Online Business Advertising In 2018
This is the latest in “Business for 2018 posts.”
Today, I’ll talk about PPC advertising. It constantly appears on my list of things I’m going to experiment with and talk about on the blog.
Until now though, it’s something I’ve put off. That’s mostly because I’m still pretty amateur at the whole thing and so my insight is limited.
Still, people ask about it and since the last time I posted, I at least know a little.
Consider this an update on where I am at the moment, things I’ve tried and where I think things will go in the next year or so.
Adwords is ridiculously expensive.
I wouldn’t recommend most of the likely readers of this site try and work with Adwords.
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Prices have been driven up so they’re pretty useless for the solo entrepreneur with a one-time, sub-$100 sale price.
I’d only recommend using Adwords if you have a hefty budget, are selling products that cost hundreds or have recurring value.
If you’re selling recurring $300 a year subscriptions, then you might make it work. If you make $5000 a client, then it might work.
Still though you need to make sure your funnels are tight and you’ve tested the ads before you run. Even if you’re going for long-tail terms, Adwords is expensive and it’s not the place to cut your teeth learning PPC advertising.
Also… prepare for costs to go up. Creative agencies who know nothing about direct response marketing have latched on to Adwords. They write terrible ads, drive the prices up and then collect their clients’ money with the “it’s for brand exposure” excuse.
Haha… this isn’t even its own section. Twitter ads are a waste of time and they’ll continue to be throughout 2018 unless Twitter changes its whole model.
(We can learn something from this though. Why are Twitter ads no good? The same reason that Facebook ads were no good. Whilst Facebook had a chronological, unsorted timeline, people had no need to click on ads. They could decide what content they saw.
In order for Facebook ads to work, they had to heavily manipulate what people saw. This made it a necessity for people to buy ads if they wanted guaranteed views.
There are other reasons, but until Twitter moves from a stream-of-thought, chronological timeline-based site, you won’t get effective ads.)
Facebook Ads are still fantastic. Best platform for the solo entrepreneur by far. They’re cost efficient and their targeting options are excellent. You can make returns on a $5 daily investment for a lot of niches. You don’t need a big budget.
However, you want to bear in mind your direct response marketing principles.
Don’t try and buy likes or other Facebook engagement metrics. You want to set up your Facebook campaigns with sales in mind.
If you want likes for your page, then get them another way. (I’d recommend giving discounts or other “prizes” in exchange for likes.) Don’t pay for them because it’s all ultimately a vanity metric.
Some people will say, “Get likes and use them for your pixel and lookalike audience” but they are muppets.
Because people who like your site aren’t necessarily buyers and buyers don’t necessarily like your site. When you build a list, you want it to be a list of buyers so that you can get more potential buyers.
I’m no expert on Instagram ads. People I know do shout outs, where they approach people with large followings (and engagement) and pay them directly.
This seems to be the current thing to do.
I’d keep an eye on that though, because it seems unlikely that Facebook and Instagram will want that third party advertising thing to continue without them getting their beaks wet. I’m sure there’ll be a more integrated platform for shout out management, though I can’t say how that’d be implemented.
Anyway, the “rules” for buying Instagram shout outs seem to be up in the air. Recently, my friend James started a new Twitter account to talk about his ecommerce ventures. His major sources of traffic are Instagram shout outs. He’s even said that he’ll go over potential accounts and answer people’s questions, so if IG advertising is something you’re interested in, then you might want to check out his Twitter account here.
The Golden Rule
Let me finish this with a golden rule: Don’t put your fingers in too many advertising pies.
In most cases, you’ll want to start with FB advertising, but that’s not a universal thing. Check out what other people are doing in your niche and aim to first imitate them and then improve on what they do.
It might be you’re not using any of the platforms I’ve listed. (Ones I’ve neglected are LinkedIn, YouTube, Amazon and a ton of others that aren’t on my radar.)
The reason I haven’t delved into too many is that it’s very easy to try and stick your money into a hundred different avenues. With paid advertising, you only get results with a sustained effort and budgeting, because it takes time to get data, split-test ads and work out what works for each platform.
Big mistakes people make include:
- Splitting a small budget into too many pieces (If you have a $500 budget, it’s better to spend $500 in a relevant place than $50 in 10 places)
- Running the same ads on different platforms
- Cutting the campaign or changing it before you have usable data
All of those things can be remedied by committing to one platform and waiting until you have consistent returns on that platform before you try anything else.
Master one platform at a time. Spend within your means and think of paid advertising as a way of getting consistent, dependable leads before you think about using it to scale.