Find the Perfect Blend of Advertising Strategies
Digital marketing gets more complicated each year. With more channels, stronger competitors and increasingly fickle customers, figuring out where to push your products and how to allocate your budget can seem like a guessing game. Experimentation ends up being vital to your business’s success. The key is establishing a digital marketing infrastructure that gives you the ability to experiment with different mixes of channels and allows you to make informed decisions about where to allocate your next digital advertising dollar. To generate traffic to your website and build brand awareness, a digital marketing strategy is essential. A well-honed strategy should help guide your decisions on budget, reach, and goals for your business.
We’ll walk you through the five stages of building the foundation of your digital marketing strategy:
Before You Start: Embrace Diversification
Digital marketing is a broad umbrella that encompasses so much more than it used to. Text ads, product ads, comparison shopping engines (CSEs), organic/natural search, social media, retargeting networks, affiliates and display ads are just the broad strokes. You’ll need a healthy mix of all these digital marketing channels if you want to stay relevant. Like any financial advisor will tell you, when it comes to your future, it pays to diversify.
Digital marketing is driven by consumers. You’re constantly searching for them, and their behavior – influenced by new technology, devices, and other trends – is constantly evolving. You don’t want to be left scratching your head when, say, all the revenue from your paid search text ads suddenly dries up because the demographic for your set of products has moved to a social media site like Pinterest to shop. It’s the same reason you wouldn't want your entire product catalog on a single marketplace – you don’t want to lose your primary revenue stream if something changes.
Luckily, most retailers already understand the importance of multichannel e-commerce. What’s harder is figuring out how to best allocate advertising budgets among different channels. The first step in maximizing your digital dollar starts with setting goals for your marketing campaigns and your business.
Set Your Goals
It sounds simple, but your digital marketing strategies are directly determined by your business goals – financial goals and brand goals. Sure, everyone wants to sell more products and make more money. But that’s too broad. And too unfocused. While one primary goal might be to drive sales, you should also have supplementary goals that contribute to it.
For example, your goals – in order of importance – could be to:
Chances are, you want all of these things, but you don’t have unlimited resources to focus on everything at all times.
Set goals that are easy to measure and goals that reflect the short- and long-term strategy of your business. You have a roadmap to digital marketing success, and these goals serve as guideposts or benchmarks. And as you study your conversion metrics along the way, you can update or tweak your goals to help get you where you want to go.
Make sure all your goals are specific and each one is customized to an individual channel. For example, maybe you want “a stronger social media presence.” While accurate, this goal is vague and not useful. It should be much more clear-cut and quantifiable, such as: “Add X new followers on Twitter this quarter.”
Be time conscious.
Give yourself a timeline to reach each of your goals. That doesn't mean you can’t adjust your strategy as you go because you should. Establishing deadlines simply sets expectations and gives a framework to your strategy.
Creating a clear set of realistic, specific goals for each digital channel in a set time frame is an important initial step. But these goals are merely dreams unless you have a way of measuring and learning from them.
Measure Your Goals
There are several common metrics you can use to determine the success of your digital marketing strategies and whether they’re helping you achieve your goals. These key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you flesh out, analyze and revise your strategies.
Return on ad spend (ROAS)
ROAS is a common method retailers use to measure advertising effectiveness. The simple ROAS formula tells you how much revenue return you’re getting in multiples of ad dollars spent:
Effective revenue share (ERS)
ERS is a similar measurement as ROAS, using the same numbers – ad spend and revenue – but dividing them inversely. This metric converts them to a percentage that’s more in line with how you might measure affiliate commission rates or marketplace take rates:
Cost per order (CPO)
CPO (also known as cost per acquisition or CPA) is best used when the value of each conversion is similar or identical. For instance, if you’re measuring conversions for a user completing a form on your website, then each conversion would have the same value.
Just as you should have separate budgets for separate digital channels - and specific goals for each channel - you should use separate metrics for each one as well. Each channel represents a different type of consumer demand – or “demand state” – and your KPIs will vary as a result.
Determine Where to Advertise
You've embraced a diversified approach, set your goals and decided on your metrics. Now where do you sell? To determine your channels effectively, you need to put yourself in the mindset of the consumer. You spend so much time thinking about the specifics of the channel – program terms, tactics, sales numbers – but how much time do you spend thinking about how buyers interact with that channel? From their side of the computer screen, tablet or phone?
Consumers are obviously not all the same, and their demand state reflects how you should target them. Sometimes they’re actively searching for products like yours, and you need to target them while they’re interested. But most times, those consumers aren't spending their online time actively shopping for products. During these times, you’ll need to target them differently and entice them back into the shopping process. It’s the difference between intentional demand and latent demand that helps determine your channel mix.
Intentional demand channels are used to meet the consumer who is explicitly searching for a product. Latent demand channels reach consumers who have shown some previous interest in a product or type of product but aren’t actively searching at the moment. You can think of these categories as the difference between a consumer who’s “in the market” for a product and one who’s actually in the store shopping for it. Fortunately, ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing has plenty of features that can help you reach consumers, wherever they are in the shopping process.
With ChannelAdvisor’s streamlined, feed-based technology, it’s easy to adapt your channel mix to focus on any of these channels. Now you can send your product data feed virtually anywhere. Latent demand or intentional demand: It doesn't matter. Wherever the customer is, your products can be there.
Find the Right Mix for Your Success
Channel mix varies for each business, and you need the capability to do it all with minimal effort. ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing provides the agility you need to execute and measure your digital marketing strategies. We provide the tools, the data and the options for you to keep experimenting with your channel mix until you find what works best for you, your business and your vertical. All you provide is the inventory data feed.
ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing is specifically tailored for retailers, offering in-depth automation, mobile optimization, channel synchronization and SKU-level reporting and analysis. Whether it’s through Google PLAs, comparison shopping engines, paid search, affiliate marketing, retargeting or other digital marketing channels, we’ll help you find the right combination for your products from a single platform.