Every company needs to invest in offline and/or online advertising in order to achieve business goals, inform customers about new products, acquire market value, increase brand awareness & sales, improve conversions, and position oneself as an authority in the industry.
Successful advertising strategies should create a desire in users to act by fulfilling their desires.
With so many advertising options, finding a proven technique that will ensure a good return on investment (ROI), can be daunting.
Digital Advertising Techniques
Wikipedia defines digital marketing as an ‘umbrella term’ for the practice of marketing products and services with the help of digital technologies such as the internet, display advertising, mobile phones, social media, and other digital mediums. But successful digital advertising goes beyond this definition.
“When a company website enhances our state of mind and goes beyond providing information to creating an experience, our perception of the brand changes – to the point that we can even become emotionally invested in it.” Source: 10 Commonly Used Techniques in Visual Advertising – Visme
Let’s take a closer look at the most popular digital advertising techniques to see how they can help your company achieve business goals and if they are worth the time.
1. Pay-per-Click Marketing
Pay-per-click (PPC) is a model of digital marketing through which advertisers pay a fee every time their ad is clicked. One of the most popular forms of PPC is search engine advertisers, which allows bidders to place their ads in SERPs.
Every time an ad is clicked and a visitor enters your landing page, a small fee is deducted from your budget, thus increasing your total ad spend.
Is it worth it?
As the latest algorithm updates demonstrate, Google is clearly interested in monetizing its platform, to the point that it has granted preference to paid listing in its search results. Furthermore, experts believe that the Google and other search engines, will continue to optimize their platforms to better display paid listings. For this reason, and a few others, I believe that pay-per-click campaigns represent a solid digital marketing strategy.
When implemented correctly, PPC can result in tremendous ROI & hefty profits. However, a lot of work goes into winning a PPC campaign – finding the right keywords & ad groups, creating a cohesive ad-site experience, and optimizing landing pages for conversions, are just a few of the tasks that go into a PPC campaign.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization refers to the practice of optimizing one’s website organic position for specific keywords with the help of on-site and off-site practices. Website owners can implement a variety of effective SEO strategies – like link-building, keyword research, local & mobile optimization, creating a blog, improving user-experience, etc. – as components of a comprehensive online campaign.
By ranking on the top positions of search engine result pages for industry keywords companies can attract relevant & steady traffic, which will ultimately lead to conversions.
Is it worth it?
Because Google’s global search engine market share exceeds 70%, most SEO experts are optimizing their websites for this specific search-engine. The tech giant has implemented numerous algorithm changes, like the Google’s 4-Adpack update & Mobilegeddon that have made SEO more challenging. Even so, optimizing websites for organic traffic, while difficult & expensive, is one of the most effective digital advertising techniques.
Read our Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization for more information.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the youngest forms of digital marketing, and arguably, the most effective one. A Custom Content Council survey revealed that 72% of marketers believe that content marketing offers better ROI than direct mail, PR, and magazine advertising. Countless of online companies have made it big with content marketing, including these 25 brands.
But what exactly is content marketing? According to the CMI, content marketing represents the:
“… strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
When we think about “content”, we automatically picture an article or book, but content can take many forms. Experts believe that content marketing is part of all forms of marketing, including social media, SEO, PPC, and PR marketing.
Content marketing is a discipline in itself, so if you’re new to this advertising technique, I recommend reading our Crash Course to Content Marketing.
Is it worth it?
Most definitely. Content marketing is currently one of the most lucrative digital marketing strategies. When it is correctly aligned with your business’s goals, it can positively impact all areas of your marketing campaign.
4. Referral Advertising
Word-of-mouth represents one of the oldest & most-trusted advertising methods. Referral marketing represents the practice of promoting products or services through word-of-mouth. It can be done both offline and online, but it has proven more effective for the latter scenario.
Online referral marketing is generally done with the help of a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) approach – the customer’s behavior is tracked with web-browser cookies, and product/service suggestions are made based on these behaviors.
