7 Ideas for Your Digital Strategy
So far in the Power of Digital series, we’ve highlighted digital’s general power and presence in today’s world, and shared key tips and tricks to plan, execute, and get the most out of your digital marketing campaigns. This week, we’re shifting gears a bit to take you through 7 unique and effective ways you can use digital in your next marketing campaign.
1. Content Marketing
Content is key and king, and that will most likely never change. Especially on digital platforms, content can make or break your marketing campaign. Almost every channel can benefit from content marketing, but those that benefit most are websites, blogs, e-books, white papers and one pagers, infographics, online brochures, social media, and digital advertising. You can expect about 67% more leads every month if your brand has a blog (compared to those who don’t). Digital content marketing can help you get noticed, help customers find you, and build brand reputation – and high-quality content can make you a subject matter expert, thought leader, and front-runner in the industry. A good online presence created through valuable content can earn your audience’s trust and influence prospects to take action, especially if that content includes an effective call to action.
2. Social Media Marketing
As widely used digital marketing channels, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, can help you expand your digital audience and reach (and connect with) people in several areas of the internet. Social media is an excellent, easy, and often free way to promote your business through visual and valuable content that can be uploaded in seconds – whenever and from wherever. Like we said, social media is a great place to reach, interact with, and communicate with customers. It’s a place where customers know they can reach you quickly, get instant gratification, and grow to feel more personally connected to your company. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are useful for sharing announcements, blogs, landing pages, and more, and all of this content can also be shared, liked, and commented on by your customers and interested prospects. In fact, 53.6% of the world’s population uses social media, so take advantage of the crowd.
3. Video Content & Advertising
If you’re not already taking advantage of advertising with online videos, the time to start is now. According to Optinmonster, video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year. Video is an effective, memorable, and authentic way to share company messages. It can be inspirational, entertaining, thought provoking, surprising, educational – you name it. It’s a great way to tell a product story, make announcements, or show the faces behind a company. Just make sure when you’re making video content that you know your intentions. What do you want to tell your audience? What do you want to show them? How do you want them to feel? And maybe most importantly, what do you want them to do? The best channels to post your video content are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin – but video content can be posted pretty much anywhere, and can be broken up and used on several different platforms to target audiences in different stages of the buyer’s journey and acquire varied results.
4. Audio Content
As consumers are settling into their new routines of life at home, consumption habits are dramatically shifting across digital mediums. Podcasts are all the rage these days, and for good reason. Businesses, influencers, and thought leaders have started to realize that no matter what someone’s schedule, while they may not have time to watch, they’ll often have time to listen. Whether it’s on the traditional radio or via a podcast, audio has become an extremely relevant medium to offer on-demand listening for your busy audiences. Even better…audio marketing can often be easier and cheaper to produce and distribute highly tailored content than other forms of marketing.
5. PPC Advertising & SEM
PPC (Pay Per Click), advertising and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) efforts can draw a ton of traffic to your website. PPC focuses on driving search traffic with direct commercial intent. Pay-per-click ads through the Search Network help ensure you’re fully visible and front and center on an SERP when users submit queries that are relevant to your brand offerings. This digital marketing tactic varies in its cost, because the advertiser pays the publisher depending on how often their ad is clicked. Yet, the more you pay, the more possible prospects you’re likely to get. This type of advertising’s a great way to show off your brand to individuals who are actively looking for products and solutions that your brand has to offer. 65% of B2B companies have acquired customers through LinkedIn ads alone, just one of many places these advertising opportunities exist.
6. Digital Display Advertising
This subset of SEM efforts is also a great way to reach new customers using text, images, banners, rich media, interactive imagery, and video. Digital display advertising presents you with the opportunity to showcase your brand in a wide variety of ad formats. Display advertising is an excellent way to build brand awareness and get clicks, conversions, and sales from users who have an interest in your business and have found your display ads to be relevant to the solution or product they’re searching for. Digital display ad messaging can be easily customized based on your customer’s interests and shopping behaviors, but before getting into display advertising, make sure you choose an expert to work with to get the most out of your efforts and obtain higher ROI.
