‘Tis the Season to Go Digital

The silly season is almost upon us and it’s important to make sure your brand, product or service is top of mind with consumers researching or buying online. The best way to do that is to PLAN your campaigns now.

According to Inside Australian Online Shopping: a 2018 eCommerce Industry Paper by Australia Post, “Australian retail is noisy, complex and fast-paced. Shoppers’ expectations around convenience, value and choice have driven a higher proportion to shop online, where they have access to a world of information, products and services at their fingertips.”

The age of digital isn’t coming, it’s here “right now” and if you’re not there, there’s a good chance no one knows you even exist. Harsh words I know, but, Australian businesses need to take the state of the digital world seriously and rather than ask themselves the question of “should they invest online”; ask themselves “what am I missing out on by not being online?”

An effectively planned and implemented digital campaign will render significant positive results; driving brand awareness and sales. Done correctly, it’s a great opportunity for you to really stand out from the crowd and display powerful and relevant messaging on a medium and at a time that is well-suited to your target audience.

Market research, data analysis and strategy all lie at the very heart of effective ad campaign creation. Digital marketing, or any type of marketing for that matter, can no longer be about the “louder you shout the more attention you will attract.” It is, and has been for some time, about “reaching” people rather than preaching to them about your product, brand or service.

With digital advertising, you can reach a significantly higher number of audience than most traditional marketing mediums. Furthermore, you can:

  • Target your key audience
  • Retarget them with ads following the lead campaign
  • Split test ad variations
  • Switch campaigns on and off as required
  • Change creative when required
  • Gain insights via analytics
  • Build audiences based on engagement

I’m not going to spend time on traditional vs. digital, except to say that:

Traditional Advertising is essentially where you can convey your brand message clearly and concisely.

Digital Advertising on the other hand is where you can do the same, with the added advantage of having your audience “interact” with your ads in the digital universe.

The key word (no pun intended) here is “interaction”, a word that renders so much more information than a traditional ad campaign. Gain insights into who is clicking on your ads, how long they are spending on landing pages for your ads, where they are clicking from to reach your ad (attribution), audience demographic engaging with your ads and much more.

Data gained from digital campaigns offer valuable insights into your target market and audience, allowing you to further refine your campaigns in the future and show them to prospective customers who are more likely to purchase or enquire.

Being in business is no longer just about finding a market and delivering a quality product or service. It’s also about leveraging effective marketing techniques to successfully reach your target audience and turning them into customers.

So, why is this the season to go digital?

Seasonal marketing is not a new thing. In fact, it’s a type of marketing that is executed by a lot of businesses. While these campaigns are commonplace, the way they are executed differs from business to business, especially where strategy and creative is concerned.

More and more businesses are seeing a need to be innovative with their strategy, ideas and creative in order to cut-through the ad clutter. Many engage third-party agencies to assist as a set of fresh eyes and offer alternate perspective.

One important thing to note here is that seasonal marketing should ideally be part of an overarching marketing strategy; one that fills in marketing gaps during other periods of the year.

There are a number of benefits when it comes to seasonal marketing. One major one is that such campaigns foster FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – promoting limited-time offers that engage your audience and render a sense of fear of missing out on an exclusive special. Executed well, this type of ad campaign should encourage your audience to make a purchase.

Another benefit is that your business is seen as being in touch with consumer needs and wants. Changing campaigns seasonally shows you’re a business that keeps up with the times and maintains relevancy in the marketplace.

As the years go on, more and more businesses are opting to use digital marketing as their primary advertising medium, which makes total sense, as in 2017, one in five online purchases were made from a mobile device, furthermore, payment services such as Afterpay attracted over 1.5 million customers, and online spending grew by 18.7%. By the year 2020, it’s expected that 1 in 10 items purchased will be online.^

So, where should you start?

Decide what you want to promote – is there a particular product or service that would be relevant for promotion at this time of year? Remember, relevance is key. It’s how you connect. If consumers feel you are in tune with them and their needs, they’ll more likely gravitate towards your brand.

Decide on budget – There are businesses out there who often see marketing as the final piece to the puzzle when growing a business, when in fact it should be towards the very front. If you want to increase profits, you need set aside a proper budget for marketing.

Research your audience – make sure you maximise every ad dollar by talking to the right people. Ways to research include:
– Google Analytics – Where the traffic is coming from, how long they spend and how they interact with your website.
– Facebook Insights – The best way to get quick feedback from your audience on products, price points and your brand creative
– Competitor analysis – Look for market trends, brand creative and key objectives of similar businesses or competitors.
– Analyse your current customer database. Where are they from , what did they buy, how old are they, what gender, when did they buy, did they buy again etc

Decide what ad platform to promote on – where do you prospective customers hang out? Are they on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. Are they active online in terms of researching Google? What websites do they visit. What Facebook Pages do they like. Do they watch videos on YouTube. Where they hang out will help you uncover the best platform to reach them on.

How are you going to connect with your audience? Do you need to produce video, have photos taken, have copy written? Do you need graphic design? Creative and strategy are the two pillars that help create the assets you will need for the campaign. This is where you can decide how you can depart from the norm and truly engage with your ideal customer.

Execute – get the campaign rolling based on the campaign strategy.

Measure – monitor and analyse the data being rendered as a result of the campaign. Refine accordingly or allow to run it’s course.

With unprecedented access to social media, forums, deal sites, comparison sites and the like, consumers are becoming a great deal more aware of their options and in some cases, product and service prices, well before they buy.

They have become the more educated and discerning consumer, charged with enough information to know exactly what they want and how much they want to pay.

The more value you can provide as a brand, the better the chance of truly engaging with your potential customers.

Good luck on your journey through the digital universe.

^ Australia Post modelled statistics from parcel deliveries, consumer Overview surveys, online physical goods index (a sub-set of NORSI, from NAB and Quantium) and publicly available data.