Recommended Read: Referral Marketing 101 – 7 Tactics to Launch your Own Referral Campaign
Hillary Duff posted a selfie with a Windflower iPhone Case on her Instagram | Image Credits: Shopify
Is it worth it?
There are three core reasons why you should use referral marketing:
- Trust factor. It’s simple. When we don’t trust someone, we don’t listen. With referral marketing, the sales pitch doesn’t come from some shady agent, but from a person we know and trust. Time and time again, studies have shown that personal reviews & recommendations outweigh a generic advertisement.
- Precision targeting: Word-of-mouth is generally more targeted than Google Adwords & Facebook ads.
- Reach & Acceleration. Offline referral marketing is slow & limited. Thanks to the advancements of technology & social networks, the average customer’s reach has now expanded by an order of magnitude. A customer can literally make or break your business with one social media status.
Example of Great Referral Marketing: Dollar Shave Club – Blades are F**ing Great (over 25,000 of customers were referred by someone who used Dollar Shave Club products and enjoyed them).
5. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting the services and products of other companies. The beauty of affiliate marketing, for the affiliate partner, is that it does not involve any risks. Like most digital marketing techniques, affiliate marketing requires a lot of hard work and time.
Recommended Read: Drive Incremental Sales Through Affiliate Marketing
Is it worth it?
If you manage to find valuable affiliate partners and develop an affiliate plan that aligns with your business goals then yes, affiliate marketing is worth it. Many online retailers, including Amazon, have successfully used affiliate marketing to drive sales.
6. Email Marketing
Simply put, email marketing represents the strategy of directly marketing a commercial message to a group of subscribers, using email. Various tools such as MailChimp, GetResponse, and Aweber, have transformed email marketing into a profitable & scalable strategy. The brightest digital marketers of our age (Neil Patel, Derek Halpern, etc.) are using this strategy to influence their customers’ journey.
Not sure where to start? Here are 12 Great Email Marketing Examples to inspire you.
Email Marketing Statistics you Need to Know | Image courtesy of Adobe
If you’re interested in this digital advertising technique, you should also check out our Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing.
Is it worth it?
In my humble opinion, email marketing represents one of the highest-converting online marketing strategies. Setting up an email campaign requires minimum financial investment, thus making it a trusted ally of small businesses with tight advertising budgets.
7. Social Media Marketing & Networking (SMM)
The vast majority of internet users spend a significant amount of time, 28% of time spent online to be more precise, on social media channels. There are literally hundreds of social networks at the moment, each with its unique following & purpose, but the most popular platforms are Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google Plus.
Successfully harnessing the power of a social network, and aligning social media marketing goals with other channels (e.g. content marketing or referral marketing), can generate incremental growth in sales & help you increase brand awareness.
We have covered 40 sound social media marketing tips in our latest guide.
Is it worth it?
If you’re expecting definitive proof that social media has value, I am sorry to disappoint you, but there is none. The benefits of social media marketing are harder to quantify because they usually translate into ‘abstract’ results for business owners that are focused on numbers, such as brand awareness, customer loyalty, engagement, etc.
Many companies discard social media because they do not see ROI from their activities, but that’s only because they don’t know how to track their social media efforts. In conclusion, before you start investing a large portion of your advertising budget in social media you must identify the metrics that are worth analyzing (e.g. impressions, community size, engagement, referrals, reviews, etc.), and determine if they are relevant to your business.
8. Video Advertising
Video advertising underwent a maturing process and is finally reaching a tipping point. According to an Emarketer study, display ad spends from video banner ads, rich media, sponsorships will surpass that of search advertising by the end of 2016. Furthermore, platforms such as Vimeo and YouTube have become the ‘incubators’ of company promotion videos.
“Cross-channel video advertising has transformed how brands reach users at key points of the customer journey and influence conversions with highly engaging media.”
