Vantage Points: Rising Above Advertising Clutter

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In this latest in BIA/Kelsey Vantage Points article, GotU, a Los Angeles-based advertising technology solutions provider, offers tactical strategies for local businesses trying to find advertising success and stand out among the big companies in digital advertising. In addition to the post below, GotU is pleased to offer a complimentary white paper on this topic available for download here.

The Vantage Point series taps the perspectives of various lookout points from around the local media and tech sectors. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect that of BIA/Kelsey. Please contact rducey@biakelsey.com if you have insights to share.

Rising Above Advertising Clutter
Digital Strategies for Small Local Businesses to Beat the Big Guys

Emma K picBy Emma Koitola
Marketing Manager, GotU

“How do we get more customers?” is the timeless question local businesses continue to try to find the answer to, especially in our digitally focused age of advertising.

In the search of the most efficient marketing method, even the late adopter advertisers and small local business owners are making the move towards digital marketing, especially as mobile and online advertising offer unprecedented targeting possibilities out-performing any traditional methods available.

According to BIA/Kelsey, 80.5 percent of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are already using some kind of digital advertising (video, SEO, website, email or social advertising) and almost 80% use social media, with the figures growing as we speak.

But as the digital marketing usage grows, so does the competition. When the big national companies with big budgets are using the same digital channels and targeting the same, if not bigger, audiences, the small players need to find a way to stand out.

That’s why the secret to success on a local level is simple: back to basics. When the business is local, the advertising should also be local. Let’s break it down to simple steps:

1. Reach the right people through the right channel.

The most important thing is to put your message where people spend the most time. Facebook is the number one social network in terms of the number of users. The time people spend browsing the platform daily is an impressive average of 35-50 minutes. The platform reaches more people in the U.S. than the top newspapers combined. 214 million people in the U.S. are active social media users and all of them are also active monthly Facebook users[1]. Facebook also offers the biggest variety and detail of targeting options. No wonder Facebook is already the preferred social media of local businesses, according to BIA/Kelsey’s research.

Still, while over 65 million SMBs already have a Business page on Facebook, only 5 percent of them use the platform for advertising. That’s a huge gap and an untapped opportunity – both for the small and medium businesses, as well as the business directories, agencies and marketing partners helping local businesses grow. Now is the time to take advantage of the full potential Facebook has to offer.

2. Stay specific: Just one, well-defined target audience in one specific location.

Businesses often choose a wide target audience, thinking that will maximize the results and guarantee that at least someone who sees the ad would be interested. But the most potential people to become new customers of a local business are the ones in the immediate surroundings of the business.

Instead of going big, the local company wins by going small, staying local and staying relevant. When only the right people see the ads, precious ad budget isn’t wasted and the effectiveness of the campaign is maximized. By delivering a targeted, relevant message to audience segments in the immediate surroundings of the business, an ad has a much higher opportunity of being noticed and acted upon.

3. Stay relevant with just one simple offer.

When performing local marketing, an ad should always include an incentive. It should be eye-catching and offer a one-of-a-kind deal that encourages the consumer to take advantage of immediately. Advertising the mere fact that the business exists isn’t enough to drive action. Advertisements must deliver an actual reason for a person to stop and look at an ad and provide incentive for them to make a purchase or a booking.

4. Grab attention with the right copy and creative.

Once the right targets have been determined and the offer has been formulated, the design of the ad is critical. When users scroll through Facebook, they are not looking for a specific product or an ad – that’s why the ad must make a visual impact and be attention-grabbing so it stands out among the competition. The ad must communicate all the right information so that it catches the eye quickly, an obvious point that applies to both big and small advertisers.

5. Make a real impact with the right frequency.

According to comScore, an average internet user sees 1,707 banners every day. No wonder the concept “banner blindness” exists – it’s a simple self-defense reaction to avoid the majority of the ads that distract the user from the actual online content they are looking for. Because of this, it’s important that the digital ad is shown to the targeted audience more than once because frequency matters in making sure the ad is seen and remembered.

Research conducted by Facebook Marketing Science found that with a frequency cap of 2 per week (8 views per month), up to 95 percent of the total potential brand lift in purchase intent is captured. That’s why planning frequency levels should be part of the campaign planning process no matter the campaign objective.

6. Take the first contact by collecting leads.

According to BIA/Kelsey, 44.9 percent of businesses name Future Customer Awareness as the most important advertising result.  The best solution for a campaign with a similar goal is to drive leads with a Facebook advertising option called lead ads that allows the targeted person to sign up with a few clicks directly within the ad – whether it’s for a newsletter, a test drive, or a “please call me back” form. 

A Reach & Leads focused campaign is the right choice for a business that doesn’t want direct offline results, but wants to identify interested potential new customers and be in contact with them themselves to move forward with the sales process personally.This campaign method enables targeting a larger geographical area and guarantees a defined number of people who will see the ads. Lead ad is also a great option when the final purchase is an important one, like a car or a house. Paying a visit to a car dealership may be a big step to take, but signing up to a test drive online is not. And that’s all the business owner needs to move along the sales funnel and to identify the lead.

Advice for the local business.

If managing all of this alone seems like an overwhelming task, there is always help available. 

Many business directories, local marketing partners or agencies offer simple digital advertising solutions to local businesses. Getting a professionally managed campaign with a great creative and the right targeting for a small fee can easily be the best solution and save a great deal of time. Additionally, you can skip the trial and error phase so common to beginners on any field. Reaching out to a local business directory or an agency who support small businesses with their digital advertising efforts can be all that is needed to get the campaign going.

Advice for the reseller, agency or business directory

If you’re doubting whether to stay within your traditional offering or adopt digital marketing services, you’re looking at the matter from the wrong point of view.

SMBs are already doing social media and digital advertising so if you don’t offer your support and digital services to them, someone else will.  The good news is, 58 percent of SMBs say they need third-party support with their social media presence. That’s your market and it’s yours to get. Just make sure that what you offer is simple enough to drive real results and to explain, sell and report over. The long-term relationship you’ve already established with your clients will be even stronger if you guide them through the digital “jungle.”

If you are not sure how to get started yourself, the right marketing technology partner can help you set up and manage multiple and successful customized digital advertising campaigns at scale in no time.

In today’s digital world where an average person sees thousands of online ads every day, the task of outperforming the big national and global companies can easily seem like an impossible challenge for a local business. A local SMB can easily win their share of voice and ad space – the key is to stay specific and to keep things local.

For more tips and tricks on how to rise above advertising clutter, download a complimentary white paper that offers more insights and strategies for developing compelling and actionable digital advertising.

In a matter of no time, you’ll be saying, “How come I didn’t try this before!”

About the author

Emma Koitola is the marketing manager of GotU, the end-to-end white-label Facebook marketing technology using reach & frequency and reach & leads optimization to deliver real results to local businesses worldwide.

[1] We Are Social: Digital in 2017, Northern America: https://www.slideshare.net/wearesocialsg/digital-in-2017-northern-america

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