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How to Do Digital Marketing: A Guide for Small Businesses

digital marketing

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There are some strange facts about digital marketing that many of us are unaware.

While we see ourselves as consumers in the rapidly changing data-driven society, we see the enormous impact of digital marketing in our lives that we can’t escape.

While we see ourselves as sellers of products or services in small markets, we are yet to be introduced with the power of digital marketing.

While we make a purchase decision, there are many invisible factors around us that we are not aware of. In fact, all these factors are the immersive effects of digital marketing.

On the other hand, while we see the shortcomings of all our age-old traditional approaches of marketing and advertising, we can’t think more beyond few Google or Facebook ads. While the result doesn’t go as we expect, we just start believing that digital marketing is of no use.

I’m not telling you an imaginary story. As our own research data at BusinessKrafts supply, there is a majority of small businesses that don’t have a proper idea of digital marketing.

It has happened for years and small businesses suffered. The science of marketing is yet to reach the ground level. Millions of micro and small businesses has yet to take the advantages of marketing by understanding it as a systematic, measured and careful management approach.

Digital marketing isn’t different from the basic concept of marketing in its core philosophy. At its base, it must be a systematic approach through research and planning to identify, anticipate and satisfy the customers’ need and want.

Before being an advanced technology, digital marketing is a branch of management science. It means, if you want to apply different digital marketing techniques for your business, you need to go through a systematic approach of marketing management.

That’s all fine. At the rest, you need to discover how to and when to apply a certain digital marketing strategy so that your business can grow and sustain. This post will tell you everything briefly, but clearly.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is all about applying online marketing strategies in a systematic and planned manner to have a loyal customer base by discovering, anticipating, and satisfying their requirements.

Marketing is mostly about discovering an existing market or creating a new one as well as improving it. Digital marketing is an extension to it that enhances the power of marketing. The ever-growing cloud technology, data science, artificial intelligence, etc. along with the basic philosophy and principles of marketing, creates a new technology-driven environment for digital marketing.

Digital marketing isn’t only about advertising on social media or running an email campaign or anything like these. It’s all about discovering a new opportunity and taking advantage of the opportunity. It’s about making the opportunities more sustainable and grow logically.

In digital marketing, strategy is more crucial than the technology.

Although digital marketing is mostly driven by technology, strategy is yet the initial step. It means, in order to succeed in digital marketing, you should have a clearly defined digital strategy.

What are the Steps in Digital Marketing?

Any systematic approach must have some clearly defined steps. Digital marketing isn’t not an exception.

The steps in digital marketing isn’t different from marketing in general. Those are –

  1. Market research
  2. Marketing planning/strategy building
  3. Pilot project
  4. Implementation
  5. Analysis and Review
  6. Continuity

Market Research

Market research is the most fundamental requirement before establishing a business or running a marketing campaign. However, it is generally seen that many micro and small enterprises/businesses don’t bother about conducting a complete research before taking an initiative. It’s simply because of their ignorance about the requirement, power, and advantages of researching the market before the start.

Those businesses that don’t serious about market research suffer from multiple loopholes. For example, about 72% of startups fail only due to a lack of insight that only can be gained through research.

Research in business and marketing helps in getting accurate facts, valid insights, and the right decision. Particularly in digital marketing, research plays a vital role. Since everything is based on data and analysis, you can’t achieve the desired success if there is no valid data from where you have to start.

Whatever may be the field, situation, or requirement, a research must have rigorous criteria, valid methodology, and systematic mechanism of data accumulation, analysis and reporting.

A research before developing a digital strategy is not only needed to be systematic and scientific, it also must consider the structural, functional, and phenomenal aspect of the market. Otherwise, it can be useless.

Research will help you in developing proper digital strategy and planing in accordance to.

Luckily enough, there are ample online platforms to help you in digital marketing research, analyzing data and anticipating marketing strategy. However, you need to set the basic research methodology, criteria and processes manually.

Strategy Building and Planning

Strategies and planning are everything to marketing. If your strategy or planning goes wrong, you’ll achieve nothing else.

You should have clearly defined strategy and systematic planning. Everything is needed to be based on the data, their analysis, suggestions drawn from analysis, and the anticipation mode that the research suggests.

How to plan a marketing campaign or a series of marketing campaigns may seem to be tricky. However, if you do it systematically by using an easy to follow planning guide, you can develop an effective plan.

There are multiple digital marketing strategies. You’ve to decide which strategy or combination of strategies will work for you. It should be directly driven from your market research.

Pilot Project

A pilot project is an experimentation on how your strategies and plans will work.

It’s highly suggested that you should run multiple pilot projects for few weeks before running an actual digital marketing campaign. This will help you gaing practical insight into the effectiveness of the plan, strategy, message, media, platform, etc.

Almost all paid digital marketing platforms like Google or Facebook have ample mechanisms to run pilot projects. The projects can be A/B testing, multi-variant testing, or redirection testing.

Implementation

Once your pilot project or testing phase and analysis of the test completed, you can freely go toward implementing your digital marketing campaign.

What are the Components of Digital Marketing?

