Digital Marketing – Mandatory in 2018

Where do you start? Have you started, but don’t know what to do next? You need a strategy, but let’s start with what makes sense first.

It is not easy, but let’s “talk” about some options that should make sense for your business – but I would need to look at your Analytics, website, marketing & testing plan before I could give you first-hand recommendations. Consider this some thoughts for building your strategy, and consider this when building your digital transformation or infrastructure plan. Alternatively, you may need some ideas to grow revenue!

Let’s start with the assumption that you have an existing website & email list. What are your options to grow your business, assuming you are doing some basic AdWords, email marketing, and content marketing?

1) Site re-targeting is crucial – you have potential buyers or repeat buyers who are visiting your site, they leave your site without a purchase – it is time to nurture these leads back to the site through:

  • New user acquisition through look-a-like models of your existing customer base – this is a prospecting tool.
  • Re-target users who have visited your site, but haven’t purchased.
  • Re-target users who have abandoned a shopping cart or viewed multiple products on your site without a purchase.
  • Re-target buyers – offer current buyers unique offers, recommended based on previous purchasers with dynamic creative.

2) CRM/email re-targeting – bring shoppers back with real-time & personalized offers that match recent views or purchases – ads that cross the web, not just found in their email.

The concept of re-targeting is using real-time data and bidding to re-target current visitors, customers or look-a-like (prospects) programmatically – through automation to offer more relevant ads unique to their experience with your brand. Don’t skimp on the creative, and you have to have a variety of compelling creative – otherwise, it is like an ad is following you like it is Chucky! Moreover, we all hate, Chucky!

Search Engine Marketing / Pay Per Click

Normally, I recommend Pay Per Click (PPC) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) when a company begins digital marketing, namely with Google AdWords. It doesn’t have to be first though, I recently did a Native Campaign on Yahoo! and it had tremendous success with affordable costs per click because of the targeting matched with ads that ‘called’ out to the audience. For the same client, I did a keyword planner, and the cost would have been 5X higher on Google AdWords, native ads were the solution that worked that time.

1) AdWords – It is the 800-lb gorilla in the room, but it works – if you do it right. Google AdWords is many brands start with digital marketing (and acquisition). It works for lead gen sites and e-commerce/shopping sites. You cannot expect the clicks to generate immediate leads or sales. All sites do not have the same trust levels as the Big Names. Test & Learn is my mantra. Nurture leads, and re-target them too!

Many companies have not expanded and tested enough with AdWords. Run a keyword planner on your site, your competitor’s sites, and look for expansion ideas. Consider negative keywords, expanded keywords, local challenges, time of day adjustments, mobile, tablet and desktop bidding options. Are your landing pages serving you well? The list continues, you have many options to expand, contract poor performance (cut back on unproductive ads and keywords) and change/adjust AdWords strategies and tactics.

2) BingAds/Yahoo! – Excited about your results with AdWords, consider expanding with BingAds & Yahoo search engine marketing. You can import your entire campaign including ads, keywords, negative keywords, budgets, time of day, and more. However, don’t just blindly import without checking your new campaigns in BingAds because BingAds will adjust items that don’t meet their minimums.

3) Social Media – has content marketing and Search Engine Marketing components, and native marketing too. Content marketing is still the king! Long Live the King! However, paid search pays the bills. Look at social across these areas and develop a strategy that provides content for your users, engages them, and continues your story. In many cases, a company should develop their social media content calendar and posting schedule before launching into ads – be they native or just regular PPC.

You need to nurture your community and engage them in your brand on their terms. Snapchat has some interesting options with storytelling – if you are a candidate for public office consider a Snapchat debate through the lens of Snapchat. The French did it. It might even make sense here for the upcoming local races where the Millenial vote matters, every vote matters actually – but that is not our discussion.

a) Facebook – I have spent $100,000/month on Facebook and $500/month on it. Everything matters here – including the use of the targeting tools. You have heard of those targeting tools, well they do not work unless you know your target audience, even the re-targeting and modeling does not work if you do not have the right mix of creative, touch, engaged business page, and analytics.

