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Tag - online advertising

Where to Invest Your Digital Marketing Dollars

Whether you own a bricks and mortar or eCommerce business, a major brand or large corporation, businesses of all sizes can benefit from digital marketing.
We take a closer look at some of the digital marketing options to consider for your business and brand.
Email Marketing
Email marketing remains one of the most successful digital marketing platforms for converting leads to sales. Recent figures show for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.
Successful email marketers personalise emails to their consumers, offering real value and content of interest to engage the reader and increase that all important click-through-rate. Targeting niche consumer groups by grouping mailing list recipients into certain demographics such as age, gender, and purchase or browsing history, your company can more accurately deliver the content your customers really want, rather than sending generic mass emails to an entire subscriber list. One recent study found 81% of online consumers are likely to make a purchase after receiving a personalised email.
Websites and Landing Pages
Regardless of your industry, your digital marketing strategy should include a website, and incorporate designated landing pages to promote key offerings. In today’s digital age, your website is often the customer’s first impression of your business. So it not only needs to look great, but your website should also offer an optimised user experience (UX) and feature a call to action (CTA). Integrating easy to use CTA buttons such as ‘learn more’, ‘book now’ or ‘join my mailing list’ encourages time-poor customers to act quickly and engage with your brand.
Landing pages and CTA’s do involve an element of trial and error, as results can vary among different industries, companies and customers. Don’t let this put you off though. Capturing web traffic data from your own website through measures like Google Analytics will provide valuable information about the visitors to your site, and their online behaviour. This allows you to further develop and customise your website to accommodate your customers’ needs and organically grow your ROI.
Content Marketing and Blogs
All too often we see businesses neglect blogs or content marketing, because they can’t see the connection between words and dollars.
Content marketing is an extremely powerful, and underestimated sales tool, capable of engaging, informing and entertaining readers while influencing their purchase decisions.
Surveys have found content marketing generates three times more leads than traditional outbound marketing, and costs 62% less. While digital marketers who prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to realise a positive ROI.
Blogs and articles have the unique ability to market to a consumer, without making the reader feel like they’re being sold to. Content marketing allows businesses to position themselves as industry leaders, demonstrating their knowledge and skill in a practical manner instead of merely advertising products and services through a display ad.
Social Media
Social media can be used in a variety of ways to market your business, from simply increasing brand awareness and consumer engagement, to being the core driver of sales.
Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the milestone of two billion users on Facebook, making it by far the largest social media network in the world. And that trend is reflected closer to home too, with the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report revealing almost eight in 10 Australians now use social media, along with 47 per cent of small businesses, 49 per cent of medium sized businesses and 60 per cent of large businesses.
The report also revealed 64 per cent of Australians are more likely to trust brands that interact positively with customers on social media.
Although setting up a social media account is free, there are costs involved to maximise your page’s content, reach and engagement. You’ll need to consider how much you’d like to invest in a monthly advertising budget, and think about the time and costs involved in managing and monitoring the page, and planning and creating the content – which might include professional videos, photographs and copywriting.
You can measure the ROI by making use of built-in analytical capabilities that can provide valuable data on how people engage with your social media posts, including click through and conversion rates to your website and sales pages. Most businesses however are happy to measure their success by the growth of their followers and likes, as evidenced in the Sensis report.
When Twitter first emerged, it was famous for being the platform with the 140-character message limit. Since embracing more visual and video content, Twitter has relaxed the word count, but it’s still entirely appropriate for users on Twitter to share a brief text-only message – which isn’t suitable on any other social media platform. Twitter claims 85% of its users believe Promoted Accounts help them discover new businesses on Twitter, which is a promising statistic for businesses looking for consumers in the social media space.
Instagram is a predominantly visual medium, allowing businesses to showcase their products and personality on a digital global stage. More than 80% of Instagram users follow a business, and promoted products have the highest engagement rates of all content types.
With more than 467 million users, Linkedin is the biggest social referrer to corporate websites. The platform provides a targeted approach to digital marketing and professional networking, particularly for engaging the interest of potential investors and corporate employees. 
Podcasting
Podcasts are an innovative and influential marketing tool being increasingly used by a growing number of businesses globally. A study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edison Research showed that 65% of listeners are likely to purchase a product after hearing about it on a podcast, suggesting consumers are receptive to advertisements delivered in the right context or environment. While podcasting has been around for more than 10 years, the number of podcast listeners is increasing. Listeners tuning into podcasts come from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and interests. Recent surveys have found at least 22% of younger podcast audiences tend to listen to more than 10 hours a week, whilst older audiences aged 55 and above tend to listen to around an hour or so in the same time frame. With this in mind, companies have the opportunity to develop podcasts that target and grow their niche audiences, in order to deliver a desirable ROI. And you don’t have to create your own podcast. Brands can enjoy the same benefits from exposure in collaboration with other podcasters.
Google Advertising
Advertising through Google’s image ads allows businesses to reach all new heights of consumer targeting and engagement. Google’s highly detailed analytical features allow brands to target specific customers based on their online habits, web browser history and search information.
So if, for example you sell jewellery, fashion or car accessories in an online store, and you advertise using Google’s image ads, you can entice leads to become return customers by having your product galleries display on their web browsers, embedded as a display ad on other websites. Perhaps they visited your online store and popped a few items in the cart but didn’t check out? You can give them a gentle reminder by displaying those same items in front of them while they’re reading the daily news.
While a cost per click (CPC) element applies to this form of marketing, using Google image ads returns a 31 per cent click through rate, higher than Google’s text based ads of 23 per cent. These types of ads are displayed across sites that consumers commonly use including Facebook and other websites on Google’s advertising network AdSense, allowing you to market your business on multiple platforms with a single digital campaign.
Ultimately, all of these digital marketing measures work to drive traffic to your website, and can be used alone or in unison to build a synchronised and multifaceted marketing strategy. Web analytics allow you to track results like web traffic and sales conversions, illustrating the link between your marketing platforms like social media or blogs, and making sales. And while there are no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to digital marketing, you can certainly consider these options as some of the most popular and successful platforms for marketing in 2017.

