Doctors, dentists, and other health care professionals spend years learning and passing intense exams to practice in their respective fields. Once the shingle has been hung, professional service providers face the challenge of attracting clients to their doors. All those years of medical education may not have included principles of business management or the value of professional marketing in driving business success.
For those starting out as independent practitioners who are looking for a fresh marketing approach, Ligon Marketing can offer you a few tips. We have worked with several types of professional medical practices, and have focused on both launching a private practice and expanding an established practice with new branding. We’ve assisted our clients in expanding clinic locations and patient volume, and we can do the same for you.
Do you have a logo or need one? A memorable and effective logo gives a strong visual impression of who you are. Establishing your brand is more than having a logo. It’s a process of reinforcing that image and concept of your business in all of your marketing materials.
In today’s market, your website is not just a marketing machine but an expected part of doing business. Your website should meet several goals:
Attract new patients or referrals.
Provide needed information and forms to existing patients.
Serve as an educational resource related to your specialty, whether it’s dentistry, dermatology, or anything in between.
Host a patient portal for communicating electronically to your patients, in compliance with HIPAA.
Developing a website is more than buying a domain name and following a DIY template. (Many professions have industry-specific template providers, but keep in mind that a template site looks like every other template-based site. Bottom line – yours won’t stand out.) As a professional, you need a professional site, managed by someone who can keep it visible in the digital sphere. That requires strong visuals, useful and well-written copy, and frequent content updates for search engine optimization (SEO). Design matters. Potential consumers want to see photos of you and your team, as part of building a relationship. They want to hear “your voice” in the content. Must-haves are:
An attractive home page
An About Us page, with photos and bios
Your site should also be mobile-responsive, as today’s audience relies more and more on their smart phones. They should be able to find key information from your website quickly and easily on their phones.
SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Facebook and Instagram have become required for most providers, as well. Your medical or dental practice’s visibility depends on active engagement, which is difficult for most busy practices to handle alone. These platforms drive potential patients to your website and ultimately, to your door. Ligon Marketing manages content posting and scheduling for most of our clients, and we can help you, too.
In addition, your staff members are probably active on social media. It’s vital for health-related professionals to have a strong policy for employees in their online activities as they relate to your business reputation. This policy should address HIPAA compliance, as well as professional behavior, while respecting the team’s free speech rights. We have experience with this, too.
BUSINESS TO BUSINESS (B2B) AND REFERRAL NETWORKS
Most professional practices depend on and benefit from strong referral relationships with other businesses, practices, and professionals. Don’t overlook the opportunity to engage in networking and relationship-building opportunities. Not in your comfort zone? Ligon Marketing can coach you and your team on easy-to-implement strategies to increase your professional visibility.
Being treated well is a top priority for patient retention. Do you have standards for answering the phone, responding to questions and concerns, and handling billing or insurance problems? Does your team value and show respect for your patients the way you do? Our owner, Cora Ligon, has led customer-service training for numerous organizations, both in her own management roles and as a consultant. She can help you customize and implement training and policies if your office has a need.
Signs, business cards, forms, brochures, referral cards, prescription forms, patient packets….the list can seem endless. All these materials fill vital roles in a professional health-related practice. Each one represents your brand, and there is value in presenting a consistent look (logo, colors, type fonts, etc.). A professional marketing agency will ensure that consistency.
At Ligon Marketing, we’re not just marketers; we’re problem solvers. Our goal is to build long-term relationships with our clients, through listening, creating, implementing, and providing top-notch customer service. We’ve successfully helped other health-related practices grow, and we can use that expertise for you. (Of course, we’ll never compete with like-practices within a market area!) Give us a call today to explore your options!
Thank you to Tiara Stephan of Qgiv for this spotlight blog.
When it comes to political campaigns, studies show that whoever spends the most money usually sees the most success. But to spend money, you need to make money, and online fundraising is one of the best ways to do that.
How does political fundraising work?
From individual grassroots donations to political action committee contributions, there are a variety of ways to raise money for political purposes. If you are fundraising for a political organization like a political party, special interest group, or non-governmental organization, it’s important to stick to the Federal Election Commission’s rules and regulations for raising money.
Why do campaigns have to raise money?
When you raise money for your campaign, you’re also raising awareness of your message and gaining exposure. From paying for traditional marketing advertisements to creating merchandise, raising money can help you rally support and increase your likelihood of political success. Campaigns are also powered by people, and fundraising helps you hire vital staff members and consultants that can help you take your campaign to new heights.
Overall, raising money is a vital part of the success of every political organization, and online fundraising has made it easier than ever to solicit donations and connect with your donors. Here is our list of tips for online fundraising for your political organization.
Identify a fundraising goal
Before you start any sort of online fundraising campaign, it’s essential to establish a fundraising goal. If you’re raising money on behalf of a federal candidate, research how much successful political candidates and organizations have raised in the past to win similar campaigns. Use that information as a guideline when you’re determining what is realistic for your campaign.
It’s also vital to understand your donor base as you raise money. You represent a community of people, so while you may understand what they need from an elected representative or advocacy group, it’s also important to know what their preferred giving and communication methods are for fundraising. For example, Baby Boomers prefer to give offline, Generation X is more likely to be moved by social media appeals to donate, and about 29% of Generation Z most like to donate via text message. By keeping track of these trends, you’ll quickly learn how to best reach out to your supporters for donation appeals.
Make your website easy to navigate
Your website will often be the main resource for people trying to learn more about your campaign and what you stand for. If your donors can’t easily navigate your website, they won’t know why they should donate to your campaign and will likely leave without donating. To avoid losing out on that valuable support, make sure you have a well-designed website.
A big part of having a well-designed website is making sure that it’s optimized for online visitors who are coming to your site via their mobile devices. Mobile-responsive donation pages yield 34% more donations, and about 26% of all online giving is processed on mobile devices. So if your website is difficult to explore on a phone, you could be missing out on a lot of potential donations.
You also want to ensure that any website visitors can easily find your donation form so they can support your mission. Place your “Donate” button somewhere obvious like the top right-hand corner of your website. Use a bold accent color to draw people’s attention to it without detracting from the cohesiveness of your website’s design.
Choose the right online fundraising platform
Your online fundraising platform will power your fundraising efforts whether you’re hosting an event or simply collecting online donations, making it one of your most important fundraising tools. When it comes to choosing the right platform for your campaign, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
If you currently use a customer relationship management software, it can be extremely helpful to have a fundraising platform with integration features for your CRM database. With integrations, your database can be automatically updated with information every time one of your supporters donates. You’ll be able to keep track of giving histories, event attendance, and essential communication information without needing to complete manual updates.
