In this episode of TABS (Talking About Business Strategy), I bring my friend Eagan Heath on to discuss paid digital advertising strategies.
We discuss why businesses should run paid digital ads, what types are available, and how you should think about getting started.
Why run paid ads?
Eagan identified two primary reasons to run paid ads:
- Speed – If you are in need of leads and sales urgently, or just getting started with your inbound strategy, paid ads are a great way to get results fast. You can tap into existing demand and start to move towards a quick ROI.
- Scale – The other benefit of paid ads is their ability to scale. Once you find a profitable ad strategy, you can increase your campaign budget as much as you like, being to see 2X, 5X, 10X, etc. results.
When do you see results?
You can begin to see results in paid ads pretty quickly, sometimes as soon as a few weeks. This is much faster than SEO, which can often take months or even years.
Eagan noted that your testing budget will be a major influence on when you can start seeing results. As you’ll need to spend a least a few thousand dollars to get enough impressions and clicks to start getting meaningful data. Once you have this data, you can start tweaking and optimizing your campaigns for better results.
Your specific industry and the keywords that you are targeting will also impact how fast you get results. Keywords can vary greatly in their competitiveness, volume, and overall complexity to optimize for.
What are the components of paid ads?
When it comes to what makes up paid ad campaigns, Eagan identifies a few core areas:
- Targeting – Where are we advertising? At a platform level, there are a couple of different options to choose from, including Google, Facebook, Instagram, Bing, LinkedIn, etc. On a more granular level, it’s also important to consider what stage of the buyer’s journey you are targeting. This will impact the ad type itself, as well as the overall campaign structure.
- Messaging – Where are we sending them? What is the offer? Eagan has found that having a well-crafted offer on a custom lead page has been effective.
- Measurements – Impressions/clicks/conversions – what are we measuring? These are the important factors that will help you stay on track.
- Budget – Your budget will determine how many impressions your campaign will receive.
How do you compete against big brands?
Competing against big brands can be difficult. And as Eagan said, whoever can spend the most to acquire a new customer will win. So it’s important that you find your edge where you can.
Eagan suggests making sure that your keywords and messaging are dialed in. Over time you can optimize for keywords that are less competitive but still receive good volume. You can also stand out with your messaging by making your content more personal. By showing your face in videos and pictures, you can help build trust and own the fact you are a small business.
What types of ads can you run?
When it comes to different types of ads, Eagan suggests building a strategy around which part of the funnel you are targeting:
- Bottom funnel – Remarketing is great for bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns, as you can keep your product in front of people as they are ready to buy. He recommends using Google display ads, Facebook, and Instagram here.
- Middle Funnel – Regular old search ads are great for middle-of-the-funnel targeting. As users search Google and Bing for keywords related to product research, your ads can help capture a slice of those high intent searches.
- Top of Funnel – For the top of the funnel, Eagan recommends sending your target audience to lead magnets. Using Google display ads, Facebook, and Bing (which now includes LinkedIn target options), you can send potential buyers to webinars and free products to help capture them in your sales funnel.
How do you get started in paid ads?
Eagan recommends starting by mapping out your marketing funnel and buyer’s journey. Review the content that you have, and what stage you want to focus on attracting potential buyers to.
Focusing on direct response advertising is going to be most effective for companies under $100MM in revenue. Create ads that are focused on conversions, using lead magnets, landing pages, and focused keyword strategies.
Links to Eagan’s companies: