Website or a Blog

January 11, 2009

This had always been a debate through out my experience in Online Marketing & Social Media Marketing. Lot of people are still amused in differentiating a Blog and a Website.

I come across  many people who always keep asking me what is a Blog, certainly they know about a website. I keep telling them, it’s just another website which is available on a shareable domain name such as yourname.wordpress.com, myname.blogspot.com.

Well to justify it. There is absolutely no difference in a website and a Blog. Both are web pages built for certain needs. The only difference is that a website can be customized in any form and then can be uploaded. But whereas, a Blog is a predefined template and can use only the defined features in it.

For new entrepreneurs, Authors, celebrities a Blog is the most ideal tool for online communication. Many clients who are authors, Celebrities do ask me for a website. But I always suggest them for a Blog. It gives all features such as uploading content, Images, Video and many more. Blogs can also be hosted on a defined domain, for further customization to make it look like exactly a website. In fact it is an easy way of launching your online Identity within minutes. Online Search Engine Optimization, formatting of the content, renaming of the images, assigning right kind of keywords, linking, interlinking etc, almost everything is possible. You can even add multiple pages to your Blog to make it look like a website. So what else one does want?

In such a competitive online world, everyone feels that an online identity is must, hence small entrepreneurs can really use this concept to spread their business across the digital space in minutes. Because the new upcoming companies will surely not have the kind of content and topics as seen in the website. Many people are still not convinced with the html page driven website or a Blog, they still feel that a flash based website is more interactive and attractive. But this is not the case any more, nowadays people look for unique and informational content. They no more feel the impact. If one observes, most of the popular sites available online are all HTML, CSS driven sites. Certainly it can attract many search engines effectively, hence also gaining a popular ranking in it. Well creating a Blog is certainly very cost effective and can be done in minutes, without worrying about time, creativity, content. This is has been the most popular concept available online.

I always think that we see it the way we perceive it. But sometimes we should see the logical aspect of it. In India, many people do think that a Blog and a website are two different things. But, it is absolutely not. I hope that all our young and upcoming entrepreneurs do realize this aspect and would identify their ready made online presence available for free. Imagine if this happens, we would achieve a breakthrough in internet communication in India, which is still lacking at times. It is certainly a very cost effective and a convenient tool to use.

But when do we start realizing?

Awareness Drives Sales

January 9, 2009

awareness-drives-sales-digital-communications-digital-marketing-online-awareness-social-media1Recently I had to speak to one client regarding a digital promotion of a book.
As usual, I was pitching will all kinds of explanations, how digital can help you… what kind of tool we will be using to build awareness across the digital space. After all these conversations, the client says “I want 2 lac copies of my book to be sold” Give me an assurity that you can sell 2 lac copies of my book through digital Communications.

I was pretty much surprised with this reaction from the client.

I even took it positively and asked the client that when he is planning to launch the book, “he said – well roughly in 15 days”. I smiled and I said that Digital Communications needs at least 1 month to do the foundation work. In such as short period there is an expectation of selling 2 lac copies. Well I guess nobody knows about this book and about the Author. So It is going be little difficult but we will surely take it as a challenge. But the client kept on insisting about the sale of 2 lac copies. Now this was one of my conversations with one of my clients, which did not turn out to be my client, as he wants to sell only 2 lac copies of the book and make money out of it.

There is a clear and simple logic towards any marketing activity,

“Awareness Drives Sales” – Every marketer knows that without awareness there cannot be any sale towards any product or any service. Similarly in digital Communications nothing can be sold or nothing be absorbed without giving proper information about it. Consumers who are connected to you online are very curious to know each and everything you communicate, and perceive it accordingly. This is the most difficult phase for any marketer at the same time yet challenging, because consumers will have different thoughts and different approach to anything they absorb, naturally comments, reviews & questions will be asked by them and sometimes it is difficult to answer by any marketer, in such a case one needs to be connected with them from the beginning so that one knows about them and how they interact and what is their thought process accordingly they questions, comments can be answered and justified.

Every single step should be planned so that we don’t miss out any kind of communication with the consumer. Similar to any traditional marketing activity a proper profiling, proper communication needs to be established between the seller and consumer. This is only possible if there is any home work done at the sellers end. One should understand that though the digital communications helps any one to reach their consumers directly, but a consumer would not interact with you directly on what you want to offer. In order to achieve that, one needs to be present in all possible ways and build an awareness program initially. Let people know “who you are”, “What is your passion”, “what is your background”, “what is your objective in reaching the consumers directly”. Let people in the web space know about your thoughts about what you feel and about what you think towards your profession, product, service etc. This way initially you will be known to people and then that identity will help you to interact with your consumers. If one tries to offer a product, service etc directly, then there will be no difference between a seller who sells their products without building relationships with the consumers. In this case he will be able to sell his products only once to the consumers… And this would be a bad business practice.

Lot of people doesn’t think about how awareness can drive sales to their company or product. If one observes carefully, only awareness drives sales and nothing else. In short, no sensible marketer will assure a fixed number of sales to any product. But the awareness program needs to be built strategically so that on every step we communicate right kind of information about a product. and also can maintain a record of what is been communicated, so that in later stages we can even review what is been communicated to avoid misunderstandings. In digital Communications, none can sell or talk about their service, product directly until a strong relationship is been established.

And that’s the beauty of Digital Communications. Infact using Digital Communications means connecting your consumers directly without any mediators between. So that gives the answer to all queries in Digital Marketing

Okay I have a website. www.killerdrama.com.

That’s it. Hey you know I have a website. Oh wow. Its on my cards also. Oh that’s cool.

