Promoting Your Business Using Online Advertising That Works
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It's sadly not true that if you build a website people will visit it in great numbers. To get people visiting your site you absolutely do need to promote it.
Results Focused | On Your Business Objectives
Your online advertising options are wide but what counts most is using the right options, aligned to what your business objectives are at a given point in time. The most common issue we encounter is campaigns that have weak or non-existent relationships with business aims. We will ensure you don't experience this. We will help you add a layer of detail to your broader Internet Marketing Strategy that will result in a measurable set of online multi-channel marketing campaigns, directly related to what you want to achieve.
We approach digital marketing campaigns in three phases, but these are not linear once campaigns kick-off. Knowing when to adjust or even pause a campaign comes from studying the analytics and the key performance indicators that were defined as part of planning a campaign.
The planning phase is very important. If you skip this phase and dive straight in you are taking big risks. It's why so many businesses have poor experiences of advertising online. It's why so businesses are frustrated that their website gets poor value organic traffic or little traffic at all.
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." Benjamin Franklin
A key part of this phase is setting clear and measureable campaign objectives. We always nail these down as a first step. Once this id done the next part is selecting the channels that are best suited to helping you achieve your campaign objectives. We'll help you do this also. And finally you need to be confident that the investment you're going to make is commercially viable. Your investment may be money or time or both. Whatever it is you don't want to be investing in actions if the returns don't justify the cost.
Cross-channel Marketing Campaigns
You will want to plan and execute cross-channel marketing campaigns because these align with how we are all now engaging with web sites and web services. The customer journey is far less predictable than it was prior to the introduction of smart phones, tablets and other internet connected devices. Add the emergence and growth of Social Media to this mix and you instantly start to appreciate that you have multiple touch points with prospects.
Digital Marketing Channel and Format Options
Considering what channels and advert formats to employ is a core step in the campaign planning phase. The following list covers all the options we will consider, and why. [Click any heading to expand or collapse an option]
Although you can't purchase organic page one rankings we always look at how a marketing campaign may support broader longer term opportunities to attain sustainable page one rankings, for search terms relevant to your business and that have some value. You can learn more about our SEO services on our Optimisation page.
In the UK the dominent search engine is Google, with a share of 83% (Source: Statista, July 2017). Bing then follows with a share of 11%, and then Yahoo with 4%. Google has been losing share while Bing has been gaining.
It makes good commercial sense to gain additional long term value from campaigns. Search remains the key way we all find products and services, but if your site is not ranking on page one for search terms your prospects are using then you are invisible to them. That is unless you pay to be seen. Cue the next overview.
Search advertising is about consciously paying to be seen by people who are searching for a product or service that you offer. This form of advertising relies on you identifying and then bidding for your ads to be served for specific keywords. The most recognisable example of this option are the ads you see on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). These may be text ads or they may be product ads, where you are shown an image of a product along with pricing.
Google, Bing and Yahoo all offer this form of advertising. Google's advertising platform is Google Adwords and this is the most comprehensive service, with the greatest reach. However, you can't ignore Bind Ads or Yahoo Advertising.
This form of advertising is a very cost effective option if your objective is to generate sales or leads and the you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, hence why it's also called Pay Per Click (PPC). Care does need to be exercised when scoping and running PPC ads.
Display advertising allows you to place ads about your business offers on websites other than your own. Display advertising is a highly effective option to consider if your objective is to be seen by as many people as possible. It's good for growing brand awareness but it's not as effective as Search Advertising for generating leads and sales.
Once again Google is the biggest player in this space and Google Adwords is the platform through which display advertising campaigns are set up and run.
Display advertising offers options that search doesn't. These include showing image ads as well as text ads. How you pay can also be different, with an option to pay per viewing as well per click. The big difference between display and search advertising is reach. With search you are limited to how many people are searching using the keywords you want your ads served for. With display your reach can be much greater because you can choose from a greater range of targeting methods. This is why display is more effective than search for growing brand awareness.
Social media advertising occurs on social medial platforms like Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. This is by no means intended to be a definitive list of social media platforms offering advertising options, because it's not.
