Over the last several years, it’s become more and more common to see headlines (like this one) that are declaring the DEATH OF ADVERTISING. But, look around you, does advertising seem dead? No, it’s popping up in more and more places, following us around the internet, pre-empting our videos, and promoting things that we never even knew we needed.
But do you know what IS dead? INEFFECTIVE advertising. The old way of connecting with consumers was focused on sales at any cost. Interrupting their daily lives to scream an advertising message at consumers in hopes that a small percentage would convert.
This worked for a while, leading to the “Mad Men” age of advertising, but today’s consumer is much smarter and has many more ways to circumvent unwanted marketing messages. So, how do you advertise your business?
Focus on Your Brand
Advertising has a cumulative effect. Make sure that all of your efforts are working together to further your brand. Consider how you want to be perceived, the tone of your messaging, the visual choices you make and how they all are one part of a larger story. This “brand story” is crucial to connect with potential customers and make them feel like they “know” your company.
Though not impossible without it, It’s much easier to build that connection when your company has a face or spokesperson. Where generations before us were hiding behind brand names and logos, the market today has pivoted to feature influential people and personal brands.
How can you incorporate your personal brand into your company’s brand story?
Invite consumers to take the next step, don’t scream at them to TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS ONCE IN A LIFETIME OFFER TODAY. Your ad should be the first step in the consumer journey, not the entire experience. Think about your own reaction to promotional materials. Has anyone ever chosen to buy a car based on the radio ads of people yelling about this month’s offers?
Today’s consumer is nothing if not informed, so treat your marketing campaigns as an invitation to learn more. Your ad should be the tip of the iceberg – the outward facing content. Everything else, should come after they’ve opted in. That can be in the form of retargeted ads, email sequences, or even phone calls.
To use another metaphor, I often describe this as a “trail of breadcrumbs.” You only need your prospects to say yes to the first breadcrumb (or free download, coupon code, introductory service, consultation, etc), and your marketing funnel should take it from there.
Find Native Opportunities
It’s tough to be inviting when you’re an unwelcome interruption in your consumer’s day. The best thing about the reincarnation of advertising is that there are so many more options to connect with your target audience. It’s no longer print, radio, or TV. Businesses today can connect with consumers through events, video, streaming services, even one-to-one messaging through retargeting. When determining the right channel, consider what makes the most sense for your consumer.
How can you incorporate your advertising message into content that your audience is already consuming? Pre-roll ads on Youtube are a perfect example of this – you can choose the topics of videos to make sure that your content is relevant and timely.
Find a way to make your advertising message RELEVANT.
Empower Your Consumers
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it – be about something bigger. It’s the only way for your audience to truly feel invested in you and your brand. Help them tie into something larger than just a simple transaction. Maybe it’s a charitable cause, maybe it’s an altruistic goal or way of life.
I like to ask my clients to think of their products or services in one of two ways: helping THEIR customers solve a problem or achieve a goal. That’s your something bigger. This is another time when you can think about your own experience as a consumer. What brands do you feel most loyal to? I’m willing to bet it’s those that tell a full story that empowers you beyond a simple transaction.