Chatbots are taking the world by storm as a unique, personal way to reach out to potential customers. With many messaging apps developing platforms for chatbots, an increasing number of people today are interacting with them in some form or the other. Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has led to chatbots that sound human, have a sense of humour and can keep users engaged in a conversation. So what does all of this mean for brands? Chatbots allow brands to interact with their customers directly, obtain useful information from them and even guide them towards making a purchase. In short, brands today cannot afford to ignore the chatbot invasion taking place. Here are five ways you can harness the potential of chatbots to maximise the effectiveness of your digital efforts.
1. To answer customer queries
Visitors to your site are impatient. They want information and answers to their questions quickly or they will leave. Every brand wants to answer potential customer’s queries and increase their engagement on the website. However, not every company has the resources to employ a full-time customer service team to do this. Chatbots can swoop in as a low-cost effective solution to answer questions and keep customers informed. Giving your chatbots a name and profile picture are great ways to make the interaction more human and pique the interest of potential customers. But brands aren’t the only ones benefiting from chatbots. A recent survey found that most customers also prefer asking questions over chat instead of over an email or phone calls
Chatbots are shaping up to be one of the defining trends for real estate in 2017. Social Beat has developed a chatbot for Casagrand to personally welcome each visitor to the website and help them navigate the website easier. The chatbot helps make the website more interactive so each visitor can get quick answers to their queries.
2. To increase sales of your products and services
One of the most exciting avenues for chatbots to exhibit their true potential is within the realm of sales. More people today are shopping online than they ever were before. As a brand, your website will have more than a few products and you do want your customers to go through them all and make more purchases. So how do you make them see all the products, especially since people might get tired of finding exactly what they are looking for or something they might like? Chatbots come in very useful in this scenario. They can act as a personal shopping assistant. Through a series of personalized questions, the chatbots understand what a customer is looking for, what their taste preferences are and based on this information, it offers a curated selection of products for them to choose from. Customers are willing to talk to these chatbots because they sound friendly and most importantly, ‘human’.
In 2016, when Tommy Hilfiger introduced their new collection, they also did something revolutionary; they introduced chatbots for the first time. The bot welcomed users and asked them questions about their favourite prints, the occasion they were shopping for and so on. Based on their responses, the chatbot displayed pieces from their collection that matched the customer’s preferences. If users liked the outfits, the chatbot would direct them to the website where they could actually shop the look. In this way, Tommy Hilfiger was able to guide their customers’ right from the exploration to the purchasing step.
3. To Understand Your Customers Better
Every brand wants to know exactly what type of content their target audience will find engaging. Most times, brands get this information by asking their customers to fill out surveys. Unfortunately, most consumers aren’t willing to go through the tedious process of filling out a long questionnaire. Chatbots are a simpler way of getting to know your customers better in a more interactive manner. Customers are also more willing to give away personal information when they know they are talking to a bot and not an actual human. Chatbots have the ability to store information that the customer provides, keep a track of their purchasing patterns and even understand any difficulties they’re facing with their shopping experience. This helps you optimize your products better to cater to their specific needs.
Harper Collins launched a chatbot that would interact with users and suggest books for them based on their preferences. Keeping track of their customer’s tastes also helped Harper Collins understand what genres to keep well stocked and what kinds of books their customers are reading.
4. To Increase User Engagement On Your Website
A good chatbot can make a customer stay on your website and keep them entertained for a long time. The one characteristic that sets chatbots apart from other forms of marketing is that they are dynamic. Chatbots adapt according to the person they’re talking to and can keep customers engaged in fun conversations. They can also increase the number of site visits by providing your customers with relevant links and information about your products and services.
Whole Foods created a chatbot that would entertain customers and ultimately lead to more store visits. Customers could send a random selection of food emojis to the chatbot and it would come up with a recipe that utilized all of the emojis they had selected. Whole Foods would then ask their customers if they wanted to make the recipe and would direct them to their nearest Whole Foods outlet to buy the ingredients they needed. Users spent a long time on the chatbot purely because they found it a lot of fun. This left a long-lasting impression upon them and increased their overall engagement with the Whole Foods website.
5. To Personalize User Experience
Nine out of ten customers reported that personalization played a huge role when they decided to buy something. Today, digital marketing has been able to reach out to more people than ever before. However, customers aren’t likely to be attracted to your brand unless they feel that you are speaking to them directly. When you are talking to thousands of customers as a whole, how do you ensure that each of them feels like your marketing strategy is directed specifically at them? Chatbots can go a long way in helping you achieve this. When a registered user opens your site, chatbots welcome them by name, in a very friendly manner. Even though users know they’re not real people, the human tone most chatbots have can still make the experience feel a lot more personal. Chatbots can also keep a track of each customer’s previous search history and purchases, which help them, offer product suggestions that are tailor-made for each user.
Ixibaba is a chatbot developed by the travel website Ixigo to act as a personal travel agent to their customers. Ixibaba answers all of their queries, help them find flights, book hotels and discover restaurants near where they are staying. Ixibaba can also keep track of all the places customers have travelled to, helping it customize suggestions for each user.
Over the last few years, digital marketing has played a key role in the advertising and branding of an organization. Apart from uplifting the brand image, going digital also helps in reaching the target audience which, in turn, aids in generating leads and promoting sales.
One such industry that has tried, tested and achieved significant business growth with digital marketing is Real Estate and there is more to come in 2018. The last decade has witnessed a lot of real estate activity in the online space. A lot of property buyers and sellers do vigorous research online before they ultimately make the purchase or sell the property offline. Hence, making sure you have a strong online presence is of utmost importance to make your brand name stand out in the real estate industry.
So, what makes digital marketing such a vital tool for developers and home seekers alike and how is it going to progress going forward? To find out, let’s take a flashback to how it all began.
Real Estate and the Internet of Things
A couple of decades ago, properties were considered a luxury investment. Only the richest of rich could afford the exorbitant prices stamped on the various housing projects. Even the process of purchasing a property was a long and tedious one. Home seekers had to collect and sign an endless flow of documents while also searching for a broker who could strike them a good deal for the desired property.
The Internet of Things has drastically changed the way buyers make purchase decisions. It is now a known fact that online reputation management can make or break your brand. Simple online searches take buyers to their desired property while documentation has become quick and paperless. Access to a multitude of properties has opened the doors for buyers with any financial background to have no hesitation while going for a purchase.
Brokers haven’t lost their place entirely; they have been able to tap into the power of the digital space and give home seekers a more refined and transparent property searching option. The increase in consumer mobile traffic has prompted brokers to bank on app marketing. Few of the trending apps are listed below:
Plabro: Trending in Delhi, this app has a back-end algorithm that shows a user’s preferences and provides property updates based on those preferences. It also shows analytical data on real estate trends.
Smart Agent Connect: Like Facebook for Realtors, this app lets realtors create business circles and take part in real estate deals over a short, quicker timeframe. It also lets realtors create custom websites and provide functions for complete Customer Relationship Management.
While a complete shift from traditional marketing to digital marketing is not going to happen anytime soon, real estate developers have notably increased their digital marketing budget over the past year. In 2015, statistics showed a 25 percent increase in marketing spends across the Real Estate industry, with an estimate of over 600 crore spent on digital marketing alone. One of the factors that influenced the budget increase is consumer behaviour, and with new improved numbers showing up for the forthcoming year, that scale in marketing budget will only go up.
