The Google Display Network (GDN) enables you to connect with customers using a range of ad formats across the Internet. At present, the network spans several million websites and is believed to reach over 90% of Internet users. Display is one of the two most important AdWords networks; Search is the other.
You will use Search when attempting to reach people who are interested in particular goods and services and have already searched for them. The point of the Display Network is to grab the attention of the prospect much earlier in the purchasing cycle. If you use it correctly, it can significantly increase the reach and revenue of your business; read on to find out how to get your GDN campaign spot on the first time around.
Target by Demographics
You can narrow down your target audience by dividing them into different demographics such as Age, Gender, Interests and much more. For example, if you’re selling weightlifting supplements, you know the most likely group to target are 18-34-year-old males with an emphasis on 18-24-year-olds. When you’re on the Display Network, choose Demographics – Targeting to get started.
You should play with this a bit to learn even more about your potential target audience.
Create Ads in Various Formats
This is anathema to many marketers and goes against conventional wisdom and the 80:20 rule. For instance, why should you spend money on image ads when you know that text ads outperform them consistently? Alas, you’ll find that some websites only support one format.
There are a lot of marketers who hate text ads and would never include them if possible. However, they know that some placements can only support text ads. They also know that if they are the only ones with a specific format, it will yield crucial exposure for their clients/businesses. For best results, create text and image ads but split them into separate ad groups.
An estimated two-thirds of ads on the GDN are text ads, so you clearly need to invest in more visual ads. The best ads are simple, easy to read and visual. If you lack the bandwidth to make visual ads, use Google’s display ad builder.
Which Targeting Method Should You Use?
There are several forms of display ad targeting although the following three are probably your best options.
A lot of marketers still prefer to go with this targeting method. If you wish to follow suit, select 10-15 keywords that best describe your business and its products/services. The tricky aspect of keyword targeting is finding the right phrases; they shouldn’t be too specific or too broad.
For instance, ‘plane tickets’ or ‘airline tickets’ are too general; a better example is ‘low-cost air tickets.’
Most marketing experts recommend that you start with remarketing first. Use Google Analytics or AdWords to place cookies on your site. When visitors leave, these cookies follow them around and provide them with targeted ads based on their online behavior.
This option gives advertisers an element of control over where their ads are placed. You can pick and choose the exact sites where you want the ads displayed. To begin, look for 5-10 websites that relate to the products/services you’re offering and serve ads on these placements.
Successful GDN Campaigns Stay ‘On Brand.’
Assuming you use image ads (and you should), it is important to ensure they match the look and feel of your website. A simple trick is to use a screenshot from one of your product pages to advertise the item. Otherwise, make sure the colors on your ad are the same as what you use on the site. It is pretty basic marketing; you want consumers to look at the ad and immediately link it to your website.
ABT – Always Be Testing!
The Google Display Network is enormous which means your reach is almost unlimited. Also, Google is continuously releasing new targeting methods and other features, so if you aren’t utilizing them, you could be missing out. First and foremost, you have to set a budget; if you have some money left over after your ads, use it to test. Most marketers recommend setting aside 10-20% of your total budget for the testing process.
Possible testing options include:
• Multiple landing page concepts.
• Analyzing the performance of different targeting options. An example would be how Keyword Targeting works against Placement Targeting.
• Split-test ad variations. This may involve using different copy, layouts, and images.
The sheer reach and potential of the Google Display Network mean you should put your faith in it and start increasing your company’s reach. It is eminently affordable and even if you have a relatively small budget, you could enjoy fantastic success because your target audience is on there just waiting to be wowed by your company.
The marketing world is changing fast and the modern consumer wants to know precisely what a company or product can do for them and they want to know it quickly. Unsurprisingly, video is becoming the most popular marketing medium. In 2014, about 50% of all online content was video. In 2016, that is set to be over 85%!
Clearly, you can’t expect to make an impact in your niche without well-produced video content. There are various types’ of marketing videos you need but not all of them are useful. Below, we look at 5 that are.
1 – Brand Documentary
This is a great way to explain to the audience what your company is all about. As long as you play to your strengths and keep it personal and genuine, a video about your brand can be a powerful marketing tool. Just make sure you put the most powerful points within the first 10 seconds. Feel free to add client or employee testimonials for greater authenticity.
