Digital advertising: A winning game plan

The digital advertising landscape is constantly evolving, which can be overwhelming for many local business owners and decision makers. Over the next few weeks, we are going to pull back the curtain and take a look at how you can build a winning game plan for your digital advertising.

Part 1: It starts with a strong foundation

At the center of any winning game plan is a strong foundation. Before a team can go out and win the Super Bowl, they must first master blocking and tackling. Before an author can pen a best-selling novel, he or she must first learn to read and write. This philosophy is also true when it comes to digital advertising, where the foundation is your website.

Make your first impression count

You only get one shot to make a first impression, especially when it comes to your website. Statistically, 97% of visitors will not convert during their first time on your site. 97%!! Knowing that, it is critical that your website 1) establishes instant credibility and 2) inspires that 97% of potential customers to return and convert.

Before investing more money to bring people to your site, make sure that you are actually proud of what they will find when they get there. Your website is your online storefront. It is often the first (and sometimes only) chance you have to convince someone why they should do business with you. Is your site easy for users to navigate and find the information they need? Are you highlighting positive customer reviews and industry recognition? Like it or not, their experience on your site will directly correlate to how they view your business. Make sure their experience is as enjoyable and beneficial as possible.

Go mobile

When you are out and about and realize that you need to get your oil changed or pick up a last minute gift, where is the first place you look for ideas? Like many folks, I know the first thing I am going to do is pull out my smart phone. Mobile device usage continues to rise, and it is vital that you have a mobile or responsive website optimized for the user experience on these devices.

This goes right back to making your first impression. If you do not have a mobile or responsive website, then you are cramming all the information formatted for a large desktop screen into much smaller phone and tablet screens. This creates a miserable user experience as they struggle to navigate your site and find what they are looking for.

Whether you are running a mobile advertising campaign or not, people are still going to rely on their mobile devices to gather information about your business. If someone’s only experience with your business happens to be a frustrating exercise in pinching and re-pinching a tiny screen, chances are they will quickly move on and never look back.

Have continuity

There are many different ways to drive people to your site (PPC, display ads, content, SEO, etc.), but they all share one thing in common – they drive people who are looking for something specific. In today’s attention-deficit society, it is imperative you deliver the information they are looking for quickly.

If people click on a PPC ad for a free health screening, their primary interest is not learning about the other 50 services you provide. They want to know more about that free health screening, and it’s your job to direct them to a specific landing page with details on how they can sign up.

On the other hand, if you are running a display campaign advertising a weekend BOGO sale on kids’ shoes, the vast majority of people who you serve those ads to are not going to click. However, if they are interested in the sale, many of them will look you up later on a search engine or type in your URL directly (we call this a view-through conversion) when they have a few free moments. When they do arrive on your site, they shouldn’t have to search all over to find more details on the sale; it should be front and center.

These examples are simple, but this type of continuity between your advertising and your website will improve user experience and ultimately capture more conversions.

Conclusion

Start with the foundation. A well designed website that has continuity to your advertising is critical to the success of any campaign. Put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customers. Experience what they experience when they come to your website looking for answers and ask yourself, “Am I helping or hurting my business?”

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