Digital marketing is one of the most cost-efficient and—considering all the targeting a company can do—also one of the most effective ways for a business to market itself. But the marketing ecosystem is constantly evolving, which is why it’s important for business owners to understand each marketing channel’s unique characteristics.
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During last month’s “Business Growth Boot Camp Part 1: Understanding the Digital Marketing Landscape & Creating Measurable Results for Your Brand,” Adcom’s Marisa Pisani explained to a packed house what the attendees need to know about leveraging:
• paid search;
• search engine optimization;
• display ads;
• social media;
• text messaging;
• TV; and
Following is a brief description of each channel and how business owners can use these methods to grow their business.
Paid search places your content at the top of search engine pages. The upshot of this is it allows you to quickly capture search traffic. Another benefit: You can control what people are seeing when they input a search term relevant to your page.
Cost of this method varies, as it’s based on a pay-per-click model; that is, a business is only charged when a user clicks on the paid search listing.
Search engine optimization
Search engines, such as Google, seek out pages they believe will provide the most value to users. While algorithms are constantly changing, in general search engines want pages that engage their audience. This is the most authentic way to build your page’s audience and it’s also a long-term play. Pisani suggested beginning with a paid search campaign to build an audience first and then transitioning to more of a SEO approach.
Display ads are the image-based ads that appear on web pages and are related to a user’s browser history. This is a good method to use to build awareness of a product or service and to capture contact information if it’s linked to a simply designed, easy-to-understand landing page lead-generation form. It’s also a long-term strategy and it’s important for the business owner to understand what the path was that led a customer to their site. Did they see the ad several times, and then come search for the product or service? A good way to tell whether your display ad is effective is through testing. Turn it on for a couple weeks, then turn it off. Was there an increase in traffic to your site?
Pisani was asked whether a display ad should be linked to gated content. Her answer: not if it’s linked to a product guide or brochure. But if you can gate something valuable, such as an industry report that adds value, users will be more willing to disclose their contact information.
There are a lot of different social channels marketers can take advantage of and be active on and Pisani gave a brief overview of each:
• Twitter: Good for quick hit industry news.
• Facebook: A great platform when it comes to paid social and targeting your business to a very specific audience.
• Instagram: A hub of visual content, including photos and created media.
• Pinterest: Useful to target DIYers. Also, the audience here skews female.
• YouTube: The second largest search engine in the world, YouTube is a valuable place for your business to have real estate. Bonus if you can get footage of people actually using your product.
• LinkedIn: This is a good place to show that you are a thought leader and share valuable content to other professionals who could become customers.
• Snapchat: Pisani said this is a platform that businesses should avoid at all costs, unless your customers are tweens. People are not using Snapchat to interact with businesses.
Pisani said email marketing has the highest ROI of any digital marketing channel, so it’s one that should be on your radar. Why? It’s cost-effective, you’re not chasing prospects and, while it’s not a prospecting tool, you can easily build loyalty among your customers.
This is also a good channel to test different approaches, as it relates to both the buying window and frequency of contact. If you’re sending too much, your audience will unsubscribe. If you’re sending too far out, your customers will forget your message and not buy.
SMS, or text messaging, has the highest read rate of all the channels, but it can be very expensive and cost upwards of $20,000. This means, while it’s effective, you’ll need to have a great case for using it (e.g., appointment reminders.) There are also a lot of rules governing text advertising, so consult with an expert before going this route.
Other advertising methods
Pisani also spent some time going over the “other” category of marketing: billboards, radio, TV and print.
• Billboards: This is a good way to build awareness, without a lot of commitment as digital billboards can be changed quickly.• Radio: There’s been a shift here, as more users are switching to Pandora, Spotify and other streaming services. These platforms also allow for greater targeting. Traditional radio remains useful, however, especially when paired with advertising on the radio’s website.
• TV: TV has also undergone a streaming shift of late. This allows businesses to see a clearer picture of who the audience is and what the demographic is and what comprises the demographic.
• Print: Print is not dead. And it can be useful in reaching niche audiences that read niche publications.
• Direct mail: This should be a smaller piece of your overall budget. This doesn’t have the ROI of email, but is still valuable way to reach repeat customers.
At the end of the day, Pisani recommended that businesses test each of these channels and have a presence on several in order to spread their message as affectively as possible.
This Boot Camp was just the beginning. Secure your place today by registering for “Business Growth Boot Camp Part 2: Understanding Digital Marketing & Creating Measurable Results for Your Brand.”