What should I consider when putting together my online marketing campaign?

QUESTION:

What should I consider when putting together my online marketing campaign?

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

Start by taking a close look at your competitors.  Where are they advertising?   How are they advertising?  The more you can learn about what’s working for them, the more time and money you will save when it comes to your own marketing campaign.

In addition, you need to be able to track each user an advertisement sends to your site.  Is that user sticking around?  Does that user buy anything?   Where does that user run into trouble?   You’ll find that some keywords translate into far more sales than others.  You’ll also discover that some sites provide you with higher quality users than other sites.

When you don’t have a lot of capital, thinking creatively is your best bet.   It’s easy to spend thousands of dollars on advertising and see very little in the way of a return.   Having users click on your ads is just the first step.  It doesn’t mean anything if those users aren’t sticking around to buy your products or use your service.

Often you can get away without paid advertising by forming strategic partnerships with other sites and organizations.  To do this, you need something you can give them in return.  Think creatively.  If you can cross-promote on other similar sites that offer complimentary services and products, it can be a win-win scenario for everyone involved.

You should also consider going to forums where your users hang out and answering questions.  For example, if you’re selling a new type of better sun screen, then you should be scouring the web for any discussion on skin cancer, and joining that discussion in a helpful way.   You have to be careful not to come across as too pushy.  People hate advertisers pushing products on forums.  That said, there’s a way to participate while subtly promoting your product.  This can be as simple as a link back to your website in the signature of your post.

Starting your own blog on a subject that relates to your product is another great way to market yourself without advertising.  If you provide a lot of valuable information, people will start linking to your blog, and your blog will come up in search engine results.

Lastly, you should consider SEO (search engine optimization).  This means making your site friendly to search engines so that you get indexed.  This often works better than advertising, especially for startups on a shoestring budget.

I hope this helps!

Comments & Advice:
  1. Dharrsch says:

    In addition to the answers provided by Naomi Kokubo, we have found that it is important to understand where your customers go for information. That is not to say that you won't add additional online media, but it is important to spend wisely as online media continues to change.

    We often maximize online media and SEO by the use of landing pages for online and print campaigns. This helps our clients gain information and develop some lead generation. It also starts to develop your presence in the market.

    Always remember to measure your online media spend with click through reports and what happens on the other end when they click. How well this works will depend on what you are providing for them to click on. This should be a lead generation opportunity.

    Debra Harrsch
    CEO
    BrandwidthSolutions.com

  2. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

    1. How will you convert traffic? Advertising is pointless if you don't have a clear plan on how to convert traffic into customers and/or active contacts.
    2. How will you measure your efforts?
    3. What's your cost per acquisition? Dollars spent divided by conversions will reveal your cost per acquisition. Following your cost per acquisition will help you focus efforts/dollars on your highest return on investment initiatives.
    4. There will be a level of trial and error with your efforts. Don't give up after a couple weeks. You need to experiment to find the right mix for your company.

  3. Some great answers here! Permit me to offer a couple more cents:

    It’s been quite a while now that “gurus”, “pundits” and “experts” have been bandying about the term “Social Media”, proffering it as the catch-all for market penetration and business success via online channels, without honestly having any sort of traditionally measurable proof of merit in hand.

    There’s no question that Social Media is an exciting activity sector, promising diverse new and enhanced points of connection with customers and clients. Quite how those connections will translate in to the type of metrics favored by traditionalist CFOs and shareholders is still under debate, though quickly coming in to focus.

    While the aforementioned experts continue to find ways to align this new engagement paradigm with traditional Cost/Benefit analysis modeling, I suggest that such ROI measurement is perhaps something of a fool’s errand, (1) because marketing has never been measurable in the manner that so many companies historically demand, and (2) because the commitment required to successfully maximize the potential of today’s emerging platforms and tools for customer engagement is far less measurable than ad or PR campaigns have been, in the past.

    Social Media is more than a marketing campaign ecosystem, wherein one might deploy emerging product offerings or test possible brand evolutions. In fact, I would love to get rid of the term “Social Media” altogether, because it brings with it an unfortunate sense of frivolity that has been compounded by the visible (yet relatively small) part of social media, known as Social Networking (domain of Facebook, MySpace, Youtube, et al).

    From a business perspective, the notion of “Social Media” stinks too much of an ongoing teenage chat session, with no goal in site. Many social media gurus will argue that this is quite so, and crucial to a business’s success in the 21st Century. While I strongly concur that engaging in a more open and collaborative dialog with consumers and users is an imperative in the contemporary marketplace, I also feel strongly that there exist few businesses that can afford to invest time and money in open-ended discussions with their prospects, “just because”. In the end, a business has something to sell, and its activities should be focused on this goal, as well as the post-sales services necessary to ensure the new customer becomes a de facto account executive for the brand. Smart marketing is a strategic endeavor, managed at the C-Suite level, and designed to position a company’s offering(s) as impactfully as possible, with the ambitious objective of turning salespeople into customer relations advocates.

    By all means let’s call it “Social Media” when we’re reconnecting with old High School friends and sharing photos with cousins across the world. With respect to B2B and B2C connections, let’s expand the term, and call it “Media Engagement”. That is, after all what it’s about, isn’t it? The more measurable activity is whether and how we might engage with and activate our end-user community to become partners in the enhancement and advancement of our brand (and its varied offerings). In some instances this will be sociable (Facebook Pages, Twitter feeds, comments threads, etc), in others more buzz marketing oriented (viral branded content, competitions, internal communications, polls, etc), and in yet others wholly functional and tactical (SEO, brand monitoring, bookmarking, corporate HR, medical resource sharing, media asset management, and so on).

    Once you have a handle on this differentiation, I believe you will be able to more swiftly and economically identify the tools and opportunities that will REALLY deliver results, as opposed to those that would represent little more than a “time suck”.
    There’s a lot we can do with the tools, platforms, and channels available to our businesses today, but we need to think of our Media Engagement strategy as more than “getting on Facebook” or “starting a blog”. It is a commitment – both online and offline – to connecting with our users, employees, and clients in a more dynamic and potentially rewarding manner than ever before. It is a far more organic and open-ended engagement than we are used to (and perhaps comfortable with). However, it still merits careful strategic forethought and measured management.

Make Your Comment: