Not long ago, advertising meant placing your company’s message in print, in a TV commercial, or on a billboard and hoping it reached your target audience (along with everyone else). And that also meant it was largely unaffordable for small businesses.
Now that small businesses can target specific audiences and search queries online, advertising has become far more precise, cost-effective, and measurable. Instead of asking customers “How’d you hear about us?”, businesses can determine which ads worked best by correlating clicks to leads and sales.
But the majority of small business owners we surveyed aren’t using digital advertising tactics through search engines like Google and social networks like Facebook. Forty-two percent plan to advertise online in 2017, while only one-third plan to invest more in digital ads.
The majority (58%) of small business owners assume that digital advertising is too complex or too costly. And it can be if you’re spending ad dollars on the wrong keywords for Google AdWords or the wrong audience on Facebook
“On a small budget, you have to be extremely precise in where the investment goes. Before any dollar is spent, it’s imperative to confirm that all the data can be tracked, attributed, and assigned a value against cost.” – Manny Rivas, chief marketing officer at Aimclear
Digital Advertising Trend #1: Laser Focused Targeting
Targeting is everything. Before you start with online advertising you should understand the online habits of your audience. By studying the terms prospects use in search engine queries, you can create ads that answer those questions.
By understanding the demographics, interests, and behaviors of your customers, you can create custom and lookalike audiences to target only people likely to be interested in your company—not everyone, like in the billboard days.
In practice this means that you won’t use Google AdWord and Facebook Ads in the same way. For a quick explanation of when to use each see this article by Chris Leone from WebStrategies: Should I Use Facebook or Google Advertising?
Digital Advertising Trend #2: Remarketing
Remarketing has historically meant targeting those who visited a website you own with an ad. Advertisers are able to show ads related to a blog post that was read, product that was viewed, search that was made and a whole lot more.
Thanks to the Facebook pixel — a snippet of code that is unique to the advertiser and is placed on every page of a website — audiences can be generated of people based on the pages they visited and when.
The most popular remarketing audiences in Facebook include:
- Anyone who visited your website
- People who visit specific web pages
- People visiting specific web pages but not others
- People who have visited a specific number of pages
- People who haven’t visited in a certain amount of time
For a more detailed explanation of all the new custom audiences available to Facebook advertisers see Jon Loomer’s article The Evolution of Facebook Remarketing
Note: You can create remarketing campaigns in Google AdWords, YouTube Ads and Facebook.
If you are already familiar with remarketing you’ll find Digital Marketer’s The Remarketing Grid: The Science of Ad Retargeting Audience Segmentation very helpful.
How To Cash In On These Digital Advertising Trends
#1: Set Up Your Remarketing Pixels and Code
The first step is to ensure that you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel on your website and that you’ve enabled remarketing audiences in Google Adwords. Your techie and marketing agency will know how to do this. If you are a one-man marketing team and need help, get in touch and I’ll point you in the right direction.
#2: Run Audience Building Campaigns
With your tracking code in place you can start building your remarketing audiences. If you are fortunate enough to have time on your side, you can just let this happen organically.
Most small businesses don’t have that luxury so they run campaigns to build out their audiences.
Starting from scratch you’ll use demographic and interest based targeting to build remarketing audiences. You’ll then create lookalike audiences based on your initial remarketing audiences. You need at least 100 people in a custom audience to create a lookalike. So you can be up and running within a day or two.
#3: Run Monetization Campaigns
Once you have a nice portfolio of custom and lookalike audiences in your portfolio you can start running advertising campaigns to drive revenue.
Start small, but be precise. Tweak your campaigns until you reach a return on investment you are comfortable with. Then start scaling them and put them on autopilot.
Because it’s so effective it’s also becoming more competitive and expensive. And like all else in business there is a learning curve.
So get in and hone your skills whilst it is still relatively inexpensive to go through the learning curve.
If you have any question, please reach out to us.
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