Every business, large, small, and medium size needs online advertising at some point. It’s inevitable. If you never use it, you’re missing a big chunk of your target market, and it can cost you your business. Digital advertising gives you the ability to reach a mass audience (on the cheap) outside of your geographic influence. It’s how you test new ideas, attract new prospects, and retain old customers. To grow and maintain your core business, an online advertising strategy is essential, and if you don’t get it right or don’t do it all, your competitors will be wiping their “you know what” with your money.
The good news is that a lot of companies get online advertising wrong (or don’t fully take advantage of its benefits). The bad news is, you’re waiting until now to do something about it. But no worries, we’ll get you right on track.
In this article I’m going to show you how to do online advertising a little differently. You’re going to see how to stand out and apart from all your competitors, because you’re an innovative brand right? Then let’s start advertising!
How to advertise online?
The first thing you should do as a business is spell out your objective: what do you want to accomplish with online advertising? Campaigning for likes, comments, and web traffic isn’t best strategy. You need a goal, some form of action you want people to take so you can measure the effectiveness of your campaign and optimize for the best results. Brand engagement is not a strategy, it’s a byproduct of what happens when a great advertising and marketing strategy is executed.
Advertising is about making people aware, exposing your prospects to new ideas that will later lead them to a purchase. Yes, advertising can result in immediate sales, but that’s not how online advertising should be used. Your advertising campaign needs to be backed by a marketing strategy that will walk consumers through the buying process.
Let me give you an example: Pottery Barn came up with a great idea to create their “Friends” collection, based on an episode of Friends that made reference to Pottery Barn in the early 00’s. With Friends 25th anniversary coming up, they decided to ride out some of the momentum to draw attention to their own brand. And what’s the best way for a brand to initiate a conversation? You guessed it, an ad. Pottery Barn’s ad campaign launched weeks before the product was available because the goal was to alert the public and bring them into their marketing funnel so that they could drive sales at a later date. PB’s Friends Campaign consisted of partnerships with bloggers, magazines, and lifestyle brands like Brit & Co, Facebook Ads, banner ads and even Google text ads. This was supported by email marketing campaigns, giveaways, Instagram posts, YouTube videos and more. Advertising should never be the end all be all of any campaign, but should always look to inform, educate, and remind consumers about your product. This all needs to be supported by a comprehensive marketing strategy to reinforce your message and guide users through the buying process.
So what’s your objective? To generate revenue? That definitely should be your bottom line, but first you need permission to keep the conversation going. Since some people may not fully understand your offer (and possibly your brand) on the first go around, you’re going to need a way to give them more information. That’s when signing up to your list, liking your Facebook and Instagram pages, and downloading your app starts to really get important.
Best places to advertise online?
Wherever your customers are, that’s where you want to be. Online advertising should be precise, only targeting the people most interested in your products and services. However, if you don’t know who your customers are or if you’re looking for new business, it may be best to start with a broad strategy that can be optimized as data reveals who’s engaging with your content.
Advertising Strategies that boosts revenue
Every organizations bottom line should include making money. You can be building skyscrapers for banks or orphanages for children, but your organization will cease to exist without some form of revenue. But it takes patience, sometimes you have to sacrifice revenue for growth, and this is a major point most businesses miss. You can’t make money without people, so when advertising online focus on people first.
E-commerce businesses have a unique opportunity to drive sales using online advertising. However, this usually occurs after a consumer has already been exposed to your brand. It’s much easier to sell to someone already familiar with your business, and sometimes online ads give them the nudge they need to complete a purchase. This can be done in the form of retargeting using Facebook and Google ads, or you can use partners in the form of paid blog posts, podcast sponsored podcasts, Instagram shutouts, or YouTube haul videos. These are all forms of advertising.
Another way to generate revenue is with influencer marketing. Although a consumer may have never engaged with your brand, they will be a little more enticed by your offer if someone they trust endorses it. But again, advertising isn’t about short term revenue, it should be used as a strategy to secure future business.
Advertising Strategies to grow your email list
One of the best ways to keep the conversation going once a prospect has expressed interest in your brand, is with email marketing. But how do you build your list with quality leads? The most popular choice is Facebook Lead Ads. But with so much competition and quality becoming more and more questionable, I would suggest something a little more subtle. The best advertising is when people don’t know they’re being sold to (or at least it’s not blatantly obvious). I would suggest some kind of incentive that requires an email address to retrieve. For example, find out what people care about and offer to make it easy for them to satisfy their desires. Make it about them, not about you and your offer. This can mean an advertisement from glassesusa.com offering tips on foods that can help sustain your vision. Although they sell prescription glasses, they would be offering ways to improve vision without making a purchase from them. However, since they got you into their funnel by obtaining your email address in exchange for tips that support healthy vision, when it comes time to buy a pair of prescription glasses you’ll probably think glassesusa.com and feel obligated to make a purchase from them as a returned favor.
Another sneaky way to build your email list through advertising is by using a service like Find Keep Love. Findkeep.love is a service consumers sign up for to get gifts from companies they may have never heard of. All your brand has to do is contribute $300 to the pot (which could include $5 gift cards or some small sample) and you immediately have access to thousands of consumers giving you permission to market to them through email.
Advertising Strategies to make your brand popular
One of the most important reasons to advertise online is to build sentiment and trust. If you’re advertising, chances are people don’t know who you are or what you’re selling. For example, it was extremely difficult for new tobacco companies to surface in the U.S. after Richard Nixon’s 1970 Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, which prohibited tobacco companies from advertising on TV and radio. Without advertising, it’s very difficult to get the word out. Before the 1970 ban on tobacco ads, the Federal Communications Commission enforced its “fairness doctrine” that required TV stations to broadcast one free anti-smoking PSA for every three tobacco ads. This drastically reduced tobacco use in the United States, proving that advertising can sway public perception and influence behavior.
Every brand should use advertising as a tool to shape public perception. What do you want people to know and believe about your brand? Are you the fastest, cheapest, or most reliable? Create an advertising campaign to build an idea about your brand in the mind of consumers. You can’t be popular for everything, but you can choose what you want to be known for and strategically promote a marketing campaign centered around that theme.
And as always, advertising should be backed by a comprehensive marketing strategy and a call to action that gives you permission to keep the conversation going