Some fundraising platforms also offer tandem fundraising support. If you’re closely aligned with another organization’s mission, you can conduct tandem fundraising campaigns where donations can be split between you and your fellow changemakers. Tandem fundraising campaigns are a great option for gaining more exposure and expanding your reach.
Above all, the online fundraising platform you choose should benefit both you and your donors. Your platform should provide your supporters with a great user experience and make it easy for your campaign to raise money and keep organized. With the right online fundraising platform, you’ll see a boost in your donations and the support you receive.
Design an effective online donation form
Your online donation form is one of the most important tools to have for online fundraising. With an effective online donation form, you can collect donations quickly and easily from anyone who visits your website.
A great feature to have for your online donation form is recurring donation prompts. These prompts will pop up whenever someone donates and ask donors if they’d like to upgrade their one-time donation into a recurring donation. With recurring donations, you’ll end up spending less time on fundraising and can focus more on campaigning.
However, when you’re building out your donation form, it’s best to steer clear of manipulative patterns like using pre-checked recurring donation options on your form. Misleading your donors into making recurring donations when they’re not even aware of what they’re agreeing to will lead to a breakdown in trust between you and your supporters.
Other great donation form features to include are using suggested gift amounts with images, GiftAssist options, and conditional fields to collect relevant information from your donors. You should also brand your donation forms to link your donation form to your campaign. Prominently display your logo on your donation form and use your campaign colors on your form. This will increase trust with your donors and reassure them that they’re donating to your campaign.
When you’re soliciting donations on an online donation form, it’s important to place a legal disclaimer on your form in accordance with campaign finance laws. An example of contribution rules that your donors must acknowledge when making a donation may include the following:
I am a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident (i.e., green card holder).
This contribution is made from my own funds, and funds are not being provided to me by another person or entity for the purpose of making this contribution.
I am at least eighteen years old.
I am not a federal contractor.
I am making this contribution with my own personal credit card and not with a corporate or business credit card or a card issued to another person.
As your donation form is considered public communication, it should also include a legal disclaimer stating who authorized and financed the donation form (e.g., “Paid for by the XYZ Committee and authorized by the John Smith for Congress Committee.”).
Create a marketing plan
Marketing is essential to a campaign’s success. It’s best to start by getting to know your donors and using a multi-channel marketing approach to expand your reach across all demographics. From direct mail, email, social media, and text donation appeals, you should aim to reach out to a variety of potential supporters to increase awareness of your campaign and your message. Then, segment your donors to deliver personalized appeals and better connect with them. With social sharing buttons you can make it easy for your supporters to share their own support with their personal networks and help you expand your reach.
Visual storytelling is one of your best tools when connecting with your donors. Share pictures of your organization in action in emails and highlight staff members and volunteers on your social media channels, asking them to share why they support your campaign.
Plan a variety of fundraisers
When you fundraise, it’s best to plan a variety of fundraisers to keep your supporters engaged. When you’re in your planning process, look at your donor base and your supporters’ event attendance history to determine what your contributors would be interested in participating in.
From text-to-give drives to virtual campaign events, you can encourage your donors to support your campaign with fundraisers they can get excited about. Selling campaign merchandise in an online store is also a great way to raise money and give your donors the opportunity to express their support and raise awareness of your platform. However you choose to fundraise, just make sure you’re engaging your donors with campaigns and events they’ll enjoy.
Thank your supporters
After you receive a donation from a supporter or finish an event, always remember to express your gratitude. Send thank-you emails after every donation and event to all your donors and volunteers. Explain the impact of their support by describing how their donation was used and how many people your volunteers were able to reach because of their work. Adding personal touches by handwriting your letters can make a supporter feel extra special, helping you to retain support from your donors. Continue with follow-up communications to strengthen your connections with your supporters and cultivate long-term relationships.
Fundraising for your political organization takes hard work and effort, but online fundraising has made it easier than ever to connect with your donors and raise money no matter where your donors are and when they want to donate. If you’re searching for more help with fundraising, download this annual fundraising plan template to start setting goals and raising money!
Tiara is a Content Marketing Specialist at Qgiv, a company that’s dedicated to building powerful fundraising tools that empower nonprofits to achieve their mission. She’s a writer by trade and a passionate supporter of nonprofits by nature. When she’s not typing away at her keyboard for hours, you can find her dancing (if you can call it that) at concerts, drinking copious amounts of English Breakfast Tea, and daydreaming about traveling the world.
Welcome to part three in our running blog series about digital advertising. So far, we’ve discussed what digital advertising is and the pros and cons of each type of digital ad. If you’ve made it this far, we hope you’re putting some serious thought into how paid search and other forms of digital advertising could positively impact your business.
No discussion on digital advertising is complete without talking about the largest driver of paid search campaigns in the U.S.: Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). While there are many types of ad campaigns you can run on Google Ads – display, video, app, shopping, etc. – this article will focus on pay-per-click (PPC) search engine advertising.
You likely see a paid search ad every time you run a query through Google – paid ads occupy the prime, top-of-page real estate on search engine results pages (SERPs). In the world of digital advertising, Google Ads boasts an impressive ROI, promotes top-of-page brand awareness, and puts your products/services directly in front of your target audience.
In conclusion…..yes. Google Ads is quite effective.
How Much Does Google Ads Cost?
The truest (and most frustrating) answer to the question posed above: it depends. Advertising on Google isn’t cheap, but it doesn’t have to break the bank for small to medium sized businesses lacking thousands of ad dollars to spare.
One common misconception is that advertisers with the largest budgets score the highest rankings and exert more influence over paid search. But Google is not strictly pay-to-play. The platform wants to show visitors useful and relevant advertising to preserve its own credibility and trustworthiness as a search engine. That means ad quality and relevance matter when Google determines ad rankings, a factor that evens the playing field for advertisers of all budgets.
Ad quality and relevance matter when Google determines ad rankings, a factor that evens the playing field for advertisers of all budgets.
Google gives complete control over setting an ad budget and determining how much you’re willing to pay for ad performance. Investing more money into Google Ads helps, but you can still run successful paid search campaigns on a smaller budget.
Google Ads pricing is different for every ad. To understand why, keep reading to learn how the ad auction works.
How Google Determines Ad Ranking
Welcome to the auction. Google uses a bidding system to select placement and ranking for ads competing for the same keyword. Google processes millions of split-second ad auctions a day – an auction occurs every time a visitor lands on a SERP where ads are displayed.
