Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Why Digital Marketing Is a Better Platform for Your Brand

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 05:01 with 1 comment
Digital marketing uses online distribution channels to advertise products and services to a target audience. Nowadays many companies and entrepreneurs are beginning to rely on digital platforms as a safer bet. The rise in marketing spends for the digital medium is increasing exponentially and is becoming the preferred choice for brands to launch their campaigns.

There are numerous advantages to launching advertisement campaigns on digital platforms, which are as follows:-

  • Feedback: Digital marketing helps companies get better feedback on their campaigns. It facilitates two-way communication between companies and consumers. This allows companies to have an interaction with their consumers rather than a one way broadcast.


 

  • Advertising to a target audience: Digital marketing is undoubtedly the best platform to advertise to the youth. Research has shown that the youth of today spends more time on the Internet than any other mass media. This form of marketing helps connect advertisers to the youth as well as other digital savvy parties, thus creating a two way medium that has a higher level of involvement. If consumers like the campaign, they share it. This works on the principle of “word of mouth”, a concept that does not apply much to TV and print media.


 

  • Cost effective: Thanks to the option of digital marketing, companies can make changes to their campaigns before investing heavily in other advertising channels. It has also helped companies gain immediate insight into consumer sentiments and effectively target the right audience. This in return has reduced media waste and has aided in decreasing costs.


 

  • Originality: Most consumers are still not accustomed to seeing advertisements on digital media platforms; therefore, the mere originality of this form of media appeals to people. This also helps generate awareness about the product or campaign.


 

The growing use of smartphones, broadband and social media has spurred brands to reinvent their marketing strategies in order to increase their campaigns’ reach and effectiveness. Not only does digital marketing increase the reach and cost-effectiveness of advertisement campaigns, but it also helps to make them more personal and relevant to consumers.

 

 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Digital Marketing Tips for Insurance Agents

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 03:27 with 100 comments


The digital age has taken the insurance industry by storm. Over 85% of all insurance buyers use online research to purchase insurance. Digital marketing has changed the way we keep in touch with and are identified by potential customers. It is by far the most efficient client-acquisition tool. If you can’t be found on the web, you stand to miss out on enormous potential growth.

It is important that insurance agents understand how digital tools can be utilized to attract new customers. It can also be used to strengthen relationships with existing customers through social media marketing, search engine optimization and Internet marketing. Despite the fact that digital marketing tools are an ideal fit for insurance agents, they are scarcely being used due to lack of time or expertise. A few simple steps can be undertaken to start an effective digital marketing strategy. They are as follows:

  • Invite questions: Since insurance is something everyone has questions about, a great way to gain the trust of potential customers and to increase their awareness about your product is to start by inviting questions. This can be done through blogs, social media, or on your website.



  •  Answer them for free: People are always looking out for the occasional freebie, and answering their questions for free helps to build trust and is also a great endorsement of your abilities.



  • Offer advice: Since the main aim of digital marketing is to attract potential clientele, offering valuable advice increases the likelihood that people will come back to you in a professional capacity. People are constantly researching insurance policies online and a great way to capture the bulk of that research traffic is to have informative blogs, whitepapers and other such resources on your website.



  •  Social media optimization: A great way to be proactive is to start by sharing your content widely across social channels and creating new blog content every week. You can either do this by employing a digital marketing company who can do this for you or devising a strategy and starting once you are ready.


 

The insurance industry is evolving constantly and it is time to adjust your marketing strategy before you are left behind.

 

 

 

Friday, 2 November 2012

How a Proper Marketing Plan Can Help One Achieve Maximum Efficiency?

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 01:09 with 2 comments
Marketing Plans

Marketing gurus around the world will tell you that without marketing and advertising one cannot get anywhere. These campaigns play a vital role in establishing the identity of a product and in making it a brand anyone can recall at the drop of a hat. As a matter of fact, no matter its size, every organisation is aware of the level of competition it faces in the marketplace. So, what are the best tips one needs to follow to achieve maximum target market infiltration via marketing campaigns? Let’s look at the ones listed below:

Bull’s Eye:  The first and most important thing you need to do is create a niche for yourself. Target the right kind of audience that suits your product and you can never go wrong. The basic idea is to persuade your target audience to choose your products over your competitors’. Make sure that you understand who your audience is and what they want from you, before you try to sell anything to them. This in turn will increase your sales and profits and help you flourish in the market.

Right Channel: Don’t over think when it comes to deciding the means of reaching your target audience. Figure out which channel would be the most effective means of gaining their attention. For example, there is a vast difference between the types of audience for a direct mailer campaign and for a social media campaign. Similarly, a combination of both would appeal to a completely different set of people. You can use research data to figure out the channels that your target segment is most likely to pay attention to.

Establish yourself:  Unless people know that what you offer can be of benefit to them, they won’t opt for your products. Hence, establish your credibility via various methods. For instance, you could write articles for the foremost industry-related publications. You could also give out catalogues and brochures which answer FAQ’s or maintain a blog that features similar literature.

