Online marketing has changed. It’s no longer a place where haphazardly placed Adwords ads can turn your blog into a gold mine. Today’s online marketing game is about relevancy, targeting and data. It doesn’t matter if you’re an online marketing noob or an old pro, here are 5 ways that you can turn your humdrum ad campaigns into something relevant and (for lack of a better term) awesome.
1. Do your research
Keywords are the backbone of any online marketing strategy. No matter how strict the search engines get about what content they put on the first page, no matter what industry your business is in, no matter what advertising network you’re using or if you only have a budding blog. Keyword research is critical for your online marketing strategy at every level. If you’ve never done keyword research before or if your keyword research is goes as far as what you think people are searching for, then this section is for you. It’s time to start over from scratch and get back to the basics.
The absolute best way to do keyword research is through the Google Keyword Tool. Input any keyword or phrase into the Keyword Tool and it’ll show you how many searches that keyword gets per month and will suggest other relevant keywords that you can add to your campaign. As helpful as that is, the true power of the Keyword Tool is that it will show you the competition and the average cost per click for that keyword on Google Adwords. Knowing how competitive a keyword is will allow you to target keywords that are heavily searched, cheap and that other marketers are ignoring because they aren’t doing their research. You’d be surprised at how many useless keywords people are paying over $10 a click for when they could be paying .10 for one that gets more monthly searches. Like other mind blowing Google products, the Keyword Tool is completely free of charge. If you’re advertising online (even if you don’t use Adwords) the Keyword Tool will change your marketing campaigns forever and is a must have for any online marketing strategy, SEO strategy or anything else you’re doing online.
2. Leverage Big Names
This is more for SEO purposes, but who isn’t still trying to get on the first page of Google?
Creating pages for your business or product on major websites like Facebook, Blogspot, Pinterest and Yelp can help your business appear higher in the search engines because their domain names are heavily weighted by said search engines. For example, this means that whenever there is ‘yourpagename.facebook.com’, Google will place that page higher than other domains.
This may not sound like a revelation to anyone, but this is where it gets interesting. During the setup process for your page or listing, if they ask you “what do you want your sub domain to be”? (i.e. yourpage.ourdomain.com), instead of inserting your business name or product name, put one of those highly searched keywords that you just found in the Keyword Tool. When people search for that keyword, your page is going to come up higher because you paired that keyword with a super domain. This will help you maximize your exposure and get additional attention to your business or product completely free. And don’t forget to place relevant keywords in your business description and meta tags to give it an even bigger SEO push.
3. Hyper target your key demographic
Your online marketing campaigns have to be geared toward a specific audience in order to cut through the noise and make an impact. If you visit any given website, you’re immediately bombarded with ads. Some are relevant but most of the ads are junk. Ad fatigue is what your customers experience on a regular basis. In order to make an impact you have to know who your target demographic is, target them where they spend their time online and provide something that is relevant to them. This is where selecting your advertising network becomes essential. You want to ensure that the audience a particular ad network serves is the audience that you’re trying to target. So, before you hand over your credit card number, do a little research and see what websites are in their ad network and who they are able to reach. Advertising is no longer about being everything to all customers, it’s about being relevant to a specific group of people. Find the right ad network and target the right people.
If you have no idea who your target demographic is, then take this time to sit back and create them. What are their interests? Are they male or female? How old are they? What problem do you solve for them? And what makes them buy your product over your competitor’s? Getting these questions answered will jump start your ideal customer brainstorming session. After you’ve discovered who you’re marketing to, proceed with this article.
4. Stop “selling” and start “interacting”
We’re all trying to make a buck online. However, today’s customers are far more savvy than their early 2000’s counterparts and they hate being sold to. But, everyone loves being given the option to buy a product that is relevant to them. So, how do you tow that line? By following a very simple formula that is as follows:
Provide value first -> build rapport -> provide awesome product.
Provide something of value first (besides your product), like a quiz, poll, cool video or game that is not directly pushing your product or service but that’s still relevant to your industry. For example, if you’re a catering company you could advertise a video on YouTube showing people how to make a 10 minute appetizer that will make them the hostess/host with the mostest/most at their next dinner party. This builds trust and credibility for your business. When they need a caterer, who do you think they’re going to call? Exactly.
5. Live and die by your analytics
As the saying goes, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. No matter what kind of campaign you’re running on what advertising network, make sure that you’ll have access to the analytics of your campaigns. You have to be able to see which ads did best? What kind of click thru rates did you get? Was there a particular website that your ads performed best on? Was there a certain time of day that brought you higher conversions? What about a certain day of the week? Can you see the demographics of who clicked on the ad to see if your demographic targeting is on track?
You want to gather as much information about your campaigns as possible so that you can continually tweak them and increase your conversion rates. If you know that your ads do the best between 5-10 pm on Thursday and Monday nights, then that’s when you want to run your ads. That may sound a little overly specific but in today’s world it’s no longer about casting a big net. It’s about slicing yourself off specific groups of people, delivering something relevant to their needs and then giving them the opportunity to buy your product or service.
Staying on top of online marketing trends and strategies is more than a full time job. By following these steps you can begin to revive your online presence to be more relevant to your target customers. No matter what new algorithm the search engines use or what new ad networks may come along; having a web presence that’s based on providing value, targeting specific customers and tracking your results will never be 6 feet under.