March 25, 2021

10 things to think about before running paid ads

About this episode...

10 things to think about before running paid ads

Ads are a great way to get more eyes on your brand, more website traffic or more product sales by letting people know you exist and how you can help them.

Getting your foundations right first before investing your time, money and energy, means you're more likely to see success and get the results you want.

This week I share my top ten things to consider to get the best from your ads if you're thinking about getting started.

Read the full episode in the transcript tab.

Links to resources

The helpful iOS14 update article I mention by Aim High Social: Read the article here.

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Transcript of the Marketing Morsels podcast with Lauren Taylor

Lauren Taylor:

(00:05):

Hi, before we get into the episode, I just wanted to say a quick thank you for bearing with me this week. If you haven't seen my post on Instagram, life got in the way this week and I had to delay this episode coming out just because I ran out of time and energy. And if you did see my Instagram post, you'll see that I made a conscious choice to delay the episode rather than working into the night to get it done. Which I probably would have done in the past. I knew my brain needed a rest, and I knew that was the right thing to do, but obviously I didn't want to let down my listeners. But after a bit of a mental battle with myself, I decided it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of everything going on in the world right now that my podcast may be a few days late. And I knew that you guys would understand. So thank you so much. I really appreciate your understanding and your patience and just being there and listening. Okay. I hope you enjoy this week's episode. I'll see you soon.

(01:07):

Hello. This is Lauren Taylor, and welcome to episode 15 of marketing morsels. This week we're going to talk about a few things to consider if you're thinking about doing paid ads. If you are ready to do paid ads, they can be a really good way to get more eyes on your brand, more traffic to your website, more sales of your products, and just to get more people to know that you exist and how you can help them. But although it can be really tempting to jump into paid ads as a bit of a quick fix and a quick solution, it's important to get the foundations right first before you start investing your money into paid ads. That way you get way more bang for your buck. And you're more likely to see success from your ads and get the results that you're looking for. One thing to remember, there's no exact science with paid ads.

(01:52):

One thing that works for someone else might not work for you and maybe something that worked once for you might not work the same again. Things are always changing, so it's important to keep a close eye on things if you are running ads. So I'm going to share 10 of my top things to consider if you're thinking about doing ads. First things first, is your website ready to convert the traffic that comes from your ads? Now your ads are going to need to send people somewhere. So you're going to need a landing page. It can be a standalone page by itself. If you've already got a website, it can be a page on there, just somewhere that you're going to link people that click on your ad to that page. And by convert, what I mean is turn the person that clicks on the ad into a paying customer, or get them to do what it is you want them to do from the ad.

(02:41):

Now, if you're just using any old page from your website and it's not designed to give people the information they're looking for to be able to make a choice, or it doesn't have a clear call to action. So it's not clear what action you want them to take. And that could be a button somewhere, a download, a form, just think if you're spending your hard-earned money getting people onto your website and then they just, they're not sure what it is you want from them. They're not sure what you want them to do, or they can't find what they're looking for. They're just going to go away. They're not going to come back and you're going to have wasted your money and lost them as a potential customer. But when your landing page where your website is set up, so the customer finds what they want.

(03:19):

They know what steps you want them to take next, it's really clear and simple. It's not crammed full of information that's overloading them. Then they're much more likely to click on that button, download that guide, fill in that form, whatever it is that you want to get from this ad. Making it as easy, quick and clear for the person landing on that page as possible. And if you're not sure if your site is likely to convert or not, try and come at it with fresh eyes and imagine yourself in the customer's shoes. It can help to have a look on mobile because a lot of people seeing your ad will be on mobile, and getting away from your desktop and having a look at your website or your landing page on your mobile, it can help you see things that you might not notice as much on desktop.

(04:03):

And you can see if there's any big blocks of text that are way too long or where things aren't quite in the right place. And if you're still not sure, ask somebody, if you're part of any Facebook groups or you can ask friends. So that's my number one recommendation. If you're investing money in ads, you can see traffic coming to your website but they're not doing anything, there's a very good chance it's because your website isn't set up to convert them. So always, always, always look at that first to make sure you're not wasting your money. Okay. Next one. Set up your tracking. Now what that actually means is, make sure you can tell when people are coming onto your website, where they're coming from, what they're having a look at, and that will help you understand how your ads are performing. Now there's a lot you can do with website analytics, but keep it simple depending on what your goal is of the ads, which we'll talk about later on. But at a very basic level you could do with knowing how many people are landing on your website, what sources they're coming from.