2 – How To
Also known as an ‘explainer video’, this is an excellent way to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. A great example of a ‘how to’ video would be a production created by an Internet marketing company that shows small businesses how to create a marketing video for their website!
A good How To video can take seconds to explain something that usually requires minutes of reading.
3 – Product/Service Overviews
Anyone can write down the great features of your products but actually showing customers your products in action makes a statement. As well as clearly demonstrating the benefits, it tells customers that you’re extremely confident in your merchandise and this confidence rubs off on them.
4 – Promoting an Event
Tickets to events are usually quite expensive, particularly if they are marketing events designed to improve a company’s profits. Record one of your events in action and let viewers decide for themselves the kind of impact you can have on their businesses. When they see the energy and passion, it will prove to be irresistible for some.
5 – Q&A
This can also be called an ‘expert’ video and is yet another opportunity to display your knowledge of your industry & products. For customers still in the research phase, the option to directly ask a company questions will be well received. Creating a survey that determines FAQs gives you the ‘script’ you need and this should clear up any confusion/misinformation about your product. Q&A videos are also an excellent way of establishing credibility.
If you’re not using video marketing, the time to change is now. Don’t be afraid to test out the different types of video to find out the ones that are most popular with your target audience. While there is a lot of effort involved, the ROI on both your time and financial investment will be well worth it.
Back in 2012, some analysts decried marketing automation and claimed it was a failure. One article in particular was written by an author (Joby Blume) who had worked with the technology only to find his employer not only failed but went bust! The thing is, the article made a lot of sense and it was a lesson to all small companies interested in using marketing automation to get to the next level.
The basic takeaways from the piece were that marketing automation will fail if you didn’t have:
- Clear objectives.
- Enough leads.
- The right content.
- Adequate staff.
- Sales and marketing alignment.
- Customers & prospects.
There were a few more but basically, marketing automation is not a ‘golden ticket’ and only works if you make it work. Fortunately, it is possible to do incredible things with the new technology which we outline below.
1 – Get The Most From Lead Management
According to Blume, small businesses need to go out and get a host of leads if they expect marketing automation to work. But once you have done this, it is possible to get the maximum out of your lead management efforts. The biggest problem is lack of quality leads but with a scoring and grading system, you can immediately qualify leads and pass them directly to the company’s sales team when they are ready to be nurtured.
When you assign a ‘score’, you do so based on the activity levels of the lead and when you assign a ‘grade’, you do so based on how leads fit into your ‘ideal buyer profile’. A lead nurturing system also makes sure that they receive marketing communications to nudge them towards ‘sales ready’ status over the course of time. When these leads are ready to make a purchase, you are likely to be #1 on their list.
2 – Content Strategy Optimization
Another issue Blume outlined was the lack of quality content that leads would swap their contact details for. His company had lots of content but not in the form of whitepapers, e-books etc. With marketing automation, you can create buyer personas in order to learn more about your target audience.
The results of this strategy should be a clear insight into what customers want in terms of content. If you don’t have enough fresh content to go around, simply repackage what you have. For example, if you have an e-book, you can publish it chapter by chapter on your blog.
3 – Increase Revenue
While Blume’s employer when bust back in 2011, small businesses in 2015 are enjoying the fruits of marketing automation. According to a recent survey by Venture Beat, 80% of companies that utilized marketing automation saw an increase in leads and 77% of companies saw an increase in conversion rate. You can click on the link above to learn more about the top marketing automation vendors.
The fact that marketing automation will significantly help your business seems to be set in stone but the level of success depends on how much you’re willing to put in. Marketing automation will get you results but it is no substitute for hard work.
Multi-channel marketing is essentially the practice of communicating and marketing to consumers across a number of channels both online and offline. Savvy marketers know that they can only be a success if they establish a presence on online channels such as social media, blogs, emails and websites along with offline channels such as TV, radio and print media.
No matter what niche you reside in, competition is almost certain to be fierce so you can only hope to achieve success by being wherever your prospects are. This could be in-store, at their desktop or on their mobile device for example. The potential for any business in the Internet age to grow is obvious but how can you maximize this growth?
It’s All About Updated Data
The trouble with data is that it has a tendency to become decayed and outdated over time. One way around this is to continually track consumer visits across the various channels but this is only possible with the aid of marketing automation software.
