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4 Step Process to Avoid Wasting Money Advertising Online

It pains us to see money lost to misguided online marketing efforts. Unfortunately, this is fairly common for marketers that invest in online advertising without taking the necessary precautions. Almost all platforms with paid promotion options default to spending your budget as fast as possible. If you start a campaign without taking the proper initial steps, you can blow your budget in less than a week and have nothing to show for it.

For the highest return on investment from your online ads, there are important steps we recommend you take before opening your wallet. We’ve developed a four-step process, outlined below to help you reduce waste and get the most from your advertising spend.

1. Understand Your Target Audience

Do not waste money just to get more visitors to your website. You can spend thousands of dollars on pay per click (PPC) campaigns and drastically increase the traffic to your site, but that won’t necessarily impact your bottom-line. It is not just about getting more visitors to your site, it’s about getting the right visitors to find your website. Understanding who you want to target and what their needs are is the first step in establishing an online advertising plan.

The more targeted your audience is, and the more specific their needs are, the more money you can potentially save. Don’t waste your time bidding on keywords with high traffic terms, go after lower-traffic long tail keywords that are more specific to your target persona. Avoid reducing your potential ROI by marketing to an unrealistically broad audience. LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to reach your target audience with dynamically generated, personalized display ads. Your marketing initiatives and calendar should all be centered around your potential customers.

2. Get Informed on the Platforms

There are a lot of places where you can buy ads, there are various types of ads you can buy, and the landscape continues to get more crowded and competitive. Each of these various advertising platforms and ad types have strengths and weaknesses.

LinkedIn is a great platform for promoting gated content such as eBooks to drive and convert visitors on your site. You can use LinkedIn’s advertising tools to get your white paper in front of your ideal customers. LinkedIn allows you to target your audience by company size, job function, title, and location. You can buy both ads and sponsored updates to drive readers to your white paper.

Facebook is a terrific tool for retargeting contacts from your email list and promoting sign-ups for a webinar or event.

Facebook drove twice as many webinar registration conversions than LinkedIn and six times as many conversions as Google AdWords for the same ad spend.

Wishpond has also outlined How Facebook Ads increased first-time webinar registration by 450%.

Google AdWords can be used to help you reach prospects based on keywords they’re researching online. Google AdWords is the world’s largest and most popular pay-per-click advertising platform, giving you access to potentially the largest audience. This can either lead to the highest or lowest return on investment depending on whether the ad has been set up for optimal efficiency. Google remarketing search ads narrow your audience to help bring visitors back to your site while increasing brand awareness and trust.

Depending on the asset you are marketing and the stage of the prospect you’re marketing to, a different mix of platforms will most effectively help you achieve your goal. However, the platforms should be viewed in a complementary, rather than adversarial, way to promote your content and services. For example, Google AdWords, LinkedIn and Facebook can be utilized within one campaign or to promote an individual landing page. The ad copy and budget will vary among platforms but the each platform provides another avenue of connecting with prospects.

3. Optimize Your Landing Page

The page you direct paid traffic to should be optimized for visitors coming from your online ads. Sending visitors to your home page or services page can be a confusing user experience if there isn’t a strong correlation between the page and the ad they clicked. You will typically see less time spent on the page and a much lower conversion rate when you pay for visits to these types of pages.

By creating custom landing pages for your paid traffic, you can tailor the copy to create a cohesive experience from your ad to the landing page.

Additionally, landing pages should have one call to action, such as registering for a webinar. Your home and services pages typically contain various calls-to-action which distract the visitor and often can cost you a conversion. After a visitor has filled out the form, it is acceptable and encouraged to display the main navigation and allow the visitor to browse your site.

To take it a step further, we advocate for A/B testing the landing page. A/B testing is comparing two versions of a web page to see which one converts visitors at a higher rate. Subtle changes to the page layout can make a huge difference in the conversion rate. It is important that you only test one variable at a time. For example, you could test the call-to-action placement or the page copy, but do not test both at the same time. By testing one variable, you’ll be able to determine what change led to a better conversion rate. A/B testing is an ongoing process. We encourage you to regularly test all the pages that you’re spending money advertising for the highest ROI.

4. Understand How to Track and Review Results

Possibly the largest benefit of online advertising is the ability to track everything. Honestly, if you are unable to measure how your ads are performing, then you probably shouldn’t invest in paid advertising at all. Once you’ve determined you’re going to invest in online advertising, you should get to know Google Analytics Custom Campaigns, learn how to create customized URLs, and make sure you have goals set up for all the conversion points (forms/CTAs) on your site.

Marketers often wonder if their paid ads are performing as they should be. It’s common for marketers to make the mistake of reviewing their results on a daily or even hourly basis. This is a bad idea and can lead to making premature changes. It is better to let your ads run, accumulate data, and make decisions based on the trends you see over time. We recommend using spreadsheets to track the performance of your online ads. It’s important to remember that form submissions and conversion rate are the metrics to focus on. Impressions and clicks are just a waste of money unless they help convert a lead, which can potentially lead to revenue.

Online advertising is not a quick-fix solution. To see an impact, you have to stick with it longer than a few weeks or months. Time and proper analysis are required to drive targeted traffic to your site and convert leads. Observing the struggles our client’s face in effectively running online advertising campaigns has led us to create the Newfangled Online Advertising Program. This is a 12-month program where a Newfangled strategist will work closely with your team to define your advertising goals, then suggest and implement a digital advertising mix on your behalf, and review the results with you on a regular basis. It’s the best way to make sure you’re not wasting your online ad dollars.

If you’re interested in learning more about this program contact us and we can discuss putting together a program to fit your needs and budget.

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