Where and how do you spend advertising and marketing money? Which advertising and marketing channels should you use? These become two of the most important questions a business owner has to wrestle with year after year. And today, you find so many channels available to you and so many “expert” voices clamoring for your attention. Don’t get swept away by a current of media buzz. Avoid making unprofitable decisions.
Advertising and Marketing Channels
Keep this in mind. Consider your options in light of what works for whom and why these options work. Try to better target your advertising and marketing spend. Then get a better idea about what outcomes to expect.
Every business today needs a digital marketing strategy. At the very least, your small business needs a website. You’ll find this statistic shocking! Research indicates that slightly less than half of all U.S. small businesses do not have a website.
Let’s assume that you have a site. Now the first question you need to ask yourself is whether or not your competitors have sites. If they don’t, then having a good site and keeping it up to date may be all you need to do. If you owned the only yoga studio in Anytown USA, this might be you.
But if you have competitors — and that’s most of us — then search engine optimization (SEO) becomes important. Great SEO gets your business at or near the top of search results. This brings us to the next question: Are your customers local? If they’re local, then your focus should be on local SEO optimization and long-tail keywords (words that you want to feature on your pages). Scott Keever SEO uses a local plumber to illustrate local and long-tail keywords:
- Plumbing company near me
- Best plumber in New Jersey
- Top plumbing companies in Chicago
- Best plumbing company for water damage
- Can I fix a leaky pipe?
Closely related to SEO is paid search engine advertising. Nearly every purchase today starts with an internet search, so buying ads on Google and other search engines that are displayed when people search for your long-tail keywords can pay off…or at least get visitors to your site.
Targeted Digital Advertising
This takes us to a type of advertising that is a bit more sophisticated: retargeting. If you’re selling something, there’s an overwhelming chance that prospects won’t buy on their first visit to your website, so you want to get your ad in front of their eyeballs a few more times. With retargeting, they’ll see your ad as they surf the web.
Note how I said retargeting is good for businesses that are selling something. It’s not a very good strategy for businesses whose customers are making a spur-of-the-moment buying decision, restaurants for example. In this case, geofencing or geotargeting may be the way to go. A huge number of searches today are being done on smartphones. With this strategy, Google ads and social media ads are displayed when a prospect is within your defined area.
Social Media Channels
Next up is discussing the role of social media. As I mentioned above, you can advertise on social media, but your digital strategy can be further enhanced by establishing and maintaining a presence. In this case, you need to ask yourself if your customers use social media, and if they do, which channels do they frequent. Maybe all your buyers are senior citizens and few are habitual users of social media. However, this probably isn’t the case, so you need to match demographics to preferred social media channels and go to work on those channels.
Let me first give you what I think is the Golden Rule of social media: Have something extremely engaging to say/show. The goal of social media is to create followers and if your posts are mundane, no one will follow you in the long run.
I also want to loop back to our discussion of SEO because social media and SEO can work together. You see, an important element of SEO is how often your site or pages within your site are visited. The more visitors, the higher placement on search results. In other words, rather than actually finding great content, search engines simply follow the herd and assume the herd has found the great content. If you can direct the herd to your pages via social media — to your blog or posted videos for example — search engines will assume you have content worth featuring highly in search results.
Don’t expect an immediate payoff from social media; you’re trying to build familiarity you’re your name and establish your credentials/trust.
Social media influencers can turbocharge this process a bit. Paying the right influencer or “micro influencer” can put your product or service in front of a lot of prospects much more quickly than you can probably achieve by yourself.
Digital strategies get almost all of the hype today but don’t forget about more traditional ways to get your message out to your prospects. Even Google — who has every digital marketing tactic at its disposal — has promoted services to me via snail mail.
Targeted local mailings, for example, can be extremely cost-effective, and if done well, their return on investment can be calculated down to the penny — unlike some digital strategies.
Newspapers, magazines, radio, and television ads are all worth considering. Local businesses may have never before considered television advertising, but with the latest tools, buying TV time isn’t much different than signing up for a Google ad.
And before I leave the topic of traditional local ads, I want to mention one of my favorites: company vehicles. You see these around town all the time. They can be a truck with the company colors and logo on it, or they can be a car “wrapped” with incredible graphics.
I know a landlord who needs to replace the windows in a duplex he owns. He was talking about it the other day and mentioned that he keeps seeing the Pella Windows truck all around town. That tells him that Pella has a lot of customers in his area so they must be doing something right.
I’ve given you a rundown on most of the tools in the local business’ advertising and marketing toolbox. Few owners can do all of them. The idea is to start with the ones you think will work best, keep the ones that prove their worth, and then experiment with the one you are less confident in.
You might be surprised by the outcome.
|Digital Strategies||Essential for businesses; includes having a website and online presence.||Ensure your website is user-friendly. Check if competitors have websites.|
|SEO||Improves search engine rankings; focus on local SEO and long-tail keywords if customers are local.||Local SEO optimization and keyword research are critical.|
|Paid Search Advertising||Utilize paid ads on search engines to capture potential customers.||Target long-tail keywords and monitor ad performance for ROI.|
|Retargeting||Re-engage potential customers who didn’t convert initially.||Effective for products or services that require multiple touchpoints.|
|Geofencing/Geotargeting||Display ads when prospects are within a defined area, often used for mobile marketing.||Suitable for businesses with local, location-dependent customer decisions.|
|Social Media Channels||Establish a presence on relevant platforms; engage and create followers.||Match demographics to preferred social media channels; focus on engagement.|
|Traditional Strategies||Traditional advertising methods like direct mail, print, radio, and TV ads.||Local businesses can consider TV advertising; company vehicles as mobile billboards.|
Mastering the Advertising and Marketing Maze: Key Takeaways
In the ever-evolving world of advertising and marketing, a few key takeaways can help guide your business decisions:
- Digital Dominance: Embrace digital marketing as the cornerstone of your strategy, beginning with a user-friendly website.