Besides research and planning, there are many other components of digital marketing that the traditional marketing approaches don’t have. Those are –

  • Website
  • Organic marketing activities
    • Local Search engine optimization (Local SEO)
    • Search engine optimization (SEO)
    • Social media optimization (SMO)
    • Content marketing
  • Paid marketing activities
    • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
    • Social media marketing
    • Email marketing
    • Affiliate marketing / influencer marketing

How to Do Digital Marketing?

Website

You can’t proceed an inch in digital marketing without a website. It’s the primary asset that is required in each step of your marketing journey

The most important thing is that you shouldn’t compromise with the quality of your website. It should be technically sound, error-free, and full of quality content.

The better your website is in terms of technical, strategic, and content resources, the higher result it will deliver

You should have a sound idea about the budget that you require to have a good website. As your budget increases, your website will have more dynamic and advanced features. Please have a look at the attached plans for your business type.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO refers to all technical, strategic and content activities that will help your website to appear at the top on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. for relevant search queries. For example, if you are selling runner shoes through your e-commerce site and a user searches for ‘runner shoes for man online’, the pages of your website that have the product or product details can appear on the top of the search result, if and only if your website is well optimized for search engines.

Better SEO can be resulted in better lead generation, sales, online booking, online appointment, etc.

SEO can be divided into two main categories, such as – technical SEO and strategic SEO.

Key Aspects:

  • Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tool management
  •  XML site map submission
  • Proper canonical tag creation
  • Password protection for ‘no index’ pages
  • robots.txt management
  • schema.org mark-up
  • URL inspection
  • Crawl error and coverage issue fixing,
  • Redirection elimination
  • 301 redirection for 404, soft 404, 500 and 501 errors
  •  Warning and penalty issue handling
  • Strategic distribution of ‘H’ tags,
  • Rendering path blockage elimination
  • HTML, Java and CSS script management
  • Mobile optimization
  • SEO-analytics integration
  • Report generation and more

Key aspects of strategic SEO are

  • Keyword research
  • Keyword optimization
  • Keyword distribution
  • Tag management
  • Meta title and meta description enhancement
  • Media optimization
  • Alt text management
  • Content creation and distribution
  • Internal and internal linking
  • Backlink generation, etc.
  • Content quality inspection

There is also another type of division of SEO activities, such as – onpage SEO and Offpage SEO.

Onpage SEO refers to all activities that you do within your website. All technical SEO activities and the strategic and creative activities that you do within your website are combined known as Onpage SEO.

Any strategic SEO activity that you do outside your website is known as Offpage SEO. The prominent Offpage SEO activity is link-building.

Strength of SEO

  • SEO is a very cost-effective mode of digital marketing. It is organic in nature. Therefore, you only have to pay your SEO expert for his/her services.
  • Without SEO, there will be no organic visitor to your website.
  • Each SEO activity has long term impact, even for years.

Limitations of SEO

  • SEO is, by default, a long term process. It may take several months, even more than a year to achieve success in SEO.
  • New websites have to struggle hard to get better SEO ranking.
  • SEO is a highly technical and strategic aspect. Therefore charges of SEO experts are generally high.
  • Any breakage in SEO will lead to no result.

Local SEO

Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to the activities that will ensure a higher ranking of your business on Google Map and Google Location. A business having top ranks on Google generally receives more phone calls, website traffic, and shop/office visit.

While SEO proper is completely about improving seearch ranking of a website, local SEO has little to do with a website. Since local SEO is mostly about optimizing your business location for Google Map and Google Search, you can do it without a website. However, local SEO activities can help in SEO of your website, and vice-versa.

Local SEO activities can be listed as follow:

  • Listing your business with complete address and contact details through Google My Business (GMB) and Bing Businesses for maps and location search
  • Adding adequate information to the list
  • Verifying business ownership
  • Updating information regularly
  • Adding posts, images, video, etc. to the listing on a regular basis
  • Listing all your major products and services with complete details
  • Listing your business on local directories and yellow pages
  • Improving the SEO of your website
  • Strategically inserting keywords in product/service description
  • Publishing events, offers, etc.
  • Monitoring position improvement

Limitations of Local SEO:

  • Local SEO is applicable to the city where your offices are located.
  • It’s a continuous organic activity; any breakage will deliver a negative result.

Strength of Local SEO:

  • Local SEO is highly cost-effective. Google provides the service for free of cost. You only have to pay your marketing agency for the work-hours they invest on a monthly basis to optimize your business for Google local searches.
  • Each local SEO activity has long term impact, even for years.

Pay-per-Click (PPC) Marketing

Overview

  • PPC is a paid form of marketing that include Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Display Network Marketing (DNM) and Video Marketing (YouTube Advertising)
  • Budget of PPC marketing depends upon competition and bidding amount. For example, if your competitor is paying Rs. 10.00 for a single click on a add having keyword ‘security services in Ranchi’, you have to pay Rs. 10.01 to get higher position and more clicks for a ad that have the same keyword.

