It may not be rocket science, but creating a successful advertising campaign has become increasingly intricate in today’s digitized world. Setting yourself apart from competitors, boosting brand awareness and building customer trust are some of the key objectives of marketing campaigns, but achieving them isn’t as cut and dry as it once was. As the market becomes more saturated and increasingly competitive, and new technologies continue to spur new trends, it’s crucial to understand what works and what doesn’t. Here are five simple steps for emerging entrepreneurs to follow that will guarantee a cohesive marketing campaign.
- STAY ON BRAND
Statistics have shown that presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. Therefore it’s important to stick with a cohesive theme and stick to your branding. By utilizing a consistent color palette, font, and tone across all campaigns, you create a pattern of expression that will define your business to consumers. So what are some of the benefits of brand consistency?
Have you ever watched a commercial or listened to a radio advertisement and automatically identified the brand behind it? Look at reputable brands like Coca-Cola, whose font is distinctly recognizable, or Geico, who utilize their gecko mascot in every advertisement. These businesses could produce advertising campaigns without actually mentioning their brand name, and consumers would still be able to identify the brand. Businesses who maintain distinct and consistent branding elements are more likely to be recognized by consumers.
One of the cornerstones of any successful relationship – whether it be personal or business – is trust. According to a study, 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand they recognize and trust. Think about how trust is built within personal relationships: the longer you know someone and the more you know about them, the more you trust them. The same principles can be applied to entrepreneurs, which is why brand consistency is crucial for fostering brand trust. Posting content frequently, at similar times, with a consistent theme and messaging, will allow consumers to get to know your brand, much like one gets to know a friend.
In today’s competitive and saturated market, standing out from the crowd is key. If consumers can’t tell the difference between you and your competitors, what is compelling them to support you over them? Brand differentiation is vital to maintaining a loyal customer base, so whether it’s through aesthetics, core values or key messaging, it’s crucial to consistently highlight the features that make your business unique.
The more consistent you are, the more likely a consumer will remember you. Human memory is based on repetition; whether it’s a jingle you’ve heard 100 times or a logo that keeps reappearing, the more times you see something, the more likely you are to remember it. Statistically, it takes between 5 and 7 impressions for people to remember a brand, which is why continuously changing your branding can be detrimental to the memorability of your business.
- KEEP FOCUSED
Focus your ad on one section of your sales funnel at a time.
A sales funnel refers to the process that turns a prospect of your business into a paying customer. Like a real-life funnel, it is wider at the top and narrows down at each stage, pushing successful prospects to the end while dropping off those who are not a good match for your product or service. Sales funnels show you the stages of your pipeline that are converting leads successfully, and which stages are causing drop-offs. There are four stages of a sales funnel: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action. By focusing your ad on one section of your sales funnels at a time, you can see what is working and what needs to change.
According to a report published by Econsultancy, 83% of online shoppers need support to complete a purchase. Therefore optimizing your sales funnel to make the process as seamless and enticing as possible is vital in today’s competitive market. So how can entrepreneurs aim for high conversion rates at each stage of the sales funnel?
The Awareness Stage – Provide educational content
The first stage of the sales funnel is where users first learn about your business. According to Conductor, people are 131% more likely to support a brand immediately after reading educational information about it, because it positions them as an expert in the field and fosters trust among consumers. Solution-oriented articles, how-to videos, and informative infographics are all excellent ways to demonstrate the expertise and authority of your business while simultaneously enabling growth of brand awareness and customer loyalty.
The Interest Stage – Create a captivating landing page
Now that you’ve captured their attention, you need to keep their interest. By gaining their email address, you’ll be able to start building a relationship with them and cater to their needs. The best way to do this is to design an attractive, captivating landing page that is targeted towards those interested in your product or service and offer them something in exchange for their contact info, like a free eBook or a discount code.
The Decision Stage – Offer social proof
Social proof is demonstrating to prospects the success or popularity of your business through customer reviews, testimonials, statistics, or moving stories. People may be wary of businesses, but they’ll trust the experiences of real people. In fact, the average consumer reads 10 online reviews before committing to a purchase, and 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations.
The Action Stage – Present a clear CTA
If a prospect has reached the final stage of your sales funnel, it means you’ve done everything right. It would be a shame to lose out on a customer because they don’t know what to do next, so make sure your Call-To-Action is clear and straightforward. Use bright colors and clear fonts, placed in a visible location with easily understandable lingo, like “Start Your Free Trial Now”, “Schedule Your Appointment Today” or “Book Now”.
- NO INTERRUPTIONS
Do not interrupt your customer’s browsing experience. Historically, advertisements have always been interruptive. Whether it was a TV commercial interrupting your favorite show or a telemarketer calling to ruin your day, you’ve definitely experienced that sigh-inducing moment an advertisement invaded one of your daily activities. And with the advent of the internet, interruptive adverts have taken the form of pop-ups inundating our social media feeds. But in today’s highly digitized world, consumers are going out of their way to avoid advertisements, whether it’s paying higher rates for ad-free streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, installing ad-blockers on web browsers, or hitting Youtube’s “skip advert” button as soon as it pops up. The bottom line is that consumers are fed up, with 90% reporting that they find interruptive advertisements annoying.