There are two primary factors that determine ad positioning on a SERP.
The maximum bid is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the maximum amount of money you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad. Your maximum bid doesn’t necessarily determine the actual amount you’ll end up spending per click. It only sets a limit on what you’re willing to spend. The actual cost-per-click (CPC) could end up being less than what you bid for it. While CPCs vary by industry, the average CPC on Google Ads is between $1-2.
But Google Ads isn’t a pay-to-play platform, you don’t have to devote a huge budget to rank well on SERPs. Google wants to give its visitors a great experience, meaning they reward quality, relevant ads that are more likely to engage visitors and increase clicks. Their second ranking factor is heavily weighted to reward quality advertisements.
The Quality Score is determined by the overall quality and user relevance of your ad, keywords, and landing page. Google also turns a critical eye on the expected click-through-rate (CTR) as a scoring factor. The more people who see your ad and click it, the more Google assumes the ad is relevant and helpful. You can also improve your Quality Score by including ad extensions that provide visitors with additional information (like site links, a phone number, a location, etc.) and drive more clicks.
Here’s what it boils down to: low-bid, high-quality advertisements will rank better than high-bid, low-quality advertisements. Along with higher rankings, Google rewards stellar ad quality with lower costs-per-click (CPC).
Let’s repeat that one more time: a higher Quality Score results in a higher ranking at lower costs.
5 Components of an Effective Ad Campaign
Let’s get into the meat of Google Ads: creating a successful ad campaign. Here are five important components to help guide the ad creation process.
A clear ad goal.
Advertising without a goal in mind is a wasted effort – and a wasted budget, too. Google Ads offers several campaign goals to choose from, including generating leads, driving traffic to your website, making a sale, or spreading brand awareness. Having a well-defined goal helps your team target the right audience, choose an effective bidding strategy and budget, and create a compelling ad that drives interest. Additionally, having a results-oriented goal helps your team more effectively analyze success and ROI upon campaign completion.
Relevant, targeted keywords.
Successful Google ad campaigns are built on targeting and bidding for the right keywords. There are several free and paid tools your business can use to conduct keyword research. Here are some factors to keep in mind during the research phase.
Who is your target audience and how are they searching for your products/services? What words and phrases are they using?
What keywords are worth bidding on? For every potential keyword, analyze the search volume, average CPC, and competitiveness to decide which words and phrases are worth your money. Keyword research can become very tricky when you’re balancing a keyword’s value within your target industry against the likeliness of outbidding competitors and staying within budget.
What is the user intent? Ads targeting customers in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey are more likely to drive direct conversions and sales. Research shows that 65% of Google Ads clicks are for ads that include buyer-intent keywords like “Buy,” “Shop,” “Get,” and “Purchase.”
A defined audience.
Make sure your ad lands in front of the people most likely to take an action on it. Google Ads offers a plethora of targeting options for you to hand-select your ideal consumer base. Build an audience based on location, demographics (age, education level, marital status, etc.), interests, lifestyle, habits, routines, and behaviors. Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to audience building – the clearer and more defined your audience is, the more likely you are to reach action-ready consumers.
A compelling ad.
Once you have the right keywords, incorporate them into compelling text ads that drive clicks and conversions. Persuasive and engaging ads that excite and entice consumers use dynamic, active language and speak to the user’s end goals and personal needs.
A clean landing page.
Remember that an engaging user experience continues after an ad click – make sure you optimize your landing pages for speed, quality, and attractiveness to keep consumers moving through the conversion cycle.
Hopefully, you’re already using Google Analytics to track and analyze your website traffic. Google’s powerful web analytics service helps you keep track of the audience demographics landing on your website, the actions they’re taking, and where they’re spending the most time. The metric and analyzation tools on Google Analytics can (and should) help guide your business’s digital marketing strategies.
It’s a simple task to link your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account, and the resulting value is immeasurable. Ad analytics can (and should) help guide your paid ad strategies. Google Analytics allows you to follow ad clicks beyond the ads – you’ll be able to see the keywords and ad creatives that drive traffic to your website, the actions visitors take, and on-site engagement. You can use these valuable insights to improve future ad campaigns.
How Do I Get Started With Google Ads?
While you can set up a Google Ads account on your own, running successful paid search campaigns is a complex task to undertake if you’re new to the ad game. That’s why we highly recommend seeking help from an experienced digital advertising and PPC marketing services company like Ligon Marketing. From start to finish, our team will help you create and launch an ad strategy that helps you achieve your digital advertising and ROI goals. Call us today at 863-838-5475 or drop us a message online.
Welcome to the second article in our multi-part series on the ins-and-outs of digital advertising. Now that you know the basics, you’re probably asking: which type of advertising should I use to grow my business? We’re here to help you answer that by exploring the pros and cons of five primary strategies. Social media, display, native, remarketing and Google ads marketing.
Let’s dive right in.
Social Media Advertising
As of 2020, approximately 3.96 billion people use social media platforms worldwide (that’s roughly half the world’s total population). With so many people spending their time on social sites, advertising on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn can be very lucrative.
What makes social media advertising so attractive?
Reach. Did we mention that half the world’s population is on social media? Facebook alone has 2 billion individual users who span across all age groups and demographics. Advertising on social media is a surefire way to increase your brand’s reach and awareness.
Targeting. Social media platforms offer a wide selection of targeting options for advertisers – you can target by location, age, gender, income, education, profession, interests, behaviors and other demographics. Segmented targeting ensures that you’re placing ads in front of people most likely to be responsive to them.
Engagement. Social media platforms are designed to foster connection and communication. Thoughtful and engaging ads can draw the likes, comments, follows, and clicks that help you build a better relationship with your audience.
Social media platforms are an incredibly popular place for users to be online. That means they’re also an incredibly popular place for other advertisers. With so many brands clamoring for attention – and so many ads dominating users’ feeds – standing out is difficult if you’re new to social media. Making a real impact requires a time-intensive (and costly) effort to craft compelling content, monitor the results in real-time, and adjust as necessary.
And even that may not be enough. Even if you use specific targeting to place ads in front of your core audience, they may not be interested in purchasing at that time. Social media advertising can pay off, but it takes time, patience, and a financial investment to hit your stride and see results.
Display ads – also called banner ads – appear on third-party websites or apps affiliated with search engines and ad networks. Banner ads are very versatile and can include a combination of text, images, logos, video and interactive elements.
What makes display advertising so attractive?
Brand awareness. Display ads are designed to be attractive, engaging and visually appealing to visitors browsing the web. You can build up brand awareness, position your brand top of mind, and create initial interest in your products and services.
