These 8 critical digital marketing skills
as mentioned in the article linked to below on the Financial Brand are a key to our transformation.
- Search Engine Marketing
- Online Advertising
- Social Media Advertising
- Marketing on Mobile Devices
- Search Engine Optimization
- Email Marketing
- Landing Pages
Think about the main types of sites and their goal. The main ones that typically come to mind are driving to an online sale or lead generation. If you take a look at these two types and then dive a little deeper you might find an area where sites are marketing products or services that people are “Scared to Buy.” What would that mean? Good question. I’ll tell ya.
For me that means Real Estate. In the current Real Estate market that we are in people are scared to buy, if they are in the market at all. Real Estate, online, is typically a lead gen activity, with the few exceptions of companies like RedFin. Take a moment to think about how you would drive people that are scared to look at your product to take the next step.
Why are they scared? Well, to start with its the media, those that love to watch and talk about a car crash and those that believe that there are other outside forces controlling the market. If you want to see a great example try watching Good Morning America in the mornings. They have the recurring story of how many people are out of work and how bad the recession is, how much real estate prices have declined on average. Well if you didn’t feel depressed already you will once you are done. You’ll also notice that you want to stop spending and save every penny that you have and that if you do have to spend anything it must be on some cost saving craft.
When we start to see the media change their tune the behavior of the real estate buyer will also change.
What can you do to move real estate buyer down the purchase funnel? Take care of them. Here is a quick check list.
- Make sure that your site is fast.
- The information the visitor is looking for is on the site.*
- The information is in an easy format to take in.
- Respond quickly to every contact. This means personal. Not an auto-esponse.
- Treat them in a friendly manner.
- Provide ALLinformation when they ask a question and make sure to present all available options or paths that the potential buyer could go down in reagards to choices.**
*Note: It is also common for many in the real estate industry to want to hold back some information from their website. This is a huge mistake as most online visitors will become frustrated and move on to those that do provide the information.
**Note: Many people disagree with providing all choices due to the fact that people can’t focus on that many options at once but if you have organized your information well this can be done successfully.
So should you’re online marketing. If you think that online percetions of brands and products don’t change then you haven’t been working in this space long. If you think about your online marketing for a moment and the amount of information that you are continually taking in and trying to optimize for then you can get a good picture of the pace at which the online marketing landscape changes. If stop and blink your target has moved and you need to recalculate where and when to get it back.
When the market takes a downturn and perhaps your specific vertical people start to change how they approach their decision making process. The typical consumer begins to act with less emotion and more with the facts and figures opf what the purchase will mean to their bottom line. With the contraction of the economy the pockets of the consumer have less disposable income. They tend to take longer in their purchase process. The emotions that they felt before when they thought about the status or imagining their family with a particular product and how they saw their family using that product will change to less of an enjoyment factor and more of a need factor.
What to do? Start thinking about why someone would need your product or service. Make sure that your online marketing states these reasons as quickly and most concisely as possible. You are used to pointing out the promotion or benefit but make sure that you pay attention to the true need.
If your product or service is not a need, it may be time to reach a new segment. Find the segment that still has disposable income and reach them. This can be done by more closely picking the placement on sites and sections of sites or perhaps the more segmented use of ad networks.
I got to thinking how interesting it is to hear what people do before they start their next or first online campaign. The most interesting part of it is hearing that most people just push their budget into Google PPC.
So what should you really do before going blind into the online world? Do some planning! It is really frustrating to hear that people just jump in face first into this world. Beleive me the planning is more than worth it.
Heres is a quick list of what to check when creating your plan:
- Are your customers online? – If your customers aren’t online then they might be eventually but make sure that they are first. Otherwise, you might as well look at print or direct mail.
- Where are your customers online? What sites do the visit? Search for your product and see what sites show up on the list.
- What are your customers doing online? Are they shopping? Perhaps they are looking for your product or some complimentary item but at least you get a sense of the way that you have to approach them. For instance if they are looming for your product you can directly advertise your product. If they are looking for something that is complimentary to your product then it might be time to talk about your products benefits and how it applies to their needs.
- Are your customers looking for your product? If your customers are searching for your product and you have competitors then you might want to make sure that your campaign is able to stack up against the competition’s spending on max bid. Keep in mind that if you bid up the max bid then it will eat through your budget quicker.
- Is your site ready with the appropriate response mechanisms in place for people to take the next step? What happens when your customer reaches your site? Is there a clear next step? Are they able to find what they would expect to find based on what your ads say?
- What is the competition doing? Take a look at your competitiors to see how they are handling this. If for nothing else than to see their approach. If they have been at this for a longer period of time then they might have this a little more figured out but if they are noobs to this too then it might be fun to watch them waste their money experimenting first.
- Do you have a budget in place to make this a successful campaign? One of the first items to think about when producing your product is the marketing budget. You can produce the best product in history but if you don’t have enough money to tell people about it then they will never know. But of course that is the theoretical approach and it is quite rare to have that level of planning and budget available. I like to see 75% of what would be the theoretical perfect budget to give it a go. Besides that if you have that full budget then you have less to work for to make the campaign work.
Get some elbow grease, blood, sweat and tears and go to town.
When its a numbers game its important to keep your eye on the online prize and of course make sure that your conversion formulas are correct.
Banner Impact – When you need a large amount of website visitors due to your well established conversion rates that predict a percentage of conversions I have found that banners tend to have a positive impact on the conversion rates of PPC. In general you can expect that those that are searching, on search engines, for your product are likely to end up at the locations that you have selected to place banners and experience your brand via your banners. Even if they don’t click through on the banners they are likely to experience your brand again when they are searching for your product on a search engine via pay per click and feel more comfortable clicking through on your ad.
Price – The price level of the product may impact this process. In my case I am dealing with a very expensive product that people tend to spend months doing research and finalizing their decision. In the case of a lower priced product I could see the impact of the banners lessened and being even with pay per click. But the banners would still impact the decision making process since the potential customers have experienced your brand.
Branding – Its breaks down to online branding. If you don’t believe in branding trying this out for yourself with a well funded campaign will provide you with results that justify my position.
Other Factors – There are of course other factors that impact these results.
- Design of the banner that matches the category expectations
- Message of the banner
- Placement on the right site for your potential buyer.
- Placement on the page – Location of the banner on the page on your selected site.
- Ad network variations
Want more visitors? So, you have a website and perhaps you have some visitors but you want more. I know that I always want more visitor to show up on the sites that I manage online marketing for.
Basics of Traffic and Lead Gen – Use traffic to gain awareness. Use lead gen to obtain leads. You do have to use traffic to get your visitors to convert to leads but your traffic driving is different.
Online Traffic Driving – If you are out to get more traffic then make sure that your goals are in place first. Why are you going after more traffic? For example if you want people to become more aware of a product or service that is available online that is very different than driving traffic for something that is only available offline. Take fo instance shopping for a new home. You can’t go out and buy a new home online except on a few sites that take the fun and real experience out of the home buying process. But over all just make sure to establish you online traffic driving goals. Here are a few items to consider when setting your traffic driving goals.
- Are you driving traffic to make people aware of a product or service?
- Is the product or service available online or offline?
- How do people reach your site currently?
- Has any online traffic driving activity been used with success in the past?
- How are your competitors driving traffic to their site?
Lead Generation – As mentioned above you do need to use traffic to have leads convert so you do use traffic driving activities but you approach to the potential leads needs to have the end result in mind the entire time. Just as in the above questions we were establishing the way in which you were going to approach your potential traffic we have to duplicate that process for these visitors. We want to make sure that our approach is all about giving them enough information that they want more and give us their information so that they become a lead.