Ah springtime. The greatest time of the year. Warmer weather, cherry blossoms, baseball, and, this year, neon colors. Everywhere.
Color took a bit of a break from our lives the past few years as the entire world seemed to teeter on inevitable collapse, but it’s back now, and I, for one, am happy about it. From the skinny jeans (for women and, unfortunately, men too) that come in colors matching every shade of Avery Hi-Liter, to the incredibly popular Cole Haan Oxford shoes that sport neon yellow soles, to the numerous handbags bright enough to make any dark alley light up like it’s noon, color, in its brightest form, is back.
Unfortunately, that same color (or at least that same uplifting feeling) hasn’t translated to most digital campaigns. Marketers are still running the same campaigns, the same way they always have. Not that there was anything “wrong” with your existing campaigns, but by adding some color to your old, grey campaigns, you can better align your brand with the market, tap into what customers are feeling, and maybe even add a little green to your pockets.
Add Color To Your Search Efforts
Search is a great place to begin adding color. It’s quick, easy, low cost, and low risk. But it’s also incredibly un-sexy if you don’t use it creatively. For example, right now I would be willing to bet most people’s trademark search creative looks something like this:
On its own, the creative is fine, but my guess is other than adjusting for an occasional special offer, the core creative has stayed the same for just about forever. To add a little color, try getting a bit more creative, a bit more seasonal, and a bit more personal. For example, instead of the normal creative running on a national campaign, build a geo-targeted campaign just to New York City and test city-specific creative. Using Nike as an example, try something like this (note: I do not work with/for Nike):
This creative absolutely has a different feel to it and isn’t your typical direct response type of messaging — but in tests with multiple direct response retailers, we have seen seen sales increase in almost every case. The reason is simple: by geo-targeting your campaign, then customizing your creative specific to that city/city’s weather conditions/city’s interests, you are able to deliver customers a more relevant message — resulting in higher click-through rates and higher conversion rates.
Sprucing Up Display
While not as quick and easy as search, display is still a relatively easy channel to spruce up, and one in desperate need of help, if you ask me. Right now, if you are a direct response advertiser, chances are you are running retargeting and/or behavioral targeting through one or more networks and sort of leaving it at that.
Sure some people are fancy-ing it up by segmenting cookies or running dynamic creative, which is all great, but you can do so much more with display. For example, try sequential messaging with your retargeting buys – showing site browsers a series of banners in a certain order where each message builds on the previous one.
Men’s Underwear Ads On A Dating Site? Oh, Yes.
Try finding non-endemic sites and building custom messages and banners to speak specifically to that crowd. One client of mine, 2(X)IST designer men’s underwear, took a small portion of their behavioral budget and bought targeted ads on Match.com with the tagline of “in case the first date goes well”. The conversions from the buy were almost 90% first time buyers.
Similar to the search example above, build creative that dynamically inserts weather conditions and adjusts the messaging accordingly. While these specific examples might not be a spot-on fit for your brand, the type of thinking that drives these types of ideas likely is on-point with your brand — you just have to be willing to test it.
Add Personality To Your Social Media
If playing with your search and display campaigns sounds too risky for you, start with your social media programs. The above type of thinking is easily applicable to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr campaigns and costs absolutely nothing.
Instead of posting another boring link on your Facebook page about your free shipping, give your campaigns, and your brand, some personality, life, and color. Post things that are contextually relevant to your brand that will encourage people to engage with you, rather than simply looking at your marketing as a means for taking money from them.
Digital is a great medium for advertising. Our campaigns are quicker, more trackable, easily optimized — there are a thousand benefits to digital. Unfortunately, all the campaign data has also made many of us somewhat cold, sterile marketing machines (I kinda picture the Terminator 3 Robot, with the scary red eyeball) that spit out marketing campaigns based on a magic algorithm that tells us how much money we will make.
The problem is, those magical algorithms can’t adjust for true creativity or the effect it will have on consumers. So before you decide to run the same boring banner or the same boring search creative, stop, take a step back and add some color to your campaign. You will be surprised how much your customers will appreciate it — and how much more you will enjoy it.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.