Step #1: Make advertising that’s worth watching.
Other digital marketing campaigns are vying for your customers’ attention. Stand above the clutter by being unique. Talk to your customer, not at them.
Source: New York Times
Leo Burnett, one of the greatest advertising minds of the 20th century, said “Any fool can make a bad ad, but it takes a genius to keep his hands off a great one.” The secret to great advertising is the magic that happens in the first minute of building the ad and in the last minute where the audience views it.
The first minute is like catching a firefly.
Often, a great ad comes at inopportune moments: while dreaming, while you’re carrying coffee back for the team and your hands are full, while talking on the phone. Whether it’s a great idea or not, we teach our team to always write down everything using computer software called Evernote. Our Evernote notebooks are shared between team members and can be updated, viewed, and collaborated on in real time. Our clients are also encouraged to submit their own ideas, however fleeting. This means that no matter where an idea is when it strikes, our team will be able to capture it.
For digital marketing agencies, our product is the idea.
After we develop an idea, we pitch it to other team members. If people start talking about it, that’s a good sign that the idea has legs. If no one feels passionately about the idea, it falls to the bottom of the queue. Sometimes ideas are saved from the trash bin by combining them with other ideas. Other times, an idea will have legs and get the room in an uproar. Once we’ve developed a few ideas, we pitch them to the client, talk about the pros and cons of each idea, and discuss how it conveys the brand’s message to the audience.
The last minute: How the audience reacts
Every advertisement in the world has one goal: communication of a message. How well the advertising communicates the message is a metric that we use to determine how good an ad is.
There are two ways that we determine how an advertisement will be received before we spend thousands of dollars producing and buying space for it:
- The first is called concept testing, which measures how well the message is received by the audience and how it influences them. Concept tests are carried out on the core message of the advertisement, without “advertising-ese” or a sales message attached.
- After we determine that the message is clearly represented and convincing, the next step is a copy test. A copy test determines how well the message is conveyed with the creative execution that we have selected.
Step #2: Know your customer’s goals, fears, hopes, and dreams.
A digital marketing campaign is only successful if it targets a singular audience. If you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one.
Account planning is the creative behind the creative. It’s a strategy-driven analysis of primary or secondary market research. Account planners conduct qualitative and quantitative research including personal interviews, focus groups, and surveys to identify the driving forces behind consumer decisions. They synthesize the research into insights, a simple but profound understanding of the target market’s truest-held beliefs. Insights are used to capture the specific share of the market that identifies with that insight.
How can account planning help a brand?
In a full service advertising agency, the account planning department is typically the first team to handle a new brand or product. While many brand managers on the client side may believe that they have already cracked the secret to a product’s positioning, it’s hard to justify spending a very large advertising budget without market research that supports their conclusions. That’s where account planning comes in: your digital marketing agency will verify, through quantitative research, that the direction the brand is heading is the most appropriate one.
How does account planning contribute to the “big idea” in advertising?
Account planners do more than just prove what people already know. They also provide insight into audiences, your product, and your category. We throw around terms like “baby boomer” or “hipster,” but someone sat down one day and created those names for people. That person is often the account planner. Having a clear understanding of a brand’s target market and positioning, called an insight, is paramount to the success of a brand, since it gives teams on both sides something that they can define and “own,” that is, something to structure the brand’s equity around.
What is an insight?
Simply put, a simple but profound understanding, supported by research. At Limitless Interactive, we believe the “simple” part is the most important part, so all of our insights are words and phrases that can fit into a single tweet, 140 characters. Some of our previous insights include:
Yogurt is a penance for dietary sins. (Insight for Chobani Yogurt)
For teens, buying jeans is a social activity. (Insight for GAP Jeans)
A BlackBerry is like a suit, a basic requirement for the up-and-coming corporate audience. (Insight for BlackBerry)
And what do we do with insights?
Once we’ve defined an insight, it’s imperative to move quickly to develop advertising that positions the brand in accordance with the insight we’ve developed, lest one of our competitors move first.
Step #3: Diversify your traffic.
Create multiple revenue streams, target several traffic sources, and build more than one digital marketing campaign. Tie everything together to create a holistic sales engine.
How does search engine optimization influence traffic?
Search engine optimization is the conscious utilization of techniques that search engines use to rank and categorize pages. Because a search engine’s job is very hard, categorizing trillions of pages on the Web into topic areas in order to return the best search results, they use scraping methodologies to understand what the content on your page is actually about. Search engine optimization is more than just ensuring that your title tags, meta tags, H1 tags, and anchor link text matches the overall SEO strategy (often called on-page optimization).
It’s also more than conducting ongoing public relations work to urge other reputable sites in your industry to link back to your content (called off-page optimization). At its core, good search engine optimization is good human optimization. Search engines continuously perfect their algorithms in order to deliver the results that real people prefer. A holistic search engine optimization strategy takes these factors into account, building content that encourages users to click around on your site (increasing the “Pages per Visit” metric), share your content on social media (the “social” metric), and interact with you via comments (the “page freshness” metric).