Recommended Read: The Comprehensive Guide to Video Advertising in 2016
Is it worth it?
Out of all the advertising techniques presented thus far, video advertising is arguably the most rewarding one. This is even more true for mobile video advertising because 68% of videos on mobile devices are non-skippable, meaning that mobile views are more valuable than desktop ones.
Offline Advertising Techniques
While the impact of the Internet is undeniable, it does not invalidate the potential of offline advertising. An Internet World Stats revealed that 78% of U.S. population is online. This means that approximately 70 million Americans cannot be reached through digital advertising techniques.
Offline Advertising Definition:
“Using advertising resources of the real rather than the virtual marketing world like newspapers, billboards, flyers, radio and TV spots etc. Offline Advertising can be very effective, even for Internet marketers promoting their websites, especially when one is targeting a local public.” – Source: InternetMarketing Dictionary
Offline advertising can create a world of opportunities for your business. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective offline advertising techniques:
9. Flyers, Posters & Print Advertising
Flyers represent the carpet-bombing method of cheap advertising. If you want to get the word out about your brick-and-mortar store, the fastest way to do so is by distributing flyers to all the mailboxes within reach. Make sure to add clear information about your services, address, and contact.
Posters are slightly more expensive, but they can be plastered in supermarkets, malls, on bulletin boards, and pretty much any public space. In my opinion, posters are hit & miss method because they can be quickly covered by other advertisements or get lost in a sea of ads.
Recommended Read: 33 Powerful & Creative Print Ads That’ll Make you Look Twice
10. Cold Calling
Cold calling may be unpleasant, but it produces results. Whether it’s over the phone, or door-to-door, cold calling represents a rite of passage for all small businesses. It will challenge you to sell yourself, as well as your business, and come up with creative solutions when facing customers.
11. Traditional Billboards & Digital Billboards
When it comes to billboards advertising, most companies are confronted with an age-old question: “Which is more cost-effective: traditional billboard or digital billboard?” Research suggests that digital billboards have a significant impact on sales & lead generation due to their eye-catching visuals. Furthermore, the zoning restrictions of major cities (especially in central areas), have lead to an unprecedented increase in traditional billboard price.
12. Media Buying
In advertising, media buying refers to the process of procuring media inventory in different mediums, such as radio, TV, print, etc. Prices take into account geographic, psychographic, and demographic data. The most popular form of media buying is TV buying. The demand of leads, rates, and time dictate the availability and price of ads.
Persuasive Advertising Techniques
This concludes our list of online & offline advertising techniques that still work. Next we will briefly overview persuasive techniques that are used in advertising:
- Glittering generality – the use of words and phrases with positive connotations but with no real meaning (e.g. natural, pure).
- Flattery – when an advertiser appeals to the user’s vanity by implying that the product is reserved for rich/popular/intelligent individuals.
- Emotional appeal – advertising that appeals to a user’s emotions (fear, nostalgia, happiness).
- Name calling – comparing one product to another & suggesting that the latter is inferior.
- Testimonials – products that are endorsed by an expert or celebrity.
- Plain folks (usually under the form of a testimonial) – suggests that the product appeals to users like you.
- Bandwagon – the advertisers makes users feel like they need to have a product because everyone else also has it.
- Loaded words – the use of powerful words such as ‘dishonest’, ‘family’ in advertisements.
- Transference – the practice of persuading users to associate with positive words, ideas, or images relevant to the product.
- Facts & Figures – the use of numbers, research, or statistics to prove that a product is superior to its competitors.
- Urgency – the advertiser makes a user feel like he needs to make a purchase right away to avoid losing out.
- Special Offer – free gifts, discounts, coupons, etc.
- Snob Appeal – opposite to the bandwagon technique, makes users feel special for purchasing an ‘exclusive’ product.
Are you ready to advertise your product/service online or offline? What is your favorite strategy? Let us know!