(05:02):

So what channel, so are they coming from Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, wherever you've got your ads set up. And then if you want to take it to the next level, look at things like how long they're spending on your site. That can tell you if they're landing on your site and then disappearing really quickly without reading anything or doing anything. You can also look at how many pages they're viewing in one session. So every time they come to your site, that's classed as one session. And that again gives you a bit of a feel for if they're just landing on that one page and disappearing, or if they're landing on your page and then seeing something else that takes their interest and having a look around. And as I say, you can get really, really detailed with analytics, but it's not necessary unless you're really into that kind of thing.

(05:43):

And to set up your tracking, depending on what landing page or website you're using. And if you're using something like Squarespace or WordPress, there's usually a plugin or an integration that you can get that connects your Google analytics account. So if you haven't got one, set one up to your website or your landing page, and it'll do it all for you without really having to do anything technical with the code. But if you're not up for that, you can get a web developer to help you with that, or whoever looks after your website. Okay. Next one. Make sure you know how you're going to measure success. So before you do anything before you spend any money on ads, decide what it is you want to get out of them. What's your goal for the ads? What's the purpose of doing them? And decide how you can measure that.

(06:27):

And there's lots of reasons for doing ads. It could be you're doing a brand awareness campaign. So you want more people to know about you. You might want people on your website, you might want more traffic. You might want people to sign up to your mailing list. You might want people to download a guide or buy a course or buy a product from you. Ultimately, of course the goal is to get customers, but it's not as simple as drawing a straight line between doing an ad, having someone click on it and they become a customer. That's not how it works. I'll talk a little bit more about that later on. But once you've decided how you're going to measure success, make sure your tracking is setup so you can monitor the metrics that you've decided. Now, wherever you're choosing to do your ads, whether it's Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, wherever, they'll all have their own performance monitoring.

(07:14):

So you'll be able to see analytics of how your ads are performing and what each one's doing. But there's a lot of information in that. So be selective about the bits of information that you're going to use to monitor your success, your ads, performance, and how that's going to impact the decisions you make. For example, are you going to update an ad if you can tell it's not performing as well. You need to be able to tell which of your ads are doing well and not so well. So you can do something about it. One thing to remember, these people, the likes of Facebook and whoever, they want you to spend your money with them. So they're going to be pushing you towards spending more money, which is why it's even more important that you know the metrics you're going to use to help you decide where and how are you going to spend your money.

(08:00):

You'll likely see messages from them saying, boost your ad, do this, do that. This ad's performing really well, put some more money behind it. Don't be tempted to just do whatever they tell you to do. So decide what metrics are important that supports your goal that you've set for your ads and keep an eye on them. And use that to decide what steps you're going to take next. Okay. Next one. Decide where is best for your ads to feature. It can be tempting to do ads all over the place. And it can become overwhelming, trying to decide where you need to be. Start by deciding where your customers are. Or if you think your customers are everywhere, where are most of them? If your customers are other businesses, LinkedIn might be good for you. If your customers are consumers, you're selling products, things like Facebook, Instagram could be good.

(08:47):

Google's quite universal. There are so many places you can choose to put ads. There's things like Pinterest, but also Spotify and things like that. I don't claim to be a paid ads expert, so I'm not going to attempt to tell you where all of the ads options are, but do a bit of research, find out where most of your customers are hanging out and essentially show up there and see what happens. But also within each channel that you choose, you can decide what placement your ad will be featured on. So a placement is a slot within that channel that your ad will be displayed. So if we use Facebook as an example, your ad can appear in people's timelines. It can appear in stories. It can also appear over on Instagram, but also within Facebook's placement options. They have something called the audience network, which can include ads on mobiles, within games, within videos.

(09:43):

So make sure you do a little bit of research into what the placements are. Now on Facebook you can click the little question mark info icon, and it'll tell you what each placement is. So at the very least do that and just check that you're appearing in the right places. Because again, it can be tempting to appear everywhere, but you can very quickly waste your money. And if you're appearing in the wrong placements where your audience aren't hanging out, for example, if gamers aren't your audience, you know you don't want to be in those placements. Because if they're not right for you, you'll see you'll get loads of impressions and views and even clicks on your ad, but they don't then do anything else. You don't actually get anything from it, but you've paid for the click. And the reason you're not getting anything from it is because they are not your customers.

