Jan 22, 2014Many RFID sales and marketing professionals get caught up in the numbers—the amount of banner ad clicks or leads they can attain. They think that it is always better to reach more people, because that will impress management, and their sales team will then be able to talk anyone into buying a solution. The reality, however, is that reaching a lot of people can actually hurt your company. If you are spending a lot of money on generic clicks, or if your sales force is spending a great deal of time talking to people who only handed over their business card at an event for a chance to win a free iPad, then you are likely not meeting those who might actually purchase your products, and that wastes time and money for your business.
The big question that companies in a niche space, like RFID, should be asking is this: "How can we reach the relatively small group of people who might actually buy our products?" One option that should be considered is targeted advertising. As opposed to general advertising, it places your ad in front of people already searching specifically for what you have to offer. Targeted advertising typically allows you to reach those who have indicated—by selecting a specific story to read, or by submitting specific search parameters online—that they are interested in a specific subject matter or the types of solutions you provide. Your ad will only appear on pages with relevant content, or to people who have expressed an interest in RFID by visiting certain sites.
Targeted advertising is one of the most cost-effective and efficient forms of marketing currently available. Highlighted below are some of the benefits that this form of advertising offers, and why it should be an integral component of your overall marketing plan.
Cost-effectiveness: With a traditional banner ad campaign, you can quickly generate a lot of ad impressions and perhaps clicks, but it is difficult to know if the person clicking on your ad is really interested in your products, so this might not the best use of your marketing dollars. Targeted campaigns offer the capability of carefully selecting who sees your ad, when they see it and how frequently. Most ad servers will allow you to target your ads by location (country or state), day of the week, particular hours of the day and user frequency (served to a particular user a set number of times per week, for instance).
RFID Journal has taken this a giant step further by allowing you to target ads by keyword (see Linking RFID Product Buyers With Sellers). This is not search advertising—it's content-based. So if you are selling RFID-enabled electronic seals, for example, we can show your ad about e-seals only to people reading articles about e-seals—whether they searched our site for that term, found our article through Google or clicked on a newsletter link. This means your ad will be shown only to those who have expressed an interest in e-seals. This allows you to make sure your message ends up in front of the right user at the proper time, with no money wasted marketing to people uninterested in your products.
Speed: If you have ever tried to build a qualified prospect list, drive qualified traffic to your website, achieve brand awareness or improve search engine rankings, then you know that process can take a long time—especially if you serve a competitive market like retail or health care. It can be particularly difficult, and costly, to get noticed on a broad level. Targeted advertising complements broader marketing efforts, since it helps you stand out and quickly gain exposure in more specific and focused areas, which is often more important. For example, you would have a better chance obtaining clicks in more specific categories, such as "RFID footwear tagging" (instead of just "shoe stores") or "RFID-enabled hospital wristbands" (rather than simply "hospitals").
Pay-per-click (PPC): Not all sites offer targeting on a pay-per-click basis, but this is something you should ask about. Targeted advertising is even more cost-effective when paired with PPC, because you are showing your ad only to interested readers, and then paying only when they click. You will have tighter control over your traffic and measurable results for each campaign, in the form of clicks, which will make it easier to determine your return on investment (ROI).
If you invest on a broad site like Google, or with broad keywords like "IT professionals" (instead of the more specific "tracking IT assets"), you may be wasting your PPC budget on those who would only click on your ad out of curiosity. It is more efficient to spend advertising dollars on professionals actively seeking the types of RFID solutions you offer, and that is best achieved by figuring out the phrases or terms they are searching for online, as well as the articles they are reading.
RFID Journal offers targeted advertising on a PPC basis. The advantage is that you get a banner ad (as opposed to a text ad), and still receive the benefits of being served impressions—even when there are no clicks. Since many visitors will see your ad, even if they don't click, these people will grow to recognize your brand. Later on, they may recognize your logo and visit you at a trade show, or click on a future ad.
Timeliness: Targeted campaigns generally offer a great deal of flexibility, allowing you to easily act or react quickly to something happening in the market. Let's say there is a new government mandate announced regarding the use of RFID technology in aerospace. You could quickly tweak your ad copy to cater a message about how your aerospace solution meets mandate requirements, adding new keywords like "aerospace mandate." If you were running a traditional run-of-site (ROS) ad, or were waiting for your site to rank naturally at the top for when folks searched Google for "aerospace mandate," then you would probably miss the boat on this timely opportunity.
Actionable data: It is usually easier and more cost-efficient to test marketing copy and keywords in a targeted PPC campaign than it is for a traditional banner ad or other media. Some sites only offer text PPC ads, but RFID Journal's ad-serving technology enables us to serve both text and banner ads, in multiple sizes, as PPC campaigns. Once you flesh out the keywords and copy points that work best for your particular needs, you can roll the campaign out to other areas.
Two important tips to consider when setting up a targeted advertising or PPC campaign:
Create targeted landing pages: If you are creating an ad for or paying for highly target clicks for your new "water-resistant tag," but are driving those clicks to your homepage that talks about general company information, you will likely lose those leads or make them work a lot harder than they should to find the product information you promoted in your ad.
Test: If you do not achieve good results with your targeted campaign, tweak the copy or settings. It can take some time to get the hang of how it works, and to determine what works within each segment, so be patient.
Advertising does not get any more precise or efficient than this. Now, that doesn't mean other forms of marketing don't work or are worth abandoning, but it does make a compelling case for why targeted advertising—especially paired with a pay-per-click model—should be an important part of your marketing efforts.
For more details about how we set up PPC campaigns at RFID Journal, visit www.rfidjournal.com/advertise/targeting. (Spoiler alert: There's an informative video.)
Sonja Valenta is RFID Journal's VP of marketing. For a free consultation about your RFID marketing strategy, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.