Paid media is the best way to make your target market aware that your brand exists. Besides brand awareness and exposure, it boosts the confidence of existing customers.
“There are various forms of paid media,” Wanaswa said. “Search engine marketing, social media marketing, display campaigns, remarketing and paid content promos are all forms of paid media activities that brands can engage in.
“It is also important to create campaigns that target people at the various stages of the customer and business sales funnel,” he said. “Be it the awareness, consideration, action or retention stage, there should be specific campaigns for each.”
Wanaswa suggests running display and social media ad campaigns with broad targeting. There are also non-branded keyword search campaigns for the awareness stage of the funnel.
“Then run search campaigns with qualifying keywords that would be triggered by phrases such as ‘How to ..’ and ‘Looking for…’” Wanaswa said. “Do soft remarketing for the middle of the funnel campaigns or consideration phase.”
Then go more in-depth.
“For bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns, run branded search ads triggered by purchase-related terms like buy, quote and contact,” Wanaswa said. “These hard-remarketing campaigns must have clear calls to action.”
One size does not fit all when weighing the best-paid media tool for startup businesses and corporations.
“It depends on your budget and goals,” Wanaswa said. “Most startups need awareness but are also under pressure for conversions. So, use Google search and display ads while maintaining decent social activity.”
SEO Need Not Be Costly
Business objectives will determine what types of paid media a brand should consider when planning for a digital marketing campaign.
“I recommend an always-on AdWords search campaign,” Wanaswa said. “This complements search engine optimization. SEO gives brands an idea of what people are searching for and is relatively cheap if configured well.
“Ensure you choose campaigns for each stage of the buying funnel,” he said.
Nothing is free. For reasonable return on investment, an entrepreneur should seek the most cost-effective SEO practices.
“First, do a proper SEO audit,” Wanaswa said. “Then take note of what Google considers to be ranking factors such as a responsive website that is also secure.”
This leads to optimizing paid media efforts to achieve business goals.
“Ensure success metrics are well defined and properly tracked,” Wanaswa said. “Create and optimize campaigns for each stage of the funnel. The Golden Rule is Always Be Testing. Run multiple tests to see what channels, ad copy, images and landing pages work.”
Influencers play a large role in leveraging paid media campaigns.
“That’s because — at the end of the day — people influence people,” Wanaswa said. “Unlike the majority of a paid campaign’s push content, using influencers — if done right — is not intrusive and more likely to engage the audience.
“Also remember, with influence comes responsibility,” he said, citing the Fyre Festival where influencers helped perpetuate a fraud.
The success story of a paid media campaign starts with an assortment of social media metrics.
“Every stage of the customer funnel has its own key performance indicators,” Wanaswa said. “The awareness stage has metrics such as reach and bounce rate. The consideration stage has cost per click. The action stage has sales. Each of these should be noted and tracked.”
Multiple Choice Answers
Using sponsored hashtags or influencers is not an either-or proposition. Each has merit for digital marketing campaigns.
“The success of such campaigns demands that both are used,” Wanaswa said. “They depend on each other. You have to generate the interest with influencers. Then promote the hashtag.”
Apart from paid media, brands should invest in other digital marketing strategies.
“Brands have access to their owned, earned and paid media assets, which they should leverage at all times to ensure for success,” Wanaswa said.
“Owned assets are your websites and social channels,” he said. “Earned media are mentions, shares, reviews and so on. Paid media are your pay per click, social ads and paid influencers. All these should be used to your advantage.”