It’s that time of the year again.
The Google Online Marketing Challenge is one of the biggest and most popular online marketing experiments of all time. Every year, the search giant publishes a list of the top performing marketers and marketers-in-the-making in a bid to see which groups of marketers can integrate online marketing strategies into their routine.
This year, the challenge is focusing on email marketing, paid search advertising, and display advertising. The competition is fierce with over 100,000 applicants trying to make it to the top of the leaderboard.
If you’re just starting your online marketing journey and want to find out where you stand, this is the perfect opportunity to find out.
So, which are you most keen to tackle? Paid search advertising or email marketing? Display advertising or social media? Let’s find out.
Paid Search Advertising
If you’re looking to break into the world of paid search advertising, you need to brace yourself for the fact that it’s not as straightforward as landing a sponsored placement on a prime-time TV show.
While it’s great to have a celebrity or a household name associated with your product or service, you’ll still need to work hard to gain credibility with search engines such as Google and Bing.
When it comes to PPC (paid per click), you’ll need to consider both the cost-per-click (CPC) and the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) to calculate your effective cost. The general rule of thumb is that if you’re paying less than 5 cents per click, you’re losing money. Even then, you’re probably not making enough to cover your costs.
The good news is that paid search is a versatile platform and you can incorporate performance-based advertising into your strategy at any stage. For example, you could start small by testing different campaign budgets to see how much you need to spend to get the results you want.
Email marketing is one of the most effective and most cost-efficient marketing strategies there is. Simply put, you identify a target audience, devise a marketing email campaign, and roll it out to the masses.
Since email marketing is such a flexible tool, you can devise a strategy to fit any sized business — from a solo entrepreneur to a multinational corporation. It doesn’t get much cheaper than email marketing. The best part is that you can implement this strategy without needing to break the bank.
What is crucial in an email marketing campaign is to maintain the interest of your subscribers. One way to achieve this is by offering them value in every single email you send out. For example, you could include a link to an exclusive discount site or an online catalog that you want to promote.
Another way to keep subscribers interested is to personalize your communications. This means crafting individual emails for each individual subscriber. For example, you could include a special discount code for someone who previously purchased a certain product, or you could send out an email just to inform someone that you’re running a special promotion for this month.
The downside to email marketing is that it can be a bit of a slow-paced strategy. It usually takes several months (and sometimes even longer) for a new email marketing campaign to start earning money. And what is deemed to be a successful email marketing campaign can sometimes be a tough nut to crack when it comes to expanding or increasing your business’ revenue.
If you’re looking to increase the reach of your business, you could look into display advertising. This is the practice of displaying advertisements in a way that is noticeable and catches the attention of the viewer.
What is crucial in a display advertising campaign is to set a budget and stick to it. This sounds obvious, yet it’s a common pitfall for new businesses to overuse this strategy and wind up wasting a great deal of money. You should aim to keep your budget in line with what you can afford. And remember, you’re only as good as your credit rating. The worse your credit rating, the more you’ll have to pay whenever you run an ad. This is why it’s crucial to build a good credit rating as quickly as possible.
The upside of display advertising is that it’s extremely cost-efficient. You’ll only need to buy a small number of ads to achieve your target audience. Plus, you can change the ads whenever you want without having to pay for a new campaign.
Of course, like with all other forms of online marketing, you need to put in the legwork to ensure success. To begin with, you’ll need to choose your niche and find your audience. Once you’ve done that, you can move on to the next step which is to devise an effective strategy for reaching that audience.