Having an advertising strategy in place for any business is essential. Advertising is fundamentally anything that conveys the value proposition of your business to the consumer. We’ve all seen various forms of advertising throughout our lives — TV commercials, radio spots, magazine ads, video ads on YouTube, and a whole host of others.
Advertising can get a little complicated if you take too broad of a perspective. Most business owners tend to default to what they personally know. What’s important to do, though, is look at what is going to be the most efficient and effective platform for your dollars asit relates to your small business.
Regardless of whether or not you’re putting together a catering business plan or you’re thinking about how to promote a property management business, the first thing you need to do when developing an advertising strategy is to ask, “Where are my customers and how do they find me?” .
The Imprtance of Having a Social Media Strategy
When you’re putting together a social media strategy, you want to consider where your customers are already. For instance, if the bulk of your customers aren’t on Instagram, then you really shouldn’t worry about doing anything related to Instagram.
But, there’s another component to this decision-making, as well. For instance, let’s say that you’re a construction company looking to do more renovations-focused work. Often times, when a small business is thinking about re-doing their kitchen or bathroom, they know that it’s going to cost a pretty penny.
Often times, with more expensive products or services, even though your customers might be on Facebook, they might not respond to a paid ad for something like “finishing a basement.”
However, they are very likely to type something like that into a Google search — or, what we might call a “user-generated search.” That isn’t to say you couldn’t intrigue someone with an ad on Facebook, but that journey is a lot longer and costs more money.
Rather, an idea service for Facebook ads would be something like house maid services or catering businesses. The reason for this is the sorts of targeting you’re able to do. For example, a cleaning service could target single parents who might not have the time to care for the house in between work and family. A small business caterer could target people who are wealthier and entertain often, possibly even in respect to people who host dinner parties and lots of weekend social events.
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How to Know Your Advertising Strategy Will Work?
Ultimately, you’re not going to get this right out of the gate every time — mistakes happen. But, what you can do is put the most rational understanding into your initial decisions in this respect.
One great way to do this is to look at what the cost of your item is. The closer to an “impulse” buy, the more effective social media ads will be. The closer to the thought, “I need to save money to buy that,” you get, the more you might want to shift to user-generated searches.
“But,” many people will doubtless say, “I’ve seen ads for cars and houses on social media before,” and they are absolutely correct. The difference is that those are often very experienced advertisers who are crafting those ads — and are often funded by deep pockets.
In order to advertise something like a car purchase on Facebook, you would need to have a advertising strategy where you would be targeting people on multiple platforms across the internet for a fairly good chunk of time. That costs a lot of money and requires a lot of experience.
That’s why you should put yourself into your customer’s shoes and ask “when they are ready to pull out the credit card or write the check, where do they go?” So, for instance, a clever ad could convince someone to schedule a first-time clean with a great discount offer. But if you’re trying to get a rental house owner to use your property management business, you might want to think about Google Search or Bing Ads.
Don’t Miss Easy Opportunities
For brick and mortar small business, one of the most effective advertising strategies is to have a special Google Ad which is called a Call-Only Ad. These ads only show up on mobile devices capable of making calls, and you can set them to only show to certain segments of the population, within a specific geographical area, and only at specific times.
The value of this option cannot be overstated. The beauty behind this is that the people looking at these ads are typically looking for a specific service and usually have a specific need in that moment. These opportunities are highly valuable and can really make the difference for your business.
For instance, if you are a maid service that offers “emergency cleaning appointments” at a higher rate than pre-scheduled services, this is one way to get immediately in front of people requesting it. Or, let’s say a plumber or locksmith business offering emergency services. This allows you to have a special ad that only runs for those services at specific times, say 11pm – 7am. You could run them anytime, of course, but you can also alternate your ads that display.
To optimize this, you might have one ad running during your daytime hours when there are staff working regular shifts, then dedicate your emergency services to a special number that can be on call. This will dramatically increase the amount of interest and business that you get.
This is single-handedly one of the most important ads that a business with a tight advertising budget should run. It isn’t about spreading the word about your business, it’s about finding the people who need you now and putting a “call button” in front of them. They are extremely effective for small businesses of all types.
Landing Pages & Coupons
For your ads, you want to make sure that, if they click an ad that isn’t a call ad like the example before, they will still land in the right spot. But where is the “right” spot to send them?
Do not send people straight to your homepage. There’s an old saying that “a jack of all trades is a master of none.” A homepage is important, but don’t use it as the destination of your ads, it’s too generic.
Your landing pages are your “closing arguments” — the knockout punches that get someone to signup, to call, book an appointment, or take some sort of action that puts them in front of your business. You want to make sure that each ad you run uses its own landing page, not to complicate things, but rather to advertise smartly.
For example, if you run an ad on Facebook that is targeted at a certain group, make sure that your landing page is talking to them. You wouldn’t use the same language to talk to a 50 year old woman as you would a 30 year old man.
Furthermore, this helps you know where the customer came from. If you’re trying three different digital ads, say one on Facebook, one on Google, and one on Pinterest, you want to make sure that you track which one of those three is giving you the most bang for your buck. If each of the three ads has its own landing page, this is easier to track.
Coupon codes are another great way to track this. Just use a unique code for each location and you will be able to attribute a sale to a source. Then, you know where to spend more and where to spend less to maximize your revenue.
Wash, Rinse, Repeat
For the best success to your advertising strategy, you want to make sure that you have a system in place where you’re tracking your ads. Some phrases and headlines will work better than others. Often, business owners will make an assumption about “what will work best.”
This can be a fatal flaw to an advertising strategy. This is just one of several common mistakes that business owners often make. Eventually, you will get your ideal message calibrated, but different things appeal to different people. A single parent’s concerns are going to be uniquely different from a college student, or a family living in a wealthier area. Try different ads and see what works best. This way, you can make your ad budget stretch as far as possible.
If you’re really on the fence about digital paid advertising, AdEspresso is a company that can be a fantastic option for really getting your brand out there without spending an arm and a leg.
They have everything from free information on doing things yourself to a full “done for you” suite that can allow you to get the most out of your ad budget without spending an arm and a leg on a consultant.
Once your ads are dialed in, you can up your budget with confidence, knowing that your hard-earned dollars aren’t just getting wasted. This is the basis for a strong advertising strategy, and from here, you can really grow your business and succeed!