In today’s world, we are surrounded; surrounded by advertising at every turn. We might think we know why it’s there, but we still don’t like it. Think of some of the brand logos that we see every day on our journey to work; McDonald’s, Esso, Starbucks, Ford. They are everywhere.
However, companies are now developing the ways they target potential customers. Billboards simply aren’t enough, companies are left unsure how effective the campaign is as they don’t know how many people have noticed the sign, and even how many people did anything about it. This all means that they have no idea if the campaign was money well spent. A further example is advertising your product in the local newspaper, the business with the advert don’t know how many readers looked at the content or if they even remember which brand advertised it. We are now developing ways to limit this push marketing – we have developed ad blockers and direct mail often ends up in the garbage without a second glance, we go to great lengths to avoid push marketing.
The clever marketing, however, is not on the billboards or the front pages of the national Press. The clever marketing goes almost unnoticed; this is known as pull marketing. This clever marketing sends us a message that works only for us and is targeted directly to what it is we’re thinking about. This sort of marketing occurs in the place where we are spending more and more of our waking hours; those little screens that we sit behind all day and carry in our pockets to read and be interacted with at every available moment. The clever marketers get to us through online marketing.
Push and pull marketing – what’s the difference?
The key difference between push and pull marketing is the way the customer is approached. In the online world, email marketing and direct mail are considered the most typical forms of push marketing; the customer is approached directly with messages and offers. This style of marketing can be very effective if the customer considers the offer valuable, however, customers can quickly get irritated if they are being targeted with messages that aren’t relevant to them.
The idea of pull marketing is to get the customer to come to you, the traditional forms of this were through word-of-mouth and mass-media promotions. Pull marketing encourages brand loyalty, making the customer want to re-use the suppliers goods / services. When pull marketing is done correctly, the customer comes to you for answers. The focus is on creating awareness and increasing the visibility of the brand, this can be done through creating engaging content on your website.
It is vital for any business to employ both push and pull marketing. Push marketing reaches out to customers who have never heard of your business, communicating with leads and reaching out to previous customers. Pull marketing is needed to attract those in the research or buying stage who are searching for your product or service and to give off the impression that your business is a leader in the industry.
For example, a prospective buyer of a dishwasher will be searching Google for the best dishwasher that their budget allows. The companies whose products appear in these results are effectively deploying pull marketing; they are meeting the customer while they are actively searching for a product.
Why is Online Marketing clever?
In the old days, creating advertisements and hanging them on street corners of the streets with the ‘right’ people living in them or sticking them to the bus stops, was as clever as it got. Targeting like this was developed in the 1950’s. Online marketing enables us to put our brand, our voice, our promise, in front of the very people who can then interact with us immediately.
Online marketing is the modern equivalent of ‘direct marketing’. That was (and still is to a certain extent) where companies approach individuals directly rather than as a group – sending them a letter and calling them by name after having established that they lived in the ‘right’ street – that sort of thing. But sending letters, like billboard advertising, is expensive. How do the clever marketers get in front of the right people for a fraction of the cost?
The beauty of online marketing is that it is measureable. Businesses are able to evaluate their marketing budget and calculate the cost of acquisition per customer. This enables them to assess how well the campaign is going and how they can improve. The customer acquisition cost can be calculated through dividing the marketing expenses by the number of customers acquired in the period the money was spent.
Online Marketing Rules
So you’ve done your research, and you have worked out who your target customers are, and you have developed the brand story for your product. There are now just a few things to master;
1. Get traffic to your site
2. Convert visitors to customers
It sounds rather simple except that number 1 might prove more difficult than you thought. There are a few methods of achieving this;
• Pay per click advertising
• Content Marketing
• Email marketing
• Affiliate marketing
• Social media
Pay per click (PPC)
PPC is still very relevant in online advertising because, like it or not, we still use the search engines to find things we’re interested in. If we’re late in the buying cycle, then we will click on adverts that appear when we search for them – the search engine puts us directly in touch with the company selling the product we want at the price we like.
While PPC isn’t like the old banner ads that seeped in everywhere (according to a PageFair report, 615 million of the devices we use, are using ad blockers; their use has increased by 30% in 2016 alone), it is still advertising. It also isn’t like the billboards which ‘sell’ to us.
