Advertising is more than just a brand function—it's a valuable skill. Not all people have the talent, timing and savvy to speak to people in a way that influences their lifestyle. Fortunately, the knack for advertising and marketing can be learned.
There are many different forms of advertising that brands can use to reach their target markets. However, not all forms of advertising will have the same impact. Technology trends have shifted the game. Today, brand managers can drive tremendous impact by prioritizing social media.
But before you get into the specifics of social media marketing, you must first learn the basics of advertising. Here are some advertising do's and don'ts for beginners.
The do's: Helpful advertising tips to help you connect with an audience
Get to know your target customers
Many companies only have a big-picture view of the target market they want to reach. While this is a good starting point, it pays to refine your understanding of prospective customers. What is the age bracket of the people you want to reach? Are your prospects still studying, seeking career opportunities, employed or retired? What types of entertainment do they usually spend their time and money on? These aspects are vital if you want to make an impact that will truly resonate with your desired audience.
By knowing what makes your customers tick, you have leverage to connect with them and understand how to best fulfill their needs.
Strive to have a consistent voice & message
While it's true you can have an impact by being unpredictable, you build up a stronger following by being consistent. By having a singular purpose and consistent voice, you increase brand recognition and loyalty. Stick to the vision and mission of your business, and soon, people will recognize your brand across every advertising channel you use.
Be accessible & proactive
People are more likely to trust a brand if they're confident they can reach you whenever they need to. No wonder nearly every business has social media profiles now. Through sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, you have a direct line to your customers.
The question is: will people hear back from your company when they tag, message or tweet you?
If you're strapped for resources, hire a virtual assistant to help your brand stay accessible and proactive not just on social media but also through email and comments on your blog or website.
The don'ts: Pitfalls your brand should avoid
Failing to craft a call-to-action
Share this message if you agree. Email this tip to a friend. Tap ‘like' if you enjoyed this video. These are just a few of the calls-to-action that social media users have grown familiar with, and that's because they work. Each communication you share with your audience should be geared towards building your relationship and, ultimately, moving them down the conversion funnel. At the end of any ad campaign, make sure your audience knows what to do next.
Jumping on every advertising fad that comes along
Many advertising gimmicks have come and gone, but how many of these have really helped the brands who tried them? Just because a tool, fad or practice is creating some noise doesn't mean you should immediately jump in. When a new trendy tactic tempts you, scrutinize how it will genuinely reach your customers and build your brand. This goes back to the principle of knowing your target audience better. If you truly know what makes them tick, you won't be jumping on every bandwagon that rolls by. Just the ones that matter.
Making an impact isn't exclusively for big brands. Keep in mind these advertising dos and don'ts for beginners, and you will soon carve out your own niche.
How to use PPC to amplify your brand
As you know, effective branding amplifies brand awareness and recognition. It builds trust. It helps generate new customers. Best of all, it increases sales and revenue.
But, did you know that even the briefest exposure to a brand can affect a customer's behavior? It's true. You have the opportunity to shape customers' opinions of your brand in every interaction—even if that interaction only lasts a couple of seconds, like a pay-per-click ad.
Why branding is important
To set the scene, let's take a look at why branding matters in the first place.
Researchers at Duke University determined how powerful brands can be. In one of their tests, a group of university students was exposed to the Apple logo. It was flashed so quickly that respondents weren't even aware they were exposed to it. Another group was exposed to the IBM logo in the same manner.
Both groups were asked to list down all of the possible uses for a brick. Here's where it gets fascinating: Participants who had a brief glimpse of the Apple logo were found to be more creative when compared to the IBM group.
Here's another one. Researchers wanted to know how brands affect respondents' honesty. In the next experiment, two separate groups were exposed to the Disney and E! logos, respectively. They found that participants who saw the Disney logo behaved more honestly compared to those who saw the E! logo.