Be honest:  They say what goes around comes around. So if you want people to trust your organisation and its products and services, make sure that you are trustworthy and honest in all your endeavors. Once you have lost your reputation by being dishonest or cheating someone out of their hard-earned money it is very hard to build a name for yourself again.

Ingenuity and research go hand in hand when it comes to converting a potential customer into a consumer. Be very thorough while designing a marketing plan. Unless you pay the utmost attention to details like imagery and language, there is a good chance that they will completely ignore your product, since it didn’t make much of an impression on them. Plan properly and success is sure to be yours! All the best!

Monday, 24 September 2012

5 Points to Consider Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 00:23 with 3 comments


If there ever were a question that we would choose to headline our FAQ section, the one above would be it.

Over the years, this single query has struck a common chord across the length and breadth of our client list. Having said that, however, our personal experience with some of the top brands throughout the market capitalization spectrum has led to a startling insight about businesses:

Hardly a handful of brands out there have a fair idea about how to choose a digital media agency!

In such a scenario, the decision to hire a marketing agency that operates exclusively in the digital domain has to be the result of a well thought-out process. Here are five pointers that will be helpful in making that decision:

1. Commitment:  Digital marketing is not a flash in the pan phenomenon. It is an experience that’s best had when immersed. Unlike the piecemeal campaign approach of yesteryear's, digital marketing is about doing things in a more cohesive manner. So a firm better be prepared to introspect and ascertain whether they’ll be willing to put in their everything when they decide to go digital.

2. Road-Map: Clueless minds are obstacles on the pathway to progress. Before speaking to a digital marketing agency, formulate a road-map of the goals that are expected from such a move. Even a rough-cut would do, as it offers the agency a chance to formulate a more complete solution. This is better than taking shots in the dark.

3. Money Talks: For digital greenhorns, it may often be a hazy prospect to assign numbers to the venture. Having a range in mind in such a scenario would often set the ball rolling on the feasibility and scope of the promotional initiatives that are expected to emerge later on. The better digital agencies out there will always be around to assist and guide in these matters, so the budget need not always be set in stone at the beginning.

4. Employee Involvement: For any promotional endeavor to truly flourish, it is imperative that the organisation’s employees be involved. This means that each and every employee in the company must be convinced of their brand representation skills. Enthusiasm and a keen backing from the management go a long way in making this happen.

5. Stakeholder Approach: The very nature of digital marketing lends itself best to setups that are agile in their approach. Thus, forging a sound, strategic partnership is preferred over simply signing them on as service vendors. Support has to come from both the agency side as well as from the client for the partnership to truly succeed.

At the end of the day, digital marketing is a continuous process. There are multiple examples of brands using this gift to wonderful effect. If you’ve got something to add to what’s been said above, feel free to head over to our comments section and help spread the knowledge.

 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Critical Success Factors in Digital Marketing for Small & MediumEnterprises (SME’s)

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 02:43 with 9 comments


The Marketing strategy in its modern version is a seamless blend of the offline and online promotional initiatives. Each element is designed to ebb and flow in complete synchronization with the other. This is also a dynamic approach. The strategic projections are constantly changing and brand success in the competitive business scenario is directly linked to the continuous and optimum usage of such approaches.

Here are Three Interesting Statistics to put things into Perspective:

 

  1. 9 Out of 10 People searching for products and services online tend to use popular search engines like Google, Bing and so on

  2. Trust perceptions among 80 % of people tend to be higher for businesses that have an online presence

  3. 5 out of 10 people also conduct their own background research to verify the claims made on the website


 

Thus, the success of any strategic initiatives in the Digital Marketing Domain depends quite heavily on how good the ‘Website’ is.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s), everywhere, are starting to wake up to the potential enormity of the gains online. This sentiment was found to be running true at a poll run by Bord Gais Energy. The respondents of this poll were members of the Small Firms Association (SFA) that had gathered for a free “Business Bytes" seminar on digital marketing.

The poll threw up some interesting trends. Chief among those being the ones listed below:

  • 75% SME’s preferred to let in-house teams manage their digital marketing initiatives



  • Over half of those polled had assigned a specific staffer to spearhead their efforts in this field



  • They alternatively preferred an industry specific training course if no such staffer could be assigned



  • Almost 60% of SME’s had an Ecommerce based website



  • 20% had their sales being funnelled in from clients based outside their country of operations



  • Social Media Platforms like (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc.) were the second most popular method of establishing an online presence



  • Linked In was rated to be one of the most promising brand outreach platforms by 70% of those polled



  • Email Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), E-Zines & Blogs were the other platforms preferred by SME’s



  • Most businesses consider digital marketing to play an important role in their market success strategies and they are ramping up ad-spends in response


Thus, Product & Service Innovation, Social Media Engagement, Secure Payment Gateways and a solid, backend presence are all important for Brand Success in the competitive business environment.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Adwords, Promote Your Posts and the real value of the Digital MarketingAdviser

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 06:49 with 3 comments
The race to grab the lion’s share of those elusive eyeballs has been heating up in recent years. The two dominant players in the game have been upping the ante, firing salvo after salvo at each other. Both Facebook (the world’s most popular social media platform) and Google (the undisputed king of all things search) have been locked in this high intensity battle.