This advertising channel is growing and although its value has largely been in building awareness of brands there are now opportunities to include Buy buttons and run video adverts.
This is a channel that needs to be considered in a cross-channel marketing campaign.
Social media engagement is a subtle form of marketing. It involves participating and building a profile with groups of social media users. There is no money cost, unless you outsource this activity. The cost is typically an investment of time, both in identifying groups to engage with and then actively engaging with them.
Not surprisingly the main social media platforms include Faceboo, Youtube, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram.
With the introduction of smart phones there has been a rapid growth in mobile applications. With this growth comes advertising opportunities.
Advertising services vary in this space. Google Adwords still features but is joined by many more services.
This form of advertising is highly applicable for targeting groups of prospects who share the same interests or demonstrate specific needs. The type of apps people are using is a good indicator of what they like or what they might want.
This can be a highly valuable form of marketing and one that doesn't necessarily involve directly spending money. However, it does require effort. The appeal of Referral Marketing is that, if done correctly, your site gets relevant visitors and at the same time acquires some backlinks, which help with organic rankings. The important thing at the planning stage is to consider if referral marketing options exist. If they do then it is worth incorporating actions in your cross-channel marketing campaign.
Despite the concerns and frustrations we have as individuals about spam and junk mail it remains statistical fact that email is one of the most cost-effective ways to get your message out there. But it is most effective when you are emailing people who already know you, so as a marketing tool we mainly see email as a channel through which to market to people who have voluntarily elected to join your mailing list. This may be as a result of already doing business with you or as a result of them subscribing to your newsletter. Either way they will have agreed to you sending them emails.
The angles we consider with all campaigns is who can be legitimately emailed and how will new subscribers be added to a mailing list as a result of a campaign. Make no mistake, growing your outbound mailing list should be a key consideration when running campaigns.
Setting The budget
You may have a budget in mind before you even perform any campaign planning but finalising a budget can't be done until you are clear on what specific and measurable objectives you want a campaign to achieve. And you need to have considered and costed different options. This is what we do, everytime. This ensures there are no nasty surprises when costs begin accruing. Most importantly it ensures a budget is set that is realistic and supportive of everything that needs to be done to achieve the campaign objectives.
Let's be really blunt about this. Setting an inadequate budget is only going to lead to one outcome and that's disappointement. If we believe this is likely we will always advise not to go forward with a campaign.
Armed with a viable campaign plan the next phase is to get on and start promoting.
You have a plan. On paper it's a viable plan. But before you start marketing it's important to make sure everything that's needed to support your marketing activity is in place. This may be an extensive set of actions but it's important you are ready before you press the go button. If everything is not in place you risk not getting all the value you expected.
"There is no black magic to successfully attracting customers via the web." Rand Fishkin
Once you are ready then marketing can begin. You can start to work towards achieving your campaign objectives, which in turn will support you meeting your wider business objectives.
With digital marketing you can expect to get early indications of how well your campaign is performing. Digital marketing doesn't behave like traditional offline marketing. Because it's possible to truly measure outcomes you're going to quickly see metrics that delight or disappoint. Either way you will begin making adjustments, because you will have the data that will permit you to make informed decisions.
Once you are satisfied your campaign is delivering it's time to begin optimising it. Cue optimisation.
All campaigns arrive at a point where they are achieving as much as they can, within the scope of the original plan. This may be delivering all the business you can cope with, but it may not. If it's the latter then this phase is for you, because it's all about extending reach. We also want to ensure that whats being achieved is at optimial cost. Needless to say that this phase relies heavily on good metrics, which will of course be available.
"Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all." Charles Babbage
The metrics that are being captured each time your site is visited are rich sources of insight, which you can use to look for more prospects, or realign where you are spending money. For example, your website analytics may show that visitors who arrived via a Bing search convert at a higher rate than those through Google. You may have only been running search ads on Google so an opportunity exists to start running ads on Bing as well. You already know they work on Google so it's a reasonable assumption that they will also work on Bing, allowing you to extend the reach of your campaign. If the Bing organic search conversion rate is representative of what can be achieved from Bing search ads then the return on advertising spend will also be better. It's a win win.