Web Hosting Blog
Many people believe digital marketing is different to traditional offline marketing, but the same standard principles apply, just in different ways. Knowing your audience and identifying the right platforms and methods to reach that audience is just as important online as offline.
Scattershot marketing is designed to reach everyone, without really focusing on any specific target audience or their needs. We wouldn’t use scattershot marketing offline, and it is certainly unwise to employ such methods online where it is often much easier to target your audience.
The danger with scattershot marketing is that you fail to reach any of your targeted audience, and alienate everyone who might have been interested by being too generic and watery for those who actually need your services.
Knowing your audience or target market is vital for both online and offline marketing. It might be quicker and cheaper to aim for ‘everyone’ online than doing the same via offline marketing channels, but that doesn’t make it right.
With traditional snail mail through the post, you can address your marketing to specific people, and know it will reach them (even if they don’t read it). Digital marketing requires a slightly different approach. The challenge is finding those same people online (and of course still getting them to read and react) as their suitability for targeting might not be immediately obvious. There are digital channels for replicating the postal service, such as WhatsApp or Messenger paid advertising, but that is considered an invasion of privacy by many – those channels are still the preserve of private conversations and by intruding with paid advertising or marketing messages, you risk alienating everyone if you are not very careful with your targeting.
Let’s take the example of a hotel wishing to reach travel planners or travel agents online. If you look at advertising through social media platforms, your travel agents are probably all there, but not all of them will identify their profession in their profile or posts. Focusing on Location of your audience is too broad, as they could be anywhere in the world. So, you need to look for other ways of identifying your audience – perhaps they are frequent travellers themselves; look for relevant Facebook groups relating to the travel industry, and target those members; use broader keywords such as ‘travel’ rather than ‘travel agent’ in your targeting; in other words, be a little more creative in your search for the right audience.
Retargeting is a great way to keep your website in front of those who have already visited it, so marketing to those who already know you. Retargeting works by using a piece of code embedded on your website (a cookie) to ensure that whenever someone who has previously visited your website sees your marketing whenever they are online. Your ad appears on whatever websites they visit, effectively following them around the internet, reminding them of your product or service.
Consider placing ads on different websites – websites that are complement your business, so if you are still targeting travel agents, for example, maybe you want to look at digital advertising in travel industry newsletters, on travel-related sites, places that a travel agent might visit, in the course of their daily work.
Of course, one of the most effective ways of marketing online is through e-newsletters. This requires building a database of potential targets by encouraging them to sign up to your newsletter when they visit your website, and keeping their interest in receiving newsletters through interesting content rather than simply sales-related messaging. This might take some time, but if your target audience is actively engaged, and opens your newsletters, clicks on links back to your website and so on, you know that you have the right audience, and are serving the right content and messaging to them.
Monitor, Review, Rework
Monitoring reaction to your marketing and advertising online is key to successful audience targeting, and much more easily and quickly achieved than offline reviews. Content of digital advertising can be changed quickly, without cumbersome artwork changes; where you deliver your digital marketing can be adjusted quickly and easily whenever necessary and so on. The process should be ongoing, and not simply an idea, a design, and off you go and let it run. Constant review and revision is both possible and necessary, and then you will really know that the audience you are reaching is engaged and receptive.