Traditional advertising is having a hard time, everybody. Some say that it’s dead, and in a sense, they are right. More and more people go out of their way to avoid ads. They download an ad blocker on their web browser, they’ll record shows and watch it later just so they can fast-forward through them, pay money to services like Pandora and Spotify just to get rid of them, and even subconsciously ignore them.
Every day, advertising is becoming more ineffective, but that doesn’t mean it’s all dead.
Advertising still has the best reach, as they can put your brand and message in front of thousands, or even millions, of potential consumers. The problem is: how do you get consumers to notice your ad, and how do you get them to act on it? Well, one solution is to combine your ad campaigns with your content marketing.
Make your ad content worth pursuing
The world is flooded with ads. For every 10 minutes of TV, there are three minutes of commercials. Drive anywhere for a few minutes and you’ll likely see several billboards. Google search practically anything and you’ll see five to 10 paid ads.
There is one time a year millions of people actively want to watch ads: The Super Bowl. The commercials are creative, unique, and evoke emotions in viewers. Yet, every other day of the year, most ads are boring, repetitive, or straight up manipulative.
If you want to get noticed, your ads need to be interesting. Most advertising is interrupting content people do want with content they don’t want. Instead of being that negative interruption, have an ad that is a pleasant surprise. A good goal to strive for is that your ad is something people would actually want to look up.
Don’t sell, encourage learning more
Traditional advertising is all about getting sales immediately. That’s why most ads have wording like “Buy Now” or “Sale Ends Soon.” They want to convey a sense of urgency to the business — that if consumers don’t act immediately, they’ll miss out on something amazing.
Yet, this is no longer how consumers make most purchases. They do research, investigate competitors, read reviews, and take more time to make purchases. Sure, a sign telling them to buy a hamburger is effective because not much research goes into fast food decisions, but larger decisions take time.
Instead of pushing people to make a decision right then, another tactic is having advertisements put people into the top of your marketing funnel. Advertisements could be used to instead raise awareness for issues they might have and lead them to your product or company as the solution.
For example, let’s say a town has a bad hailstorm, and you are with a roofing repair company. You could put up an ad saying “Was your roof damaged? We can fix it, call us” but all of the people who are unsure if their roof is damaged won’t pay attention to the ad. Instead, you could put up an ad that says “Worried your roof was damaged? Visit our site to learn how to check your roof for hail damage.” Then, you lead them to a webpage on your site that is all about diagnosing if a roof is damaged.
Instead of only targeting people at the end of the buyer’s journey, use ads to attract people at the beginning of their journey to your company and then push them through your marketing funnel. A good way to think of it is your ad targets a pain point your market has (like wondering if their roof was damaged in the last storm) and that they need to learn more in order to solve that pain point.
Ads leading to quality content
As you use ads to push people to your website, you need to make sure your content is up to the challenge. If it isn’t, then all you do is ruin your chances of making sales and potentially push them away.
The first step to making sure you have the right content is to determine what you are promising in the ad. What kind of information are you offering, and does your content fulfill that offer? If your ad pushes on a pain point, but then you just direct them to your homepage, you aren’t completing your part of the bargain. Have the right piece of content attached to your ad.
Then, you need to make sure your content actually solves the pain point your ad targets. Going back to the previous example, if a consumer is coming to learn whether their roof has hail damage, you need to give information they can use. Simply having a page stating they should hire you to check their roof isn’t what you want. Give them tools to solve the problem themselves, but also offer your services as an option.
With that first piece of content, you put visitors into your marketing funnel. Hopefully, you have a strong flow through your content, with good calls-to-action, that will push visitors towards making a purchase. If you don’t have these elements in your content marketing, it’s likely that consumers will just come to your site, absorb your content, and move on.
Alternative advertising and content
Thanks to technology, you can do some pretty awesome advertising. Guerrilla and alternative marketing are growing in popularity. While these approaches don’t get the best reach on their own, they do have a higher chance of going viral online.
What makes guerrilla advertising so appealing to consumers is that it creates an experience for them. Often, it’s something they can touch, see, interact with, and be a part of.
Some of the best guerrilla marketing is done by businesses having their message in an unexpected place. Slipping a piece of paper into a person’s pocket to warn them against phone theft, a sign of a cast for broken bones that people can write on to sell markers, and similar ideas all take a traditional concept and flip it.
But the future is all about using technology and digital signage to hyper-personalize your message. You could create an ad on a digital sign that changes depending on things like the time of day, who is looking at it, its specific location, how people interact with it, and more. Then, after people interact with this piece of guerrilla advertising, you can then push them to content on your site. It’s even possible to have them input their phone number or email directly into your digital sign so you can send them to the right piece of content.
Analytics to know if your ad is working
A major downside to most traditional advertising is not knowing if the campaign is working. Outside of increased sales, most ad campaigns work heavily on assumptions. But by combining ads out in public with content on your website, you can better track the campaign’s performance, and make tweaks when necessary.
This extra data means marketers can utilize predictive analytics in their ad campaigns. When they notice a dropping trend of traffic to a specific page accompanying an ad, they know it’s time to shake things up. Do this enough times, and you can begin to predict how long to run an ad, how much of a reach it will have, and what to do next to keep the momentum moving.
While the old way of advertising is on the way out, that doesn’t mean the industry is dead. It’s still a great way to reach large amounts of people, but to get the most out of it, it needs to be paired with content marketing. Instead of just trying to make a sale, ads need to play into the marketing funnel as a whole. By creating entertaining ads and using content marketing, it’s possible to reach more of your target market and improve your sales.