Online marketing for small businesses is one of the most affordable and effective ways of reaching out to people across the length and breadth of your target geography. Among the various marketing channels today, online advertising records the fastest growth.
What works in favour of online marketing in India?
Internet usage in India is growing at a rate of more than 15% per year. As of now, India is the third largest Internet user in the world with around 137 million users. Additionally, more and more Indians are using Internet enabled mobile devices. So, reaching out to them has become easier.
Another major factor is that India has a huge expatriate population which could be form a part of your target audience. Based on these stats, you can assume that implementing a robust online marketing campaign can return excellent rewards.
Facebook has become the most popular social media site in India. Facebook India has nearly 80M monthly active users (MAUs) which is a 50% increase from the same quarter last year. That’s huge growth. For micro businesses, partnerships, independents, freelancers etc this is a huge opportunity to market your business. It really doesn’t matter what product you sell or service you provide, chances are you’ll find the relevant audience for you.
Understanding the challenges
The biggest challenge is that Indian consumer base can sometimes still be unsure about the reliability of companies online. Building trust in your brand is very important. Have a professionals design, well written content and be strong on customer testimonials. Second, while India is proud of its rich and varied heritage, the diversity in language can create barriers in marketing.
So, you have to reach out to your target audience by formulating a strategy that breaks the barriers of mis-trust and language.
Ways to implement an online marketing campaign in India
The most common way of advertising online is to identify websites and blogs that receive a decent amount of traffic and buy ad space on those pages. Google Adwords is an excellent resource. You can use geo-targeting keywords for better results. However, Google Adwords can be very expensive and use up a limited marketing budget very quickly. It is best to use Adwords for limited campaigns that are focused on a tactical activity such as creating awareness of a sale you might have or an event you are holding.
Facebook advertising is hands down the cheapest way to pay to get to your audience. Although the platform continues to change on an almost weekly basis in terms of what you can do with the advertising tools it is still worth experimenting with. You should be able to get a click to your business Facebook page or website for well under $1 and even as low as a few cents.
Strong content with smart keyword usage – Google is getting stricter by the day and powerful content is the only thing that can get you guaranteed results. So, focus on building strong content on your website. Use keywords them contextually.
Remember that at a basic level, each page of your website can bring in traffic each day. Each page can only be optimised for one or two keywords. A website with 200 pages will ALWAYS bring more traffic than one with 20 pages. Therefore you need to add pages to your website on a regular basis with great content. Not easy, but it will bring you good traffic that you can convert into leads and sales.
Build links – Build links with websites that have a high pagerank. You can install a pagerank checker plugin in your Google Chrome browser to evaluate pageranks. However, keep in mind not to build reciprocal links because you could be penalised by search engines. The best links come from those who share your content. If people share your page, website, blog post, eBook on social media then it will boost your rankings.
Perhaps one of the most important things Google looks at these days is how your content / website is shared and talked about on Social Media. “Social Proof” as it is sometimes called is a critical part of your online marketing efforts. Build relationships with people on Social Media and get them to share your content. But, remember they will only do this if it is useful, valuable, interesting or entertaining content.
India has the second highest number of Facebook users and sixth highest Twitter users. Moreover, Facebook is available in eight Indian languages. Create a business page on different social media platforms. Encourage visitors to like your page and become your friends. Be active on the page so that you can retain friends. Share information about your business.
Create an account in some of the most popular social bookmarking websites such as Twitter, Stumble Upon, Pinterest, Reddit, Digg and Delicious. Follow target audience and get them to follow you. Upload pages from your blog or website on these sites and share it with your network of target audience. Invite them to visit your website.
Besides regularly uploading new write-ups on your blog and responding to readers’ comments, you can also indulge in guest blogging and commenting on other blogs. Remember to leave the link of your website when you use blogging as a means of marketing so that readers can visit your site.
According to predictions, video blogs are the future of blogging. However, in India, this trend is yet to become popular because Internet speeds in many parts of the country are low. However, you can use YouTube as a major marketing channel. Prepare attractive videos or animated presentations and upload it on the site. Optimise your video for more views.
You can also create promotional videos for very little money. A few years ago each video could have cost 1000’s but now with online tools such as Powtoon you can make them yourself.
You need to implement both on-page and off-page marketing campaigns. Plan article marketing campaigns and directory submissions. Most importantly, keep track of the latest updates of Google and ensure that you don’t get into its wrong books.
Organic marketing can get you sustainable results and reinforce your long term growth.
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