Lastly, SEO is a good digital focus for your company to have if you’re looking to increase organic search rankings for your website. The higher your pages rank on Google’s SERP, the better chance you have of growing your business and brand awareness. Having a high ranking also builds consumer trust and company credibility, and betters user experience, making it more likely for customers to become repeat buyers. The mediums that most profit from SEO auditing include websites, blogs, and infographics, but almost every channel can benefit from improved SEO.
Ready to enhance your next digital campaign? Contact us. We’ll help you brainstorm and execute, and make sure you get the most ROI for your digital marketing efforts.
Convenience, Connection & Speed
You may have read our last blog series, The Power of Print. If you did, you know we have a lot of trust and are well versed in print services and print marketing materials. Print is how we started our company, and we’ll always believe in its power. We could probably go on for 15 more “parts” of the power of print series, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t switch over to another very important aspect of marketing (especially in today’s world) – digital.
Digital marketing is powerful on its own, and even more powerful when it’s mixed with print. It has so many different avenues, varieties, and uses, and is so commonly used today that it’s become almost unknowingly intertwined with our daily lives. Many times, we don’t even notice that we’re being marketed to at all when it’s through a digital platform.
Today, we’re living in the most digital age yet, and our world seems to get even more technology-driven every day. To start this new series, The Power of Digital, we’re looking at why digital avenues of communication and marketing are so incredibly powerful.
First and foremost – we all know that the smartphone is taking over. Why? Convenience. Many of us wake up to a smartphone alarm, use it to check the weather, contact friends, family, and coworkers, to track our wellness, check social media, and later, look up how to make dinner…you get it. We’re on our mobile phones all the time. Gone are the days of turning on the TV to check the weather channel, hopping on the computer to respond to an email, or digging out the cookbook to find a recipe. Smartphones have seriously given the word “convenience” an entirely new meaning.
With a few taps on your phone, you can find, order, and pay for something in seconds. You can view a photo or video in real (live) time – or just seconds after it’s taken. Conveniently, consumers can get something when, where, and how they need it, right away if they’d like. If your business is found digitally, and is convenient to get to, you’re seen as useful, easy to buy from, low-effort, simple to understand, and responsive…the list goes on. In fact, 52% of customers in a recent study said that half or more of their purchases are influenced by convenience.
Being a part of the digital world and having a strong online brand presence shows customers that you value their time and energy. Having a positive digital presence can not only increase consumer awareness, but can also work to strengthen your brand by building credibility. Today’s consumers will naturally expect to find your business online. If they can’t find it, they may question your reliability and even your authority. Your presence online displays a sense of professionalism that allows you to prove your authoritative expertise and stand out against your competitors.
With so many avenues of convenient communication, customers feel more connected to their favorite (and least favorite) companies than ever before. As technology advances, so do interactions between consumer and company. Customers are even so used to getting digitally contacted by companies that welcome emails have an average open rate of 82%!
Digital communication opens many doors to how and when a company or customer chooses to communicate. Whether they choose social media messaging, emailing, chatting, advertisements, or another medium, they’re able to quickly and easily connect with a customer or business. A customer’s experience with one or more of your touchpoints can make or break a sale. Every digital touchpoint interaction should be optimized & simplified to make sure your customers have the best experience possible. This will guide them through the sales funnel so they can convert from a prospect to a customer. The easier and simpler the communication with a company, the better. Simplifying every touch point of digital communication can ultimately be the reason consumers connect with a company over its competition.
Last but not least, digital is almost always much faster than any other marketing and communication medium. Reach someone right away by direct message and quick notifications. With this instant gratification, customers and businesses alike feel no need to wait anymore.
Your customers are bombarded by so many options on the internet. So it’s important to use digital ads and content to your advantage to stand out among the competition, and like we’ve said before, it doesn’t hurt to combine digital with print marketing in an effective multichannel campaign.