Buying targeted traffic via PPC and content delivery networks
Media buying is the execution of your media plan utilizing the creative content that has been developed for the campaign. Media buying includes purchasing ad space, testing different creative variants to see which meets your goals best (like A/B split testing), tracking of your campaign, and analysis of your results.
Purchasing Ad Space
Media buyers are trained to work with national ad buying networks to place your ads across a variety of media as determined by your media plan. With large enough purchases, a media buyer can negotiate discounts, or added value, to show your ad more times or at a cheaper rate than we had initially calculated in the media plan. Negotiating added value is one of the key reasons to choose an ad agency over negotiating media buys yourself: as an ad agency, we have relationships with major publishers and can often do combination buys: adding your buys with another client’s buys on the same media vehicle to achieve greater cost savings for each client. For example, if we buy ads in Vogue for one client and ads in Bon Apetit for another, a media buyer could negotiate added value for both buys at the same time since both publications are owned by the same publisher, Conde Nast.
Media buyers will experiment with different creative executions, media vehicles, placements, and (for online ads) time of day to determine what is the most cost-effective way to place your ads. Media buyers will deliver an analysis of different options using calculated figures like CPM to determine which media vehicles are the most efficient.
Tracking and Analysis of Campaigns
When your campaign is completed, media buyers and planners work together to submit a report on what the results of the campaign were in order to inform future advertising decisions.
Building Customer Loyalty And Repeat Visits with Social Media
A common question for many clients, social media is the key to building your presence online and interacting with your customers on a day-to-day basis.
In an article by Peter Shankman on May 23, 2011, Peter wrote,
“Being an expert in social media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but the goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t be good at that if all you’ve done is take the bread out of the fridge.”
It’s never about making something the biggest. It’s about making it the best. When building a brand, social media is a small, but integral part, in the recipe. We’re going to talk about social media in that aspect.
Building a Brand Presence on Social Media
Social media really started with chat rooms, popularized in the early ’90s with Geocities, AOL, Classmates.com, etc. That moved on to blogs and games, which moved on to publishing with Wikipedia and customized interests like Pandora. Next came friend networking, like Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Finally, it culminated in the linking together of major sites.
This created the “My Internet” which is just the stuff I want to see. It’s the re-creation of the Internet centered around me, and if I start thinking about it and planning it that way, I’m thinking about social media in the right way. The first question to ask is: what “communities” do I belong to?
I am a 27 year old single man.
I work in advertising.
I’m an author.
I live in Syracuse.
I’m a political junkie.
I’m a tech geek.
Social media takes all of these communities and makes it “My Internet.” It takes a billion things on the Internet and shows me just the things I want.
Driving User Engagement With Social Media
We are in one-on-one conversations with our consumers, both those who love us and those who hate us. The moral of the story is this: Consumers want to be a part of the brands they love, and you have to give them some freedom to play. So how do we do social media well?
It’s simple. Remember what you’re all about, and stick with that. If you’re Starbucks, and you’re about inspiring and nurturing the human spirit, figure out how to do that in social media. Social networking has two primary uses: marketing and customer service.
Customer Service on Social Media
When you do customer service, you have to understand what people love about you AND what they hate about you. You’ll have to be ready for both and be able to take both.
Ten Tips to Great Customer Service on Social Media:
1) Listen carefully.
2) Know your target market intimately (there is no such thing as an 18-49 year old woman)
3) Think and act like a customer, not a marketer.
4) Invite your fans, turn them into fanatics.
5) Respond quickly to both good and bad comments.
6) Be authentic, honest, and transparent.
7) Provide value.
8) Figure out where you want a social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google+, LiveJournal? Go where your customers are.
9) Share stories and inspire customers with your stories.
10) Don’t try to sell. Make it easy to buy.
11) Don’t overwhelm your fans, deliver excitement, surprise and delight.
Step #4: Do what works for you, not for the “guru” on the Internet.
The digital marketing industry is full of people who will tell you how to make money. They are usually trying to make money off of you.
Neil Patel can earn a living for himself, but can he earn one for you? And he’s one of the more respectable faces out there. Digital marketing “gurus” like Jon Benson and Dan Kennedy, plus hundreds you’ve never heard, want to put your money in their pocket, not to put someone else’s money in yours.
Instead of paying someone hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to teach you the “tips and secrets” of digital marketing, consider the fact that there are many free resources out there that will teach you everything you need to know to build a great digital marketing campaign, covering topics like SEO, social media, link building, growth hacking, PPC marketing, and dozens of others.
Limitless Interactive exists as a digital marketing agency, from the Latin word “agent,” as someone who does the heavy lifting for you. We are an extra pair (or ten pairs) of hands to get your campaign launched. In the world of digital marketing, there are no shortcuts. There are few secrets. As major brands and top marketing agencies create innovative new ways to reach the public, these strategies trickle down into our hands, and they become the new standard operating practice.
Step #5: Once you’ve made your first dollar, make a thousand. Then make ten thousand.
Good digital marketing campaigns are scalable and robust. Build your campaign so that you can “turn on the faucet” and scale your sales endlessly.
We can’t help you make your first dollar, but we can help you make the next one.