Once you get the hang of it, digital marketing can seem like old hat. Before then, it’s important to learn the basics. In our Digital Marketing 101 blog posts, we offer an education into the ins and outs of the digital marketing landscape. Read these blog posts to learn digital marketing basics, such as creating campaigns, writing effective ad copy, and more.
MoreVisibility has been managing hundreds of company’s online marketing efforts for over ten years. Through the years we continuously stress the importance of knowing who your audience is. In order to best position yourself in the competitive paid search world and get the best ROI, you must first know who you are targeting. Your target audience is out there and looking for you, you just need to know how to capture them, and help them find you. Who you think you should target may not be who your target market really is. Knowing who to market to and how your competitors are marketing themselves will help you to create a more strategic paid search campaign. You are capable of reaching a worldwide audience 24 hours a day and seven days a week, but you need to know who in that audience you’re targeting.
The best way to establish who your target market is and how to position yourself to them is by conducting research. Conduct both primary and secondary research to evaluate and establish this. You can conduct polls or surveys of current or prospective clients to get a better understanding of your audience. You should network and use friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances and social media networks. Your relationships are invaluable resources when trying to figure out who your target audience is. It’s hard to take yourself out of the situation and look in from an outside perspective. Rely on your relationships to give you that outsider’s perspective. Read the industry newspapers or magazines that pertain to your particular trade. See what your industry is buzzing about and what the current marketing and advertising trends are. Research your competitors as well to see how they position themselves. Subscribe to industry blogs, feeds, discussion groups and forums to keep up with current market trends.
It is very important to tailor your online marketing campaign to suit the needs and wants of your target market. Keep your audience and market in mind when developing the website or landing page that will capture the paid search leads. Your website’s copy, navigation and aesthetics can be either positive or detrimental to successfully capturing your audience. It’s important to know who you are targeting when you are establishing your online presence.
Knowing your audience is just the first hurdle in developing a strong paid search campaign. Always be sure to consistently ask yourself, does this properly suit the needs and wants of my target market?
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, how about taking the time to think about which aspects of your website and online marketing initiatives you are thankful for. From this list, you can determine what might be missing or lacking from your online efforts and expand and/or improve your efforts from there.
Be thankful if…
Your website is professional and polished looking and represents your company well.
Some components you should ensure are present on your website: Clear calls to action that are prominently displayed throughout the site; examples include but are not limited to: call us now, click here for more information, fill out this request form and download this whitepaper) easy and seamless navigation for both the search engines and the user and a Blog with new, up-to-date and relevant content.
Your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Efforts are producing qualified leads and/or sales.
This is imperative. Do not waste precious advertising dollars on an ineffective advertising campaign. You should be able to track and monitor campaign performance, which brings me to my next item….
You have implemented an Analytics Tool that is providing ample data with respect to your website traffic. This is a mission critical piece of the puzzle, especially if you are paying to drive visitors to your website. Which keywords/engines are driving the most revenue? Which have a high bounce rate and should be eliminated from your keyword menu?
You have an effective (effective being the key word here) Social Media Strategy in place.
Having a Facebook page is simply not enough. How are you going to leverage your page to reach prospective clients, shoppers, etc? What are you posting on your Twitter page that is of interest to your consumers and ultimately driving more visitors to your website?
I am hopeful that this exercise can shed some light on any components that might be missing from your overall marketing strategy. If any of the above is not a component you can be thankful for, you ought to get to work and make it happen!
According to Wikipedia, herd mentality describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items. This phenomenon is obvious within the search engine marketing field just as much as everything else in our daily lives. In fact, the top 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing/MSN) all seem to perpetuate the herd mentality with how they pre-load search queries when you use their engines. Below is a screenshot from Google, when I entered a search query for my first name:
Google “auto-filled” search queries before I started typing my last name with popular searches. I guess Google wants me to follow the herd and select one of their suggestions. Yahoo and Bing have the same function built into their search engines. Maybe they are simply providing the top search results relevant to my query to make it easy for me to find what I am looking for…but how do they know what I am looking for? Obviously Google cannot read my mind (yet), but they are willing to apply the herd mentality to provide suggestions of what I will probably click on based on what everyone else has clicked on previously.
But does following the herd when creating a marketing plan hurt or help your chance of success? Often when I speak to clients, they feel they must be seen for all the same keywords that their top competitors are bidding on, without any data to support whether those keywords will work for their site. They completely buy into the herd mentality without any knowledge of how those keywords actually perform. I would not presume to know the percentage of efficiently managed campaigns versus the “set it and forget it” strategy, but based on my experience, there are plenty of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns that need a thorough overall. Inefficient keywords, ad copy and landing pages are much more prevalent than efficient ones, and simply copying your competitors is no way to make that determination. If you just copy your competitors you are almost assured to make the same mistakes they are already making.
Think outside the box, be creative and do your research before blindly following the herd of your competitors. Instead of saying “what would my competitors do”, think about what your competitors are not doing. If you’re not careful, that herd just may run you directly into a pack of metaphorical lions waiting to devour your budget and ruin your chance for survival within the online marketing space.