One of the biggest focus areas for our marketing team is managing digital advertising campaigns for our clients. From search and social PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns to YouTube video ads, we help craft content and choose the best platform to achieve our clients’ marketing goals.
Many of our clients are small business owners who have never tried paid advertising before (budget is a little tight when starting up, right?), but there are also clients who come to us to help correct or improve campaigns they have managed themselves or with another company.
While the former takes a little longer to get going in the beginning, the latter almost always brings a few challenges. First, there is a research phase that needs to take place to determine previous and current performance as it relates to audience targeting, budget, ad creative, and general account setup.
After seeing the results of our clients’ accounts and managing our own campaigns, we feel we can offer guidance on common mistakes to avoid that will save you a few headaches down the road.
Having Unrealistic Expectations
As with any transaction, it’s perfectly normal to expect something in return…and quickly. After all, many businesses are relying on advertising to help get them out of a slump and grow without a lot of available funds.
Unfortunately, advertising is not usually a quick fix (not to say you can’t get lucky), especially when there are deeper business issues. It’s an investment to grow your audience and promote your best services, which need to be in a good place before you start advertising. When your campaigns are set up, it can take time to optimize the audience and creative to see maximum results.
For example, if you decide to run a search campaign to promote your dog rescue company and get more adoptions, you may want to run a search campaign with a seed keyword such as “rescue dog”. After a week, you may notice that you are paying for clicks when users are searching for “rescue dog training” or “dog rescue jobs”. These keywords may be affiliated with your business, but will not necessarily help you meet your goal of getting more adoptions. This type of ongoing optimization is what takes the investment of time, but is worth it for the sake of account performance.
Not Prioritizing Your Budget
One of the most common mistakes we see is spreading your budget too thin. If you have a fixed monthly budget of say $500, it’s easy to want to try to fit all of our products and services in that budget.
Besides diluting your budget, one of the main reasons this is a bad idea is because it limits your learning and optimization. It’s very important to remember that your best friend in advertising is data. Without data, you cannot make informed decisions on improvements and account changes, and without an adequate budget for each campaign, you cannot collect enough data.
You may be wondering, “how do I determine the budget I need?”. While the answer varies from industry to industry, there are many tools online and paid software that can provide estimates regarding your audience size, keyword search volume, and average conversions by industry. The bottom line is that you want to determine how many conversions or leads you need to earn a profit, and then go from there.
Here are a few tools that we use internally that we recommend looking into:
- Wordstream – PPC Management
- Moz – Organic and Paid Search Tools
- Pear Analytics – Free PPC Budget Planner
- Google Keyword Planner – Free Keyword Research
Not Getting Specific in Your Targeting
Next on the list of common mistakes is running campaigns that are either too broadly targeted, or sending users to a landing page that has irrelevant information.
An example of this would be sending ads to everyone in Baton Rouge, vs. targeting users based on related interests to your business. You may be thinking the more people reached the better, but you could end up wasting valuable dollars on unqualified prospects. It’s always best to start narrow and broaden from there. Both Facebook and Google offer many targeting options that help you create the best combinations that will relate to your content.
Another example would be promoting a specific product but sending users to a web page that has other products or services on it. Not only will this potentially distract the user, but will also flag your account as low quality in some circumstances, costing you a premium and limited deliverability.
Not Reviewing Your Performance
As with the beginning research and data collection phase, it’s extremely important to review your account’s performance on an ongoing basis. You can set a reminder or meeting with yourself to do this each month, or schedule a quick call with your marketing team to review results on a monthly or at least quarterly basis.
It’s so easy to overlook mistakes in your advertising campaigns, and setting this time to review the details allows you to correct them quickly. It will also allow you to review which campaigns are performing well and consider scaling the budgets. In summary, the worst thing you can do is put them on autopilot.
“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine that” – Peter Sondergaard.
If you are struggling to see performance with your own campaigns, or need help getting started, contact us to schedule an account review. We will review your business goals with you and help determine the best course you should take in your advertising efforts. Drop us a line on https://crossroadcoach.com/contact/ or email me at [email protected] to get started!
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