Email Marketing for All Types of Businesses

Email Marketing for All Types of Businesses

Why should your company be doing email marketing?

First and foremost, because people are very engaged with their inboxes. According to Pew Research, 90% of Americans use the internet and email. People can check their work and personal email accounts multiple times a day via their phones. Email is easy to use, easy to understand, and can be highly engaging if done correctly. And, for marketers, email has a great ROI with a return of $42 for every $1 spent. Email marketing has better reach than social media marketing; there are 3x more accounts than Facebook and Twitter combined.

Who should you be sending emails to?

There are two fundamental distinctions regarding who to send your emails to:

  • Your own list of opted-in customers or prospects
  • Someone else’s list of opted-in customers or prospects

Let’s start with a discussion of the basic types of email marketing you can do to your own lists.

Sending emails to your own lists

E-commerce

E-commerce businesses stand to gain the most from email marketing because you can use emails to drive people directly to your site to make a purchase. This is much easier than driving foot traffic to a brick-and-mortar store. Here are two essential types of e-commerce email campaigns:

  • Abandoned cart emails – One of the most critical types of email campaigns for an e-commerce business is the abandoned cart email. When customers shop your site, they may get partway through the purchase process and not follow-through to provide payment information. Abandoned cart emails are easy to set up through almost any email service provider (ESP) and are fully automated based on rules you establish. These emails will remind people that they still have items in their cart, and with a few quick clicks they can finish their purchase. If you don’t have abandoned cart emails for your ecommerce business you are leaving a lot of revenue on the table. These emails are effective, with 87% of shoppers saying they would consider returning to their cart to complete a purchase.
  • Sales promotions and new product promotions – Additional emails that are essential for ecommerce businesses include sale promotions and new product promotions. These types of emails should communicate their message quickly and succinctly with a clear call to action (CTA) for purchase. Frequency for promotional emails varies by industry type, but overall you should pay attention to your open and click rates and your unsubscribe rates. As long as opens and clicks remain strong, and unsubscribes remain below 1%, you are not over-messaging your list.
Brand loyalty

Any type of business, whether ecommerce or not, should use email marketing to establish and maintain brand loyalty with customers and prospects. Email campaigns to support brand loyalty can take many forms:

  • User information – For parts and supply stores, emails can provide information on how to install a product or how to trouble-shoot an installation issue.
  • Complimentary tips – A gourmet food store can send recipe ideas or tutorials on how to use the latest kitchen tools.
  • Teasers – If your business is a performance space, emails can showcase past or upcoming performances by clicking through to a landing page with video clips.
  • Area interest – For hotels and resorts, emails can contain information on activities and sights in the surrounding area.
  • Benefits – Retail stores with a loyalty program can send emails with news about how to leverage the loyalty program for maximum savings.
  • Lifestyle – Luxury brands can incorporate high-end imagery to associate their products with the desired lifestyle of their customers.

The focus for all of these content ideas is to provide something that is of interest to the recipient. Too often, email marketers only think about their own businesses’ needs: “How can I sell this? How can I drive more people to my store? How can I generate leads?” The thought process needs to shift to: “What does my audience need? What are my audiences’ interests? What does my audience want to know?” by thinking like a customer, email marketers can make their campaigns more engaging.

Business to business

Thus far, we have talked about email marketing that is oriented toward consumers. Email marketing is also an excellent tool in the B2B space. For B2B emails, the focus still needs to be on the recipient, not on the sender. Education is a big component of B2B email marketing. Business is complex, and there are multiple products and services competing for every business persons’ time and attention. You can make your email marketing stand out by using your expertise in your industry to provide user-friendly content on topics such as:

  • Products – Pros and cons of different products used in your industry.
  • Trends – What are the critical industry trends that your audience should know about?
  • Laws – Are there legal changes in your industry that affect your audience?
  • Case studies – Explain how other businesses have successfully used your products and services.

Most B2B email marketing is a compliment to a human sales force. So, don’t think of your B2B emails as a channel for instant sales. Think of your B2B emails as a place to nurture your relationship with your clients and prospects. B2B emails can showcase your company as a valued partner who gives out relevant content and doesn’t just ask for money.

E-newsletters

E-newsletters can contain most of the type of information previously mentioned. Your e-newsletters can contain offers, educational content, branding content, event listings, new products, and more. If you are a news media company, your newsletters may contain breaking news, or news related to certain categories (e.g. business, crime, sports).

The difference between e-newsletters and other types of email marketing are simply that e-newsletters are sent on a regular schedule, usually daily, weekly or monthly, so recipients know when they’ll be hearing from you.

Sending emails to someone else’s lists

There are two types of opportunities to send an email marketing message to a list that is not your own.

Permission-based national email databases

National vendors offer access to millions of opt-in email addresses that are collected from a wide array of sites. To gain access to these national email databases you typically need to work through a media company or ad agency. The first step in sending your email campaign through a national database is selecting the right demographic, geographic, and psychographic profile that you want to reach. Selections can also include intent to purchase items like homes, cars, appliances, and more. Some vendors even allow selections based on recipients’ job titles, which means these databases can be a great option for human resources for recruitment campaigns.

Many vendors offer a performance guarantee of a minimum open rate of 8% or a click rate of 1%. If these performance thresholds are not achieved, the campaign will be delivered again at no charge.

E-newsletter Takeovers

Media companies that have e-newsletters often offer advertisers an option for an e-newsletter takeover. Each e-newsletter’s list has subscribers who have different interests (such as crime, food, sports, and weather), so you’ll need to select the e-newsletter list that aligns most closely with your brand and message.

The e-newsletter takeover is a co-branded email design. The email will come from the media company’s sending address and will contain both their logo and your logo. Recipients already trust the media company because they have signed up for the media company’s e-newsletters. Having your brand and message cobranded on the campaign will let recipients know that your marketing message is coming from a trusted local advertiser.

As with the national email databases, e-newsletter takeovers are sent by the media company, so there is no risk to your sending domain.

Key terms

Here are some key terms in the world of email marketing. Being familiar with these terms will help you understand how to engage in email marketing in an effective and legally compliant manner:

CAN-SPAM law – This law governs the use of bulk emailing, which is what email marketing is. CAN-SPAM law does not apply to individual emails you send out of your personal or work email accounts. CAN-SPAM only applies to bulk email campaigns sent out to lists of more than a few people. A few of the key points of CAN-SPAM law are:

    • Business information in footer – You must include full business contact information in your email footer.
    • Clear sender – Your sending email address needs to clearly represent your business identity.
    • Clear subject lines – Your email subject lines cannot be misleading or confusing.
    • Opt-ins – You may only send bulk emails to people who have opted-in to receive bulk emails from you. An existing business relationship, however, is considered a form of opting in, although it is not the best quality opt-in. The best quality opt-in is a confirmed (or double) opt-in. With a confirmed opt-in, the user enters their email address to receive emails from you, and then they are sent an email with a link that they have to click to confirm that they truly do want to opt-in. This is the gold standard of opting in.
    • Unsubscribe link – You must include an unsubscribe link in your emails.

Deliverability – This is a critical and often overlooked part of email marketing. You may have a gorgeous email design with an amazing offer, but if it goes into recipients’ junk or spam folders, they will never see it. A full-service ESP may provide you with deliverability metrics, or you can pay separately for the services of a deliverability vendor such as Glockapps or Return Path. These services will tell you whether your email campaigns are landing in people’s inboxes or in their junk folders. You can also track deliverability directly with some email clients. For example, you can use Google Postmaster to track your Gmail deliverability.

Email client – An email client is what the recipient uses to open and read your email. Common email clients include Gmail, Apple iPhone, Yahoo, and Outlook.

