Marketing has not changed, the tools have just evolved. The yellow pages were eaten by search, and newspapers, for many, are no longer paper. Still, the marketing funnel continues to guide consumers through the buying process, and in our digital world, you can maximize your effectiveness with a multifaceted approach.
What online marketing solution is right for you? Do you need to own the ubiquitous top banner position on the KCCI.com Homepage? Should your focus be ‘Content Targeting’ leveraging advertising placements that position your messages around content that relates to your product or service? What about more targeted programmatic buys, perhaps you should utilize Hearst’s ‘Core Audience’ platform to reduce waste and only deliver your advertising to specific audience segments and demographics, wherever they are online. Have you started your Re-Marketing campaign yet? Is your online advertising dollar best utilized to drive previous website visitors back to your website? Perhaps it’s Search. There’s certainly a lot of business that can be captured at the bottom of the funnel.
The answer, there’s not one specific solution. You need to advertise throughout all stages of the marketing funnel. If your only focus is the bottom, you’re not giving your customers a reason to choose you over your competition. You’re not differentiating. You’re not introducing yourself to your customers before asking for their business. Lasting business relationships are built, not pulled out of a hat.
To begin, focus on your brand. People do business with those they know and your company is no different. So, what does your company represent? What do customers think of when they hear your name? Brand your business, scream from the mountain top. Own the Homepage of a highly trafficked website for a day or two every month. Whatever your budget, you need to make an effort to introduce your business to the masses, it will make your more targeted marketing efforts much more effective.
After you scream from the mountaintop, seek opportunities with local publishers that allow you to target your messaging around content that relates to your business. If I’m reading about home improvement, I’m much more likely to click on an advertisement that relates to the interest I have at that specific moment. This contextual targeting approach is best utilized through local publishers that can allow you to own these opportunities as a sponsorship.
With that in place, put on your guerilla marketing hat, sift through the clutter, and find ways to reach your specific customer. By utilizing Hearst’s Core Audience Ad Network, or other programmatic buying solutions, the tools exist to find a very specific audience. If your target is women between the ages of 35 and 45, have a household income of $100k plus, and live in West Des Moines, you can reach them or any other audience segment through Ad Networks and programmatic buying.
These tools also allow you to Re-Target visitors that have previously visited your website. Although, don’t forget, your previous branding and content marketing efforts will compound your success. Multiple studies, from digital agencies like iCrossing and Eyeblaster reveal your branding and content marketing efforts can increase your click rates within these highly targeted campaigns by as much as 20%. So remember, everything throughout the marketing funnel is connected.
Finally, there’s Search, the bottom of the funnel. It’s a competitive space. The Yellow Pages has been replaced with Google’s equally crowded, free for all, but you need to be there. Perhaps you won’t be at the top of Google’s list, but your pervious marketing efforts will help you in any case. Your best bet is to motivate your customers to ‘Search’ for your brand at this stage, and according to the Harvard Business School, your previous Display Advertising efforts can increase the search activity for your brand by as much as 155%.
As you guide your customers through the marketing funnel and into a business relationship with your company, don’t look for that one magic solution. Brand your business, introduce your company to the masses, seek opportunities to align your messaging with the right content, get in the weeds and find your target customer, and make the effort to optimize Search in the final stage.
All the tools you need to market your business effectively can be driven by online solutions, but a focus on building the relationship with your customers at every stage of the buying process is the best way to optimize your success.