HomeBlogDigital Marketing BasicsA Beginner’s Guide To Digital Marketing For Indian Startups

A Beginner’s Guide To Digital Marketing For Indian Startups

 Basics of Digital Marketing For Indian Startups

       “Remember: Every time you use Flash on a website, a puppy dies!” Avinash Kaushik

One of the Sutras of digital marketing and Yes, It’s true.

        Some Research shows that If Amazon’s website load-time increase by a second, Amazon can lose $1.6 Billion in revenue.”

Yes, It’s Billion with the B.
I think, now I have your attention.

Digital marketing consists of simple and very basic concept generated from the behavior of users like you and me.

I see many Indian startups trying to create an online presence but they forget about these basic concepts. Very few people bother to take SEO (Search Engine Optimization) into consideration while building a website. Or read about digital marketing or hire a freelancer/consultant. 

Though it might not seem like a big problem initially, but every day you are losing as compared to your competitors who are implementing those strategies.

I will cover most of the basic topics in this blog so that you get an idea and potential of digital marketing.

Here are some subsets of digital marketing.

  1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  2. SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
  3. Social Media Marketing
  4. Content Marketing
  5. Email Marketing
  6. CRO (Conversion rate optimization)

    1. SEO (Search engine optimization) :

Search Engine Optimization, as the name suggests is the technique for making your website search engine friendly. Here are some basic SEO checks you should keep in mind while building a website or adding any content to your website.

Basic SEO checks

a) Title of the Page:

A title tag plays an important role for your page to appear in SERP (Search engine result page). It should include the keyword for which you want to show your page on google.

Here is an example:

meta description example

Meta Title & Meta Description

Let’s say you have a Shoe store and you sell “Nike shoes”, Then that page title must include that keyword. Below are few examples for the optimized title tag.

1.) Buy blue color Nike shoe for women
2.) Buy Designer mobile cover for Apple iPhone 7

Few points to keep in mind:
1.) The title must include focus-keyword.
2.) A title must be of 60 to 70 character.
3.) It should explain the content of the page.

b) Meta description of a page:

What is meta description? It is the small text you see under each search result on SERP(Search Engine Result Page).

The meta description is 2nd most important part of a page for attracting users. You should include your target keywords in the meta description. As this part is shown to the user before clicking on a search result, you should make it compelling and simple to understand. This will increase the CTR (click through rate) of your result and you can stand out in competition.

c) Content of a Page

  “Content is the King”

Google has repeated this many times and proven it with the algorithms like Google Panda. Thin and poor content does not work in today’s world.
Please follow below guidelines/suggestions while writing content for a web page.

  • Avoid duplicate content with 301 redirect and/or canonical Tag.
  • Write detailed & well-researched content.
  • Include facts, case studies, infographics and Images in Your content.
  • Try to write content about a specific topic/keyword (aka Focus Keyword).
  • Include Your focus keyword in Title, Heading tags, Image alt tag, Meta Description & First Para of the content.

    2. Search Engine Marketing:

Search Engine Marketing mainly refers to the paid results you see on the top of google, yahoo, bing and other search engines. As Google has the major market share in this domain, we will only discuss google advertisement.

  • Google Advertising ( Google Adwords):

Google Provides various formats of Advertising. You should decide what type of ads you want to run depending on your business and Stage of business.
Following are some basic formats of Google Advertisement.

Register for Google AdWords account here.

Here is an example:

Google Search Ad and Shopping Ad Example

Google Text Ads

These are the ads you see on the top of the search result. These are mainly triggered based on the user search query. There are various parameters on which google decide the ranking of those results.

Basically, you select few primary keywords for which you want to trigger your ads, you set up those keywords and some ad text in your Google AdWord dashboard and put a bid (Max CPC: the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a click). Once you set up your ad, it takes few hours for Google to approve.
Once approved your ads are eligible to show on the Google Search.
You are only charged when someone clicks on your ad.

Google Shopping Ads or Product Level Ads (PLA):

Shopping ads or Product level ads are the ones you see in Google search result page as a product along with the price and image.
Those ads are triggered when you search for a product.

If you are an e-commerce store, these types of ads are considered as most effective ads because a user sees image, title and price and then only they click on your ad, So there are high chances that a user is relevant to the product.

To set up a shopping campaign, you will first have to create an account for google merchant center and upload all of your product information in merchant center, You can find the template for feed submission here.

It might take two to three days for Google to review your data and approve the products
Once the products are approved you are ready to market them on google. You will have to integrate your merchant center with your Google AdWords account.

Google Display Ads:

Google display ads are the image ads you see on other websites, ever noticed amazon’s web banner (image) on news website? That is display advertisement.
Google is one of the largest display ad network on the internet. You can leverage this network even with a very small budget.
All you have to do is some research on your customer or potential customer, like what they read, what is their interest what type of content they consume, then using that information you can set up your display ad and show your ads to a potential customer.

