Internet marketers plan campaigns aimed at achieving every objective under the sun, from generating product sales for their clients to promoting online contests and attracting registrations. But one type of campaign, which all of us end up planning sooner or later, is one of the most challenging of all. It’s an initiative that’s about to become very familiar, all over again.
If you’ve noticed a slight shift in how your clients allocate their marketing budgets as of late, you’re not alone. Increasingly, companies are starting to realize the benefits of long-term investments in Internet-oriented promotional vehicles. Instead of spending everything on straight online advertising, an approach suited to achieving results in the short term, they’re devoting their dollars to projects with a little more staying power. The popularity of e-newsletter programs and online customer service initiatives is ballooning. The CRM value of ventures like these is something that few businesses can resist.
What makes such new endeavors so appealing is they fit with the changing times. Reports continue to trickle in confirming what we online types have suspected for years: The Internet is on its way to becoming a vital tool for daily survival, in the U.S. and beyond. According to a recent report released by Ipsos-Reid, consumers are becoming “increasingly reliant” on this handy medium.
Studies show 72 percent of the American public — and an equally astounding 62 percent of Canadians — already use the Web (having gone online at least once in the previous month). As a testament to the magnitude of this trend, the author of the study stated: “The Internet is in advanced stages of growth in the U.S. and is becoming a necessity to many of the few adult Americans who had resisted going online before.” The findings are enough to evoke images of a futuristic world where the Net dictates our every move and our computers govern our lives.
It’s also enough to drive countless companies to take a serious look at the state of their Web sites. Slowly but surely, they’re coming to realize their sites could well be their most important vehicle for corporate exposure and self-representation. With this realization come site redesigns… and site redesigns lead to relaunch campaigns.
This brings us back to media buying. It’s safe to say most experienced Internet marketers have developed at least one campaign promoting the launch of a new site. Creating a campaign for a site being relaunched, however, is quite a different matter.
To begin with, the companies that approach us with this objective in mind have likely given us their business in the past (to launch their original sites or develop subsequent online campaigns, perhaps). Chances are we’ve helped them make a name for themselves online through branding and traffic-generating programs. The company already has some brand awareness and should be your primary consideration when putting together the new promotional campaign.
When beginning to seek out potential placements, media buyers will normally consult preceding campaigns and reconsider buys that have previously produced satisfactory results. You should take the same approach when planning a campaign to promote the release of a redesigned site.
If the client has enjoyed a presence on an appropriate portal, attracting target market visitors from its pool of Internet users, why not revisit that audience when it’s time to relaunch? At best, you’ll entice users to return to the site and possibly start a renewed relationship with the company. At worst, they’ll simply be informed of the site update — and such news is very often taken as a sign of success. Leveraging past partnerships with publishers and past relationships with consumers is an effective, and often cost-efficient, solution.
If past partnerships don’t exist, don’t despair — there are other ways to generate significant traffic and publicize your client’s new and improved site. When attracting site visitors is a goal, locating publishers who can deliver (qualified) volume, as well as value, is key. Portals such as MSN.ca, the home page of which receives upwards of 3.5 million page views per day, will sell you a branded home page text link “camouflaged” as editorial and is often even open to guaranteeing a minimum number of clicks. Seek out visitor-generating buys like this one, but be sure to use your ad space and allotted characters wisely to make the most of your exposure should your click rate be lower than hoped.
That the Internet is growing in popularity and value in our society is irrefutable. There’s a good chance advertisers will respond in ways that will benefit the Internet marketing industry beyond our wildest dreams. Let’s be ready to deliver when past and present clients come knocking at our doors.
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