- Know Your Competitors: Assess whether your competitors have a digital presence, and tailor your strategy accordingly.
- The Power of SEO: Invest in search engine optimization to secure prime placement in search results.
- Local SEO: If your customers are local, prioritize local SEO optimization and long-tail keywords.
- Paid Search Advertising: Capitalize on paid search engine advertising to capture motivated prospects.
- Retargeting: Implement retargeting for products or services that require multiple touchpoints before conversion.
- Geofencing and Geotargeting: Use geofencing to reach potential customers when they are physically nearby.
- Social Media Engagement: Establish a strong presence on social media, offering engaging and valuable content.
- Synergy with SEO: Leverage social media to boost site visits, positively influencing your search engine ranking.
- Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with social media influencers to swiftly expand your brand’s reach.
- Traditional Tactics: Don’t overlook traditional advertising methods like direct mailings, newspaper, magazine, radio, and TV ads.
- Branded Vehicles: Consider using branded company vehicles as mobile billboards to increase local visibility.
- Iterative Approach: Continuously refine your strategies based on performance, and be open to experimenting with new channels.
- Creativity Wins: Engage your audience with captivating content and memorable branding across all channels.
|Digital Dominance||Make digital marketing a central part of your strategy, starting with a user-friendly website.|
|Know Your Competitors||Evaluate whether your competitors have a digital presence and adjust your strategy accordingly.|
|The Power of SEO||Invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to achieve better visibility in search results.|
|Local SEO||Prioritize local SEO optimization and use long-tail keywords if your customer base is local.|
|Paid Search Advertising||Utilize paid search engine advertising to target motivated prospects and drive traffic to your site.|
|Retargeting||Implement retargeting for products or services that require multiple touchpoints to convert potential customers.|
|Geofencing and Geotargeting||Use geofencing to reach potential customers when they are physically nearby, especially in mobile marketing.|
|Social Media Engagement||Build a strong presence on social media platforms by creating engaging and valuable content.|
|Synergy with SEO||Leverage social media to increase website visits and positively impact your search engine ranking.|
|Influencer Partnerships||Collaborate with social media influencers to quickly expand your brand’s reach and credibility.|
|Traditional Tactics||Don’t dismiss traditional advertising methods like direct mailings, newspaper ads, magazines, radio, and TV ads.|
|Branded Vehicles||Consider using company vehicles as mobile billboards to enhance local visibility and brand recognition.|
|Iterative Approach||Continuously refine your strategies based on performance data and be open to experimenting with new marketing channels.|
|Creativity Wins||Engage your audience across all channels with captivating content and memorable branding to stand out.|
The Power of Data Analytics in Advertising and Marketing
In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, the success of advertising and marketing efforts relies heavily on data analytics. While the article has covered various advertising and marketing channels, it’s crucial to emphasize the role of data-driven decision-making in optimizing these strategies.
The Importance of Data
Data analytics provides businesses with invaluable insights into customer behavior, campaign performance, and market trends. It enables you to make informed decisions, allocate resources more efficiently, and maximize the return on investment (ROI) for your advertising and marketing efforts.
One of the primary benefits of data analytics is its ability to help you understand your target audience better. By analyzing data from various sources, including website traffic, social media interactions, and email engagement, you can create detailed customer personas. These personas can help you tailor your messaging and advertising content to resonate with your audience’s preferences, interests, and pain points.
Data analytics allows you to track the performance of your advertising and marketing campaigns in real-time. By monitoring key metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per acquisition, you can quickly identify which strategies are delivering results and which need adjustments. This agile approach enables you to allocate your budget to the most effective channels and tactics.
Personalization and A/B Testing
Personalization is a game-changer in modern advertising. Data analytics empowers businesses to personalize their marketing messages and offers based on individual customer behavior and preferences. A/B testing, for example, lets you experiment with different ad creatives, headlines, and calls to action to determine what resonates best with your audience. This iterative process can lead to higher conversion rates and improved ROI.
Attribution modeling is another critical aspect of data analytics in marketing. It helps you understand the customer journey and identify the touchpoints that contribute most to conversions. By recognizing the channels and interactions that play a significant role in the path to purchase, you can allocate your budget more effectively and prioritize the strategies that drive results.
Looking beyond current performance, data analytics also enables predictive modeling. By analyzing historical data and market trends, businesses can make educated predictions about future consumer behavior. This foresight can inform long-term marketing strategies and product development decisions.
Data Privacy and Compliance
As you delve into data analytics, it’s essential to prioritize data privacy and comply with relevant regulations, such as GDPR or CCPA. Ensuring the ethical and legal handling of customer data builds trust and protects your brand reputation.
In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, staying updated with the latest data analytics tools and techniques is essential. Regularly invest in training and skill development to harness the full potential of data-driven marketing.
In conclusion, while selecting the right advertising and marketing channels is crucial, the power of data analytics cannot be underestimated. Businesses that embrace data-driven decision-making can fine-tune their strategies, personalize their messaging, and achieve better outcomes in a competitive marketplace. Data analytics is not just a tool; it’s a strategic asset that can drive your business towards sustainable growth and success.
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