Echo, Echo. The Power of Repetition in Digital Marketing

Adding Digital “Oomph” to Your Next Campaign

Part of what made humans successful as a species is our ability to identify patterns, such as what are good things to eat versus what things are likely to eat you. Our brains are wired for it, and we find it uniquely satisfying when we can quickly distinguish something new from something known. It is this pattern recognizing instinct that makes integrated marketing such a successful strategy for brands. Each instance or venue where a brand or product reappears triggers a recognition response: “I know what that is. I’ve seen it before.”

For every marketer that is fighting the good fight against waning email response rates, rising direct mail costs, or decreasing lead generation numbers, finding a way to trigger more positive response from each campaign is critical. Adding a digital component to your existing marketing efforts can broaden and maximize the impression each message makes…increasing impact without breaking the budget.

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

There is a good reason why digital marketing is on the tip of every tongue in education marketing. Tools like social media, web advertising, and mobile marketing can amplify the effect of any campaign by providing platforms and opportunities to put your message in front of your target audience again and again. When these messages occur in digital spaces that are comfortable to the audience and are kept strictly relevant to their interests, the occurrence feels less like an intrusion and more like a friendly recommendation.

By applying the intelligence gained from email marketing about target audience segments and successful creative and conversion techniques, brands can effectively implement digital marketing strategies with little risk of a misstep. For example, many MDR clients looking to increase the yield of email marketing have boosted the overall impact of their campaigns by adding a web advertising component. These clients have gotten click-through rates of .12% to .15%, as compared to the standard click-through rate expectation of .10%. The difference is in MDR’s exclusive targeting methods.

Not Your Father’s Web Advertising

The early method of web advertising was modeled after print advertising: put your ad where your target audience is likely to see it. That created a gold rush for the display space on the limited number of education-related websites that could demonstrate a readership aligned with a target audience.

Today, “cookies” or digital identifiers allow a site to remember user information and to gather useful online behavioral data that can be used to target web advertising. This data can be applied in several different ways:

  • Contextual Targeting targets ads based on the context or keywords extracted from a specific page or email.
  • Behavioral Targeting used previous online activity, such as clicks, pages visited, or actions taken to target relevant ads.
  • Geo-Targeting displays (or excludes) ads based on the user’s location.
  • Audience Targeting uses known characteristics, data, and models to target ads to a specific audience.

MDR’s Web Advertising uses the audience targeting method and our own proprietary cookie analyses to give brands the ability to target educators with many of the same selects used for targeted email and direct mail campaigns. Our display ad targeting uses implicit data that we’ve gathered about our audience rather than implied by some previous action the individual might have taken on the web.

This is where the impact of repeating patterns comes into play. When prospects come online, we identify them as educators, and using database information (such as building level, individual level, and demographic data), we categorize them into segmented audiences. That allows us to serve relevant ads on any site the target audience visits. And because you have also targeted that same audience with offline and email versions of the same message, the appearance of your ad in their online world reinforces the impression that the message is just for them.

It Takes a Village to Make a Decision

Perhaps your email marketing has shown that school principals are your key audience of purchasers. Email is an excellent targeted tool to reach exactly those individuals by name. But schools and districts are an ecosystem, and there may be plenty of influencers who weigh in with an opinion along the way to the final purchase decision. Web advertising gives you the ability to supplement your email campaign with advertising that can reach an influencing constituency of superintendents, assistant principals, and teachers by title or grade level. This expands your marketing toolbox so you can reach a broader audience that may have crucial input to the ultimate conversion.

WeAreTeachers, our trusted resource site for teachers, is another example of how digital spaces can influence purchase decisions. Running a contest, offering coupons, or giving away samples through a teacher-facing destination site are great ways to get your product into the hands of end users or those who are part of the buying decision process.

How You Know It’s Working

Let’s face it, if every shopper would immediately purchase when they see a product of interest, life would be much simpler for marketers! Unfortunately, studies show only 2% convert on their first visit to an online store. One of the keys to successfully integrating digital marketing channels is accurately attributing credit for conversions. Direct click-throughs are straightforward, but how do you credit (and validate) the value of a web advertisement if the ad is seen, but not acted upon until later?

Inserting a tiny bit of code, a conversion pixel, on the confirmation or thank you page of your website allows you to track conversions. If they ultimately make a purchase through some other means, the pixel can identify the ad’s influence post-impression. MDR uses two methods to actualize display advertising campaigns:

  • Post-Click Conversions: The number of conversions that occurred as a result of an impression after clicking on the ad. In other words, these are conversions that occur after the user clicks on your display ad and then comes to your site within a certain period to complete a conversion.
  • Post-Impression Conversions: The number of conversions that occurred as a result of an impression without clicking on the ad. In other words, these are conversions that occur when a user sees but does not click on your display ad, then comes to your site within a certain period to complete a conversion.

For marketers looking to justify an expansion into digital marketing, these are the kind of metrics that can give you confidence that you are achieving the impact you seek.

Getting Started With Web Advertising

Any entrance into digital marketing should be a natural extension of your existing marketing strategy. Having clarity about who you want to reach, in what segments, and with what messages will allow you to choose the channels that can best deliver on those objectives: SEO, website updates, web advertising, social media, or mobile marketing. A web advertising strategy that closely aligns with your offline or email marketing campaigns is a low-risk way to boost the performance of existing efforts…secure in the knowledge you are applying proven strategies.