Innovative Digital Marketing Tools

Innovative Digital Marketing Tools Your Company Should Try


21st century marketing professionals know that the best way to reach their audiences is to go online. While it’s still important to maintain a diverse media mix of traditional broadcast, print, and radio, digital is the cornerstone of most modern advertising campaigns. The ability to pinpoint specific audiences and serve them specific ad sets based on their age, location, income level, or interests is a revolutionary feature that would have made past generations of marketers salivate. Combine that with the fact that nearly everyone carries an advertising delivery device with them all the time (their smartphone) and you have a goldmine of potential customers at your disposal.

All that said, “digital marketing” is a very broad term. It combines advertising on websites, social media platforms, apps, games, email blasts, blogs, vlogs, and more. It’s also constantly evolving with innovations making more and more opportunities for new messaging. That’s great, but someone has to create and schedule all these ads, right? Also, each platform should have its content optimized for its unique users, right? It doesn’t take long for this to feel overwhelming to marketers who are new to digital, or even those who are well-versed in it.

The trick is to evaluate your options, determine how much output your marketing team (or person) can handle, and decide which channels are the right fit for you, first focusing on two or three, leaving room to expand if you’ve mastered them. The first step is being familiar with what’s available. Here are some of the hottest digital marketing tools you can take advantage of!

Retargeting Ads

Let’s say you’re interested in investing in a solar power system for your home. You type in a few searches, visit a few websites, and click on a few products. Now, let’s say a few days later that you’re playing your favorite smartphone game, and a banner ad for one of the products you checked out appears in the ad space at the top or bottom of your screen. Congratulations! You’ve been retargeted.

Retargeting is an incredibly powerful marketing tool because it allows the advertiser to “follow” their customer after they’ve left their site, utilizing cookies to retain some of their search information. By serving retargeting ads, brands get another chance to get to the top of their prospect’s mind, and may get another look, or even sale from deploying them.

Geofencing

Geofencing is another great tool. Like retargeting, it utilizes the banner space on apps, games, and mobile sites. The difference is, it serves ads based not on what you’ve searched for, but where you are.

Let’s say you are walking through a downtown area, and you match the desired target demo of an upscale sushi restaurant that uses geofencing ads. Once you cross a certain threshold, be it a half mile or a few blocks, those ads are pushed into the inventory on apps you may be using as you walk by, asking you to come in, providing a clickable map or menu. This doesn’t just work for restaurants. Stores that want to promote specific brands or lines they carry may want to market them through geofencing, to let their target customers know they are available nearby.

Boosted or Paid Social

It may seem hard to believe now, but not so long ago, social media was a niche distraction: A fun way to connect with a handful of friends, maybe play some games, upload simple pictures, things like that. As it grew in popularity, of course, it grew in scale, eventually developing a revenue stream. This was done not by charging or selling to their users, but by creating a whole new advertising medium, which would soon become the dominant priority for the channels (and, perhaps, the dominant advertising platform of the 21st century.)

Global brands have comprehensive, multi-platform social media advertising strategies, but the same social tools are available to businesses of almost any size with nearly any sized budget. On Facebook, specifically, boosted posts allow you to set a budget and amplify a post for a pre-determined amount of time to a certain number of users in a certain geographic area. This is scalable and works great to advertise events of get the word out about something else that is time sensitive.

For advertisers with bigger budgets who want to take advantage of the full power of social advertising, it’s easily done by setting up an account with a minimum investment level and a business credit card. The considerably more dynamic features of paid social ads include more demographic variables, greater reach and frequency, and impressive back-end analytics. For optimal results, create a mobile-first video ad with captions that will work for people viewing it on a smartphone with their audio off.

PPC Ads

PPC, or “pay-per-click” ads allow businesses to gain a competitive advantage in search engine rankings. While you should always strive to keep your web content fresh, allowing you to organically achieve high search rankings, this is difficult to maintain, and some aspects are out of your control entirely. PPC ads, however, will appear at the top of search engine pages with an “ad” designation next to them. When you purchase ads, as the name would suggest, you pay a certain dollar amount each time the ad is clicked through. Which searches your ad is served with depends upon the keywords you choose to associate with it. In other words, if you sell discount sneakers, you may choose keywords like “shoes,” “discount” “cheap,” or “low-price.”

Equally as useful in PPC ads are “negative keywords.” These designate search terms you do not want your ad associated with. Using the discount sneaker example, you might choose negative keywords like “designer,” or “luxury.”  This will help funnel the correct searchers to your site. Like social, PPC also provides exhaustive analytics that can help you see your campaign’s results, and plan for your next one.

Digital marketing is ever-changing and omnipresent. Don’t let that intimidate you. Gather with your company’s decision makers, evaluate these options, choose the best options for you, and start advertising!