Advertising best practices — it’s something we discuss a lot, but for good reason. Understanding and implementing these three modern advertising best practices into your marketing strategy will transform the way you do business, and dramatically increase your return on investment.
In this post, we’re going to highlight three best practices: knowing your target audience, utilizing social media, and thinking mobile. It’s important to understand that your customers’ and their buying habits change over time. Just like technology, best practices, and your company — your audience isn’t stagnant. People change over time to adjust to their internal and external environments and as such, your marketing strategy must grow to accommodate them.
Know Your Target Audience
As a business owner, knowing who you’re marketing to (targeted marketing) should be the first step in developing your marketing strategy. When you’re familiar with your audience and their needs, it allows your efforts to be more effective by reaching a more qualified audience, hence increasing your ROI. Having a clear grasp of your target audience will also allow you to segment your marketing efforts. Segmentation provides an effective way to reach your core customers via email marketing, targeted social media ads, and digital advertising.
While it’s important to understand your customer, it should be noted that you shouldn’t put too much emphasis on trying to find the “right” radio station that fits your audience — it’s amazing how you can find the “right” listener when you are saying the “right” thing to them. Instead of worrying about finding the perfect station, focus your efforts on creating an attention-grabbing introduction, a compelling call-to-action, consistent messages, and allow the frequency of your campaign to bring in the results.
Utilize Social Media
Social media continues to connect advertisers and marketers to their customers and if you own or operate your own business, being active on social media is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.
When a potential customer searches for your business only to discover that you don’t have a social media presence, it garners the same reaction as realizing you don’t have a website. To the consumer, avoiding social media makes it seem like you’ve got something to hide. Either that, or the searcher may conclude that your business isn’t legitimate and they’ll probably end up taking their search elsewhere.
No, you don’t need to be present on every platform, but you do need to pick and choose the social sites that are most effective for your brand and will adequately engage your audience. To best do that, you’ll need to think about the audience you’re trying to reach. For example, Instagram may not be the best platform for those in healthcare but LinkedIn and Twitter may offer more of an opportunity to engage your audience.
Social media allows you to distribute content to fans and followers, which in turn drives traffic back to your website. But make sure that you’re providing content that’s educational and valuable and that you’re not being overly promotional. It’s OK to promote your product, brand or service, in fact, social media has become an incredibly effective tool to do so. How often you do it, however, becomes the issue. Strike a balance and provide your audience with a mixture of content that will incite conversation and keep them interested in what you have to say.
When your social media pages morph into one large advertisement, fans will become tired of your posts cluttering their news feed and hit the “unlike” or “unfollow” buttons. Be careful not to lose a loyal follower because of this common mistake. To build on this point, according to their new algorithm, Facebook is actually penalizing businesses for overly promotional posts. The post noted a few things you should not do on Facebook:
Post content that pushes people to buy a product or install an app
Create posts with no real context that pushes people to enter a promotion or sweepstakes
Publish posts that reuse the exact content from your ads
Addressing Complaints on Social Media
Another incredibly powerful way to use social media is as a tool for reputation management and customer service. If a customer has a complaint — and it’s bound to happen — they may take to your social sites to air their grievances. It’s a best practice to address those complaints in a timely and professional manner. This not only shows the upset customer, but everyone else, that you’re always looking out for your clients’ best interest and it creates goodwill for your brand.
One thing you should never do is ignore a comment from a disgruntled customer. Ignoring a comment will upset customers more, but it will also show others your lack of response and start to question your concern for customer satisfaction. Additionally, deleting the comment is never the answer either. In fact, it’s one of the most widely accepted social media marketing don’ts. First of all, you can never truly delete something once it has been posted. Someone could have taken a screenshot of the post, putting you in viral hot water if, all of a sudden, the post disappears. Once it’s out there, there’s no way to take it back. There’s a chance that other followers saw the comment before you removed it, making it look like you have something to hide. Rather, address their concerns for the community to see that you’re handling the matter.
Think Mobile First!
Mobile usage has taken the industry by storm and has quickly become the next MUST DO in order to reach America’s increasingly mobile consumers. In fact, it's no longer a case of asking whether mobile marketing is important — we know it is! It's now a question of using the information available to better understand how consumers behave when using different types of mobile devices and what their preferences are.
Did you know that mobile usage in the US is now significantly higher, at 51%, compared to desktop (42%)? What this means for you is that having a mobile-friendly or responsive website is no longer an option, but a necessity. Your advertising should also be optimized with the mobile viewer in mind — make sure to test your efforts on a number of different devices and screen sizes for optimization. There’s nothing worse than getting a potential customer to your site only to lose them because of lack of compatibility with their devices.
Today’s consumers are driven by instant gratification and if you’re not able to reach your audience through mobile search or display, or you’re not providing a satisfactory mobile experience, you will miss out on converting potential customers to competitors who are. Make it mobile!
Every business owner will tell you, they advertise in order to increase their bottom line. But we’re big proponents of working smarter, not harder. And with that, creating a strong marketing strategy with a reasonable budget will allow you to stretch your dollar and get the most bang for your buck. You can create a well-rounded advertising plan by including the best practices mentioned above. By understanding your audience, their needs, utilizing social media, and recognizing mobile marketing as the way of the future, you’re bound to reap the benefits of an effective marketing strategy.