Email service provider (ESP) – An ESP is software you use to send out your emails. There are many, many ESPs. Some common low-cost options include Mail Chimp, My Emma, and Constant Contact. These ESPs can be used free of charge if your list is small. These are generally simple, easy to use ESPs without a lot of bells and whistles. More expensive ESPs have more options for automation, A/B testing, segmentation, deliverability tracking, and data integration.

Engagement – The metrics below are all measures of recipients’ engagement with your email marketing:

    • Open Rate – This is the percentage of email addresses that opened, or read, your email. However, this statistic is inexact. Opens are recorded when the recipient’s inbox downloads a single transparent image tracking pixel. If you have images set to download by default, then every email in your inbox will be ‘opened’, even if you haven’t looked at it. By contrast, an inbox with image downloading turned off will never record an email has having been opened, even if the recipient reads the text of the email.
    • Click Rate – This is the percentage of email addresses that clicked on a link in your email. Click rates can be counted as unique (by person) or aggregate (total clicks, even if some people click more than once).
    • Bounce Rate – This is the percentage of bad email addresses in your list. There are hard bounces (email is no longer in use and will be permanently not mailed to) and soft bounces (inbox is full or out-of-office, thus the ESP may try to email a soft bounce again).
    • Unsubscribe Rate – This is the percentage of email addresses that clicked the unsubscribe link in order to stop receiving emails from you.

From address – This is the email address that your campaigns will be sent from. For example, info@ABCCompany.com if you are sending from your corporate domain, or info@mail-ABCCompany.com if you are using a separate mailing domain.

Friendly-from – The friendly-from is the wording in front of the from address that tells the recipient a little more about the sender. So if the sending address is info@mail-ABCCompany.com, the friendly-from might be “Customer Service”. In your inbox, the full information would look like this: “Customer Service <info@mail-ABCCompany.com>”.

Landing page – The landing page is where your customers will click through to from your email. For an ecommerce business, the landing page may be a product page in your ecommerce system. For other types of campaigns, the landing page may be a stand-alone page that has additional information or that collects lead information from the recipient.

Lists/Segmentation – One of the most important aspects of email marketing is segmentation, which allows you to send the right message to the right person. For example, if you are an ecommerce company who sells products to both businesses and consumers, you would want to segment your list into two ‘buckets’ so that you can message businesses differently from consumers. Different ESPs provide different ways to create segments. Segments can be created based rules you apply, using tags, activity on your site, or based on subscribers self-selecting into a particular segment. While it is tempting to send all of your offers to everyone, you’ll get better deliverability and better engagement if you restrict your messages to the right audience.

Rendering – Your email may look great in the builder tool within your ESP, but how does it look in inboxes? This can vary, because different email clients may read your email code differently. Because of this you need to use an email testing and optimization tool, such as Litmus or Email on Acid, to test how your email design is rendered across multiple email clients.

Responsive – Your email designs need to be responsive, which means that the design needs to automatically resize and adapt depending on where it is being viewed. Your email design may have four horizontal blocks on desktop, but viewed on a phone those blocks will be vertically stacked. Responsive design is a standard for all email marketers because 63% of emails are opened on a mobile device.

Sending domain or mailing domain – Your company’s website address might be ABCCompany.com. This is your corporate domain. Many small businesses will send bulk emails directly from their corporate domain. However, when you use your corporate domain to send bulk email you run the risk of damaging your corporate domain’s reputation if your email campaigns are reported as spam. To avoid this, you may want to set up a separate sending domain, such as mail-ABCCompany.com. Setting up a mailing domain is considered best practice for medium to large businesses.

Final Thoughts on Email Marketing

Email marketing presents a wealth of opportunities for all types of businesses. If you are interested in sending an email to a list that is not your own, LNP Media Group offers effective, affordable solutions. E-newsletters on LancasterOnline are available for sending co-branded offers to a wide variety of opt-in lists, including food, entertainment, crime watch, sports, and business. We also work with national databases of millions of opt-in email addresses which we can target based on interest, intent to purchase, demographics, and more. Our team of digital experts create impactful email marketing designs with a performance guarantee. Contact us today to get started!

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OTT, CTV, & the Future of Video Advertising

OTT, CTV, & the Future of Video Advertising

Whether they’ve been in marketing for a few years or a few decades, today’s advertisers have seen a lot of changes. With so many rapid developments in the way programming is produced, marketed, delivered, and sponsored, it’s hard to keep up. Media, digital technologies, and even consumer behaviors are changing every day. In response, new advertising opportunities are appearing at an alarming rate.

Today, many marketers, advertisers, and business owners are trying to figure out similarities and differences between OTT and CTV. To make matters even more complex, the media industry is not defining or using the terms consistently. And some seem to make new terms up as they go along. OTT, CTV, Programmatic TV, Streaming TV, IP TV, Smart TV, Livestreaming, VOD, Pre-Roll, direct-to-consumer, and more all swirl together into one confusing glossary, while the more you research these terms, the more you’ll realize that the dust hasn’t really settled on terminology and naming.

From a viewer’s point of view, this turmoil is practically invisible. The vast majority of TV and video audiences are unfamiliar with the changes in ad formats, terminology, and delivery. They have no reason to become familiar with the language – it’s all just programming and content to them.

However, for marketers understanding these new ­­terms and opportunities is critical, so we’ve provided this guide to make explanations and definitions easy-to-understand.

A Little Background on Advertising, Commercials, and Videos

Decades ago, if a company or advertiser wanted to run a video ad (also known as “commercial,” in pre-digital lingo,) they really had just three choices; ABC, NBC, or CBS. Having just three channels that went off the air at night considerably limited the advertising inventory. Because there were a limited number of advertising slots, or inventory, available, only the wealthiest advertisers could afford to buy on-air ads. These pricey TV commercials required the patronage of big brands with deep advertising pockets.

In the late ‘60s, other, smaller networks started popping up based on regional interest or more focused content. Early cable was born. By the 1980s, viewers had access to a wide array of cable channels. With remote controls in hand, ‘80’s viewers could “surf” from MTV to VH-1, and paid stations like HBO became common.

With thousands of shows on the air and many 24-hour stations, TV advertising inventory exploded in the 1980s. The price of advertising dropped. For the first time, TV ads became an affordable option for a much wider variety of advertisers and businesses.

In the 90’s home internet became more popular, and by the 2000’s online TV became a reality. Today’s viewers can access free and paid programming on TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones.

The marriage of TV and internet continues to evolve. Today, many people are getting rid of cable in favor of online viewing.  In fact, over 74% of American homes say they own at least one Internet-connected TV/device. Known as “cord cutters”, more and more of these people are eliminating cable and linear TV and relying on streaming services. In fact, many of today’s household never activate a cable service. These “cord-nevers” opt for the flexibility and versatility of TV delivered from companies such as Roku, Hulu, Fire TV, and other internet-based options that stream content to a variety of devices and platforms.

As people shift to more flexible TV delivery styles, connected TV advertising, also called streaming TV advertising, has adapted along with them. Determined to meet the needs of content producers, advertisers, and consumers, the market continues to unfold with improvements and iterations intended to provide compelling ways to deliver a customized, high-quality, and efficient TV ad experience.

Elizabeth Thorp from Moblyft reports,
“Compared to traditional TV advertising, connected TV advertising is a laid-back branding experience that occurs while users consume digital video content on their television sets. These are the ads that you see before and during streaming content, and typically appear in 15 to 30-second segments.”

Whether viewers choose to watch free videos on YouTube or want to catch up on local news, there are many options to choose from. By combining the right subscription and technology, audiences can now watch all kinds of content almost anywhere Wi-Fi connections exist. As a result, people now have millions of viewing choices across a variety of platforms, including ad-free viewing.