The Rankings Game:

For years, savvy marketers have been deploying Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics in a bid to stay ahead of the competition. Every brand worth their reputation is engaged in a never ending game of rankings where the higher one goes, the better are the revenues. With, Social Marketing has been creating all the right buzz around the digital world and everyone has been keen to get their share of the pie, it was only a matter of time before the battle shifted here.

Advertising and the art of revenue generation:

Since the beginning, Facebook has been hard pressed to prove its worth as a revenue generating advertising platform. As it continues to grow in popularity and the world starts to revolve round likes and follows, dissent has been springing from the shadows. Just recently, the top automobile manufacturer – General Motors announced that it was pulling the plug on its advertising spends on Facebook. This came as grave news for the social media giant as it put a severe dent in its assault on Google’s hugely successful Adwords program.

Promote Your Post:

Seeking ways to stem the hemorrhaging, Facebook recently announced the launch of the ‘Promote Your Post (PYP)’ feature. Leveraging its advantage of being the gatekeeper to the vast amount of personally identifiable information of its billion plus members, the giant has chosen an interesting path. As per the information available, Promote Your Post functions around the fact that a promoted post wont just reach the followers of the promoter, but also the friends of their followers. This ‘revolutionary’ feature is said to offer a highly viral way of improving the reach of the brand under promotion, thereby giving maximum bang for the buck.

Standing Tall (Google Adwords):

The verdict is still out on the real-world effectiveness of this new feature. Especially considering that it appears to be a social take on the Google Adwords program. Such approaches and announcements are becoming rather common with each passing day. It is leading to what is being called as a marketing information overload. As brands grapple to understand which side they should play on, they are losing valuable time and money during the convoluted decision process. Priceless resources that’d be better off being deployed towards adding to the revenue bottom line.

Advisor, Friend and Guide:

It is where the value of a quality advisory partner is coming to the fore. Digital marketing advisors are perched at a perfect vantage point, to take stock of the situation. Through their years of experience and talented army of trained personnel, they are poised to perfection in their role as an advisor and guide through the marketing quagmire.

So the next time someone boasts that they don’t need the services of a dedicated marketing advisor smile politely and walk away. It is no point arguing with a fool, for they will only pull you down to their level and then beat you at it!

Click! Click!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Banks and the Digital Marketing Conundrum

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 06:25 with 4 comments
Let’s admit it, one of the first thoughts that come to mind when thinking of advertising by banks and other financial institutions like credit societies, is that of suit and tie bankers exhorting everyone to become their customer. Even as the world has been going digital and with the institutions too following through, somehow, they have limited themselves to the technical aspects of things. Marketing, especially in the digital domain has been restricted on a major part to promotional containers that are otherwise known as banner ads. This has been the case for all but the big guns in the industry, which have had the resources necessary for a full blown digital marketing blitz at their disposal.

All things D:

For many out there, the digital initiatives have not expanded beyond their core website. However digital today encompasses multiple platforms that exist in the online world together with the various handheld device categories. From acquiring new customers to retaining the already existing ones, any marketing activity carried out in the digital domain falls under this. And this is usually the point where savvy marketers start to realize that digital marketing is in reality a sub-section of the whole promotional paradigm. Just as conventional marketing aims revolve round the building up of excitement, engagement and loyalty from customers, so do the digital aims. Those on the lookout for differentiating factors would be well served to look in the direction of the technological role and its influence over the execution of marketing initiatives.

Tech Strides:

The past decade has seen an entire generation of people being tagged as early adopters of all things tech. As the numbers start to swell, so do the expectations that their brands similarly embrace the technological advances as quickly as they do. It therefore makes for a prudent judgement to get onto the tech highway rather than risk losing out and get left behind in the dirt of obsolescence.

Error Correction:

The thing about errors is that everyone makes them; even the most successful firms out there have made their share of mistakes over time. Marketing and especially the digital domain is no different. Retail giants, production majors, banks and the lot, they all have their share of ‘experience’ it their kitty. But just because they can’t be fully eliminated doesn’t mean that one sits back and does nothing to prevent them from occurring. Especially because a great majority of these errors are avoidable in the first place!

Silo-Free Zone:

It saddens us to no end when we come across artificial silos being created among the marketing division at many firms. Marketing, whether in the conventional or the digital iteration, can be most effective when there is a seamless exchange of information and ideas. Putting up barriers to appease the misplaced notions of divisional hierarchy and protocols actually ends up preventing organizations from realizing their true marketing potential.

Lining up the Sights:

It could be that game of darts or a session of target practice, what matters is getting it closer to the bull’s-eye. Every business worth their binaries has a website these days. Many put up a reasonably good effort but then let it go downhill from there. The website is soon neglected, like a castaway that is of no real value. The truth couldn’t be further away from that.

Corporate websites are the digital outposts of businesses and indeed, the first lookout for information searches are made on them. While Facebook posts and tweets are great, the first property to be updated must ALWAYS be the company website. Unfortunately, those in the financial sectors either relegate their websites to the bottom of the updates hierarchy or end up creating an informational nightmare. Bestowing the title of an investment on a website and restoring it to its rightful pride of place is the best way to stem this rot.