(10:25):

They're not your target customers. They are not interested in what you're selling, but you've paid for them to be there. So make sure you're checking the placements and appearing in the places that are most relevant to you, the services you offer and the customers you want to appeal to. Okay. Next one. Think about your customer journey. If you are serious about investing in ads, just doing one here and there. That's not going to get the result that you want. It's important to think a bit more strategically about the ads that you're creating. And what I mean by that is, if you think about ads that you see when you're browsing around. You're brand new to a brand, you've only just found out they exist, but you like the look of them. It's very, very unlikely that you're going to see an ad, click on it and then become a customer of theirs immediately.

(11:09):

Especially if it's a service-based business. Your customers and people that are learning that you exist, they want to know that they can trust you, that you can help them with a particular thing they want help with. That you are the right fit for them, the right person to work with. And that takes time. It takes time to build up that trust. And to build that relationship with you. Think about what journey you want to take your customers on and what it is you want them to do and get a scrap of paper and spend some time thinking. And it just, again, keep it really simple, write it out, write the steps involved in that journey and build your ads to match those steps. So for example, the first ad a customer sees could be a few different versions of a, 'Hey we're here, we exist and we do this and can help you with this.'

(11:54):

So they might see that and not do anything, but still might be interested in what you've got to offer. Then they see a slightly different version of an ad that gives them a little more information and a little more of a taste of how their life will change if they do the things that you want them to do, if they buy the thing you want them to buy. And I don't mean in a gross way, the point here isn't to trick people or manipulate people or make them feel bad and play on any negatives or problems or anything like that. The purpose of doing anything is to help people. If you can legit offer something to someone that's going to improve their life, their work, that is what matters here. So people want to know why they should choose you and what it is you can do to help them.

(12:45):

So make sure you've got different versions of ads that give them different bits of information along their journey, so they can get to know what it is you do, learn to like you, because they can get to know you. They can trust you. And it's really clear as they go through each part of their journey and see these different versions of your ads. It's really clear what it is you want them to do. And we covered this a little bit earlier. It goes back to having a clear call to action. So what you don't want to do is spend a load of money on ads and just have them go off into the ether of your website somewhere. It's really clear that you either want to give them something. So give them a free guide that they download and maybe join your mailing list, or watch a video that helps them learn something new, or sign up for a workshop.

(13:26):

And then at that point, when they've done that, they've converted essentially into a lead and they've entered a different part of their journey. So rather than just being new to you, they've only just discovered who you are. They're now into you. They like you, they're invested. You've proven that you can help them. And you've got something useful and valuable to give to them. So they're much more likely to become a customer. Okay. Next, manage your expectations. As I said earlier, ads are not a quick fix. Yes, they can get lots of eyes on your brand really quickly. You can get lots of traffic really quickly, but it takes time for people to actually convert and become a customer. If you are service-based, your customers are businesses that takes a little longer to convert because it's about building a relationship and building the trust as we said. If you're selling products, that's a little easier to convert because as long as you're offering something people want in a nice way, in a way that they want it, then they can make a decision on the spot and buy whatever it is that they want from you. Don't expect your ads to get immediate results.

(14:31):

And that doesn't mean they're not working. Every time somebody sees an ad, sees a different version, comes to your website, downloads whatever you want them to download. It's all contributing to their journey and helping them get closer and closer to becoming a customer. Because if you've got the foundations set up, you've got good looking ads with great messaging, a really clear call to action and people want what you're offering, people want your service or your product, then they'll get there. Don't give up if you're doing ads and you're not getting anything from it immediately. That's not how it works, which is why it's even more important to make sure you're measuring the metrics that tell you if your ads are having an impact. If they're not, scrap them, try something else instead. And I don't mean scrap ads completely, try different versions of the ads.

(15:15):

Try some different messaging. You're not going to get it right first time, but don't expect too much too quickly. And don't be disheartened and don't think you should give up or don't think you're doing anything wrong. It takes time and effort and hard work to get really good results with paid ads. Okay, next one. This is a question I get asked a lot and it's 'what can I expect in return? 'Now we've already covered what success means to you and deciding how are you going to measure success. So I'm not going to go into that, but in terms of pound notes, it varies wildly depending on a lot of different factors. But as a rule of thumb, you can expect between two pounds and five pounds return. So for every one pound you spend, you'll get between two pounds and five pounds back.

