This Sunday is one of the most anticipated events for both sports fans and marketing executives.  Of course I’m talking about Super Bowl XLIX.  Even if you don’t know which teams are playing (Patriots and Seahawks), and you don’t know the difference between a touch down and a touchback, chances are pretty good you’re going to tune in to the game.

Why?  Because on Monday everyone’s going to be talking about the Super Bowl commercials!

I’m one of the rare few who loves both football and marketing, so this is like all the holidays rolled up into one event for me. :)

I bring this up because advertising at the Super Bowl is like the Holy Grail.  Where else can you get so many eyeballs actually looking forward to your advertisement?  It’s one of the only times of the year where the main event, or show, can often get in the way of the ads!  Usually it’s the other way around.

The not so small problem is that these ads are likely out of your budget.  That’s why in this article I’m going to walk through the much less costly options for targeting your ideal prospects using digital marketing.  Each option answers the most important question, “Where are your prospects hanging out online?”  Once you know that answer, then marketing gets a heck of a lot easier.

Here are 5 potential answers to that question…



1. Searching

Your ideal prospects are most likely using search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing to find the products or services you’re offering.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this.  When you want to find something, then you probably “Google” it, right?

If that’s the case and your prospects are searching for your products and services, then you have two options:

  1. Search engine optimization (SEO).  With SEO, you’ll try to get your website to rank on the first page of search engines for relevant keywords, or search phrases.  When a prospect clicks on the link in the search engine, she’ll end up on your website where you can convert her into a lead or sale.  It’s important to understand that you do not pay for clicks to your website, but it does require an investment in time and resources to get ranked high in Google.
  2. Search advertising.  With search advertising in Google AdWords or Bing Ads, you’ll display a text ad on the first page of the search engine for relevant keywords.  Again, when a prospect clicks on your ad, she’ll end up on your website where you can generate a lead or sale.  Search advertising is pay per click so you will have to pay for every click on your ad, unlike SEO.


2. Reading

Next, your ideal prospects are likely also reading informational articles and news online.  For example, when my daughter Violet was having some problems sleeping through the night, I was reading every article I could find about sleep training.

It turns out there is a very cool “alarm” clock for children that has a red light and a green light.  The clock is red during sleeping hours and then turns green when it’s OK to get out of bed.  If I’m reading about sleep issues and this clock is a potential solution then doesn’t it make sense to show a banner ad to me?  Who else would be reading about sleep problems except parents who would likely be interested in this product?

I think you get the point here.  If your prospects are reading articles and news online, then you can use Display advertising to show text and banner ads about your product or service.


3. Watching

Did you know YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine?

It’s true.  Not only do people look for information and news in article format, they also like to watch videos.  And YouTube offers pre-roll video ads to businesses that want to target prospects watching videos on YouTube.

This is a great option if you have the resources to create a 30 – 60 second video ad.  Just like search and display advertising, you’ll have to pay for the ad placement, but in this case you’ll be paying per view of your video ad.  As long as you create a compelling ad with a strong call to action to click through to your website, then this can be a relatively cheap marketing option.


4. Socializing

I have one friend who is not on Facebook.  It just so happens he is single and I’m convinced those two facts are not mutually exclusive.  The reality today is that people expect to find you on social media.  It’s how we keep up with friends and family, and it’s also how we make introductions.

Whether your business is B2C or B2B, social media is likely another option to target your market.  More specifically, I’m talking about Facebook advertising because, let’s face it, Facebook is the king of social media right now.  With Facebook ads, you can create what’s called “Custom Audiences” which is where I recommend every business get started with social media.

Custom audiences allows you to target previous visitors to your website (aka retargeting on Facebook), your prospects or customers (simply upload their email addresses and Facebook matches them to users), and Lookalike audiences which are Facebook users that have the same demographics and interests as your prospects and customers.


5. Mobile-izing

OK, mobile-izing is not a word, but I wanted to stick with the same format. :)

What I mean is that your prospects are likely on their mobile devices doing everything we already talked about above.  They are searching, reading, watching and socializing all on their not-so-little-anymore mobile screens.

So everything we talked about above still applies, but you need a mobile version of your ads and website in order to use the marketing channel.  There’s just no way to use SEO, Search advertising, Display advertising, YouTube advertising or Facebook advertising to target mobile users, unless you have a mobile optimized website.


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