We’ve already established that your customers are online, in large part because of the months-long stay-at-home orders that necessitated a sweeping embrace of digital technology. It’s no longer a question of if your customers are online, but where online? A simple way to locate your customers online is to test out targeted ad campaigns on a few digital platforms. You don’t need to start with a ton of budget either; you can start testing ads for as little as $10/day. Be sure to do some upfront research, as this will help you decide where to start.
However — and this point cannot be stressed enough — test only one variable at a time. Let’s say you start running an ad campaign and after a few weeks you’re not getting much traction. It’s tempting to scratch the whole thing and start over out of frustration, but that’s a mistake. If you change your audience targeting, copy, and imagery all at once, then you won’t know which variables made the biggest impact on conversions, and you’ll still be left guessing. Instead, when you create a new campaign, you should change any ONE of those variables. This way, you can gather direct evidence for what is and is not working.
Once you’ve collected a few weeks of data, being careful to test just one variable at a time, you’ll be able to determine which platforms are worth continued investment. Digital ads have been hugely successful for many of our clients once we identified the right platform, targeting, and messaging. The secret to successful digital advertising is testing, testing, and more testing!
If you’re new to digital advertising, here are a few great avenues to jumpstart your efforts:
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine advertising (otherwise known as paid search, PPC, paid advertising, and “SEM”) are the first results that appear when a user types something into a search engine. They look like regular search results, but include the word “ad” or “sponsored.” Paid search ads allow you to promote your product or service on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo when users search for keywords relevant to your business. Depending on your industry keywords, prices can go up or down; there’s a ton of variability, which is why it’s so crucial to do keyword research upfront. However, when search ads are done right, they can yield incredible return on investment.
Social Media Advertising
Social ads are another great avenue for digital advertising. Unlike search ads, social ads are designed to reach your intended audience based on precise targeting. The first and most crucial step is defining your audience types — the best creative won’t yield results if you’re targeting the wrong people. Once you get your targeting on point, you can play around with different copy, content, and visuals to see what yields the best results. Once again, make sure you test one variable at a time. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself starting from scratch over and over again, wondering what went wrong. We typically recommend starting with Facebook and/or Instagram, but LinkedIn, Youtube, Reddit, TikTok, and Pinterest can also be lucrative advertising platforms.
Similar to search ads, Amazon ads are based on keywords. If your product is part of a highly-saturated market, you can expect to pay more for premium ad placements. On the other hand, if you offer a niche product, you can expect to pay less for more exposure. Whenever you’re dealing with keyword-led advertising avenues, creativity is your friend. You can essentially own certain search queries if you can locate keywords or phrases that your competitors have missed. If you discover a keyword or phrase that seems like a great fit but notice that you’re not getting traction, it’s probably because it’s more relevant to another product. It’s essential to continuously monitor your Amazon ads so you can optimize to deliver the greatest return.
When you think about digital advertising, you likely don’t consider influencers because their ads appear much less structured and more “natural” than traditional ads. However, influencer advertising can be a massively useful tool if you connect with the right influencers and provide them with the right information. As always, do your research, because it will require an investment depending on the size of the influencer’s following. Within minutes, you should know whether or not an influencer’s audience includes your target demographic based on their content and comments. Once you reach an agreement with an influencer on price and exposure, it’s imperative that you provide precise direction on how you want them to position and present your brand and product. This also applies to podcast advertising, as many podcast hosts are influencers in their own right. The key is making sure that their audience matches yours, and then crafting an engaging message.