Alex Sherman at CNBC noted that, as of November 2019, the list of current streaming services included,

  • Netflix(introduced streaming in 2007): 158 million subscribers, 60.6 million U.S. subscribers (as of October).
  • Hulu (began streaming in 2007): 28.5 million U.S. subscribers (as of November).
  • HBO(founded in 1972, began streaming outside pay-TV bundle in 2015): 34 million U.S. subscribers, 8 million HBO Now subscribers (as of October)
  • CBSAll Access and Showtime (began streaming in 2014): 8 million subscribers (as of February)
  • ESPN+ (began streaming in 2018): 3.5 million subscribers (as of November)
  • DAZN (began streaming in 2016): More than 4 millionglobal subscribers (as of May)
  • Crunchyroll (began streaming in 2006): More than 2 million global subscribers (as of November)
  • Amazon doesn’t disclose the number of Amazon Prime Video users. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated there were 100 million Prime subscribers in January, but those subscribers get many other benefits, including free one-day shipping.

With so much change and churn in the industry, and with such a wide range of options available to audiences, it’s no wonder that advertisers are continually devising new ways to create ads and sponsorships to fund all this content. Even as you read this blog, the OTT, CTV and streaming TV advertising options are continuing to develop, change, evolve, and expand.

Research Reveals Rapid Growth in OTT and CTV

For decades, traditional network television captivated audiences in great numbers across the nation, making it one of the most powerful mass media tools available. Even with the arrival of cable, it was years before network programming began noticing diminishing audiences.

Today’s TV and video innovations are causing tremendous excitement in the advertising world. For marketers, extremely fractured audiences are a new challenge, and a new opportunity. Instead of reaching one or two larger audiences, advertisers can now isolate thousands of smaller audiences. But just as the content producers struggle to keep pace, marketers must also move fast to find the best advertising solutions.

How fast are things changing? eMarketer reports that OTT service subscriptions continue to increase while traditional TV viewership is declining. In 2018, 90.3 million U.S. households subscribed to services like cable or satellite. In 2019, that number fell to 86.5 million and is expected to decrease to 82.9 million in 2020.

The same eMarketer report noted that in 2018, there were 170.7 million OTT viewers, which jumped to 182.5 million in 2019, and that number is predicted to increase to 191.5 million in 2020.

Other research shows the same story again and again.

According to an article by Joseph O’Halloran for Rapid TV News,
“…nearly three-quarters of consumers subscribed to at least one streaming TV service, and as many as 69% young consumers (ages 25-34) particularly believe of the superior nature of streaming , with 69% agreeing on the superior relevancy of connected TV (CTV) ads. Additionally, 53% of consumers used their mobile device or tablet to shop while watching TV on a streaming service, with this number rising to 74% among parents.”

This data illustrates the major shift away from mass-audience advertising toward hyper-segmentation. As fewer and fewer people watch traditional cable TV, the viewing audiences split into smaller, more diverse groups.

Since the cost of advertising is usually based on the size of the audience, ads that reach fewer people are more affordable. This means that more advertisers can get into the video/commercial game for less money, reaching smaller numbers, and delivering their messages to more targeted viewers.

While videos (a.k.a. commercials) are one way to advertise in this new world, other popular strategies include product placements and brand integrations. Products and services pay content producers to include them in the show. This may take the form of reality show judges keeping cans of Coca-Cola on their desk. A character in a series might work at the Cheesecake Factory, or a sit-com family might take a trip to Disney World. Media services like Netflix and Disney+ rake in millions from such placements, and this type of covert advertising is likely to increase.

According to Tiffany Hau reporting for the New York Times,
“Even as Netflix resists commercials, it is finding ways to work with brands. Last month, Netflix worked with the sandwich chain Subway to start offering a Green Eggs and Ham Sub (spinach-dyed eggs, sliced ham, guacamole, cheese) tied to the new Netflix series ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’ based on the Dr. Seuss book. The sandwich generated a lot of publicity for Netflix in the lifestyle press while also putting the Netflix name in front of the millions of people who buy a Subway sandwich each day.”

What are the Definitions of OTT and CTV?

While we’ve mentioned before that many advertisers and media companies are not using consistent definitions, it’s helpful to have an understanding of some of the most common characterizations.

OTT is one of the most standard terms. OTT is an acronym for “over-the-top.” This term is used for the delivery of film, video, and TV content that is served via the Internet and “over-the-top” of cable, in addition to or instead of standard cable or satellite services. Over-the-top programming doesn’t require users to subscribe to a traditional service like DirectTV, Comcast or Time Warner Cable. However, traditional cable/satellite TV content and advertising is usually included in OTT definitions.

For example, when a cable/satellite provider offers viewers a service package that includes on-demand shows yet restricts fast-forwarding through ads, that’s one kind of OTT. If you can view apps via cable, like Netflix and YouTube, that is also OTT. Over-the-top also includes pre-roll ads for online shows, apps, and videos on your desktop, even when they are viewed without the use of cable. Broadly defined, OTT covers any video or programming content, with advertising, delivered by cable or the internet.

CTV is a definition created for a type of programming delivery service. CTV stands for Connected TV and is also called streaming TV. While it has the word “TV” in the name, it is not limited to content shown on a television set.

CTV is content that is:

  • Delivered via the internet or through cable services to your Smart TV interfaces, computer, or smartphones
  • Delivered to your TV, computers, or smartphone via Xbox, Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, or Amazon Fire stick

Without digging too deep into the technical subtleties, Connected TV is just programming delivered via internet. It’s sometimes called IP TV, Smart TV, livestreaming, VOD, or direct-to-consumer. While cable companies often offer some type of CTV upgrades in their service offerings, most CTV can be delivered without a cable or satellite subscription. CTV allows for the delivery of video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Disney +.

Connected TV is the integration of Internet and enhanced web features that can be seen on new-generation TV sets. It is the merging of computers and television.

To help divide the two concepts, think of OTT as the content that is delivered, while CTV refers primarily to the device that delivers content. The definition of over-the-top content usually includes the type of programming delivered by CTV or streaming TV.

Advertising Performance: The Difference Between OTT and CTV

Now that you know the difference between OTT (content) and CTV (delivery method), we can start exploring the advertising opportunities. In a nutshell, if advertisers buy CTV ads, they will deliver only via Connected TV (the delivery method.) If marketers are purchasing OTT ads, they may show up on CTV, but they can run almost anywhere else internet programming exists, since they are “over the top” of cable and CTV.

OTT includes an almost endless advertising inventory and is sold at a lower average price than CTV alone. OTT blends the delivery of TV ads with all kinds of digital advertising products like pre-roll video ads. When you purchase OTT ads, you may get some CTV inventory mixed in with a vast video, commercial, and pre-roll inventory that may show up on websites or even on in-app ads. When you purchase over-the-top advertising, you are not purchasing 100 percent TV delivery. While OTT offers always reference the inclusion of CTV advertising or streaming TV advertising, OTT buys usually include very little CTV programming.

OTT advertising is cheaper than CTV advertising because it mixes premium (CTV) and cheaper (website/in-app) formats together. While Connected TV ads are often unskippable, over-the-top ads may not be. The viewer may be able to skip the ads after only a few seconds. The exact ad parameters will vary by platform. No matter where the ads ran, the sales rep should produce detailed reports on placements, that tell the advertiser exactly how, when, and even where the video ads ran, and how many times it was viewed in its entirety.

Even though OTT ads are a blend of CTV and online pre-roll ads, they still offer the reach and frequency numbers many marketers to need to reach their audiences. While it may be tempting to dismiss over-the-top ads as inferior, the fact is, many people are spending less time watching a TV (connected or not) and more time each day on their smartphones and computers. As a result, they are investing more time viewing videos and online content, which means they are more likely to see ads online.