By 2024, digital advertising spending worldwide is projected to exceed half a trillion to $524.17 billion. Make sure you’re yielding the power of digital marketing and when you’re ready, contact us to start brainstorming your next digital strategy.
How to Tackle Display Ads, Correctly
Simply leading a handful of players to the football field and saying “give it your best!” isn’t enough to win the game. Quality players in the right places – and a strategic game plan to back them – both go a long way.
The same idea can be applied to your display ads. You might have a few ads displayed in various places online, but if these ads are poorly placed, lack information, and are missing cohesive call to actions, visuals, and strategy, they won’t have the impact you’re hoping for. In other words, they’ll likely go unnoticed, and you won’t win over prospective customers. Whether they’re on a computer, tablet or mobile device, when set up and designed correctly, display ads can get your brand front and center quickly, with minimal effort and spend.
Game Play Stats
Generally, if display ads aren’t in your playbook, you may want to do a bit of re-strategizing. Over $500 billion is spent globally on advertising each year, and, not surprisingly, a large portion of that spend is used on the tried-and- true display ad – because it works. Currently, 84% of marketers are investing in display ads because they’re almost always within budget and can accurately target your specified audience (if you’re utilizing “good data”). According to SEMRush, Google’s Display Ad Network reaches 90% of global internet users and mobile advertising spend (which consists primarily of display ads) is now higher than TV advertising spend. Additionally, if you’re looking for lead conversions, retargeting ads are your best bet, with 53% more views than general display ads and 70% more likelihood of conversion.
So, now that your eyes are on the end-zone, here are the key players to you should consider when creating your high-scoring display ads:
The Path to Touchdown – Include Eye-catching CTAs
The single most important thing on your ad is a relevant CTA that ties in directly with the creative. It can do wonders for your CTRs and provide a better sense of the info users can expect to see once they click on the ad. Most importantly, don’t overthink it. A simple button can get the job done.
Remember the Offensive Line – Design with a Mobile First Perspective
Did you know 70% of all ads are shown on mobile devices? That’s why we recommend designing your mobile ads first, then you can scale up into other sizes for desktops & laptops. Keep in mind that no matter what size you’re working with, brand logos and colors should be prevalent, each asset should have its own space, and you should avoid overlapping whenever possible.
Don’t Overcomplicate the Play – Keep Content Short & Sweet
While there are no strict limits, a general rule of thumb is that less is more when it comes to copy. Wordier ads can be harder to digest, especially if they’re viewed on smaller screens. And when in doubt, mirror your favorite billboard (or sideline) ad – short headlines that can be absorbed in just 1-2 seconds.
Recs & Specs
Although you may be tempted to utilize a trick play, it’s usually best to stick to the playbook. Here are the most common display ad sizes, with “leaderboard” size being the most popular (and we’re not surprised!).
And of course, along with leaderboard ad size, there are a few more MVPs. As a general rule, you should include the following sizes within any campaign:
Other Things to Consider Before Kickoff
While we’re not telling you to call an audible at the last second, there are still a few things to consider before kickoff. To eliminate the chance of a fumble, keep these practices in mind when finalizing your ads:
- Acceptable file types include JPG, GIF or HTML5
- Your max file size should be 150KB
- Ads should be static or animated, non-expanding, non-rich media
- JPG or GIF back-ups are required but shouldn’t be larger than 120KB
- JPG or GIF back-ups must be submitted as files vs. embedded tags
- 1 pt. borders are required and must be a color that’s different from the creative
- Stay away from transparent backgrounds and anything that blends into screen content
- GIF ads with partially black or white backgrounds need a border that’s different from the background
- Strobing, flashing, or other distracting backgrounds are discouraged
- Animation length should be 30 seconds or shorter
- Animated GIF ads must have a frame rate of 5 frames per second or slower
Additional Draft Picks
Just like a good trade adds to an already prosperous team, display ads are even more effective when combined with omnichannel tactics like direct mail and/or email. In a study conducted by USPS, research showed that when combining direct mail and digital ads, 68% of industry professionals saw increased website visits, 63% noticed increased response rates, and 60% observed increased ROI.