There are a myriad of reasons why interruptive advertising is ineffective. Firstly, if your advertisement is interrupting a customer’s browsing experience or favorite show, they aren’t going to develop positive feelings for your brand. It actually dissuades readers and leads to higher bounce-back rates. Secondly, there is no incentive for a customer to find out more information about your business. If they’re in the middle of an interesting article or funny video, they aren’t going to stop what they’re doing to research the brand that was just advertised to them. And thirdly, interruption marketing targets a wide audience with limited return on investment.
However, there is still a need for advertisements. According to a survey by Hubspot, “83% of respondents say that although they want to filter out obnoxious ads, they realize not all ads are bad and that they can be useful.” The solution? Permission-based marketing.
If you’ve ever signed up for email alerts in exchange for 10% off your favorite clothing store, or joined a rewards program to receive a free gift on your birthday, then you’ve participated in permission-based marketing.
Permission-based marketing is a term first coined by Seth Godin to define the way businesses can market to subscribers who have directly given permission to receive offers and announcements from brands.
In his book Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends, and Friends into Customers, Godin explains the benefits of permission-based marketing. It produces a higher return on investment and results in higher conversion rates. That’s because you’re not wasting your time and money by advertising to people that have zero interest in your product or service. Users that have opted-in for permission-based advertising already have somewhat of an interest in your business, and therefore are more likely to become customers. It’s also less expensive, as it relies on lower-cost methods like emailing. Lastly, as opposed to the frustration and annoyance induced by interruptive advertising, permission-based advertising actually fosters trust, value and brand loyalty among customers.
- USE YOUR AD ‘SENSE’
If you aren’t utilizing ad services like Google Adwords, Amazon Affiliates or AdEspresso to optimize your ad reach, you’re putting your business at a huge disadvantage. Platforms like these allow businesses to pay for advertisements that will appear either in internet searches where certain keywords are used, or displayed on websites that attract a desired target audience. They allow you to drive more traffic to your site, discover new leads, and measure your results over time. These ad services are extremely effective because they specifically target a niche audience instead of casting a wide net to the general population and seeing who takes a bite.
So what are the benefits of using Pay-Per-Click advertising services?
They work faster than SEO
It can take months for business, especially new emerging ones, to see results through SEO. That’s because new websites have not garnered any site authority yet, and face stiff competition for popular keywords. Whereas SEO requires a long-term window to achieve success, Adwords and other alike platforms give you instant visibility at an instant cost. Because the results are instantaneous, it’s also a good way to test whether certain keywords are effective and worth pursuing in organic searches.
They may convert better than organic traffic
Organic traffic is obviously ideal, but some evidence seems to suggest that paid advertisements have higher conversion rates than organic traffic. The theory behind this is that because paid adverts are targeting a specific audience who is already actively searching for a product or service, they are more likely to turn into customers.
They allow customizable hyper-targeting
While these ad services are already targeting specific groups, you can narrow down the criteria even further, filtering it out by geography, time, language, etc. For example, if you’re a new hair salon, you can set up Google ads that target everyone within a one-mile radius of your location. If you’re new burger joint, you can set up adverts that promote lunchtime deals between 11am and 2pm. By customizing your target audience to an even smaller, more specific audience, you are more likely to see results.
They are measurable
In comparison to traditional forms of marketing like TV commercials and print adverts, online marketing is highly measurable. Social media and SEO are also difficult to measure, as there are too many variables that can affect results. Google Adwords and similar platforms are very transparent, providing tons of data that allow you to quantify the success of your campaigns, measure your ROI, and see whether you need to change things up.
- STAY ON SOCIAL TRENDS
It’s no secret that social media marketing is one of the most lucrative strategies for businesses. According to Statista, 79% of the US population uses social networking apps, and globally, digital consumers are spending on average 2 hours and 13 minutes a day on social media. As social media continues to garner attention from users worldwide, it comes as no surprise that 65% of marketers increased their social media marketing budgets last year.
But with a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn and now TikTok, it can be difficult to decide which platform will work best for you. Each platform has its own set of strengths and weaknesses that cater differently to certain needs. That’s why it’s important for entrepreneurs to keep track of which social media platforms are performing best in today’s digital landscape, and which align with your brand’s target audience, industry and the type of content you’re creating.
Furthermore, the social media landscape is a tumultuous one, constantly evolving and spurring new trends. As developers create new features and algorithms that influence user behavior, new trends emerge and certain trends or strategies become outdated. A marketing strategy that worked last year might not be as effective this year, which is why marketers need to stay on top of social media trends and adjust their campaigns accordingly.
For instance, understanding the user demographics of each social media platform is critical in reaching the right audience. For example, did you know that most Twitter users are under the age of 50, and a startling 71% of Pinterest users are female? Therefore if your brand is trying to reach users of a certain age or gender, it’s important not to waste your time on platforms that aren’t used by your targeted demographic.
And were you aware that 52% of brand discovery still happens on public feeds, or that LinkedIn ads reach up to 12% of the world’s population? Or how about the fact that users prefer Instagram stories with interactive features like voting polls and Q&As? Trends and statistics like these are important to take note of, as they can drastically alter the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Another trend to consider is user psychology. Statistics show that customers spend upwards of 40% or more on brands that engage with them on social media, because it humanizes the brand and builds a trustworthy relationship. And because of a growing distrust among consumers of disingenuous influencers, brands are better off partnering with nano-influencers with smaller followings over big names, as they are more trusted by consumers.
The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain in the world of social media. There will always be new features, new trends, and new statistics altering the landscape, so keeping up to date is vital for the success for your business.