Strength

  • PPC is a cost-effective mode of paid advertisement.
  • You have to pay, only if your ad is clicked. You don’t need to pay, if your ad is only displayed and no one has clicked on it.
  • You can control your budget on daily basis. For example, if you want to not spend more than Rs 200 on a particular day, you can do it by changing the setting.

Weaknesses

  • PPC marketing is for momentary result only. You can’t get any long-term impact of your present PPC ads.
  • Required PPC budget can be best determined after keyword research, pilot project and A/B testing. So your marketing agency can’t tell you anything about your PPC budget in advance

What You Need to Do

  • Google Ads Management for Google Search:
    • Planning and strategy building
    • Keyword research and planning
    • Trend research for keyword, topic and object
    • Advertisement script creation
    • Media optimization
    • Media scaling
    • Target audience  fixing
    • Offer and event management
    • Daily monitoring and evaluation
    • Pause and remarketing management

Social Media Optimization (SMO)

Overview:

SMO is an indirect form of organic marketing that is used for brand awareness creation, customer engagement optimization and PR. It starts from your website and extends up to your business profile on social media. The main objective of SMO is to keep your potential and existing clients engaged with your brand through social platforms.

Strength:

  • SMO is highly cost effective. Since it is organic, you don’t need to pay the platform. You have only to your marketing agency that will look after your social media branding aspects. As there is less technical involvement, your marketing partner will charge you low. At BusinessKrafts, we charge Rs. 200/hour.
  • SMO help in creating long term brand impact.

Weaknesses

  • SMO is more creative than strategic. Your marketing agency should have creative people to handle SMO activities.
  • SMO is not intended for direct selling.

Media optimization for Facebook, Open Graph (OG) management, image and video debugging, batch invalidation, access token creation, post tag, object tag and keyword tag creation, error fixing, Facebook meta enabling/disabling, object type management, regular monitoring and testing.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Overview: SMM is a paid form of marketing on social media that can help you achieve multiple goals. Each goal can be achieved through a group of campaigns. The specific goals that can be achieved through SMM are:

  • Direct sales
  • Marketplace sales
  • Event promotion
  • Offer promotion
  • Brand awareness
  • Brand loyalty
  • Indirect sales through creating engaged audience

Strength:

  • SMM is completely target oriented. That means, you can target the potential customers/audiences by their location, age, gender, financial status, job/business profile, social behaviour, online activity, cultural affinity, etc.
  • SMM is highly flexible in terms of budget, target, goals and objectives.
  • SMM allows you to control your budget in accordance to your objectives and goal.
  • SMM can help in reaching more customers through popular social media channels
  • SMM is cost-effective if well planned.

Weaknesses:

  • Proper planning is required to achieve desired goal through SMM
  • Without planning and research, your SMM campaigns can be directionless.

What You Need to Do:

  • Complete planning and strategy building
  • Target group management on the basis of age, gender, employment, income level, location, education, lifestyle, hobbies, preferences, online behaviour and more;
  • Target definition
  • Target specific Advertising
  • Offer and event management,
  • Pause and remarketing management
  • Title and description optimization
  • Object optimization,
  • Daily monitoring and evaluation
  • Remarketing modelling and more

Content Marketing

Overview:

  • Content has been the KING of all marketing approaches and will be.
  • It’s a indirect marketing approach that never persuade to make a purchase, but create well defined and loyal customer base.
  • Articles, blog posts, white-papers, infographs, images, video, product/service descriptions, coupon selling articles etc are the examples of content.
  • Both quality and quantity of content matters.

Strengths

  • Content is required everywhere: in SEO, SMO, SMM, PPC etc.
  • Content make it easy to achieve early success in SEO activities.
  • No digital marketing activity can sustain without content.

Weaknesses:

  • Creating quality content requires lots of efforts.
  • Content creation requires knowledge, experience, experimentation, research, creativity and strategy.
  • You need additional budget for effective content marketing.

What You Need to Do?

We have not decided that how can we help in content marketing. It requires few days planning.

Email Marketing

This oldest form of digital marketing has been misunderstood and misutilized for years. There are many small businesses that yet believe that purchasing unsolicited mailer lists and sending arbitrary emails is email marketing. In fact, such practices are not only spamming but also fruitless.

Email marketing, in its best sense, is a systematic approach of sending useful emails to the receivers who have provided consent to receive email promotions from you.

How to Do Email Marketing?

The steps involve in email marketing are as follow:

  • Creating or subscribing a signup form
  • Placing the signup for on you website strategically
  • Asking visitors of your site to subscribe your emails in exchange of a benefit
  • Sending useful email newsletters to the subscribers.
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3 Responses

  1. Sanjay Shikand says:

    This is indeed a powerful post that can help in understanding and practicing digital marketing. Thanks for the great help.

  2. Peter Francis says:

    Impressed by the your suggestions to do effective digital marketing. Your post is very helpful. 🙏

  3. Patrick Pierce says:

    I can’t stop telling you that the article is very impressive and educative. Very few people has the ability to explain thing in such a powerful way. This also prof your long relationship with the topic that you are dealing with. In other words, you’re a master digital marketer.
    Thanks for a so nice post. I hope to read more from your blog.

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