The implications of digital marketing to start-ups and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in terms of customer acquisition strategy a while ago were:
Brands asked the following questions to better understand the importance of digital marketing for customer acquisition:
- How has the engagement with customers changed post covid?
- What are some simple rules of thumb that can aid decision-making regarding ads and digital marketing?
- Which platform should be prioritized for marketing ads: Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google?
- What frameworks can we adopt for successful lead acquisition and engagement for growth?
- What are some of the core marketing playbooks that have worked for other marketers or entrepreneurs?
Vedanarayanan Vedantam, SME Business Head, Razorpay, walks us through the proven strategies of using digital marketing for customer acquisition and engagement
You can watch the webinar in its entirety or read the takeaways below.
The number of internet users in India today is a little more than 800 million.
For the first time, browser-based Google search was not the number one logical entry point for Indians looking to enter the Digital Web. Instead, Play Store took the lead.
The Play Store has tons of ramifications and implications for entrepreneurs. For a lot of marketers, this meant creating very strong app and mobile marketing strategies.
Industry ripple effects
SMEs and the start-up ecosystems in India have seen record-breaking growth since the end of the pandemic. The other sectors like E-commerce, Ed-Tech, Health Tech, IT, SaaS Companies, and Gaming had boomed exponentially as well.
Digital marketing took priority among these businesses, with the pandemic having greatly encouraged digitization.
Digital marketing is greatly influenced by:
- Introduction of digital payments
Digital payments and remote working were on the rise, strengthening the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country. This paved the way for today, where –
- Most businesses and start-ups have adopted digital payments. This is an encouraging sign for the overall ecosystem to digitize payments.
- Strong businesses who have come on board from tier-4 cities and below have serviced local consumer groups from their respective geographies, which points to the strength of their business models.
- And thanks to the payments, start-ups, and SMEs are sought off to have strong business models and fundamentals, with the establishment of Product Market Fit (PMF). These point toward a very healthy and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.
- The rise of Search Engine Marketing (SEMs)
SEM refers to Search engine marketing. It is a digital marketing method that tries to boost brand visibility in search engines via pay-per-click advertising or organic traffic from SEO and content marketing. Paid advertising allows you to pay for advertising space on search engine results pages (SERPs), which guarantees quicker results than SEO.
SEO refers to Search Engine Optimization. It comprises all organic listings below the advertisements. SEO does not require any payments. The whole effort of the business goes into making sure that their content is fresh and relevant, the webpage loads quickly and is mobile optimized, and the right meta tags are in place along with backlinks.
How to check if your brand is serving a mass or niche audience?
It is important to determine whether your company caters to a mass or niche market. Depending on the number of competitors and the uniqueness of the brand, you could use different platforms for branding, like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
There are 2 ways to find out if a brand is operating in a mass or niche market:
- The subjective or gut-based way
Depending on the market size, customers’ engagement, or gut feeling, you can determine if your business is catering to a mass or a niche market.
- The objective way
Keyword planner, a free tool offered by Google AdWords, can determine the number of searches a keyword gets.
Here’s how to proceed with Keyword Planner:
- Search for the category that you operate in.
- Look at the latent keyword demand
By the rule of thumb, any number greater than 10,000 searches should guarantee that the operation of your business is mass.
There is already a lot of latent and consumer search demand, directly for the product or indirectly for the category of operation.
This creates a lot of opportunities for brands to rush into a market with existing demands, instead of creating one like Amazon. If a brand’s operation is mass, then Google becomes numero uno for marketing.
If a brand is operating as a niche and has high engagement, then it can use Facebook to market its product using strong visual elements.
Niche brands with high engagement
HealthifyMe caters to a niche space in India. It is a health and fitness brand that provides digital, health, fitness training and nutrition services.
Why Facebook advertising worked for HealthifyMe:
- Since it is a brand that has high engagement with clients, it would be sensible to make the marketing more informal and personalized.
- They have a lot of visual and text elements in their marketing, so their ideal options were Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
- Facebook helps establish strong personal touch with customers.
- People in their early 30s and late 20s are the most common age group on Facebook. Many of these are more inclined to stay in shape, as exercise and keeping your body healthy becomes a priority as you age.
- Testimonial videos from existing customers about their transformation journeys helped establish a good rapport with older generations.
HealthifyMe uses Facebook for customer acquisition and engagement. But is that the end goal?
They’d want their customers to use their app more, explore new features, and more.
For this, they have employed certain engagement tactics, such as:
- Tracking of Calories, diet and nutrition, exercise/workout routine, and water intake.
- Engagement with a nutritionist.
- Engagement with the content/blogs.
- Access to free trials, discounted offers, free consultations.
- Purchase of a premium account to enjoy additional benefits.
- Drip campaigns and email marketing are used to keep in touch with the leads, thus increasing engagement further.
Niche brands with low engagement
If your company is niche and has very little engagement like RazorPay, then piggybacking on larger keyword pools that are indirectly related to your business will help you increase your branding.
RazorPay has seen record-breaking highs in the adoption of Payment Gateway, RazorPayX, new banking offerings, and payment links.
This growth, varied across newer businesses, has increased profits for RazorPay.
The content demography created by RazorPay resonates with a larger keyword pool, driving in a greater catchment area.
Because of the indirect approach of creating content on entrepreneurship and not on payments, there is a lot of focus on SEO in a lower engagement niche space.
And thanks to SEO, ranking higher for larger keyword pools and generating leads to funnel them back to business is easier.
High engagement is not equal to high product usage.