Digital Media Facts & Stats (December 2016)
462 million Internet users
200 million active social media users (over 60% college are college students)
3% of Indians accessed the Internet via mobile phone
The digital marketplace has grown by 33% between 2010 and 2015
77% of online users buy products exclusively on social media
50% of shoppers buy online based on social media influence
74% of buyers rely on influence for making purchase decisions
The sale of physical goods through the digital space amounted to 16.8 billion dollars in revenue
Digital Marketing for Real Estate Stats (July 2016)
14% of home buyers search for tips on how to purchase homes more effectively
42% of home buyers have used the Internet as their first search medium
82% of home buyers trust online agents as good information sources
92% home buyers have searched for homes the Internet
The benefits of digital marketing
Marketing techniques are open to evolve and get better over time. Additionally, if you are an ardent user of the digital space for marketing your products, you know it comes with numerous benefits. Apart from the urban space, digital marketing is evolving in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India as well. Real estate developers are yet to realise these benefits and are only scratching the surface when it comes to taking full advantage of what digital marketing has to offer. Here’s where digital marketing gives real estate developers an edge, with a multitude of digital marketing trends to expect in 2017.
Cost-efficient: Needless to say, there is a lot of money that goes into a real estate project. Digital marketing offers free publicity at comparatively lower pricing to that of traditional marketing, so it’s no surprise that marketers in the Real Estate industry are taking full advantage of the cost efficiency.
Increased exposure: Considering the numerous housing projects that vary in size, location and cost, having a digital marketing strategy lets you expand your overall reach and even customise that reach towards a selected target market.
Performance Analysis: Digital marketing offers numerous ways to keep track of an advertisement’s performance in the competitive marketplace, making it easier for real estate developers to understand what marketing technique works best for their products.
Creative licence: Be it an apartment, independent house, villa or plot of land, there are numerous ways for developers to showcase their products in the online marketplace.
Brand building: To succeed in the vast industry that is Real Estate, developers need a strong and reputable presence. Having online presence is considered the next best brand building technique.
Marketing techniques that work wonders
For any company which is hoping to succeed in the digital space, there are three goals every digital marketer must try and achieve:
Building the brand
Let’s look at some digital marketing practices (in the Real Estate Industry) that will help achieve the above-mentioned goals.
1. Building the brand
Creating an online presence is the first, most important step, and serves as a backbone for all future digital marketing activities. To establish a powerful online presence, Real Estate developers need to focus on creating three things.
Even the design of the website matters as it can make a difference to user experience and one such design that has been making waves amongst the real estate websites is a Flat Design. Flat website designs are categorised by their simple, elegant and square’ish’ look; first noticed in the Windows 8 Tile User Interface. With minimalistic animations and loads of white space, the Flat website design has proven to be effective in page speed loading times, readability, mobile optimisation and ease of navigation.
While a good website design is pleasing to the eyes, it only scratches the surface of what matters especially in the Real Estate sector. A stellar design needs to be accompanied with great content to create an impact. Writing good content that effectively communicates a Real Estate brand’s message and intrigues the user to go ahead for a purchase is vital. Presenting your target audience with engaging content is a sure-shot way to grab their attention and generate leads.
Real Estate is a very broad topic, so to fit everything into a single website, other strategies can be utilised to showcase everything a Real Estate developer has to offer.
Multiple Web pages: Aside from having a homepage that gives a gist of the Real Estate builder’s brand, having multiple web pages that provide more information on the brand and interlink with one another through clever content navigation is essential. More pages ultimately result in users spending more time on the website, which directly affects the website’s rank on search engines.
Landing Pages: Landing pages act as mini e-commerce portals that explain in detail about a particular brand’s upcoming, on-going or released Real Estate project. Landing pages that are interactive or those that have video presentations have proven to yield 403% more inquiries than regular pages.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the glue that holds an entire digital marketing campaign together. As a matter of fact, digital marketers for Real Estate must have an SEO planner right at the beginning of their marketing strategy. From SEO plugins to various link building techniques, the driving force of good SEO, especially for Real Estate, is keyword research.
Statistics show that 80% of home buyers search for properties online which means having a list of search keywords incorporated into a content marketing strategy will pay off well. Potential customers will most likely be presented with search results about a property that has those keywords. Additionally, real estate companies can also leverage local SEO and Google maps to promote their business.
Creating a Blog
When people need help or are looking for something, they do one of two things – seek out a person or a place or browse the internet. Blogging has come a long way from being a casual online tool for storytelling to an essential element of a digital marketing strategy.
Blogs are a long, short or creative source of information and if there is one thing Google loves, it is loads of valuable information. Research shows that websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages. Google recognises and ranks these websites easily due to the information provided, ultimately leading to that site showing up on the first page of search results.
Considering how broad a topic Real Estate is, builders must take advantage of the power of blogging and focus on sharing information to potential home buyers. Blogs that give detailed information on upcoming properties, tips on home buying and guides on investment options are just some of the many topics a Real Estate blog can include.
Having a strong social media presence
The platform of Social Media offers brands a unique way to get more personal with their audience, and it is no different in the case of Real Estate.
There are numerous platforms for Social Media Marketing available today and some of the most useful ones for Real Estate developers include:
YouTube: Videos are, without a doubt, the most watched medium on the planet. Real Estate developers can use optimised YouTube videos to add a layer of instructiveness to their promotional campaigns.
Twitter: This micro-blogging giant has proven to be a rather useful marketing tool in the recent years. Twitter serves as a great platform for Real Estate developers to invite credible 3rd party sources to influence purchase decisions. For more insight on this, make sure you check out our extensive Twitter marketing guide for businesses in India.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the go-to medium for anyone looking to expand their business to business portfolio. Real Estate developers can connect to 3rd party realtors, architects, interior designers, house maintenance providers and so on.
2. Acquiring Customers
Having an online presence won’t be fruitful if your potential customers are not aware of that presence. Real Estate developers depend heavily on lead generation, and digital marketing offers the quickest, easiest and most ROI friendly lead generation method. Here are some of the ways Real Estate developers can acquire customers via digital media.
Advertising online is one of the best ways to ensure you are reaching your potential target Group. If done right, it can be the best lead generation tool for real estate developers. Be it Facebook or Google or even other platforms such as Bing and Yahoo, using lead generation, website conversion ads or even interactive ads to engage with your target audience and collect leads.
As of July 2017, there are 241 million active users in India on Facebook. This is a primary reason why advertising on Facebook is something every builder needs to try. From website conversion ads to lead ads and carousel ads, builders should try a combination of videos and images to drive enquiries and site visits. Facebook also has detailed targeting by demographics, age and behaviour. Additionally, you can also target your website visitors and those you have engaged with your post so that the ad is displayed to a more specific and niche crowd making the probability of selling the property even higher than before.
Ads in regional languages have started rolling out, and marketers have begun incorporating this concept into their marketing strategies to reach out to their target audience. When a potential home buyer reads an ad in his regional language, he develops a bond of trust and comfort with the seller and is more likely to make a purchase, or at least recommend that product to a friend.
With Facebook’s Brand Reach and Frequency campaigns, brands can even get assured visibility and reach, similar to what a front-page newspaper ad gives.
Google AdWords is a paid digital marketing strategy that is run on the Google search engine. Adwords smart display campaigns run strongly through a set of rules and guidelines and work best when incorporated into SEO tools and strategies.
Let’s say a home seeker is typing “flats in OMR” in the search box; if the digital marketer has incorporated the keywords “flats in OMR” along with some other relevant search queries, Google will pick up that ad and display it in the search results. The placement of the ad depends entirely on the budget set for the campaign. You can also optimise your AdWords campaign for profound results.