Collection, Measurement & Analysis Cycle:

The verdict may yet be out on the pros and cons of Google’s free analytics program over the other enterprise options available in the market. But what successful firms vouch for, is the rich data being generated by visitors to the website. However, one can accumulate data by the terabytes and yet be clueless about its significance. This is commonly found in businesses who do not know the ‘what and whys’ of data collection in the first place. Thankfully, they can mount their own rescue ops by identifying the Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s. While the website performance indicators for each business would be different, there are a few key ones that need to be mapped across all sites. These include:

  • Percentage of New vs. Repeat visitors

  • Number of pages viewed in total by each visitor at every instance

  • Pages viewed by new visitors and the time spent on each one of them

  • Pages from where visitors tend to quit the website

  • Total number of instances where visitors leave after visiting a single page (Bounce Rate)

  • Pages featuring details about the products and services on the site and the amount of time spent on them by new visitors


Besides these, from a financial services point-of-view, it is important to track the percentage number of pure visitors to the inquiries generated from the site. The branch locator page too is another parameter that should be looked into.

The ‘Click’ Factor:

When people talk about getting onto the social media ad campaign bandwagon, it is imperative to check if they’ve leveraged the most powerful ad network out there – Google. Its AdWords program is indeed the leading product in the market and by a huge margin at that. While others are struggling to play catch, it is still some time before anyone is going to get close to this behemoth. The paid search platform offers a highly effective way to get the message across to the right type of audience. These ads can be tailored to target on the basis of an extremely detailed set of parameters ranging from demographics to geo-political preferences and pretty much everything in between. To top it off, the costs involved in leveraging this highly potent tool can start from a couple of cents per click and go up to a few dollars, depending upon the bidding. But do ensure that the budget’s in place for the campaign. One of the worst things that could happen would be to run out of funds, just as the clicks start to pour in.

Parting Shots:

At the end of it all, there is no single approach to marketing supremacy. We are all part of the learning curve, albeit, for some it appears steep, while some find it to be smooth runnings. That said, a watertight website and a finely tuned paid search campaign are sure to go a long way in ironing out the bumps. The choice though, is yours to be made!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Unpardonable Sins of Digital Marketing Strategies

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 00:39 with 19 comments
Savvy marketers worth their metrics are faced with the never ending dilemma of choosing the best toolset that’ll help them achieve their business goals. The onslaught of digital media has only served to thicken the plot. Conventional display banner ads, social media habitats, reputation bombs, it’s like a mine-field out there. As if the complexities of running a business weren’t enough already, marketers have to pick and choose the best approach even as the goal posts are moving constantly.

Mistakes are not that uncommon in a dynamic scenario such as this and some even go on to help uncover invaluable business insights. But there are a few alleys that no self respecting business should ever be visiting. The Unpardonable Sins of Digital Marketing Strategies are a welcome reminder of the dangers out there and how important it is to avoid them.

Tracking correctly:          

One of the biggest virtues of advertising in the digital medium has been the precision with which visitor interactions can be tracked. But most businesses limit themselves out here. They fail to realize that it isn’t enough to get visitors. It is one thing to attract a large number of visitors and another to figure out, who among them is adding to your bottom-line. This is why, it is important to track not just the impressions, but also the conversions in particular. Such an approach helps to sift through and weed out the ineffective elements, thereby strengthening the marketing strategy further.

Targeting Spread:

Marketers that take to the digital wave, often make the mistake of spreading the net out into the distance. While this is good as a standalone practice, one would be surprised to know the potential that may lie, right below their very eyes. There is often latent demand among the captive audience on the local scale and businesses often fail to capitalize on it. Some argue that the very premise of digital marketing is to widen the audience base and it is true to a large extent. However, this does not mean that one should ignore the local demand. Marketing strategies must evolve in ways that allocate resources in areas with the highest demand, irrespective of whether they are close or far.

Hoisting the Flag:

The popularity of organic searches is leading the change in search engine rankings and businesses that deploy their entire arsenal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) weapons are the one that stand to benefit. And when it comes to stockpiling weapons for the arsenal, ‘Google Places’ ranks at the top of the charts. Any business worth their reputation should hoist their flag on this amazing outpost and claim their dues with respect to what is being said about the business.

Happy Landings:

Designated landing pages have been one of the preferred tools that marketers use to drive up traffic to the site. As has been discussed above, conversions are the key and efforts that simply drive up the visitor numbers is, more often than not, an exercise in futility. Site Usability audits go a long way in helping to map, analyze and offer solutions that should provide ways in which the conversion rates can be improved.

Effective Handlers:

So you’ve put in the efforts, managed to avoid the pitfalls discussed above and are now reaping the benefits in the form of increased interest from potential customers. All this will come to naught if the back-of-the-house personnel decide to fire away according to their own whims and fancies. Standardized operating procedures governing each and every step of the lead handling process go a long way in offering a consistent and stable response to each, individual inquiry, thereby improving the chances of doing business.

