Example: I know a chiropractor who used to offer free “pain relief seminars.” He would run expensive advertisements on radio, TV, and in the newspaper, get people to the local Holiday Inn to hear his schpiel, and then hopefully convert some into paying clients. The whole thing would run him about $5,000 to host and he might make $10,000.
Last month, he did the same thing, but he advertised on Facebook using pay-per-click ads. The entire campaign cost him a tad over $1,000 and he still made more than $10,000.
The difference: he now advertises to a specific audience as opposed to a mass market. These days, he only pays for clicks from the people most likely to respond to his ads, as opposed to hundreds of thousands of TV viewers who have zero interest in pain relief.
The secret is micro-targeting.
On Facebook or Google, and actually, on any other similar digital medium, you can now specifically and narrowly locate, target, and reach people who are most likely to appreciate your ad, click on it, and move into your sales funnel.
For small businesses, the days of mass selling to mass audiences are (or should be) over.
Back in the day, my chiropractor friend would have no choice but to blanket the market with his ads, hoping that a few of the right people would see, read or hear it. Now, he advertises only on Facebook with an ad seen only by people in his zip code, who were upper income, who were older, and who had an interest in alternative healing.
See how that campaign had a far greater likelihood of success?
Fewer eyeballs, yes, but these were the people most likely to be interested in his seminar. That is the value of specific audience messaging vs. broad marketing.
Here is how you can join the online advertising party:
1. Choose the right outlet: While there are a lot of options, your best is either Google or Facebook as that is where the traffic and results are.
2. Set a budget: Advertising and marketing is an ongoing process. If this is your first foray into pay per click advertising, start slow and small. Test ads, budgets, calls to actions, audiences. Both Facebook and Google make creating an ad and a budget super easy.
When you go to create your ad campaign on the platform(s) of your choice, there will be a place to set your budget. Like I said, start small, say even $100 for a week or two to start. See if it is getting clicks and what the cost per click is.
3. Figure out the ad: The different platforms have different options.
- Facebook will ask you what your goals are – to get clicks, Likes, sales, conversions, or what? Do you want to use an existing post or make a new one?
- Resource: Small Business Resources from Google
4. Target your audience: This is the best part in my opinion. Your audience can be as large or small as you want, and as specific as you prefer. But remember – the greater the reach, the more you will pay. You want the audience who sees your advertisement to mirror your ideal customers; that is, the people most likely to buy from you.
This is where the magic of pay-per-click comes in.
5. Test the ad: This is key. It is unwise to simply create an ad, check out, and come back two weeks later to see what happened. Test, review, tweak, and see what works.
6. Roll it out: Once you know you have a successful ad, go for it. Spend more and run it often. It can become your cash cow.
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss./servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3359-412423/steve+strauss+headshot.png
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