Questions to Ask Before You Start Your First Paid Advertising Campaign

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You have decided it's time to start advertising on the internet for your services or products, but where do you begin?  Here are some of the most important questions you need to answer:

  • Where Should I Advertise?
  • What Will Be My Monthly Budget?
  • Is My Website Ready?

1) Where Should I Advertise?

When it comes to Paid Advertising, there is no larger or more effective platform than Google. Google's advertising platform has evolved significantly over the last decade allowing you to advertise several different ways with robust reporting to optimize your results, but is it right for you?  Is your market highly competitive? Google your services and look at the other ads that come up in search results to get a feel for them.  
 
If you are a dentist, lawyer or boutique hotel you might choose to advertise on Facebook so that you can stretch your budget and target a more niche audience. Facebook allows you to target by location, sex, age & interest where Google really can not.  The flip side is that Facebook is not a great platform for conversions, that is completing a sale or generating a phone call. It is however a good way to increase your brand awareness and cheaper than Google. 
 
Bing is trying real hard to mirror the Google Adwords platform but still struggles. Their consumer reach is still a fraction of Google, so if you only want to advertise in a particular city for instance, you will be challenged to get clicks or even eyes on your ads.   

Advertising on Twitter is like fishing for a certain type of fish by casting a large net into the ocean.  This is not recommended for local service providers, like plumbers, doctors, lawyers, etc., it's more for national brands.  LinkedIn would be used more for B2B advertising, like software companies, conferences, consulting & universities.

2. What Will Be My Monthly Budget?

Once you determine where you want to advertise, now you need to determine how much you are willing to spend.  We always recommend to our clients to come up with a budget for three months.  Any new paid advertising campaign will take three months to become fully optimized to where you can determine whether to continue or try other options.  There are some factors to help you determine your budget:

  • Expensive Keywords:  Will you be bidding on expensive keywords like "Law Firm New York City" or "Plastic Surgeon Los Angeles" or "Best BBQ in Austin".
  • Saturated Market: Are there many providers or products similar to you?  Your competition may be dominating the top four ad positions in Google and you may have to raise your bid to get your ad in there during business hours.
  • Location: Some areas are more expensive than others. An A/C Repair company in San Diego will need to spend more than the same company located in San Francisco.

3) Is My Website Ready?

Perhaps the most overlooked and important aspect of digital advertising is your website.  People forget that they are "paying for traffic" to come to their site.  Your website is where it all happens.  It's where you convert the visitor into a purchase, a phone call or an email, which is called a conversion.  You must get your website in tip top shape to convert lookers into bookers on both mobile and desktop platforms.

Final Thoughts

Getting started in Paid Advertising doesn’t have to be an expensive learning lesson, but will take at least 8-10 weeks to find your sweet spot and determine a proper ROI.  It is important to do your research and work with a experienced digital marketing agency that understands your business and goals and can devise and execute an effective strategy. Your digital advertising strategy should be unique to your business.  Oh, and we "know a guy" if you need assistance :)

Thanks For Reading!