we Last month, I touched on several of the traditional marketing heavy hitters including insight on how to best implement each in an impactful marketing mix (if you missed that riveting post, not to worry, you can find it here).
For the second part and conclusion of this series, we will delve into several modern and emerging marketing mediums. In many cases, the development of these types of initiatives has provided small businesses with the opportunity to engage in marketing campaigns that were previously unattainable due to budget or target audience segmentation limitations.
For many, however, navigating these newer platforms is an intimidating and overwhelming undertaking. This month’s post will offer a little insight in an effort to help ease the transition.
LET’S GET DIGITAL, DIGITAL.
Digital advertising is extremely popular due to its versatility and micro-focused targeting. Typically categorized as static or dynamic, a digital ad is considered to be static if it includes a single image, without animation or video properties. Most Leaderboard banners, (typically found at the top of a web page) or Big Box banners (typically found along the right-hand side of a web page) are static ads. However, they may also include dynamic content. Dynamic ads will typically include a series of images in sequence, animation or produced video. Dynamic content may also pop up on a web page as a viewer interruption or be shown before popular videos as what is known as pre-roll positioning.
In both cases, digital ads are designed to drive conversion by directing viewers back to a dedicated landing page. The major benefit to digital advertising is the ability to micro-target an audience. Digital advertising campaigns are unique in their ability to target based on specific user behaviour and patterns. They also inspire direct conversion with an easy gateway (link) to a specific landing page or offer. They are 100% measurable, providing precise consumer demographic information such as age, gender, location, interests, income and more. Digital advertising statistics allow companies to build a detailed and highly accurate buyer persona, meaning that their campaigns have the opportunity to grow in effectiveness as they progress. And with the ability to make changes to message or imagery in real time, most digital campaigns result in above average conversion and/or brand awareness.
Keeping in mind that viewers have grown accustomed to digital advertising as a regular part of their internet experience, companies that are creative with their imagery and intuitive in their message will typically see better results. It is important to ensure that the user’s landing position is as promoted, the message is succinct and there is a clear call to action. Failure to institute these characteristics will decrease the chance of conversion dramatically.
Certainly, having amazing and impactful content encourages engagement and increases reach, however, organic content-generated conversion often takes time to materialize and can be difficult to pinpoint. As a result, many companies opt to supplement their content plan with a social media advertising campaign.
According to Big Commerce, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Snapchat are the six social networks that generate consistent Return on Investment (ROI). Determining which network will work best depends on a number of factors. Advertisers will want to consider how their targeted customers are using social networks, which groups they are part of, which networks their customers are deemed to be most available on, and finally, where target customers are most likely to engage with ads. Each which will require a certain amount of research to determine.
The beauty of social media is its ability to specifically target an audience and easily scale campaigns. These platforms collect an enormous amount of information about their users, which can be used to create targeted and impactful ad experiences, which, if implemented correctly, are guaranteed to generate conversions.
Social media advertising is a broad topic, one that could easily support its own blog post, however, for the purpose of this article, I will offer a brief overview of the most popular networks with a few useful links for anyone looking for more information on any of these platforms.
Facebook is described by BigCommerce as THE universal social media network. Facebook’s ad platform is most effective for lead generation, email collection and ecommerce conversions via landing pages or specific offers. You can find useful links on building, budgeting and targeting your Facebook campaign here.
Recently acquired by Facebook, Instagram is quickly becoming a contender in the social advertising stratosphere and is considered to have one of the highest audience engagement rates. It appeals to sellers with visually appealing products or services, given its heavy focus on imagery and typically appeals to a younger demographic. You can find useful links on building, budgeting and targeting your Instagram campaign here.
With a following that is almost 50% more likely to shop online than non-twitter users, it is often used to boost ecommerce platforms and direct conversions. Many companies use Website Cards which feature call to action buttons, imagery and direct links to encourage traffic to their site. Website Cards associated with tweets significantly increase the likelihood of engagement. You can find useful links on building, budgeting and targeting your Twitter campaign here.
Pinterest is one of the most powerful social media tools for ecommerce sales. Highly visual and skewed toward women, it boasts high engagement, opportunities for custom product promotion and holds a captive and actively seeking audience. You can find useful links on building, budgeting and targeting your Pinterest campaign here.