Publicity:

Some famous personality once said that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Hate to prick that balloon but word-of-mouth publicity is proving to be a potent tool that can make or break a business in this increasingly connected world. Impeccable customer service is no longer just another buzzword but, it has in-fact, transformed into the critical piece of the profitability equation.

Bouquets and Brickbats:

A customer who is happy with a product or service may or may-not choose to talk about it. However, he/she will tom-tom it to the world if they have to, if indeed, the provider has faltered in the delivery process. This is the harsh reality of the world that marketers face everyday. Reputation and goodwill that take decades to build up can be shattered in a matter of minutes, hours or days. The near-instantaneous sharing capabilities of the online habitat mean that news and especially the bad news will travel like wildfire. This is why, responsible marketers prefer to take charge of the bouquets and brickbats in the digital domain and improve ways in which the good things can be amplified even as the brickbats are handled in an effective manner.

The verdict on the Return on Investment for digital marketing strategies may still be under evaluation but few marketing managers would ignore the importance of putting their best foot forward. Brand success is increasingly becoming a technical challenge, one that needs to be met head-on, albeit in a well prepared manner.

 

Monday, 28 May 2012

Email vs. Social: Making sense of the Digital Media Divide

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 00:26 with No comments
As the race for marketing supremacy went digital, brand managers around the globe took off at a blistering pace, trying to establish the next outpost on the digital domain. Resources were allocated and spent without batting as much as an eye-lid as everyone was caught up in the frenzy of chasing the next shiny thing.

A fear of sorts seemed to have formed a firm grip over them all, a grip that constricted their strategic think-tanks and afflicted them with tunnel syndrome. It appeared to prevent them from focusing on the very basics of brand strategy, the very foundation on which one builds the edifice of a brand that has the unwavering trust of its fans.

The lure of the social media life and it’s so called phalanx of ‘benefits’ has failed to hold ground with at-least one particular brand. Just as things appeared to be reaching a fever pitch, the largest automobile manufacturer in the U.S. – General Motors sprung a surprise on everyone. It announced that it was pulling the plug on ad spends across Facebook. Having been pretty much the advertising platform of choice for brands big and small, this single announcement has shaken everyone up from their reverie and got them to rethink their decisions. As the first serious cracks in the digital bubble make their appearance, brand managers are starting to wonder about the alternatives.

The urge to come up with the next best thing has so enslaved strategists, that the solution (s) they seek might be lying in plain sight, yet somehow have failed to recognize it for its benefits. For long, the humble email had held pride of place in the savvy brand manager’s arsenal. Most brands have been running email campaigns for a long time and have reaped the benefits of having built up a captive and loyal fan base. But as the glitz and glamour of social media took over, email marketing got relegated to the sidelines. Marketers, instead of ploughing more funding into this lucrative option, chose to side with a vehicle whose return on investment figures are still rather hazy.

In-fact, recent surveys are pointing out to a 30% contribution factor for email marketing, to the company bottom-line. A performance this solid and dependable is only but a distant dream for the digital upstart.  Most brands admit that they do not have a dedicated team of resources for email marketing initiatives and manage to allocate a shade less than sixty minutes out of the entire day to such activities. This far, a majority of email marketing initiatives have taken the one-size-fits-all route to click-through-rates.

To get closer to those coveted conversion numbers, marketers are going to have to go personal. Brands need to take into consideration the quality and strength of the relationships that are built through sustained email marketing efforts. All that is required are a few directed efforts at personalizing the message and fine tuning it to suit the interests of pre-selected groups, in a way that each one is delivered an individually customized experience. Thus, market segmentation tactics that take into account the multiple needs of a diverse range of customers hold the key to achieving those desired results.

With Social Media still at the early stages of development, brands would do well to shake off the lure of ‘likes’ and ‘follows’, and focus more on strengthening a foundation that has existed for years.

More reason why, the time seems ripe for Email Marketing to begin its next onslaught and show the upstarts what it’s all about.

 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Top Digital Challenges that Marketers face today

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 04:41 with No comments
Today, more and more marketers are switching to digital and keeping aside a lot more for digital compared to the past decade. This shift is also picking up the pace among industries that were in the past unwilling when it came to adoption. The economic slump of the last few years forced many brand marketers to try digital; once they have been on the other side of the "Great Digital Divide” and sampled the new better and more effective metrics, there's no going back. These smarter newer metrics are based on actual users' actions, rather than audience sizes, and are almost live and up to date making them a better choice over the old school system. Then again, many still have very logical and practical questions for making the transition.

 

Following are some of the challenges that most marketers face today:

1)    Metrics, analytics and ROI of the digital marketing programs: Adoption of digital tactics is the tough part since they are new and so much different from conventional channels. What are the right metrics to use and how do we even start to get at a return on investment (ROI) with these metrics? Testing and benchmarking is another important aspect of digital marketing - e.g., what's a good cost per thousand (CPM) or cost per click (CPC)? What kind of return should I be expecting and what should I do if I'm not getting it?

2)    Merging Digital with traditional is the tough part: A lot of companies today are taking a go at it and trying their best to keep their secrets safe. Experiments cannot last too long and the results need to be visible and should make an impact. In most cases, they haven't. But going forward they are looking for ways to make digital and traditional marketing tactics work better together and drive real business returns.

