that what you are reading now is good content? You probably would have stopped reading if you don’t consider this content useful. Forbes had mentioned “The bottom line is that there is only one true branding mechanism online and that’s content marketing.” I am a big fan of content marketing and I believe that even though the world’s information is exploding, content marketing still has the potential to find its way in several markets. But content marketing won’t be effective if the other digital marketing methods are not used in conjunction with it. You probably may not be reading this content if other methods did not supply. That’s what integrated marketing is all about. Integrated Digital Marketing is content marketing on steroids.
The Integrated Digital Marketing Process
Integrated Digital Marketing is like a team with content as the team lead and the various other digital marketing methods are like its team members. Instead of demanding each member to achieve the corporate goal alone, Integrated Digital Marketing will make use of each member’s strengths and produce a result which are more than the sum of the individual achievements of each member. That’s the power of synergy. If you’d ask me, becoming a pro in just a single module of digital marketing and ignoring the others is not the best.
- Content:Quality and relevant content helps establish authority, build trust, engage readers with the brand, also help build a tribe and spread the word with your own customers as brand evangelists. Also helps in educating the customers about the industry and your product or service. People are in dire need of quality content, it just cannot go out of fashion.
- Email: The best communication tool available to online marketers today. Works best when used with permission (opt-in subscribers) rather than spamming. Marketers send out information about new content or whatever they have to offer and follow up with the prospects to remind them about the product or service they want to buy. With automated email system we have today, wise blogger or digital marketers would never shy away from it.
- Social Media:If email is like meeting with a prospect at his home, social media is like meeting with a specific group at a picnic or bar. People tend to be more authentic and honest with feedback and suggestions in a social atmosphere. Digital marketers must know that people may not be in a mood to transact in a social environment, but it helps engage and get honest feedback about a product or service and also listen to the needs of the customers.
- Search:Helps potential customers to find your content and your offering by directly searching for it. One of the most powerful tools in online marketing and works best when you do not try to manipulate it. Doing basic on page SEO and then doing all the other things right should be enough to get truck loads of targeted traffic from the search engines.
- Ads:Paid ads in its various formats can help speed up the entire process. The integrated digital marketing process is like a catalyst for ads which maximizes the return on investment on the dollars spent.
I’ll write thoroughly on each process of the integrated digital marketing process in subsequent posts, you should anticipate them.
Driving the Sales
The goal of every digital marketer is to make sales – whether a product or service. Unfortunately, no one buys a product on the first look. Impulsive buying for many products is far and mostly unlikely. The general consensus is that it takes an average of 7 points of contact with a prospect to turn him/her into a paid customer. With Digital marketing, the best way to turn a prospect into a customer is to follow-up with the lead. The lead data can be an email, a phone number or both.
Email marketing is the most cost effective tool available to marketers today and with automated marketing tools like MailChimp and GetResponse, it has never been easier to setup a sequence of automated messages to be sent to a prospect once he/she subscribes to the email Newsletter. And again no one really wants to hop in on a newsletter anymore, digital marketers must understand that people do not like to be sold to, creativity in getting leads is craved.
A subscriber will open the emails and visit the blog only when there is some useful content and a sale can happen directly by clicking on an email link or a link from the blog. The email newsletter and the blog are the primary value delivery platforms and the conversion is more likely to happen in this case. I cannot stop mentioning blogs, because blogging is the best method to learn digital marketing, that’s how I have learnt and still learning. You can read How To Become A Self-Made Digital Marketing Expert 2017
The above integrated digital marketing process effectively utilizes all the digital marketing technologies available today and in such a way that the strengths of each method is used in the most effective manner. Content marketing always has been and always will be one of the most effective lead generation, branding and sales channel and this process is simply enhancing/upgrading the content marketing to the next level.