5 Musts to Effectively Navigating Digital Advertising

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This article is taken from the Build Your Queue podcast below, Season 1 Episode 3 with Philippe LeMaitre, Digital Coordinator at Workshop.

You want to find the exact audience your business needs to connect with through digital advertising. But you’re a) still deciding where to spend your dollars and b) new to creating a digital advertising strategy.

So before you can really dive in, you need to ask yourself:

  • How do you set the right expectations?
  • How will you create demand online for your products and services?
  • How will you capture the leads who see your ads?
  • What is the right budget for you?

We’ll help you navigate your digital advertising strategy each step of the way. Keep reading, or listen to the full audio in the player above.

1. Are your digital advertising expectations reasonable?

Most people think they can put $2 into digital ads and get $4 back as soon as they start their campaigns. But that’s a bad expectation that sets you up for disappointment, and here's why.

Digital ads need just as much leniency as traditional ads. You can't flip a switch and expect to start reigning in dollars.

For example, you wouldn’t expect to get precise attribution (or tracking of buyer purchases) from a single billboard. Instead, you’d put one or several up, watch to see if there’s a general uptick in sales, and then make adjustments. Digital advertising needs that same flexible approach, especially considering there are different kinds of attribution.

PC: Agency Analytics

For these reasons, it takes time and tweaking to understand:

1. Does the ad meet your campaign’s objectives?

2. Are you able to find the right people in the right places at the right times?

3. Are you selecting the most effective keywords for your campaign?

4. Are you tracking your ad’s clicks correctly?

5. Are there outside factors, like demand or website optimization, that are keeping your digital ads from being more successful?

You will never be able to start a campaign and get exact results, before addressing all these factors.

2. How will you create demand?

You can't sell a product or service if there's no demand for it. So, how do you create it?

Let’s look at the company Carvana. They’re an online used car retailer that offers car home delivery.

Carvana created search demand by paying for ads that essentially told people to search for “car home delivery.” Their goal is to take the pain out of car buying, which their targeted buyers all experience, so their ad campaign had traction.

Then Carvanna made sure their SEO was set up to capture those searches and had search ads displaying for those terms to seal the deal.

PC: Carvana

So, when you have a product that is new to the market, like Carvana, your goal is to create that search demand, first. Then focus on things like search ads, strong websites, and SEO to capture it.

But how do you create demand in a traditional market where demand is already present?

Demand is normally created for you when you’re in a traditional business, like HVAC or CPA, because people know they need your products and services to solve their problems.

That means you need to instead focus on staying top-of-mind, so you’re the first business a customer thinks to contact.

You can stay top-of-mind by:

 You can also try sharing information with customers that’s not common knowledge, so you prove they can trust you.

For example, CPAs offer services that people generally don’t understand themselves, so they show ads with tax benefits people aren’t aware of.

The goal is to introduce information that gets the viewer thinking, “Oh, wow, maybe I do need to speak to them about that?”

3. Are you ready to capture the leads your digital ad generates?

You need to make sure you have a website that is set up to convert. But what exactly does that look like, and how can you check to make sure it is converting?

Your bounce rate should be in the 40% to 50% range. Sometimes 60% is acceptable, but anything above that is bad. You shouldn’t spend money on any digital ads to direct traffic to a website that isn’t setup to convert.

PC: Wealthy Affiliate 

There are products you can use to track the traffic on your website, like Lucky Orange and Hot Jar. They’re really cheap, easy to set up, and can dramatically increase your conversion rate if you use them to pay attention to how traffic flows through your site.

As you analyze your site’s traffic, ask yourself:

1. Are people filling out your contact forms? If not, why?

2. What does user flow on your website look like?

3. What pages do they pay attention to or ignore?

4. Are they able to quickly get answers to their questions?

Consider those questions, and make adjustments accordingly. Doing so could increase your website’s conversion rate by 30%.


Keep retargeting people after they visit your website.

Getting people to your website is not the end of your job. Only 5/100 of them will actually make a purchase the first time they visit your website (and that's assuming you've done every thing right). This means you have to give them reasons to come back, and you can do this easily through retargeting.

Retargeting can come in the form of:

      • Youtube ads
      • Social media retargeting
      • Remarketing lists for search ads
      • Web push notifications

The key is to finish your pitch through these retargeting ads, so you can get on your customers minds and into their schedules.

4. Do you have the right guide and services to help you?

It’s all too common for small business owners to dive into digital ads head first, only to see their money get wasted. That’s why you need to get the right help.

For example, a lot of digital advertising services offer “smart campaigns” or basic options. Their goal is to make it easier for people who don't really know what they're doing, but the result is usually lots of wasted dollars, because it's trying to assume your bidding strategy, geography, and who you want to target. Which is never successful, because it’s guessing.

Instead, you need an actual professional who will sit down with you to figure out:

1. How your business works

2. What your goals are

3. What problems your target audience has and where they spend their time.

This professional should spend at least an hour listening to you—because if they don’t, they’re not actually paying attention.

You’re looking for someone who is 100% happy to come in, help, and teach you how to build things on your own.

So always pump the brakes if someone comes to you with a set price—especially if they don’t even know your business's situation first (we’ll talk more about why next).

5. Are you prepared to adjust your budget accordingly?

There are industry averages for digital ad spending—but the budget your company needs will always be more complicated than those benchmarks. It takes time, usually even months, to figure out what works for your company.

First you have to do research and tests to get any results. That alone takes time and dollars.

For example, an ad that gets 100 clicks after you’ve spent $300 on it, will need to be adjusted, depending on:

      • The amount of time that’s passed
      • The ROI you get on your purchases
      • If you know your tracking the purchases correctly
      • The type of ad it is

You also need to consider that your budget has to be big enough to test these things out over a long period of time.

It all boils down to:

1. What's your goal?

2. How much are you willing to spend to hit that?

3. Are you able to hit that?

4. If not, what do you need to adjust?

You Need to Stay Open Minded and Ready to Learn In Digital Advertising

Think of digital advertising as targeting with a rifle vs. a shotgun.

While traditional marketing can hit a wide range of people, like a shotgun, you need digital marketing’s rifle-accurately to hit the audience who is most likely to make a purchase again and again.

But like with any skill, if you’ve only used a shotgun, the rifle will be new to you—and you’ll need to take time to learn how to use it properly.

Likewise, you can’t expect to jump straight into digital marketing and hit the mark every time. So be open to feedback, and never be afraid to ask for help.