For advertisers looking for higher ad frequency and lower cost per thousand, OTT can be an affordable, effective way for marketing videos and ads to reach a variety of target audiences. Many types of over-the-top ads are also clickable, so businesses may be able to measure their ability to drive action.

To add another layer of complexity, many sales reps are unsure of the distinctions between OTT and CTV. Many advertisers believe they are buying one type of advertising but end up with another package. If any rep is selling an ad package that they describe as 100 percent CTV, it’s smart to get the specifics in writing. Otherwise, there is a good chance that the actual media buy will be a mix of online and CTV spots.

CTV is More Expensive for a Reason

When shopping for media plans, most advertisers are struck by how expensive CTV is compared with OTT. Remember that while over-the-top ad buys usually include CTV, CTV ad buys do NOT include OTT. When advertisers run their videos on Connected TV, or “Pure CTV” as it may be called, the delivery is very different from the usual OTT package. These ads will look like traditional commercials that occur in the middle of programming.

Most importantly, CTV videos, or streaming TV ads that play on an internet-connected TV, are almost always non-skippable. That means that viewers must watch the entire ad. If they rewind the program, often they must watch the ads again in real time.

Many networks now offer paid or free apps via CTV, including CBS, ABC, NBC, and specialty networks like Comedy Central. Most local TV affiliates also offer similar programming apps. Almost all of these apps feature non-skippable CTV ads in their programming. The ads are guaranteed to run in their entirety. As a result, CTV inventory costs more than OTT ads, with a higher CPM (cost per thousand).

However, despite their name, CTV ads cannot reach all Connected TV platforms. Most subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ are supported by subscription fees, not pre-roll ads, so advertisers can’t purchase ads on those platforms.

If an advertiser’s videos have been successful in a broadcast campaign, it’s smart to add CTV into the mix. By including CTV into the media plan, marketers make sure the videos reach cord-cutters and cord-nevers. To viewers, it’s all a seamless experience.

The drawbacks of Connected TV? It is pricier, and unlike over-the-top, it does not give viewers the option to click on an ad.

If OTT and CTV Video Ads are so Great, Why isn’t Everyone Using Them?

Research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau shows that more than 50 percent of marketers say that programmatic TV, CTV and OTT are “top of mind”. But, only 15-17 percent of businesses have actually included OTT and CTV advertising in their promotional plans. While the percent of total advertisers using these platforms may be low, the companies that have tapped into this technology are spending, and spending big.

According to Alan Wolk of Forbes.
“According to the latest research from Beachfront, an independent video supply-side platform (e.g., publisher-side platform), ad requests on CTV are up an astounding 1,640% year-over-year.”

Even as CTV and OTT become more common, it can still be a confusing place to advertise. To make matters more complicated, the language seems to change from one vendor to the next. While some marketers are just not sure how to get started, others feel overwhelmed, unsure, untrusting, or even intimidated by the technology.

As marketers work to become more comfortable with these new offerings, they may find that it’s smart to start with conservative “test and learn” strategies. By starting small, and carefully measuring results, advertisers can quickly discover what effect these new ad formats will have on their business.

For many companies, Connected TV and over-the-top advertising isn’t replacing other successful marketing tactics. Instead, these new ad formats serve as marketing add-ons that are continually being tested, analyzed, and optimized. For many of today’s marketing experts, this kind of addressable TV advertising is a smart way to leverage the performance of other digital media, and can create a more targeted online experience for the consumer.

Yes, the technology is relatively new, but more and more advertisers are finding ways to make CTV and OTT a part of their advertising plans.

Taking Advantage of New Targeting Options

These new promotional tools provide more targeting options than ever before. With OTT and CTV, marketers can pick and choose among thousands of demographic, psychographic, and behavior-based attributes. Over-the-top advertising is also starting to connect social media targeting tools and with TV audiences.

According to Strategus.com,
“Customers have yet to develop a loyalty to any one OTT service provider, like NBC, Comcast or Universal, and instead go where the content is that they want to consume. Now ads can appear programmatically, based on their geography, online and offline behaviors, psychographics and other personal details, ensuring the ads they see are relevant.”

As any good marketer knows, even the sharpest targeting tools are useless if organizations are not sure whom they want to reach. With so many profiling options available, it’s more important than ever for businesses to provide well-defined audience profiles to media placement companies. If companies want to get the most out of these advanced targeting tools, they may need to do more work understanding their customers. Marketers that haven’t found the time to explore customer attributes and interests are going to be in trouble. Any advertiser who wants to tap into these new ad options must understand exactly who their audience is.

According to Mike Rowan in Forbes,
“The first crucial step is to know your audience. Draw heavily on your buyer personas, which hopefully you’ve created. Conduct interviews to determine what type of people are buying your products (age, gender, location, interests, etc.). Audience information is the foundation for successful OTT targeting, so take the time to do your homework.
Segmenting your audience based on their actions and intentions, such as what they browse and purchase on your website, is a highly effective way to target. And collecting data from your customers can be as easy as installing cookies on your website or as sophisticated as asking customers directly about their preferences.”

It’s Time to Customize OTT Videos for Each Audience

Once marketers know whom they are trying to reach, they can begin customizing their messages. Unlike old-school TV commercials, today’s ads are not casting wide nets, trying to get everyone’s attention. Instead, modern advertisers are empowered to talk to their audiences in targeted ways. For each ad campaign, businesses must consider the message, the tone, the setting, and even the size of the fonts used in videos.

For example, car dealerships may want to create different video ads for young, budget-conscious car buyers versus well-heeled retirees looking for exceptional service.

For videos marketing gym memberships, one video could target swimmers looking to stay lean and another could target weightlifters looking to bulk up.

Ads that market health systems may leverage the opportunity to differentiate between people who just need wellness checkups versus people looking for regional heart specialists.  When marketers tap into the power of OTT, they have the ability to serve super-targeted ads to well-defined audiences.

Forget the old one-size-fits-all attitude. Businesses with more than one type of target audience can use OTT advertising and CTV video or streaming TV ads to be specific. This is the time to create multiple videos and deliver them to the right audience at the right time.

Remember These Words: Retargeting, Retargeting, Retargeting.

The best part of the new advertising paradigm is that it allows businesses to reach the same consumer again and again, but in different media. Retargeting is a term that means very targeted ads are sent to the same consumer based on prior online activity. Retargeting ads track online patterns, and then use that information to send ads to people based on their digital activity.

By taking advantage of device thumbprints, website cookies, and IP targeting, advertisers can now connect TV viewing and online marketing. For example, a woman uses her desktop computer to look at lamps on Bed, Bath, & Beyond’s website. After she’s done on her computer, she watches TV using a Roku device, which operates on the same internet connection. When the right kind of retargeting programming is in place, she’ll find that Bed, Bath, and Beyond ads for lamps are showing up on her TV.

If she decides to return to the computer and buy the lamp, the preset tracking will attribute the sale to the ads, helping marketers decide the best places to run the next set of ads.

This kind of sophisticated retargeting does require planning, such as the installation of tracking pixels, analytical tools, and cookies on the website. However, with the right set up, businesses can track web traffic by device and web pages, so they can then retarget audiences with personalized ads that remind them of what they’ve recently shopped for, even after they’ve left the website.

The best news? This kind of retargeting is affordable and available for businesses of all sizes. Even companies with modest marketing budgets can take advantage of these kinds of targeting tools and create highly specific marketing campaigns.

Beware: Make Sure You Know Exactly What You’re Buying

While there are many attractive aspects of OTT and CTV, the advertising sales process can be confusing. In fact, many sales reps don’t really understand the OTT and CTV differences. As a result, many advertisers have found that they inadvertently purchased one type of package when they meant to purchase the other. So, how can marketers be sure they got the right package?