3)    Allocation of budget to digital: The adoption of any strategy takes time and yielding those results take a lot longer (especially if you are experimenting). Making the transition to digital gets a lot more difficult because of this and this forces many brands to stick to traditional resulting in minimal funds allocated to "digital". The wider the gap between the dollars invested and sales, the harder it gets to take that nail-biting decision to invest. In traditional media, there is precedent that suggests spending this much extra should lead to this much lift in sales.

In digital, few such precedents exist yet. This is why if you are in charge, you need to come up with a strategy that can translate users into sales; visible sales that will give you a chance to show your boss that it works. Moreover, you will also need to make sure that your digital strategy works for a sufficient amount of time and that it can be reused or supplemented when necessary.

4)    Change and adapt or keep losing out: Yes all things digital move and change at a really fast pace; also, most will tell you that so will your budget need to, in order to follow suit. What ‘most’ will not tell you is that digital always moves in one direction, and that’s forward. Changes always happen for the good for improving results which is why change in digital is good and adapting to it from time to time is vital. But again that does not mean that you chase every new tool that comes your way. Pick only what you need and let the rest go by. With digital, changes can be made in real-time and getting the results can again be quick; helping you adapt and mould your strategy as it progresses.

The bottom line is that one should never be afraid because if you won’t adapt to the change around you—others surely will.

 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Interrelation Between SEO Practices and Content MarketingInitiatives

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 06:52 with 9 comments


The high regard for quality content has been proved many times over. This year too has been no different, with the 2012 Marketing Sherpa Search Engine Marketing Report concluding that content creation is still the best among the SEO tactics out there. However, it is also the one that is most resource intensive. An effective SEO marketing strategy can only be powered by freshly developed content. The content development should ensure that it focuses attention upon the right keywords that can then lead to link acquisitions and should be social network friendly. It incorporates a vision that has both, long term as well as short term objectives in its cross-hairs and pays attention to every minute detail.

Given that most managers are truly hard-pressed for time, it is not uncommon for the focus to waver. But no matter, how rushed one may be, some key elements must be incorporated at all times into any effort. Failure to do this is not only doing the content developer a grave injustice, it is also likely to undermine efforts in the chase for SEO glory and success! These elements include SEO basics such as optimizing the titles and meta-tag descriptions more search engine friendly to the interlinking of related pieces of content and seamless integration of social sharing tools that encourage and facilitate its spread.

Given that each finger on the hand is sized differently, so are the SEO Marketing strategies of firms. Most firms aim to put their best foot forward but success doesn’t favor them all. Those that reap rich rewards from their SEO Marketing efforts tend to do things differently and it is often their practices that are the deciding factor between them and the competition.

For a better understanding on the SEO Marketing practices of successful firms, we are going to examine closely the best practices of a few people out there that seem to be doing things right:

Infographic have well and truly taken the digital world by storm. They are great at rapid, at-a-glance visual representations of information, data or knowledge in an easy to understand, graphical medium. A few weeks ago, Neolane, the digital marketing software experts took an infographic (http://blog.neolane.com/socialmedia/spam-true-infographic/) take on the classic conundrum that examines the impact of the ever-increasing onslaught of spam, piggybacking on quite a few online marketing initiatives. Some of the key aspects of this laudable effort were the hyper-attention paid to certain SEO elements. Like the optimization of titles, meta-tag descriptions and the main copy itself. Another thing that they were spot-on about was in positioning all the social sharing buttons prominently at both, the beginning as well as the bottom of the post. The entire page too was given the social-friendly treatment. It incorporated some of the newer and buzz-creating platforms like Pinterest & Stumble Upon. Such a move, instantly amplified the chances of visitors being drawn into the infographic, thereby adding on to its popularity. The infographic also contains search optimized links that take readers to the home page and the other properties of Neolane. This is a brilliant move, as it completes the circle of inter-connectivity, wherein a user is encouraged to explore further.

Active interaction and transmission on social-rich media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. seems to be working for Christian Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri (www.christianhospital.org). Events, workshops, special interest initiatives, Christian Hospital spreads the word on them all. They have even begun to harness the power of the social platforms to establish a dialogue over care concerns by patients. The key factor behind the social push is the sharing quotient of the information and its relevance to its audience. Their efforts seem to be paying off, with public acknowledgements emerging, thanking them for their quality information sharing.

Video Bloggers and Enterprise Experts, Wikibon are no strangers to top-drawer tech events. Producers of live coverage and telecasts of premier events such as EMCWorld, Strata Conference, Hadoop, etc, they have a highly interactive team of contributors sharing videos, blog posts and other research assets. Some of the key characteristics of their content marketing strategy include the incorporation of cross-links to the various audio-visual media in each of their blog posts. Embedding and sharing functionality is baked into each of the videos being shared. Besides this, all their diverse postings are aggregated on a single page to promote blogging outreach and sharing improvements.

