Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Getting Started With Digital Advertising

Advertising online can be intimidating and overwhelming. This short guide will tamp down the fear so you can grow your business.

Online advertising: You know you need to do it, but you don’t know how, where, what, or how much money to spend. It can get confusing, and fast, but it’s not that difficult in the grand scheme of things. Here’s a quick run-through of the fundamentals so you can get a bit more comfortable with the concept and start thinking about giving it a try.

Digital Advertising
Getty Images

First, there are many different types of ads to consider. For example, re-targeting through Adroll (those ads that follow you around the internet, no matter where you go, they’re there), boosting a Facebook post (to reach a wider audience), Like campaigns, YouTube ads, and so forth. We will get into the weeds on that in a future column, but for now, these guidelines should apply to anything you do in the digital advertising realm.

Approach Advertising With an Objective. Campaigns often fail when ads aren’t set up correctly from the get-go, and that means knowing what your objective is for the ad. Do you want to sell more product? Create awareness for your brand? Increase your social media following? Get leads? Drive traffic to an event page? All of these objectives translate differently on each platform, and there are a variety of parameters to understand, as well as a budget to establish, so nail this down first.

More Secrets of Success: Top Ten Marketing Mishaps to Avoid

Get Your House Clean. You wouldn’t have a big party at your house and leave dirty laundry strewn about and dishes all over the place, right? Likewise, you don’t want people to visit your website if it isn’t going to be an environment where they feel welcomed or catered to. At KMB we call this getting your house clean. It’s important to do the digital housework of sprucing up your website and making it appealing before you launch an ad campaign that drives traffic to it. Otherwise, you’re simply wasting your money.

This not only means making it visually appealing with the right images and layout but that you are telling the story of your brand in a way that makes the visitor feel like they are a part of it. Being a brand people can believe in is important (read up on that here). Your website also needs to make it obvious what your brand is about and what you do within seconds. Otherwise, you will cause that visitor to bounce because they don’t have the time or attention span to figure it out.

Start Small While You Are Learning. Online advertising is not an exact science. Each platform has different algorithms and results, and people behave differently on each platform, so it can be challenging to know what is going to make one campaign more successful than another. That’s why starting off small, experimenting, and doing A/B testing are all good ideas. Choose a smaller budget while you are learning so you don’t blow all your funds while making learning-curve mistakes.

Consider Content. Content is king, and having a great content offer is an efficient way to garner leads. For example, say you are a manufacturer that wants to attract more designers to your products. You might create a downloadable PDF entitled “Top 5 Home Technology Interior Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them,” which, set up correctly, would target potential trade partners online who can download the PDF for free in exchange for filling out a form and entering their email addresses. Boom! You’ve got well-qualified leads that you can target to build relationships. Make sure all your content is extremely SEO-friendly and consider Google Ads so that your content can be found in search results.

Get Familiar With Analytics and Insights. Finally, put in the work to understand the results you get. Yes, these stats can be confusing, but you will get more familiar with the significance of things like reach, impressions, reactions, and engagement over time. A word of caution, though. Take time to dig into the stats and really learn about the audience you’re attracting. When you do, you’ll see more value from the spend both in conversions and knowledge gained.

The world of online advertising is vast, so we’ll dive deeper into specific platforms, best practices, and tactics in future columns. In the meantime, if you need help planning your digital programs, getting your SEO right, or attracting audiences to your brand, drop me a line at [email protected]. I’m here to help!