Are you spending money on online advertising and seeing little to no results? If you're like most business owners, you were told that online advertising has a much greater ROI than traditional advertising, yet after several months and thousands of dollars, you still can't seem to make it work.
Online advertising does offer a much better ROI than traditional advertising, as long as it is done right. Just like any advertising you pay for, if you execute it poorly then you will most likely see poor results.
No matter what advertising platform you are using or how much money you are spending each month, one or more of the mistakes below will usually lead to a poor outcome for your online advertising campaign.
No Strategy In Place
This is why most advertising campaigns fail, both online and offline, there is no strategy from the get go. Before you spend a dollar on advertising you need to know what outcomes you want from your ad campaign, who you want to target and what you want to offer them. Map out every step of the ad process from who you will target, the ad itself and where you will send them after they click on an ad or call your business. Each one of these steps is an opportunity to lose a potential customer and they all need to be working together in order for your ad campaign to generate leads.
Why do people buy from you? If you don't know that then it'll be hard to craft an effective ad that makes people want to contact you. Most businesses end up creating generic ads full of meaningless superlatives (we are the best!) that couldn't convince your mother to contact you. Know what is important to your customers and include them in your ad copy. It could be a guarantee, trust signals like reviews and awards, or upfront and transparant pricing.
Once you know what your plan is, then you can start your research. Most businesses don't take the time to find the right ad platform, the right advertising channels or what type of budget is needed in order to run a successful ad campaign. The problem for many businesses is that they don't understand online advertising and an advertising salesman will sell a solution to a business without regard if it is the right fit for that business.
Many traditional print advertising mediums now use their sales teams to sell online advertising solutions to small business and many of these businesses rely on these salespeople to put together an effective ad campaign for them. It rarely works. Why? Because they are salespeople, not marketing strategists. They get paid to sell you something and have the same advertising plan for every single business they sell to.
You need to spend the time (or pay someone) to find the right advertising channels that will allow you to get in front of your ideal customer. If you are using a Pay Per Click ad campaign like Google Adwords, then you will also need to research what search terms people use in Google in order to find a business like yours. If you use an advertising platform like Facebook, you'll need to research the right demographic and interest targeting options available.
If you don't do your research or rely on a salesperson to coordinate your ad campaign, it will most likely not produce the results you are hoping for.
Lack of Cohesiveness
Online advertising, and online marketing in general, will work best when you take a layered approach. A great online advertising campaign will use several advertising options to reach their ideal customer multiple times, using multiple mediums.
An example would be mortgage broker running a Pay Per Click search campaign on Google Adwords where someone typed in “best mortgage rates in Charlotte” and triggered their ad. That person clicks on the ad, visits the mortgage website and then leaves without contacting the mortgage broker. But the mortgage broker is also running Remarketing campaigns on Google Adwords and Facebook and now has additional opportunities to engage with that person after they leave the website. In this example, 3 different ad campaigns were used together in order to try and convert a single visitor into a lead.
All of your online advertising campaigns should be working together with a common message and goal. The beauty os online advertising, and online marketing in general, is that they overlap and complement each other, allowing you to reach the same potential customer across several online mediums.
Budget Not Spent Wisely
Poor budget management can kill even great advertising campaigns. You may be spreading your budget too thin across too many advertising channels or you may be spending too much on poor performing campaigns and not enough on your winning campaigns.
Think of it like being in a casino. You lose $10 on a hand of blackjack and move to another table and do the same thing. If you only play one hand of blackjack at each table, you may never win a hand. You are much more likely to win more if you stay at a single table and play multiple hands. If you have a limited budget, don't spread yourself out too thin, focus on the ad campaigns most likely to have the biggest impact and expand to additional campaigns later.
One of the big advantages of online advertising over traditional advertising is being able to use analytics to track and measure ROI. If you are not tracking the results of your ad campaigns then you will never know which campaigns are making money and which ones are not. Tracking the results of your ad spend is the only way you will make smarter decisions with your money going forward. All online ad platforms
Most online ad platforms provide robust analytics reporting. When you combine this data with your website analytics and your own lead/sales tracking data, then you will be able to see what ad campaigns are working and which ones aren't.
Weak Offer/Landing Page
What is the purpose of an ad? To generate interest, or for an online ad, to generate a click to a landing page (either on your website or a standalone web page). You may have done a good job getting someone to click on your ad, but now that they are on your website, what now?
Your ad will generate interest, your landing page will generate a lead. You can create the best ads in the world, but if it takes them to an underwhelming landing page then most likes you have wasted your money.
Many salespeople selling advertising solutions won't talk about this, but the landing page you send people to is what is really going to sell that person on your business. So if you don't spend as much time (or even more) on creating a compelling reason for people to contact you once they arrive on your landing page, then your ad spend may be going to waste.
An effective landing page should continue the message you had in the ad that person clicked on. It should also have a compelling offer or reason to contact you. On the landing page you will want to expand on why you are the right choice. You'll also want to add supporting evidence like customer reviews, industry awards and other signs of trust. You want people to feel good about contacting you.
Have a plan in place before you start
Before you spend a dollar on advertising, you need to make sure you have done your homework and have considered all of the necessary pieces of the puzzle in order to make your online advertising campaign work. Do your research to make sure you are targeting the right people in the right places. Consider a layered approach so you can reach your potential customers across different channels. And create create great ad copy, an engaging landing page and an irresistible offer, all of which will help you run a successful and profitable online advertising campaign.
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