 

So what does your website speak about? Well it speaks about my company, my company, my company, my services, and my services my services. Oh that’s amazing… Cool.”

 

This is the current scenario of each and every website in India. Especially, mid segment industries and some large scale industries. They have never considered their company’s website to be a communication medium. So we see so many websites which are just not updated. Certainly they will only update their website if they are participating in any exhibitions or if they are getting into IPO.

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But the fact lies many people don’t realize the importance of having a website and how can it be a powerful tool in the current Digital age. Most of the sites I have come across do not have updated content and nothing to interact with users. This is the biggest problem in Indian sites. Nothing to blame anybody but I am sure now people will start realizing the importance of updating and maintaining a website. As mentioned in my prior articles, I have clearly mentioned that even to manage a social media strategy or a campaign one needs to have clearly defined website to route all the necessary communication through the additional platforms in Social Media.


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Many websites in India are still not Search Engine Optimized and many sites are completely flash based and no proper web standards followed. Such as correct use of CSS for defining the content formatting and navigation, no proper naming for the images used, no proper linking, no Meta tags, descriptions and titles defined for individual pages, we still find broken links in many websites. No proper Key word rich content and especially there are no further developments in the website even if it more than a year old. Being a web professional and a digital Professional, I always suggest in redeveloping the website every year and content updations at least every month. Lot of my clients do ask me that I want my site to appear in the first page of Google. Yeah, certainly it is like opening a box of sweets and having it. Not at all sir!

 

One needs to do lot of planning on developing your website, just as a clearly defined strategy is developed for marketing or promoting a product or a brand. The same kind of seriousness and strategies need to be thought in developing a website. Many people do think that a creative agency that is well versed with Photoshop, CorelDraw and other designing tools can develop the website on fingertips. Well I certainly never try to participate in that conversation. This is not about other countries, but certainly this has been a practice of Indian Marketers. Of course, there are examples like TATA, Reliance, Airtel, sunsilk gang of girls, eclerx, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and many more. I am certainly talking about companies who might not be as big as these, but one needs to realize that how important a website is in current scenario. The entire digital Marketing revolves on a website. Whether it may be SEM (Search Engine Marketing), PPC (Pay per click) and the powerful social media.. Driving good amount of traffic is very much possible through these tactics.

Certainly as the technologies of Web 2.0 are getting evolved, there can be so many things added to a website, such as discussion forums, polls, rating, online chat etc. and many more interactive elements can be added. Does anybody know that the most important section one could see is the Media centre, where we upload press releases, financial data etc. This is the most important section of any standard website. Your website can turn out to be an online press release which directly reaches your consumers. But these press releases should be written keeping all possible keyword in the mind and incorporate it accordingly. For any website the content is very important and one needs to make sure the content is been optimized as per to the search engine standards. Lot of people also prefer paid search marketing such as buying few keywords and promoting the site. But I would consider it as non-credible marketing, where you are forcefully driving people by promoting ads on Google and other possible place. What I always suggest my client is to always rely on natural search as it gives a more accurate and credible traffic to the website. Regular updations and regular changes in the content gets better visibility on search engines. To see it happen, one need to take necessary steps to do it.

 

If it is online then you need to have a well optimized website compulsorily and no one can have any possible excuses for it.

 

My next post will be on monitoring your website and other social Media presence.

Social Media Evolution

December 23, 2008

Social Media evolved because of Google’s new search model. I don’t know how many people in India are aware of this. I guess very few people know about it.

Even if people know about it, I would still request everybody to read it patiently as it has other connections to it.

Let me start with Search Engines. Google is the most popular & the best possible search engine available currently on internet space. There are other search engines such as yahoo, msn, ask.com but not as popular as Google.

Earlier Google used to search only WebPages & Documents. Ever since Google improved their search model, it can now start searching WebPages, PDF, Video, Audio, Images documents such as word documents, PPT, RSS feeds etc.

Now this might help you to link to my older posts. Why Social Networking, blogging, video sharing, photo sharing, social news are popular because all these are searchable in the new Google search model. And we all know that how many people rely on Google for information. Right from the product to the personality we are totally depended on Search engines.

Naturally, your profiles, videos, audio, documents can be searchable through easily. Hence Search Engine marketing such as bidding of keywords, sponsored links need not have to be taken seriously. The only important one must follow is to be present and active on these platforms in terms of Participation, conversations, updations etc. So why not take advantage of it and adopt best possible online marketing tactics

Lot of people in India does not know about how these platforms appear in Google search engine in your regular searches. Hence may not be able to connect themselves with the new media. The fact is all these Medias are so popular now that if you have a profile or a blog on any of these social media platforms, they start appearing in Google.

Now doesn’t it sound interesting?

Digital Marketing has tremendous potential in India. Provided one should be a smart marketer to understand and start using it. Especially during this recession, one needs to think smart and use this media as an advantage as it cuts down you advertising budgets drastically.

By writing these posts on Social Media in Indian Scenario, I am trying to build a connection between the traditional media and online media. So, our Indian marketers understand it quickly and are the first one to use it and create their long lasting existence.

Abroad most of the brands spend only on social media marketing and other digital Marketing methods.

My next post will talk about the current PR and advertising media and how it has been helpful to us for so long & what are their loop holes and how social media acts as a superior media to it.

Friends I am not using any technical words in all my articles just to avoid creating confusions. My articles are purely for any layman to understand how can digital media be a one stop solution for marketing and communication about their products, services, individuals, entertainment, Non government organizations, schools, Exhibitions, Logistics, Churches, Trusts, small entrepreneurs, Niche verticals, such as commodities, engineering etc.