LinkedIn’s focus is geared largely toward B2B marketing. Its audience is considered to have higher than average disposable income and tends to produce the most productive B2B leads. As a result, its ad platform includes sponsored content, sponsored InMail and targeted text ads. You can find useful links on building, budgeting and targeting your LinkedIn campaign here.
Considered one of the newest platforms, Snapchat is the most used network by young adults, which is often its most redeeming feature for potential advertisers looking to reach the millennial market. There are a number of ways to advertise including static or video infeed ads, sponsored lenses, Snapchat Discover and Sponsored Geofilters. While Snapchat offers interesting and innovative ways to reach your audience, it is considered to be one of the more expensive platforms. You can find useful links on building, budgeting and targeting your Snapchat campaign here.
CHECK YOUR INBOX
Mass emailing gained popularity in the 1990s. In fact, it hit with such an impact it initiated the development of the Data Protection Act. Instituted in 1998, The DPA was created to marshal the massive amounts of spam emails being sent without user approval by requiring an opt-out option in every mass email sent. Further legislation was later put in place to help curb the massive spam and virus epidemic associated with email marketing, the most recent example of this being Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation( CASL).
While these legislations do make email database collection a more difficult and tedious undertaking, email marketing remains to be a very effective advertising means, mainly as it remains the most used application, beating out social media and search engine platforms across the board.
A few things to consider when crafting an email marketing campaign include:
- Get permission!
Not only is this good business etiquette, it is also the law (see above CASL link). Gaining consented email lists can be achieved in a number of ways. The most common approach is to offer a free download or other incentive with an email signup or via a newsletter subscription form.
- Use a third-party software.
Using an email program allows advertisers to easily include an opt-out link as legally required, automatically remove users that choose to opt out and ensures that promotional emails come from a professional looking address without jeopardizing the integrity of your email list.
- Deliver value.
Once a company has gained permission, it is important to follow through with consistent and relevant content, at the frequency expectations they have set. This can be accomplished by crafting a thought-out annual campaign before sending any content to an email list.
- Get permission!
- Track and adapt.
Most email marketing programs will offer statistics including the percentage of people opening emails, clicking on links or forwarding to someone else. Actively tracking these metrics provides the ability to increase the effectiveness of email campaigns.
You can find useful links on building, budgeting and targeting your email marketing campaign here.
UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Influencer marketing is taking social media by storm. Influencer marketing places the focus on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. Companies identify the individuals who have influence over potential customers, and then orients their marketing activities around these influencers.This endorsement-driven content relies on adequately selecting brand advocates to reach the target market by using the advertiser’s product or service and sharing their experience with their followers, which are typically pre-deemed to be the correct target market by the advertising company. For potential clients who may distrust large companies, the personalized endorsement from someone they trust, or respect can have a lot more impact than traditional routes.A few things to keep in mind when considering brand advocate partnerships include:
- Social Media Reach.
Bigger is not always better. Certainly, reach is important, however, having lots of followers or fans doesn’t always equate increased engagement, particularly given the algorithms in place by most social media networks to drive paid ad sales. Advertisers should consider past engagement, keeping in mind the aim of their campaign and finding the balance between reach and engagement necessary to meet their needs.
- Social Media Reach.
- Audience Segment.
Advertisers should research potential partnerships to ensure the influencer’s audience matches their target demographic. Substantial reach has little impact if the product or message doesn’t resonate with the audience.
- Audience Segment.
Influencers that take a natural approach, that is, show value rather than actively sell something, typically have more a more engaged and loyal following. Successful influencers know that there is a balance necessary between sales posts and lifestyle posts.
To track ROI for these types of campaigns, advertisers may consider offering a specific offer for each influencer so that they can easily track the effectiveness of each campaign. You can find more information on these points and more here.
While this isn’t a comprehensive list of modern marketing mediums, I have touched on some of the most popular for this article, that said, if you have questions about anything not mentioned here, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Thanks for reading, if you’d like to read previous entries, you can find the archive here and please feel free to share this content if you feel it could be beneficial to a business owner you know! ~ Alix