Many individuals and businesses have ventured into the world of online marketing only to have their efforts achieve lack-luster results. Why? My guess is they either didn’t have a strategy for how they would get the job done, or they weren’t offering what their audience wanted. Either way the odds of achieving success online are against you without a strategy. How do you maximize my chances for success? To answer this question, I am going to offer FIVE tips to help you increase your odds of success and I’m going to put them into the context of a recent case study I saw posted by The Life Foundation called “Leveraging the Power of Digital.”
For starters, let’s begin by assuming you have a quality product, idea, or strategy to offer your audience. In this case, their product is a story about the value of life insurance and how it can help families (keep in mind, this organization does not sell life insurance, merely advocates for how it may help families). Considering the slow adoption rate of digital marketing by financial service companies, I think this serves as a compelling argument for more widespread use of digital and online marketing tactics to promote yourself and/or your business.
Tip #1: Set Clear Goals
The Life Foundation’s mission is to “educate consumers about the importance of life insurance in a sound financial plan.” Their target audience is the 95 million Americans who have NO life insurance. Their goal was to deliver the message where consumers spend the most time – on their computers, tablets, and smart phones. To achieve this, they had to go completely digital. Make sure you set goals. Without them, there is no way for you to measure the success of your initiatives.
Tip #2: Know Your Audience
In this example, they knew that their target audience was the 95 million Americans without life insurance. As stated in the infographic, they also knew that “Moms (age 24-49), often the household decision-makers, enjoy online games.” In addition, they pulled research from two sources to determine how they were going to reach this segment of the population. They found that Americans on average spend the equivalent of 1 day per week online (with more than 3 hours per day on social media. They had a clear understanding of their target audience and their habits. Do you have a clear understanding of your target audience?
Tip #3: Develop a Communication Strategy
Developing a strategy will be crucial to your success. When leveraging multiple platforms and communication outlets, you will want a solid strategy in place to remain organized and consistent with your message. In this example, The Life Foundation built a clear Communication Strategy that involved hiring prominent people to showcase in their video ads. They would then leverage online & mobile tools such as online games, premium websites (NBC, ABC, Bloomberg, etc…), and social media channels (Facebook, StumbleUpon, and Twitter) to educate their audience. When developing your communication strategy, it is important to leverage multiple resources to reach your target audience and maximize your opportunities.
Tip #4: Diversify Your Content
We all learn and retain information differently. Some of us are readers, some visual learners, some need to hear the information, and others must interact with what they have learned to truly retain it. I addressed the need for content diversity in a recent post titled “Broaden Your Appeal and Increase Engagement with 4 Types of Content” where I briefly explain Neil Fleming’s VAK/VARK Model (Visual, Auditory, Reading, and Kinesthetic) which explains our learning preferences. By creating content that appeals to these different learning styles, you increase the potential for your audience to not only acquire the information you are sharing, but also retain what they have learned long-term. When planning your content, consider blog posts or whitepapers, short videos, podcasts, as well as games/apps for people to interact with. Throughout the month of September (life Insurance Awareness Month) I saw The Life Foundation leverage many of the different forms of content mentioned earlier.
Tip #5: Measure Your Results
Measuring your results will help you measure success and continuously improve your future online marketing endeavors. Some of the main things to track might be:
- traffic sources (know where people are coming from to view your content)
- CTR (Click-Through-Rates) on websites, landing pages, and emails
- ReTweets, Mentions, Shares, etc… (social media)
There is a wealth of tools available to track your efforts. Some of the most common are Hootsuite, Google Analytics, and Buffer. Do your research, test them out and choose the tools that work best for you.
Set goals, get organized, get creative, and have fun building your audience. Online marketing doesn’t have to be painful. It just takes consistent time and effort, a compelling message, and a good understanding of your target audience to get it right.