Targeting. Display advertising offers targeting options – you can choose the websites and platforms you want your ads to appear on, and you can select specific criteria (location, age, interests, etc.) for your targeted audience. Targeting increases the chances that your ads will be seen by people who are interested in your products and services.
Display advertising has significant drawbacks as well. Display ads typically have lower click-through-rates and lower conversion rates than other forms of advertising. While you’re able to target your core audience, display advertising isn’t effective if viewers aren’t actively seeking your products and services.
The second major drawback is ad blindness. Consumers are besieged by ads everywhere they go online, causing many browsers to scroll by advertisements without really seeing them. Ad frustration has also led to the rise of ad blockers that allow visitors to scroll in peace but cost you impression opportunities.
Native advertisements are designed to blend seamlessly into the platform where they are displayed. They look and feel like other content on a website or social media platform, but native ads are paid for by advertisers and have a “Sponsored” label on them. You may not even notice native ads as you scroll through a website or social feed – they look like regular articles that are “recommended for you,” “articles you might like,” or “promoted content.”
What makes native advertising so attractive?
Native ads mainly appear on websites, blog posts and social media feeds related to your products and services, meaning your audience is already interested in your subject area and more likely to click on your content.
Native ads are less disruptive to the user experience because they integrate seamlessly within content that visitors are already reading.
Today, many consumers have ad blindness, where they scroll past obvious ad content without stopping to read it. Native ads generate more time, attention, engagement and higher click-through-rates because they don’t look like ads. Instead, they match the type of content readers are already looking for, driving more clicks.
But native advertising isn’t for everyone. While native ads are more engaging at first click, readers may feel duped or taken advantage of once they realize your content is an advertisement. Native advertising only pays off when you craft well-written, useful and engaging content with the reader in mind. A poorly crafted ad will only increase users’ feelings of deception once they realize the content is an advertisement – and that can lead to a negative brand perception.
Creating native ad campaigns is a time-intensive and costly process. Measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns is another challenge because there are no standard metrics to track ROI, actions taken, or ad impact. And finally, native advertising doesn’t drive traffic to your website and therefore has few SEO benefits.
Remarketing is a useful advertising method to display ads to people who have already visited your website. This form of advertising uses digital cookies to follow users around the web and target them with ads for specific products or services they viewed on your site. The purpose of remarketing is to draw visitors back into the conversion cycle.
What makes remarketing so attractive?
Recall value. Many consumers aren’t ready to make a purchasing decision the first time they see a product or service on the web. But repeated exposure through remarketing ads familiarizes consumers with your brand and increases brand recognition. When the time comes to make a purchase, your brand will be top of mind.
Conversions. Studies have shown that remarketing ads have high click-through-rates and increased conversion rates. The term “effective frequency” describes the idea that consumers must be exposed to an ad several times before the ad drives an action – although exactly how many times ad exposure should occur is still up for debate.
Unfortunately, remarketing can quickly go sour with poor execution. There’s a fine line between showing an ad too many times and not showing it enough and finding that balance is challenging. The major drawback of remarketing is that consumers may find retargeted ads creepy, annoying, invasive, or frustrating.
Paid Search Advertising
Search engine marketing (SEM) displays paid advertisements at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other platforms. Paid search is arguably one of the most effective ways to find your audience online and drive quality traffic to your website. And among search engines, Google reigns supreme. Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches per day, and many of those queries are from users looking for more information, reviews and recommendations before purchasing a product or service.
What makes paid search advertising so attractive?
User intent. Keyword targeting is what sets paid search apart from other types of digital advertising. Targeting specific, valuable keywords with high user-intent lands your ads in front of an audience that’s already in the research or consideration phase of the purchasing process. You can also launch targeted campaigns based on audience demographics, location, or even time of day. Precise targeting is a driver of high-quality traffic and high conversion rates.
Prime placement. Paid ads appear top of page on Google, which is exactly where you want to be when users are searching for your products or services. When you coordinate your paid search and SEO efforts, you have the chance to rank twice for the same keyword – in paid search listings and organic listings, doubling your brand exposure on the page.
Immediate visibility. Search ads begin generating results immediately, driving targeted, high-quality traffic to your website. Paid search advertising is an excellent technique for gaining short-term brand awareness, especially if you’re still building your organic SEO strategy.
Paid search advertising is the most expensive method of digital advertising. While you gain immediate web traffic when ads are running, the flipside is a steep drop-off in leads once the ad campaign finishes. Paid search requires an on-going budget to keep driving site visitors, and the costs can add up quickly. While you have complete control over how much or how little you spend, bidding for fiercely competitive ad space is not always cheap.
Wow, That Was a Lot of Information – How Do I Get Started?
Now that you have a better idea of the pros and cons of each type of digital advertising, let’s have a conversation! There’s a lot that goes into starting, running and fine-tuning successful ad campaigns:
Determining what types of ads will help you meet your business goals
Choosing a bidding model
Setting a budget
Performing market research on buyer personas and target audiences
Crafting compelling, engaging ad copy, images and video
Monitoring and tracking metrics
Optimizing ads in real-time to improve performance
Digital advertising is an incredibly complex landscape to navigate if you’re new to the ad game. That’s why we highly recommend seeking help from an experienced digital advertising and PPC marketing services company like Ligon Marketing. From start to finish, our team will help you create and launch an ad strategy to help you achieve your advertising goals. Call us today at 863-838-5475 or drop us a message online.
In the digital-first era, if your business doesn’t have a strong presence online, then your brand isn’t being seen. And if your business isn’t advertising online, then your brand isn’t staying competitive. This year, market research company eMarketer predicts that digital’s share of total advertising spend will near 50% globally, and soon digital ad spending will surpass traditional mediums.
The rapid rise of producing and distributing promotional content via digital channels (like search engines, social media, mobile apps, emails, and third-party websites) isn’t surprising. First and foremost, online is where your consumers are. Second, advertisers have discovered that digital advertising is vastly more data-driven, measurable and precise than many traditional mediums. And third, digital ads are cost-effective, drive new qualified leads, increase brand awareness and deliver an impressive return on investment (ROI).
“And third, digital ads are cost-effective, drive new qualified leads, increase brand awareness and deliver an impressive return on investment (ROI).”
To boil it all down: digital advertising is a bandwagon your business needs to be jumping on. At Ligon Marketing, we specialize in digital advertising and paid search marketing services. We’re here to help businesses navigate the complex ins-and-outs of advertising online. This blog article is the first in a multi-part series covering all the essentials of digital ads and paid search.
