JDevelopments from Witter, Google and Facebook have opened up a goldmine of information about your potential customers. The costs of experimentation are low and the results immediately quantifiable, making them hard to ignore; So how do you effectively grow your business using online advertising?
Test online tools
Col Skinner, owner of a digital marketing consultancy Depth, says that SMEs should look into the tools offered by these platforms: “We are afraid of screwing up by testing these things. You might lose a few pounds here and there, but that’s the whole point of digital; you can very quickly see where something is wrong and fix it.
Cocoon estimated that he needed an email list of 1,800 people to be successful with his crowdfunding campaign. They spent two months running a series of tests, which cost around £20 each and targeted different demographics in multiple countries with various designs, ad copy and calls to action.
“Test fast. Fail as much as you can; that’s not a bad thing,” advises Colin Richardson, co-founder and chief marketing officer of the home security company. much better answer every time.”
After testing was completed, Cocoon increased ad spend to a limit of £200 per day during the two-week pre-launch campaign. It received 700,000 impressions and 27,000 clicks (at an average cost of 9 pence per click), resulting in 1,800 signups. The crowdfunding campaign hit its £100,000 goal within three days of going live.
Think carefully about the content
What content should your ads include? Rog How, managing director of an online kitchen and homeware retailer howkapow, says he’s often very surprised by what works, with an ad featuring his rainbow necklace getting the most conversions. How to use Google URL Builderwhich allows links to be marked up with additional information and to feed Google Analyticsin order to monitor the impact of the different variations.
Richardson recommends including a call to action, as well as a very clear value proposition – in the case of Cocoon simply; “Secure your home. A smart device. Graphics performed well, although complicated images were less successful, likely because 50% of ads were seen on a mobile device.
Lee Bandoni, Events Company Manager stunt entertainmentuses Twitter Summary Cards to promote its series of Christmas drive-in film screenings at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s home stadium. These are designed to give readers a preview of the content on the website, allowing them to quickly sign up to receive a voucher.
Cocoon and Stunt ads follow similar principles, but the SMBs profiled in this article pointed out the necessary difference in approach between Facebook and Twitter, where users can be more cynical about ads.
Online liquor retailer Master of Malt organizes a contest to link its different Christmas campaigns. Users can request #whiskysanta for the products on the website. The button prefills a tweet or Facebook post, and they get over 300 requests a day.
Marketing Director Robert Boatwright-Smith says simplicity is key, and has worked to ensure participation is frustration-free and requires the minimum number of clicks (in this case two).
It is also important to have content to support any online advertising campaign. Cocoon wrote a series of blogs and worked on organically growing her following on Facebook and Twitter while running paid ads.
Adapt to new audiences
The advantage of online advertising is the precision with which you can target this content to new audiences. Howkapow, for example, caters to people interested in companies with a similar philosophy.
Lookalike Audiences on Facebook is a tool that can be used to identify potential new customers, matching the demographics and tastes of your existing database.
Master of Malt is using a Lookalike campaign to promote a series of advent calendars, targeting audiences similar to its existing customer base, then refining that with interest in the relevant spirit.
In its first two weeks, the campaign generated an eleven-to-one return on ad spend to profit, according to Boatwright-Smith. “It’s the epitome of targeted advertising online,” he adds. “You like these things, you’re friends with these kinds of people, you’ve specifically told Facebook that you like cognac or fine cognac, and we give you a totally personalized ad.”
The campaigns are designed to attract people to high-margin craft products like the popular Bathtub Gin using a conversion tracking pixel to connect advertisements to customer behavior on the website and set metrics.
The SMEs featured in this article were hesitant about the costs associated with Google AdWords, which displays sponsored links above organic search results. Bandoni says Google tends to be more expensive than Facebook and Twitter, although it leads the pack in terms of website traffic.
Targeting popular search terms like “overdue gifts” or “Christmas gifts” can be costly, as you’re bidding against so many other retailers, and How describes the process as “a bit of a minefield.” To solve this problem, more specific terms can be used or Google Merchant Center used to display advertisements against searches for particular products.
Consider cost changes
Successful businesses will find that the cost of advertising on Facebook increases with the size of their audience and the level of competition for ad slots has an impact.
The average cost per click for Cocoon’s campaign was 8p, but has risen to 18p in the last period, likely due to its success and other brands bidding for the same target audience.
Those just starting out should bid well below the platform’s recommended amount, says Skinner: “You can see the value you’re getting from a lower bid and then increase it until you’re at a point where , hopefully you are close to saturating your audience.
Businesses that have made a big effort to gain exposure when starting out may be able to cut expenses once they have established an audience.
How says Howkapow invested 10-15% of its revenue in online advertising in its early years. Now he relies 11,000 Facebook followers and their social circles using tools such as Boost postwhich makes posts appear higher in users’ newsfeeds, and has dramatically reduced the amount he spends on the social platform.
Whatever platform and content is right for your business, it’s important to establish KPIs to reduce costs and ensure advertising success. This means deciding whether you are trying to gain subscribers, increase website traffic, or make sales conversions, all of which have different value.
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