In today’s digital age, maintaining an online presence is no longer an option. If you want to succeed in any business venture, you have to know how to reach an online audience. While the idea of online marketing is relatively straightforward, the execution can be messy, complicated and time-consuming. Here we will discuss the basic tools you need to get started in developing your online presence.
Google Adwords is a platform that allows you to use specific words and images to target your desired audience. Essentially, you pay for a spot on the first page of Google for particular keywords you want to target. For example, if you are running a pool cleaning business in your city, you may pay to show up when someone searches “pool maintenance” or “chlorine suppliers.”
Businesses that pay for Google Adwords will have a bold “Ad” to the left of their website URL when you search for one of their keywords. Therefore, it’s always a smart practice to search for the service your business offers and your city name, then review the results. This can give you an idea of other companies offering the same services you do, and you can understand the ad words your competitors are using to attract business.
The advantage of Google Adwords is you do not pay for the keyword unless someone clicks on your website. This form of marketing is called Pay Per Click or PPC. You also can set a budget and google will stop running your ads when your threshold has been met. It’s a great way to dip your toe in digital marketing without shelling out the big bucks.
The main advantage of using social media to market your business is to connect directly with your prospective and past customers and generate awareness about your brand.
Today, most customers expect a brand to have a Facebook and Instagram page and will typically do a quick search before buying. Having a social media presence further helps convey trust between you and your customers.
Social Media is a great way to showcase your brand’s identity. Do you want your brand to feel professional or casual? Funny or serious? Social Media allows you to let your brand’s personality shine through. It’s a great way to present “behind the scenes” information to your customers such as photos of your work environment and employees. People want to buy from companies that are transparent and fair. People also love feeling like they get a peek inside your company’s inner workings.
Customized Audience LIst
Customized audience lists are lists of past customers your business compiles using website metrics and audience data. Generating a customized audience can give you an idea of the demographics a majority of your customers share, such as age, profession, location, etc. Customizing your audience allows you to create personalized content that will speak to your customer base and increase sales and revenue.
With this information, you can go one step further and target prospective customers who share the same features as your past customers. This phenomenon is known as “identity-based targeting.” Digital marketers can now create “look-alike” audiences who share similar characteristics or behaviors as your past customers.
In the past, digital marketers have had to manually scout and buy digital ad space. They would have to get quotes from several providers and negotiate the terms of the deal. With programmatic ads, machines and algorithms are used to buy ad space. This leaves more time for humans to work on the ads themselves and optimize them for their specific audience.
Frequently, digital marketers have a period of trial and error when they are first transitioning a brand online. They have to manually discover a company’s target audience which usually results in some hit-or-miss campaigns. Programmatic ads take the human guesswork out of the equation and instead use proven algorithms to help a marketer determine where their ad money is best spent.
While programmatic ads save a company time and money, they must be monitored. There have been instances of a company’s ads showing up in the wrong places and costing them sales. A company must have a regularly updated “blacklist” of inappropriate sites where they do not want their ads displayed. Some brands even go so far as to have a “whitelist” which is simply a list of approved sites. These sites are the only ones who have permission to display their content. This level of targeting may be more expensive but for businesses that cater to children or other sensitive demographics, it could be worth protecting the brand’s identity.
It’s no longer sustainable to rely on repeat customers to keep your business afloat. Today, any business needs to be innovative to be competitive, and this means building a robust online presence. Utilizing the strategies discussed above such as Google Adwords, Social Media, Customized Audience Lists and Programmatic Ads are an excellent way for you to start to target an online audience and increase overall sales and revenue.