Drip emails are automated emails that are sent out based on a predefined time or user actions. Real Estate developers can target and constantly stay in touch with a group of people based on certain criteria retrieved from a strong email marketing database. Let’s say that a customer has visited a property website and shown interest by subscribing to property newsletters. Digital marketers can use the information provided by the customer to send emails about the development and completion of the property and news on various other related properties.
Drip emails are a powerful lead nurturer, with statistics showing a 119% increase click-through rate via trustworthy emails.
Influencer marketing is the Internet’s word-of-mouth marketing method and can prove very effective to generate leads for Real Estate Developers. Just like word-of-mouth, influencer marketing uses popular bloggers and other professionals in the Real Estate industry to promote a particular property. Influencer marketing channels include both blogs and social media channels, so Real estate developers must carefully choose the appropriate kind of influencer to market their properties.
Influencer.in provides a one-stop platform for Real Estate developers to search and connect with the best influencers in the country; they can choose from either working on long campaigns with a selected influencer or contacting multiple micro-influencers over various social media platforms to spread the word.
3. Customer Engagement
The age-old marketing rule of getting new customers while retaining existing customers applies in the digital space as well. Of course, the most popular tool for customer engagement today is social media, and Facebook ranks high up on the list, especially for the Real Estate industry. There are a plethora of social media trends benefiting the real estate industry. Here are some interesting ways developers can utilise Facebook and YouTube for customer engagement.
Post real estate investment advice albeit with a funny picture
Post product comparison images and let the followers vote
Post interesting facts about the locality where the property is being developed
Post about celebrity or high-profile activity that is happening in the locality where the property is being developed
Post about festivals and celebratory occasions while adding a twist that relates to a property
Share information about daily real estate activities
Post videos on property interiors
DIY practical tips on home improvement
Live feed of upcoming events that relate to the property
Virtual reality property experience
Case Study: Digital Marketing for a leading real estate developer in Chennai
One of our esteemed clients is a Chennai based Real Estate enterprise which laid its foundations in 2004. Known for providing niche residential segments like luxury villas and high-rise apartments, the company has since produced 68 projects, selling to over 4000 happy residents.
Our client wanted to scale up its digital presence through powerful digital marketing, focusing on five primary goals.
An intense digital marketing campaign followed, running on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google search, resulting in an impressive turnaround that showed:
Over 500 Crores in sales from digital enquiries
10x increase in lead generation
Cost per lead reduction by 30%
Organic Traffic increase by 3x
4x increase in leads from organic traffic
Fan base on Facebook has grown to an engaged community of over 1,40,000 fans
Real estate is the most reliable and secure long-term investment you can make, and the ability to purchase a home will only get easier with newer technologies coming into the digital space, which is capable of giving you a real-time experience of any property right through a screen.
There is no doubt that digital technology has engulfed our world with a blanket of convenience. There is an app in our phones for literally every day-to-day activity, from booking a cab to ordering pizza. However, the lack of storage space and increased consumption of mobile data and time has led to stagnation in the number of app-users worldwide.
To address this issue, websites are now being re-designed with app-like behaviour. Frequent visits to these websites will lead to a pop-up in your phone prompting you to add a direct shortcut to the website in your main menu. The progressive functions of these app-like websites have led to the emergence of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). This new technology has taken the digital world by storm and is here to stay. Social Beat is one of the few digital marketing agencies who has incorporated this technology in our website. Following is an article from Times of India in which Vikas Chawla, our co-founder, has given us a closer insight into the benefits of Progressive Web Apps and their impact on the consumers.
The list was unveiled during the Futurist Business Conclave on August 18, 2017, at the Leela Ambience, Gurgaon. Apart from revealing the reputed list, the event also featured the master class – The Futurist Marketer – hosted by the CEO of Paul Writer, Jessie Paul. The day-long event was concluded with the revelation of the CX100 and Content 100 lists, along with a keynote delivered by Jaspreet Bindra, Vice President, Digital Transformation, Mahindra and Malcolm Frank, EVP, CSO and CMO at Cognizant and Co-Author of What to Do When Machines Do Everything.
With the global internet population at over 3.74 billion and growing at a steady rate, increasing number of customers now make their purchase decisions online and buy online. Businesses the world over have begun to make digital marketing an integral part of their overall marketing strategy and spends. This has led to a massive growth in the digital media marketing services industry which, in turn, has spawned a new demand for trained professionals with knowledge and experience in the field.
With the industry, especially in India, showing an enormous projected growth potential and an expected paucity of trained professionals, many students, graduates and young professionals are looking to get on the digital marketing bandwagon. This has created a need for courses in Digital Marketing to provide the requisite knowledge and training to excel in the field. There are tons of books written on Digital Marketing as well.
To cater to the growing need for these courses, a number of companies and organizations have started various courses on Digital marketing. Digital marketing is a broad field and comprises various disciplines including Display advertising, Search Engine Marketing(SEM) and Search Engine Optimization(SEO), Social Media marketing(SMM), Email Marketing, Mobile Marketing and Affiliate Marketing. Each of these is a field in itself and there are field-specific courses being offered as well. Below is a guide on some of the best institutes that you could choose from.Since this is an extensive article we’ve split it into sections to make it easier for you to navigate and read through.
Short Video Guide on how to select the right digital marketing course in India:
Criteria you should use for evaluating social media & digital marketing courses
Before opting for a digital marketing course online or offline, here are some pointers to evaluate the desired institute or course structure.
Certification: Certification is no substitute for skills learned and hands-on industry experience but, nevertheless, can add to the CV of a fresher making an entry into the field or for a professional looking to make a career switch. Opt for certification courses recognized by various educational bodies and corporates.
Course Curriculum & Faculty Expertise: Gauge the Institute or the course offered based on the curriculum, faculty expertise, training modules and relevance to the current industry trends & practices.
Reviews and recommendations: Check for reviews and recommendations from industry experts & former students through online education portals or discussion forums. Reach out to alumni on LinkedIn/Twitter for their direct feedback, where possible.
Placements: Explore the institute’s placement opportunities or institutional tie-ups for live projects & hands-on experience on acquired digital marketing skills.
Here are some of the popular websites/companies/institutes offering Digital Marketing courses (in no particular order) which will save you a considerable amount of time in research if you’re looking for one for yourself. Please do also read our post on top digital marketing blogs in India as these blogs can help you get started on the learning path.
Manipal Global Education Services is a reputed organisation that offers online and classroom based courses on digital marketing. Their online certification program spanning 30 hours of learning covers various aspects of digital marketing such as SEO, SEM, ORM and Analytics. Those interested in learning Google AdWords and advanced online marketing techniques can opt for their Digital Marketing Professional Program – a joint certification by Manipal ProLearn and Google India, that comprises of e-learning, classroom training and live projects.
TalentEdge provides a Specialised Executive Programme in Digital Marketing from MICA, Ahmedabad, ideal for early beginners and working professionals. They claim to have reached over 8,00,000 registered learners who have benefitted from the live lectures, case studies and content structure designed by MICA faculty & industry experts. Amit Kishore from MICA is the current lead faculty and comes with over 18 Yrs. of experience in strategic media planning & media research in India, Middle East, and West Africa & South East Asia.
Digital Vidya is Asia’s leading Digital Marketing training company and the first to launch Social Media Marketing course series in India. Since 2009, they claim to have had participations from over 20,000 professionals and students, from over 10,000 organizations and institutions such as Philips, Google, eBay, Reliance, Star TV, Cisco, SAP, Naukri, Citibank, GM, Toyota, ITC, CNBC, NIIT, IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Lucknow, in more than 1,200 Digital Marketing training programs conducted by them.