Remarketing Ads :

(Remarketing means: Marketing a product to a user/customer who has already visited your website.)

You might have seen an ad from Amazon or Myntra for a product you have just visited. Ever wondered how some news website shows you the exact product you were looking a few minutes ago on Amazon. These are called remarketing campaign. For this: You will have to set up a tracking code on your website for Google to track your visitors and their behavior. Then you will be able to create an audience based on your website visitors and market them the product they have already seen.

These ads are one of the best way to re-engage a visitor.

Most of the websites have average 2% to 5% conversion rate. With the remarketing, you get the opportunity to target rest 95% of the audience, which did not convert in the first visit.

3. Social Media Marketing:

Facebook Ads:

Approximately 69 million people in India use Facebook on daily basis. If you have a website then chances are your customers are already using Facebook. That means you know where your customers are. Now all you have to do is target them.

Gone are the days when you used to start a “Funny Cat” page on facebook, get thousands of following and then send that traffic to your website. Now the organic reach from your facebook page like is limited to 2% to 5%. What this means is even if you have 1,00,000 followers only 2k to 5k people will see your post and only a few will actually click on the link. To grow organically on Facebook, your content needs to be viral which happens very rare. So it’s better to spend some money to advertise your website on facebook.

Now facebook advertising is easy and anyone can start it. Facebook gives you various targeting option.

To start advertising on Facebook, you need to define personas for your target audience.

Let’s say you want to sell ‘Sports shoes’ for college students in Delhi, In this case, you will have to set your targeting in following way.

Facebook Ads Location targeting example India 2017

Location: Delhi.

Age: 18 to 25 Years.

Gender: Men (It’s better to create two different ad group for men and women to measure performance)

Interest: Sports (you can create different ad groups with the set of sports and type of shoes you want to sell).

Narrow your audience to “Online Shoppers”.

Facebook Interest targeting for Sports Shoes India 2017

These are very basic targeting option. you can explore a lot targeting option and keep experiment them to improve your performance.

If you have setup basic campaigns on Facebook, you can start a retargeting campaign as well. You will have to integrate Facebook pixel (a tracking code to track visitors) on your website. Most of the major e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Woocommerce etc provides this as an integrated setting or plugin.

Once you have sufficient audience and have started retargeting campaigns, you can create lookalike audience and target them also to capture new leads.

Instagram ads:

You can set up your Instagram ads from your Facebook account. You will have to verify your page via Facebook. All of the setting and targeting option are similar.
You will create the campaign in the same way you create it for Facebook, just in the placement section, select Instagram.

Instagram Advertisement Example


Pinterest ads are currently available only for the USA and soon to launch in some other countries. As of now, there is no news of when it will be launched in India.

But you can get organic traffic from Pinterest. It’s a great platform to market your products and service and if your products are visual (fashion/graphics), Pinterest can be a backbone to your business, there are a lot of success stories of brands being formed on Pinterest and Indian users on Pinterest are growing day by day.

Following are some of the suggestions to grow organically on Pinterest.

  • You should create a board for each of your categories.
  • Include your target keyword in your board name.
  • Link each pin to your website.
  • Make a short infographic of your blog post and pin it.
  • Follow popular boards in your industry to get more ideas.
  • Use good resolution photos.
  • Be consistent.  


Marketing on Twitter is both easy and hard. It’s easy if you know how to express and engage users in 140 characters. The rule of thumb is: Don’t always market your products and services. Tweet whatever is going on in the world. Be it game of thrones, be it politics or any other topic.

Following are some suggestions for growing on twitter:

  • Understand the use of hashtags.
  • Tweet with trending hashtag.
  • Use the relevant hashtag in each and every post.
  • Engage with influencers from your industry.
  • Use twitter list and twitter cards.
  • Use UTM parameters to track visitors from twitter.
  • Follow your competitor’s followers. (Not my favorite but sometimes it works).

If you have no time for twitter and not able to tweet regularly, The least you can do is integrate your twitter account with Facebook or services like buffer and auto-schedule all the post from Facebook to your twitter.

4. Content Marketing:

Content marketing is an indirect or direct way to target/engage your customer via content like blogs, videos, presentations (ppt), ebook, Images etc.

Content marketing can be helpful to your business in a way you have never imagined.
The best example of content marketing can be: GoPro (Action camera).

GoPro started its campaign via user-created content, Just to show what you can do via their product. They marketed the action camera to capture the most valuable moments of your life.
The strategy was an instant hit and went viral in few months.
And now, GoPro is a Billion dollar Company.

Yes, it might be possible that your product/service cannot be marketed as GoPro. But you can surely create content in your domain.
It doesn’t matter how much content is already there on the internet, Frest and genuine content is always appreciated by Google.
Apart from that, it can be a great way to educate your users about your product.