What does this tell marketers? Brands are deeply influential. For established brands (like Apple and Disney), it could mean investing more in product placement and other methods of exposure. For growing brands, it means paying attention to every touchpoint, no matter how brief.
For example, your PPC campaigns.
How to use pay-per-click to enhance your brand
Known as PPC, pay-per-click campaigns are a great way to amplify your product or service. But, when done deliberately, PPC can also help you amplify your brand message. Here are a few techniques you can use to optimize your PPC campaigns for brand awareness.
Optimizing your ad's exposure
- Use location targeting
Personalization refers to the process of adjusting content to match customers' needs and preferences. More brands are putting extra effort into their personalization efforts, and chances are, your brand is already implementing a similar strategy. But, have you considered adding some personalization to your PPC ad copy?
For instance, you can customize ad copy and sitelinks based on your customers' geographical locations. Let's say you're trying to make an ad for New York shoppers. In the ad, you can place sitelinks like the address of your store or products that are popular in New York. (Don't forget to add call and location extensions—they shorten the conversion cycle.)
Divide target audience into groups you want to personalize. Next, create ads based on those groups' preferences. Since the ads are location-based, consumers from other parts of the country or the world will not see the same content as those from New York. It's an easy way to make your ad appear more relevant to the user.
- Select specific sitelinks
Which sitelinks do you often use in your ads? What you choose to promote can either benefit your campaign or hurt it. If you plan on advertising to a specific audience, don't give them a general sitelink that isn't relevant or interesting to them.
For example, Clinique organizes their ads according to the different stages of the buying cycle. This way, each ad caters to more specific needs.
Clinique used "Shop Makeup" on their ad for customers who only intend to buy makeup. They added "New Arrivals" for visitors who might be interested in more products. For prospective buyers, the brand offered a "Top Selling Skincare" sitelink, making it easier for visitors to evaluate their products. They then offered a discount on first purchases to sweeten the deal.
Building trust in your brand
Most of the time, PPC marketers create ads that are designed for conversion. But, what about visitors who aren't ready to buy? What about consumers who want to know more about the brand before supporting it? Content marketing is great at building trust—and PPC campaigns are fantastic at delivering that content to target audiences.
- Use long-tail keywords
The long-tail keywords you use in your content marketing can also be used in your PPC campaigns. You can promote high-value content by using them as ads that match consumers' search queries.
For instance, if you have makeup tutorials, you can create ads for queries like "how to apply foundation." L'Oréal is one brand that practices this.
Googling "how to apply foundation" leads to a L'Oréal ad with the same keyword phrase. By providing content that consumers need, the company builds a reputation as an expert in the field. Consequently, they gain the consumers' trust, which will lead to conversions down the road.
- Keep track of your reputation
Customers seek out the pros and cons of different brands before supporting them. Though your efforts to gain their trust are strong, a few negative remarks could be enough to drive them away.
So, what can you do about it?
Through your PPC campaigns, you can protect and maintain your brand's reputation. By keeping track of search query reports (SQR), you can identify a rise in negative trends. You can then share this information with the marketing team and devise a strategy to deal with negative reviews and comments.
PPC is a great platform for brand-building. Not only does it empower you to shape your brand's story, it exposes large audiences to your message on-demand.  Take advantage of this powerful medium and show the world what your brand is made of.
5 design bottlenecks in PPC advertising & how to prevent them
If you're like most PPC advertisers, you'd rather not touch Adobe Photoshop with a ten-foot pole. There is a good chance that slaving away in Google AdWords or figuring out multi-touch attribution models sounds like more fun. But graphic design? No way.
In my younger PPC days when search campaigns were my only concern, I was the same way. I never expected that designing a marketing graphic would be an appropriate use of my time. That's why we hire graphic designers, right?
But PPC is much more than standard text ads showing up on a search engine results page. There are paid-social ads on Facebook and LinkedIn, display campaigns, native, remarketing, landing page creative, banner templates, etc. The list goes on.
