Six tips to effective online advertising

Every time you turn around, the Internet is offering more possibilities to advertise and target efficiently.  But how do you know what is right for your campaign?  And how do you ensure that your digital dollars are being used wisely?  Here are six tips to make sure your money spent online gets the most bang for the buck.

1.     Make sure you’re targeting the right audience.  I think we reiterate this in almost every article, but it’s one of the key factors in all effective advertising, and it is one often forgotten. It’s critical to know who is most likely to buy the product your advertising, or identify who you most want to reach. These days, you can easily target geographically, demographically, by behavior, and more.

You can target people who are within 1 mile of your branch, or send them a mobile message in a home improvement store.   You can retarget people who’ve been to your site.  Or you can send out direct mail, and scrub the list to target the same folks by email.  But at the end of the day, all of these smart tactics only work if you’ve first identified and narrowed your best target audience.

2.  Utilize landing pages.  Having a well-developed landing page is a key component to a successful digital advertisement. A landing page is essentially an extension to the your banner or text ad.  Spend some real time creating the landing page as it can mean the difference between a new customer and not.  Make sure your landing page quickly and easily explains all the key benefits of the product you’re selling.  And make sure it has a prominent call to action.

In addition, landing pages make it easier to track the success of your ads.  If you’re running mortgage ads on Zillow and in Adwords, it’s easy to track the results of each by giving them a separate landing page (same content, different URL.)  That way, you’re not simply relying on the click reports you receive from vendors.

3.     Think locally.  Your checking account customers will come from a short radius of each of your branches.  So instead of simply considering Google, for instance, also think about your local newspaper website or local mom-and-pop shops in the area.  You might find yourself where your competitors aren’t.

4.  Make it interactive.  One of the advantages of Internet advertising is that you can get instant feedback from the public on your marketing ideas. Give customers the opportunity to fill out an online feedback form, and analyze what they have to say about your product and your company. You can also create Internet advertising promotions that encourage people to give you their email address to sign up for a contest or newsletter. You can use those emails to market future products or reach out to your customers to get their opinions.

5.  Utilize mobile

On average, consumers today look at their phone 150 times a day. This is just one of the reasons financial institutions need to be investing marketing capital in the mobile channel now.  Mobile is so versatile that you can target people in narrow geographic areas – like at a Home Show, for instance.  Or while they’re out searching for homes.  But don’t just funnel everything you’re doing online into mobile. It doesn’t work.  You need to have an individual strategy for mobile.  So most likely, you will need separate content and creative.

6.  Advertising through social media: Of course, you know social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn offer advertising, and another opportunity to reach your target.   You can design ads meant to appeal to the different age groups you want to reach, and have them set to only appear on pages reaching those ages. Some sites even have a feedback button where users are able to tell the host site that the ad does not apply to them.  This is an opportunity to fine-tune your campaign and make it more successful.

You might have read that your business Facebook posts are now not reaching everyone who Likes your page.  Facebook is looking for new ways to generate revenue and this is one of them.  You’ll have to pay to push a new product message out to all of your followers.

While online advertising is not necessarily an ideal awareness builder, its great for lead generation.  It can reach people at places and times that other media can’t.  And it’s wonderfully trackable and efficient, so you can tell immediately whether you’re seeing results.  Used wisely, it can be a highly effective extension of your traditional advertising campaign.