So let’s dive right in – keep reading as we guide you through the basics of what digital ads are and the types of online advertising available.
What Do I Get Out of Digital Advertising?
We’re not saying that traditional advertising isn’t effective – executed correctly, it is. The stages of the buyer’s journey haven’t changed; however, many consumers are completing the entire buyer’s journey through online touchpoints. To meet this new shift, digital advertising offers several unique benefits over traditional mediums.
Brand awareness. For your campaigns to be effective, your marketing efforts need to reach consumers where they are. And in 2021 and moving forward, the vast majority of your audience is online. Having a digital presence is crucial to increasing brand visibility and reach.
Measurable results. Traditional forms of advertising (print, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail) don’t offer you a way to measure the effectiveness or ROI of your ads. Digital ads can be tracked and monitored from start to finish with ad platforms automatically collecting and documenting the data.
Selective targeting. In the same vein as the point listed above, traditional print or TV advertising may not allow you to target the exact audience you’re trying to reach. Digital advertising offers several valuable targeting options for audience demographics, including age, location, interests, behaviors, past purchasing decisions, income, education and more. Selective targeting ensures that your budget is going toward the consumers most likely to take action after seeing your ad.
Testing. Digital advertising provides testing capabilities that allow you to continuously gather information on the types of ads that are effective. With A/B testing, you can run two ads simultaneously while varying one aspect. Such as the audience targeting or the ad image to determine which ad performs better. Once you determine the audience taking the most actions and the ad copy or images generating the most engagement, you can weed out ineffective strategies and optimize future ads for better results.
Real-time optimization. Once your print ad or TV commercial is out in the world, the messaging, ad copy and graphics are locked in until the campaign is complete. And if the messaging doesn’t resonate with consumers, then your business has wasted time and resources on an ineffective campaign. In contrast, the flexibility of digital advertising allows you to optimize ads in real-time as you track the metrics and ad performance. If a Facebook ad is performing poorly after one week of a 4-week ad run, you can alter it. You can easily adjust the ad copy, image or audience targeting to draw more engagement without overextending your budget.
Wider reach. Digital advertising allows you to advertise to and engage with consumers at every stage of the buyer’s journey, from awareness through the purchasing decision. Your business can optimize ads for different audience specifications or keyword searches that reach consumers at multiple touchpoints along the buyer’s path.
Instant results. Don’t misunderstand us – organic SEO is an incredibly effective strategy for driving traffic to your website, generating quality leads and growing your business. But SEO takes time to make a positive impact and produce results. Digital advertising immediately puts your brand and offerings in front of potential customers. On the backend, you can track ad performance in real-time to determine the impact your efforts have.
Customized budget. Digital advertising flips the balance of control. For traditional print, TV or radio ads, the publisher sets the budget your business must fulfill to guarantee ad space. In contrast, digital advertising allows you to control how much you spend to produce ads. Also, how much you end up paying based on ad performance (we’ll get into the specifics later in this article). Digital advertising is customizable and scalable for businesses of all sizes.
Still on board? Then let’s look at the ad options available for your business.
5 Types of Digital Ads
Digital platforms allow for a diverse offering of ad types and layouts. The following are the 5 most popular ad formats.
Search engines. Search engine marketing (SEM) displays advertisements at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). SEM is a great way to put your brand in front of consumers searching for relevant keywords and phrases surrounding your business offerings. Google dominates in search engine ads – with over 3.5 billion searches being processed per day, Google ads marketing offers the largest and most diverse audiences for businesses to target.
Social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest all offer advertising space, and with over 3.6 billion people using social media worldwide, social platforms are the place to be. Social media is also a fantastic place to showcase engaging, eye-catching video or image-based ads.
Display. Display ads are advertisements that appear on third-party websites or apps affiliated with search engines and ad networks. Many websites also directly sell advertising space to advertisers. Display ads can be an effective component of a remarketing campaign. Advertisers have a bounty of choices for displaying ads through banners, popups, video, text, mobile or images. Like with SEM, Google dominates in the world of display ads. The Google Display Network contains millions of websites and mobile apps that reach 90% of internet users, including user-rich YouTube.
Native. Native advertising uses ads that match the look and feel of the media platform where they’re displayed. What does that mean? Native ads don’t really look like ads – they might look like advertorials, “recommended articles,” or “promoted content” on social media and websites. They make a soft sell that exposes users to advertising in a non-disruptive way. Native ads can be quite effective for attracting users who are wary of being advertised to and have “ad blindness,” where they scroll past obvious ad content without reading it.
Remarketing. Remarketing displays your ads to consumers who have already visited your website or taken an action but haven’t taken further steps to convert. The purpose of remarketing is to keep your brand top of mind for consumers and re-engage them into the conversion process.
Now you may be wondering: what types of ads are right for my business needs? Ad selection is a whole article in itself, so we’re going to cover the topic in more detail in the second part of our blog series – be on the lookout for that in the next few weeks! For now, let’s talk about how payments for ads are determined.
Bidding Models for Digital Ads
Your business has a lot of control over how you pay for digital advertisements. The most popular bidding models for ads include:
Pay-per-click (PPC). PPC is exactly what it sounds like: your business pays for every click on your ad. The appeal of PPC is that users who click on an ad are more likely to take an action on your website and convert. The resulting sale would be far more profitable than what you paid for the click. PPC is the most common bidding model in SEM.
Cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM). Again, CPM is precisely what the name implies: your business pays for every thousand times your ad is displayed on someone’s screen. CPM is a good bidding model for expanding brand reach, but it’s not cost-effective if users aren’t taking actions on your ads. Simply put, views doesn’t always translate to conversions.
Cost-per-action (CPA). If you bid with CPA, your business pays for every conversion that results from your ad. An action could be a click, a sale or a form submission. CPA can be extremely beneficial, since users who take an action on your ad are more likely to convert to a sale.
For more specific ads, your business can also bid by paying for app installs, followers on social media, new connections on LinkedIn, or video views for video ads.
Metrics and Measurables
One of the primary advantages of digital advertising is the ability to track and measure in real-time. Monitoring and analyzing ad metrics helps you improve strategies, optimize ads and decide on next steps to meet your goals. The following metrics can help you gain a high-level understanding of how well your ads are performing.
Reach is the number of people who saw your ad.
Impressions are the number of times your ad was displayed on someone’s screen. (*keep in mind that this number includes people who saw your ad multiple times*)
Clicks are the number of times someone clicked on your ad.