If we’re early in the buying process, however, or if we haven’t even decided that we want to buy the product, then we’re not going to click on a PPC ad.
PPC marketers are continuously developing new ways to attract customers. One clever technique they employ is to catch the buyer at the last step before their purchase. For example, their strategy would be to insert keywords such as the brand name and the specific model number. Below you can see how Curry’s utilise this technique, when the user searches for that WTB841R2W dishwasher; theirs is the first online store visible.
As previously mentioned, the exact customer acquisition cost can be calculated. For example, a company could be running a Google AdWords campaign with a target keyword of ‘Beko wtb841r2w’, previous research will have told them that about 6,000 people per month are searching Google for these keywords with the intent of buying the product. Potentially, of the 6,000 people who search, 22% will click on the ad, which is 1,320 people who will end up on the landing page. Of the 1,320 visitors, 1.5% could be converted into customers, this results in 20 new customers for the months campaign. These figures mean it is possible to calculate the exact cost of each new customer. The average cost per click on the ad is $1.50, this is then multiplied by the number of visitors (1,320) = $1,980, and divided by the 20 new customers = $100. Which means that obtaining a customer cost $100.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Every aspiring business must employ Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Businesses that are serious about their marketing efforts employ professionals with the aim of getting their site towards the top of Google’s search results. SEO’s sole aim is to increase a sites visibility on Google without actually paying for it; these are known as organic results. This marketing strategy relies on creative and technical expertise in order to increase the sites awareness. SEO is widely regarded as a complex method to master; Google are continuously changing their criteria for what they regard as a high quality site. The importance of SEO is underlined by the fact that as few as 9% of people make it to page 2 when they are searching via Google.
If we accept that persistent ‘selling’ doesn’t work anymore because ad blockers cut them out, and, well people don’t like them, then Content Marketing will seem very clever. Brands and marketers who realise that their mission should be to teach, inspire and helps solve problems for their audiences, will put themselves in a far better position when it comes to the final ‘sell’. Gaining trust and acceptance as a brand that genuinely wants to help its customers is what Content marketing is all about.
When you’ve gained trust, then your authority is established. Everything else will follow. Converting loyal followers into leads and sales will happen easily, and all because we have ‘given’ value to potential customers.
The Content Marketing Institute defined content marketing as; “A 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.”
If done properly, email marketing is a very powerful tool. In days gone by, a brand would buy a list of potential prospects and keep emailing them forever. The opt-ins were generally third-party opt-ins which, thankfully will hold no water with the new GDPR arrangements. These days should be over.
If you have a database of customers and properly opted-in prospects, and you have properly segmented the database, then the next step is to design a true one-to-one strategy for contacting them. The cleverer you are at directing your messages, the better response you will get. Happy birthday messages do work – as do transactional dates; ‘It’s been six months since your last service’. An email is a powerful tool that should be used properly.
There are some great examples of good email marketing use – sign up with any of the following to see how they work; Dropbox, Buzzfeed, Uber.
This is a technique that is almost as old as the internet itself. In simplistic terms, you are only paying for results. There is no pay per click or per thousand impressions; no expensive email software set-up or SEO company to pay before you’ve even started. Affiliate marketing has proved particularly successful in the online casino industry. The way it works is quite simple, online casinos appear on affiliate sites, these sites provide a review of different casinos and the bonuses that they currently have on offer. The owner of the site earns money through receiving commission for each new customer who clicks through to a site and makes an initial deposit.
The excellent 888casino online have developed a programme which attracts many successful affiliates, the affiliates aim is to encourage visitors to their website to visit the online casino and play some of their games. The more players they successfully encourage to sign up and deposit, the more money they make. Affiliate marketing works best for online casinos when the link to their site is on trustworthy websites with a steady stream of visitors. It is rare for a company to rely on affiliate marketing to perform all of the sales function, but it is a useful revenue stream that works alongside and promotes your marketing mix.
Online marketing changes very quickly and waits for no one. The changes in the Google algorithms a few years ago caught companies out in the past who didn’t pay enough attention to staying within the rules and spreading the risk. To be a successful online marketer you need to read the changes and know what is going on. Advertising isn’t dead, but it’s very close. The secret is clever marketing. The secret is talking to everyone like they are an individual.
Let me know if you liked this article, best of luck… and keep being awesome.