DEVELOPING A SUCCESSFUL ONLINE CAMPAIGN
Developing an effective online advertising program is no different than developing an advertising campaign in any other medium. It begins with a clear definition of goals and objectives and ends with how sales leads are going to be fulfilled and turned into long-term customers.
The best part is every component and step of an online campaign can be managed using just one medium: the World Wide Web.
Objectives–Every successful online campaign starts with clear objectives. These can include generating leads, increasing sales, increasing store traffic, reducing customer service costs or improving brand awareness. Each objective should be attainable and tie-in to offline marketing activities. These objectives will drive the overall direction of any operation, and will always answer the “Why are we on the Internet?” question that will inevitably arise.
Generate qualified sales leads.
Develop a profitable online sales channel.
Build brand and product awareness through the Internet.
Goals–Each objective should have a clear and quantifiable goal attached to it. This could be the number of leads to be generated, the sales level to be reached, the traffic to drive into stores, the level of brand awareness to increase. Just like a traditional media goal, each online goal should be attainable and used as an ongoing measure of a Web site’s success.
Generate 1,000 qualified sales leads every month.
Drive 100 new customers into stores.
Strategies–Think big picture. Think how are you to reach each of your goals. Is it by creating a series of promotions? Is it developing content? Is it by giving away coupons or promoting content? Whatever it is, a campaign’s strategies are a broad picture of how to attain each goal. They are not specific tactics.
Develop online giveaways to drive consumers to our product.
Build strategic links from similar but noncompetitive Web sites to our products.
Tactics–Tactics are the specifics of strategies. They are how each strategy will be undertaken and completed. Tactics are the who, what, when and how of the broad-stroke strategy.
Establish ongoing monthly contests giving away sample product to 10 lucky winners. To enter, consumers must complete a data sheet, providing demographic information.
Winners will be announced in the product category of the Web site to ensure consumers see our product line.
CREATING AN EFFECTIVE ONLINE CAMPAIGN:
The power of the Internet is that almost anything you can want is readily available somewhere. This is also the trap. It’s too easy to get led astray and try to target everything. Unless efforts are highly targeted, marketers try to reach everyone while actually reaching no one.
Advertising on the Internet goes back to marketing basics. The key to a successful ad is to identify a campaign objective, then develop a focused strategy to reach that objective, and finally create a systematic plan to implement that strategy. The real trick is to assess how the plan works, and not to be afraid to shift it to meet consumer reactions.
Run More Than One Banner Concurrently:
The Internet is a fast-moving medium with new enhancements being added constantly. Because of this, users bore of seeing the same banner graphic over and over. Infoseek estimates banner ads wear out after 200,000 to 400,000 impressions (2-4 weeks, depending on overall site traffic). In addition, multiple banners reinforce advertising messages and create renewed interest.
Similar to running television commercials, create several schedules of banner ads, each with two or three banners that will rotate on a given site. Then rotate each banner schedule often to maintain a fresh campaign (every 2-3 weeks).
Tactical, Not Brand Marketing:
Although there is a great deal of discussion surrounding their use, banners have not been found to be effective for creating or repositioning a brand. Leave that for the Web site, where you can create a controlled environment for the user. Banners are, however, an effective means to leverage a brand to generate sales. Brands that are well-established offline should be extended into banners, encouraging a user to click for more information or to complete a sale.
Developing online creative is similar to developing any creative: First establish an objective for the ad (i.e., decide what it is you want your audience to do). Second, develop an advertising message that supports that objective and, if appropriate, leverage the established brand equity to support that message. Finally, create an ad that meets established objectives.
One of the key benefits of the Internet is the ability to target users. Advertisers can target by site, by content, even by demographic profiles. The key is knowing who your customer is and his state of mind. Is your ideal customer surfing or after real information? How do you know this? Look at the content the ads will be running on. If it’s news, you can be sure that reader is after information. If it’s entertainment, the reader is probably there for a respite from work.
Target banner schedules according to demographics and then develop creative according to site content. Remember, the goal is to create and run advertising that consumers respond to. The only way to do that is to understand the consumer.