Happy 2013, everyone, and here's to your most profitable year ever using the digital marketing and advertising tactics that really move the needle in your local market.
What are they? Hint: It's NOT social media, folks!
What I see: We've ALL bought into the notion that social media, the OOH SHINY PENNY! of marketing is critical to every business in America.
The reality: Social is in 4th place in terms of focus/importance. And most businesses shouldn't be touching it at all before they understand the full digital marketing landscape.
First Place: Search Engine Marketing
Find a trusted partner to run search engine marketing (text ads, called SEM or PPC) on Google, bing and Yahoo! to turn searches for you, your brand, your products into qualified clicks, targeted to our local market(s).
Think about it: Nearly all shoppers head to Google to conduct research before they head to a local store to make a purchase. If you're not running a solid SEM campaign run by the very latest technology, you're sending business to your competitors and losing sales.
One of the few companies that's doing this well is Netsertive. Why?
- They focus on only 5 kinds of businesses, they've hired EXPERTS in each field to create high-performance campaigns
- Every client gets a direct line to an account rep to ensure communication and success
- Their patent-pending technology actively makes every account perform better and better over the long term (set and forget online advertising campaigns are the hallmark of Netsertive's competition)
In fact, here's a 1 minute video by a Netsertive client who's TRIED THE REST and now relies on the company to bring him ALL of his new customers each month: http://www.netsertive.com/whynetsertive
In second place, you must run display ad banners with retargeting turned on.
How it works: Your search engine marketing (text ad) campaign will send qualified customers to your website. If they're not in the market for what you sell TODAY, they LEAVE your site. Without ad retargeting turned on, you've lost them to the digital winds, likely never to return.
With display retargeting turned on, however, your display ads will follow them to other websites after they leave. They'll see your banner ads in the Yahoo! inbox, on the Wall Street Journal, and on other contextually relevant sites for a full 30 days, reminding them of your store/your products and enticing (reminding!) them to return to your site.
So your second biggest spend: Display Ads w/Retargeting.
Third place: Online mobile advertising.
Specific text ad and display campaigns with the right keywords/call to action/features that an on-the-go, qualified customer needs to see when they're conducting searches on their smartphones while they're in the car and in the market to buy NOW to come to your store/dealer.
Here's an article I wrote to auto dealers about mobile in 2013; it will spread to ALL other verticals as well: http://www.netsertive.com/car-shoppers-using-mobile-phones-more-likely-to-buy-within-hours
Fourth place/LAST: Social media
Last place, because your goal is to generate more sales with digital marketing, right? Social media should only be attacked after you're spending $1,500-$8,000 per month as a small business owner on search, display, and mobile.
Social media is the place you go to engage with customers who've already bought from you. When they have a great experience, or you offer them something free/a contest, or a regular coupon, they'll Like your Facebook page so they can get the deal and write a great review. And once they Like you, it's your chance to turn them into a repeat buyer.
Repeat after me: Social media will not bring you new customers.
It will give you a platform to nurture existing customers. And the number of Likes you receive doesn't matter; the quality of the Likes are critical.
To do social media right as a small business, you'll need to set aside 5-15 hours a month to write content (manual posts about your products, what's going on in your store, even personal photos), then spend time everyday engaging with your CURRENT customers WHO HAVE ALREADY BOUGHT from you. Interact, turn them into repeat buyers, sure. But more Likes does nothing. You need to be a content strategist, be able to engage for an hour or more a DAY. 99.9% of small business owners cannot and will not do this.
And they shouldn't.
Today is the day I say it loudly: Business owners, you're right to question WHY you should be doing Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn and XXXXX Flavor of the Month campaigns.
Should you devote your precious time and limited marketing dollars on social if you're not doing search, display, and mobile and doing it WELL/properly funded to deeply penetrate your local market? No way.
Unless you're willing to do some serious manual posting and daily monitoring/content planning every week and month, and actively market your presence in ALL of your marketing materials and bring your own personality to your posts/social activities, it absolutely WILL NOT impact your bottom line.
Without a solid, comprehensive online strategy with the proper amount of fuel (budget) built from TOP to bottom like THIS:
- SEARCH ENGINE TEXT ADS (SEM/PPC) (MOST CRITICAL)
- SOCIAL (LEAST IMPORTANT)
You have zero business touching social media until 1, 2, 3 are set up and running at top speed/spend to get the best results.
If you're working with Yodle, Reach Local, Orange Soda, WebVisible, DEX or ANY other SEM PPC search advertising provider, it's time to move to a company who delivers the best results using all of the most profitable tactics.
If you're still not convinced, and your business has been burned by past online marketing campaigns that didn't deliver results using Reach Local, Yodle or other companies, WATCH THIS and work with the best:
Happy 2013 everyone!