Earned and paid media work together to build awareness and demand for your product or service. Paid marketing is expensive, so it’s important to figure out how your earned media efforts will be integrated with your paid campaigns, if at all.
Consider what you are looking at in the first place. The primary driver for integrating earned and paid media is the need to balance your overall mix in a way that will maximize ROI. Here are other reasons to use it.
Paid Search and Paid Social
There are two kinds of paid advertising done on the internet: Paid Search and Paid Social. These ads show up when people search for keywords related to your business or when people post things about businesses similar to yours on social networks.
Paid search acts as a reminder to consumers about your products or services when they shop online. However, PPC doesn’t have any immediate sales effect because it’s not contextual and offers no exclusive value.
This is where earned media comes in to bring you immediate results by saturating the market with multiple sources of information about your business, increasing your search engine rankings, and informal (unpaid) web traffic as people talk about you online.
Build a Loyal Group of Brand Advocates
You can also use earned media to build a loyal group of brand advocates, which will promote your products and services by word-of-mouth. These people trust you because they think that brands should stand for something solid instead of a logo designed to represent a product or service.
Because this type of marketing mainly runs based on social proof, it works wonders even if there’s no actual proof behind it. The social-proof factor makes it quite different from traditional word-of-mouth marketing.
Good for Traffic Generation
Always start with the goals you have for your business before using earned media. Goal-oriented searches will allow you to determine where and how you should be spending your time online.
If you’re looking to increase web traffic or sales, consider these stats: Free media can generate up to 30 times more exposure than ads, has a better conversion rate than PPC, and is cheaper. Consider tracking your traffic generation rates to know how effective your campaigns are.
This means taking advantage of social communities like Facebook and Twitter, professional networks like LinkedIn, Q&A sites like Quora, review sites like Google+ Local Business Reviews, and discussion forums will help you get a much greater return on your investments.
You can also use free media to improve your marketing by offering discounts, conducting competitions and contests, and incorporating new strategies like Gamification (using game-like elements and game mechanics in marketing and customer retention).
Earned media lets you:
- Connect with customers who are interested in your products or services;
- Show that you’re open to feedback;
- Increase awareness about your brand;
- Develop a loyal fan following;
- Increase the number of visitors to your website;
- Establish yourself as an authority on specific topics.
Cost-Effective Marketing Option
Earned media is free. It’s very cheap compared to other advertising methods like PPC or even SEO paid listings. And it has high visibility because people trust the information they find online more than anything else. This makes it more effective than paid advertisements because only fewer people tend to ignore or dismiss them.
Free media is essential for any online marketing mix because it doesn’t cost anything. The only thing required from you is a bit of creativity and an active social presence.
Good Brand Potential
Lastly, free media can make or break your brand – this means that if negative criticism spreads quickly about you on specific forums or user groups, then you will lose a lot of potential customers who other people’s opinions will influence.
An excellent way to avoid this is to work with professional PR companies that have experience conducting campaigns for businesses in different niches.
In simple words, don’t waste time on ads that depend on impulse buying or PPCs that you can’t measure. Focus instead of using free media to expand your customer base and generate sales by getting online social communities to help you promote your brand. Earned media is a low-cost way of reaching many people who are more likely to buy from you because they trust each other than any paid advertisement ever could.
If you’re not already investing in online advertising, then take the next few weeks to study the best practices to optimize your site. Optimization helps ensure that the site works well with SEO and PS as part of an integrated marketing campaign that includes earned media. While there might be some initial costs involved, the results will be well worth the costs.
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