If you get it right, your software will instantly send the correct messages at the perfect time. For example, an insurance company will be able to send out information about automobile insurance right at the time when the consumer’s existing coverage is coming to an end. Imagine doing this with thousands of customers! With so many qualified leads, your chances of finding new customers are increased exponentially.
Create Buyer Personas
A buyer persona can provide you with details of your ‘ideal customer’. With this information, you can narrow down the number of channels you need to focus on. As well as being a great time saver, it significantly increases the quality of your leads.
Integrate Your Marketing Channels
It should go without saying that your marketing team must work together if you wish to succeed in a multi-channel world. There is no point in going to the trouble of setting up various social media accounts, an email address, a blog and a website if they are working independently.
Remember, the modern consumer moves from one channel to the next at warp speed so your strategy must adapt just as fast. By integrating your marketing channels, you will be able to make a seamless transition.
Advanced Measurement Techniques
Since there are several channels to analyze, you’ll have to create a system of measuring all of the results. You can use analytics software to perform ‘closed loop’ analytics which can show you the most & least effective channels and how certain channels influenced others. This data can then be used to eliminate the channels that don’t work for your business and enables you to spend more time and money on areas of your marketing strategy that actually work.
It may seem as if the entire multi-channel marketing approach is overly complicated but with the right automation software, you’ll find that most of the work is done for you. Best of all, your brand name receives more attention which is crucial in such a crowded marketplace.
According to research performed by Workfront ominously entitled ‘Marketers Stress Report’, 25% of marketers are ‘Stressed to the Max’, 35% are ‘Somewhat Stressed’ while only 3% are ‘Not Stressed At All’. According to over half of the marketers surveyed, one of the top 3 things that make them dread their job the most is trying to get all their work done in a 40 hour week. In most cases, their work hours extend beyond reasonable levels which can only have deleterious effects on their health in the long term.
Marketing Automation Saves Time & Reduces Stress!
A surprising number of marketing teams within organizations use outdated techniques and tools which are high on workload but low on results. Here are some obvious signs that your marketing needs sprucing up:
- You need the aid of your firm’s IT or engineering team because your campaigns cannot be handled entirely by marketing due to lack of tools.
- You are still using non-automated systems to pull lists of customer data.
- You are unable to automatically integrate your company’s marketing activities across all channels.
Fortunately, marketing automation tools are now readily available and best of all; they have a fairly gentle learning curve despite their hi-tech nature. The majority of automated marketing systems are designed to be user-friendly which means you no longer need the assistance of your company’s technical staff.
Choose the proper marketing automation tool for your company and you can enjoy the flexibility of implementing ‘real time’ marketing strategies across a variety of channels. Instead of going down the old and unsuccessful path of marketing ‘at’ customers, you can use the new technology to actively engage with customers thus improving your overall relationship with them.
3 Great Features of Marketing Automation Tools
- Simple Tracking & Analysis of Email Marketing: Now you can create triggered email campaigns that actually ‘follow’ individual members of your target audience during the purchasing cycle. Automation allows you to create and analyze emails and alter them based on the behavior of the consumer.
- Personalized Website Creation: You can change your company website according to your target segment. For example, your site will look different for first-time visitors than it does for regular visitors.
- Form Creation: You can create forms on your landing pages or website that work with other marketing channels such as social media; and you don’t need to bother your company’s design team!
Imagine a scenario where you have a database containing the information of prospects and existing customers and their behaviors across all channels. Add in remarkably accurate analytics and an ability to create your own segments and you have a marketing solution that helps you work smarter not harder. The result is more success and less working hours. You may even get to enjoy the occasionally leng
According to a study by Experian Marketing Services, personalized promotion mailings had almost 30% higher unique open rates and over 40% more unique click rates than non-personalized messages. Yet despite these compelling figures, an estimated 70% of companies don’t bother trying to personalize their emails.
This is criminal when you consider the enhancements in technology which enable companies to tailor each message to the needs of the recipient. An argument against technology in email marketing is that it makes messages less personalized but in reality, the opposite is the case.
Technology Helps You Weed Out Non-Engaged Recipients
Don’t assume that everyone on your subscriber list reads your emails. It is common for consumers to subscribe to emails without even thinking; some of them may even accidentally open your emails before sending them to the trash.
If you have low engagement rates, there is a risk of your emails being flagged as spam by the increasingly advanced email vendors. However, there are various technological innovations that enable you to find out who isn’t engaging with your emails. Then you can decide whether you want to re-engage or cut them adrift.