Digital Vidya also offers Digital Marketing (CDMM), Mobile Marketing (CMMM) and Social Media Certification programs (CSMMP) in association with V-Skills, a Govt. of India initiative. They conduct a free weekly digital marketing orientation session for those who want to understand how digital marketing can help them grow their career or scale their business. They also have an active placement cell with digital marketing employment opportunities for their alumni.
Simplilearn is one of the leading platforms for online training and professional certification programs. They have around 30 courses in digital marketing that provide hands-on experience in various Digital marketing domains. Accredited by OMCP, these courses are aimed at helping working professionals & aspirants stay ahead of the digital curve with relevant skills.
Internet & Mobile Research Institute, headquartered in Bangalore is a full-service international digital media training centre. IMRI conducts a one-month Executive Programme course in SEO, PPC advertising, SMM & Web Analytics, a six-month Professional Program In Digital Marketing (EPDM) and a one-year Graduate Program for aspirants to jumpstart their digital marketing career.
The All India Management Association (AIMA) along with Digital Vidya offers a joint Certification Programme in Digital Marketing and Analytics. The major digital marketing tools covered in this course are email marketing, SEO/SEM, pay per click, affiliate marketing, digital display, mobile marketing, online video and social media analytics. Spread over a period of three months, this online course is divided into 6 modules, costing Rs. 36,000 + service tax.
Digigyan, a digital marketing institute based out of Delhi NCR region, offers e-commerce and digital marketing courses and training to students, professionals, entrepreneurs and corporates. The online course is certified by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
How to choose between Online and Classroom courses for digital marketing
Online Courses are generally more convenient for most people, especially working professionals as they can be attended from the comfort of one’s home/office without having to travel to a training centre. The travel might even have to be to another city for those who live in cities where good classroom training courses are not conducted.
Also, with technology having improved, online instructor-led virtual classrooms are as good as actual classrooms, with webinar software allowing for both peers to peer interaction as well as student-teacher interaction. Webinar recordings are also available for those who miss out on sessions.
Classroom programs would only work best for you if you are the personality type that prefers learning in a classroom environment or if you’re not too comfortable with learning in a live webinar format.
Classroom & Offline Courses for digital marketing
For those of you who prefer classroom to online training, here is a list of institutes which conduct digital marketing classroom courses and workshops in various Indian cities:
NIIT Imperia, in association with Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) Ireland, offers a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing for graduates and working professionals at their centres in most major cities in the country. This course is accredited by Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) of Ireland.
Digital Marketing Training Institute conducts a Post Graduate Program in Digital Media Marketing in Mumbai. The course is a one-year, full-time program that focuses on the strategic and practical aspects of Digital Marketing. They have an active placements cell as well which helps course participants get jobs in the digital marketing space.
EduPristine is one of India’s leading training providers for international certifications in Finance, Accounting and Analytics. They also conduct digital marketing classroom courses in 11 Indian cities. The course covers 60 hours of digital marketing classroom training over 12 Sundays. They also have a 48-hour online course spread over 6 weekends. On completion of the course, the participants are awarded a Certificate of Excellence in collaboration with “Microsoft IT Academy Program”.
The Delhi School of Internet Marketing conducts an all in one advanced digital marketing live classroom course for working professionals, business owners and job-seekers, at their training centres in Delhi and Bangalore. They conduct an online instructor-led course as well on weekends. However, they do not seem to offer any digital marketing certification for participants who complete the course.
Simply Digital, started by a group of IIT-IIM alumni conducts digital marketing and big data courses at their centres in Delhi and Gurgaon. They also have a placement cell to help students get internships in digital start-ups & final placements at all levels across sectors.
Learning Catalyst, based out of Mumbai, specializes in niche web/mobile/digital related programs directed towards a wide segment of individuals with marketing, design and tech backgrounds. They have centres in 7 Indian cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad) where they conduct courses of various durations on SEM, SEO, SMM and a 6-week integrated digital marketing program. They conduct an online course on Google hangouts as well.
Digital Nest conducts an Advanced Digital Marketing Training Course in Hyderabad. The course includes 48 hours of classroom training with weekday/weekend classes. They also conduct workshops/seminars and webinars for corporate bodies and educational institutions.
Social Samosa, one of the most popular social media news and information portals in India, conducts workshops and seminars on the basics of Social Media, Facebook and Twitter marketing in Mumbai. These one-day sessions can serve as a primer for those who want to gain a basic knowledge of the space.
Executive Programs & Management Development Programmes on Digital Marketing in India
Most of the courses listed above are best suited for students and working professionals. If you are someone in a fairly senior role who has more than 5 to 10 years of work experience under his/her belt, then it might be worthwhile considering doing an executive digital marketing course.
It’s surprising to see that not many business schools in India are offering executive or management development programs around digital marketing. The few that do exist have been showcased below and we have tried to find a mix of programs that focus on digital marketing, e-commerce and analytics. If you have attended any of these programs please do leave your feedback in the comments below.
ISB Hyderabad has a 3-day executive program titled “Digital & Social Media Marketing Strategies” priced at Rs.1,00,000 + GST. It is specifically targeted for professionals and leaders in the marketing and strategy domain. The program aims to give an overview of digital and social media marketing and how to get ROI from the medium.
IIM Bangalore has a programme called “Digital Marketing for Business Growth” which they conduct three times in their academic year. The programme aims to give an overview of digital marketing with a focus on the different social media marketing channels, search engine marketing (both search advertising & search engine optimization) and digital analytics. So it aims to give an overview of each of the key elements that can enable brands to get better engagement, leads and conversions. It also touches upon analytics and what metrics can be used to measure the performance of the digital campaigns.
IIM Lucknow does seem to have a programme on Digital Marketing by renowned Professor Moutusy Maity. She has done extensive research in e-commerce, m-commerce and CRM so the quality of the programme is likely to be very high. She has worked in the Industry (at Nielsen) and handled clients like PepsiCo and Eveready Batteries so she would definitely bring a practical experience to the table. We are yet to receive more details on the programme from them so we shall update it here shortly.
Great Lakes has a very interesting Post Graduate Program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence for working executives which has a large focus on digital analytics. It is a blended program with classroom & online sessions. It also gives exposure to tools like SAS, R, Tableau. The entire programme is designed by experts in the Industry and the students have to complete a project under the mentorship of industry leaders. It is offered in Chennai, Bangalore, Pune & Gurgaon at the moment.
Hootsuite, one of the most popular tools for social media scheduling and monitoring offers a program called HootSuite Podium covering the fundamentals of social media marketing, with six free online courses. They also offer a paid certification exam, after passing which participants are listed in HootSuite’s public directory of social media professionals.
Hubspot Academy offers a free Inbound Marketing Course & Certification marketers, entrepreneurs and students. They also conduct classroom training but only in the United States.
Apart from the courses listed above; there are various courses available on online learning sites including Google Digital Unlocked, Udemy, Udacity, Coursera and Gyaanexchange. If you are a self-learner keen on understanding the digital marketing space, there are various digital marketing blogs, articles, books and real time case studies available online. You can also join relevant LinkedIn groups to participate in discussions & connect with industry experts.
All said Digital marketing is a field where just taking courses or following the industry trends alone will not make one an expert. Maximum learning can only be gleaned from actual hands-on, on-the-job experience. Hence, the success of these courses will eventually depend on the quality of digital professionals they send into the industry and how well they execute the acquired knowledge & digital skill sets.