It is often mistaken that high engagement equals high usage of a product. For example, Ola Cabs is an app that is frequently used but is a purely transactional company. This means that there is no need to engage with customers elsewhere. Therefore, it is not sensible to use Facebook, which requires you to engage with your customers actively.
Do Google Universal App Campaigns (UAC) work?
Universal App Campaigns (UAC) was introduced by Google in 2017. It became the only market to drive installs for mobile applications. For an app-only company, Google UAC was the only way to market using the Google Network.
However, companies disliked UAC initially because:
- They had to give up all their control as an advertiser to Google.
- They had a very limited role to play.
- They had to give Google a list of their assets.
- Google was in control of using their landing pages.
- Advertisements to the right users needed permission from Google.
- Even though advertisers were defining budgets, Google had complete control in terms of how to market, whom to market, and when to market.
However, companies later found that over time google becomes accurate and helps increase your sales. With Google’s UAC attracting more than 77% click-through rates and attracting three times as many prospects, more and more companies started liking the campaigns.
With the right keywords and proper descriptive content, the discoverability of your apps on Google Play store and on Apple’s iTunes store can be increased.
Maximizing conversion rate
Consider the following demographic variables and answer the following questions:
- Is the person from a tier 2 town or a cosmopolitan city?
- Is the person using an iPhone or an Android?
- Is the person male or female?
- Is a person in their 20s, 30s, or 40s?
For example, in HealthifyMe, the older the person is, the unhealthier he or she would be. There is a higher propensity that the person pays for a premium account to get in shape.
Assigning a certain score and adding weightage to certain answers determines your lead score.
Optimizing engagement nurturing
Instead of increasing the top of your funnel, try to optimize your engagement nurturing by answering the following question:
How do I work with the existing prospects, who are already a part of my funnel, and make sure they convert into customers?
As a marketer or an entrepreneur, employ a framework which will help you decide how important lead engagement and nurturing is for your business.
At the highest or philosophical level, the importance of lead engagement and nurturing is directly proportional to:
- The number of questions your prospect has.
- The rate of your product.
- Length of your sales conversion cycle.
For example, the number of questions asked is much less in an e-commerce industry, when compared to an ed-tech or a health tech industry. Hence, an e-commerce platform does not require much lead engagement and nurturing.
If your brand is popular, credible, trustworthy, and established, there is a lesser need to focus on engagement and nurturing as your average selling price plays a big part.
The higher the rate of your product, the higher number of questions are asked. For example, a flip-phone sold for Rs. 4000 gets little to no questions asked when compared to an iPhone sold for Rs.50,000.
The time it takes on average for somebody to go from being your prospect to your paying customer determines your sales conversion cycle.
For example, Dominos’ needs very little engagement nurturing as opposed to Infosys.
A B2B company requires higher engagement and nurturing than a B2C company. This is because a service-based company has a greater brand value proposition and level of standardization than a product-
For example, buying a One Plus phone from either Amazon or Flipkart does not matter as it is the same product. But signing up for an online Digital Marketing course or Weight Loss Program is different because of the brand value proposition.
Each company defines brand value proposition differently. Simplilearn defines it differently than upGrad. If it’s an online weight loss program, HealthifyMe defines it differently than Nike Fitness.
Since there are a variety of services offered, consumers will want to connect to the sales rep and the sales cycle usually get stretched out.
These touchpoints that you have with your prospects can be automated and driven through a marketing automation platform.
Three ways lead engagement and nurturing help your business
There are 3 ways in which lead engagement and nurturing can help your business:
As part of the transaction life cycle itself,
- Give the best possible chance to convert a person lead within a short time.
Once you find a way to convert a lead into the shortest time possible, it ensures that you have setup an optimal, standardised pattern to follow for the next leads as well.
- Send regular reminders based on customer likings.
This can especially help your business if sales life cycle time window, like Domino’s or MakeMyTrip, is short, and is an impulse purchase. It is usually difficult to influence conversion rate through one-time emails and SMSs.
- Re-funnel leaked leads
Leaked leads are leads who drop out of the marketing funnel as they progress down the funnel. Every quarter, re-funnelling those leads to make them a part of the funnel to monetize them can help with your ROI.
To quantify the benefits of lead engagement and nurturing, prioritize the top leads in the funnel by:
- Putting your prospects through a marketing lead engagement and nurturing stream.
- Looking at their engagement on those emailers and score them based on their demographic variables.
- After you get a lead score, sort it in descending order.
- Connect with the top prospects to enhance productivity while not diluting your brand equity.
The need for driving repeat business is:
- To be independent of driving new acquisitions.
- To have a stable business and a hockey stick growth.
- To get incremental growth.
How drip campaign works (Using Simplilearn as an example)
When someone signs up at Simplilearn, they are treated as a lead and are nurtured every 4-5 days. This is the sequence of the emails sent:
- Welcome mail
- Information about latest and greatest blogs
- Customer testimonials
- Webinar invitation
- Exclusive coupon or discount code that expires in 48 hours
These are some strategies that were discussed in this webinar to leverage digital marketing to boost customer acquisition and increase engagement for your company.
To know more about ways to increase engagement for your company, schedule a call with our consultants today!
SME Business Head, RazorPay
He is a brand strategist with 17+ years of experience in growing multiple digital products & brands across Health-Tech, Ed-Tech, and online travel. He has consulted multiple startups on branding, digital marketing & has helped them evaluate product-market fitment. He is also a visiting faculty member at various top b-schools in the country. Veda has also spoken at digital conferences worldwide on various topics, including Arab eCommerce Summit, eTail Asia, Strategy Planning Innovation Summit, and many more.