These days, most businesses maintain a strong online presence. This is because they understand that the future of commerce is on the internet. Traditional brick ‘n’ mortar stores are fast dying out. And only the very big brands seem stable enough to resist the currents. So the web today has become one big (and horribly noisy) marketplace. To stand out, every company (particularly startups) needs to rely on its digital marketing muscle. The recent example of the wild success of Spectrum Internet in America is a case in point. And like many others, it demonstrates the power of digital campaigns in getting brands heard.
But first things first.
Before getting all hyped-up about digital marketing, you need to understand how it works. Or more precisely, what the concept (and its practice) is all about. And this is exactly what I’ve discussed briefly in this blog post down below.
Digital Marketing Isn’t as Scary as It Sounds (and Seems)
Most field experts divide digital marketing into two parts:
- Organic (or ‘Free’; though it often isn’t completely so!)
The paid category includes the use of such internet-based strategies as SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and Social Media Marketing. There are many other approaches, and they all require some expenditure. And they’re fast with regard to their results. When on a campaign, your paid ads normally get carried online within a day’s time. And sometimes, even earlier.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Marketing is another common type of paid campaign carried out on such networks as Google and Facebook. As the name suggests, brands only need to pay when someone clicks on their sponsored ads. A common placement for these advertisements is in the middle sections of social media account newsfeeds. They’re also quite easy to spot in SERPs, alongside the organic results space.
This is great from the perspective of young businesses that want quick recognition. On the downside, however, paid campaigns can really put a hole in the budgeting kitty. Especially when they run constantly.
But social media marketing, for one, doesn’t necessarily require payments. It can be free too, by dropping ads on Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram groups. Or any other popular social media platform that you can think of, and which is a hit with your target audience.
Organic (SEO) Marketing – and its Positives
When online marketers talk about going organic, what they’re mostly referring to is SEO. The acronym for Search Engine Optimization, this approach is a little technical. But once you get the hang of it (a many year’s long endeavor), it pays off big time. Simply speaking, SEO techs try to optimize on-page (website) and off-page (published elsewhere) content to rank high in SERPs (search engine results pages). Google, being the most popular search engine at present, is their obvious choice for a playing field.
Once customized web pages gain good rankings, they stand a much better chance of receiving incoming surfer traffic. And this obviously corresponds with more sales, greater revenue, and more profits.
But SEO comes with a catch. Or three, rather.
It is slow to produce results. Shifting ranking positions takes time, and constant effort. A period of between 3 to 6 months is generally considered the average for most industry websites.
Secondly, SEO requires a certain degree of technical expertise for successful executions. Since SEO techs need to work with content writers, webpage developers, and graphics artists constantly, they need to fully understand the fundamentals of these separate fields. Because they can only then be in a position to make reasonable (and still productive) recommendations.
Thirdly, SEO is completely vulnerable to the often (for marketers) earth-shattering effects of search engine updates. Google and Bing engineers roll them out without any fixed schedule, and their aim is to improve surfers’ user-experience. A single core update can sometimes undo many months’ worth of labor put in by SEO executives.
A Combination Approach Works Best
As per the advice (and experience) of several digital marketing ‘gurus’, a combination approach works best. This means making use of both the paid and organic campaign routes as part of a broad & on-going promotional strategy.
This helps to combine the speed of paid campaigns with the long-term (and money-free) reliability of SEO. And in case any unruly algorithm updates arrive on the scene, brand marketers can easily fall back on their sponsored ads. At least until the time that the dust settles a bit.
You Won’t Make Online Sales without It
As I’ve already mentioned, chalking out a digital marketing strategy – and then acting on it – is necessary for making sales. But by the same token, it also helps to innovate a little bit every now & then. Recently, a trader colleague explained how the Spectrum Bundles project gained flight as a result of the creativity of the ISP’s marketing team. The company, apparently, had decided to offer their services at rates well below the market average about two years ago. This led to many subscriptions. And later on, when the ISP decided to raise costs, customers still held on. The brilliant marketing and service experience convinced them to.