Online marketing is a strange beast. Every creative wishes they were Don Draper and Peggy Olson, the magical duo in Mad Men who can sit back and come up with an amazing line out of thin air and then stand behind it with conviction until the client realises that it will change their business forever. Online creatives don’t do this – the perfect online marketing campaign is never created in an instant. You can have great ideas, you can run with them, but the only thing that will prove you right or wrong is data, and online marketing offers bucketloads of the stuff.
Does this mean there’s no room for creativity and skill? On the contrary, driving online sales and leads is pretty far from marketing by numbers.
Each campaign needs new creative, new copy, new design and new coding. Every time you wish to test, you need to come up with two (or more) variants of one of the elements and test it accordingly, and you’d have to go through thousands of iterations before you arrived where you need to.
The different iterations are usually slight tweaks to a great and well-thought out campaign: change the colour of a button here, add a word there or remove a field in this form here. Then test, measure, change and move on to the next element.
Any decent online marketer should be obsessed with one thing: conversions. How many people out there can we convert into relationships? How many relationships can we convert into leads? How many leads are we converting into sales?
So what goes into the perfect online campaign? What are the elements top web designers look out for when building a campaign that will convert?
First impressions count wherever you are, but online they make or break campaigns. It is so easy to dismiss a mailer that you don’t like that unless the design is immediately captivating, there is a very high chance that it will be closed away and forgotten in seconds.
With online designs, you can’t rely on the physical aspect of your design – there is no expensive paper to woo prospects, no fancy cutter to intrigue them, it all boils down to the quality of the artwork you (or your agency) can come up with.
Beautiful design is nothing without strong copy. You can’t afford to have copy that is not aimed at converting with such a short attention span at your disposal. The only way to convert is to have a message that is clear, concise and to the point.
Show your product or service’s benefits. Make it seem like an obvious choice for punters. Do not lose them in long and winding descriptions and long words. This is not a literary competition – if you like long and complicated words, keep them for when you play scrabble with your friends.
Fewer calls to action
Even if you nail the copy, things can still go awry. Keep it simple, do not try to sell all your products and services at once. It is good to show people that you have variety, but you have to make their next step a no-brainer, and in order to achieve this you should minimise the number of calls to action you have in any online campaign.
This should be a direct consequence of your campaign planning process, during which you should have decided what it is you want your online effort to achieve. If you set out to increase the sales of tablets, don’t confuse your customers by telling them that you also sell computers, laptops, keyboards, mice, printers, consumables, oh – and we also sell mice mats.
Ease of use
You have a perfect campaign, people like it as soon as they land on the page or open the email. They read the copy and seem interested in your product. They click through the strong call to action to buy your product but then boom, they are faced with a form that has 30 fields in it.
You’re asking them to give you their ID card number. You want to know what their grandmother earned in 1936. Once you’ve convinced people to take action you have to make it as easy as possible, so keep forms and steps needed to an absolute minimum. You can always gather more data after you’ve converted the client.
At the end of the day, the perfect online marketing campaign boils down to one thing – how compelling you make it for people out there to take the action you want them to. Put yourself in their shoes and see what they’d want, not what you’d like to flaunt. Online marketing campaigns can be scary at first, but get in there, aim at converting well and you will see your return on investment soar.
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