What You Need to Launch Cross-Channel Creative

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Today, we’re going to break down the assets needed to produce creative for the five main methods of driving customer growth online.

While channels and tactics always change, these are the five strategies we most commonly encounter (and implement) in today’s digital landscape:

Paid Search: Running Pay-Per-Click text or display (banner) ads on Google, Bing, and other search engines and advertising platforms

Organic Search: SEO campaigns designed to rank various pages of your content naturally in the search engines

Paid Social: Ad campaigns for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social platforms

Organic Social: Social campaigns designed to grow your audience, foster engagement, and drive leads without ad spend

Affiliate Programs: Empowering affiliates to promote your business for you in exchange for commissions on the sales they drive (or in some cases, the clicks they generate)

Let’s dig in, shall we? 

Paid Search

Ahhhhhh yes, our old friend Pay-Per-Click (PPC). One of the original ways to buy digital media is still going strong, and while a number of ad networks have come and gone over the years, Google (Adwords and Display Network) is still the big player.

PPC ads require crafty, intelligent, curiosity or intent-driven headlines, and also descriptions (in some cases) as well. These can be challenging to write due to character limitations.

From a display standpoint, we’re talking about designing banners. The standard sizes you’ll want to account for here are 728×90, 300×600, 300×250, and 160×600.

You’ll want to start with at least two versions of each banner, at each size, for each campaign so you can test headlines, designs, and/or button call-to-actions.

So if you’re running three different campaigns (with different angles) you’ll need 8 banners for each campaign (two variations at each size) for a total of 32 banner creatives.

  • In many cases, ad copy and design elements you’ve already invested in can be repurposed for these assets.
  • Animated Banners perform better than static banners in some cases, but you should be aware that animated banners can be more time consuming to produce from a creative standpoint. 

Google Responsive Display Ads are also worth investigating. While new, these ads have performed well in our experience. They also enable you to upload up 10-15 images, 5 headlines, 5 descriptions, and 5 logos.

Google combines these pieces into various ad unit combinations at all available sizes, which will save you time in having your creative team produce and publish all these variations.

Organic Search

Since the touches here primarily involve search engine results pages (SERPs) that lead directly to your website, the cost of visual creative is more minimal. 

From a copy standpoint, you’ll need unique page content and potentially, optimized headlines and descriptions for the SERPs. 

You’ll need a good header/featured image and maybe a couple of inline images for your pages themselves. 

Many of our clients handle these images themselves, and look to AIMCLEAR for optimized descriptions and page copy, along with ongoing CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) so you can split-test a couple of page layouts and variations on different call-to-actions to consistently improve results over time.

Paid Social

Paid social campaigns (running ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social platforms) can provide quick rewards and can also be incredibly scalable.

You’ve probably found that video performs well in these campaigns… But much like animated banners, producing video is much more involved than producing static images and this should be accounted for.

We’ve found that paid social creative tends to need a refresh more often than the other methods discussed here. Of course, this “ad fatigue” also depends on the scale of the ad spend, size of the audiences, and a number of other factors. 

Campaign-specific landing pages often work well here, so creative costs might include a few different landing page templates and copy variations on the website side of things.

Organic Social

We could wax on forever about how effective (or not effective) organic social is in regards to acquisition, but this strategy is undoubtedly invaluable from a brand perspective.

Smart creative investment here would include image templates (so image and video-based posts appear consistent) and also a comprehensive messaging framework or content calendar so that your messaging is more diverse and rounded than simply saying “Hey! Check out our stuff!”

Paid Affiliates

Many of our clients run robust affiliate programs. 

The nice thing about building out your affiliate program is that once the initial heavy lifting is done, affiliates tend to run on their own, for the most part… And can perform well with an affiliate manager on hand to recruit and manage affiliates. 

You’ll need a great affiliate center, with focused copy encouraging affiliates to join the program and promote your offer. 

You’ll also want to provide promotional materials, and this is where AIMCLEAR shines: 

We can write promotional paid search and social posts for your affiliates, and design a wide range of display banners and other visual  creatives. 

We also write lots of promotional email copy for affiliates that focus on email marketing.

Though providing these assets for your affiliates requires investment from you, once you’re up and running, your creative expense is minimal.

In an ideal world, you’ll have the budget to run your own paid search and social in conjunction with your affiliate program, and be in close contact with your affiliates regarding their promotions and results. 

Through these means you can improve your creative over time, and also update your affiliate materials as you dial in those that are most effective with other affiliates and through your own channels.

There Should Be Overlap

Copy written for paid search campaigns can be repurposed for display banners and paid search campaigns. And most of the creative assets we are discussing can (and should) be rolled out to affiliates once they’re tested.

Not only will this save you money, but it will also empower consistent, integrated campaigns across all channels.

Other Considerations

Obviously, there is investment involved in each of these strategies that goes beyond the creative. 

As mentioned above, an effective affiliate program really needs a dedicated affiliate manager to find and foster these relationships. 

Paid search and paid social marketing campaigns require a talented media buyer to find the right audiences, setup and optimize the campaigns, manage and tweak them.

And all of the methods detailed in this post require (ideally) a conversion rate optimization specialist for continuous split-testing with the goal of improving results.

You may be able to solve for these additional requirements in-house, or lean on your agency for additional services beyond the creative. 

Either way, plan ahead for this when formulating your integrated marketing strategy. 

Questions? Comments? 

Hopefully this helps provide an idea of what it takes from a creative standpoint to effectively drive cross-channel online business. 

Have questions or comments? 

Please ask them below. And if AIMCLEAR can help grow your business, make sure to contact us for a free consultation! 

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