Digital marketing has exploded, making it easier to reach potential customers in a way that they enjoy. As Internet advertising has gone mainstream the types of online marketing at your fingertips have expanded exponentially.
This variety means that virtually every kind of business can reach any audience through the Internet. There’s something for everyone.
It also means that the types of online marketing can get confusing. It’s hard to know where to start. What’s right for your business?
Let’s explore the types of online marketing available to your business. How do they work? How do you evaluate which is right for you?
Social Media Advertising
Shopping for products and services is among the top 10 reasons people use social media. In the case of Pinterest, it’s closer to top 3. 1 out of 3 people mention specific brands when discussing life events.
Social media is where people spend their time and it’s a great place for your business to be.
Social media advertising is one of the two primary types of online marketing you can do on social media platforms. The other is social media management. We’ll look at that one later.
When done right, social media advertising allows you to advertise to customers in a way they actually appreciate and enjoy. By being relevant, you avoid forcing people to see your ads who have no interest in what you sell.
Get in front of the people who will actually find the ad helpful. Social media ads often don’t even feel like ads for this reason. And this is exactly the way social media channels want it. The less your ad looks and feels like an ad, the more reach the algorithms with give you.
On top of advertising in a way that people enjoy, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. This is great news for most people. On the other hand you could pay a lot for an ad spot on TV or in a magazine that may never even be seen. What a waste!
Paying for what you actually get is a much better way to go.
Social media advertising starts the customer relationship off on the right foot so you can earn loyalty more easily. With these types of online marketing, you can target the “perfect” customer on the social media platform where they spend their time.
Be visible where your target is to accomplish 6 primary marketing goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Build an email subscriber list (so you can nurture leads in a more controlled environment)
- Build a following on social media (optional, but advised)
- Increase engagement with your brand (on social media or your website)
- Make quick sales (works best in conjunction with the other goals)
- Increase customer value (more upsells, purchase frequency, etc.)
- Generate promoter activity (put your loyal customer to work for you)
Meeting these broad goals on social media helps you generate more revenues, cut costs and grow your business.
Where Can You Run Social Media Ads?
Seemingly endless options await you. Regardless of who your customers are, you’ll find them in one or more of these places, in no particular order:
- Facebook Messenger
- Yelp — Yes, review sites are a form of social media. You’ll find very high intention buyers here. That fact is reflected in the cost for these ads and in how you advertise.
To determine which platform is best for you, consider where:
- Your target customer is active.
- Your target customer makes buying decisions
- You have a presence. You don’t have to have a business presence to buy ads on most social media platforms. But it will help you get a greater ROI.
- You understand how your target uses the platform. If you get on there clueless, people will see right through you.
Quick tip: While it’s a good idea to be where the customers are, don’t try to be everywhere. You’ll be spread too thin to make an impact in one place. You’ll run out of money fast and reduce your potential long-term ROI.
You’ll end up looking inconsistent because it’s hard to manage.
Focus in one or two top spots. Branch out later if you feel you can competently and consistently do so.
Types of Online Marketing on Social Media
There are several ways to use social media advertising.
1. Boost Posts
If something you shared on your business profile got a lot of positive attention, get more out of it. Pay to have people who don’t follow you see it.
Use the platform’s targeting function just like you would if it were a regular ad. Narrow your reach to target your most likely customers.
And what are the best posts to boost? Posts that already have good engagement is recommended. For instance, a post that has many likes, shares and comments. Compared to reach, engagement rate is a more reliable basis to see which posts people find interesting. You can use Facebook Insights tool to check the posts with high engagement rate.
2. Organic / Newsfeed Ads
Create ads that only appear in the newsfeed.
They’re labeled “sponsored” or “suggested” to comply with truth in advertising rules. But these look like things that people shared so they’re more likely to get attention.
To do best in this space, focus on being entertaining, clever and/or helpful over direct selling.
People unfollow and blacklist brands that are overly promotional in the newsfeed.
3. Sidebar Ads
On some platforms, your ads don’t appear in a feed. They appear above, below or beside the feed.