Conversions are the number of people who completed the action you set on your ad. (like filling out a form or signing up for a newsletter)
For a more in-depth look at how effective your digital ad strategies are, we will help you monitor the following:
Click-through-rate (CTR). CTR is determined by calculating the percentage of clicks to impressions. For example, if your ad got 3 clicks out of 100 impressions, your CTR is 3%. A higher CTR indicates that your ad is relevant, compelling, and resonating with your target audience.
Cost-per-click (CPC). CPC is the amount of money your business pays for every click. The CPC is determined by maximum bid for the ad, ad quality and ad competition. Your goal is to have the lowest CPC that’s driving the best traffic and generating quality leads.
Cost-per-conversion. Cost-per-conversion is determined by dividing the total cost of an ad by the total number of conversions. The lower cost-per-conversion, the better.
Return on ad spend (ROAS). ROAS is determined by calculating the amount of revenue generated from an ad campaign versus the costs to run the campaign. ROAS looks specifically at the effectiveness of ad campaigns to help you determine if digital advertising is a good investment.
OK, I’m Interested – How Do I Get Started?
Hopefully this article got you fired up to start your own digital advertising campaigns or at least piqued your interest. There’s a lot that goes into starting, running and fine-tuning successful ad campaigns:
Determining what types of ads will help you meet your business goals
Choosing a bidding model
Setting a budget
Performing market research on buyer personas and target audiences
Crafting compelling, engaging ad copy, images and video
Monitoring and tracking metrics
Optimizing ads in real-time to improve performance
Sound time consuming? It is. That’s why we highly recommend seeking help from an experienced digital advertising and PPC services company like Ligon Marketing. From start to finish, our team will help you create and launch an ad strategy that will help you meet your business goals. Call us today at 863-838-5475 or drop us a message online.
In the digital age, it’s easy to assume that the most effective marketing takes advantage of the newest technology. Digital marketing has exploded since the dot com boom. We see marketing content on websites, email, social networks, and online games. People can access that content with computers, mobile phones, tablets, and sometimes with wearables. The breadth of digital marketing possibilities can sometimes seem overwhelming. Should you focus your efforts on one type of digital medium, or spread your brand to as many as you can? What happens when technology becomes obsolete and forces you to abandon large parts of your marketing strategy?
It’s that final question which has the most interesting answer. Although it might seem counter intuitive, staying on the cutting edge of technology is not always the best idea for marketing, especially in the digital age. People care about tech and convenience, but no one wants to constantly upgrade just to see content they’re interested in. That’s why “old” technology retains a foothold in marketing, even as tech races ahead. Customers like to use what they’re familiar with, and those options sometimes aren’t “high-tech” at all.
Storytelling has been an effective marketing tool for the entirety of human history. People love interesting narratives because they feel authentic. The more someone can connect to a story, the better chance that they’ll be interested in your product. This is the basis for all forms of marketing — all marketing content is telling a story in some form. Whether it’s a video trumpeting how happy someone is with a new cleaning product, a white paper detailing a company’s accomplishments, or a press release for a new technology, an interesting story never fails to pull people in.
Print media means something a bit different than it did before the digital age. However, paper ads, brochures, and direct mailings haven’t become obsolete just yet. Since they’re less common than they used to be, retro style print media may actually be more effective than in years past. Studies have shown that touching something and holding it in your hands makes you more likely to buy something, and a physical advertisement can serve that purpose. Digital print, on the other hand, refers to email marketing, funnel campaigns, and websites. Blogs are indispensable as marketing tools, and making your website easy to use is analogous to graphic design of older print media. The easier it is for people to get your message, the more likely they’ll end up buying your product.
Videos are turning into stories of their own, and they work very much like commercials on syndicated TV stations. The difference is that effective marketing by video on the web tends to be very short. An argument can be made that internet video marketing is its own form of cinema, telling short stories and connecting with people just like movies. Social media marketing uses a similar concept, drawing people in with unique visuals and concepts. It can be challenging to create concise videos or social media posts, but the more you can communicate with fewer words and time spent, the higher chance that people will remain interested in your product.
Radio and audio are also experiencing a resurgence in the marketing world. The days of large radios, and of hardware specifically for radio itself, are mostly behind us. The modern world of radio involves satellite feeds and streaming services. Millions of people listen to satellite radio and customized streamable playlists every day, so creating a quick and affordable radio commercial can reach unprecedented numbers of people. Most people don’t pay for ad-fee music, so there are a lot of opportunities for growth in digital radio. Since streaming services often target specific demographics with different types of music, marketers can piggyback off that concept to target people who would be most interested in their products.
Customer service has not always been considered marketing, but today, with people’s ability to express their opinions worldwide through the internet, it’s become critical for a business’s success. When people leave reviews for a business, they’re much more likely to leave negative reviews about things they didn’t like. People don’t tend to leave positive reviews even if something went well, since we tend to remember negatives more strongly than positives. In digital marketing, good customer service is perhaps most important to avoid bad reviews. It’s not about individual customers anymore, but about projecting a positive image to protect your brand.
Ligon Marketing works with you to develop a marketing strategy that encompasses all of today’s marketing options. Whether this means embracing new technologies or using old school storytelling, we give the tools to make your marketing shine. We offer customer service training, and we have years of combined retail and sales experience to help you focus on what matters most for your target audience. Give us a call at 863-838-5475, or check out our complete website at LigonMarketing.com.
Sales funnels are powerful tools used to help businesses attract and convert their customers online. The premise is simple: drive traffic to your website (either through advertising, social media or word of mouth), provide an incentive to visitors to provide their contact information, and continue communication with them in order to promote the actions that are meaningful and profitable to your business.
Even if you are unfamiliar with sales funnels, chances are you have been a part of one before. Have you ever visited a website and were tempted with an additional percentage off your first purchase just by providing your email address? Or has a company offered to provide you with the top secrets or best practices for something relevant to your business, asking for your email address to send the information to you? These are both examples of sales funnels and we’re sure that you’ve seen how effective they can be.
The first step in any lead generation system is the lead magnet, or what will draw customers to your site. This can be something such as an offer, deal or unique product or service that is advertised either through digital advertising, social media posts or email marketing. The most important element is that this magnet should solve a problem that your audience is facing, drawing your prospects into the sales funnel.
Once potential customers are enticed with your lead magnet, they arrive at a landing page which then triggers a series of events to guide customers through the process to drive conversions and profitable actions. The conversions can be defined as anything meaningful for your business goals: online sales, newsletter sign-ups, completing lead forms, or booking an appointment. This conversion is the goal of the sales funnel.
