The virtual space is crowded these days. Almost every one of us is here, right inside our smart phones and laptops and other digital media. So it is little wonder that a growing percentage of marketing is done by companies over the internet, since that is where potential buyers show up. Digital marketing is the promotion of products over the internet. It is the quickest way to reach out to maximum number of customers, and the results of marketing can also be analyzed in real time.
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Gone are the days when we had to content ourselves with the limited knowledge of products and services presented through newspapers, TV or the radio. Today we can browse for all the information we need, read the reviews, discuss with the online community, share problems and get solutions, post blogs, shop and post reviews, the scope of the internet is limitless.
There are several activities grouped under digital marketing, such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search-Engine Marketing), content marketing, e-commerce marketing, social-media marketing etc. All these activities aim at leveraging the products and services of a company in internet searches, as well as in social networking sites, discussion forums and wherever else people generally hang out in the web.
SEO: There is a great deal of competition among companies for grabbing the attention of internet users. SEO practices ensure that the website of a company ranks high in the search results of major search engines like Google, Bing etc, hence increasing web traffic to the site. But this is easier said than done. It involves a lot of research into the common ‘keywords’ people search for, the latest trends in changing needs of the online community, and the nature of competition from other companies. A well-written website that uses all the popular ‘keywords’, and gives the visitors the information they need, will be ranked higher by the search engines, thus making it popular. For example, suppose you wish to create a site for your company that sells health equipment. Searching the database for popular searches might return keywords like “How to lose weight fast”, “How to lose belly fat” etc. You may build your website content around these ‘keywords’, which will be most helpful for your audience. Blogging using keywords also makes interesting read as well as improves your company’s ranking. A well-written blog showcases your in-depth knowledge of the product/service you wish to sell. Another process that can increase your website ranking is back linking, i.e. recommendation from another site. Consider that a popular, well-established site, such as of a company that has been working in the domain of health and fitness for several years, likes your site for its engaging content and relevance to their business, and agrees to recommend it to their visitors by providing a link to your website in their web pages. The search engine automatically takes it that your website should be authoritative, since it has been liked by a website of repute.
SEM: This form of digital marketing uses paid platforms such as Google AdWords to promote a business. Pay-per-click advertising also comes under this.
Social-media marketing: Having a strong presence in social media, with regular updates and announcement of offers, is a great way of attracting attention, and expanding one’s reach through sharing and recommendations. The idea is to create amazing content and work to build a growing group of followers interested in reading and sharing your content. It also means regular updates, sharing information freely and replying to queries, as well as connecting to companies who already have a good online audience and see it as mutually beneficial to connect to you over social media.
Display advertising: Advertisements that appear on the side bar and elsewhere in websites including social networking sites can also grab some web traffic. The key is to create innovative ads that catch the attention of visitors, and prompt them to follow the link to your website.
Direct Email marketing: This involves sending emails to past and potential customers, explaining latest offers or other promotional stuff.
The scope for digital marketing is endless, and with the advent of better technologies, one needs to continuously update one’s online marketing strategies, or lose out in the race. Customers tend to buy from companies that are ready to devote time for personal interaction, and have a strong online presence. Digital marketing enhances a company’s online image, and facilitates better customer interaction and conversion of enquiries into business.