You can run an ad, sure, but it might not get you the results you expect. Even the pixel is essential, I have some of my smaller clients, ‘kicking it’ because they micro-target, use their page for re-targeting and create compelling offers – even when the pixel was broken they can still see the traffic hitting their site, but until they fixed the pixel they didn’t realize how well their Facebook ads were doing.

b) Twitter – don’t forget about Twitter, it is not just the President’s favorite communication tool, millions of your customers are on it, use it too. I have had success with targeted audiences on Twitter – along with a simple, compelling offer within a tweet – paid and unpaid. The whole point of all marketing trials is ‘test & learn’. If you don’t test, you won’t learn anything.

Generally, both Facebook and Twitter, you can promote a post or build a robust campaign promoting an account/page or driving traffic to your website, with the goal of lead gen or conversion. I recommend creating the right content calendar on Facebook and Twitter, then engaging in promoted posts, re-targeting and more in-depth marketing. Facebook owns Pinterest & Instagram, so the commentary on Facebook is related to the Facebook Exchange (FBX)

c) Snapchat – has had many issues since its IPO, it is still worth advertising if you are ready. It is not for first time advertisers or first-time users, use it to create a story, use the filters to reach a unique audience, and grow your business with Millenials and more. I find their success stories funny though, they talk about a) reductions in cost per clicks, b) millions of downloads, c) 300 million impressions for a Mentos national filter – I don’t know of any direct marketer that cares only about the cost per click or # of impressions, I care about all the above combined. I want millions of downloads, at a low cost per click because of millions of impressions. Snap is still working out the advertising model, but I see some real areas of opportunity here for local and national businesses with filters, snap ads and lenses. Video ads are the key, don’t go static here!

Don’t get me wrong, awareness plays are essential too, as a brand owner, I love the Mentos numbers, but as part of my soul is a direct marketer who loves acquisition, I ‘scoff’ at some of their success stories (with no meat on ’em).

4) Native Advertising

What is native? Is it different, I mentioned it earlier, it’s another form of pay per click advertising that sits next to page content. Native Advertising sits next to editorial content and resembles a site’s ‘news’ content. It is a great concept, but it does not always work if you do not target correctly, but when it works, it provides an ad on the page and creates converting traffic to your website. Standards require sponsored posts and other nomenclature used on native advertising so the consumer is not duped – and that is important.

Programmatic Advertising – most digital marketing can be sold programmatically – like native, re-targeting and display ads. Re-targeting is programmatic, and can be done across the Google Display Network, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, on Yahoo! native, HuffPost native, NBC News, everywhere.

Programmatic Buying is on Display, Mobile, Video, Social, Search & TV. Yes, TV. Hulu does programmatic, have you ever tried it? It is a great option, sometimes. Programmatic is on news sites, websites, Spotify, Pandora, it is everywhere. Why do I say sometimes? Many people pay for Hulu (for example), and if you are targeting paid Hulu users, you usually won’t find them with ads, unless your audience is on a few Hulu channels that always show ads – not my favorite channels though.

Programmatic is about automatic real-time purchase and sale of advertising space using real-time bidding and algorithmic rules. The process is completely automated, buying, placement and optimization of media ads. It should be part of your long-term digital strategy, not just a planned future test.

Affiliate Marketing – there are many options here and many ways to play the affiliate marketing advertising role. You can use a major network or find individual affiliate partners. You can use a ‘pay-per-sale’ model – preferred for many online retailers, or a pay-per-click model – not recommended – but sometimes the best way to start as an advertiser until your brand is known to the affiliate with particular consistent results. Moreover, B2B marketers, like the pay-per-lead model if they get qualified leads that convert in the end.

Consider the following affiliate networks that might support your efforts. I would recommend going the affiliate route after you master AdWords and ready for a further exploration of digital marketing.

1) LinkShare

2) Commission Junction

3) PepperJam

Some of my previous articles on digital marketing:

Comparison Shopping Engine

Performance Marketing

In-Language Marketing

SMS/Mobile Marketing

Strategic Changes For Revenue Growth

Quick Hits to Increase Sales

I purposely didn’t expand on content marketing and search engine optimization on this current piece, as that is a broad topic in itself.

The original article was posted on: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/digital-marketing-mandatory-2018-greg-morris/

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