Nov. 4, 2020—An education session as part of the SEMA360 online event touched on how operators are succeeding with what host Jim McKinley called the “hard things” in digital marketing.
McKinley, principal and cofounder of the marketing firm (un)Common Logic, touched on three main tough tasks that need to be done in order to succeed in competitive markets.
No Leaky Buckets
First, McKinley said that owners cannot let their web assets turn into leaky buckets. By that, he means that website maintenance and attention to details are important. After all, your marketing dollars will often lead customers to your website before they reach your shop.
“If you’re going to spend thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of dollars on digital marketing, you need to make sure your website is sound,” McKinley said.
An example is if a digital ad takes a user to the wrong web page or if that web page is hard to navigate. All of this is turning the user away from reaching the point of sale or getting the right information to make it to your physical business. Don’t create friction in the user’s web experience, he said. Otherwise, customers are leaking out of the bucket.
“All successful digital marketers spend a significant amount of time and resources on building and improving their websites,” he said.
McKinley described a marketing funnel to represent how customers reach the point of purchase. It begins with the broad scope (awareness) that gets somebody interested in the product. It moves to the next phase (research) as a customer gets more interested. Finally, they reach the endpoint (purchase), meaning the customer is actively looking to buy your product.
“One of the things in digital marketing, the traps that we can fall into, is just focusing on those customers that are at the low funnel,” McKinley said.
That lowest funnel is those people in the purchase phase. That’s the smallest group of potential customers, but it has the highest perceived return on investment.
Because the modern customer spends much more time doing online research before committing to a product or service, McKinley said that a sustainable digital marketing model incorporates the wider net cast in the higher layers of the marketing funnel to help lock in the customer’s interest.
The Marketing Plan
The final tip presented by McKinley is creating the marketing campaign that incorporates those upper parts of the funnel. It’s focused on broader topics, brand awareness and is responsive to web search habits.
“High-funnel marketing can look at things such as paid search,” he said. “Jeep upgrades. How do I improve gas mileage on my Honda?”
It could also incorporate display ads on highly trafficked sites related to your industry sector. Finally, it could also incorporate real content produced by your company.
One of the keys to carrying this out is to keep the message fresh and changing by the seasons, customer tastes and outside influences. Adapting to the messaging during the COVID-19 pandemic is a prime example.
“The idea is that what your customers care about also changes,” McKinley said. “So what you need to do is look for ways to engage with customers on the things that they care about most.”