Online Advertising Best Practices for Small Businesses

It shouldn’t be news to anyone at this point that, as an online business, developing a strong presence online is crucial to success. Shoppers are digital by nature—studies show that 70-80% research a company online before visiting in person or making a purchase.

Perhaps this is why driving sales and building brand awareness are two of the top priorities for small businesses when it comes to digital marketing.

If you’re currently struggling with one or both of the above, online advertising can take your efforts to the next level—pending you approach it strategically. Here are some best practices to keep in mind before launching your next ad campaign.

Focus Your Efforts

Focusing your efforts is relevant in reference to both your calls-to-action and advertising channels. If you’re new to advertising online, be selective about where and how you want to start.

For example, maybe you’ve put in the legwork recently to optimize your presence on Google with updated business information and increased search engine optimization (SEO). With the beginnings of a solid search engine marketing (SEM) strategy in place, it might be time to layer on Google Ads. Alternatively, if you’re finding success organically on certain social channels, ads could help accelerate your results.

Start small and be selective about where you want to spend your money. Similarly, build initial ads with one or two goals in mind (e.g. building awareness or driving web traffic).

Update Ad Messaging Regularly

When you find an ad that works, it’s easy to want to set it and forget it. However, one thing you need to be aware of with online advertising is frequency.

Yes, audiences usually need to see and interact with your brand upwards of seven times before making a purchase. That doesn’t mean serving them with the same ad and messaging seven times over.

In theory, you should be considering the buyer’s journey when advertising—from the moment of initial awareness to website visit, specific product page visit to cart abandonment. The more targeted your message is to your customer’s experience, the more effective it’ll be in relation to the goals you’ve set.

Get Specific with Audience Targeting

As mentioned, specificity is key when advertising to your intended audiences. Ad platforms are pumped full of competition and consumers are scrolling fast. A generic ad will garner a generic response.

Incorporating tracking pixels onto your website’s backend for retargeting will be crucial for narrowing in on the right audiences. If you have an email list at your disposal, you can also use it for building out custom audiences (pending you’ve implemented the necessary opt-in permissions) on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Outsource to the Experts

Sometimes, to make money you have to spend money. At the same time, as a small business, you have to be hyper-aware of available resources and cash-flow in order to stay afloat.

In an effort to be frugal, doing everything yourself—including running ads online—might seem like a no-brainer. At some point though, be realistic about the tasks you can and can’t manage. Earning a positive return on your online advertising dollars takes time and focused skill. If you’re struggling, consider bringing in an outside team of experts, like those at Webware, to help guide you in the right direction.

By Staples Canada

July 27, 2020

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