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Digital marketing for hard times

In recent months, the news about the Indian economy has been not so great. Several sectors are witnessing a slowdown.

When the economy is sluggish or when there is hyper-competiton and your company performance is affected, what do you do?

In such cases, the business strategy usually is to try get a better return from every rupee or dollar invested.

In digital marketing, there are several ways to improve the ROI of every marketing dollar. Here are six.

1. Website enquiries

Srengthen i.e. improve the company or product or brand website. In particular, if you are a B2B business, you can attract high quality organic traffic and generate quality prospects through your website.

Strengthening the website means improving the content, visual design (look), UI (user interface) and tech performance of the website. This could mean making incremental improvements to the existing site or making a new one. The absolute cost of doing this is low, making this one of the best digital investments that you can make.

2. E-commerce business

Most organizations have – for several reasons – only made half-hearted attempts at e-commerce or neglected this totally. If you are a B2C company with an established brand or a differentiated product, e-commerce can be an important retail channel. In our experience, B2C businesses can generate 10 to 15% of their total sales from e-commerce.

This can be through marketplaces such as Amazon but is best done through one’s own e-commerce website.

3. Hyper-targeted display ads

Google’s display ads platform, Google Display Network (GDN) and it’s video ads platform, You Tube Ads, have in the last one year or so, significantly improved their capabilities. Through machine learning, these platforms are able to identify audiences who are currently planning to buy or who are actively researching a given product or service. Campaigns using this targeting are called in-market campaigns.

In-market campaigns as well as another similar type called custom intent campaigns result in a very efficient use of every ad dollar.

Large digital advertisers can benefit by trying out programmatic advertising, where there is automated real time bidding for each ad impression served.

4. Mining existing customers: Email marketing, SMS and CRM

Targeting existing and lapsed customers through email and SMS campaigns is a great way to get them to buy again. The prerequisite for this is maintaining a customer database and (preferably) the use of a CRM software to run the email and SMS campaign.

In our experience, most organizations are currently not doing this.

5. Low cost brand advertising

Continued brand advertising even in a downturn is a practice perfected by experienced marketers such as P & G. When good times return, it gives the advertised brand a real advantage over brands that pulled out their ads.

The question is: when times are bad, how can any brand afford to advertise ? The answer: digital ads. An ad platform like Facebook Ads has

– high reach

– campaign tools that enable control the frequency of the ads

– a choice of various creative units, such as video, carousel and Instagram (part of Facebook) ads

– low absolute cost and low cost per ad impression

The typical costs being got today on Facebook Ads are 1 Paisa (INR 0.01) per ad impression. Therefore, brands with an audience size of say 10 million can create a good impact with a total ad budget of less than INR 1 million.

During a crunch situation, brands which are regular advertisers can move a larger part of their ad budgets from press or TV to digital. And smaller brands, which do not currently invest in advertising, can keep up the business momentum through a first-time brand campaign on Facebook.

6. Exports enquiries

A great feature of the Internet is it’s global reach. If you have never taken a look at the Google Analytics data of your website, please do so. You will be surprised at the number of countries your website gets traffic from.

Again, if you have had a website for some time, you may have received at least one ‘alliancing’ enquiry or one business enquiry from a location that that you did not quite expect.

Most organization in India have neglected or only partly explored international opportunities. And when the domestic market is down, going international is important.

With digital marketing, it’s easy to go international. Campaigns can be run targeting almost any country. Every B2B organization can aim to get international customers and every organization, whether B2B or B2C, can aim to get international business partners.

These then are six useful ways that digital marketing can help your organization during a downturn.

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