As most of you already know more people than ever now get their news online than in newspapers. It was recently found that there are one million fewer U.S. households watching prime time over last year, while the online audience has almost doubled. Then there’s Facebook, where over 550 million users are attracting an overwhelming majority of today’s marketers. Now you need to start thinking – it’s no longer should you be online – it’s where, when, and how. Here are some tips I have come across that everyone who advertises online should know!
Show up on search. This is a no brainer. Analysts estimate that 75-90 percent of companies and consumers search the web before they buy. If you can’t make the first page of the organic results, which is essential to the viability of your inbound marketing efforts, do some serious optimization work. Investing in a sponsored link can be an option, depending on your brand.
Too many blasts can blow up in your face. Email is the most common Internet activity and most used form of digital advertising. Over 80 percent of marketers employ it to connect directly with customers, many of whom now check email on their mobile. Stay on top of your open, click through and conversion rates to refine content and frequency. Unless you have a good reason to email more than twice a month, such as with timely offers or high-value content, don’t do it.
It’s not a slam dunk. Just because you show up on search engines, run banner ads, blog, and get “liked” by lots of Facebook fans doesn’t mean you’re going to score big right away. There’s more clutter and competition than ever, making it more challenging to stand out. Experiment. Be flexible. Use sites like Quantcast.com and Alexa.com to track your clicks, bounce rates, and page views. Find what works and continue to enhance it with the repetition, consistency, and synergy needed for higher sales.
Know your customers. Knowing your target’s age, income and other demographic data is no longer enough. What are their behavioral skews and lifestyle choices? What really motivates them to buy your brand? Are they into parenting or partying? Do they like to cook, cruise, camp, chill or collect cars? Collect this data. Stay up on consumer trends related to your brand with the wide variety of market research sites available today. Knowing the types of searches, sites and activities your audiences are likely to pursue is the key to engaging them more effectively online.
You don’t have to splurge to make a splash. Pardon the expression, but when it comes to getting the ‘biggest bang for your buck’, digital is the real deal. In terms of cost-versus-reach, online ads cost less to run. Plus, you can maximize your exposure by using dynamic pricing and pay for performance options. Online ads bring better results too. A study by Millward Brown showed that a single exposure to a web banner generates greater awareness than a single exposure to a print or TV ad, and boosts brand awareness by up to 200 percent.
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Sure the Internet is the most efficient form of advertising known to man. That doesn’t mean you should abandon your basics. Stick with the positioning, testimonials, guarantees, special offers and venues that have been working. Re-allocate spending to bring digital into your mix for added traction and sales interaction.
Great ads need great back-end support. Click on an ad or link, and you go to a landing page that gets you to buy. That’s the idea anyway. So while you may get your clicks, your site needs to be your salesperson and close the deal with friendly navigation and a strong call to action. No matter how good your offer is-your site could still drop the sale. Track conversion rates and return-on-investment (ROI) daily and be ready to adjust your messaging and media accordingly.
Bad news travels fast.One customer complaint, tawdry tweet, Facebook faux pas, or edgy e-mail-and suddenly it could go viral. Add value, build trust, give back and it may go viral too.
And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.
Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI
Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900