Nothing is simple; not in digital marketing anyway. The title is, well, just to make you click and read on.

There’s almost nothing that changes as fast as the digital industry. New ideas, new technologies, new companies, they all make changes happen drastically. Users want something today, and something completely different the day after. While there is no one sure shot way of being sure about what the future holds in store, one can always look back, connect the dots, witness what is currently happening and plan for the future.

Presenting what I think are some ways in which you can plan well for 2016, some thoughts and perspectives which can help you shape your digital marketing strategies better for the year that lies ahead. Here are ’16 simple ways to become better at Digital Marketing in 2016′ –

1. Never forget the 3Cs

The 3Cs of digital marketing are these 3 pillars, 3 commandments, 3 rules which you should never break. The sad reality is that most brand managers and digital marketers tend to make the usual mistakes of not abiding by these 3 Cs, and as a result, most campaigns suffer.

  • Content: king they say, and they are right. But just to clarify, content doesn’t just mean what we write, it is about the very thought that goes into creating something valuable. Write well, produce well, but most importantly think well on the drawing board to make sure somebody finds your ‘content’ worthy of ‘consumption’
  • Creativity: Creativity doesn’t mean Photoshop, or that video editing software, or Canva for that matter. Creativity is the creation of something interesting, something enticing, something that makes people come towards it, something that draws attention. Be creative at the very core of what you do, right from the time you think of that product.
  • Common Sense: Now it’s one thing to have great content and be innovative, but another to go overboard. Don’t let creativity and content get the better of you, and make sure your ideas do end up catering to the very people they are meant for in the first place. Make things simple for the user they are intended for. People don’t want to see the most creative content, they just want something they can understand and relate to; try and give them that.

2. Research before you begin

Digital marketing gives us the power that traditional marketing never could, the power of instant search and research. No matter if it is a campaign in Africa or a video that is doing really well in Australia, you can watch it all, and find it all on the internet. If only we would start investing 10% of our marketing efforts in doing due research, analysing existing case studies, studying different models, our ROI of all sorts would naturally improve. Research before you invest, and the returns will surely be better.

3. Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket

2013-2015 practically belonged to social media, but there seems to be a shift already. Brands are realising that Facebook can’t just be their entire digital marketing strategy. Digital Marketing in 2016 needs to go beyond social, and needs to mean much more than just Facebook and Twitter. Go back to SEO, invest in email marketing, try indulging in good old blogging and essentially keep trying.

(Recommended read: 10 ways to generate more sales leads online in 2016)

4. Digital Marketing is not free. You need to start spending money.

One big problem with many people’s perception towards digital is that they hope and expect it to be affordable if not outright free. Yes, there are stories of people having made it big online simply with brilliant content, but those examples are few and far between. If you really want your brand to do well, you need to get serious about spending some serious money in 2016.

5. Build something concrete

So you have a Facebook page, and a Twitter handle, maybe even a LinkedIn or an Instagram account. But do you have something concrete that actually supports all this? Is there something sturdy where you try to redirect all this traffic to? Is your website up to date and responsive? The problem is we have got so consumed by the fluff, that we have almost forgotten to concentrate on that which is concrete. Let us go back to building rich and beautiful websites whose content gets discovered and shared on its own.

You might be interested in reading Stop building Facebook pages, start building websites instead

6. Learn. Even if you outsource.

The thing with digital marketing is that it keeps evolving practically every day. Now no matter who takes care of your digital marketing, you need to remember that digital marketing is so vast that nobody can truly know everything. In such a scenario, it becomes important for you as an important stakeholder to try and stay up to date, and know what the industry is up to. One great way to do that of course, is to keep coming back to Digital Defynd : ) (and LeadSquared blog – editor’s plug :))

You may want to check out this podcast on the present State of Digital Marketing Education in India

7. Define what you want to measure. Stop shooting in the dark.

So a lot of people invest in campaigns and then complain that they didn’t work. Whether or not something will work entirely depends upon how you define success. Before you go on to investing any time, money or other resources on a campaign, define what you want to get out of it. Branding/Leads/Walk-Ins or Sales? A campaign without an objective is much like a football match without a goal.

8. Analyse. As much as you can.

Many a times, simple analysis of where your customers are coming from, what are they clicking on, why are they not visiting a page can be enough to help you optimise your campaigns better and earn better ROI. Just start analysing. And if you are the kind who gets scared by Google Analytics, try installing something simpler on your WordPress Website (like Jetpack Stats), or try shortening your URLs using and then track different clicks on different sources, or use native analytics for different platforms to try and find out how your campaigns are doing individually on each platform. No matter how little or how much you do, you need to analyse. Start small, and keep enhancing your efforts.

9. Think visual. Think video.

Facebook is hell-bent on becoming a strong YouTube competitor, Vines and Periscopes are already generating buzz, 3G has moved to 4G and smart phones are becoming smarter. No matter where you look, video creation and consumption is rising. Needless to say, you need to start investing your energy in video as well.