Technology Helps You Analyze Behavior
As we mentioned above, there are ways to check customer behavior to see if they are not engaging. You can also find out the links engaged subscribers click on and ask them to list their subscription preferences. For example, some subscribers may want a weekly email while others only want an email every month. This minor tweak could keep the customer happy and help you maintain the relationship.
Technology Helps You Give Customers What They Really Want
The best marketing automation platforms use all the information at their disposal to tell you precisely what customers want from your email blasts. If someone clicked on a page on your website that sells shoes, you can send an email offering a discount. It is even possible to find out the exact pair of shoes and offer a price reduction on them; now that’s good customer service!
It is preposterous to suggest that technology has anything but a positive effect on the personalization of emails. In the old days, customers received bland, template emails that didn’t even address them by name. With the recent advances in technology, you can now send emails based specifically on what consumers are interested in purchasing. These emails will appear as if they are written for them alone and that’s when your engagement rates really start to explode.
A surprising number of businesses have been taken in by the lure of social media marketing and believe it to be a superior to email marketing. In reality, customers prefer to be contacted via email when it comes to receiving permission-based promotional messages. The Direct Marketing Association has data which shows that email marketing’s ROI is over 4000%! That equates to $442.5 for every $10 you spend which is an incredible return no matter what way you look at it.
Email marketing has become increasingly sophisticated over the last few years which means you can no longer get away with old-fashioned methods which are ineffective and only practiced by lazy marketers. Below, we look at 4 different email marketing methods though not all will drive you to success.
1 – Batch & Broadcast Email
This is one of the aforementioned old-fashioned methods and is incredibly ineffective. Less than 5% of recipients of batch emails actually open them while the rest delete them or place your email address in their spam filters. Batch emails basically involve sending emails to everyone with no rhyme or reason. It is a pointless strategy in an era where personalization is everything.
2 – Triggered Email
This a more advanced form of email marketing as it takes into account customer behavior. Triggered emails combine user data with a custom template and a message is sent when a certain event occurs which ‘triggers’ the email. As a result, you can send these emails at precisely the right moment to the right person which should yield a significantly improved conversion rate.
3 – Template Email
As you should be able to ascertain from the name, template emails involve the use of a template which can be adjusted to suit the needs of the recipient. Designing an excellent template from scratch can be a time consuming process but is ultimately better than purchasing a cheap template which may not be flexible enough for your needs.
4 – Nurturing Email
This type of email marketing has a series of goals built in with the aim of pushing the recipient further down the sales funnel. These emails need to be focused on educating your target audience and providing genuine value. The most important thing here is to focus on the prospect and outline why your product/service is beneficial to them.
In the world of email marketing, the more sophisticated you are, the higher your conversion rate is likely to be. It is also important to note that around 65% of all emails are now opened on mobile devices first so be sure to optimize your emails for mobile recipients.
One of the biggest issues facing online marketers is that of syncing email marketing and website optimization strategies. It is common for businesses to oversimplify the process by deciding that email marketers write emails, conversion rate optimizers write landing pages and that’s that!
However, if you want the best possible conversion rate, you need website optimizers and email marketers to work side-by-side to develop dedicated landing pages for specified email marketing projects. Below, we look at 4 ways in which your email marketing can assist your site’s optimization strategy and vice versa.
1 – Validate Email Segmentation Data With Website Data
Audience segmentation is a popular pursuit in email marketing but most businesses make the mistake of treating website traffic segmentation as a separate entity. Instead, look to use data taken from your website to validate predefined segments for your email marketing efforts with the aid of a URL parameter. This allows you to discover if these segments behaved in the expected manner using data that monitors user behavior from when they arrive on a site to when they leave.
2 – Create an Improved Website Experience With Email Marketing
Thanks to the vastly improved technology at your fingertips, it is now possible to segment visitors who come from your email marketing strategy. With this information, you can discover their interests and create content tailored to their specific needs.
3 – Analyze Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Email Engagement
You can place an identifier in your email campaign’s URL; just make sure it is specifically created for an individual. Then you can match up this person to segments defined in the Customer Relationship Management file.
4 – Testing & Targeting
Test the content on the predefined email segments by sending them to a specific page on your website from your emails. Try optimizing your landing pages and emails in one test and combine the data to get a better overview of customer behavior. Since more emails are opened on mobile devices than desktops, it is a good idea to test your website’s mobile landing pages.
