Is Content Marketing a viable strategy for Indian brands?
How much should Indian brands invest in Content Marketing?
When can you expect results from Content Marketing?
What are the various platforms of Content Marketing?
In this article, we help tell you a story. A story about the love-hate relationship of Indian brands with Content Marketing. In our experience of working with several Indian brands, we have seen an aversion towards content marketing.
This is not a new development. The openness with which some other countries have adopted content marketing is not there in India. Yes, there is some progress in terms of brands opening up to digital marketing. However, as compared to the west, Indian brands are neglecting one critical component of digital marketing, ‘Content Marketing’.
Content Marketing in India:
Brands that do content marketing in India are usually big in terms of their scale of operations. For some strange reason, only big revenue brands go for content marketing services. There is also this false belief that content marketing is expensive as compared to other forms of digital marketing.
Why is this the case? In our experience of offering content marketing services to both national and international brands, we have seen a trend. Some of the smallest businesses in countries like USA and UK opt for Content Marketing.
For example, we have worked with lawyers, insurance agents, even plumbers for content marketing services. However, in India, only big brands invest in content marketing.
How Digital Marketing has evolved in India:
Even though India has been slow in terms of its acceptance of digital marketing, things have started picking up steam. As per credible sources, the digital marketing industry will touch $200 billion dollars by 2020.
Smartphone penetration in India’s hinterlands has been a huge catalyst for this. Smartphone penetration coupled with cheap internet/data services has grown the industry incredibly. As a result, the digital marketing industry is growing at a rate of 30% year-on-year.
E-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart take up a major portion of this billion-dollar market. Fintech start-ups like PayTM and PhonePe are also doing incredibly well by offering UPI payment based apps.
However, as compared to the west there is a major difference in India. Small businesses like bakeries, local grocery stores, standalone salons invest heavily in digital marketing in the west. In contrast, small businesses in India are fearful of investing in digital marketing.
They feel that it is too complicated a domain for them to enter. They do not understand how it works and what ROIs should they expect.
This is where digital marketing industries in India have failed to win over the confidence of small brands. As the intention is to make a short-term profit, companies misguide brands on digital marketing.
Digital Marketing in India: Growth and Opportunities:
India has been slow to jump on the digital bandwagon, but it has slowly started embracing the digital. Given the mere number of people (over 500 million Indians are online) digital offers huge scope for brands in India.
The information technology revolution has helped the digital marketing industry. The presence of smartphones and cheap internet has made millions of Indians go online. It was natural for Indian as well as international brands to tap into this huge consumer potential.
We have seen a steep rise in the number of e-commerce sites in India. The presence of Amazon, Flipkart, and many more have transformed the consumer landscape of India. We are using the digital, consuming from it, and surfing it incessantly.
Paid channels of digital marketing like social media promotions, google ads, Facebook ads, are getting a lot of traction. PPC campaigns are the hottest selling cakes in India’s digital market. In contrast, content marketing is not getting its due attention.
Why are Indian Brands wary of investing in Content Marketing?
First of all, digital marketing companies in India do not actively push their clients for Content Marketing. There are multiple reasons for the same. The dearth of good technical content writers, who can write SEO friendly content, is definitely a big problem.
A bigger problem is the fact that content marketing offers long-term viability. Given the patience Indian brands have with the digital industry, content marketing suffers from getting due exposure.
Content Marketing needs a proper strategy to be effective. Guest Posting, Blog Sharing, Link Building, Social Sharing, Blogger Outreach involves a lot of skill and expertise. Many digital companies in India do not possess the skill or the expertise to undertake it. As such, they will never suggest brands to go for one, merely because they cannot offer it.
Similarly, if you compare international brands with Indian brands, you would understand why they do well digitally. Abroad, digital marketing companies pitch for a robust content marketing strategy at the very outset.
Indian Brands vs Foreign Brands in Content Marketing:
Digital marketing companies in countries like USA, UK, and Australia vouch by content marketing for two main reasons-
- It helps you climb the SERPs (Search Engine Rankings Page)
- It helps you convert visitors into buyers (translates into actual sales)
Due to these two critical reasons, digital marketing companies abroad push their clients to invest in content marketing. There are reasons why content marketing can be favorable for your brand.
- Content Marketing helps build credibility for your brand.
- It helps you establish yourself as a voice of authority in the industry.
- Google recognizes your website as a disseminator of genuine information.
- It helps you gain consumers through a natural and organic medium.
- Your website starts performing stupendously well on metrics (Moz, Ahrefs, Webmaster, Analytics).
Furthermore, with content marketing, you can rest assured that you will see ROIs on various levels. The biggest impact of content marketing will be on your traffic. Never in our experience have we seen a content marketing strategy not help boost traffic to a website.
There is a flawed understanding of brands in India regarding content marketing. However, as we have mentioned before, it is not the brands, which should take the first step. Digital marketing companies should suggest brands on the benefits of content marketing.
How should Indian Brands approach Content Marketing?
A common misconception surrounding content marketing in India is about it being specific to some industries. We once had a Marketing Manager of a B2B brand state that they should not have a blog section on their website, as they are not a fashion brand!
This chain of thought is alarming, to say the least. However, once we were able to point out the benefits of content marketing, he was happy to invest. Today, the blog section of his website has helped him rank on the first page of SERPs in his keyword ‘wires and cables.’