The media rep should provide a detailed budget breakout with predicted impressions for CTV, mobile and desktop. The post-advertising report should match that proposal exactly, or clearly explain discrepancies, and offer compensation or refunds for non-delivery or alternate delivery of videos.

Right now, it’s a bit like the wild west out there. This is a new category and mistakes are made all the time. While it will take time for any marketing team to compare media proposals to reports, it’s the only way businesses can be sure that they got what they paid for. All products have their own inventory, pricing, and reporting, so advertisers must do homework and check all buys for accuracy.

The same rule applies for your CTV advertising campaign. Businesses must make sure their sales reps didn’t charge for a Connected TV ad campaign and deliver an over-the-top advertising audience. After the campaign has been running for a few days, advertisers are wise to request full site lists to check where the ads are running. CTV campaigns should list TV apps only. If the business sees that there are websites listed or reports on clicks, they’re running an OTT campaign.

The best ad campaigns are balanced

OTT and CTV ads are popular advertising options that are becoming more affordable and accessible every day. Both of these ad choices can be very effective. However, that doesn’t mean that marketers need to abandon other forms of advertising.

In the digital world, social media ads and search campaigns should continue to be affordable, effective components in a well-rounded marketing plan.

Print and newspaper also play important roles in balanced campaigns designed to reach a wide range of consumers and demographics.

Many of the most effective marketing campaigns have used OTT and CTV ads to support a growing social media presence. When set up properly, some over-the-top ads can ask audiences to click through to “continue the story” on other platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. Many print entities give short version or highlights on digital, and full stories and deep dives in print.

The key is to use each media in the ways that work with the platform and elicit consumer response. Running videos in search ads can be annoying. Conversely, including pages of text on social media ads is often ineffective. One of the keys to marketing success is identifying the time, place, and format that works best with each platform.

The Future of OTT and CTV

Today’s TV has changed so much in just the last decade. Streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu are common in today’s homes. Viewers are spending more time with CTV and less time with traditional cable TV.

People are now willing to pay for streaming, or subscription TV, like Netflix and Hulu, particularly younger viewers, according to research by Nielsen. As the number of people who watch traditional TV continues to decline, changes in TV viewership are sure to follow.

So, what is the future of OTT ads and Connected TV ad or streaming TV advertising? Here are a few scenarios to watch for;

  1. Scenario: The Rise of Addressable AdvertisingAddressable advertising is the ability to show different ads to different households during the same programming. That means that even if two neighbors are watching the same TV show at the same time, if one neighbors likes travel, and the next door neighbor prefers cooking, the first household will see travel ads while the next door household will see ads about cooking. Addressable advertising will force advertisers to forgo mass marketing in favor of personalized messages created for smaller groups of more aligned consumers.
    Addressable advertising will probably be paired with OTT’s super-targeted capabilities in ways that allow advertisers to deliver series of messages that really move the sales needle.
  2. Scenario Two: Real-Time Audience EnrichmentMarketing audiences and their needs change every day. But with new technologies, advertisers may be able to reach consumers at the exact moment that they need their services. As marketers get accustomed to having the ability to understand how each audience segment acts and reacts, they may be able to optimize campaigns in real-time based on improved audience data reporting. In the past, this kind of message optimization would take weeks to analyze and identify. With OTT, CTV, and the right tracking codes in place online, there is the potential to identify behaviors and predict needs immediately and accurately.
  3. Scenario Three: Amplified Predictive AdvertisingWe’ve already seen the power of some types of predictive advertising. Amazon is able to deliver relevant ads to users in real-time, continually adjusting with every view, every item added to a cart, and every purchase. These algorithms allow Amazon to continually cross-sell and up-sell. This ecommerce giant has pioneered predictive advertising using their own customers and shoppers as their laboratory.
    These kinds of predictive technologies, based on viewing, shopping, and purchase behavior will work their way into all parts of the internet, and over-the-top advertising and CTV ads will play a part.

When it’s done right, predictive advertising is interesting and helpful. When it’s executed carelessly or incorrectly, it can feel annoying, invasive, or even insulting. Facebook has already run into issues with predictive advertising and has had to restrict targeting options for some classes of advertising including housing, credit, and financing.

As an example, a childless couple that gets ads for a daycare center for babies is quickly annoyed. However, if those same ads are delivered when they have a newborn in their home, the ads become relevant and valued. On an even more granular level, in the near future, advertisers may be able to send ads for sales on heartburn medication to people within one mile of a drugstore with a history of chronic indigestion who have eaten at Mexican restaurants in the past two hours.

Final Thoughts on OTT, CTV, & Video Marketing

There’s no doubt about it. The number of OTT-enabled devices is on the rise, and traditional TV advertising is on the way out. The use of Connected TV is exploding, and marketers are eager to find more cost-efficient ways to reach their consumers. The growth and flexibility of over-the-top ads and Connected TV ads or streaming TV advertising means that businesses shouldn’t ignore this media when examining marketing and advertising options.

Today, one size does not fit all. With so many customized options in the marketplace, and more developing every day, it makes sense to create a customized marketing approach. It is also a good idea to have a set of videos created to target a variety of people, needs, and situations. Today’s advertisers have a wide choice of targeting tools. The messages viewers receive will continue to be more relevant, personal, and when done correctly, more enjoyable.

If you want to explore your marketing opportunities in CTV, OTT, video production, and programmatic advertising, the LNP Media team is an experienced, affordable place to start.  We’d love to hear more about your goals and needs. Call LNP Media today at 717-291-8831, or click here to drop us a line. Our video and digital experts will be happy to help you market your business effectively in an ever-changing media landscape.

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An Easy-to-Understand SEO Overview: Search Engine Optimization

An Easy-to-Understand SEO Overview: Search Engine Optimization

 If your Lancaster County business wants a successful online presence, SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is critical. Search Engine Optimization describes all of the strategies and tactics deployed to encourage search engines to rank your page highly against relevant search terms.

Many business people believe that if you’ve built a website, it’s already optimized for search engine rankings. However, few web programmers “automatically” include SEO in the project.

However, strong SEO tactics are an essential part of a successful website. SEO strategies increase your website’s visibility by helping your organization appear near the top of the search results.

How important is it to show up at the top of a search page? According to research from Backlinko;

  1. “The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR (clickthrough rate) of 31.7%.
  2. The #1 organic result is 10x more likely to receive a click compared to a page in #10 spot.”

Not only will top-ranking businesses get more clicks, showing up at the top of a search page has many other advantages as well. Ranking at the top of an online search is a great way to increase brand awareness, build relationships with prospects, and position your organization as a leading expert and resource in your industry or community.

At first glance, showing up first seems almost impossible. After all, research reports that billions and billions of online searches are conducted every day. However, your company doesn’t need to show up in all of those searches. Instead, your organization must show up in the right searches. You want to get in front of people in your area who are looking for your services.

For example, if someone searches “Gas Grills for Sale near Quarryville,” they are looking for businesses that rank for those keywords. They don’t care about gas grills in London. Nor do they want to look at Automotive Grills in Quarryville. That’s why Google has spent so much time indexing location terms on websites (such as Quarryville, Lancaster County, or Pennsylvania) to make sure each person gets the results that match their needs and are located near them.

Once the search engine runs out of perfect options that match all the original keywords, it will start showing locations that are not so nearby (gas grills in Baltimore) or they’ll start showing you the next best options (charcoal grills in Quarryville.)

The only way Google and other search engines can achieve this type of decision-making is by gathering enormous amounts of data. Google continually evaluates billions of websites over and over, to develop algorithms that can select the most useful and relevant sites in each search.

Search Engines send code (called crawlers, spiders, or bots) to move through the internet to constantly evaluate and re-evaluate websites. And they start by analyzing the text on your site. Not only should your content match users’ search terms, but it must also be formatted in the correct ways. Your site must use keywords in the right places, formatted with the proper code, and mentioned at the optimal frequency. Too few keywords, and you won’t rank. Too many keywords, and you may get flagged for keyword stuffing.