Banking on a series of successful editions of Digital Chai Pe Charcha in Chennai and Bangalore, we conducted the first edition of Digital Chai Pe Charcha in Mumbai. We had close to 30 participants comprising of entrepreneurs and marketers from across industries. The topic of discussion was getting ROI from Digital Marketing.
A Landing Page is essential for lead generation and helps in faster conversions.
According to a research done by Buzzsumo and Moz and Video content gets shared the most across platforms followed by Lists, how to posts and Infographics. While creating content, it is extremely important to focus on the relevance of content to the viewers. The content dynamics have been changing rapidly. From images to videos to gifs to VR, there is a wide range of options to experiment with, to create the right communication piece for your audience. Great content is generally considered as content that provides solutions to the viewer’s problems. Thus, research reports, E-books and guides are some more examples of content that can be created to strike a chord with the audience.
Non-branded content helps in gaining engagement. Create content that focuses on the viewer and not essentially on the brand.
Are you looking out for some really interesting, inspirational and power packed events? Attend some of the biggest marketing and digital marketing events in Mumbai that not just inspire but also give you an opportunity to network with the best marketers in the country. It’s an opportunity to listen to the finest in the advertising and marketing field – a forum that stimulates conversations and ideas around design, marketing, digital and more.
Here’s a quick glance into our compilation of top marketing events in Mumbai.
DMAi Annual Conference & Awards is one of Asia’s biggest marketing transformational events. Organized by Social Samosa that promotes the power of collaborative thinking to transform marketing members into change leaders through evolved business strategies. It intends to go beyond Digital Transformation, and unravels breakthrough technologies to help marketers re-imagine the business of tomorrow. This event was first conducted in 1992. This event felicitates individuals for their noteworthy contribution in Data Driven Digital Marketing & Advertising.
Few Highlights of DMAi Awards 2016 (held in Feb)
A week long festival with Interactive sessions simultaneously across 3 cities
New Delhi: Radisson Blu Plaza
Bangalore: Le Meridien
Mumbai: The Leela
Began on February 4th in Delhi with a closing conference and gala awards night on February 10 in Mumbai
Insightful and inspirational talks by leading Global & Indian marketing stalwarts
Exchange4media organizes the Indian Digital Media Awards since 2010. It has always encouraged contributors in the 360-degree digital media space to keep getting better with the transformations taking place in the industry year on year. For this, it recognizes their talents, appreciates and celebrates them through these awards. It has showcased the work of many contemporary digital professionals and rewarded them for their beautifully executed digital blogs and viral campaigns. This event in itself is a huge networking opportunity for every business professional to connect and grow.
The Brand Owners’ Summit is a unique event, which attempts to capture the ‘Stories of Brands Made for India’. It focuses on brands created for domestic markets by local Indian companies and entrepreneurs.
This Summit was organized across six cities in the last 5 years: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. It staged an amazing array of brands such as Adani, Amul, Carat Lane, Centuryply, Faasos, Future Group, HDFC Life, Housing.com, ITC, Kotak Mahindra, Rasna, Reliance, Shaadi.com, Star India, TI Cycles, TVS, Urban Ladder, Yatra, Xolo, Zydus Cadila, and more.
This event is organized by World Marketing Congress and typically lays emphasis on developments in the areas of Mobile Marketing along with other digital channels. This is a great event, in case you are looking to network with high profile industry players such as CEOs / MDs, CMOs, Media Professionals, Marketing and Advertising Managers, top Brand Managers and Corporate Communication Managers. This year it is scheduled to take place on 27th Nov 2017. The main agenda of the conference will feature discussion panels and poster presentations on Ways to maximize the Mobile Platform and Consumer Engagement
Social Beat Facebook Masterclass & Digital Chai Pe Charcha
Social Beat, a digital marketing firm present in 3 cities, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai conducts free events across these 3 cities. They mainly do 2 events:
The Digital Marketing Masterclass: The 2nd edition was conducted in Mumbai on 21st April 2017 in partnership with Facebook India. With a packed audience, the event saw an insightful evening on how to approach digital marketing to build a brand and to acquire quality sales or leads. It covered key points such as Mobile First Marketing, Instagram Marketing, Art of Audience Targeting on Facebook and backed it up with a few case studies. An extremely informative and engaging event that should see a place at the top of your consideration
Digital Chai Pe Charcha: Social Beat conducts a series of free workshops for startups called Digital Chai Pe Charcha, which allows first-time digital marketers to get a better sense of how to get ROI from their marketing efforts. After successful editions in Bengaluru and Chennai, the first one took place in Mumbai in July 2017. This event’s key topic of Charcha was on ways of getting ROI from Digital Marketing and the Charcha went on between entrepreneurs and marketers from across industries which were the major makeup of the audience. Newer and first of its kind strategies were unveiled along with some really interesting takeaways.
Click Asia Summit is Asia’s largest Digital Marketing Summit, which focusses on the digital transformation of business. This Summit follows a hybrid model that presents the speaker sessions and panel discussion together and helps dive deeper into the topic of discussion. Click Asia Summit happens for 2 days in the month of April and speaker sessions usually run for an hour, which allows up to three speakers to deliver a twenty-minute talk in TED-style, followed by an open discussion with the audience. Time = money = learning is the motto of this event. They have 50+ global organization partners, 60+ speakers, 400+global delegates, 50+ media partners across 20+ countries under their umbrella which offers a great deal of opportunity to network with top CXOs, leading marketers in the industry, agency heads, brand managers and almost everyone who are passionate about digital marketing.
Few highlights of Click Asia Summit 2016:
Ayal Steiner, MD of OutBrain for Asia Pacific gave an insight into how content marketing gives a complete picture of your brand story line
Aryan Bonnici, MD of Hubspot discussed the content marketing trends of 2016.
Robert Scoble gave digital food for thought on Entrepreneur in residence.
Exchange4Media group boasts of another event that it hosts, the Pitch CMO Summit. It is considered to be their flagship event which gathers some of the greatest marketing minds to discuss the latest, complex and challenging marketing trends in the global market scenario. Every year, the event is theme-based. The theme for 2017 was “THE AGE OF TRUTH AND TRANSPARENCY- Brand Integrity through Authenticity of Brand Communication”.
This year the event took place on 10th March 2017 at the Grand Hyatt and covered discussions on the challenges posed for marketers on how they should market their products or services in an age of truth and transparency; given the power of social media and word of mouth in the digital age.
This is a grand event in Mumbai organized by the IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India). It is an endeavor towards establishing a great comprehension of the modern methods and mechanics of marketing.
Major Speakers were MDs & CEOs of leading companies such as Group M and Pepsico, top marketing managers of Times Internet, Starbucks, HDFC bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, eBay and Renault amongst others. There were Panelists to take the conversations to another level. The sessions were followed by networking breaks at regular intervals.
Topics of discussion revolved around Marketing in new age Digital India and around the Globe that included:
The new age brand’s marketing techniques that go beyond analysis in numbers
Marketing on Mobiles
Video Marketing as a part of Social Media Marketing
Adobe symposium is one of the biggest Digital Marketing events in Mumbai. This event invites thought leaders in the field of digital marketing to redefine your experiences with Adobe partners. As their marketing promos claim – ‘Take it to another level, soar new heights like never before and extend your digital experience with courses straight from the Adobe Digital Learning Services’. Apart from these, there are several other reasons to attend this conference, including for networking goals. This is the most sought after experience for most digital professionals in today’s utmost competitive era and has been rightly defined as the event “Where digital marketing meets extraordinary experiences.” Every marketer looks forward to make the most valuable connections with their digital marketing pioneers and peers and if luck may have it, then with the digital marketing veterans and Adobe leaders too.