It is hoped that the above examples help forge a better understanding on the interrelation between Search Engine Optimization practices and the Content Marketing initiatives of businesses. They are more to serve as guidelines rather than as the complete truth. The fact of the matter remains that the proof of the pudding is in eating it. This is why the best way to do so would be by seeking ways that help achieve those organization specific goals.

In the end, Nothing speaks better than the Results themselves!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Social Media Optimization – A Boon or a Curse?

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 23:35 with 1 comment
 


Social Media has existed over the years but people have barely noticed their existence as a way to promote brands or businesses. Old school techniques usually involved blogs and forums (yes they do exist today). Individuals or businesses; both local or corporate would find a way to communicate with their fans, customers, communities or groups and keep them updated about events, meet-ups or happenings.

All of this changed when social media websites began to pop-up and were gladly accepted by the online community as a way to communicate with friends and family. Companies moved on to Facebook, Twitter etc. to connect to their customers and more importantly to get feedback related to their services. What makes social media so important today is that they allow businesses to find out statistics about their customer base and also learn about how they can improve and work on their services.

Social Media Optimization (SMO) is here to stay and has helped thousands of businesses worldwide, get closer to their customers with the help of tools that have been developed by social media websites. Such tools allow businesses to set up a page of their own with a real person who handles the company’s image and handles queries from customers/users online. What this does is that it connects and gains a bigger customer-base and builds brand awareness on a personal level among customers who would recommend a page or product to their friends or family.

Yes! It is a boon, simply because companies know what is happening to their brands/products once they reach a consumer and brand-loyal consumers can easily be in-the-know about the latest updates via their social media pages. Moreover, companies can even promote an existing brand or product via their websites which works like an add-on bringing in web-traffic from the social arena online. SMO coupled with Search Engine Optimization work well together to bring-in traffic with help of the right keywords, website optimization and more importantly, the right and relevant content.

 SMO management is a service, which allows companies/businesses to hand over the job of maintaining, updating and bringing in more consumers to their websites to the digital and online media firms. Utilizing blogs, forums, Facebook and Twitter, businesses can increase their popularity at start-up with a complete campaign or simply promote an existing product.

Businesses around the world today have launched campaigns with the help of SMO management techniques making the launch and product penetration grand and worthwhile.

 

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Media Buying & Planning: An Interactive Business Advertisement Strategy

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 00:54 with 3 comments


Media buying and planning is one of the most important facets for a business today when it comes to promoting itself or a brand under them. Simply put down, it consists of the following 5 steps which will help one lay down a firm business advertisement strategy and successfully promote a brand or a product within a specified budget.

  1. Finding the right market to target: Knowing who your target audience is of vital importance. Just blindly creating a media strategy will make no sense unless you know who you want to target.

  2. Market Research: This research one can do with research and statistics that are currently available or one can take the trouble and do their own which is often more beneficial for them and well as for the project at hand. Here is where one needs to figure out the various routes that one chooses with the budget in mind and iron out all the problems before dishing out a plan to work with.

  3. Set your goals: Now that the brainstorming is over; it is time to set your goals and contact buyers and sellers, confronting them on whether if chosen – how, when and why will their outlet work – whilst keeping in mind your target or objective.

  4. Laying down the plan: This is the culmination of all the previous tasks and every step here should be taken with care although everything has already been set in place. Here is also where you check as to what benefits one can get through a particular outlet apart from the objectives set in the beginning.

  5. Execution of the plan: Contacting media outlets and pushing forward the plan ‘for real’ in an organized manner as jotted down earlier. Every item on the list needs to be checked twice because once executed there is no turning back.


Media buying and media planning sounds complicated and chaotic; if well planned and more importantly well executed by experienced professionals they – can reach and exceed targeted objectives – helping businesses save up and utilize their resources in the right manner. Online media buying and planning is all about buying and selling of digital media – online. This is done by researching and then contacting which ad spaces are the best for the project at hand and then setting the campaign live on websites while trafficking the number of Impressions and calculating the CTR of the same. The objectives for both offline and online advertisement strategies are often the same but with different elements at the far end.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Search Engine Optimization - A necessity for any Website

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 22:44 with 29 comments


Today, almost every business out there has a website or wants to own one. This is simply because people have begun to trust the internet more than word-of-mouth. Moreover, a business can get better exposure online than to simply advertise in the newspaper which is more of a local form of advertising.

Having a website for your business is good; but again, the internet is full of them. Your competitor probably got one up before you. Yes! An online presence is important; something which gives your website and brand a social profile along with the brand awareness it needs. Today, creating an online presence is something which every brand needs and strives to achieve. One of the ways to do that is for your website to show up in search engine results. Almost every user out there begins searching for a product or a brand online, by typing in a related query and if your website has been scanned through and analyzed by search engine crawlers, only then will it show up in their search result listings.

This is where SEO or search engine optimization hops in. Search engine optimization (SEO) is skill and a technique. It helps search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and many more to list your website on their search results. The better the search engine optimization done for your website, the better will it rank and every website out there wants to be number one. Simply put, SEO gives your website a profile, telling the web ‘what you do’ and putting you in a category for the world to find.