Search engines want to make sure you’re hosting a credible, responsible site, with useful content. In addition to assessing text and images, they are also evaluating how your links work, if your site displays properly on desktop and mobile, how your site is designed and coded, the volume of your web traffic, where your web traffic comes from, the inclusion of images and videos, and much more.

Search engines intentionally use many different tactics to evaluate your site. They do this to make it very difficult to “trick” them into giving your site a higher ranking. In the SEO world, “white hat” SEO refers to people who are trying to get good rankings using honest, straightforward strategies. “Black hat” SEO refers to people who are trying to trick the system, bend the rules, or get people to their site using deceptive or unethical practices.

Filling your site with keywords in ways that interfere with readability, called keyword stuffing, is a black hat SEO technique. Showing one set of content to users, and another to search engines is another black hat SEO trick. Duplicate content, plagiarized content, or hidden content (cloaking) are all black hat techniques. Even poorly written or wildly outdated content can be bad for SEO (and they’re not great for your business, either).

To thwart black hat SEO practices, search engines change their methods of evaluation and their ranking algorithms regularly. Search engines can be secretive about the exact nature of these changes. SEO experts must keep up-to-date on ever-changing requirements to ensure that their clients’ sites meet search engines’ demanding and rather complicated requirements.

SEO Experts Use a Range of Techniques

Because SEO is complicated and every business is different, there’s no silver bullet that can magically change your search engine rankings. SEO is neither quick nor easy. Instead, it requires a slow and steady approach for long-term improvement.

Because no single process or tool can improve your search results rankings, digital marketers and SEO experts use a range of techniques. We explain some of them here.

SEO Starts With Keyword Research

Effective SEO starts with keyword research. In order to make sure your website shows up in the right searches, SEO experts start by examining the words people use when they do online searches for your products and services. The first step is identifying and researching a range of words, phrases, and search terms that people enter into search engines while looking for a similar subject. Sometimes this is one word, but more often it’s a set of phrases.

Using a variety of industry tools and techniques, SEO experts will determine which words and phrases are used most often by your customers, so these words and phrases can start being used in the right places on your website.

Mobile-Friendly Sites Boost SEO

More and more people are using smart phones as their primary internet tool. As a result, if your Lancaster County business has a website that was only designed to look good on desktop screens without paying attention to how it looks on mobile, then your site visibility is likely suffering.

If your site doesn’t adapt well to mobile, you may be losing a large number of potential customers. For this reason, search engines don’t want to promote sites that are incompatible with mobile. If you don’t make sure your site works on all platforms, you may be hurting your search engine rankings. Your site needs to look great on mobile, and be programmed in ways that benefit users and are search engine approved.

According to Google

“A non-mobile-friendly site requires users to pinch or zoom in order to read the content. Users find this a frustrating experience and are likely to abandon the site. Alternatively, the mobile-friendly version is readable and immediately usable.

“In the USA, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. Interestingly, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present.

“Mobile is critical to your business – whether you’re blogging about your favorite sports team, working on the website for your community theater, or selling products to potential clients. Make sure that visitors can have a good experience on your site when they’re visiting from their mobile devices.”

If you’re not sure if your website is mobile-friendly, visit this Google site to get an instant (and completely free) evaluation.

SEO Doesn’t Work Without Website Optimization

Search engines send out crawlers to evaluate websites. If these crawlers can’t read parts of your site, they won’t index them correctly. That may mean your site ranks lower in searches. When digital experts work on website optimization, they make it easier for crawlers to find your website and index every part of it, so you can get the best search ranking possible.

SEO experts may recommend tactics such as improving page speed. Search engines have reported repeatedly that site speed is a critical factor when ranking websites. Large images, complicated graphics, or even programming can slow your site’s download time.

If you’re not sure how quickly your site is loading, visit this Google test site to get an instant, free evaluation.

Another way digital marketers can improve your search engine results is by making sure web crawlers can fully access and comprehend your website. Once your site has been analyzed and issues have been identified, digital experts then follow best practices in coding, structure, and content, to make it easy for crawlers to review and index your website.

Interlinking and Inbound Links Improve SEO

Crawlers will move through your site in unpredictable ways. They may come to the end of a page and stop, not find a link to another page, and leave. When this happens, only one or two pages of a website are indexed. However, digital experts can add links that lead to other parts of your site to make it easier for crawlers to evaluate ALL of your content. They can also create and manage off-domain links to improve your website’s authority and visibility with search engines, resulting in higher rankings.

Create or Optimize Meta Tags to Increase Visibility

Meta tags are the source code that describe pages. Sometimes they are visible, but often they exist primarily in coding. If your web development team didn’t specify meta-tags, they may have been automatically generated, often using a random combination of words and numbers, or even left blank. One of the ways SEO experts optimize meta tags is to work on title tags, the text you’ll see at the top of your browser. Search engines view this text as the “title” of your page, so it’s important to ensure that your meta tags contain relevant keywords and are unique to that page.

Get Found More Often with Local or Near Me Optimization

Many people search for nearby or “near me” businesses. According to research conducted by Google, 46% of searches have a ‘local intent’. This means that people are searching for stores, restaurants, banks, or entertainment close by. In fact, search engines often show local resources first, even if it’s not specified. For example, if someone in Lititz searches for a plumber, they are more likely to be shown plumbers in the surrounding areas, but plumbers from Philadelphia or even Boston may appear. However, if they search for plumbers “near me” the results will be limited to plumbers within a close radius.

An SEO expert can optimize your site’s code, structure, and content in ways that help you appear higher up in local-intent searches. One tactic is to help create or claim your business’s Google listing. This can help you gain the search engines’ trust with local information consistency and location optimized content. Another tactic is to expand your online business listings and create content that helps search engines identify you as a local business in the areas you serve.

SEO Provides More Benefits Than Higher Rankings

The wonderful thing about SEO, when done properly, is that there’s added benefits beyond simply increasing your visibility in search results. All the work done to add content throughout the website and to optimize your pages for relevant search terms also provides value to your customers. SEO can help your website guide visitors to take action, turning them into leads and customers at a higher rate. This also improves the result of all your other marketing efforts, providing you with more for your money.

SEO Success via Trust, Transparency, and Patience

In order for you to achieve improvement and lasting growth through SEO, you need to cultivate three elements in the relationship with your digital specialists, whether they are a hired agency or your internal marketing partners. Those key elements are Trust, Transparency, and Patience. SEO is a confusing process for many businesses with all the terminology, behind-the-scenes-coding, and the time it takes for results to be evident. Full trust and collaboration will lead to better content and the ability to adjust over time.

If you’re in need of such a relationship, then look no further than LNP Media Group. Our digital experts will not keep you in the dark. Instead, you’ll be involved in the SEO process every step of the way. You’ll know what we’re doing, when, and why. This includes monthly reporting and ongoing communication.

Not Sure if You Need SEO?

Many organizations believe that if you’ve built a website, it’s already optimized for search engine rankings. However, this is seldom true. If you’re not sure if your website needs SEO, we can provide a free evaluation. We’ll let you know what aspects of SEO are in place, and which areas need work.

Whether your new or you’re trying to earn and maintain the top spot on Google, every business can benefit from SEO. The results are in constant flux from search engine ranking algorithm changes and shifts in search patterns to the SEO efforts made by your competition, there’s always the need to improve your online presence. Let us help.

Don’t Have The Patience For SEO?

While we believe SEO is a critical part to online success, we also understand that you need customers in order to fuel your marketing budget. We offer other services that can provide immediate leads, such as Paid Search (also known as PPC) [link to PPC service page].

