In a recent Forbes magazine article, it was forecast that by the year 2021, the United States will collectively spend $120 billion on digital marketing. At that point, products like paid search, display advertising, social media advertising, online video advertising and email marketing will make up to 46 percent of all advertising. That’s a pretty incredible surge. It’s no wonder that traditional media, marketing firms and upstarts are all trying to get their hands into this booming business of digital advertising.
But with every new business “boom” come individuals and businesses trying to make a quick buck. These players can be inexperienced and thus ineffective or they can simply be downright dishonest. You have to be careful, otherwise you’re going to be wasting valuable marketing dollars.
Unlike traditional media (buying an ad on television or spot on the radio), digital marketing can be pretty complicated and hard to understand. There’s a lot to learn; ad networks and exchanges, SEO, SEM, CPC, CPM, display ads, retargeting, geo fencing — the list of seemingly foreign terms goes on and grows larger every day. When a company is looking at what digital marketing products to buy, it’s hard for many of them to know exactly what they’re purchasing — let alone if it is proving to be effective.
So what do you look for when you are trying to find someone to help you market online?
Experience and knowledge
How long has the marketer been selling online marketing? Is digital marketing one of the many media products they sell or is it their focus? Because it’s such a growing business, there are a lot of traditional media (television, newspapers and radio) and marketing agencies that sell digital marketing. However, their focus is usually on where they have traditionally done well. Rather than do it themselves, they often contract third parties to do the actual placement of your ads.
Digital marketing is constantly evolving and it takes a lot to keep up with the latest trends. It should be the No. 1 focus and expertise of the marketing company with which you are working.
Because digital marketing is so new, make sure you are learning as you go. The agency you work with should educate you on what, why and how your online marketing dollars are working for you. Most marketing companies will send you a report each month — but often they don’t take the time to really explain what that report means. At some point, your goal should be able to determine (on your own) if your digital campaign was successful or not. A good marketing partner will help you reach that goal through ongoing education and/or discussion.
It’s pretty easy to drive traffic to a website through digital advertising. It’s also pretty easy to post things on Facebook. But it’s not so easy to increase actual business as a result of web traffic. But the good news is that, unlike traditional media, you can show the effectiveness of an ad campaign through site analytics.
It’s important that your digital marketer is regularly showing you reports that don’t just show you how many click throughs or impressions your digital advertising had, but what those clicks did for your business. That way you can really judge if your marketing is worth the money you are putting toward it. You need to look at site analytics in order to accomplish this. Most don’t.
Digital marketing is one of, if not the most, effective ways of getting your message to the right audience — you just need to take some extra time to learn it and require your digital marketing agency to help you do so.