The last Adobe Symposium was on 4th May 2017 at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai and the next is scheduled to take place in 2018. So stay tuned!
Marketing Automation – A solution for countless marketers to customize customer experiences through relevance and personalization. IAMAI believes this is a key to be a successful marketing leader and is the most trending topic of current times. It, therefore, hosts this roundtable event which combines technology with marketing for brands to deliver the most seamless customer experience.
CMOs of leading companies such as Sony Pictures, HDFC life, Netcore Solutions, Angel Broking, Shaadi.com amongst others.
Topics of Discussion:
ChatBots – The Buzzword for the next wave of delivering customer experiences
Audience Targeting for Lead Generation
Make sense of Data for Analytical purposes
Scalability of Personalization of Customer Experience
It is The Largest Digital Marketing Event in India. This conference generally takes place in October. This year it is scheduled to be held on October 18th and 19th, 2017 online. It is a Live Conference held as a response to the massive demand and the huge response it receives. Set your goals straight whether they are primarily aiming to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or even drive stronger consumer engagement, DIGIMARCON INDIA 2017’s agenda will enhance all your marketing efforts through perceptions of innovators and influential people. Pull up your sleeves for the sessions will enlighten you through remarkable insights through powerful talks on ways to build traffic, expand your brand awareness, improve customer service and finally know about today’s latest digital tools. A must attend event that impresses you within 20 minutes, you can afford to miss only to regret later.
An event similar to the Mobile and Digital Marketing Summit yet very different. This one is organized by IAMAI unlike the former, which is organized by the World Marketing Congress. It focuses on the nuances of marketing that work well and are thought to work better in the future on Mobile phones through innovative thinking, improvised systems, and modified technology. The last event was held on 24th September 2014 at the Hyatt Regency in Mumbai.
A niche awards night started by exchange4media in 2016, when it announced its first edition on Aug 31, 2016 at the Hard Rock Cafe, Worli, Mumbai. This event has tried to showcase how content is a pre-requisite for marketers to present their brands to consumers and creatively drive engagement levels. Indian Content Marketing Awards is essentially hosted to recognize and acknowledge the talent, expertise and the hard work of every content developer while cracking breakthrough ideas & concepts to create exceptional brand stories.
This event is also clubbed with a Content JAM conference, which brings content marketing experts from India and abroad to put forth their ideologies and perceptions on the ways in which content consumption is increasing and is imperative in shaping the marketing ecosystem. Primary topics of discussion & debate in the JAM Conference revolve around Content Creation, Curation, Distribution & Measurement. The Jury appointed for these awards comprises of only the top CMOs of industry-leading companies such as Aditya Birla Health Insurance, Girnarsoft (Cardekho, Gaadi.Com, Zigwheels), Abbott Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, etc. The 2nd edition of these awards is coming soon in 2017.
LinkedIn, over the last few years has come a long way from being just a job search portal to a platform for lead generation, especially for B2B and small business. The platform has globally around 500 million users and 42 million Indian users, making it an ideal platform to promote your content. However, with Facebook having a sophisticated advertising platform and ad formats, more marketers preferred Facebook for lead generation. Understand this, LinkedIn recently introduced changes to its advertising methods, making it a comprehensive platform to generate leads. Here is a look at all the changes that marketers need to know.
If you have used the Facebook Ads Manager, using the LinkedIn advertising platform will not be too difficult.
LinkedIn Lead ads
The LinkedIn lead ads are the coolest and newest update that the platform has introduced. It is also the most useful one for any B2B business. You can use the LinkedIn lead forms for your sponsored content and campaigns. It works like a regular ad but when you click on the call to action, it takes you to a pre-filled lead from within the platform, making the entire experience seamless and hassle-free for users. The form is prefilled because the form already extracts most of the information from the user’s profile. With more marketers going the mobile first route, this ad format is an excellent option to explore, especially since it does not take you to a landing page or a website, making the process much faster and easy to navigate on the mobile.
Here is a guide on how to create the lead form ad.
Step 1 – Select the Lead Forms option
Go on to the LinkedIn advert manager and select the preferred language, type the name of the campaign and choose the ad format as, “ Collect Leads Using LinkedIn.”
Step 2 – Choose the content
Choose the content that you would like to promote. You can choose from the available content that you have posted or post new content for your target audience.
Step 3 – Set up the lead form
The next step is to set up the lead form itself. Enter a form name, a headline and other information needed. Treat it as a landing page and give all the necessary information including a powerful call to action to make sure that the user fills out the form.
Step 4 – Choose the fields for the form
The next step is to create the form and you can choose up to seven fields that you want to collect from your lead form including name, email address, job title and phone number.
Step 5 – Thank you Message
You also have the option to set a thank you message and display a URL that can take the user to, once some fill out the form. This can be a landing page or website.
Step 6 – Select the target audience
Selecting the target audience is the most important step to collecting the right leads. LinkedIn gives you the option to choose from a wide range of them based on demographics, job titles, location, industry, skills, gender, etc. Once you have selected the audience, choose the budget and define your bid type from CPC or CPM and voila, your ad is now ready!
Measuring results from the Lead Forms
Apart from giving you the basic information of the cost per lead, LinkedIn also tells you how many people opened the advert, how many of them opened the form and how many submitted as well. You can also download the leads from your form and used that data for future campaigns.
LinkedIn already has detailed targeting options, which allows marketers to target potential audience by the company, job title, etc. However, the platform has now expanded and introduced a concept called matched audience. Matched audience lets you retarget website visitors and add your contact database. This option gives you the chance to target people who are familiar with your business, giving you a better chance of capturing the lead and driving sales. Using matched audience, you can target:
As the name suggests, with this feature, you can target people who visit your website. Make sure you add the LinkedIn pixel on all pages of your website, just like how you add the Facebook pixel and create a custom audience in the tools section of campaign manager.
If you have a database of your customers, with contact targeting, you can add them to your LinkedIn campaign manager and target them.
Account targeting lets you reach powerful people who call the shots within your target accounts. All you need to do is upload a list of target companies to match against the 8+ million company pages on the platform.
Sponsored InMail ads look just like a regular email and present the opportunity to marketers to send personalised messages to their target audience. The InMail ads act as an email marketing campaign, which is sent to the target audience’s LinkedIn inbox, without having to acquire their email ids. The best part about this feature is that it has 100% delivery as the emails are sent only to people who are active on the platform when it is being sent.
InMail ads are a great way to showcase your product, branded content, webinars and promote content downloads such as ebooks and infographics.
With the Sponsored InMail ads, you can target a variety of target audience relevant to your business just like the lead ads. The ads are only sent to a user once in 60 days so it eliminates the question of spam and crowd.
Best practices for creating InMail ads
Keep the subject line catchy
Personalise your greetings and your target audience by their first name.
Use compelling text and visuals
Use a powerful call to action
Use relevant target audience
Why do LinkedIn ads work?
Create awareness about your brand
Reach decision makers – From CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to senior level executive, LinkedIn has all the top decision makers who can potentially see your advert.
Increase the reputation of the brand
Who Should Advertise On LinkedIn?
With more than 500 million users and various ad formats, LinkedIn has become the go-to platform to promote content. If you are a small to medium size business and want to sell to decision makers, LinkedIn is the perfect place to be. According to data, more than 80% of the leads generated for B2B companies come through LinkedIn. From promoting relevant content to showcasing the product, B2B services can create a niche market for themselves on LinkedIn.
