I was once told an absolute gem of a fact that has really stuck with me through the years, so forgive me if you’ve heard this one before. You are more likely to complete Navy S.E.A.L training than you are to click on a banner ad. And yet brands continue to invest in and be disappointed by the results achieved through new ways of, and greater quantities of, digital advertising. Whether it’s the post that appears every 10 images in your Instagram feed or the onslaught of promotions you see in your email inbox or around your favourite blog, there are more ways than ever to target people digitally.
Digital advertising should never be seen as a cure-all as part of a marketing mix. Simply launching digital ads, whether they are display, social, or programmatic, does not guarantee you business. It’s really as simple as that. I can completely understand in a small business that we believe, in the modern age, that there should be a magic fix, a simple solution to promoting your products to the right people. But its just not true. Those who make the platform (Facebook is a really easy example in this case, but all the platforms are similar in this regard) are trying to get you to spend more and more on digital marketing – and so they promise highly targeted, specific delivery to your ideal audience. The reality is that they can’t guarantee that – and even if the ad is served to the right audience, that doesn’t guarantee that the audience is interested in the product or service you’re trying to sell.
In the days of print advertising, a print distribution of 50,000 units did not guarantee you 50,000 purchases. It did not guarantee you 5 purchases. It simply told you how many eyeballs would be on your ad, maybe, if they saw it at all. Im not trying to suggest that this is the right approach either, particularly if your brand has low marketing budgets, but we need to think more broadly about how to target our ideal audience and not simply look for the quick fix.
The horribly unsexy truth is that the best way to capture your ideal audience Is to create content that engages them. It’s not as simple as “build it and they will come” but use the technology we have (namely social media, EDM’s and access to great camera’s in our phones) to create beautiful images about your brand and publish them on places where your audience is looking to discover new products and services. Amplify them with hashtags and reach out, in a genuine way, to people with whom have influence. Attack the problem from a number of angles – a consumer-driven strategy, a commercial-driven strategy, a physical presence and traditional marketing alongside your digital advertising.
Patience is key here, but dedicate to the craft and dedicate the self promotion. There is no quick fix, there is no way to quickly get new business in the door. Instead, work every day on promoting yourself and your products as best you can using whatever means are available to you – and stop looking for an easy, simple solution to grow your business.