After reaching the landing page, customers are presented with an opportunity, typically, to submit their email address. Once a customer enters their email address, one of two paths can be triggered: a completed journey path (including a thank you), or an incomplete journey path (started but not complete). If a customer completes the desired conversion, their information can then be directly imported into a CRM (or customer relationship management) platform or another database. This automation helps to streamline the customer communication and build brand loyalty and repeat business.
If a customer abandons the sales funnel or does not complete the desired conversion, an email marketing campaign is triggered to maintain communication with the consumer and encourage them to complete the action. The most effective way to achieve this is to use the Soap Opera Sequence of email marketing, outlined here:Following this template of email communications will draw consumers who abandoned the funnel back to the process and increase the likelihood that they will end up completing the desired action due to the implied urgency of the sequence. In order to make the best use out of the sales funnel, we recommend automating these email communications using an email marketing partner such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.
When looking for a lead generating service, there are a few key elements that you should look for. The first is whether the platform is designed for the specific actions that you want customers, or potential customers, to take. For example, a retail site will have different desired consumer actions than a doctor’s office or law firm. The second is the platform’s ability to integrate with other systems that your company is currently utilizing such as email marketing, CRM platforms, and web systems.
There are many different platforms out there that provide a do-it-yourself approach to creating sales funnels, such as ClickFunnels and Leadpages. These platforms make it simple and efficient to develop automated and effective sales funnels. However, there are limitations to what they can achieve. These platforms require a monthly subscription payment and are limited in the level of customization when it comes to system integrations and options for the funnel triggers.
If you have tried these platforms in the past and are looking for a more tailored approach, or if you have specific business goals in mind, we are here to help. Our sales funnel experts are available to discuss custom solutions and to help build a one-of-a-kind platform that will help achieve your business goals and one that you will have ownership of. These are designed with your consumers’ behaviors in mind and based on what will increase the efficacy of your marketing efforts. Contact us today to learn more!
The coronavirus pandemic is forcing businesses to rethink everything from their structures to their advertising. Most people are staying home to prevent themselves from getting sick with COVID-19. This poses a challenge for businesses, especially those that rely on face-to-face interaction with customers. People are less likely to buy things in turbulent times. Small businesses can have trouble staying afloat as their cash flow gets smaller. With the right strategies, though, small businesses can thrive in hard times. The key to survival is for a small business to engage with its community. There are many creative ways that a small business can accomplish that goal.
Work with Small Business Groups
The Small Business Association (SBA) has many resources available at https://www.sba.gov. A section of its site is devoted to information about COVID-19 and how to handle business without spreading the coronavirus. The SBA also has special debt relief options in place for small businesses who are struggling in these difficult economic times. If you’re just starting out, the SBA also helps entrepreneurs launch, plan, and grow their businesses. Your state Department of Economic Opportunity can also help you find local resources. Some states also provide loans specifically for small businesses, like the Florida Bridge Loan Program. Don’t be afraid to ask these groups for help! With the right resources, you can start a successful business even in an economic downturn. Small businesses are the backbones of many communities, and people rely on them just as much as big businesses. Small business groups understand this, and many people in those groups have experience with businesses of their own.
Collaborate with Other Businesses
Competition is a big part of business. During an uncertain time like the coronavirus outbreak, though, businesses can survive by working together. Unlike the Great Depression, completely remote businesses now exist. Collaboration is easier than ever across state and international borders. It’s possible to have meetings with a hundred people without worrying about any of them getting sick from COVID-19. Try contacting other small businesses who do similar things or make similar products. If one business is having trouble with shipping, perhaps the other business can solve the problem with its products or connections. Combining products or marketing could help both businesses prevent layoffs. Creativity is key to collaboration between businesses. Collaboration doesn’t mean that businesses must merge and lose their individual identity, either. Business can collaborate to strengthen their own brands and to help each other at the same time. They’re used to working against each other, but working together can inspire more stability, more customer confidence, and new innovations.
Innovation is all about making your business better. Look at your difficulties with the coronavirus pandemic as areas where you can improve your business. If you’re worried about many of your employees getting sick from COVID-19, invest in a remote work program. Is there a possibility that your servers can’t handle a surge in customers caused by stay at home orders? Research and invest in some new hardware that’s better than your competition. Don’t forget to be creative! Is there something that your customers need that you’re not providing? Has someone had an amazing idea for a new service? Don’t be afraid to take some creative risks during this time. If you tap into a new market or create a product that no one else is offering, your business could quickly reach new levels of success. Many people think of the coronavirus as a temporary problem until we get back to normal. There’s no reason that “normal” must be the same as it was. Small business can innovate to create a new, better normal. Use the uncertainty and stress of this difficult time to make something better!
Since people don’t usually buy as much when times are tough, it’s easy to think that small businesses should cut their advertising budgets. Instead, small businesses should increase their advertising as much as they can. This goes double if they’ve created something new and exciting that consumers would be interested in while dealing with the coronavirus. Many people are afraid of COVID-19 right now, and a fun distraction with a product they like could be just what they need. Reach out to potential customers with digital marketing. Use lots of SEO, and try to repeat your message as often as possible. People don’t often buy a product the first time they see it, so you need to convince them. Find creative ways to make your product appealing. Tap into new technology or write an app. Tailor your marketing to the people who need your product most and focus on them. Some companies even sell products at a loss if it helps them get the word out to people who need them.
It’s easy for businesses of any size to forget about giving back in a time of crisis like the coronavirus pandemic. That’s just what many small businesses are doing now, though. Some are donating medical supplies to fight COVID-19, others are helping raise awareness, and still more are donating to people in need. From a business perspective, you can think of these actions as positive advertising. It’s a good investment with a high rate of return. Successful businesses know, however, that there’s more to it than money and numbers. Businesses of all sizes rely on customers to keep afloat, so giving back is a way to thank them and make their lives better in return. Helping out is important because running a successful business isn’t just about money. It’s about making the world a better place by providing people with something they need.
Marketing during an economic recession or downturn is a necessity that many businesses may squander.
By nature, the first reaction people have to any major fiscal threat is to hoard and cut many so called “non-essential” services (marketing for instance) that cost them additional money. While it is true that certain budget cuts might have tobe made in dire times, many businesses end up making the wrong type of cuts — including eliminating their marketing department. Instead of helping their cause, this actually sets their business up for failure; dooming their business’ chance at an opportunity that seldom presents itself: to be heard above their competitors. Merely reacting to a negative situation is not a sound business strategy; instead you should carefully consider the future and where you’d like to be, especially when the present crisis has ended.