Smoke, Mirrors and Digital Advertising

Having worked in the digital space for well over a decade I have witnessed first hand the ability of digital marketing to deliver tangible business results. From quantitatively robust research insights, through to enhancing multi-channel relationships and of course market share and profitability increases.
But there’s a big but. Not all digital marketing is created equal. Not all solutions are going to keep shareholders/senior management/your wife happy once the digital dust settles and the numbers are objectively reviewed.

For example, it’s very hard to get excited about digital display advertising when the average click-through rate is 0.05% (2019). Let’s put that in retail terms: imagine you run a store where you need to pay the cost of goods, rent, utilities, staff, cleaning, security etc. before putting a cent in your pocket. Then after dealing with all that, for every 2,000 customers who walk in your door only one shows any interest in what you’re selling. Note, I didn’t say they actually bought anything. They just asked a lukewarm question or two. Perhaps they’ll buy; chances are they won’t.
It’s not a very attractive business model. Yet that’s exactly what advertisers are being sold by website publishers every day. It’s what I was sold some years ago when I was marketing a travel related product. The salesperson from what was then Australia’s largest travel site got me all excited about contextual relevance, traffic numbers, time on site, engaged users blah, blah, blah. After spending many thousands of dollars, the rep proudly informed me that my campaign performed “off the charts”. Apparently it almost doubled the site’s display advertising average click through rate. And what rate was that? 0.7%.
We ended up paying $X00 per click and achieved virtually nothing because of the few people who did click most didn’t do what we wanted them to do. It was a disaster.
Now there will be many in the digital advertising business who will say that maybe:
a) My creativity sucked
b) There was no compelling call to action
c) Display is most effective when part of an integrated campaign
d) I didn’t test enough various creative, offers etc.
e) I wasn’t on the right – read their – site
You know what; there may be some truth in all of those points. But I keep coming back to the numbers. Or in this case, THE number: 0.7%. Unless you’re selling nuclear reactors or Ferraris where you ROI per single sale is very high and your target market is very specifically defined, digital display advertising can be a very big and very black hole.
If you are looking for maximising the returns from your digital marketing investment, look to create and then leverage your own digital assets. Sure, other digital strategies like social media can drive engagement and be a big contributor to your online success but never forget that unless your last name is Zuckerberg, you don’t truly own the communities on your social media pages, accounts etc. Someone who does own them could decide to change their platform and ‘your’ community could disappear in a single mouse click. Pretty scary, don’t you think? What you can control is your own website, blog and opt-in email database to which you can send relevant, targeted eDMs. You can create compelling content to syndicate on a variety of platforms that will be online forever and will continuously drive interested people to where you want them to go.
All of this is sounds a little small time to the ‘awareness merchants’. Schooled in the art of doing big brand building ad campaigns, this is all a bit fiddly. And they’re right. Interacting with individuals can be, let’s face it, a pain in the neck. Particularly when you’re used to paying for exposure to someone else’s community or audience.
If you want someone to buy what you’re selling there’s no better way to achieve that than to talk to them belly to belly and find out what they want and need and to then craft your pitch accordingly. Short of being able to do that, being able to digitally connect with them individually is the next best thing.
Of course traditional advertising is not dead and can still be highly effective, but as we’ve known for decades much of the investment you need to make is wasted and doesn’t achieve the desired results. As we’ve seen, digital marketing is by no means immune to wastage. The difference however, is that by running cost-effective tests and then implementing proven strategies it offers savvy, results-oriented marketers leverage well beyond what they’ve ever had before.
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Images courtesy: buzzcanuck.typepad.com & memburn.com