But here's the kicker: they all require graphic design assets.
And when your graphic designer is too busy to get the job done, you're on your own. I know. That's a scary thought. You might be thinking about how your next ad campaign should have launched yesterday... but first you need to hack your way through Photoshop?
There is a better way.
Here are 5 design bottlenecks that eat up a PPC manager's time and how they can be avoided.
1. Getting a designer to make after-the-fact tweaks
Whether you outsource your graphic design or have in-house help, accessing a designer's busy schedule is a struggle. But imagine that your designer just delivered a long-awaited piece of creative for a new Facebook ad campaign. You upload the content and launch the campaign. A week later however, ad fatigue sets in. Engagement and ROI are dropping fast. Since you've seen this before, you know what needs to be done—a simple tweak to the copy contained within the image. But when you ask the designer to make the change, you are asked to wait three weeks!
Solution: This sort of design bottleneck should not happen, but it does. You can prevent this by asking your designer to provide you with templates. With a templatized Facebook ad, you can use a simple graphic design software like Lucidpress to make the necessary tweaks. This will protect the integrity of the creative, while providing you with flexibility and independence. It is crucial for PPC advertisers to make tweaks frequently and quickly—whether it's for your next A/B test or a fatigued paid-social ad. Making these tweaks should take minutes, not weeks.
2. Seeking approval at creative review for edits to a landing page
Nothing is more frustrating than sitting through a creative review while crossing your fingers that the creative director approves the concept for new hero images on your landing pages. Even worse, you may have to wait a week for the next meeting to roll around. Either way, your campaign's launch date is probably getting pushed back.
Solution: First, work with your team to establish brand guidelines and a library of pre-approved images and copy. Sticking to these may grant you permission to skip creative review altogether. If that fails and you must still attend creative review, try petitioning your management team to hold the review process after the change has been A/B tested. If you're not A/B testing every step of the PPC process, start now. Hard data will give you a strong voice at creative review. Lastly, plan ahead for projects that will require creative approval.
3. Endlessly searching for images to use on display campaigns
What should you do when your display campaign needs a refreshed set of images, but you're not satisfied with Google's display ad-builder? You may find yourself struggling to navigate the design team's cluttered Dropbox folder. Or even worse, you might resort to copying & pasting from Google Images.
Solution: Recommend a Digital Asset Management software to your marketing team. There are several affordable options out there for DAM software. The goal is to quickly store, organize, retrieve and deploy your digital assets from a central location.
4. Your designer never has time for your projects and you don't know Photoshop.
This is the obvious one. And yet so many PPC marketers do nothing about it.
Solution: There are cloud-based design tools for almost every situation, no matter your design experience. Need to make heavy edits to a photo? Try Pixlr. For infographics, check out Visme. Want to add pretty text to your marketing graphics? Lucidpress was built to do just that, and much more.
5. Cracking down on an affiliate or channel partner using rogue content
Have you ever had a VP or director ask why they stumbled onto one of your display ads and saw misspelled words or blurry images? I have. First, you panic. Then you search for the source and discover that it was actually one of your affiliates! Now you must spend valuable time working with the partner to correct the mistake.
Solution: This calls for a combination of some solutions listed above. Start with templatizing your partners' ad campaigns. Then, provide them with the brand style guide and access to the appropriate folders in your Digital Asset Management tool.
Lastly, use these tools to empower your partners. Rather than just giving them constraints, teach them the principles that your marketing approach is founded upon. (Use your brand guidelines to accomplish this in a time-effective manner.) Because you hired these affiliates to provide additional volume to your marketing, consider crafting them into thought partners. Have them A/B test the newer, riskier ideas that you don't have time for. In short, be proactive instead of reactive.
To conclude, design bottlenecks eat up the time that should belong to you and your designers. With the right tools and strategies, you can avoid these bottlenecks. Your designers will love you, and you can focus on making more money.