To help you get started, check out this webinar on viral video marketing

10. Capture data. Capture email ids.

Subscribers through followers on social networking sites, remarketing data through pixels, email ids through data capturing forms. Capture everything, capture it all. You have Facebook fans, but no reach, you have email ids, but nobody opens the emails you send, you have remarketing data, but nobody gets converted into a customer. In such a scenario, it becomes important to capture everything everywhere because you don’t know what will turn out to be useful tomorrow.

More specifically, email ids are set to play a major role in the times ahead, because in addition to email marketing becoming more relevant, you can use email ids to target customers on Facebook and Google. Who knows maybe LinkedIn throws a surprise in the time to come too, and we get to target customers on LinkedIn through email ids!

11. Write for people and not for brands or search engines

I read this at so many places that I thought of including it here as well. Our website, DigitalDefynd is a few months old when this is being written. While many a people recommend and suggest to do in depth keyword analysis before writing every article, we don’t do it. While part of the reason for that is that we are lazy, the other reason is that if certain keywords or key phrases don’t let my content feel fresh, interesting or exciting to read, then what is the point of writing it in the first place?

Yes search traffic matters, but over time Google is becoming more human. As it becomes more human, it will start reading articles as a human reads articles and not keep worrying or wondering about keywords and key phrases and length and back links and so on. If a news app like InShorts (News In Shorts) does so well, it is because of the reason that people don’t like reading too much these days. We are in fact a headline reading generation, if people click and actually read, then you are mighty successful already. So while there is definite merit in writing as per SEO guidelines, I personally feel SEO is only set to become more human, and what better than catering to the future with your content right now.

12. Invest in mobile. Start with a responsive website

Apps were the talk of the town all through 2015. What famously started by Myntra going app only and Flipkart announcing that it is following suit ended in Flipkart backtracking from their stance (with the launch of Flipkart Lite) and last heard, Myntra is also slowly going back to the mobile website version. Apps are great, but they aren’t the only answer. People don’t need your app if they don’t need it at least once a week if not everyday. Ask yourself honestly if people will want to check out your app every week, and if the answer is no, then better can that idea of creating an app and create a beautiful responsive website instead, one whose updates don’t need to be downloaded every now and then, one that doesn’t take up too much space on somebody’s phone and one that doesn’t feel too intrusive for people.

13. Don’t ignore the new platforms. Don’t try to be on every platform.

This is one big challenge actually. Every now and then I hear a query, “So what should we do on Snapchat?” The answer simply lies in the fact that is your target audience on the relevant platform? You may want to target LinkedIn or YouTube or WhatsApp (Check out this Liquor Ticker campaign on Whatsapp) or some other platform based on where you think your audience exists. Don’t refer to random researches that suggest that a random platform is rising in popularity and therefore, you invest in it. Try to instead see how your audience is behaving and in which direction are they moving. Look globally, localise that information and then act. What works in America doesn’t necessarily have to work in India.

14. Partner. Collaborate.

There is only as much one can do alone. While companies are getting acquired left right and centre, another important trend is partnerships. Not like its a new concept, but you can go a long way digitally if you partner with people, with brands, with online properties. Our website for that matter is a great example itself. While individual blogs of professionals may or may not reach out to many people, this collective power of everybody coming together is helping amplify the thoughts, messages and conversations to a far wider audience. Sometimes, a simple partnership is the very ‘Growth Hack’ that can take you places.

You must check out how Maggi tied up with Snapdeal for a marketing coup of sorts

15. There are no miracles. There is no secret. Pure hard work.

Like I personally love to say “Peeche Pad Jaao“. Miracles happen every now and then in marketing, but to build and sustain campaigns over a long term, you really need to invest all your energy in demystifying the various mediums, demystifying your audience, demystifying patterns and constantly learning while you do all that.

I am a trainer myself and I can tell you training is very crucial to help you grow, but if you don’t inculcate the habit of learning things through and through, then beyond a point you will never grow. We are all trying to climb this mountain of digital marketing, and one great way to do it is to work hard in the beginning, work together so that the more experienced you become at working hard with time, the easier your journey will become.

16. Stop Marketing

Like seriously, why don’t we stop selling under the guise of marketing. Sell when you sell, but please stick to marketing when you do the latter. Nobody likes people to be in their face anymore, and the same applies to marketing. Let us respect people’s space and privacy, and start telling instead of selling. And if you want to get better at the art of marketing without marketing, pick up a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to win Friends and Influence People.

That will be all from my side, wish you the best with all your marketing efforts in 2016! Chak de Fatte!

You can also check out the webinar version of these 16 simple ways that I conducted for LeadSquared –

View the Recording


This article has been republished here as part of LeadSquared’s Partnership with Digital Defynd.

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