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Master Digital Ads and Lead Nurturing

In today’s digital age, the initial connection between people and service brands or businesses has evolved. Traditional phone calls have given way to online forms and inquiries, and people now expect a prompt and easy response. So, how can we ensure that their first web-based interaction is exceptional? Katie Fuller, Digital Strategist at CEL, delves into the best practices and pitfalls of lead nurturing and digital advertising in this evolving digital landscape.

The Digital Connection: Making it Easy and Valuable

Katie emphasizes, “make it easy for people to connect with you” and ensure their initial experience is truly valuable. She states, “It’s not just about enabling contact; it’s about delivering an exceptional experience from the very start. It’s very likely the first experience someone has with your organization is online—through your website, social media, or a digital advertisement. Think carefully about this first impression.” She stresses that organizations must prioritize user-friendly interfaces and streamline processes to ensure people can connect without unnecessary hurdles.

The Pitfalls to Avoid

One common pitfall Katie identifies is the lack of a system to track inquiries. Messages get lost or forgotten in email inboxes. She cautions, “Timeliness is critical in nurturing a relationship with future customers, and delays in responding can deter people.” 

Katie highlights the importance of a systematic approach to inquiries. She explains, “Without a system in place, valuable inquiries might fall through the cracks. People get busy, and if you don’t have a way to capture and document those requests, things can get lost in the shuffle.” It isn’t unusual for consumers to contact multiple businesses at one time, and not remember any specific company. Efficient lead management and quick response times will ensure that potential connections aren’t left hanging because consumers won’t try twice to connect.

A streamlined lead nurturing process doesn’t have to be complicated. It involves collecting and tracking requests for information and then following up with people to ensure they got the information they were seeking. The more personal you can make this process, the better.

Digital Advertising: Reaching the Right Audience

The power of digital advertising is well documented, and it’s more than a “set it and forget it” effort. “Digital ads can find people who may not yet be aware of your organization yet fit your ideal demographic and are actively researching businesses like yours. It’s about putting your message in front of those most likely to resonate with it, on various digital platforms.” Then, what happens after they see your digital ad?

“User experience is very important. Let’s say we create an ad campaign to increase traffic to your website. Our advertisement is successful—it generates a lot of visits. But if your website doesn’t match the advertisement, doesn’t work well, or presents any difficulty to the user, the user is likely to give up.” Katie encourages organizations to think through the entire process before beginning a digital ad campaign. Define goals, set expectations, and look for gaps where leads may fall through the cracks.

Finally, Katie helps find the right digital advertising platform for the goals and objectives of an organization. “Building brand awareness, increasing foot traffic, getting people to register for an event or generating leads are all different objectives. Digital advertising platforms have different strategic uses. One platform does not fit all when it comes to digital marketing and ads.” 

Aim for Steady Progress

“When thinking about increases like enrollment or customer base, your process shouldn’t be a last-minute scramble,” Katie advises. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Throughout the year, take small manageable steps rather than overwhelming yourself when you suddenly realize acquisition is down.” Katie underscores that steady progress is the key to maintaining a healthy pipeline. Organizations can avoid the panic of last-minute recruitment drives by continuously nurturing their acquisition or enrollment process throughout the year.

  • Responsive Team: Ensure your team is responsive and readily available to answer inquiries and guide people through the sign-up process. Consider secret-shopping yourself. Is it a friendly, welcoming, and informative process? Did you receive any follow-up to your queries? Experience any unexpected bottlenecks or roadblocks?
  • Online Enrollment Portals: Provide user-friendly online enrollment portals that simplify the registration process. Make it easy for people to submit information requests or documents electronically.
  • Targeted Marketing: Use digital advertising to target your ideal demographics. Tailor your message to their needs and interests. Ensure your website promotes the same values as your advertisements.
  • Responsive Website: Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and provides clear information about the available programs, any costs or fees, and other process steps.
  • Email Drip Campaigns: Develop email drip campaigns that provide valuable information and reminders to leads at various stages of the decision-making journey. Don’t wait for them to contact you—stay top-of-mind by sharing insightful, benefit-focused information. 
  • Continuous Evaluation: Regularly assess your process and adapt based on feedback and data. Identify areas that need improvement and implement changes as necessary.

Crafting a Compelling Digital Ad

In the world of digital advertising, creating a compelling ad is an art and a science. A successful digital ad is more than just a catchy slogan and eye-catching visuals. It’s about resonating with your audience, capturing their attention, and compelling them to take action. 

One significant advantage of digital advertising, Katie points out, is the ease of making adjustments. She explains, “Unlike costly physical collateral campaigns, digital ads allow you to fine-tune your message and target audience rapidly.” So, what makes a good digital ad?

  • Audience-Centric Approach: A good digital ad starts with a deep understanding of your target audience. Who are they? What are their needs, desires, and pain points? What motivates them? Tailoring your ad to address these questions is paramount. Katie advises, “It’s not about what you want to say; it’s about what your audience needs to hear.”
  • Clear Message: Your ad should convey a clear and concise message. Avoid cluttering it with too much information. Whether it’s a call to action, a special offer, or a brand statement, ensure that it’s easily digestible. Katie emphasizes, “Your audience should grasp the essence of your ad within seconds.”
  • Compelling Visuals: When applicable, visual elements play a crucial role in catching the eye and conveying your message. High-quality images, videos, and graphics should align with your brand and message. Katie points out, “Visuals should not only be attractive but also relevant to your audience and message.”
  • Emotion and Storytelling: Successful ads often tap into emotions and tell a story. Katie believes that “stories have a way of connecting with people on a deeper level.” Whether it’s a heartwarming tale or an inspiring journey, stories can create a lasting impact.
  • Call to Action: Your ad should guide the audience on what to do next. Whether it’s “Call Us,” “Learn More,” “Subscribe,” or “Buy Now,” a clear call to action is essential. “If you don’t tell your audience what to do, they might not take any action at all,” Katie said.
  • A/B Testing: Testing is key to refining your ad’s performance. A/B testing involves creating variations of your ad and measuring which one performs better. Continuous testing helps you understand what resonates with your audience so you can fine-tune ads for optimal results.
  • Mobile Optimization: With the majority of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, be sure your ad is optimized for mobile. Katie reminds us, “Your ad should look and perform just as well on a smartphone as it does on a desktop, perhaps even better.”
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Use data and analytics to track the success of your ad campaigns. According to Katie, “Data can reveal valuable insights about what’s working and what’s not. It’s the compass that guides your digital advertising strategy.”
  • Represent Yourself: Katie’s message is clear: “If you don’t share your values, someone else will fill that space. Negative experiences are more likely to be shared, so it’s crucial to control your digital narrative.” She recommends proactively asking for reviews, collecting testimonials, photography, and news story content to share the positive aspects of your organization. 

The Post-Ad Experience

Ensure consistency between your ad message and your website. People should feel like they’ve landed in the right place when they visit your website after clicking your ad. Katie notes, “Consistency in branding, messaging, and visual elements helps reinforce your identity and build trust. If there’s a disconnect between what’s promised in the ad and what’s delivered on the website, it can lead to confusion and mistrust. Your website’s role is the Director of First Impressions. Does it give the first impression you want?”

The post-ad experience includes interactions with your organization beyond the website. Providing responsive customer support is key. “If potential clients or families have questions or encounter issues, they should be able to reach out to your organization easily and receive timely, helpful responses,” said Katie. Responsive support leaves a positive impression and builds potential connections.

In a digital world, first interactions matter more than ever. Creating a seamless and valuable connection can set the stage for a long and positive relationship.

Published on: November 1, 2023