I will suggest that you start with writing blogs on your website (This is the least you can do). Now keep in mind that your blogs/article should be well researched, Must have valuable content, well represented and easy to read/understand.

If you create a crappy content just in the name of content marketing, that is not going to help your business at all.

Try searching for new ideas in your domain. Do a research on what exactly people are looking for.
You can use Quora for your initial research.
Just search: Site:Quora.com “Your search query”

Once you get the list of questions people are seeking answers on. You can start writing your blog and then answer those question with genuine content.

Keep writing blogs at a regular frequency.

Once you have enough content on your website, you can interlink blogs to one another to further build website internal link structure.

I will also suggest you create videos. If you have a small budget or no budget at all, you can use a mobile camera and basic video editing software to create a video. Video consumption on both mobile and desktop is increasing exponentially. Don’t miss this opportunity to lure your customer.

5. Email Marketing:

Most of us still think that “Email marketing is waste of time and most of them go to spam or no one care to open an email.”

This is just a myth and truth is “Email Marketing is still one of the best ways to get a new customer, engage a potential customer and re-engage existing customer”. It gives you great opportunity to increase the lifetime value of a customer.

The best ( and my favorite) part of email marketing is “It’s a permission-based marketing”.

When a user subscribes to your subscriber list, He/she gives you exclusive permission to market your products to them.

Now there are countless benefits I can give you for email marketing, but to keep it short I will directly jump to best practice and how to implement them.

Best Practice for Email Marketing:

Now all the users on your website are same. They belong to different personas and might be looking for different products or services.
So, It’s a good idea to segment your subscriber based on some criteria. Now those criteria depend on your business. You can have segments based on gender/age/location etc.

Once you have segmented your list, you can do automation to send them email depending on the activities. For example, if someone left an item in the cart or visited a specific page or downloaded an ebook, You can send them email accordingly.

“I will be writing a detailed post about email marketing and how you can segment your list, Subscribe to my Newsletter and stay tuned.”

If you can’t-do all those things or you are at a very basic level and don’t have enough resources, the list you can do is create an account on MailChimp, integrate it with your website and send a weekly newsletter to your customer.
Try providing incentives in return of email. Make a genuine list of the subscribers and only follo the standard practice to get email.

Note: Do not use/buy a cheap and fake email list and spam users, it will have a negative effect on your brand and on your pocket. Only user reliable sources.

6. Conversion Rate Optimization:

Conversions is considered when your user completes a desired, predefined action.
For an e-commerce website, Purchase of a product can be a conversion.
For a Travel website, booking of a Hotel can be a conversion.

For a News website, A paid subscription can be a conversion.

The no. of users which finally take action out of the total session is considered conversion rate.

In 90% of the cases, early age startups forget basics of conversion rate optimization.

Considered this: You get

60,000 sessions a Month.
INR 1000 is Your average order value. And
1.5% is your conversion rate.

In this case, Your revenue will be: INR 9,00,000
Now if you are able to improve your conversion rate just by 20%, your conversion rate becomes: 1.8% and Your revenue becomes: INR 10,80,000

The improvement of INR 1.8 Lakhs with same traffic just by improving minor things on your website.

Now here are some basic steps you can take to make sure your conversion rate is near or above standard value.

  1. Make sure your website is mobile Friendly.
    In most general case more than 50% of your traffic will be from mobile devices, And if your website is not visually appealing and easy to navigate, hardly any person will consider buying from you.
  2. Your website loading time should be <5 seconds.
    If it takes more than that, with every second you might lose 10 – 20% of your traffic.
  3. Make sure the marketing message, Image matches with the landing page content.
  4. Ask your customers to write reviews about you on Google and Facebook.
  5. Make sure “Call to Action” Button is visible and stand out.
  6. Use Good Quality Images.
  7. Do video testimonials of your customer and Include them on a landing page.
  8. Personalize your website experience as per user need. (Advance Level)
  9. Remove annoying popups.

These are the basic steps which you can take to improve the Conversion rate.

Steps to improve your conversion rate will be to set up micro conversion in google analytics, figure out where people are dropping in the conversion funnel, analyze the page and experiment with different layout or structure.


The conclusion is if you are starting a business in India, given the growth of internet and smartphone in India you can’t ignore the basics of digital marketing.

Just creating a website is not enough. You will have to put your heart and soul to make your online business a success. Now I can understand that all the above technique is not possible for you in initial days. But knowing the basic of digital marketing you can build a solid foundation on which your future employers or partners can work.
Each area of digital marketing is vast and take time to understand and implement. But you will have to start at some point.

So sooner you start better it is for your business.


4 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide To Digital Marketing For Indian Startups

  1. Wow. Cheers for this information. I actually thought direct marketing was the most important component of promoting your business on the internet. But you got me thinking. I should make changes to my marketing process. Thank-you for your wisdom shared.

  2. You actually make it look so easy with your performance but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never comprehend. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

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