The power of paid ads is unbelievable if you use them right.
I’ve realized that paid ads aren’t something you just want to dive into without being prepared. When you are spending your hard-earned money and reinvesting it back into your marketing budget, you want to be confident that you’ll see returns.
You can quickly spend thousands per month and get nothing in return if you don’t approach it the right way. You can easily jump the gun and just start promoting posts before your company is truly ready for it.
Here are a few pieces of advice I have…
1. Have a strong website.
If you want to actually put dollars behind social media or any other type of digital marketing with the goal of driving traffic to a website, you have to make sure the website is actually good. Otherwise, you’re just paying for clicks that will never convert.
You have to build trust. You have to be optimized for the mobile experience (the vast majority of traffic from social will be from mobile). You have to have some information on the landing page whether it be a video, bulleted list, testimonials, or something that builds the trust of the user. You can’t just immediately send them to a form submission or a product page only a picture and a price. There needs to be something else – give them a reason to purchase or hand over their information.
2. Have a decent foundation of on-brand content on your existing page.
This isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all thing but from my experience, it’s been important. When I first started putting dollars behind my digital marketing content or my podcast episodes, I wasn’t getting a lot of follows or engagement. When I asked myself why, I simply clicked on my own ad and pretended I was the user.
I realized the experience was very disconnected – the rest of my page was still only filled with pictures of me and my girlfriend, posts about the Pittsburgh Steelers, random images that I had thrown together when I was still learning how to make good content, and things like that. So it was basically like “hey, here’s an amazing piece of marketing content, follow me for more” – then they follow me and don’t get what they expect. Or they do a 3-second dive into my account and don’t follow at all.
Don’t get me wrong – I still post about my daily life.
But the quality was not held to a high enough standard. So anything I take (especially on Instagram) is a high quality image. On top of that, I barely had any marketing and business content sprinkled in. Now, a good portion of my posts are business related (and that percentage will increase in the coming months) because it aligns with what I want – which is to sell marketing/digital consulting services to people.
Special thanks to Jordan Syatt, Gary Vaynerchuk’s fitness coach, for challenging me to post on Instagram more frequently and doing it with the intention of helping people.
3. Have a specific budget set aside.
If you don’t have a budget for paid ads, you can either end up spending too little or too much. If you are afraid to pull the trigger, you will probably end up doing $5 or $10 on a few posts and expecting a big impact. On the other end, people can get very excited and start spending $15 here, $50 there, $100 on a post you really thought was good, etc. and it adds up quick.
What you should do is come up with a number (I recommend monthly) and not going over that amount until you have results to prove you should. If you’re unsure of the number to work with, it depends a lot on the platform and what the current competition in your industry is.
Here are a few tips:
a. For Google AdWords, use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool. Type in keywords that you would want to bid on. See what types of monthly volume they’re getting and what the approximate Cost Per Click, Bid, etc. should be. All of this information is in the system. It will give you a very good idea of how many clicks to expect per month.
b. Use that number to estimate how many actions people will take as a result of those clicks, and what the value of those actions is. If you’re selling something for $100 on your landing page, and you expect that 1 out of every 10 people will buy once they get to the page, you’ll want to get enough clicks at a cheap enough cost to make sure you’re making enough money to cover your expenses and have high margins.
c. For Facebook and Instagram Ads, once you get to the “Ad Set” section of your ad setup (in Facebook Ads Manager), you can plug in different budgets, flight dates, and targeting, and Facebook will give you Estimated Daily Results on the right side of the screen. Again, use these to estimate what you want in return.
These are just a couple of practical examples. To play it safe, just spend less at first and scale up slowly. The last thing you want to do is spend more at the beginning when you know less about what works. Over time, you will become smarter, or the person you outsourced the media buying to will become smarter, and you can feel confident to scale up.
I know which types of posts from my page will take off, and which won’t. That helps me determine if I’ll put $10, $25, or $100 behind a post. It’s a mix of knowing how to get a rough estimate, and just learning over time. It will not happen overnight.
4. Have a good grasp on who you should target.
Make sure you have somewhat of an idea of what your target is. For example, I talked to Legendary Shots recently on my podcast, and learned that their main demographic is 18-24 males and a lot of their viewers also watch DudePerfect videos. So, when I posted about my episode with them, I targeted it to males 18-24 interested in sports, trick shots, and fans of DudePerfect. The ad got a ton of shares and engagement.
I talked to Drake’s blogger on my podcast as well. Targeted that post to Drake fans, PartyNextDoor fans, The Weeknd fans, music blog fans, and it took off.
In those posts, I was primarily looking for engagement on my posts. I was not looking necessarily for website traffic or purchases on anything. In those cases, you might want to think about things like purchase behavior, household income, and net worth as well (depending on your price point). The point is – if you want a more specific type of result, you’ll want to get more creative/narrow with your targeting so that you’re only showing impressions to those people most likely to buy.
It takes a lot more for somebody to buy a $50 eBook than it does for somebody to like, comment, or share a post. So have a decent grasp on your audience and really think through what you want to happen. Then work backwards from that.
5. Spend the extra time to have good creative and copy.
Creative is the X-factor in terms of paid advertising. If you just basically throw anything up and hope it works, chances are it won’t. Make sure the images, videos, and things you write will actually resonate with people. Test colors. Test captions. Test video lengths. Test everything you can, and do it very methodically so that you learn from it.
I’ve personally found that infographics work really well. Blog posts can quickly go viral too, if you have a good enough blog header image. For creative assets such as blog headers, infographics, cover photos for social media, random images to support posts, or anything similar – use Canva or Visme.
I’m telling you – using both of those platforms completely changed the game for me in terms of developing creative assets. I also know how to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop but on a regular basis, I flock to both of those platforms because of their ease of use, free templates, and friendly user interfaces.
Think about it – if you’re spending your hard-earned dollars to put behind an ad, don’t you want it to be something that has the best possible chance of taking off? If you don’t have the time to create these, hire somebody to do it for you, like me. It’s not that expensive and it will completely change the game for you.
6. Tell yourself you are going to need to be patient.
Before you run any paid advertising, go into it knowing it takes time. Don’t hire somebody then fire them after 1 month because your followers didn’t increase enough. Even if you don’t hire somebody, don’t give up and call Facebook Ads a scam if you only tried it for a short amount of time.
Come up with a ballpark budget, start low, test things, learn, then get better, scale up, and eventually you will be in a very good place.
If you need any advice or help with your paid ads or just need to know which direction to go in, contact me. I’m always here to help.
Like this article? I would appreciate a share so much! Hit one of the share icons and post it to whichever social network you think will get the most value out of it.
Heard my podcast yet? It’s called Popular Demand and I interview people with influence in the digital space. We talk about business, marketing, social media, and anything else that just happens to come up! For example, so far I’ve interviewed Drake’s blogger and Gary Vaynerchuk’s health coach – so you can see it’s a wide variety. I’m on Apple Podcasts (here), Google Play (here), and SoundCloud (here) so far. Spotify and Stitcher coming soon!