Authors: Dan Golden & Bill McCabe
It would be awesome if people always followed the call to action in a TV ad. Your ad comes on and tells them to call, and they would respond by immediately picking up the phone and making the call. Or when you asked them to visit a retail location, they’d drop what they were doing, jump in the car and go.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the way people work. Adding to the challenge is a little thing called the internet. It makes it possible for consumers to go online and look around with minimal effort and zero commitment. In other words, it’s all on their terms. Considering most TV viewers have a smartphone or tablet nearby, this offline-to-online reaction will only continue to grow.
The good news is that this makes for a giant opportunity. If TV viewers are searching for you, it means they are interested. To capitalize on this interest, a marketer must think beyond direct navigation and vanity URLs. It simply isn’t the viewer’s typical path. Instead, viewers do a general search for a product. They read reviews. Viewers may also go to Amazon to check out comparable products.
To meet this reality, we recommend what we call “defensive strategies.” These strategies are based on the fact that viewers are unlikely to immediately search for your website and instead prepare for all the other avenues your viewers could go down. By employing these strategies, you can avoid missing out on opportunities driven by your TV ads.
1. Dominate Search Real Estate
In today’s abundant world of devices (computers, smartphones and even smart speakers), the integration of search is more complex than ever. Marketers must develop a holistic search strategy to capture all of the demand-driven media, from offline to online. If you want to dominate search, you need to evaluate everywhere people are searching.
2. Own Branded Search
In most cases, it takes a big-time mistake for a brand not to rank for their own name. But alas, even the savviest of companies has gaps and reputation issues within the branded search results. So, brands need to think about all facets of search. This includes organic, local and paid search, as well as the representation of their brand on third-party sites.
3. Take Search Beyond Websites
Your brand doesn’t only live on your website. In the SERPs (search engine results pages), your brand lives on Google My Business pages, Wikipedia entries, Yelp, press releases and anywhere else your brand’s name has been mentioned. Think about everywhere you have a digital presence. This includes optimizing local profiles, Knowledge Graph, images and rich results.
4. Manage Your Reputation
Reputation issues in your search results can be very harmful. While the exact opportunity cost may be tough to measure, there’s no question it can mean the difference between a sale or no sale. Brands need to focus not just on their owned properties and profiles but on monitoring and addressing every brand mention (both positive and negative) that makes its way into the search results.
5. Plan For Non-Brand And Competitive Behavior
It’s not enough to focus on your products and product-specific keywords alone. Anticipate competitors and non-brand products to capture traffic from your keywords. When creating your search campaigns, make your budget caps flexible and your coverage all-encompassing, especially while a TV ad is running. You wouldn’t want your ad to drive business to the competition, right?
6. Build A Voice Strategy
Nearly one-fifth of U.S. TV viewers -- about 43 million people -- own a smart speaker. As such, brands will need to have a comprehensive voice search strategy including optimizing Q&A content and building chatbots or Alexa skills.
7. Ensure Proper Coverage
First-page visibility can sometimes be difficult to achieve. In this case, consider targeted paid search to get the page-one visibility you want now. Then, continue to work on building your organic rankings for later down the road.
8. Prepare For Product And Brand Demand
When you advertise a product on TV, you need to be ready to capture demand not only for branded search but also for product-specific search. This is especially true for brands that sell multiple products but use TV to promote only one of them. We recommend personalization to capitalize on this online demand. This could include featuring the TV-promoted products on your homepage. You can even sync its timing with your TV schedules.
9. Monitor The Competition
In addition to your own your keywords, it's important to also monitor your competition's. There’s a good chance they want to capture search interest in your product to introduce their own. Keyword monitoring platforms like Adgooroo or The Search Monitor make this simple.
10. Be Mobile Ready
Because most search is performed on mobile, you must meet the needs of that device. It could be something as simple as having a responsive website design to accommodate both desktop and mobile searches.
Providing TV viewers with a clear call to action is always a smart tactic. However, you can’t be sure they'll follow your directions. So, be prepared for whatever course of action they take. A defensive digital strategy can be extremely helpful in accomplishing that. Most importantly, keep evaluating the ever-evolving ways a consumer can seek you out online.