Lantern Marketing is now part of Guide MKTG.  🎉  Read about the acquisition here.

Digital Ads Done Right: Navigating the Maze of Paid Advertising

Digital Ads

Are you caught in the labyrinth of digital advertising, unsure whether your ad dollars are being spent wisely? You’re not alone. Digital advertising is a complex world and a common way for businesses to spend (and often “waste”) money.

Managed well, digital advertising should more than pay for themselves. (If your ads aren’t generating more revenue than they cost or you’re not sure what they’re doing, schedule a call so we can review them for you.) 

Here are 11 points to consider when optimizing your digital ads strategy:  

🚨 DO NOT spend another dollar on ads unless…

  1. You have a clear, compelling company message. If you’re not using the right words to talk to your ideal customers about their exact problem and how you can fix it, do not waste you money on ads. One of the very first things we do for clients is clarify their message. It’s an easy process that takes less than a month to complete. 
  2. You have a website or at least a landing page that’s written to convert the people who click on your ads. If your ads send people to a site that’s confusing, doesn’t acknowledge their problem and doesn’t provide a clear plan forward, do not waste your money on ads. Yes, we write and build landing pages for any client spending money on ads.

Ok, so you’ve got a clear company message and landing page built to sell. Effective ads require you to:

Choose Paid vs Organic Digital Ads:

You may often wonder if you even need to pay for visibility at all. Can’t you just grow organically? Organic growth is compelling, but the reality is that it’s slow and labor-intensive. Paid ads, on the other hand, can provide quick visibility and targeted traffic. 

The ideal approach? A balanced combination of both. Paid advertising propels you to the spotlight while your organic content keeps the audience engaged.

Set the Right Ad Goals

Digital advertising is not about you; it’s about your potential customer. The goal is to solve their problem or fulfill their need. After all, an advertisement that doesn’t address the consumer’s need is nothing but white noise. If you don’t set these objectives at the start, your ad campaign will be aimless. Aim for key performance indicators like number of appointments scheduled or cart additions.

Measure Your Objectives

An objective without measurement is like a ship without a compass—you won’t know if you’re heading in the right direction. The data that comes from analytics is not just numbers; it is the story of your campaign’s performance. Use analytics tools to track your performance. When you understand the metrics that matter, you can adjust your sails accordingly. Otherwise, you’re sailing into dangerous territory and risking precious resources.

​​Additionally, it’s crucial to periodically revisit your key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure they still align with your business goals. Market conditions can change, and your initial objectives may need to be adjusted. Tools like Google Analytics not only show where you are but also offer insights into where you could go. Regularly analyzing this data helps you adapt and optimize your strategies in real-time, leading to better decision-making and ultimately, a greater ROI.

Be Yourself, Don’t Copy

The urge to look over the fence and copy what the competition is doing can be overwhelming, but resist it. Every business is unique, and your ad strategy should reflect that uniqueness. Customize your advertising based on your specific goals, target audience, and product offerings, not exactly what your competitors are doing.

Tackle the Sales Funnel

While you might be eager to make a quick sale, remember that long-term customer relationships can be far more profitable than one-time purchases. A word you’ll hear often in digital advertising circles is “sales funnel.” It’s more than a buzzword; it’s a strategy. A good sales funnel will guide a potential customer through a journey—from curiosity to enlightenment to commitment. This could be as straightforward as a series of targeted emails or as complex as a multi-platform advertising strategy.

Streamline Your Business

A well-oiled machine will perform better, faster, and more efficiently. Make sure your business operations are streamlined and your customer service is top-notch before diving into digital advertising. Before you sink money into digital advertising, evaluate the health of your business. A problematic business won’t magically recover with more sales. In fact, this could worsen existing operational or customer service issues. Make sure your business is in a position to handle the growth that comes from successful advertising.

Budget Wisely

Consider your budget as you would a diet plan. You want to get the most bang for your buck without going overboard. A balanced “diet” of well-allocated funds can significantly impact your campaign’s success. “How much should I spend?” While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, the goal should be profitable growth. Sometimes, it’s okay to run ads that are not immediately profitable if they contribute to long-term customer value. However, keep a keen eye on the metrics to ensure that you’re not digging a financial hole.

Conduct A/B Tests

A/B testing involves running two slightly different versions of an ad, email, or webpage to see which performs better. For example, you might test two different headlines or two contrasting call-to-action buttons to determine which one gets more clicks.

A/B testing allows you to take the guesswork out of your advertising strategies, replacing assumptions with actual data. Start with a hypothesis about what might improve your campaign performance, then set up controlled experiments to test the theory. By comparing the two versions, (A can be the current/”control” version; B can be the modified version) you can measure which is more effective in terms of metrics like click-through rate, engagement, or sales. It’s a direct and highly effective way to fine-tune your ads, down to the smallest details, ensuring that you’re getting the best return on your investment. Don’t underestimate the power of incremental improvements; even a 1% increase in conversion rate can mean significant revenue growth over time.

Leverage Social Media Platforms

Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn offer robust advertising solutions that go beyond mere visibility. These platforms collect vast amounts of data about their users, from location and interests to behavior and social connections. This data is like gold to advertisers, allowing for hyper-targeted campaigns that speak directly to your ideal customer.

For instance, you can use Facebook’s ad platform to target married women aged 30-40 who are interested in sustainable living and have shopped online for organic products in the past month. Each social media platform also offers unique formats and features, from Instagram Stories to LinkedIn Sponsored Content, providing diverse avenues to get your message across effectively. As with any digital advertising channel, it’s important to monitor metrics closely to understand what’s working—and what’s not. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different targeting criteria, ad formats, and content types.

Evaluate Trends

It’s crucial to distinguish between trends that are merely fads and those that can offer sustainable advantages. Digital advertising trends come and go, but not every shiny new object is worth your attention. Take a measured approach when considering jumping onto a new platform or strategy. Open an account so that you can claim your username, but don’t dive in without assessing its value and potential ROI.

Involve an Expert

Finally, if this all seems like too much, consider seeking expert guidance. Experts bring not only their experience but also an objective viewpoint, which is invaluable for devising a strategic approach tailored to your specific needs. 

Profitable digital advertising requires more than good intentions and a few blog posts (even this is one isn’t enough). In order to make you money, you need  the right strategy, measurement tools, and expertise. 

Ready to have someone else run your ads? We can help. If your monthly ad spend is more than $1,000 a month, we can evaluate your current campaign, let you know our recommendations, and give you pricing for our experts to improve and manage your ads for you. Schedule a free, 30-minute call.

Need help getting your business found online?

If you are struggling to get your business in front of your target audience, schedule a call with Guide MKTG. We will create a marketing plan that helps you stop wasting good money on bad marketing and start getting results.


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