Jenny Ogden, Campaign Manager, Sift Media
Amidst the fears of the credit crunch and economic downturn, any marketing activity needs careful planning and monitored outcomes. One of the most popular tactics, online advertising, is viewed as low cost and effective.
Jenny Ogden, Campaign Manager at Sift Media, outlines some key tips on how businesses can use this tool to support strategic marketing and business plans, and how to make it work on a tactical level.
The best laid plans…
Give online advertising as much thought and preparation as any other type of advertising activity. The most effective campaigns are those that are given serious consideration and where recommendations of the media provider have been taken into account.
There are techniques that can be learnt to help online advertising deliver real results; much the same as techniques marketers learn for direct email, television and print advertising.
Playing to the right audience
If a business wants its online campaign to succeed, it must know the target audience. Deciding where, when and how to advertise online are the most critical decisions to make when planning a campaign. Get this wrong and company messages will become diluted and be delivered to an inappropriate audience.
Try as they might, a sales team will be unlikely to convert any responses or leads. However, get it right and it could end with a highly successful and profitable campaign:
- Research to find out what business websites the target audience regularly uses.
- Which sites do they trust and look to for the latest industry updates and opinion?
- Where is the competition advertising and why?
- Speak to media providers to find out about different audiences to find the best match.
- Register with the sites that are most appropriate and try them. If they are useful and helpful, the chances are that the target audience will feel the same way too.
You only get out what you put in
The phrase ‘you only get out what you put in’ is particularly true when it comes to lead generation activity. Most lead generation campaigns are based on an offer made to the target audience. This type of campaign could include;
- A white paper or article
- A free ‘how to’ guide
- A free trial
- A discount voucher
- Free entry to an event
Better quality offers generally result in superior quality of the leads and the responses received in return.
Less is more
Consider the following when writing advertising copy for on-site creative, email adverts or lead generation campaigns:
- Keep it short, simple, straightforward and to the point.
+ Don’t try to advertise everything all in one go. Focus on one business issue that a product, service or solution can solve at a time.
- Try to be different; if several software suppliers are all advertising at the same time it can be difficult to see the difference in their approach.
- Try to avoid words like ‘system’, ‘integration’ or ‘data’. They won’t inspire users to click on an advert to find out more. Try and make even the dullest subjects come to life on the screen.
- Adapt the adverts to suit the aim of the campaign, so;
+ If the campaign concentrates on brand awareness, focus on the brand and the main selling points of the product, service or solution.
+ If the campaign is designed to generate leads, focus on what is being offered and use it as a hook.
If copywriting needs improving, most media providers will be able to offer insight into what works best. Some may offer complimentary copywriting services for advertisers.
Did you get my message?
If the media provider offers contextual and/or behavioural targeting for the advertising, take advantage of it.
Rather than sending out blanket emails to an undefined audience, contextual and behavioural targeting means that messages can be placed to the correct audience in the right place, at the right time. This approach ensures the budget is more effectively spent.
Taking the lead…
During or after advertising has been run, it is essential that staff are prepared to deal with responses.
Unlike traditional media, a well executed online, lead generation campaign can create hundreds of responses which need to be followed up quickly and effectively.
Sales and marketing teams need to develop a coherent approach to generating sales from each lead, and must understand messages that have been sent to the audience.
If at first you don't succeed….
Not all online campaigns are instantly successful. Despite the many benefits online advertising has over traditional forms of advertising, for some it doesn’t ‘click’ straight-away.
If a business finds itself in this situation it is important to get some advice. Listen to media providers or an agency. They know what works and how to get the best results from their audience; they’re experts and they will want a campaign to work.
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