Let us list some of the ways in which Indian brands can start with Content Marketing.
1. Developing the Website Blog:
Whatever your industry or business, you should always have a blog section. This blog section should be updated with fresh blogs on a regular basis. Google ranks you higher when it recognizes that your blog is offering good and genuine information.
A website blog also helps you use certain keywords specific to your brand or industry. In other words, the frequent use of keywords in your blogs will help you increase your reach organically.
2. Invest in Quality Content:
As a brand, you should always invest in good quality content. This means setting some guidelines about the kind of content that should go up on your website and other platforms. Investing in a good technical SEO friendly content writer will probably be your best decision ever.
Maintain content guidelines on your website pages, website blog section, sponsored posts, social media posts, and other platforms where your brand finds a mention. This will help you build a lot of trusts and good business for your brand.
3. Use Social Media to drive audiences to your blog section:
Almost all brand maintain social media profiles. It is always a good idea to share blog links on social media and ask audiences to come to the blog. This will help your website gain a lot of traffic from visitors.
Social sharing also helps Google realize that the blog link is genuine. This, in turn, will help Google rank that content higher in the segment.
4. Sponsored Post, Link Building and Blogger Outreach:
If you are not familiar with sponsored posts, or link building, we suggest you talk to some specialists. This is a very healthy way to grow your business, but it is quite risky too. You need to know about the inner dynamics of the industry intricately.
However, good link building is essential for your website’s rank increase and search. Sponsored posting and blogger outreach help you expand your target audience and reach in newer countries and regions.
5. Email Marketing and Newsletters:
Yes, Newsletters still work, and they work quite well. In fact, trends have shown that email marketing and newsletters are seeing quite a healthy rise in recent times. The medium might be old, but the way content is being used is quite dramatic.
You can always rest assured that a Newsletter will help you connect with audiences. However, the content in the Newsletter and Email Marketing piece matters a lot. This is also, where it will be up to your content writer to establish the real connect.
Why does Content Marketing work for Small Brands?
Various channels of digital marketing are inherently suited to various brands. For example, if you are a small brand, and are looking to invest heavily in Google ads (PPC), you might fail. This is because you would never be able to compete with the budgets of giants and big brands in your industry.
There is also a question of credibility. For example, a small e-commerce start-up would not have the same credibility as an Amazon. As such, users might just not click on your sponsored Google ad.
However, content marketing is a great way for small brands to build their business and credibility. You can start seeding content through sponsored posts in sites and e-magazines related to your industry.
This will help give your brand much-needed exposure, as well as contribute to your revenues. Developing a good blog section for small brands that is informative is necessary. This will help you carve your niche in the industry.
Content marketing along with social media marketing is the best approach for small brands in digital marketing. You will be able to retain a lot of autonomy over your budgets and spends. This will also help you retain independence over your target audience. Not to mention how you will be able to monitor the ROIs.
The Future of Digital Marketing is Content Marketing:
This is a big statement to make, but it is true! According to reliable sources, more than 200 million people are using ad blockers. In addition, over 800 million internet devices have enabled ad blockers.
In this scenario, content marketing is emerging as one of the most effective mediums of digital marketing. People will never have content blockers enabled. Good content is information, one that will never be blocked as spam.
The key is to use content marketing to ‘convince and convert’ your readers. The chain usually is similar to the following-
Once you have been able to win customers through good quality content, you will never lose them. The kind of trust, credibility, and reputation that content marketing fosters is unthinkable.
How much will Content Marketing cost you?
Content Marketing is much more cost effective than any other form of digital marketing. It is also deeply effective in terms of greater ROIs and exposure. So the question now is, how much should you allocate for it?
Good digital marketing companies in India offer various packages for content marketing services. This ranges from INR 15,000 to INR 100,000. However, it is important that you choose your package according to your needs.
A great content marketing company will help you build links, write your blog content, and optimize all the content on your website for an affordable fee. As a brand, you should not compromise on the quality of your content.
The key is to start slow and then gradually scale up your content marketing approach. Once you start seeing the ROIs from your strategy, you will be confident in investing more.
It is essential that you choose a content marketing company. The guidance and support that you will receive will be great for your brand and your business.
A content marketing company that is able to win your trust will also be able to deliver. Not all digital marketing companies are good. However, if you look hard enough, you will find the right one.
Content Marketing for Small Brands: The Final Word:
If you have not yet started with content marketing services for your brand, you should definitely start soon. A small brand needs a story-telling process to counter the big spending capabilities of giants. Think for a minute, does Amazon has a story? No, it does not!
If you are a small e-commerce brand, you can help narrate a story. You can develop meaningful relationships with vendors, and publicize the same through content. This will help give your brand its own identity and convert visitors into buyers.
The digital is increasingly becoming an ambiguous domain. Consumers are always looking for meaningful content and genuine brands. This of why sites like ‘Humans of New York’ do so well.
The need of the hour for small brands is to create and curate meaningful storytelling. A good content marketing strategy will be able to help you create these stories for your brand.
What has been your experience with digital marketing as a small brand owner? Do let us know in the comments section.
If you are looking for more help on Content Marketing, please feel free to reach out to us.