Attention all entrepreneurs! Have you recently thought of this new awesome product or service, but now you’re completely stuck on how to promote it? Well first of all let me say, good for you! Second of all, don’t freak out just yet. You may have heard time and time again about the power of digital marketing and how it can morph your business presence on a global level. This can be true, but it’s also dependent on many factors. Graphics and copy are key in any successful marketing or advertising venture, but beyond that, the actual channels you use to advertise on are just as important! Not only can you get closer to your target audience, but you can also successfully target them through a cheaper alternative to traditional advertising. So, which social channel or digital medium is right for you? Well let me walk you through your options…
If you have any background in marketing from the last 20 years, you’ve probably heard time and time again about the importance of email marketing. Even though email might seem a little more archaic than Snapchat, it is still the leading digital channel for converting leads into actual customers. There are several different email marketing automation platforms out there such as Constant Contact, Infusionsoft, Mautic, etc., but my personal favorite is MailChimp. You can start with the free version of MailChimp in the beginning, and then pay a particular monthly rate based on how many subscribers you gain. Email marketing can get costly over time, but if done right it can be highly effective. If your target audience is between the ages of 25 to 60 and they can easily buy your product/service in either a local store or online, email marketing is something you should definitely consider!
#2. Google Adwords
Google is not only the leading search engine of our time, but it’s also become one of the most used verbs in our vocabulary. Anytime you have a question, I bet you that someone tells you to just “google it”. So, definitely do not underestimate the power of Google! Now, Google’s ad platform is called Adwords, and let me tell you that it is not the most intuitive thing in the world. It consists of three major categories: search, display, and shopping. The search network refers to the promoted listings at the top when you search for anything in Google. These are purely composed of text and look extremely similar to the listings that aren’t promoted. The display network are your typical web banner ads that have images and copy somewhat resembling a traditional print ad on different websites. Google shopping consists of products that are shown in a horizontal row with the price of the product and the vendor. You often see these on search pages or on the actual Google shopping tab within Google. If you have the time and budget, Google is a wonderful platform to advertise on, but is definitely something you should research thoroughly before diving into!
As far as social media advertising platforms go, Facebook is the one that most companies gain the largest ROI on. Up until fairly recently, Facebook was a relatively cheap way to generate leads and promote products/services. Since Facebook ads target customers when they’re in a “discovery mode” the advertising appears to be more casual and not as intrusive as an email or radio ad. Facebook ads are also sharable and interactive, allowing a new form of word-of-mouth advertising to take place. Due to recent political issues (which I’ll try not to get too much into) Facebook has changed their algorithms to not show as many ads as they were, which is effecting business of all sizes everywhere. Only time will tell how much this will impact the effectiveness of Facebook advertising, but it might be a good idea to start exploring other alternatives as well. Generally speaking though, Facebook is great for targeting any ages between 20 and 50, and has many features to make targeting as easy as possible. This is definitely worth using if you’re trying to target as many people as possible on a specific budget.
Twitter works well for some things, but not everything. The one thing I’d ask myself before advertising on Twitter is, “How much would I want to tell the world about my product or service?” Hopefully you have a mind-blowing idea already, but some products or services might be looked at as more practical than mind-blowing. Twitter is different from other social platforms due to it’s fast-paced nature. There are so many tweets cycling through the average Twitter feed, that your ad NEEDS to stand out. Also, people are more weary of advertisers than fellow Twitter users. If your ad is something that people actively retweet, the more successful it’ll be in my honest opinion. There are many educators, journalists, and thought leaders on Twitter. Networking via Twitter will likely heighten your chances of getting your business covered by media as well.
With Instagram, it’s all about the visuals! Now I personally love Instagram as a user, because I love getting lost in photos of food, cute animals, and hysterical memes. If your product is pretty or visually stunning, Instagram is the perfect place to advertise! Even if you have a service that involves people demonstrating really interesting things, like a yoga class for example, Instagram can be a game-changer as well. Instagram targets everyone from millennials to middle-aged adults. If your audience is on the older-side, I’d probably skip this platform for now. Another thing to keep in mind when using Instagram is the power of the hashtag! Hashtags are like little hints for potential customers to find you. If used well, you can gain followers and leads exponentially solely due to hashtags.
