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Paid Advertising can be an effective component of your marketing plan, but it also can be a gigantic waste of time and energy if you don’t do it well OR you start before you’re ready. Most Agencies that offer Advertising Services shy away from providing advice that may keep money in your pocket (even temporarily), so be sure you go into the initial conversation well-informed. Or, find an agency that behaves like a true business partner.

Before you click that publish button on your first paid advertising campaign, make sure you’re ready by asking yourself the following questions.

  1. Are you solving the right problem? Advertising is unique in that it earns you an introduction to new customers. They may have no idea you exist, and they may not even need what you offer. But your media spend earns you an introduction anyway. The industry term for this is Brand Awareness, and paid ads are great for it. But if your biggest problem is something other than Brand Awareness, advertising probably isn’t the right solution.
  2. Do you have mature demand capture programs in place? Make sure you’re getting in front of people who are actively looking for your products and services before paying for introductions. This means ensuring you have solid SEO and SEM programs in place and using email funnels and journeys to leverage your existing network. This will also ensure that, when your advertising drives potential customers to Google to search for you, your company will show up.
  3. Is your messaging and content effective? This can be a hard one, but it’s worth figuring out. The way you talk about and present your brand makes a huge difference in how interested (or not) your prospective customers will be. Make sure you have a strong and differentiated position and use language that resonates with your audience. Otherwise, the money you spend getting in front of potential customers will be wasted as your invitation falls flat. You may find that you’re too close to the business to create original, objective, breakthrough messaging for your brand. If this is the case, bring in a person or a team who can help you develop a framework for your messaging.
  4. Is your brand infrastructure in place? Most people who respond to your Ad campaign will visit your website, so you need to make sure you take advantage of the opportunity. If your website delivers a poor experience, presents messaging that is incongruent with your advertising messaging, doesn’t give visitors an opportunity to start a relationship with you, or doesn’t present your brand as trustworthy, you are guaranteed to waste your ad spend. And the person who abandons at that point is way more difficult (and expensive) to get back. Be confident that your site will do its job before you spend money to get people to go there.
  5. Can you define and measure success? Measuring the ROI of advertising accurately is very difficult and very expensive– due to the complexity of the buyer journey and the challenge of capturing integrated and complete data. But don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. It’s relatively simple to get basic measurements in place, as long as you know the KPIs you want to track. Be sure to set up your campaigns so they generate the right data, and (at the very least) set up Google Analytics so you can see what happens when people respond to your ads.

Effective Paid Advertising campaigns aren’t easy, but they don’t need to be complicated either. And while we can’t guarantee success even with all of these pieces in place, it’ll give you much more confidence that you’re making wise investment decisions. And if you need help, we’re here.