4. Remarketing Ads
Remarketing is when you to show ads to people who’ve visited your website or profile. They can appear on the platform itself or the platform’s partner sites. This is a very effective way to re-engage people and re-route a missed opportunity back your site.
How to Target People on Social Media
One of the top reasons your business should be using social media advertising is because it’s easy to target your ideal customer.
You’ll be amazed at some of the targeting options. This WordStream Graphic lists just a “few” available in Facebook.
Don’t show your ad to millions of people who will never buy from you. Show it to 100,000 likely buyers of which 1,000 click. Then 200 become new customers.
That’s a nice customer influx for most small businesses. But don’t write off the rest of them.
They are on the fence. But they will convert over time as you continue to engage them.
You can target by:
- Job /Industry /Company
- Buying behaviors
- And more
For example, if you’re a local carpet cleaning service in Atlanta, then target your local area.
You might get more engagement if you don’t geo-locate. But what’s that engagement worth if the person is in Oklahoma City? You’re not sending your cleaning trucks out there.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram reward you when you use Ads Manager to target and be more relevant. They cut your ad costs and make your ad more visible to the right people.
Who Should Use Social Media Advertising?
Any business can use these types of online marketing effectively. It’s all about understanding how people use the platform and aligning your ad strategy with it.
If you’re a real estate agency, then Yelp ads are a great way to reach people in those final moments before they choose a company.
Instagram would help you reach people earlier when they’re dreaming of the perfect home.If you’re an ecommerce site, then Yelp probably isn’t ideal. And LinkedIn really wouldn’t make sense. Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram would be much better options.
Let’s briefly look at how social media management supports your advertising efforts.
Social Media Management
73% of people follow brands because they’re interested in buying their products or services. 70% of Gen Xers buy from the brands they follow on social media. 1/2 of Millenials check out a brand on social media before buying. But they may not follow it.
Social media management goes beyond just advertising. It’s about having a presence that people interested in your brand can visit to learn more about you.
It involves applying strategies to:
- Build a social media brand
- Get more followers
- Engage followers
- Educate potential customers
- Lead people to your website or store
Here’s why having a social media presence is smart business to get the most out of social media advertising.
It Gives You Social Proof
Many consumers today are wary. They’ve been burned by fly-by-night companies that were just looking for a quick buck. The no-name company left them hanging with inferior products or shoddy services.
People have vowed never to let it happen to them again.
A social media presence allows you to interact on a more meaningful level. Demonstrate that there are people behind your brand. You are good at what you do. And there are people who like your brand and talk about it.
If someone doesn’t know you, a social media presence is instant proof that you’re legitimate.
It Cuts Advertising Costs
Increase your followers to become more visible on a platform. As you do, more people will be drawn to your profile like a magnet.
Get your first 1,000 followers. More people want to know what you’re all about. With more followers, engage people without paying every time someone clicks. If you need more help getting followers, consider using our social media management services to boost your follower growth.
Social media isn’t the place to overtly advertise. But sparingly test out ad ideas on your followers to optimize your advertising budget.
Check out your Google Analytics account to see how much “free” traffic your profile and posts send you. But note, you need social media ads to help get any new social media brand off the ground. And your need for ads will likely not go away.
Social media management simply complements advertising. It stretches your marketing dollars further.
It Meets People Where They Are
Some people aren’t ready to “buy now”, especially if you’re offering something that’s not a $20 impulse buy. What your target audience considers an impulse buy will vary based on income, education and other factors.
Social media is a great way to introduce people to your brand message and expertise. As you do, you become top of mind when this person is ready to buy. Educate them about what you do so that you’re the natural choice when they need what you offer.
Most people think of the buying process as a see, click and buy scenario. But the journey actually starts much earlier. It often lasts weeks or months.
During this time, they’re contemplating a need they have. They’re evaluating options both with you and other brands. They’re looking to see if others are happy doing business.
If you appear to be the best option and can seal the deal when the time is right, they’ll become your customers.
It Acts As Top of Funnel
Your profile has the potential to reach millions of active social media users. But it’s not the best place to personalize and seal the deal.