Search engine optimization is not one single technique; it is the culmination of using the right content (words) on your website. Yes! If you do not know this yet, every website out there is scanned through by search engine crawlers. Crawlers are small programs that have only one task and mission which is to find, segregate and categorize websites on the internet. They do a great job considering the entire World Wide Web consists of over 20 billion pages. As complex as the task sounds, crawlers only take a look at the text matter on every page, which is why it is necessary that your website contains the right text and content.

Website optimization is a tiring task that consists of finding the right keywords and placing them in the right spots on your webpage so that crawlers find them and categorize your website in the vastness of the internet. The problem here is most people do not realize that the content they have on their website may not be relevant to the product that they are selling. For e.g. an online trading website may go on about tips and tricks of trading online, without even mentioning the most important word that users are searching with such as ‘Forex’.

Search engine optimization helps businesses with finding the right words that promote their business and compare those with what the world is typing in to search for them. The best keywords are chosen and are imprinted on the website in various places which include the content, meta-tags, page titles, headings, including back-link buttons and titles for images. Basically, everything that is text must contain the right keywords in the right quantity. Quantity is all about balance here as search engines would simply consider too many keywords in one place as an advertisement and simply skip your page.

Getting the right balance of relevant keywords and more importantly meaningful content is the only way a business or individual website can be recognized and pushed up the online search listings. Which is why it necessary that one gets them right when a website is created and avoid any unnecessary loss of rankings; after all the trouble has been taken to invest in one.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Does your brand have a website or a web presence?

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 04:07 with 1 comment


Almost every business today needs to be online. Forget businesses, even the common man needs an online presence these days, in an age where the internet influences every facet of our social and professional lives.

Even the common man gets an online presence almost involuntarily. This unknowingly happens if an individual has an online profile with aid from a social media website or even as a member of an organization or association that has a member directory listing online.

Yes, being online is very important; both for upcoming as well as existing brands. Which brings us to an important question; “does your brand have a website or an online presence?”

A website is the face of a company or a brand on the World Wide Web. Times have changed and simply having a great product will not do. Since 80 percent of consumers will check out a website after looking at a commercial, a website for a brand is vital. A website is a space to display the product features or the services that go with it a brand/product; basically a product display but one that is ‘online’ for the world to see.

But a website can only do that much by itself; meaning, it cannot sell a product if the masses do not know about it. This is where an online presence comes in handy. An online presence will give your website (brand) a social profile, giving it reach and recognition online. But an online presence does a lot more and requires continued attention.

People often confuse a website with web presence; they are two completely different things as mentioned above. A web/online presence can be acquired without the help of a website (with social media, blogs etc.) but a website will be hard to find or rather be left out in the vastness of the internet and can remain dormant without most people (or even nobody) even knowing about it.

With the right expertise, persevering attention and online presence management, one can develop a healthy and lasting, online presence which translates into brand awareness. One would simply need to cover all of the following factors in order to create a great online presence.




Utilizing the right keywords:

The ‘almighty’ keyword is an excellent tool if used correctly, to drive web traffic to one’s website. Keywords are critical; which means choosing the wrong ones would simply result in a low impact and shabby results. Keywords form the foundation when it comes to building an online presence which is why it is necessary that the most effective (but unique) ones are selected so as to drive and divert traffic over and over again.




Web Design:

Fact or not, great web design is hard to find online, but with increasing competition between brands, companies are trying to take every website to the next level. This they do, by delivering an experience, rather than simply relaying information to a potential user. The idea here is to convert that user into leads – that will come back – bringing more users in bargain for information or an experience. An intuitive and clear cut system of delivering content quickly is a must because nobody wants to visit a crowded and scruffy website.

 

Website Content and Social Media integration:


The content of the website must be delivered in a way that it provides good and interesting discussions while answering all the queries of the visitor. The right content for a webpage coupled with effective keywords is vital, as that is what will grab attention along with the aforementioned user experience. Social Media along with blogs have changed the way in which a company can achieve a better online presence.

They help build your brand; giving it better reach in a less technical but more direct and social channels. Social Media with its widespread roots can make for a quick, in-depth and responsive feedback system for a new brand or even an existing one.

 

The bottom line however lies in the right, balanced implementation of the above factors for the proper delivery of healthy brand awareness via a well-oiled online presence.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Welcome To Our Space On The Blogosphere

Posted by Cosmos Star Consultant on 03:31 with 3 comments
 

Hello and welcome to our space on the blogosphere were we will keep you updated about all the happenings here at Cosmos Star Consultants. With this blog, we wish to share our extensive knowledge, which we've gained as a company over the years - one that works, understands and delivers nothing but the best to their clients.

We have always been known as a company that delivers consistent results through continued communication and interaction with our clients which helps them gain more from us while we are able to learn more from them. What makes Cosmos Star Consultants unique is our simplified approach towards the needs of each client which we as group of professionals are able to satiate so thoroughly.

There is always something new that shows up on web in terms of web technologies - newer, smarter and more efficient ways of building a brand and promoting it. We being a web-development and provider of online media services have a lot to share and just want to tell the world how easy and simplified the World Wide Web really are.