Do you think advertising a product or service is what all marketing is about? Are you an entrepreneur or a freelancer who’s stuck in the dilemma as to what is going wrong with your marketing strategies? Or are you a budding marketing professional who wants to know the basics in the simplest manner?
Need not worry, your Google search for these needs have landed you in the correct place. For the next few minutes, I’m going to take you on a tour to give you everything you need to know about marketing and your answers shall be answered along the journey. Needless to say, getting your basics right is important and that is what I shall help you with today.
People want solutions and information for their wants and needs more than they want to be sold and interrupted. For a marketer, sending the right message to the right person at the right time plays a significant role in the whole process and helps gain trust of your tribe. They should feel you care!
Additionally, marketing is a game of perceptions. This is why it is better to be first in your product category than it is to be better in any category. In this age of the internet, people do their due diligence of researching what they are looking forward to buying. Hence, being first (in your selected product category) is everything, as the mind takes priority over the marketplace in this case. The essence of marketing is narrowing down focus on your niche and putting yourself in the shoes of your customers while being consistent with the efforts.
Simply put, marketing is about knowing your audience, educating them on how your products can benefit them, building a strong call-to-action (to cut the deal) and keep monitoring and analyzing the results including the follow up with your clients to retain the relationship.
What has changed though?
Welcome to the Gen-Z era where the whole world is found online, like LITERALLY. With that is evolving our most of the concepts and so is marketing. Digital Marketing is now talk of the town undoubtedly, and so the confusions arising as to what changed are normal.
- The main difference between the two types of marketing is the medium through which the message is being sent to the audience.
- While traditional marketing uses channels like print, radio, TV for communication, Digital marketing is all about sending the same message through digital channels, such as websites and social media.
- Both ways of marketing have their plus and minus points and it depends as to who your customers are and what are you selling.
- Traditional marketing is a one-way communication and is static, hence it is impactful and leaves a more permanent and memorable influence on the other end. However, there is no direct interaction with the end customers along with higher costs and it is hard to measure the results in this case.
- Digital marketing on the other side, is a two-way communication that is engaging and targeted while being cost effective. While this type of marketing is efficient and gives real time results, it is constantly evolving and might leave a less permanent effect on the customers.
- Talking about numbers in the country, while radio has a reach of 65% of the population and newspapers can reach about 465 million people; the Digital Marketing on the other end is the best medium to reach the affluent English speaking population which make up to 100 million users approximately. (Sources: Financial Express and Business Standard)
But what is the process?
Yes, I’m sure all of you would have heard about the funnels, the process that should be followed to be an expert at Digital Marketing and you are pretty curious to get there. It is the most interesting and easiest part to be honest. Let me explain it to you through a diagram (it was easier this way in schools too right? :P)
- [n] Niche: I have mentioned choosing your category, being the leader in it, how to focus on it, all over in the first section of this article and that is exactly what your niche is. You need to look out for a hungry market and choose a specific niche for yourself to focus on. This shall help you be the only one in the category to earn profits and gain trust of your people. Now you might be thinking, “How can I choose the right niche?” In the simplest manner, it is a dish made of three major ingredients: Talent, Passion and Market. Of course, you can try various combinations out of these three, however the best outcome is when all of them intersect. For example, you might be talented in making handmade necklaces out of paper, and also extremely passionate about the creativity that you pour into the work; however if there is no one in the market who is looking for it, it won’t serve your purpose. So introspect and research, keeping in mind the three factors here and voila! Start narrow and expand it later. Don’t worry about the competition, it only means more customers for your product, just choose a unique angle to build up yourself.
- [C] Content: You must have heard it a lot many times “Content is the king.” Well, it indeed is. It is the driving force of your business to attract the targeted audience. With so many inventions in the digital world with each coming day, there are multiple ways for you to send the message across your customers. You can choose anything from the list of blogs, posts, videos, podcasts, webinars, e-books, case studies, infographics, etc. Just remember, you need to give people what they need to attract them to you. That is, make content for what people want and not what you would want to give. Also, never ever compromise the quality of your content that goes out and be consistent with it. When I say it is the driving force, it has the power to make or break your brand. Be authentic!
- [A] Attention: The grind does not stop at quality content, my friend. The concept of “Content marketing” includes both creating content and marketing it, and most of the marketers tend to forget the second part. It is important for you to market your content, that is to drive traffic towards it in order to get the payback of your efforts. Use tools and platforms like, SEO, social media, paid ads (Google Ads and Facebook Ads), referrals from other websites, email marketing to reach where your prospects are. You can choose a combination of all the available ones. Let them know that there is a new post up on your Instagram page, send an email informing about a new article on your blog, grab their attention with the quality of it.
- [T] Trust: Remember when I said it is a game of perceptions? Perceptions are made by how much a person trusts you. Similar is the case with your products and services. Please know that we are not asking them to buy anything from you at this point in time. We are trying to make a connection with them so that they know you. Informing about your upcoming products and services is important, but all those efforts would go in vain if you do not follow up on them. Most of the potential customers are lost when you don’t follow up with them. It is not about spamming them with emails or messages or anything, get that bubble out of your head. Everyone is busy in their lives and it could be the case that your customers missed your information, a short and simple follow up increases your chances of converting that prospect into a customer. Marketing automation and retargeting are taking the lead in this area to help you gain the trust of your audience.