Social media management acts as a top of funnel, attracting likely customers out of a pool of millions. Then guide them into somewhere where you can more effectively nurture high-quality leads.
Who Should Use Social Media Management?
People with high acquisition costs should definitely consider how social media management works alongside advertising. If you make a dollar for every $0.50 to $0.75 you spend, that’s not sustainable.
Social media management requires consistency. If you don’t have someone who can devote significant time to building and maintaining your presence, then you should definitely look into hiring a social media management company.
They will have the tools, systems and know-how to get you the best return on your investment using different types of online marketing.
Pay Per Click (PPC) / Search Advertising
You can rise to the top of the search results through solid SEO strategies. Search based types of online marketing allow you to shoot to the top instantly.
You just have to pay per click (PPC).
Over 50% of website traffic starts on a search engine. People using searches are often high intention buyers. That means they’re looking for something specific. They’re ready to buy.
Most types of online marketing are PPC-based. But when you hear the term “PPC”, people are referring to search advertising.
With it, appear in the ad sections of the search results for search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Google ads, also known as Google AdWords, is the most commonly known platform for search advertising. It has the most features and largest share of users.
You can appear as a text ad, a display ad in the search or a banner ad on their affiliate websites. AdWords also offers a remarketing feature, which is a great way to get people back to your website.
How Does PPC Work?
On social media platforms, excluding Pinterest, you target people by checking boxes for traits and interests that your target audience has.
Google AdWords uses keywords. These are usually phrases of 3-6 words.
Tell Google the most you’re willing to bid for a certain keyword. Then when someone enters that keyword in a search, Google looks at all the bids. It then shows the ads based on highest bidder.
They only charge you enough to beat the bid below you. The more competitive that keyword is, the more you’ll pay as a general rule.
But there’s a catch. Quality Score.
Quality Score Impact On Your Bid
Google wants people to be very happy with their search results. People are happy when the results are what they were looking for. Google allows lower bidders to win over higher bidders if they feel that the ad will be more relevant to that search.
But they don’t make the call. Instead, they let the searchers make the decision about whether your ad was relevant.
What they look at:
- Click Through Rate – Number of people who click the ad divided by how many times it appeared
- How the person reacted to your website — If the person left quickly or didn’t click on anything, your ad seems irrelevant.
- Your performance history — The quality score is an average. If you let it go down, it takes a while to get it back up.
A person with a great quality score can save as much as 50% of the cost per click. If you have bad scores, you’ll pay as much as 400% more than someone with an average score. If you let the score slip that much, your AdWords costs will be way high.
To keep your score high,
- Do proper keyword research — Use tools to understand what people are searching for and understand how much you have to bid to actually get that ad space.
- Do a competitor analysis — Know what the competition is doing so you can do it better
- Align your ad text with keywords — It should be clear why your ad came up in that search
- Align your ad text with your target audience — The ad should speak to their challenges and reasons for searching
- Align your ad with the buyer’s journey — In a nutshell, that’s awareness, consideration, decision-making (buying). Consider where the searcher is in the journey. The words they search for give you a window into where they are.
- Align your website landing page with the ad — the landing page isn’t your homepage. It should seamlessly continue what they searchers started in Google.
- Add negative keywords — These are words you don’t want associated with your brand or are irrelevant to the ad. If you’re a meal kit delivery service, you might have “meal kit delivery service” as a keyword. Now, if someone types “How to Start a meal kit delivery service” it’s best if your ad not appear. It’s not what the person is looking for.
- Track analytics — Pay attention to how people are interacting with your ads and website.
- Test and Improve — To get and keep a high quality score, listen to what the numbers are telling you. Test ads, landing pages and strategies to make it better.
Who Should Use Search Advertising?
AdWords can be effective for nearly any kind of business. It’s all about doing your research and applying the above 9 tips to keep your Quality Score up.
Practically every small business tries to use search advertising. Doing so and getting good at it are two different things. AdWords isn’t the easiest advertising method to master.
