It's a question every business owner, online marketer and advertiser must ask themselves to make sure they aren't throwing their budget away
How do you truly know if you’re ready for digital advertising? Is it as simple as producing an interesting creative, selecting an objective in ads manager and then pressing the launch button?
This process will lead you down either one of two paths:
Path 1 – You get results, but begin to plateau after some time. You panic and launch new ads. The new combination of creatives and copy may or may not work.
This is where most people who advertise fall short. They get into a never ending cycle of churning new ads and only measuring one or two metrics while paying little attention to the other numbers. You’re chasing past results with no clue how to move forward.
Path 2 – You don’t get any results and decide to give up and avoid losing any more money to the ‘advertising game’. You’d rather stick to cold calls, cold emails, blogging and long term SEO.
There’s nothing wrong with that but, it’s almost the equivalent of saying you won’t invest money into your own business or funnel! Your ad campaigns are meant to be an investment. Think about that.
Don’t get stuck going down either of these paths and ultimately playing catch-up with your business. Instead, address these 3 critical points to determine if you’re ready to start running paid ads.
Point 1 – I have at least one funnel with an offer ready for traffic.
You’ll lose a lot of money by driving visitors from your ads through a bad funnel or even worse, no funnel at all. Your home page, services page or about us page should not be the landing page for your ads. Design a real funnel that convinces your target audience to take one action at each step of the funnel.
From this point onward, let’s imagine we own a business called ‘Smart Home Biz’ that provides smart home services.
Ideally, for Smart Home Biz we’ll design a funnel for one specific service that we offer – ‘book an installation’. Our initial landing page will provide short details on setting up a smart home and list all the benefits of choosing our team to get the job done. The only action visitors would have to take is booking us for an installation.
So we’ll put 2 – 3 buttons (call to action) at different sections of our landing page which will take visitors to our booking form. After they fill out the form and book us, we add them to our CRM or email list, tag them, and then send them the appropriate sequence of emails. If we want, we can also add an upsell page that offers an additional service such as buying their smart home device for them or integrating home security.
Now we have a basic funnel with an offer and follow-up sequence that is almost ready for traffic. Point 2 addresses exactly what we’re missing from our funnel to make it ready.
Point 2 – I have tracking tools such as Google Analytics and the Facebook Pixel installed and configured.
This will prevent us from going down path 1 that was mentioned earlier. Google Analytics provides us with details on who’s visiting our landing page and what they’re doing.
We’ll learn how long visitors are staying on our landing page (bounce rate), whether they’re visiting on a mobile device or desktop, and how many of them click the button to book vs. how many fill out the form to setup an installation.
You read that correctly, clicking our button to book an installation and actually booking an installation are two different metrics we can track! Knowing these two numbers will provide us close to real conversion and acquisition rates. Now when running our ad we’ll have an idea if it’s falling short or if our landing page needs to be optimized for better results.
Now our funnel is ready for traffic and we’ve reduced the chances of us getting into a cycle of churning ads, but we can still end up frustrated.
Point 3 – I have a monthly budget dedicated to digital advertising for at least 3 months.
The combination of a funnel mapping and forecasting tool, such as Funnelytics, and estimates from the ad platforms can help us create a budget and set expectations. It’s usually better to be super conservative when it comes to setting those expectations.
There are a ton of factors that we can’t control that will have an effect on our ads. We’re working with estimates and ultimately the market dictates whether they are interested in our installation service or not. It’s important to be prepared to advertise for a set amount of time.
Month one of running our ads may not bring results that are close to our expectations at all. But month’s two and three can take off just because of a change in the market or having the right combination of ad and landing page. This is why it’s important to consider digital advertising an investment. Just like any other investment, things will ebb and flow.
With this approach we can prevent ourselves from giving up and stumbling down path 2. We now have a proper funnel, analytics and conversion tracking setup, and a budget so we don’t burn out after running an ad campaign for just two weeks.
We’re ready for digital advertising.