- [T] Transaction: Now if you have followed the above steps diligently, this step to actually cut the deal would come naturally. Your audience already has complete and quality information about your product, they trust you for your actions in the whole process, and now would be willing to make a transaction when you pitch your sale action to them. This is the last step of the process and is of utmost significance as well. You shall have to keep up with the same quality efforts to, let’s say, conduct a sales webinar, send a sales letter, etc. to complete the whole cycle.
And how can I perform all the actions together?
It is good to have the steps on your tips, but the task of performing all of them together seems distant? I’ve got you there as well. What oil is to an engine, is what the CATT funnel is to Integrated Digital Marketing. The execution of the funnel discussed previously is done through the concept of “Integrated Digital Marketing.”
- Search Engine Marketing (Paid advertising)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
Each of these have their own magic and can get you fruitful results. But let’s be honest, mastering all of them at once is tough and it has been found (through experience) that using all of them together is the only solution. The figure above is the exact demonstration of how it all works. You can also take it as an engine in action with the surrounding parts moving in combination.
Coming back to your question…
You saw the significance of “Content” in the CATT funnel. The quality and relevance of your content helps you gain trust and build that position and perception in your prospects’ minds, and hence it lays the foundation of this engine as well. Do not compromise with this factor (I’ll say that again!). But the whole concept of “Content Marketing” is incomplete if we don’t market the information provided and it is when the other components work together to get the end result – a customer.
However, social media alone might not fulfill your business needs in terms of customers. The other component then covers up, that is doing on-page or off-page SEO for your website or blog. It means to gain an audience the organic way. Search engines like Google rank a landing page based on its quality and relevance to the user’s search. It is how a user interacts with your website that contributes to your off-page SEO, and on-page SEO is all about keeping your web page elements in such a way that it clearly explains what your content is about to a Search engine. Again, it comes down to how relevant your content is, and hence a two-way street with the engine here.
Emails are one of the most powerful tools an online marketer has. It’s like engaging with your prospects who have chosen to receive your content. However, an effective email marketing is when there is a combination of marketing and useful (informational) messages, both. Emails are actually the magic wand that can help you convert quality leads into long term paying customers.
Paid ads on the other hand are a great source to gather quality traffic for your content, and when executed in an Integrated Digital Marketing framework, it is like a cherry on the top. It is better to use paid advertising for providing useful information to your prospects and gain their trust rather than directly jumping on to sales.
The final outcome…
To summarize, this whole execution process is taking advantage of the strengths of each of the modules of Digital Marketing in a manner that it produces results greater than what they could’ve produced individually. You’ve got it all in your hands, make it happen.
You are your own brand!
Heard this saying quite often? Yeah. In this day and age where the competition is cut throat in majority of the aspects, you want to be standing out of the crowd. Moreover, people want to hear from people, not brands. This is when personal branding comes into the picture. One of the greatest examples here is Elon Musk; you can check that the man has more followers on Twitter than his brand “Tesla.” Given that people already know the person behind, it is easier for them to trust the associated brand. People feel like they know you personally and it is worth their investment while spending on a product or doing business with you.
- Be focused, you don’t have to be everything to everyone.
- Be your authentic self, it is easy for anyone to know that you are faking.
- Create a story about your brand rather than simply shouting about your products.
- Consistency is the key and there are no second thoughts here.
- It is okay to fail, just don’t stop evolving and growing. Live your brand!
It all looks fancy right? Yes, it does. But let me tell you that it comes with the same amount of effort and hard work. You don’t just become a personal brand, you evolve through it. It is a circle of growth and you have to keep going with it.
You first learn skills; be it through the internet, online courses or any sorts of readings and then you put those skills to work. It is a major step in the process, you shall have to implement the knowledge you’ve gained to be able to understand it to the core. You can either work in a company or do freelancing to get there.
Then you start writing about it. Blogging is one of the best ways to pen down your learnings and share it with your audience. It is only when you have grasped the concepts well and learned through your experience is when you would be able to write them, and it is the reason why this comes on the number third. This is when you start developing your personal brand.
Writing will help you organise your thoughts more and the experience would be an add on. This will help you to start with consulting other people. It is like getting that position when people would trust you with your thoughts and you would have more authority to be able to put your point forward and help people with their businesses.
Post this you can be a mentor, this is when you’d be able to step up in the game and increase your understanding to another level. This is when you can teach what all you have learnt and experienced until now to the ones who want to become like you. The end game is then having your own Startup. With all the above steps you benefit with an extra amount of clarity and become ready to start your own product and service, using the understanding, expertise and skills that you’ve developed all this while.
Not to forget, there is a reason I called it a circle of growth above. This whole development is an ongoing process and you shall keep at it!
If you are reading this, I’m glad that you went through the whole trail of thoughts in this piece. I shall leave you with a closing thought here:
“Active communication is what marketing is all about, plain and simple. Keep your creative juices flowing, always!”
I hope I kept my promise in the beginning to give you everything about the fundamentals of marketing. Leave a comment to let me know.