Whether you're part of the marketing industry, the business world, or are strictly a consumer, you've experienced the power of advertising's technological evolution. With all due respect to Don Draper, we're no longer operating in Mad Men's Golden Age of Advertising. The advertising game has changed so much that it’s barely recognizable today. But Golden Age or not, this is a fascinating time to be involved with digital advertising.
For businesses, it's never been easier to advertise to clients. Why? It comes down to how much you know about the people you want to reach. And these days, there's an unprecedented amount of client data available to whoever wants it--you just have to know what you're looking for and where to find it.
It's hard to imagine, but our reality is becoming increasingly similar to the fictional worlds depicted in films like Minority Report and Her, where advertising is hyper-personalized and every aspect of a person's life is digitally integrated. We're not there yet, but we're closer than most people realize.
To provide a deeper analysis of this topic, I asked Dan Monaghan, bestselling author and co-founder of WSI, to share his valuable insights. Using our society's advancements in technology as a backdrop, here's his advice for how you and your business can tap into the six secrets of effectively advertising to your clients:
No. 1: Understand Their Intent
Unless you've sworn off technology, you likely use Google (or another search engine) every day. And each time you search the internet, you're providing data on your intent. Whether it's buying a baseball glove, searching for the perfect vacation destination, or studying a new skill, you're telling the engine exactly what you're doing. Search engines then use this data to sell keywords to pay-per-click (PPC) advertisers, and rank organic Web pages accordingly.
As an advertiser, start learning as much as you can about what your potential clients are searching for with software like Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, and Webmaster Tools. You won't be able to access all the data search engines have, but it's more than enough to understand the intent of your clients. Once you know their intent, you can target messages to them using pay-per-click advertising through search engines such as Google and Bing.
No. 2: Learn Who They Are
In the same way your clients give away their intent, they also freely offer details about who they are. We all do. Every time we post pictures on Facebook, we're not only telling thousands of people about our lives, we're providing personal details directly to advertising companies. Because that's what social platforms and search engines really are--we use and enjoy the functional part without consciously considering what's happening to our data under the surface. If you know your prospects' interests or demographic profile (age, education, gender, etc.) targeted advertising on Facebook could be your advertising tool of choice.
No. 3: Discover What They Do
I use LinkedIn. You use LinkedIn. Grandparents use LinkedIn! Everybody who has or has ever had a job uses LinkedIn, which makes it the biggest Rolodex in the world. Whether you're in the B2B or B2C market, you need to be aware of what your potential clients do and use it to your advantage. If you know the company your prospects work for or their job title or industry, LinkedIn advertising can help you target your ads with a laser focus to this audience.
No. 4: Find Out Where They Are
This is where futuristic movies have started melding with the reality of today's world. In fact, you can think of the Apple or Samsung device in your pocket as a mobile tracking device that also makes phone calls. Mobile devices and the apps installed on them are feeding a steady stream of geolocational user data into the grid. This data can be used by businesses if they know where their prospects are. A personal injury law firm could target people who visit a hospital (a patient or visitor). A Lexus dealer could deliver mobile ads to people visiting a Mercedes dealership. A politician could target individuals attending a competitor's rally. If you know where your prospects are, using geo-targeted ads can give you a powerful advantage.
No. 5: Search for What They Say
I'd say it's difficult to fathom a world where it's possible to target people based on the real-time conversations they're having, but we live in that world. You have the ability to listen to the social conversations your potential clients are having and pick out words or phrases that qualify them as ready to make a purchase. A national pizza chain recently ran a campaign that targeted tweets with the words "hungry" or "starved," and the results were staggering. By pushing out mobile coupons to the individuals involved in these cyber conversations, they acquired new sales at less than 80 cents each. Success like this is possible for your business if you can envision the kinds of conversations your prospects might be having.
No. 6: Look Where They've Surfed
You know the ads that follow you around the internet, trying to convince you to buy the new product you were researching last week? Those are retargeting and remarketing ads aimed at keeping a product or service at the top of your mind, and they're effective and cost-efficient. If you can find where your potential clients hang out online, then you can run ROI-friendly retargeting and remarketing campaigns that will bring them back to your website and drive more sales.
You've heard the phrase before, but "knowledge is power" rings truer than ever in the digital world. There's a whole ocean of publicly available data, but since such a small percentage of businesses are taking advantage of it, it's providing immense power to those who wield it for advertising to their clients.
Now it’s your turn. What are the most effective ways you’ve advertised to clients? Have the above methods worked for your business? Tell me in the comments section below.