Rethinking Digital Advertising

Just recently, PageFair noticed that:

The way the public has taken to [ad blocking] technology suggests users aren’t happy with Internet advertising. And if ads are annoying potential customers more than enticing them to buy your product, you’re spending a lot of counterproductive money.

(In another post, I’ll talk about why ad blocking software is more of a win solution for ad buyers than it is for any other group: ad sellers or ad consumers.)

As a digital marketer, you’ve had clients come to you say excitedly, “We want our ads appearing everywhere. We want to show up everywhere.” Then they add: “Like Jumia. Like Konga.”

Paint Facebook red with ads. Bid off all of the competition on PPC. Take up all the spots on Mobile. Leave none for competition. Remarketing used to be cool. We remember we once thought, “Oh wow! These Jumia and Konga guys follow me everywhere I go!”

Then the habit turned annoying. We began to ignore the ads.

Big brands over-kill interruptive marketing to the point that ad consumers began to sort of protest. They began installing ad blocking software.

Our dear friends who used to be our loyal ad consumers now block us vehemently.

If your CMO’s 2016 strategy for marketing online is to “throw ads in their faces; make them buy”, then you and your team will need to be a bit smarter this time around. Ad consumers are smarter already.

Interruptive advertising is dying.

We’re in a different disposition now. What disposition, then? Some say we’re in the Content Marketing disposition.

Content Marketing is Great. But Keep Your Consent Marketing Game Stronger

In 2014, $145 billion was spent around the world on Content Marketing and that figure is expected to double next year. Content marketing is one of the most successful media for lead generation. We’re getting deeper and deeper into the Content Marketing Dispensation. But relax your oars not, as content marketing is not the Promised Land. It too will fade out. Here’s why:

What we call Content Marketing changes over time. It started with simply blogging.

Then some brands over-killed it.

Then the focus moved to delivering content into the email of our buyers. Overkill follows.

Then Infographics came.

If there’s anything we’ve learnt, it’s that how the consumer wants to be marketed to changes over time. Sometimes very fast. Those changes are heavily influenced by her experience with both you and other marketers. At a time, she begins to look away. Then we have to figure out another way to get her attention.

To get your customer’s attention in a way that contributes positively to ROI, you need to find a way to seek her consent first. If she doesn’t want to hear from you, she’ll ignore your banters. No matter how much you spend, you’ll lose most of it. Make sure she wants to be spoken to when you speak. Let her feel that she’s truly in control. Isn’t she?

“Install our app to get 5% off”
*gets her attention*
*Installs app*
“Ah so you do want us. Great”

Your buyer should be glad that you’re showing up, not sighing that you’re there.

Let your buyer say exactly how she wants to be marketed to. Respect her.

Here’s more on how to do this:

Give away something first

Find a common ground between you and her. Draw her in. Blog about things your audience cares about. Don’t sell when you’re connecting. Don’t sell. Don’t put unhelpful links in your content.

Let her realise that it’s not like she’s here, and you’re there. She’s here and you’re here.

Build Trust

If money can’t buy your love, why would it buy your customer’s? Your Director doesn’t have a chill. The board has targets on your neck, and to make matters worse your company’s stock prices are falling. But guess what – your buyer doesn’t give a H.O.O.T about all those. (Why would she? She doesn’t even read the stock market report.) And if one person’s opinions should matter now, it should be her’s. Building trust takes sincerity on your part, a willingness to give more to the customer than you may ever get back. Most of all, building trust takes time  years.

PS: One day I got an email from a brand I cared about. They said to me in the email: “Hi Customer” Please, don’t be like them.

Social Media is an Institution. Use it with Sense

Would you want to interact with a brand whose social media only tweeted about sales? I wouldn’t. You don’t have to be fantastic with social media to be profitable. But don’t be a jerk either.

Reward for Sharing your Business

Hint your customer about the possibility of sharing your business to friends and family. It’s great if you can give a reward for that. It’s these little things that matter to her.

Invest in Search Optimization & Search Marketing

*Types “I need tornadoes” into Google*
* shows up*
“Aha there you are! Been looking for you”

You want your ecommerce product pages to lead to 500 more product sales, don’t you? Spend time and money on search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). Do the work once; make sales over and over again. Your average net profit per product sold should determine how much you budget for SEM. Find someone who can help you determine the right point for your business.

Search optimization pays good dividends. Good enough for you, if a customer has spent considerable time interacting with your website recently, your website has a better chance of showing up slightly higher in the natural search results the next time she searches on Google.

In conclusion, don’t get me wrong. Traditional “pushy”, interruptive marketing methods do work. They work for big brands who have deep pockets. They’re only more expensive and with generally lower conversion rates. It doesn’t have to be same with your business, does it?

I’ve seen businesses record a 0.50% CTR after a “pushy” ad campaign – and that was considered success! A successful search engine CTR on another hand, depending on competition or industry, would usually start from about 9% – at least!

Truth is in the end, no one can guarantee you 100% results even if you do all that’s needed to do. Besides a lot of factors affect what happens in the end other than your digital marketing efforts. Will you go bankrupt? No one knows. You don’t, either. Kodak did. Delta Airlines once did. And $690-billion company Lehman Brothers did, too.

But what we do know is, if you make the decision to respect your customer while planning your 2016 advertising campaign, you’ll be ahead of most in your industry.

The smaller your company is, the swifter you’ll move with these principles.

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Seun is an SEO professional who has worked with 13+ businesses on their digital advertising: search engine optimisation, PPC, ecommerce content development & marketing, SEO training for teams, and SEO hiring. He’s worked with teams in 16 countries and has written more than 1 million words for the web.