The Hail Mary
In case you still need some visual representation, here are a few examples that follow the rulebook to a tee.
Ready to see your digital ad strategies cause a real spike in sales? Contact us to see how we can help with everything display ads, from creation to implementation.
Oh, and P.S…Go Eagles.
How to Put Big Data to Work Without it Feeling “Creepy”
Big data has gotten a pretty bad rep at this point – and it’s not for nothing. Over the past few years, the fear of data “creeping” further and further into our lives, and machines “listening in” on us, has some feeling a little nervous, to say the least. But, from a somewhat bias perspective of a marketing company, we don’t think it’s all bad and don’t think you should either. When used correctly, big data can help companies target the right customers, at the right time with the stuff they want, and more importantly, the stuff they need.
Then and Now
In the past, a lot of marketing departments probably were a little overzealous about the concept of data, and went a bit too far with personalization, taking an “anything goes” mentality. This approach can and has felt like it crosses the line, often making customers feel transparent, and even “spied” on. No one wants to feel like someone is watching their every move, I mean…that’s what scary movies are made of. In the past, customers didn’t know who, when, or where data was being collected about them, and in turn, felt mistrust for anyone or anything trying to get their information.
More recently, tech companies have realized that customers feel over-encroached upon, and are making steady improvements to be less sneaky and creepy, and more transparent. They’re more overt about the data they’re collecting, and allowing for customers to be more aware and have an increased say (which seems a whole lot more ethical, if you ask us).
The Fine Line Between Cool and Creepy
With this said, similar to an unwanted encounter at a bar, there’s still a fine line between cool and creepy when it comes to big data, but, if used correctly, it can have major benefits for both marketer and customer. After all, sometimes a (non-creepy) pickup line can lead to a happy marriage. It’s all about saying the right thing at the right time, which is what big data makes happen.
The more “good” data that you put into your digital advertising campaigns, the more likely they are to reach the right person at the right time. Thankfully, the days of marketers defining rough, segmented target audiences in hopes that randomly placed ads would lead to a purchase are now GONE. Instead, today we’re using social media feeds, purchasing habits, browsing trends, content consumption, and other tactics to reach the right audience, at a welcomed tune. With good data, we have the ability to know exactly who we’re talking to and how we should be targeting them. It ensures we’re following leads and people, not just metrics and trends, and, at the end of the day, it helps cut down on waste and improve ROI.
If we haven’t convinced you that good data cuts down on waste, we have some stats to back it up. Currently, the growth in global ad spend is projected to reach $793 billion by 2022. Yet, marketers today estimate that they waste approximately 26% of their budgets on unproductive digital strategies. And, to make things worse, studies show that 76% of marketers fail to use behavioral data for online ad targeting. When looked at all together, most of these downfalls point to one central problem: failure to pull accurate insights from marketing data and to apply them toward strategic decision-making. That’s where the power of good data comes in. It not only provides insight, but helps drive your strategy.
Not All Data Vendors Are Created Equal
That’s right, we said it, and we’re not taking it back. Data vendors are invaluable, but they’re not all created equal. If you think your vendor is leaving the “cool” territory and approaching the “creepy” zone, there are a few important questions to ask them, like, “Is your data properly permissioned?” or “Are your audiences sourced from ‘known’ data signals?” Find more useful questions in this article, and you’ll be better prepared to decide if you’ll accept their pickup-line, or give them the old, “it’s not you…it’s me (but it’s really you)”.
Wishing You Good (Data) Luck
Now that you know how cool (not creepy) and important data is when it comes to digital advertising, let’s put it to good use! If you decide to work with Strata, we’ll help you make actionable insights, plan and strategize, and take your next digital advertising initiative to the next level. Want us to turn your good data into targeted messages geared towards the right people at the right time? Contact us today.