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Growth Hacking

Stop Paying For Traditional Advertising

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traditional advertising

Everyday I come across companies that are spending tons of money on advertising that is yielding them subpar results. This then makes them believe that advertising does not work. What’s the problem with their strategy? They are using traditional advertising in places where their consumers’ attention is not.

The shift towards digital consumption has significantly grown over the last few years, where most things can now be done on the Internet. Most of our social interactions and the way we consume content is largely taking place through mobile devices as a result of convenience and flexibility. The answer to many of our problems can now be resolved at the touch of a button. Catching up with friends, shopping, binge-watching a TV series, reading the news, or learning a new skill can all be done through mobile device and social apps. Companies that have not innovated themselves to a digital platform are being eliminated by those that have. Of course, not everyone has adopted these mediums as their go-to, some people still rather get their news from a newspaper, or catch up with an old friend at a coffee shop.

However, it is evident that our attention is leaving traditional mediums and continues to shift to the new digital space. So my question to you: if we are spending so much of our time in this digital space, why are we still trying to build businesses and sell products in the old traditional world? Why are big corporations spending their large marketing budgets on expensive traditional advertising when they can be spending a fraction of the price to advertise where our attention is? Not only does the digital world have our attention, but it is cheaper to advertise on, you can directly target your audience, and we receive insightful data that cannot be obtained through traditional forms of advertising. I will really be focusing on Facebook Ads because that is where you can currently find good value right now.

ATTENTION

When it comes down to it, marketing and advertising is about communicating a message to your target audience in the most effective and efficient way possible. It’s all about finding where your consumers are spending most of their time and figuring out how to position yourself in that space.

Billboards are meant to grab the attention of the bored passenger who is staring aimlessly out of the car window and to get glances from the driver. However, this was created when our attention was in the traditional world and before this digital space existed. Today, we have mobile devices that connect us directly to the digital world whenever and wherever. We are no longer bored staring out of car windows, we are on our phones.

Even TV commercials have become less effective than they used to be due to the digital world. We have the ability to stream shows and movies online with no commercial breaks, or we can record television programs that we are interested in seeing to watch at a later time. Much like the billboard, TV commercials were designed when this digital space was non-existent and the only way to ‘skip’ through advertising was by changing the channel. We are no longer consuming television in the traditional scheduled way. Instead of having to pay attention to that commercial we can skip through it (if it’s recorded), we can change the channel, or we can turn to our devices to distract us.

It has become so easy for individuals to be absorbed by their mobile devices whether at home or on-the-go. While this distracts many from traditional advertising, it opens up a whole other realm that holds strong potential when one’s attention is primarily shifted to the digital space. Not only does it allow for a sense of immediate connection, such as real-time conversations on social media during a live award show or sports game, but it is a space that holds opportunity for companies to target users at the right moment.

TARGETING

Digital takes targeting the right audience to an extreme. Unlike traditional methods of print and TV advertising, Facebook, for example, gives companies the upper hand in narrowing down where advertisements will be seen. You have the option to define your audience through key demographics like age and location, or through interests, likes, and/or groups they are part of. With Facebook Ads, you have the ability to showcase your ads to valuable consumers, target those who are interested in your competitors, and even those that work at Company X. This is killer for B2B! If you have a B2B company and know exactly which companies would benefit from your product/service, you have the option to run ads against the employees of that company. There is even the advantage of having creatives positioned differently for Company A and Company B, a strategy that can be worthwhile if done correctly.

One trick that I like to do is that if I know I am going into a meeting with said company, I will run ads against them so that they will become aware of our company and what we provide for our clients. By doing this, I am attempting to sell my services before I step into that meeting and I hope they walk into it already knowing they want to work with me.

PRICING

If you are paying for traditional advertising, you are most likely OVERSPENDING. While these forms of advertising are losing consumer attention, the prices do not reflect that. Digital is a great place to advertise because there does not necessarily have to be an excessive amount of overhead costs like with print and billboards that will cost you material and labour.

