Running paid advertising campaigns can be an intimidating task for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Identifying the best paid advertising platform for your small business isn’t a cut and dry process: there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account.
Initially it comes down to asking the right questions.
Aim for Effectiveness not Efficiency
Paid advertising platforms have mechanisms in place to help you avoid burning through or over your advertising budget, but that doesn’t mean you’ll achieve good returns on your ad spend.
Doing something efficiently relates to improving a process. Doing something effectively relates to achieving a desired outcome. That crucial difference should be emphasized when thinking about initiating a paid advertising campaign.
Before you even begin contemplating how powerful your ad headings are going to be, it’s essential that you first understand that effective advertising campaigns rely being able to answer 2 questions:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What are the goals of your paid advertising campaign?
Ideal Customer Personas & Target Audience
Without going into great detail on how to create your ideal customer persona, you should be aware that it’s an integral part of building a deep understanding of your target audience.
Developing your ideal customer persona and using it to inform your understanding of your target audience will make setting up and running paid advertising campaigns much easier. In addition to that, you should also revisit and update your ideal customer persona regularly by utilizing the Fluid Prototyping Approach.
There are many sources of customer data already available to you via website analytics, social media engagement, and sales data. Use that to create an even more accurate representation of your ideal customer persona within your target market.
Obviously the demographics that you focus on will depend on the type of business you operate. Some examples include:
- Demographics and personal data such as gender, age, and interests
- Financial and employment data such as job title, income, and homeownership
- Geographic data such as country and city of residence
- Lifestage data such as marital status, number of children, and level of education
Setting Objectives for Your Paid Advertising Campaigns
It’s pretty common for small business owners to have vague goals in relation to paid advertising. Yes, paid advertising campaigns can be used to “grow your business” but you need to be much clearer on how you intend to use paid advertising platforms to achieve that and what metrics you’ll focus on to track your ad performance.
Some more specific objectives and the corresponding tactics might sound something like this:
- Increase brand awareness: focus on impressions,
- increase traffic to your company website: focus on CTR, refining ad copy and website landing pages,
- increase leads and sales: focus on conversion rate and cost per conversion as well as encouraging meaningful actions such as e-mail signups or on-site purchases.
Setting clear objectives will inform how you formulate your campaigns and allow you to assess their effectiveness as well as troubleshoot your ad campaigns accordingly. Rinse and repeat.
Focus on the Major Paid Advertising Platforms
Once you’ve developed your ideal customer persona and defined clear objectives for your campaigns you’re ready to get started on creating paid advertising campaigns.
An effective advertising campaign will usually span multiple paid advertising platforms in order to benefit from the comparative advantages of each. However, you need to first identify which platforms best meet your small business needs.
1. Google Ads
Google Ads is the leader in paid search marketing and is most suitable for targeting audience intent. That is, getting your product or service in front of audiences who are already searching Google in order to solve a specific problem. Google Ads are based on targeting keywords within search queries.
Although you can use Google Ads to meet various objectives, it is well suited for targeting BOFU prospects. Bottom of the Funnel refers to potential customers who are ready to take action.
2. LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn Ads are a useful option for young businesses and founders looking to establish themselves as thought leaders in a particular niche. LinkedIn is the platform for getting in front of decision makers and budget controllers.
This makes LinkedIn particularly useful for businesses restricted by circumstance to operate in their local environment. Say you’ve recently established a B2B company offering services in a particular city or region. LinkedIn is the platform to start building momentum by growing your professional network and getting in front of potential clients in those locales.
3. Facebook Ads
Facebook is the perfect platform to test your thinking around your ideal customer persona. The world is now fully aware that Facebook is an incredibly efficient data aggregator. Huge numbers of daily users and extensive targeting allow you to be extremely specific in your targeting of individual users.
Facebook is a good option for achieving objectives related to TOFU prospects. The relatively low cost of advertising on Facebook makes it a good platform for low-friction calls to action, such as encouraging e-mail sign-ups via lead magnets or high-value content offerings.
Remember the key concern is to establish effective advertising campaigns designed around your ideal customer persona in order to achieve specific objectives.