We know – it sounds like an impossible dream. But with a bit of planning (and a little bit of know-how) you can make the most of opportunities to stand out to your audience.
Since the invention of the internet, everybody’s pretty much been after the same thing: standing out online. From the moment the first ever website hit the Net (a bit of a dry page from the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in 1991, if you’re interested), it’s been awash with competition; where one website springs up, hundreds more spring up around it to take its place.
So, trying to differentiate yourself from a huge crowd of other people online has always been tricky.
Now, however, it’s a whole different ball game. Since the global 2020 lockdown, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, standing out online has taken on a whole new meaning. This is largely because of the fact that physical stores have been rendered all but obsolete during the crisis, making our online presence suddenly crucial. This has meant that huge brand names like Apple, Nike, and Google, are in the same place as the rest of us – online. It no longer mattered what real-world campaigns these guys were running – or the size of their stores or workplaces – because everyone is sharing the space on a screen.
‘Disruption creates opportunity as well as risk’
So, several months into lockdown, what became obvious? It was pretty simple – every brand that was surviving and thriving during the pandemic was doing one thing – maximising their online presence.
Whether in the form of an all-new digital campaign, crucial timed and targeted messaging, or upping their digital spend, these brands quickly recognised that in a level playing field, it’s key to stand out the one place that matters most.
Of course, not everyone has the same financial resources as these major players. However, there are a few key places where you can redirect your energy and spending power, just like they do, in order to really ensure that your brand is making its mark.
Check Your Audience
This is pretty crucial. Any Digital Marketing team will be able to rattle off why Buyer Personas are so important: if you haven’t done your research into who your audience is, what they want to hear and see, what their pain points are and what their challenges are day-to-day, you’re never going to get any engagement. But what happens when you have done that? How accurately are you really targeting those people, and what are you doing to make them feel seen and heard?
With LinkedIn’s Audience Targeting, splitting off the demographic you want has never been easier. Refining your audience by the values they themselves have input into LinkedIn is a stroke of genius – you know for certain that you’re getting your messaging in front of the Managing Director of a business when you can choose to appear to that job title directly. You can also choose by industry, company size and location, among other things – letting you be selective about your audience. (A word to the wise – don’t slim it down too much with hundreds of tags, as you’ll lose that engagement too!)
Pick Your Platform
Platforms are a pretty important part of making sure your messaging stands out online. Okay, you’ve picked LinkedIn – but did you know that there are four different types of advertising in LinkedIn? From Sponsored Content, to InMail – you need to know which type of advertising is going to be best for reaching your chosen audience. InMail is great for direct, personal one-to-one communication – but is that what your target audience wants?
Perhaps your persona research has shown you that your target audience doesn’t have a lot of time – and they are unlikely to read a direct Mail. Maybe then, you’d lean towards Spotlight Ads, which can be personalised for a quick and direct connection between customer and company? Can you fit your offering onto these smaller platforms? These are the questions to ask yourself as you wade through your different options.
Whatever you’re hoping to say – say it the right way, and pick the channel that’s going to work best for your offering.
Make It Count
Of course, all of this is pretty null and void if your content isn’t the best that it can be. It’s a tale as old as time – how many times have you seen an advert for something and said to a friend: ‘Wow – that’s terrible’? If you’re like us here at Ultimate, you probably also sit up and take note when an advert is really good – when it gets to the core of what you want and what matters to you.
So, the answer’s straightforward – make sure the content you’re putting out there is good! Make it funny, engaging or dynamic – can the ad be animated? Can the message be rephrased? Whatever you’re doing, make it interesting – in a sea of boring ads, don’t be another one to add to the pile.
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive – but hopefully it’s got you thinking about how you can stand out online. A few simple tweaks could be all it takes – so let us know how you get on! For more information or advice on how to stand out online, get in touch with our dedicated team and we’ll get you moving forward.