“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time” -Henry Ford
Since ancient times, the market square, where people gathered, was the only place for entrepreneurs to sell their goods and services. If you wanted to be noticed above all the thousand other people in the market square, you had to do something different to stand out. After all there were probably dozens of businesses just like yours and they all sold the same thing. Having bright colors hanging near your stall, or a sign above your booth would be a good start. But if you wanted even more exposure, you would need to reach directly into your customers heads: through their ears. You would need to get out there and proclaim your wares or services in a loud voice. And if you were too busy to do it yourself you would hire someone to be that “Loud Voice Guy” for you. That “Loud Voice Guy” would be the birth of your marketing company.
Think about it this way: if less people were buying because of an economic crisis, you wouldn’t want to stop your “Loud Voice Guy” from working, or even worse, fire him. Instead, to get one step above your competitors, you would want to hire another “Loud Voice Guy” or two for that matter, expanding your reach to let more people know about your amazing product. That way even though there may be less people buying, you are the one getting more exposure and all the while the same amount or possibly even more customers. Yes, it’s true you’d be paying for additional marketing, but if your business is to survive you would need it. And if you fired all your “Loud Voice Guys” you might have more money in the short run, but you would lose all those potential sales you could have gotten as well as the new customers you might have attained in the future.
To put it simply, marketing is about getting your name out to the people who want what you are selling. There are people out there just waiting to spend their money but have no idea who you are or where you are located. Your marketing company is your “Loud Voice Guy.” You need them to keep your customers coming. If you cut your marketing as you make cuts to every other part of your business, then you might as well say, “Goodbye it was nice knowing you,” to your customers. Because two things will happen: your present customers will forget about you, and (should the recession end) you will no longer have a voice that can be heard above your competitors. The latter means you are delegated to the back of the race for customers with all your competitors, (especially those who had a marketing team when you didn’t) erasing years of hard work.
Marketing is about psychology. The marketer (“Loud Voice Guy”) knows that people require different ways to be inspired to buy a product or service. He will do his research and find out what people are thinking. He will then take this research and bring it back to his particular business and present it, after which finding the best way to proceed. Marketing takes time, just like anything you are building. Arbitrarily cutting your marketing because of a gut reaction of fear due to economic setback is like burning your building down because of a rat infestation.
Did you know that most of the businesses that survived the Great Depression acted as if there wasn’t a Great Depression at all?
This attitude reflected an idea that a business would create demand even if demand wasn’t there. In other words, business owners did not play victim to whatever was happening around them. Innovation is key to survival in any situation that occurs, whether positive or negative. Your marketing company serves as a pioneer for your business and is your best hope for weathering tough times, along with your positive mindset. You need your marketing company — keep this part of your team. In fact, turn them loose and let them innovate and grow your business, especially now.
Ligon Marketing is a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations agency based in Lakeland, FL. Ligon Marketing works with several businesses of all sizes to collaborate with and identify the most effective ways to present unique stories to target audiences. Utilizing digital solutions, practical business strategies, advertising, events, media buying, public relations, social media and more, our end goal is to help businesses grow, thrive, and improve their financial performance through effective and compelling branding and marketing campaigns.
Ligon Marketing is owned and operated by Cora Ligon, who was born in the United States but spent her childhood in Papua New Guinea with her linguist parents. Her cross-cultural experiences and multilingual background give her deep insight to communication between different groups and types of people. Alongside Cora, Ligon Marketing has a dedicated and experienced team of experts that have a passion for helping companies flourish. For more information about Ligon Marketing and the extensive list of services the agency provides, visitwww.LigonMarketing.com, or call 863-838-5475. You can also follow Ligon Marketing onFacebook,Twitter andLinkedIn.
What do you think of when you hear “influencer marketing?” If you’re like most people, you might think “celebrity endorsement.” And, while you wouldn’t be far from correct, you’d still be, well…wrong.
Two reasons. One, an influencer is not necessarily a celebrity and, two, an influencer is not necessarily seen as an endorser. Hubspot defines influencer marketing as the “employment of leading, niche content creators to improve brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive your brand’s message to your target audience.” Given the above, perhaps influencer marketing is a marketing tactic that isn’t as daunting as you may have thought.
So, what then, is an influencer? An influencer is an individual who, through building their own personal brand via social media, has established a reputation as an “expert” in a particular industry. What makes them influential is the following they have built on the web, primarily through various – if not all – social media channels. An influencer can be, for example, a consultant/former banker in the financial industry who regularly posts subject matter expert articles on industry sites, within industry-related LinkedIn groups, and in and on well-regarded industry publications and websites.
Influencer marketing has taken on a new importance recently. This importance has been a long time coming. After all, traditional marketing, i.e., advertising, along with more traditional tactics, such as out of home and broadcast, have been going the way of the dinosaur for quite a while and, in their place, are tactics and channels that offer brands the opportunity to build and maintain relationships. The emphasis in today’s marketing arena is on building connections and trust, not sales. Build connections and trust, sales will follow.
Does it really work?
So, what proof is there that this “influencer marketing” thing really works? As the old saying goes, numbers never lie, and influencermarketing.com lays it out like this:
80% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective, and 89% say it works just as well (if not better) than other marketing channels.
71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.
49% of consumers today depend on influencer recommendations for their purchase decisions, while 60% say they’ve been influenced by a recommendation when shopping in-store.
Google searches for “influencer marketing” grew 1500% in the last three years.
48% of marketers working with influencers say audience relationship is the most valuable factor when considering which influencer to collaborate with.
Influencer marketing strategies focused on branding or engagements generate 8x ROI.
The top three goals of influencer marketing for businesses include increasing brand awareness (85%), reaching new audiences (71%), and generating sales and conversions (64%).
How do you find the right influencer?
The most straightforward way to go about an influencer search is with the help of Google (or any search engine). Remember, an influencer is already creating content relevant to your industry and reaching your target audience. So, a Google search for industry-related terms and keywords will surface experts in those areas.
Search various social media platforms. Influencers often have an online profile that will tell you a great deal about them.
Look for influencers on social media who regularly post content that’s compatible with your brand image, as well as the products/services you offer. Make note not just of the author’s name but the names of any sources cited.
If you’re looking to hire a specific celebrity influencer, you can find them… but, you’ll probably need to go through their agent.
Seek Professional Help
Like any marketing tactic or platform, Influencer marketing is an investment. It takes time and money to seek out and secure a relationship with the right influencer for your brand and product. In order to make certain that your time, and money, are well spent, you might consider engaging a professional marketing agency that can assist you in building a social media marketing strategy; one that includes influencers.