Although LinkedIn is synonymous with the B2B sector, we have tried it out for B2C sectors as well. It especially works well for real estate, education, finance, the publishing industry, etc. With the right targeting, a business can increase their visibility and possibly generate leads. Given below is an example of how one of our real estate clients, Mahindra Lifespaces, leveraged LinkedIn lead ads to improve the quality of sales. To promote one of their properties on GST Road, Chennai, they look to LinkedIn lead ad feature to target senior level executives. The ad opened to a lead form within the platform, giving a convenient way for potential investors to contact the buyer. With LinkedIn, Mahindra Lifespaces saw a 5x increase in leads at about 20% of the cost.
Which one of these updates are you trying out for your business? Let us know by leaving a comment.
Over the last decade, digitisation has transformed the travel industry quite dramatically. Gone are the days where travellers visit the counter to make a booking. To plan a travel is now a click away; right from the research for the trip to booking the tickets and hotel accommodation. Driven by digitisation, the travel sector, now an online sector, feels the constant need to build and foster relationships with its customers. This practice provides them with seamless experiences to retain customers and sustain themselves in this competitive marketplace. Since the travel industry is a highly competitive space, it is essential to keep up with the latest trends for greater success.
Here are five most trending digital marketing developments in transforming the travel industry.
Create Mobile Responsive Websites
In today’s fast-paced world, everyone prefers getting information on-the-go. From finding a cab to booking tickets, the internet has taken over our lives and has given us the convenience of getting things done right from our phones. This revolutionary trend has led to the increase of mobile first approach.
Travel companies, too, are making effective use of device-optimized solutions in fresh ways to draw more and more guests towards their travel services. They have observed how users find it a lot easier to Google search destinations or travel portals on their mobile phones or at most on iPads / tablets. They know mobile-responsive websites is the up and coming trend. If your travel company website is not mobile optimised, you are out of the radar and you are losing out on a large chunk of the audience.
A classic example is that of a Business traveller. Business travellers have traditionally made their travel decisions and hotel bookings online. Due to time constraints, they seem to be switching over to their cell phones to do these bookings. These travellers are constantly checking out new, attractive travel packages and affordable hotel stays. They then try their best to align them with business trips to convert their business trips into leisure (Bleisure). They are on the constant lookout for seamless experiences on their mobile phones.
Sterling Holidays one of India’s leading holiday experience companies have optimised their website to connect with their potential customers.
Social Media Marketing
Today’s digital times has seen the emergence of Facebook as a household name. Gone are the days when Facebook was just considered as a networking site to keep in touch with family and friends. It is now a highly effective marketing platform to showcase your product or service. It even has the power to influence users and inspire them to travel and explore new places.
Online research and studies have shown that travel companies that engage with online audiences on Social Media, tend to leverage their brand image more effectively. This leads to an increase in the number of followers, reviewers and influencers which, in turn, results in higher ROI. Travel companies are regularly making their presence felt on influential digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter through creative posts, carousel ads, canvas ads and Call to Action (CTA) ads, depending on the nature of the advertisement.
Let’s take a quick example of Thomas Cook. They run ads with strong CTA that not only reaches out to their target audience and promotes favourable brand identity but also boosts online sales to a great extent.
Your brand too can be a preferred choice for travellers, if you have adequately engaged audiences on your social media pages. Be active on your social media handles to create an engaging post, which inspires your followers to travel. Do not forget to use relevant hashtags to increase the visibility of your brand and make the post go viral in no time. Twitter users generally tend to create a positive buzz around travel brands by sharing good travel experiences.Most travellers today, post pictures while on vacation on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. You can simply repost them on your page to showcase your credibility to prospective targets.
Recommendations work wonders in influencing most people’s spending habits. It can bring in more leads than expensive promotional digital advertising as nearly everyone today wants to check the reliability of the travel services they are planning to purchase online. However, you need to ensure that your services are always up to the mark and are of top quality as a single negative comment can take your entire marketing strategy downhill. Online reputation management can make or break your brand so when such an unfortunate event occurs, the key to spring back up is to respond to the customer immediately and do the needful as quickly as possible. To know How You Can Efficiently Track And Respond To Feedback On Social Media, See Our Detailed Blog.
Personalisation with Big Data – Targeting and Retargeting
Retargeting is a foolproof strategy to generate quality leads for your business. In this technique, travel companies create a custom audience of travellers who have either visited their resorts or posted about their services online. From check-ins to reviews, all the users who have remotely been associated with the brand are clustered into a custom audience. Ads are then generated keeping this target audience in mind. Since these users are already familiar with your brand, converting them into long-term customers is easier than approaching first-time users.
It’s also quite interesting, how booking portals have begun to integrate social media profiles of passengers to offer personalised deals. They use pop-up questionnaires as a medium to ask customers their preferences. The customers too, don’t mind filling up a couple of questions if they were to receive customization in their bookings. Scanning through social media profiles of passengers, to seat them next to people of similar interests on flights, is the latest development. This analysis is usually done at the time of bookings itself. The right data helps travel companies in assessing their customer needs, based on interests, demographics, possible budget range, desired vacation destinations, etc. and ultimately creating a better travel experience for them.
Content is King
Content is the backbone of all the digital marketing efforts undertaken by a travel company. Just like how reviews and recommendations can bring amazing results in generating leads, securing a top rank for your travel website through SEO certainly helps your business grow further and increases your popularity among other holiday companies. Content plays a significant role in SEO efforts in the form of blogs, infographics, videos and imageries. It is important to create content which your target audience will find engaging. As far as travel companies are considered, relevant videos work as the best SEO strategy.
The videos used to market a travel company can feature panoramic views of the hotels (exteriors/room interiors), the amenities offered, local attractions and the things to remember before visiting places, to name a few. These low-cost videos can tell your brand story and can be as simple as white board clips, GIFs, simple animations or even a series of beautiful pictures. Sterling Holidays have attracted thousands of viewers through simple but innovative videos.
Content creation through imagery has also proven to be very effective for many digital marketers. Coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to buy. For instance, Instagram and Pinterest are all about visually appealing content through pictures, GIFs and videos. This resonates well with the travel industry. Akbar Travels is the perfect example of how to make your content stronger to attract more visitors to your travel website. Their Instagram page has a mix of beautifully captured images and GIF videos that are visually appealing. This inspires users to travel which in turn leads to a higher rate of conversion.
Few of the top travel-related searches performed on Google are as follows:
Best holiday packages
Best travel companies
How to travel to a particular destination
weather forecast for today
Best outfits to suit today’s weather
Directions to get to XYZ hotel
If your website, blogs, or videos address any of these concerns, you have nailed it. However, there is a catch here. Curating content is not a one-time effort. Google algorithms change time to time, which makes it crucial to keep your travel website as updated and as optimised as possible to maximise the relevance and generate higher revenues.
Influencer marketing, as the name suggests, is marketing your brands through specialists whose opinions, reviews and testimonials draw the attention of the press and public. Travel influencers are specifically those, who are avid travellers either to a particular destination, specific resort or a type of destinations (mountains, beaches, holy, spiritual places). They also include profound travellers who have a huge fan following on Instagram or Twitter and those whose profiles reverberate with demographics of your target audience. They are paid for curating content for travel holiday packages. Their words are generally taken at face value as their content is constructed to strongly fit in, contextually. If you are looking at using influencer marketing, read our blog on tips for your first Influencer marketing campaign.
