In many ways, the growth of digital marketing has brought about additional challenges for businesses. Many years ago, you had to reach customers through adverts, with a limited scope of media they would be looking at to find you. It meant advertising was expensive, often broad spectrum and the arena only for big brands with large budgets.

Today’s digital world puts companies in a different position, where they need to reach customers on their chosen devices, through different social channels, websites and affiliate partners, with strategies varying by location, time of day and more. Technically – and mentally – there is more to manage.

However, as has been experienced by online retailer Ego, this digital arena provides an opportunity for smaller retailers with limited budgets to grow gradually through very targeted and focused ad spend in online advertising and social media. Your success is based more on the knowledge you acquire and the decisions you make than just your budgets. Thomas A. Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Well, today, many of those overalls can be replaced with machines – and human skills are used to analyse, interpret and apply experience.

Social key

Social media and the digital arena in general have made the environment for small businesses less expensive to compete in. And that is because you can spend gradually, according to your budget, and use insights you gain from the campaigns you run to target spend in the direction where it will get the most gains. You can focus your advertising on the people most likely to buy from you. You don’t have to spend money trying to reach a mass audience, but you can focus on your relevant consumer and the words, titles, images and more that will resonate best with them.

The more information you have on these and on how bidding prices for your products vary by location, time and date and which device people are on – and the more you know which works best for most of your target audience – the better returns you will see in campaigns.

For instance, focusing on the product information or ‘product feeds’ Ego sends to partners, such as Google shopping ads, it has increased traffic from Google shopping by 80% and revenues by 85% since starting on the Intelligent Reach platform, which focuses on the quality and relevance of product information or product feeds.

For Ego, being a young company that started off on social media, revenue increases didn’t come from large advertising campaigns, but as a result of its focus on the information about its products that gets sent to its partners as well as Ego’s understanding of performance and conversions.

To achieve this, Ego removed certain words in titles that didn’t work well in searches, tested variations of images and words to see which converted better to sales and adapted its campaigns and products according to information they access about how well they are performing.

The right approach

Technology has sometimes been a curse for us all but also – as we all know – it adds substantial benefits to our lives. With technology, you can automate, so that large numbers of products or ads or partners, for example, are dealt with automatically – manually would just take too long. It also provides us with the ability to number crunch through stats, see charts and analyse trends. Without those insights, we can’t always make the right business decisions.

Through platforms such as Intelligence Reach, companies can see how well their ads are performing, gaining agility and the ability to change and react instantly. For example, knowing which products are performing well has helped them hone their product – and the marketing team works more closely with merchandise to tailor the shoes according to their target audience’s tastes.

They can better manage the bidding process, as they know when they need to bid up and when to bid lower – all bid prices being affected by location, time of day and devices that customers are using. They can optimise their bidding on a product, SKU [stock keeping unit] level – seeing top sellers, slow sellers, invisible products – that aren’t getting any clicks at all and non-converters – getting clicks but not converting.  

So rather than seeing the complex digital arena as a problem – with lots of product information that needs to be sent to many partners like eBay, Google, Facebook and more and many details to fix, businesses can see it as a great opportunity to focus in on as targeted a campaign as possible.

The more targeted your campaign and the more ‘right’ people to click on your ads you find, the more returns you will get and the more you can use your money reaching more of those people. As Winston Churchill said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”