Digital marketing. What does that even mean these days? The idea has grown increasingly fragmented, and defining it — or putting it all under one umbrella — is tough. In this guest post, Jordan Nowlin, Social Media & Blog Manager of ChannelAdvisor, goes into how proper leverage of digital marketing puts retailers on the road to success.
Every year, more channels and even more verticals are thrown into the mix. As a marketer, it can be overwhelming. As a marketer in the retail industry — well, hats off to you if your feet are still on the ground. Most retailers understand the importance of multichannel eCommerce. The real challenge lies in how to allocate your advertising budget for all the various and diverse channels.
From the channel buffet, you’ve got paid search, display, comparison shopping, social and mobile, among others. Then you’ve got to determine where to advertise — Google, Bing, Yahoo, Pinterest, Shopzilla, Criteo? Next, pick an ad format. Will it be text ads, product listings, banners, video or remarketing? Oh, and don’t forget the keywords for each ad, as well as the amount you’re going to bid for each keyword! And that’s just the beginning. You have to continuously measure, analyze and adjust your ads and bids to weed out what’s working and what isn’t. Overwhelmed yet?
To help calm the chaos, focus on marketing approaches that will drive traffic back to your website. To determine which channels will funnel traffic effectively, you need to think like your consumers. It also helps to understand the difference between intentional demand and latent demand. You can think of these categories as the difference between a consumer who’s in the store actively shopping for a product (intentional demand) and one who’s “in the market” for a product (latent demand).
Intentional channels of demand meet the consumer who is explicitly searching for a product.
- Paid Search Ads appear on a search engine results page (SERP) and are based on bids that correspond to shoppers' search queries. These ads target consumers who are actively looking for something you’re selling. You can experiment with different keywords and phrases — from broad terms to highly targeted, “long tail” keywords.
- Product Ads include richer product information, such as an image and price, without bulky text. Product ads are an effective way to reach customers who have a clear idea of what they’re looking for and are actively searching for it.
- Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs) are the best places to reach consumers who are actively comparing product prices before making a purchase. Many CSEs also pay to have their listings show up on the SERP through text ads, which can provide a bonus slice of online real estate.
Latent channels of demand reach consumers who have shown some previous interest in a product or type of product but aren’t actively searching at the moment.
- Retargeting is a cookie-based tracking technology that anonymously follows you all over the web. A possible scenario: A consumer clicked through to your site, and you’re trying to regain their attention. You could use targeted ad copy such as “Come back!” or “You left something in your cart!” to point them in your direction.
- Display Ads are advertisements for your company on other websites. These can help keep your brand visible and alive in consumers’ minds while they’re between purchases.
- Affiliate Advertising targets consumers with interests related to what you sell. These consumers like to browse and might just need a gentle nudge to step back into the shopping cycle.
- Social Media is an inexpensive and effective way to start a conversation with people generally interested in what you sell. Not only can you promote sale prices and special events, but you can keep directly in touch with your customers. You can also use social media to monitor conversation trends, such as products of interest or common complaints.
Each business differs — different industries, different products, different goals. The fragmented digital landscape offers an abundance of advertising options, leading to limitless combinations. If you’re serious about ramping up your digital ad efforts (and you should be), it’s worth looking into an eCommerce platform like ChannelAdvisor to help you experiment with the various digital marketing options and find the perfect advertising blend for your business.
First things first, though — educate yourself. This eBook, Channel Mix: Finding the Perfect Blend of Advertising Strategies, will walk you through the many layers of digital marketing. You need to be aware of how each channel operates and the advertising options you have for each. And after some experimentation, you’ll be on your way to discovering the right combination for selling more products and making sense of a complicated landscape.