Black Friday and Cyber Monday are approaching – a very busy time for many online merchants. Done right, this time of the year can be very profitable. As a merchant, you need to be prepared and ensure that your business is ready for customers. A first step in getting ready for any busy sales period is to prepare your online advertising.
The Advertising Association describes advertising as “any communication, usually paid-for, specifically intended to inform and/or influence one or more people,” and one way to attract customers is through advertising.
It can be difficult to know how to maximize your advertising, which is why we want to help you out. This is the first article in our “Payza E-Commerce School” series, where we’ll share the e-commerce tips and tricks we’ve learned by serving thousands of online merchants.
Here are some things you can do to maximize your online advertising campaigns:
Create Target Customer Profiles
According to Thomas Smale, co-founder of FE International, it’s important to know which customers you want to reach. A target customer profile is a good thing to create, as this information will help you “target similar demographics and psychographics with your campaigns to attract more customers.” Don’t waste money on ads that are shown to people who aren’t part of your target market. Instead make sure your advertising reflects the kind of customers you want to reach.
According to Blue Fountain Media, “fully grasping who your audience is, and how to best market to them is critical.” Observe your current customers to learn where to advertise, how to match your advertising with your customers, and to ensure that you target the right audience with the right messaging.
Timing is Everything
It may not be the smartest or most profitable strategy to advertise all year-round and spread out your budget equally month-by-month. When selling seasonal products, advertise in your best-performing seasons, maybe starting a bit earlier. The Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are times when customers tend to shop more, so depending on your business these seasons may be good ones to focus on for advertising.
Enforce Strong Branding
Customers tend to respond to ad layouts. Color, imagery, logo and typeface become very important here. Keep it consistent and don’t change your branding from ad to ad, as this can be confusing and make your ads less effective over time. “Your goal should be to show up in expected places, with familiar-looking ads that consistently resonate with your target customers,” Thomas Smale states.
Take Advantage of Affiliate Marketers
Affiliate marketing simply means that a business pays an affiliate to promote their products. The affiliate helps the business reach their target audiences, points customers to products that may suit them, and helps generate a sale.
While affiliates earn a commission from each sale they help to generate, they are also responsible for placing (and paying for) the ads they use to attract customers. For an online business, this is a pretty good deal as you only have to pay affiliates when a sale is generated, so it’s almost like you get the advertising for free!
Create Landing Pages
WordStream describes landing pages as “specialized, optimized web pages that visitors are taken to upon clicking an ad” and you use these to present specific products or to get customers to make a purchase. With landing pages, you can customize the message for your customers to connect it to the ad they clicked on in the first place.
A landing page is a great way to prepare a customized message for a specific target customer profile.
Track Your Advertising
The most popular online advertising platforms, such as Google AdWords and Facebook, provide you with stats related to your ads, which can let you know if your advertising is actually working. Make sure you understand what the statistics are telling you about your ads, so you know what is working and what is not.
Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices
Today, being mobile friendly is important for websites. “Everything is going mobile,” states Angela Stringfellow, writer for Business 2 Community, which is why you should always carry out everything you do with the mobile audience in mind. With mobile commerce taking up a bigger slice of the e-commerce pie every year, it’s important to make sure that mobile visitors feel just as comfortable on your website as desktop visitors.
Online advertising can give your online business a healthy boost when done right. By following these strategies, you’ll take a big step towards generating more sales for your business. Good luck!