An Introduction to Digital Marketing

An Introduction to Digital Marketing

AdvertisingDigital AdvertisingMarketing

Digital marketing and advertising can be confusing and frustrating for those without any experience. From programmatic ads to PPC search terms to running a blog, new eCommerce merchants can easily get overwhelmed by all the options. Failing to advertise your business correctly could lead to lackluster sales and end a business before it really gets started. Understanding the basics can help you plan an effective advertising strategy to boost your revenue and get your business started with a bang.

Invest in Keywords

Standing out online is incredibly difficult. With so much competition and useless information vying for attention, it is necessary to make it easy for your customers to find you. But how?

Know What SEM Is

Basically, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. For example, you bid on a keyword. When someone searches for that term, you appear at the top of the results page if you won the bid. Unfortunately, SEM is constantly in motion, making it difficult to stay on top of bids. Plus, the most desirable keywords can be extremely expensive. Even worse, every search engine has their own bidding process. Note that SEM is not the same as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which seeks to create content that will organically create better rankings on search result pages.

Dos and Don’ts

SEM is an extremely time-consuming process and is constantly changing. If you can’t afford a dedicated marketing employee that has experience with SEM, it may even seem like a waste of time. Remember, however, that customers need to be able to find you and getting buried on page 10 of the search results may kill your business. Instead of skipping SEM entirely, figure out what keywords you can afford that are necessary. Come up with a plan to allocate your funds in a way that provides a good ROI.

Optimize for Your Customers

Consider your target audience. For example, if you know that your audience is tech-savvy, you’ll want to invest in the newest ways for people to find you. This could include voice search or connected device integrations. Think about the best way to connect with your customers and make a list of how you can reach them. Your short-term focus should be on goals that can be implemented easily and are within your budget. Keep the other goals handy for long-term planning.

Do Display and Video Well

Display and video ads are also necessary tools for all eCommerce businesses; however, buying them can be extremely confusing, and results are often not ideal.

Programmatic vs Traditional Advertising

Back in the dark ages (aka about 20 years ago), companies purchased advertising space directly from publishers. Advertisers knew well in advance when their ads would run and had a general idea of the audience that would be viewing it. While some companies do buy digital advertising space directly from certain websites, programmatic advertising is far more common.

Smart Insights defines programmatic advertising as “automated bidding on advertising inventory in real time, for the opportunity to show an ad to a specific customer, in a specific context.” This process can be very confusing and lacks transparency. It also means a company has less control over where their ads are eventually placed. There is also a lot of opportunity for fraud.

Be Aware of Ad Fraud

Ad fraud is a multibillion-dollar problem that continues to grow despite growing calls to address the problem from advertisers and politicians. Purchasing advertising can seem like a daunting and pointless task with fraud so prevalent in the industry. However, there are ways to fight bot traffic and ensure that your campaigns perform well.

Monitor and Optimize Your Campaigns

If you run your own advertising campaigns, make sure you know what your own success metrics are. This could be conversions, revenue generated, sessions generated, or something else. Check your campaigns often and don’t be afraid to change or kill campaigns that are underperforming. Tools like NS8 Protect™ offer insight into the type of traffic that campaigns are generating as well as how different campaigns stack up on common performance indicators.

If you use an agency or another company to handle your digital advertising, remember to ask them about how they handle ad fraud. Push for information on why campaigns are underperforming. Get reports on where your advertisements are being displayed more often and the type of traffic on these sites. The more active you are in asking for transparency, the more likely you are to avoid wasting money on fraud.

Create Quality Content

With so much competition out there, customers can afford to be picky about where they spend their time and money. Providing relevant, quality information increases trust and loyalty for customers.

Have Great Product Descriptions

This may seem obvious, but too many online companies fail to create informative and helpful product descriptions. This is a mistake. Product descriptions do more than explain what a product is. They also help with SEO, increase conversions, and give companies a competitive advantage over other sellers.

Some quick tips:

  • Include clear, high-quality pictures.
  • Provide information you might want to know about a product if you were going to purchase it.
  • Go beyond just the specifications and general manufacturer’s information – but don’t forget to include those.
  • Note anything that might be different or unique about your listing (exclusive colors, wider size range, etc.).

Provide Content Customers Need

Some companies write blogs, such as Zappos. Other companies provide buying guides, like eBay. Still other focus on social media and provide lifestyle tips or other useful information. There is no set way to provide content. The key is to provide content that is relevant to your audience in a form that they will actually use. If you know that your customers shop mostly from their cell phones, you’ll want content that is easy to digest on a mobile device. If your products appeal to a business crowd, you might want longer form content that provides more in-depth explanations optimized for a desktop or tablet landscape view.

If you don’t have the time or money to invest in creating content, consider what small pieces might be most helpful to your particular audience. This could include FAQs, sizing guides, nutrition or allergy information, or even guides for use.

Plan Out Your Strategy

As with anything else, starting with an informed strategy and working toward well-defined goals will help keep your company moving on the right track.

Know Your Budget and Timeline

Budget is an essential consideration for digital advertising. Some forms are simply too pricey for newer businesses to attempt. Think about how much you are willing to spend both overall and on individual marketing initiatives. Set clear goals for when you want to see a real return on investment and how you plan to measure that. By spending the time on details now, you can avoid confusion and problems that often occur when people have different metrics for success.

Try and Try Again

No one gets it exactly right the first time out. Having a business is a constant game of trial and error. Advertising is the same. Sometimes it works, and other times you need to reconsider, adjust, and try again. Instead of getting frustrated, take note of what did work or why a particular campaign or content piece failed. Sometimes, a simple tweak to a keyword can make the difference between a rush of new customers and no response.

Starting a new eCommerce storefront can be a challenge, but advertising it correctly is a big part of being successful. Spending time and money on your strategy at the start can help you effectively build an active customer base. By setting up your campaigns correctly and monitoring them as you go, you can spend more time focusing on operations and making sure everything runs smoothly. That will keep your customers happy… and coming back for more.

Post Author: Jackie Long

Jackie Long

Blog Manager at NS8. With a varied background and over 5 years of content creation experience, Jackie works hard to provide a compelling range of informative articles.