By Angie Chung and Charlene Ree | We believe that setting up an optimal digital media strategy is a key component for every business to be successful. For startups with minimal marketing resources, activating digital is critical especially when promoting products and services. As the digital experts behind Httpool Asia and board members of The Women Entrepreneurs Network (WEN), entrepreneurs and startups frequently come to us for digital strategy advice. The most frequent questions are:
Where do I find my target audience in the “wild wild web”? What can I do to drive the most immediate sales? What happens if I don’t have the time and/or resources to manage online initiatives? Here are some of our tips to start answering these questions.
Learn From Your Data A friend who runs an organic beauty product website asked us how she should market her business online. Having started with search engine marketing and a Facebook page, she was frustrated by being unable to tell if they tangibly were helping her business.
We started by asking, “Do you know how much traffic is driven to your site and by what media? Do you have any people visiting your site without being led there via marketing and advertising efforts?”
This led us to other important questions regarding her traffic, “Where does your organic traffic come from? Which pages of your site are they landing on? What are the most viewed pages and products? Where are people spending the most time? At what point do visitors leave your site?”
There are many insights and opportunities to unearth from your existing website and campaign data. They are the most valuable assets you have – don’t waste them. Spend time analysing their performance. Some basic steps to start:
- Install and implement web analytic tools (for example, Google Analytics is a free tool) to find out where your traffic is coming from;
- Analyse organic traffic by geographic location, demographic background and referring sources to determine your core target audience;
- Select media channels that provide extensive targeting capabilities to minimize advertising wastage;
- Utilise custom campaign parameters for advertising and promotional URLs to help differentiate and understand the performance of various initiatives.
Set The Right Objectives When marketers and advertisers begin investing in digital, they want to see instant results. When immediate sales fail to materialize, they quickly jump to the conclusion that digital advertising just doesn’t work. Like all marketing campaigns, when people are not familiar with your business, it takes time for these new prospects to notice your brand. Learn about it, and engage with it before making a purchase decision.
Marketers need to remember that various digital channels and initiatives serve very different purposes. Some effectively drive brand awareness among new prospects, while others are better suited to help close the deal. Marketers need to have a clear understanding of what a digital initiative can accomplish. Otherwise, they’re disappointed when they expect brand awareness, customer engagement and sales return all at the same time from a single campaign.
As an example, for a new e-commerce site selling clothing, we would advise splitting the budget into three folds to meet different objectives with different key performance indicators (KPI):
- 40% for ‘prospecting’ new potential customers and reaching your key target audience;
- 40% for ‘engaging’ these prospects and driving cost-effective quality traffic to your key website pages should be the objective and KPI;
- 20% for ‘converting’ your audience into customers and generating leads, sales, and ROI.
The composition of each fold is flexible and can be adapted based on the business’s progress and its objectives.
Cut The Learning Curve Managing too many digital initiatives without enough time and resources is the common dilemma businesses and startups face. As digital platforms and formats frequently evolve and roll out updates, it’s hard for busy marketers and entrepreneurs to stay on top of it all.
For those trying to do digital advertising themselves, some get frustrated and form the wrong impression of channels based on a flawed experience. Of course, hiring the right agency or consultant can help cut the learning curve, but how do you evaluate the right partners?
- Make sure they are experienced and industry-certified;
- Look for result-driven plans, coupled with the capabilities to execute the campaign for you;
- Most importantly, look for a partner that is willing to share insights and educate you along the way.
About The Authors Charlene Ree and Angie Chung are the Managing Partner and Managing Director of Httpool Asia, respectively. A majority stake of Httpool Group was acquired last year by IMS (Internet Media Services), a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television Networks. Charlene focuses on overseeing the overall operational direction, while Angie is responsible for business and product development. www.httpool.hk