Our Two Cents: How to Quit Wasting Ad Dollars
Marketing spend is a vital expense for all successful businesses. After all, how can you acquire new customers without first presenting your brand to them in an appealing, persuasive manner?
At the same time, your advertising budget can take up a lot of your precious resources. Planning and implementing an advertising budget may take weeks or even months, and if done incorrectly, may result in unnecessary costs for your business.
The good news is, by using clever tactics, you can stretch your ad spend further. Moreover, you can tailor your marketing efforts for success, and achieve a better ROI in the process. Here are some tips that can help.
Identify Your Goals
First of all, you need to define your marketing budget clearly. What is an acceptable level of spend? How much can your business reasonably afford? Also, think about key metrics. Which KPIs do you want to focus on? Do you want more conversions or more traffic to your website?
Secondly, ensure your marketing team is prioritizing goals and then allocating budgets for each objective. If you want to spend wisely, it’s best to allot funds for your company’s high-priority goals and then track those important key performance indicators (KPIs). When you target a few KPIs over the next fiscal quarter or year, then you'll have a clearly defined scope for your ad spend. Of course, as you go through this process of defining your goals, make sure that your objectives are SMART goals — i.e., they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. If you want to see the "biggest bang for your buck," SMART goals are a must.
Analyze Your Current Ad Spend and Performance
It's important to periodically take a step back and analyze how your current ad budget is performing. For example, which parts of your ad creative are performing well? Which ones aren't working? Rather than rushing into a poorly planned campaign, you must think things through and stick with tactics with a proven track record of producing good results.
A comprehensive analysis of your current ad spend and performance will help you stop "throwing away" funds that aren't getting the results you want. If you're new to budgeting for ad spend or don't have a clear frame of reference, consider partnering with a reputable ad agency to get results without wasteful spending.
Expertly Target Your Audience
Companies can take two basic routes concerning audience segmentation in today's market: the "shotgun approach" vs. the "rifle approach." The "shotgun approach" is a top-of-the-funnel tactic involving distributing your marketing message to as broad and wide an audience as possible. That's great for mega-corporations with a ton of resources at their disposal.
However, most small and mid-sized businesses (and a fair amount of enterprise-level organizations) use the bottom-of-the-funnel "rifle approach." In other words, they clearly define who their ideal customers are and then narrow their marketing efforts to reach that demographic first and foremost. This is usually a wise way to conduct marketing campaigns since a broader scope would cost more and only lead to a small percentage of conversions.
Of course, you'll need to collect and manage some data if you want to expertly target your audience. For instance, you may need to know certain attributes about your ideal customers, such as:
- Purchase behaviors
By conducting market research, using your current customer base, and making good use of data reporting and analytics tools, you can predict which prospects are likely to turn into customers and prioritize them as targets.
Market on the Right Channels to Make the Most of Your Ad Spend
Finally, you want to ensure that your marketing materials reach your audience through the most effective channels. Put simply, you want to "go fishing where the fish are" or direct ads to your prospects on the platforms they most frequently engage with.
It's key to remember that the average consumer uses several platforms and devices throughout his or her week. Interestingly, research shows that "61% of Internet users and 80% of online millennials start shopping on one device but continue or finish on a different one." The point is, you'll likely need to reach your ideal customers through cohesive cross-channel (or "omnichannel") marketing. Focus on multiple platforms that are popular with your audience.
These will no doubt include:
- Your website
- Search engines like Google
- Social media platforms
- OTT (over-the-top) service providers
Plan Ahead to Minimize Waste
A well-defined and effective marketing budget is critical to the success of any business. If you need to develop one, or if you're unhappy with your current one's performance, then be sure to follow the tips discussed above. If creating and executing an ad budget isn't one of your core competencies, don't fret!
Partner with a reputable media agency that can help you navigate past many common obstacles preventing optimal ad spend. By working with a qualified team of marketing experts, you can take the guesswork out of your budget and quit wasting your ad dollars for good.
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