Online advertising has the potential to bring your website instant traffic.
It’s a tempting proposition. And it’s almost always the wrong thing to do.
Time after time, small and mid-sized businesses put down money, turn on their ads … and find they’ve gotten less than nothing. They don’t see any improvement in calls or sales, plus they have to pay added overhead as people check out their website, only to click away.
Here’s the thing: Advertising can work.
But it can’t work outside of a comprehensive marketing strategy.
The crucial mistake so many entrepreneurs make with online advertising is assuming that because their offerings are posted and ready to go, they’re ready to capture and convert the visitors they get with ads.
In almost all cases, though, this simply doesn’t work. And if the first $100 in paid traffic doesn’t convert into real business value, neither will the next $1,000. Instead, you need to go back to the fundamentals.
Those fundamentals are found in marketing.
Advertising Is the Top of the Pyramid – Here’s What Comes First
For almost all businesses – there’s an occasional exception in retail – advertising is the last piece of your strategy that comes into play. It’s at the very top of the pyramid. That means, individually, it’s the smallest piece, but in context, it’s supported by everything that came before.
You can’t fly to the top of the pyramid. Without those supporting elements, you don’t even have a structure: just a pointy rock sitting out in the middle of the desert. That’s a waste of time, of course.
What other aspects need to be in place?
Branding is what makes your communications distinctive and memorable. It’s how people know they’re hearing from you, even before they start to read the words on a page or listen to the content of a video.
Key elements of your brand include:
- Logo design
- Brand colors
- Customer personas
- Tone and voice
Your customer persona is a written record that centralizes everything you know about the people who buy from you. All marketing content is written for someone, so you need to know your ideal customer inside and out. Then, the other elements are aligned to their preferences.
In the long run, you might have multiple customer personas. For example, similar groups of customers might buy your services for different reasons and need different appeals in their marketing. It all starts with one core customer persona reflecting the ideal customer you want to attract.
Everything else – from the tone you take to your visual “look and feel” – revolves around them. Added all together, it gives your customers the feeling you’re talking directly to them, even before you’ve met them. That’s essential since your email and social media could be addressing thousands of people at once.
2. Marketing Channels
Once you know who your customer is and what they want, you need to dig deeper into how they make decisions. For instance, Facebook was once the hot and popular place to appeal to people in their early twenties. The younger set has since moved on, but customers in their 30s and 40s are flourishing.
Every decision in marketing has trade-offs. To do one thing, you commit time and resources you can’t use for something else. So, it doesn’t make sense for most companies to blast their message across all channels and hope for the best. Instead, you focus on those places where your customers are active.
For most businesses, this will include a targeted handful of social media platforms backed by search engine optimization and ongoing email marketing. Every case is unique, so your mix may be different.
3. Content Production
Content is what you publish on your target channels to attract visits from would-be customers. It also fosters attention from search engines, helping you show up in online searches related to what you do.
An organic strategy based on content costs less and lasts longer than paid advertising alone. In fact, every piece of content has the potential to influence your audience for years to come – as long as it remains useful, informative, and accurate.
You can’t walk before you can crawl, you can’t run before you can walk, and you can’t profit from an ad before you brand, market, and produce content. But you don’t have to wait another day: With a trusted marketing partner, you can get started right now.
Contact New York Ave to learn more.