3 Questions to Ask Before You Start Advertising Online

Teegan Nordhues

Advertising your business used to be easy. You had about four options – Yellow Pages, the newspaper, a tv ad, and the radio. Maybe a billboard. Today, advertising has evolved to need an entirely new language that sounds sort of like a bad day in high school math: algorithms, platforms, optimization, ad groups, ad sets, opt-ins, targeting, and click-throughs.

While, yes, the world of advertising has taken on a life of its own, you’re absolutely capable of learning enough of its language to take control of your advertising strategy.

And therein lies the key. Strategy.

If the extent of your digital marketing strategy has been to throw $5 at boosting your latest post on Facebook, please put that five dollar bill back in your pocket and slowly back away from your computer. It’s time you sat down and made a “big picture” ? plan for your online presence.

To begin, you need to base your strategy around three very important questions.

1 – What are you trying to accomplish?

While the $5 boost on Facebook feels like you’re doing something, if it’s not serving an end purpose, it’s five dollars you could’ve spent on your favorite latte ☕ (a far more enjoyable way to spend $5, in my opinion).

A good place to start is to identify what you want to get out of your online advertising. How do you want your ads to directly benefit your business? Is your end goal to get more sales? Maybe you need to start building an email list, or perhaps you need to boost your brand awareness and social involvement. Each one of those end goals has a direct action associated with it. For sales, your ads are going to send your audience to your website. For email lists, you’re going to need an opt-in page where people give you their email address in exchange for something of value. For brand awareness and social involvement, your ads will motivate your audience to like and follow you on social media.

When you know what your end goal is, you can build a path that walks your audience from ad to the desired result. Of course, you’ll start by creating a compelling ad with dynamic copy (use those action words!), but also think about what happens after they click on the ad. Are you going to need a landing page on your website that supports the ad they just clicked on? Are you going to need to build an opt-in page that captures emails, and, more importantly, do you have something of value to offer your client each step of the way? With online marketing, your campaign doesn’t end once the ad has been clicked. Make sure that you are holding their hand by providing them with clear action items all the way to that goal.

2 – Who are you marketing to? Who is your customer?

This question seems so innocent on the surface, but often I get these sort of answers, “Well, people who need bikes.” “Hm. I guess mostly guys? Oh wait. A lot of girlfriends come in looking for something for their boyfriend.” It’s time to stop guessing and start knowing. With the sort of targeted advertising available to you through online advertising, you have a lot of power in getting your product in front of people who want it and need it.

Start with knowing your demographics – gender, age, income, geography. But then dive deeper. How is your customer finding you online right now? What sort of words do they type into that Google search box? What patterns of shopping or searching do they do? Do they price compare? Do they read reviews? Does your customer spend a lot of time reading blogs? Watching YouTube videos? Basically, how do they spend their time online?

Some of this you can answer by looking at your current customer base and making assumptions. But some of this you may need to find out, and the best way to do that is simply to ask them. Typeform is an excellent way to create surveys and ask the questions you need to know.

So go ahead, get to know your customer so you can give them more of what they want.

3 – What’s your budget?

You have a lot of control with online advertising. You get to choose exactly what you’re paying for, but you need to have a good idea of your daily limit and how much you’re willing to pay for your entire strategy. This might require a little research to even know what is a reasonable budget. With online advertising, the actual cost you pay for each time your ad shows up or is clicked on or is watched varies by industry. For example if you’re in the tech industry, you can pay up to $9/click on Google Adwords. It’s a competitive industry so the clicks can cost more. However, if you’re in a more obscure industry like RV repair you could pay a mere $1.30 or less per click.

What’s so great, though, is even if your budget isn’t really big, you can still get your brand out there for a handful of dollars. Since you’ve done all of the legwork and have gotten to know your customer and know how to give them the value they want, your $9 for a click may very well turn into a customer and pay off accordingly.

I know when you’re running your business, putting together a stellar marketing strategy can seem insurmountable. I completely understand that more work can sometimes be the last thing you need. However, this work is worth it. It’s an excellent way to grow your business and find new customers.

If at any point you feel like you could use a little nudge or even some guidance with putting together your strategy, send us a message. We’d love to work with you.

And, if you’re wondering if there’s another route to take to get your website some traction, maybe a route that’s closer to free, you can download my Get our SEO Fit Guide which shows you how you can improve your visibility in the search engines by committing to just a few hours a week.