Not only is there a connection between email marketing and website optimization, utilizing this connection is critical if you wish to gain the most conversions. If you want a unified email marketing strategy, every campaign should have a dedicated landing page. In order to make the most of this approach, you need to segment your email lists in order to drive customers to the correct landing pages at the right moment.
The ‘sales funnel’ is a crucial weapon in your quest to boost your online customer base and you need to create one in order to get the most out of your website. It is effectively a marketing system that leads people through a specific process with the end goal being to make a sale. Here is a brief overview:
- Lead: This is someone who is aware of your business and you have elected to focus on them for a sale. There are different types of leads; for example, a ‘qualified lead’ is someone who is likely to be interested in your product/service. For instance, if you sell golfing equipment, a ‘qualified’ lead is an individual who actively plays golf.
- Prospect: Your goal is to turn a lead into a prospect who is someone that has shown an interest in your products or services. An example of this would be a subscriber to your email newsletter.
- Customer: You should know what a ‘customer’ is by now or else you’re in the wrong business! Again, there are different kinds of customer from someone who makes a single purchase to a repeat customer.
5 Ways To Build Your Sales Funnel
Your aim is to ‘push’ people down the sales funnel so they go through the full process of lead – prospect – customer. It doesn’t need to be a complicated process; simply follow the following 5 steps:
- Landing Page: This is your ‘first impression’ so make it count! A well designed landing page is likely to encourage visitors to at least subscribe to the site. As a result, you end up with the contact information of leads (most likely their email addresses) which is used to market to them.
- The Main Offer: This involves providing prospects with the option to purchase a product or service. In most cases, this means creating a sales page on your website which espouses the benefits of doing business with you.
- The Upsell: Give existing or potential customers the option to ‘upgrade’ a product/service. Fast food restaurants have the all-time classic upsell which is of course the ‘value meal’ where you get fries and a drink with your burger for what appears to be a discount price.
- The Downsize Option: Some of your customers may be on a budget so you need to offer a less expensive option to keep their custom.
- The Follow Up: Your work isn’t done once your prospects have become customers; you need to follow up to ensure they are happy with their purchase. Again, this can be in the form of an email where you ask for feedback. This is a good way to gain repeat customers.
In the end, there are many different ways to create a sales funnel to suit your business and your customer base. Just remember that leads are on top of the funnel and customers are at the bottom. Your goal is to make the journey from point A to point B as smooth and seamless as possible.
You have probably read a lot of articles that explain how to drive traffic to your website but how do you get visitors to land on the exact page you want them to? For most online businesses, this is the home page or landing page and these are the most crucial pages on any website as they provide visitors with a first impression of your business.
Below, we look at 5 simple ways to drive traffic to specific content which should hopefully increase leads, prospects and ultimately, sales.
1 – Add Calls to Action (CTAs)
Too many businesses make the mistake of cluttering their homepage with forms. A better strategy is to add a CTA which contains one of your best offers and quickly steers visitors to the right place. This is a good idea since your homepage is likely to be the most visited page on your entire website.
If your site has a blog (it should), its pages will be among the highest ranking in the search engines. Again, you should look to add CTAs to relevant offers on each blog post page. Finally, use Google Analytics to find out the most popular pages on your site and add CTAs to them as well.
2 – Email Marketing
If you are embarking on an email marketing campaign, make sure the links are to a targeted landing page and NOT your homepage. Email subscribers are already likely to be qualified leads and shouldn’t need a great deal of persuasion in order to convert.
3 – Thank You Page
If a customer has made a purchase, send out a ‘Thank You’ email with a related offer the recipient is likely to be interested in. This will appear to be a ‘helpful’ email rather than a nuisance one that’s trying to make more sales.
4 – Share on Social Media
Send out a link to the page(s) you want to be visited with a targeted message to ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. If it’s a good offer, it should receive a high number of ‘shares’ which could do wonders for a page’s traffic.
5 – Nurture Your Leads
Look to build relationships with leads by sending personalized emails tailored to the recipient’s location in the sales funnel. This is great for credibility and also reduces the time spent trying to qualify your leads.
Once you have adopted the above methods, be sure to track the traffic using tools such as Google Analytics and HubSpot. The data you will gather should help you drive the right people to specific pages on your website.