However, to ensure that influencers hired to write for your brand are making a mark, it is important that they know what your brand stands for, its aims and objectives and whether your brand reflects well with their style of writing. For instance, if you aim to lure readers into a strong call to actions (CTAs), it primarily will require you to look for an influencer who invites followers to experience the travel adventures for themselves. On the contrary, if you are only inclined towards promotions, you can explore a range of influencers to engage with your brand and post images with captions on your company’s social media handles.
For example, Sterling Holidays were on the look out for an influencer to promote their latest resort in Goa. We approached renowned travel blogger Anuradha Goyal and offered her a two day stay at the plush new resort. She wrote about her memorable time at the spectacular location in her blog and posted the same on all her social media handles.
Though these top five trends are few of the most effective digital trends a travel company can take up, there are a plethora of other strategies which can also be used for a guaranteed increase in ROI. With endless nuances coming up in the online environment, new additions are always welcomed to the existing lists at any given point in time. To illustrate this, let’s take an example of the newest trend that can overwhelm travellers before they make purchase decisions – Virtual Reality. This trend has begun to show its effects in technologically advanced parts of the world and will soon be replicated around the globe.
The e-commerce market is getting competitive by the day, and e-commerce businesses need to find unique ways to build relationships with their customers to create a loyal customer base.
For any e-commerce business, website traffic is the most important segment, and yet it is the most challenging one.
Social media is playing a very powerful role today in the evolution of online shopping. It provides a platform for conversations, reviews, information and expression. An e-commerce business can leverage on the opportunities provided by the social media platforms for their own benefit. According to an article by Magento, 93% consumers turn to social media to help them make buying choices, while 90% say they trust recommendations from their peers.
Several strategies have been listed by digital marketers on how e-commerce businesses can use social media to drive traffic to their website. Listed below are five powerful tactics you can use to embrace the reach of social media for higher benefits.
Smart Targeting and Dynamic Product Ads
Leaving your ad open out there in front of the masses is not such a great idea. Once you have figured out your prospective customer base, you can use targeting options provided by social media sites like Facebook to target your ads to the relevant customer base. Facebook provides you with numerous targeting options based on location, demographics, Interests, device type, etc. It also provides you with features like custom audiences, lookalike audiences and retargeting. Using these targeting options, you will be able to reach your potential customers and engage them more effectively. Smart Targeting will help you increase your ROI on Advertising to a great extent. Dynamic Product Ads can be used to retarget customers who have earlier shown interest in your products or services. To drive more sales across devices, dynamic product ads now provide a lot of flexibility and variety in functionality to e-commerce advertisers.
A classic example would be that of Cathay Pacific Airways. They used dynamic product ads for travel, to reach people who had earlier performed a search on their website. The ads featured an image of the destination city that people searched for to inspire them to act. The ads also included a “book now” button that linked directly to the booking process on the Cathay Pacific website.
Another example is that of eBay. eBay is successfully using dynamic product ads and retargeting to motivate their customers based on the customer’s interest. They connect with their customers by showing them personalised and relevant products in their ads.
Facebook Carousel ads are also a great way of showcasing e-commerce website products. They not only help to showcase the products in detail but, when used creatively, also help drive traffic to the e-commerce websites.
Influencer marketing is the new buzz word and has currently penetrated in the marketing mix of many industries. Mostly food, travel and fashion are the three major industries where influencer marketing is really going up the ladder. Influencer marketing is a newer and organised term for the old-fashioned word of mouth marketing. The way people work through the buying process has changed due to the advent of the internet and social media. People now have become more efficient in their search process, and they look for comprehensive and authentic information online. While associating an influencer with your business, it is important to consider the influencer’s likability, credibility and trustworthiness. Remember that Influencers act as brand ambassadors for the audience and thus the information they put out there should be in sync with what the business stands for.
Influencers can be used in numerous ways: For product launches, reviews, engagement, campaigns, events and so on.
A very good example of this is the Influencer campaigns done by Nykaa.com. Nykaa is an e-commerce store that deals with skincare, beauty and makeup products. Nykaa.com engages with various beauty bloggers and influencers and weaves campaigns with them. Beauty and fashion are two areas where people rely heavily on reviews and opinions of influencers. Nykaa leverages this very well.
Using Product Videos
The majority of online shoppers have agreed to the fact that not being able to physically touch and feel the products on e-commerce websites is their least favourite part of shopping online. This is especially true in the case of fashion and beauty industry. Product images from different angles and views may not completely explain a product’s functionality or provide a proper overview of the product. Videos are the new preferred form of media and e-commerce businesses should leverage on the high acceptance of videos among customers. Ecommerce businesses can use videos to bridge the gap between offline and online shopping experiences. Product videos can help in providing a holistic buying experience to the customer and also provide a clear overview of the different scenarios in which a product can be used. This makes it more appealing to online buyers. Product videos can not only be used on product pages but also on social media feeds of the e-commerce brands as well as part of Facebook or Google ads. Not only can these videos be used for Facebook and Google advertising, but they can also be used for advertising on YouTube. There are several versions of videos that are gaining popularity on social media. A few of them are live videos, 360-degree videos, 30-second videos, time lapse videos, stop motion videos and animated or white videos.
Product videos can be used to introduce a new product and show how the product works with other similar or commonly used products, from the brand, and to encourage conversions from existing customers.
On1y is a food brand that caters to a very niche market segment. It provides spices, herbs and exotic seasoning. On1y uses a lot of innovative ways to engage with its audience on social media and at the same time create a buzz around its products. In the screenshot below, On1y has shared a Facebook live video of a food influencer interacting with customers and cooking up recipes using On1y spices.
Focus on Engagement
Social media for e-commerce is not simply about pushing across products and promotions. Many e-commerce companies fail to understand this. Social media can be used very well for engaging audiences online through high value textual and visual content. Ecommerce brands can find it very tempting to simply fill timelines with product promotions and advertisements. However, social media provides numerous ways by which e-commerce brands can make online shopping a delightful experience for consumers. You can engage audiences through live polls, live videos, user generated content, contests and much more. Topical posts and festive posts can also be used to attract audience attention. To garner high level of engagement, it is important to understand the need of the customers. Understanding this will help brands to curate content accordingly.
Social media can also be used by e-commerce brands to provide better customer service. Nowadays, a lot of customers look for solutions on the internet and prefer quick communication over the internet rather than going through a long phone call. At the same time, brands must encourage satisfied customers to write reviews and rate the products/e-commerce brands. Reviews and ratings go a long way in building a brand’s credibility online.
Content Marketing via Blogs & Infographics
Blogging is a great way to drive traffic to your e-commerce website. It helps your site rank higher in SEO through several internal links and backlinks. Blogging is also a good way to reach out to customer problems and be a problem solver. Most customers search for solutions to their problems online and blogging can be a great way to provide solutions to them. Long form content helps to drive more traffic and definitely helps in higher search page ranking. Blog posts also help to subtly introduce products or promote products in an indirect way. For instance, a blog post on the topic “summer dressing” by a fashion e-commerce site could consist of summer looks using products from the e-commerce site. This will not only create attractive and useful content for the readers but will also serve the e-commerce brand’s purpose of showcasing their products. Similarly, a blog post on “Top 10 budget smartphones” by an e-commerce brand like Flipkart or Snapdeal which sells mobile phones could include descriptions of each smartphone comprising of unique features and direct links to the products on the e-commerce site.
Finally, it is important for e-commerce brands to identify the right social media channels to leverage their brand. Social media platforms, if used creatively and strategically can help e-commerce businesses reach their target audience in a much faster way. The importance of social media has been adequately realised by fashion and food industries among others. However, e-commerce brands can also leverage the benefits of social media by strategizing and creating fool-proof social media plans.