1) Identify and Understand Your Target Audience
An inordinate amount of money can be spent on pay per click (PPC) advertising like Google ads, but using these methods just to get visitors to your website isn’t going to benefit you in the long run. The objective isn’t to get as many random visitors to your site as possible. The goal to draw the right visitors to your website.
For example, let’s say you sell collectible baseball cards online. Obviously, not everyone who searches the web is looking for vintage baseball cards. Yet there are many internet users who are looking for cards to add to their collections. Our goal then becomes finding ways to put your site out there to make it easier for card collectors to find and access. You will want to understand what these card collectors are looking for and what their needs are to be successful.
The better you identify the members of your audience and understand their specific needs, the less money you will spend on wasted efforts. The more specific your audience, the greater your marketing efficiency will be. Many think they are saving time by investing in online campaigns to reach a large generic audience when the opposite is true. Forget keywords with high traffic. Opt instead for long-tail keywords with less traffic but that target specific interests.
2) Learn the Platforms
With the rise of social media, there are now a lot of venues and platforms where you can advertise online. There is also a variety of ads types to be tried. Not only does each platform and ad type have individual pros and cons, a certain level of knowledge about each is needed to determine whether or not it’s a viable advertising option for your business’s marketing needs.
Google is in possession of the most popular search engine on the internet and they offer the biggest pay per click (PPC) platform too. Google Adwords is a flexible advertising venue that allows you to create image, text, and video-based advertisements and get really specific in targeting your audience. You can place search ads, ads within their display network, and set up remarketing campaigns.
Facebook is another venue with a lot to offer online marketers. They offer a PPC system, with a twist, as you can add images and videos to your text and the ad is displayed to your intended audience to receive a lot of great exposure even if the ad isn’t clicked on.
LinkedIn offers the opportunity to serve ads with great specificity to professional industries or business to business (B2B). The cost is slightly higher than average but with the right circumstances, the advantages are many.
In studying the platforms and doing smaller test campaigns, you can learn which platforms work best for your individual business or set of circumstances. Many experienced marketers learn that combinations of ads across the different platforms can yield amazing results.
3) Landing Page Optimization
When you set up an advertising campaign, you direct traffic to a specific page. Most send their visitors to their homepage. Is it clear when your visitors arrive at that page what it is you want them to do? The best advertising campaign in the world can’t help if a member of your audience arrives at your site only to end up confused.
There must be a strong correlation between the ad that drew the visitor to your website and the page they land on. Otherwise, you’ve set your visitor up for a frustrating user experience.
In using custom landing pages for paid advertising traffic, you have a fantastic opportunity to craft your users’ experience in a meaningful way. The landing page should have a single strong call-to-action for your visitor when they arrive like registering for your online course, buying your book, and more. Once they’ve completed the desired action, your site can be configured to take them to your homepage for further browsing.
Many marketers even set up A/B testing for paid ad traffic. Two versions of the landing page are created, only one used at a time, to see which is more effective. The smallest changes can have a huge impact on your results. Often such testing is a perpetual project but well worth the time and effort.
4) Results You Can Measure
One amazing benefit that digital marketing offers is the ability to track and measure results. It’s important to ensure that you’ll be able to receive and review results from any online marketing effort. It’s a good idea to learn how to create custom URLs, get familiar with Google Analytics, and establish conversion points like forms and calls-to-action on your site in preparation.
While you learn to track and measure results, it’s also important to let campaigns run their course. If you’re going to constantly make changes to them throughout their run, you greatly reduce what you can learn from the experience and that knowledge is very valuable to you as a marketer.
The results of your campaigns can be tracked using spreadsheets or software. It’s not necessary to focus on every aspect of your results, just the ones that matter. The form submissions and conversions are the primary results you want to track. While clicks and impressions can give you intel on your audience, they aren’t that valuable to you unless that knowledge can used to increase your conversion rate.
The true value of digital marketing in your advertising efforts is something that will require time to determine. Time and attention are required to learn the best ways to drive targeted traffic to your site and how to use that traffic boost to increase your conversions. The investment of your time and attention are, however, very important to increasing digital marketing performance and will keep you from wasting money on marketing efforts that are too broad or poorly executed to produce satisfactory results.