And, in fact, leveraging both PPC and SEO is the path that our most successful clients have taken in achieving their long-term growth. Let’s talk about a marketing plan that best suits your goals and your budget

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What You Don’t Know About Advertising on LancasterOnline

What You Don’t Know About Advertising on LancasterOnline

Lots of people are confused by the array of online advertising options. And it seems like a new one pops up every month. Even experienced digital marketing experts can get overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the changes in online platforms and advertising tools. In the past ten years, businesses have had to learn about Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, SnapChat, Waze, Google, and Pinterest, just to name a few.

With so many digital marketing opportunities available, the choices can be overwhelming. And with so much online activity, it’s easy to overlook local digital options. However, there is one online advertising option in Lancaster County that you won’t want to overlook.

Many businesses and organizations know that LancasterOnline is the digital companion to LNP, Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s daily newspaper. But fewer people realize that this digital arm of LNP can offer more news, information, and lifestyle reporting than any other website in the area.

Others are surprised to learn that, just like the LNP newspaper, LancasterOnline features reliable reporting on local and national news and issues. Like the print edition, it also includes home and lifestyle features.

Not only does LancasterOnline offer both subscribers and non-subscribers access to hundreds of informational videos and exclusive, online-only content, but it also provides an entire suite of innovative advertising tools.

Remember This One Thing

Even if you find that all of the tools and strategies we discuss in this article are hard to commit to memory, there is one thing that you make sure you remember;

We guarantee that your ads will be shown alongside compelling, credible content that you can trust. LancasterOnline maintains the same publishing standards as our sister print edition.

And unlike many of the other digital options bumping around, only LancasterOnline is backed with over 200 years of experience growing local businesses.

If you’re a business in Central PA, you should know that when you choose to advertise on LancasterOnline, our experienced media solutions strategists will help you create a digital marketing program designed to reach your best customers right here, right now.

Request a free consultation with our digital marketing experts.

Do You Know Who Reads LancasterOnline?

LancasterOnline is the most popular and well-read website and app in the area. In fact, LancasterOnline attracts over a million individual users every month, which includes more than 10,000 paid “all-access” premium subscriptions and over 30,000 downloads of our app.

Did You Know that Young Lancastrians Love LancasterOnline?

Yep, it’s true. 42 percent of our readers are ages 25-45. While the average age of people who consume print and broadcast news is getting older and older, LancasterOnline continues to attract younger and younger readers.

More than a fifth of our readers are 25-34. Another fifth is 35-45. That means that no matter which age is most important to your business, you can reach them on LancasterOnline.

Marketing Secret: Get More Lancaster County Customers To Your Door With Our Mobile Advertising

It’s no secret that mobile marketing is more important than ever. In fact, in 2019, Google reported that

“Mobile searches for ‘store open near me’ (such as ‘grocery store open near me’ and ‘auto parts store open near me’) have grown by over 250% in the last two years.”

Mobile devices in Lancaster, and all over the world, have become more than cameras and social media portals (and, oh yeah, phones.) Nowadays, these little pocket computers are referred to as smartphones. In fact, if you have an iPhone6 or better, you have more than 10x the computing power at your fingertips than the Cray-1 Supercomputer offered in 1976 (and the Cray-1 cost 8 million dollars.)

Our smartphones also feature location services that, when combined with the sophisticated algorithms of Google Business, make it simple for people to find businesses and restaurants in seconds. Smartphones are now the number one way shoppers find business locations near them.

With so many people spending time on their smartphones, it’s no surprise that more than 60 percent of LancasterOnline readers access our site via mobile. We make sure all of our ads and content are formatted to be mobile-friendly. That means it’s easy for people to read our information and click on our ads. All this comes together to make LancasterOnline an excellent advertising platform for retailers, restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, car washes, auto repair shops, auto dealers, health services, salons, health clubs, travel destinations, and much more.

Did You Know We Can Help You Build Your Databases?

If you’re a business that wants to build a qualified email or mailing list, LancasterOnline can help. Our media solutions specialists can help you develop online contests, digital sweepstakes, or interactive quizzes that will motivate potential customers to trade an email address for a chance to win a prize.

We’ve helped dozens of local businesses create quizzes and contests that drive opt-ins. And when your company offers your product or service as the prize or giveaway, you know that people who enter want what you’re selling. Your award acts as a lead qualifier, so every person who registers is a good potential customer. And, we handle opt-ins in a fully transparent manner. We are compliant with all privacy rules and regulations.

Did You Know All of Our Innovative Ads are Designed for Maximum Impact?

Every ad tool and space we offer on LancasterOnline is designed to be visible and attractive. We’ve developed ads and promotions that make people want to click on the ads and find out more about your business.

One of these unique ad offerings is the Homepage Takeover. If you’re looking to wow your customers and create a message that can’t be ignored, the Homepage Takeover ad package is for you. This exciting format places your ads in three different spots on the first page they see.

Ads are in three different sizes to add visual interest and excitement. Every ad is clickable so that it can link to your website or landing page. And you can use animation or insert video to add even more sizzle to your commanding ad presence.

Sliding Billboards are another interactive element that is highly visible and engaging. Sliding Billboards live at the top of the page, and you get full share of voice for that spot for 24 hours. Again, animation or video can be used. The reader sees your ad immediately, and the sliding programming creates motion, variety, and increases visibility.

However, some businesses have a story to tell and need more space to explain. If you want to go deep and give your customers a chance to learn all about your business, then Collaborative Content might be right for you. Our media specialist will recommend topics, or you can choose your subject. Our writing and design team then works to create professional articles that relate to your business or your newest offering. When you choose this type of advertising on LancasterOnline, you get a long-format, high-impact article that people all over Lancaster County will want to read.

Have you Tried Auto Marketing on LancasterOnline?

When you list in LancasterOnline’s Auto Section, your inventory will move quickly. We make it easy for users to find the car, truck, or SUV of their dreams. Motor Monday is a favorite of our print edition, and we also run it on LancasterOnline. When you combine print and digital publications, you get twice the exposure.

This is Not Your Father’s Recruitment Ad

Digital marketing has made it easier than ever to find the right people for employment needs. Our experienced recruitment media specialist marries our multimedia platforms with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find people locally or nationally. The LancasterOnline team can also use geofencing, search engine optimization, email campaigns, and more to get you hard-to-find hires. Before you start your next hiring campaign, make sure to discover our full list of unique recruitment services here.

Do You Know How to Tap Into the Power of Digital Sponsorships?

Work with one of our media solutions specialists to find out if an online sponsorship with a prominent digital presence is right for your business. LancasterOnline regularly offers opportunities for a company or organization to become the sponsor of a page, event, or contest. In many cases, you can request to be the only sponsor in your category. With other opportunities, you may be able to secure sole sponsorship. Sponsorship features may include prominent logo placement, co-branded sponsorship name, your brand in ads promoting the page, event, or contest, ads on LancasterOnline, and more.

Our media solutions strategists will help you create a customized approach that makes sense for your business. When you become a LancasterOnline sponsor, you’re able to link your brand with credible content that people trust. And that’s good for business.

Reach Targeted Audiences With Our E-Newsletters

When you choose to run a sponsorship ad in one of LancasterOnline‘s e-newsletter, you get to choose among a selection of highly-targeted interests. LancasterOnline sends out daily or weekly emails to audiences who have requested email updates on breaking news, business, sports, food, entertainment, politics, obituaries, restaurant inspections, and more.

A monthly e-newsletter sponsorship offers clickable ads that can lead to an offer or to any page on your website. It’s an affordable and targeted way to reach people who have already told you what kind of information is most valuable to them. Our media solution strategists are ready to help you develop an advertising program that will ensure your brand and ads are seen in the places that matter most.

