Buying Your Way In Front of Targeted Eyeballs
One of the fastest ways to start bringing targeted, cash-in-hand prospects to your site is via paid advertising. But before you go crazy with your ad budget, you need to figure out your goals, and then design a paid advertising strategy around these goals.
Here are the main questions to ask yourself to help you design your paid advertising strategy:
What is your main advertising goal?
If you want effective advertising, then you need to determine your primary goal before you purchase your first ad.
Here are follow up questions to help you determine your goal:
· Do you intend to generate revenue on the frontend (e.g., advertising for growth and monetization)? While making profits on the frontend is ideal, you may find it acceptable to break even on the front end, or even take a loss. This depends on your backend strategy. Which brings us to the next point…
· Is your goal to build your customer list and then generate profits on the backend? In other words, are you willing to take a loss on the frontend with the goal of making it up on the backend? If this is your goal, then you need to determine your likely CLV – customer lifetime value -- and go from there.
· Are you using it primarily to build your prospect list? In this case, you’re using a two-step strategy that involves sending traffic to a lead page rather than to your store. You get people on your list, and then turn these prospects into cash-paying customers,
· Are you using your advertising to build brand recognition? Take note: while you can and should build your brand, using paid advertising to do it isn’t necessarily the most effective way. Plus, ideally your goals should be easily measurable—and brand recognition is more difficult (but not impossible) to measure, as you’ll need to do surveys and focus groups to see if your brand-building efforts are working.
TIP: Regardless of whether you’re making money on the frontend, breaking even, or taking a loss, you need to figure out how you’re going to extract the most profit out of the backend of your business. This means setting up a strategy and a sales funnel for following up with customers to announce sales, promote related items, and generally get them to spend more money with you. You’ll do this primarily via email, in flyers you send with shipments, in strategically placed cross-promotions and upsells on your site and so on.
Once you determine your goals, this will help you decide what sort of ads to create and where to place these ads.
TIP: You’ll want to experiment with different types of direct-response ads, including:
1. General store ads. These are ads that direct people to the storefront.
2. Specific product ads. Here’s where you advertise some of your most popular products – perhaps low-priced products—to turn prospects quickly into customers. (This strategy will likely get you better results over sending people to the storefront – but test to find out what works for you.)
3. Sale ads. This is where you offer prospects a discount, such as a coupon on their first purchase.
4. Lead page ads. This is where you send people to your lead page to build your list, rather than sending them to a product page.
5. Retargeting. This is where you place ads in front of people for specific products they’ve previously viewed in your store. So for example, if someone looks at a pair of shoes in your store, then you can show them an ad for those shoes when they’re visiting other websites. One popular platform to place this sort of ad is on Facebook.
Now the next step is to determine the exact venues in which to advertise.
Here are popular options:
· Facebook advertising. Be sure to narrow your audience by demographics and behavior to ensure your ads are landing in front of targeted prospects. NOTE: you can also use retargeting.
· Reddit.com. This is a fairly inexpensive place to test advertising. Be sure to pick a targeted sub-Reddit.
· YouTube.com. Here’s a good way to reach your market through video ads (which appear before regular videos on the site).
· Google and Bing advertising. Here your ads will show up alongside the organic search results. Be sure to pick targeted (narrow) keywords.
· Marketplace advertising. Sites like eBay and Amazon let you advertise on their sites, even if you’re not selling products through their platforms.
· Third party services. Some websites exist to bring advertisers and content publishers together. For example, you might check out sites such as BlogAds.com
· Niche sites. These are sites within your own niche where your target market congregates. You can also check if these sites offer opportunities such as email advertising, or ads on their social media channels.
For example, if you’re selling dog supplies, then you’d seek out dog training (and similar) websites.
Keep these points in mind as you develop your advertising strategy:
· Focus on one ad venue at a time. Get it up and running, and succeed (or fail) before you purchase ads through another venue.
· Be sure you’re placing effective ads. Testing and tracking your ads will help you determine which ads get you the clicks, customers and revenue.
· Request demographics. Find out as much as you can about a website’s traffic – who these visitors are and how the site obtained them—before you decided whether to place an ad with the site.
· Start small. Test a venue with a small ad buy. If you get good results, then you can invest more money in a bigger ad buy.