One number that I find absolutely insane and a great way to gauge ad value is through CPM (cost per thousand impressions). To advertise on TV you will find yourself paying approximately $25-$30 CPM, while a good chance of that can be saved with Facebook Ads ($5-$10 CPM).

For about one-third of the price, the same audience size can be reached with a more targeted approach. It is important to take advantage of these low costs on Facebook while they last and have your advertising budget used to the best of its potential.

CONVERSIONS + ANALYTICS

Traditional advertising is measured through audience measurement systems and is not as in-depth as digital advertising. Traditional efforts focus on brand awareness with a possible call-to-action, while digital ads have the ability to make better conversions due to convenience. With the click of a button you can send consumers to a product on your website or to sign up for an upcoming event. This allows consumers to remain connected with your company almost instantly.

The insights provided by Facebook Ads allows for user interactions towards advertisements to be tracked (based on the specific CTA being measured, e.g. downloads, signups, purchases). While traditional methods provide you with statistics on average viewership of particular content, Facebook Ads only charge you for what you receive. If your ad is viewed 1,000,000 times, you pay for 1,000,000 impressions, whereas on traditional if a magazine on average sells 100,000 magazines, you pay for that even when this issue only sells 39,000 copies. The same goes with analytics retrieved from video ads. Video analytics provide you with concrete and valuable data that can show where your viewers drop off (such as in the first 3 seconds), giving you the opportunity to address the problem at hand. You have the ability to test your ads for relatively cheap and can identify what needs to be fixed. Don’t blow your budget on something that may not produce quantifiable results.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Advertising campaigns done through social media connects the audience to a brand’s page. You not only get to capture attention from your target audience, but, if done properly, this will turn them into loyal followers. It’s harder for traditional methods to directly and easily convert consumers into followers and retain that same audience in the long run. By using digital, advertising to a target audience is more than getting your company’s name or product at the surface. The next step relies on the company’s responsibility to provide valuable and informational content on their socials to keep their followers interested and establish a meaningful connection.

Having a strong social media presence alongside digital ads gives your company a more reputable presence. Customers or potential customers choose to follow you on your socials where it is not forced or expected. Instead, these customers see the value in your brand/company and make the decision to reach out to you (even if that reaching out is a simple like, share, or comment). This kind of engagement is crucial in building sentiment surrounding your brand in the digital world.
Don’t get comfortable doing things simply because they worked in the past or because they are considered safe. I want you to be able to recognize overpricing and attention shifts so that you will be able to identify the next best place to advertise and not get stuck in the “old ways”. One day, our attention will start to shift away from digital and I’m sure there will still be people paying to advertise there. Always look to the future and play the long game.

Growth Hacking

How To Leverage Social Media As A Word Of Mouth Tool

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word of mouth

Thousands of small business owners still rely on the power of “word of mouth” or the idea that their satisfied customers will drive new potential customers to them through telling people they know. They have no interest in the new techniques of modern marketing, specifically social media, because they’ve always relied on word of mouth.

They’re making a huge mistake, because social media isn’t just a place where you can see your weird uncle rant about politics, or what your high school buddies are up to now. Social media is the modern word of mouth. In the past, if a customer loved your service they may tell 2-3 people max, but now all it takes is one Facebook post and they are telling everyone on their friends list. Considering the average user has 338 Facebook friends, just one recommendation can prove to be very valuable for any type of small business.

Leveraging social platforms for word of mouth begins with the same process as stirring up regular word of mouth referrals: with great service/product that gives customers a reason to talk about it. Everyday people don’t wish to be a sales person to their friends unless your product or service elicits one of two responses: Love or Hate. No one tells others about a product thats “meh” or a service that “got the job done”. They tell of the horror stories that came with the worst lawn care company ever or how the local coffee shop has the best espresso they’ve ever tasted. Understand word of mouth goes both ways, so if you regularly disappoint and receive tons of complaints don’t be surprised when people are talking, but not in a good way.