You probably hear about Pinterest all of the time, but it’s still a very niche platform. About 70% of users on Pinterest are females. So long story short, it’s not the place you’d want to advertise men’s shaving cream. Just like Instagram, Pinterest is all about the visuals! This is a perfect platform to advertise on if you sell food, makeup, accessories, clothing, or anything else tangible and aesthetically pleasing. Your “pins” can link to external websites that can get the end-user involved with your product. You’ll see this a lot with food and makeup products, since they can be easily integrated with a recipe or makeup tutorial. Even though you’re still advertising your product, it doesn’t feel as gimmicky to the person on the other end of the screen. Again, if you’re selling to women and it’s a product that isn’t a practical necessity, Pinterest is a good way to go.
Oh Snapchat, what to do with you! Most older people get scared at the mere mention of Snapchat and I can’t really say that I blame them. It’s because most of us don’t understand the exact point of the app and that’s okay! Interestingly enough, Snapchat was one of the later platforms to even adapt advertising, since it was created for groups of friends who wanted to communicate in a simple and temporary nature. Unless you’re marketing to the Millennial generation and younger, I’d say you shouldn’t spend too much time on Snapchat. Even if you do consider using Snapchat, I would build up your actual account and post interesting content rather than spending money on actual advertising. Ads are generally not welcomed by loyal Snapchat users, so it’s better to offer them interesting content that will convert them into brand ambassadors over longer periods of time. Taco Bell is a great example of a company who built up a large following on this trendy app.
Just like Snapchat, Reddit can be a tricky platform to grasp. In case you aren’t familiar with Reddit, your first task is to familiarize yourself with it! Think of Reddit as one giant forum with multiple subcategories. It’s a great tool for getting honest feedback from other people with like interests of yours in the community. The one thing “redditors” value more than anything is honesty, which is why they’re generally skeptical of advertisers! The less gimmicky your ad comes accross, the more traction you’ll gain with Reddit. The most successful advertisers have either set up AMAs (ask me anythings) or conducted fan contests. The more interactive your ad is and the more feedback you encourage, the better off you’ll be using this platform. If your target audience includes a lot of hobbyists, Reddit may just be the perfect platform for you!
While Bing Ads doesn’t have a display network or shopping network like Google Adwords does, it does have a search network! Now you may be asking yourself why on earth you would choose Bing over Google when it comes to advertising? Well, it honestly depends on where your average customer goes to search for things! Believe it or not, there is a fairly large group of people out there who do not trust Google at all. I honestly can’t really blame them either. Now I prefer Google myself, but Bing respects the privacy of its users a lot more than Google does. If privacy is a big deal to your customers, try using Bing instead. If you’re not quite sure yet, try both Bing and Google with low daily budgets and see which platform performs better. If your company is catered to computer technology professionals or government agencies, Bing might be a perfect place for you to start.
Last, but definitely not least is YouTube! Within the last five years, video has grown as the favorite medium for all ages. Even though many people don’t even watch TV anymore, they’ll still go to YouTube to watch anything from tutorials to cat videos. Now, YouTube ads can be extremely annoying, so you need to make sure your ad is as unobtrusive as possible! Also, many times people can skip ads after a few seconds. The shorter and more interesting your ad is, the more success you will have! Even though all ages watch YouTube ads, I would still be careful when it comes to targeting. Different YouTube channels attract different groups of people, so make sure you do your research before setting up your ad campaigns! Also, keep in mind that Google bought YouTube several years ago. What’s nice about this is that it allows you to integrate your YouTube audience data into Adwords! This can be extremely beneficial to you in the long run.
Whew! I know that was a lot of information to take in, but I really hope it helped clarify any confusions you may have had. Make sure you really analyze which platform suites your audience the best, especially if you’re working with a smaller budget! Again, if you have any questions please feel free to ask them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Infographic of the Week:
Question of the Week:
Which digital platform do you think has the most effective advertising set-up?