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Can Digital Outreach Help You To Meet Your Business Challenges?

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Recently, a webinar was conducted on “Digital outreach for Business Impact” by Jessie Paul. She is the CEO of Paul Writer, an advisory firm that works with clients to create and implement optimal marketing plans, at the intersection of traditional, digital and frugal marketing. Previously, as CMO of Wipro’s IT business and as Global Brand Manager at Infosys, Jessie has been recognized for her contribution towards putting the Indian IT industry on the global map. This is a brief summary of the webinar, which is followed by the Q&A session.

There are some businesses that think “social media marketing” is just the latest buzz phrase in marketing industry, but the truth is that it is a new venue that you can use to market and promote your products and services. Social media centers around interaction with colleagues, potential customers as well as current customers.Therefore, the most important factor is that your business has to be social in order to do social media.

It is also important to understand that “Big is not the best.” There are people that simply want to be on Facebook or Twitter for their business marketing. However, here it is important to understand that these two social networking sites might not work same for you like others, as they are very specific sites that are dedicated to certain verticals that might be more relevant.

Content is also one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. The main purpose of digital marketing content is to provide information to the readers. Only those satisfied with the information carried by the content would think of knowing your business further. Remember that it is important to have knowledge of your business niche trends in order to develop informative content.

These are some of the questions that were answered by Jessie Paul during the webinar on “Digital outreach for Business Impact”

Q: Is there any optimal number of channels that one can use for digital marketing?

A: To this question, Jessie suggested not to use more than 3 channels at a time, whenever you begin with digital marketing, as there are chances that your venture might fall apart. Typically, people should start with one quick win channel and then expand to two and three channels because the two toughest points of getting business results from social media are organizational buying and content.

Q: I m aware of an educational institute that does not want to be on social media as they are afraid of negative feedbacks. How relevant is it?

A: The only reason that people do not want to be on social media is because they feel that they are providing a focal point for people to come and bash them up. Fact is that, people would anyhow find ways to bash them back, but companies should listen and figure out what people really want to say and then put a strategy into play to address the issues before they actually decide to set up their own space. The worst thing that people do is create a Facebook or Twitter page and then refuse to respond to any negative comments, which can get them bashed up even more.

However, if you have your own space then chances are that you will have some voices that will speak up for you and defend you.

Q: We have recently launched a rural marketing magazine in English targeting management students, marketers, and influencer, anyone to do with rural markets. We wish to create a global platform for rural. Can u please suggest how do we create this digital platform?

A: In rural market, there is particularly a hub and spoke model in which a particular firm invests in the infrastructure in a central place, which may be the Panchayat hall or in a school. This can be used as a base for the education or the program. This is because in India, the rural coverage on broadband is very low and if you really want high quality education, you do need to have reasonable connectivity. Therefore, today the model is hub and spoke where the people come in and use your system or a central system that is funded by someone. Adoption of Facebook is on the phone and in India that is going to be the trend. People are going to move straight into using their phone for digital connectivity. Therefore, if anyone is trying to do a network in India for rural, best option is to figure out that how you are going to do it on phone with limited smart phone features.

Q: PPC advertising is one of the lifelines for the location driven “office business centre “chain that we are in. We now need to expand our customer base. The office business centers being a fairly niche service unlike a neighbourhood health club or restaurant – The predicament is, we cannot be seen as a nuisance in their cyber space. Something like that could often kill the prospect of the customer visiting us through an offline or other channels. Are there tools, practices that would help us maintain the right balance?

A: In India, penetration of digital media is not very high. Email is quite popular and a lot of people do check their emails and hence it can be a good medium. Moreover, there are a lot of people that have banner blindness and they do not go ahead and click on any banner ad that they see. Therefore, you have to look into ways in which you are integrated with the content in some way or you have to look into sponsoring a section on small business or entrepreneurship and be a part of the content. In digital that’s much easier to do than print. However, other than SEO AdWords, click through rate is quite low. In Facebook also, the Ad click through has subsequently dropped and it is now the sponsored stories that are working well. LinkedIn is a place where people related to small business communities hang out. However, advertisements can be quite expensive here. The cheaper ways that they had were events and answers are no longer there.

Therefore, the only hope that remains is to create a community and attract people through that. To do this, print ads can be a reliable and effective medium as these ads still continue to work. In fact, Vernacular media is also working quite well and if you want, you can even consider that as well.

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