Digital marketing is an ever-changing puzzle that marketers are constantly trying to solve. Following the latest trends, trying to figure out the newest apps and social platforms, and keeping up with their evolution can be a full time job in itself. In my years in digital marketing, I’ve seen my share of both successful campaigns and ones I’ve at least learned from, and I’ve developed some tried and true best practices that stretch across multiple areas of digital marketing. My recent shift to marketing within the market research space has allowed me to apply techniques I’ve learned in the past as well as test numerous new strategies. Here are some learnings and tips I’ve uncovered for using digital marketing in the market research space.
General Best Practices
Know your audience!
In this case, we are talking about market researchers and marketers: understanding an audience is their job, and they will see right through a generic message that you post all over the internet. So keep these practices in mind:
- Segment your audience: Whether it’s email, display ads, or social media, most advertising channels allow for some sort of audience segmentation. For example, segment by job title and industry. By doing this you’ll be able to send the right content to the right people at the right time.
- Always tailor your message: Be as specific to your audience as possible in your messaging. If you are talking to a consumer insights person in consumer packaged goods (CPG), make sure that your ad is something relevant to them, rather than a general message or something meant for, say, technology or finance.
TIP: Segmentation helps with this!
- Be honest about your brand awareness: Consider if this is a brand new audience or one that may have already been exposed to your business. This will drive how high level or in-depth you should go with your messaging.
Test your messaging and learn from it.
Whether it’s keywords, length, or benefit statements, try different approaches and see what sticks.
- Set objectives going into the tests:
- What do you want to learn?
- What do you want to test?
- How do you measure success?
- Start with split tests: Test different messages about the same subject with the same audiences to see which message resonates the most. You can also test the same message with different audiences to see how each group responds.
- Test across all your channels: People engage differently with different channels, so test a variety of assets, calls to action, and messaging within each channel. Then, use the results to inform more content creation relevant to that channel.
Whenever possible, take the time to set up conversion tracking to get a better understanding of what drives your audience to convert (click, submit a form, etc.), allowing you to optimize your campaigns based on conversion and maximize your budget by excluding those who have already converted. Conversion tracking allows you to track what a user does after they click on/engage with your ad, so you can see if they actually purchased a product, signed up for your newsletter, or downloaded an asset, etc.
Most of these best practices hold true for a wide array of digital marketing channels. But tweaking these to cater to each channel is key to increasing success. Here are some key examples of how these tips can be applied to specific marketing channels and tactics.
Best Practices by Marketing Channel/Tactic
- Segment your audience based on their behavior on your website: Whether it is via URL (ex: com/solutions), event, or number of pages visited, take account of what actions individuals are taking on your site and present them with creative that complements their behavior.
- Set up conversion tracking to exclude those who have already converted: Conversion tracking allows you to upload lists of people who have already completed your call to action—i.e., purchased, subscribed, signed up for events, etc.—so you aren’t wasting resources getting someone to convert on the same action twice.
Display & Search Ads
- Leverage keywords to reach the right audience: Narrow your keywords to choose those that are specific to your business, and include keywords that reflect buyer intent.
TIP: If your budget allows, use a blend of search and display ads, staying true to the goal of each: display ads are for folks who have searched market research keywords, and search ads should show up when people actively search for market research keywords.
- Segment with social media: Social media channels know a lot about people. Use this to your advantage by layering on targeting to find the audience your message will appeal to most. Test with different audiences to see who is most engaged with your content, then use those learnings to position that content in front of this audience outside of social media.
- Get specific with your messaging: We visit different social channels for different reasons, so we expect the content on each to be different as well. Overcome a cluttered social feed with appealing copy that is straightforward, relevant, and appropriate for that channel. And don’t forget to align your messaging with your segments.
TIP: You can also take advantage of the cost-per-click model to test different messaging with the same audience.
There are a lot of different ways to reach your audience and this will continue to evolve, but if you are looking for ways to just get started don’t forget to segment, test, and track.