If you’re ready to tackle the challenge, commit to learning how to keep that score up and costs low. If you’re not able to dedicate significant time each week to managing your campaigns, it’s best to work with a professional.
Many people are worried about paying a professional search advertising company to do the types of online marketing they could do themselves. But experts have the systems in place to get you the biggest ROI.
Email Marketing / Advertising
77% of people prefer permission-based email as the way for a brand to advertise. With proper campaign management, a typical ROI on email is $44 for every $1 spent. You can’t get that kind of return on any other types of online marketing, which is why most marketers prefer it.
Email allows you to engage people on a very personal level. You can even call them by name and send them content that’s been “hand-picked” for them based on their interests, buying history, demographics and more.
Permission-based email means that you built your list by asking people to sign up. You might have encouraged them to do so in exchange for something of value like a chance to win, download or free trial. Or you may have a very successful email newsletter that they want to sign up for.
Social media management and social media advertising are the most common types of online marketing used to build this list.
Once you have an email subscriber, it’s time to start nurturing this relationship to get them to:
- Make that first purchase
- Continue to buy from you
- Write you great reviews
- Share your content with others
- Stay subscribed… they can unsubscribe at anytime.
Do this by engaging them with the most relevant content and offers (ads) through a process called segmentation. And send them emails at the perfect time to get results through automation.
These two methods are how businesses get that 44 to 1 ROI or better.
What Is Segmentation?
Segmentation is when you take your email subscriber list and divide the subscribers up by one of more traits. Then you send each group content that is designed to be most relevant to that group.
For example, you’re selling something that appeals to Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers. But you realize that as broad groups they:
- Like different types of content
- Use langauge differently
- Respond more strongly to certain messages, styles, etc.
- Use your products/services for different reasons
To maximize relevance, adapt each piece of content for that group.
You can also segment based on:
- Buying or other behavior
- Job Roles
- And more
What Is Automation?
Automation is about sending the right message at the right time. It also helps eliminate monotonous and time-consuming tasks that can eat into profits fast.
To continue our above example, you might find that Baby Boomers are more likely to open emails as 4AM on Saturday. Millennial emails perform better on Tuesdays at 8AM. You don’t need all that extra work. You don’t need to log on and send out the email at the right time.
Simply blast out your emails and automated software looks at which group should get it at which time. It handles the specifics of who gets what when. You just focus on creating relevant content.
Another great way to use email automation is setting up event-triggered reminders. When an email is triggered by an event around 60% of people will open it. Compare that to a 15-20% open rate, which is a decent open rate for most other emails.
This is your best opportunity to communicate something to a person.
You could use it to:
- Thank new subscribers by offering them a discount
- Remind someone what they abandoned their cart
- Show them other items they may like
- Offer them something on a birthday, anniversary or other event.
- Remind them that they were interested in X
- Thank them for contacting you, letting them know when you’ll respond
- Head off negative reviews by directing people to resources
Just take a look at what Social Media Today found about open rates for emails triggered by special events.
Imagine having to manually create and send all of these emails when these things happen. How long do you think it would take? Would you be able to send them within 5 minutes of the event?
Automation solves this problem.
Is Email Advertising Right For Your Business?
Email advertising is the best way to nurture leads and increase customer lifetime value. Customers are in a controlled environment where you take relevance to the next level. Relevance is what sells in advertising.
Any business that has a longer buying cycle or sells something that requires some consideration (Usually >$20) should be using email to get the best ROI.
Through segmentation and automation software you can streamline your processes to maximize your return on investment.
These types of software are more advanced and often cost more than a small business can justify. If you’re getting into segmentation or automation, working with an email marketing company is the most cost effective. They can spread the costs across many businesses while delivering you superior results.
Type of Online Marketing: Which to Choose?
Now that you’ve learned more about the types of online marketing, it’s time to consider how you could use each of these to reach your customers, engage them, convert and grow. Take inventory of your in-house knowledge, human resources, tools and time available to manage types of online marketing.
Consider where you will start. And grow from there.
If you’re looking to grow your brand through these and other types of online marketing, we can help. Contact us to schedule a consultation.