Are You Part of the LancasterOnline Business Directory Yet?

When you list your business on the LancasterOnline Business Directory, you can help your business’s digital presence grow in more ways than one. Not only will you become part of the Directory, but you’ll also create a complete business profile that could include business hours of operation, a list of payments your business accepts, social media links, events, images, Youtube video player, awards, and testimonials.

Links on LancasterOnline can also be a part of a good search engine marketing plan. Links from our website to your website are also a way to boost your SEO, which means your site may show up higher on Google searches.

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, Imagine What a Video is Worth

If you want to stand out online, nothing works better than video. Media studies report that 85% of the US online audience watches videos. And if you want to reach young audiences, you should know that millennials watch more videos than other demographic groups.

But does video really persuade people to buy? Short answer: yes. About 64% of consumers say they have purchased after watching a branded social video.

Videos are great for entertainment, but they can also be an excellent way to show off properties, teach people how to use your products, position you as an expert, and even show people your retail space.

LNP Media Group, Inc. can help you write and produce high-quality videos designed to sell. And they are surprisingly affordable. Just talk with one of our media solutions strategists to get started.

Or try sponsoring one of LancasterOnline’s popular news videos. Not only are they placed on LancasterOnline, but they’re also shared on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, reaching 140K followers.

What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You.

What you don’t know about LancasterOnline can hurt you, and it can hurt your business. If you’re not investing in LancasterOnline’s unique set of digital marketing advertising and sponsorship options, you may be missing out on the local audiences you need most.

Now that you know a little more about LancasterOnline’s wide range of advertising options, it’s time to set up a free consultation to talk about your business needs and to find a tool that will help you boost your business sales. While we already attract over a million unique users each month, as digital news becomes more and more popular, LancasterOnline continues to gain readers, visitors, subscribers, followers, and clout.

Let our team help you find ways to help you educate, persuade, or share. We can help you meet your marketing goals and reach your customers.

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How To Create A Small Business Marketing Budget

How To Create A Small Business Marketing Budget

Creating a marketing budget can be tough. Small business owners know that marketing is a crucial aspect of success, but determining the right amount to spend and what services to spend on can be difficult. The goal is always for marketing to provide a net gain, establishing new leads and driving conversions while increasing brand awareness. The key to having a successful marketing budget is creating a sustainable marketing plan.

Define your goals

Marketing is an investment.  For it to be successful, a vision of what you want to achieve is necessary:

  • Align your marketing goals with your business’s strategic goals. This will help you determine the amount of investment needed.
  • Make sure the entire business’s vision is oriented towards the determined goal. Everyone needs to be aware of and on board with the direction the business would like to go.
  • Start to create a formal strategy. Determine how much you would like to grow; this will help you to decide what spend is right for your business.

Set a budget

Deciding on a budget that aligns with your defined goals is an important step—a budget that doesn’t match a vision can lead to an unsuccessful marketing campaign:

Create a plan

Once you have a set budget, deciding what works best for your specific business can be challenging. Marketing companies, such as LNP Media Group, offer affordable solutions and provide expertise to ensure that your marketing plan is a success:

  • Identifying your target market is key to deciding what channels you will use. Once you know who you want to reach you can decide on which digital, print, or other methods you will use. Make sure to balance short-term lead conversion with long-term investment.
  • Knowing your sales funnel is crucial to marketing success. Either extracting your own data or using data provided by a partner marketing company will make this process easier.
  • Remember to treat marketing as an investment, not a cost. Tracking your ROI will help you develop more effective marketing campaigns over time.

Implement your plan

Once you’ve developed a plan, it’s time to implement it. A successful plan will incorporate multiple channels meant to target specific audiences, while planning for both short-term lead conversion and long-term expansion. Tracking your results will create knowledge for increasing effectiveness of future marketing campaigns, ensuring that you will get the most for your marketing dollars. LNP Media Group creates customized marketing plans for all sizes and types of businesses, helping you reach the consumers you need to grow your business. Contact our expert marketing team for more information, assistance, or to chat about what we offer.

LNP Media Group is committed to delivering exceptional experiences to our audiences, our customers, our vendors and our employees throughout Lancaster County and Central Pennsylvania. We provide value to our marketing and advertising partners by building effective and innovative solutions and by delivering exemplary customer experiences.

LNP Media Group is a division of Steinman Communications, one of the largest and most experienced communications companies in the Mid-Atlantic. Steinman Communications is an innovative, multi-channel communications company that delivers high quality news, information and entertainment to diverse audiences.

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Content Marketing: How To Utilize This Increasingly Effective Marketing Strategy

Content Marketing: How To Utilize This Increasingly Effective Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is steadily becoming one of the most effective forms of digital marketing. With lower costs and higher rates of effectiveness, content marketing has become a staple of many advertising campaigns. Content marketing comes in many forms including video, blog-style posts, social media posts, how-to’s, tips, and more:

  • The purpose is to provide consumers with valuable information and engaging content with the objective of driving consumers towards a purchase and increasing brand awareness while building trust.
  • Consumers have become increasingly responsive to alternative forms of advertising.

Content marketing indicates to consumers that your business is a credible and trusted source, while providing transparent information that consumers find useful.

More than just information

Google’s most recent algorithm update maintained the already established standard that content marketing is heavily favored in search engine optimization (SEO):

  • With SEO becoming increasingly important, being able to provide quality, useful content has become one of the most important factors in search results pages rankings.
  • Compelling and useful content marketing can create consumer enthusiasm for your brand or a product or service.

Content marketing is a great way to attract new customers to your site and build trusting relationships with them. Increasing your website’s search results pages rankings is an added bonus.

The power of blog posts

One of the easiest, most effective types of content marketing are blog posts. Nearly any business can utilize these, relating them to their respective industry:

  • Blog posts inform consumers of useful information, tackle a problem, or discuss an issue while providing a solution through your business.
  • According to the Content Marketing Institute, small businesses with blog-style content marketing receive 126% more lead growth than those without.
  • Content marketing also has low up-front costs and deep long-term benefits allowing businesses to get the most out of their advertising dollars.
  • LNP Media Group offers collaborative content articles personalized to any business and industry, creating brand advertising that is seamlessly integrated into informative articles, sponsored by your business.
  • LNP Media Group also has skilled marketing copywriters on staff who can create custom blogs for your website.

Blog posts convey credibility and build trust through providing interesting and beneficial information to consumers. The affordability of blog posts allows businesses to stretch their advertising budgets while maximizing their marketing benefits.

Don’t forget about video

Video provides a different medium for content marketing and is an excellent channel for diversifying a marketing strategy. Video marketing goes hand in hand with content marketing:

  • Short video is now the preferred medium for receiving information for most Americans.
  • Content marketing provides up to six times more conversions than other methods. When combined with video, which also has increased conversion rates, businesses can maximize potential conversions.
  • LNP Media Group’s in-house video production team provides a variety of options that fit any business and budget, highlighting the best your brand has to offer. Contact us to learn more about our video production skills.

Stay ahead of the curve

Consumers are growing tired of repeatedly seeing the same ads. Diversify your marketing strategy with the addition of content marketing to build trusting relationships with customers and boost your overall marketing ROI. Contact LNP Media Group today to learn more about how our content marketing team can help your business grow!

LNP Media Group is committed to delivering exceptional experiences to our audiences, our customers, our vendors and our employees throughout Lancaster County and Central Pennsylvania. We provide value to our marketing and advertising partners by building effective and innovative solutions and by delivering exemplary customer experiences.

LNP Media Group is a division of Steinman Communications, one of the largest and most experienced communications companies in the Mid-Atlantic. Steinman Communications is an innovative, multi-channel communications company that delivers high quality news, information and entertainment to diverse audiences

SCHEDULE YOUR FREE CONSULTATION