From the start, online advertising conjured up one big promise: Overnight website traffic.
But no matter where you look in the history of digital marketing, this has come with a big asterisk.
Long ago in the pre-Google days, online advertising mostly consisted of banner ads. With quaint names like “skyscraper” and “eye blaster,” they were universally loathed. The term banner blindness referred to the ways people tuned these ads out. Often, they would divert their eyes without even noticing.
For a while now, online advertising has been a little less noxious. More businesses were able to get real bottom-line value from their ads, without making people feel miserable in the process. With good data, brands had the chance to tailor their ads to what their audience really wants.
But the golden age of online advertising is already passing.
Just look around at your favorite websites, including those like Netflix that once swore they would never have ads. The eye blasters are back, and instead of going banner blind, more people are using Adblock.
At the same time, online advertising has consolidated into just a few hands. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple constantly make changes to their ad platforms that benefit them and a tiny fraction of ultra-huge advertisers. For small and mid-sized firms, the case for ads is shrinking.
What does all this mean for you?
Online advertising can still be effective – with the right platform, compelling collateral, and optimization.
But even the best ads will fall flat if they aren’t backed by a full-scale digital marketing strategy. Because no matter how clever your ads are, the average consumer – even your ideal customer – looks at them as more stick than carrot. It’s down to other digital marketing tactics to entice them closer to your brand.
If you don’t preview the unique value you offer, your ads will fail.
Let’s look at the biggest and most common form of that failure.
Unless Your Name Is Amazon, “This” Kind of Ad Will Lose You a Fortune
The crucial mistake companies make with online advertising is assuming it can stand on its own.
The purest form of this mistake: Developing an ad that leads directly to a product description page.
This approach is effective for only a small fraction of online retailers. For everyone else, it’s poison.
Most companies aren’t set up to turn first-time website visitors into customers in just a few minutes, yet this is what so many people expect from their ads. Look at the data analytics attached to your campaign and you’ll probably discover 60% or more of those who click on the ad don’t even scroll down the page.
That turns your ads into pure overhead. They get more and more expensive but produce no results.
This is especially perilous for service-based companies with complex offerings. Before someone is willing to pay an unfamiliar roofer, real estate agent, pest control company, or any other provider, they want to trust the person on the other side. You win trust with helpful, informative content, not sales pitches.
And you get there by converting first-time visitors into leads, not directly into customers.
How Online Advertising, Lead Generation, and Other Digital Marketing Work Together
Customers have more control over the buying process than ever. Some experts estimate they’ll be 80% through their decision-making on average before they call to discuss what you can do. So, you’ll need a strategy that can engage their attention and lay a foundation for their trust as early as possible.
Digital marketing provides that in the form of content marketing.
With content marketing, you develop useful material, aligned with your audience’s search queries, that helps them answer questions and solve problems. Most of this content is available for free, boosting the traffic you get from search engines. Only the best is “gated” behind an email marketing subscription.
Instead of taking a quick look at a product page and bouncing, visitors who sign up for your content are raising their hands and showing real interest in your unique value proposition. The more time and energy you invest in content that demonstrates your expertise, the higher the quality of the leads you can capture.
Trade In Your Overpriced Ads for a Long-Term Digital Marketing Strategy
Online advertising can still work. But it doesn’t happen fresh out of the gate.
At New York Ave, our digital marketing experts design a complete strategy to get you to your goals. Award-winning content, data-driven advertising, and proven lead-generation techniques supercharge your long-term growth. Contact us to begin.