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Growth Hacking

Public Relations Lessons To Learn From

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public relations

When you’re new and inexperienced, the public relations world can be strange and exciting at the same time. Even if you went to school or took the appropriate courses, nothing can prepare you for the real-life experience because there are some things that cannot be taught in school. There are lessons in the PR world that is best learned from experience, trial and error and by learning from other people’s mistakes. Here are examples of PR lessons that you can learn from.

Work With Influencers

There are many novices who do not consider working with influencers when they are working on or launching a PR campaign. They undervalue influencers because it is seldom taught in school. Partnering with an influencer is a great PR campaign because they already have networks in place that you can leverage to make your campaign succeed. Nowadays people are connected not only through work but through the internet and social media too. It is normal to “follow” or be “friends” with somebody on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and influencers have their own circle of followers and friends in these platforms. Working with influencers is a great way to spread your message quickly and make your campaign succeed.

Cultivate Media Relationships

People in the media have access to a bigger audience. When you’re working in PR it is all about getting the word out and reaching the maximum number of audiences. Don’t be shy with reporters. Get to know them and build relationships so that you can call upon them when needed. Aside from reporters, you also need to cultivate a relationship with your online audience. To do this, you need to be accessible to them through social media and blogs. Respond to their queries and engage them in conversation.

Create Newsworthy Content

When you’re in school, it is easy to imagine that your clients will have newsworthy content and you will have unlimited media coverage because of it. But when you’re in the real world, this is not always the case. When you’re a PR executive, it is your job to come up with newsworthy content by capitalizing on relevant events and to find ways to position your clients so that they can engage the media. Whether it is a holiday trend or current events, it is always important to stay abreast of what’s trending to get press for your clients.

Rejection Is Not Personal

Don’t take rejection personally. Just because you think that something is newsworthy or amazing does not automatically mean that other people deem it so. In school, most students do not need to access the media to garner attention for their assignments. This is why most of them do not have first experience when their stories get rejected. Don’t take it personally. Just because the reporter is not interested in your story does not mean to say that your story next week will also get rejected.

Timing Matters

When somebody tells a joke, the narrator has to time it perfectly for maximum effect. The same applies with public relations. It is easy to get impatient because you might think that it is best to strike immediately. However, it also pays to watch and be patient. Don’t send newsletters and pitches when no one is likely to read them. Learn the right time to update your clients or company’s social media pages, the best time to send email newsletters or when your blog posts go live. Knowing the right timing to update can help maximize viewership and impact.

Re-Use Content

Many of us who frequent the internet know that fresh is always best. However, in the world of public relations, it is alright to re-use content and repeat your message. There is a difference between sounding like a broken record and repetition. You want to repeat your message because some consumers won’t remember your message the first time. Repeat the message and reuse content by referencing past blog posts, sharing old posts in your newsletter or sharing old content as #throwbackthursday.

There are many public relations lessons that you don’t learn in school. In PR you need to learn to exploit situations to your advantage. If you’re new to PR have to be brave and try things that are new to you or get ready to learn as you go along.

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Business

7 Known Brands that Bootstrapped to Success

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Today’s entrepreneurs have a misconception that in order to succeed, you need outside money, and you need others to validate and invest in your idea. Below are 5 major companies to prove that theory wrong. You’ll probably recognize these 5 successes below and you’ll be more impressed with the fact that they didn’t receive any funding to become successful.

1 – SPANX

Sarah Blakely started her $400M company with about $5000 in her bank. At the mere age of 27, the wild idea of her new to be found startup came while she was getting dressed for a party. At the time, she even researched and wrote the patent herself in order to save money on hiring an attorney. Fast forward to 2016, her company reportedly worth $400 million and she owns 100% of her company.

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