(16:00):

Now, as I say, massive, disclaimer, it varies massively. But if you're in that ballpark, you're doing pretty well. Some channels it's more expensive than others. So LinkedIn, for example, is much more expensive because it's reaching businesses who maybe have a higher value versus a consumer that's going to have a lower spend. So for things like Facebook and Google, you can expect your cost per click, so how much it costs you to get somebody to click your ad and land on wherever you want them to land, you can pay anywhere between maybe 30 pence a click up to two pounds. But LinkedIn, you can pay 10 pounds per click and even more. That just gives you a little bit of an idea on what to expect in terms of the return and the cost per click. Okay, next one, we're nearly done. This is number eight. You might've heard about this.

(16:49):

Apple have just released a big update which is going to impact the performance of paid ads. Now I'm not going to pretend to understand the update and the impact, but I did read a really useful article from Aim High Social, that summarises things. So I'll put the link for that in the episode description. But the short version is people now have to approve or accept in apps, things like Facebook, if they're going to allow their data to be tracked. Which if people choose not to, that means that Facebook has less information to target your ads, less information about people to get your ads to the best people for you. But at this point, nobody really knows the impact it's going to have. And there probably will be some way to overcome it to an extent, but it's important to be aware of that. If you're doing ads at the moment and you've seen a decline, it could be something to do with that.

(17:41):

Or if you're trying ads, they might not perform as well as they would have previously. But that's completely normal. Everybody that's doing ads is in the same boat. It's just a case of waiting to see what happens. I mean, carry on with your ads. Yeah, completely. Don't stop doing anything, but just wait and see what happens. Things could change again. It's just something that the marketing world has got to adapt to. Things like this happen all the time. So nothing to worry about or panic about, just be aware of it and keep an eye out for any updates. Okay. Next one. Consider getting support. By all means, if you want to learn how to do ads for yourself, go for it. There are loads of really good resources, YouTube videos, Facebook blueprint, Google garage. There's loads of places you can learn to do it yourself.

(18:26):

But if you haven't got the time or you're not into technology and just don't fancy it, consider investing in somebody that can either manage the ads for you or give you a bit of coaching and support to help you learn. Or one of the best things you can do to help your ads is invest in a copywriter or a designer. Those two things are worth their weight in gold when it comes to ads. Because if your ad doesn't look great or sound great or read great, then that's going to really let it down. So you don't have to do it all yourself. By all means learn it if it's something you're going to be doing long-term. But if you can invest in getting a little bit of support to make sure you get the best from your ads and you might just need a bit of help setting up in the first place.

(19:07):

And then you can monitor things yourself and make a few changes, or you can get help with a designer and copywriter to create your ads for you. And then if and when you want to make some changes, come back to them. It's not a massive investment you have to do all the time, but they can really, really make a big difference when you're starting out. Okay. And then last one, really important. There is no right way to do ads. Try stuff, test stuff, learn what works for you and get better, improve things. As I said earlier, one thing that works for you one time might not work again another time. That's completely normal with ads. The longer your ad is live without being tweaked or updated or improved, it starts to get ad fatigue and the performance declines over time. Again, that's completely normal. But what it does mean is that it's important for you to be monitoring your ads.

(20:00):

And it doesn't have to be all the time. If you're really busy, you could check them once every couple of weeks, once every month, or if you're doing a big campaign, check them every few days or every week, just decide how much monitoring is right for you given the time that you've got and keep an eye on them. Refresh them, change your messaging, change up your images, try some different versions, try some different audiences. There is no right or wrong way to do it. It's just a case of testing things, seeing how each one performs according to the success measures that you've set for yourself, seeing how people interact with your ads and your websites. And you're going to be constantly changing stuff. You're going to be making changes to your landing page, to your ad copy, to your target audience. It's not a case of 'well it's set up it's done, I'm just going to let it run'.

(20:43):

Eventually the performance will drop and you'll be wasting money. So keep an eye on your results and make sure everything's heading in the right direction. And you're keeping things fresh to really get the best out of them. Okay. Well, I feel like I've talked for ages. So if you are about to try ads, good for you, that's really exciting. It's a really exciting step in your business, but please make sure that you think about things properly and plan things out before you start to make sure you're getting the best out of your investment and your time and your cash. Okay. Thank you very much for listening. My dog's just got up. You can probably hear her clattering around in the background cause she can tell I'm nearly done. Have a lovely week and I'll see you next time.

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