Advertising is all around us. We find it when we read a news article online, open the mailbox, or check our social media feeds. With so much content around and consumers seeing so many ads, it's critical to have a quality strategy to grow your business with advertising.
The average American is exposed to almost 10,000 ads every day. Advertising is an excellent way for companies across industries to stay in their customers’ minds and attract new prospects.
Now, with the continuous growth of digital channels like Google, Meta, and others, online advertising is more important than ever to keep your brand accessible recognizable, and an essential piece of any business plan.
Here is a guide to help you get started with using online advertising to grow your business.
What is advertising?
Advertising has only grown with technology. We can find it everywhere, from subway trains to public restrooms. It's on our streets, our TVs, and, most recently, our devices.
In general terms, advertising is the process of persuading or influencing a particular audience to take a specific action. The type of advertising a business or organization chooses depends on its ultimate goal and the target it's trying to impact. Most people assume that advertising is all about convincing customers to purchase goods and services. However, that's not always the case. Some ads won't even mention a particular product.
Advertising varies depending on the motivation behind it. Companies may use it, for example, to create a bond with their audience or bring awareness to a cause. And just as ads can have numerous purposes, they can also vary in form.
That's because advertisers research their potential customers to understand their wants, needs, and the places they’re most likely to be reached by their advertising efforts — all before coming up with the concept of their ad.
Nowadays, with the growth of digital media marketing on sites like Google and Meta, brands and advertisers have endless advertising options to reach their customers. However, it's essential to create a solid strategy to ensure the effectiveness of a new campaign.
What is online advertising?
Today's world is more digitally connected than ever. That’s why companies need to step up and start advertising online if they aren't already. According to recent data, the average American spends almost seven hours looking at a screen.
Connecting with your customers online is a must to increase brand awareness and draw more people to your business. That's where online advertising is critical to increasing revenue.
In simple words, digital or online advertising is a form of marketing that uses the internet and its many platforms to deliver promotional materials and messages to potential customers and current clients.
There are numerous types of online advertising, ranging over various doesn’t help boost products and services — they can be food, home services, video games, and even legal marketing. Digital advertising is the most common to date and will significantly benefit your business when used correctly.
Facebook Ads Manager
Even with the ever-growing number of social media platforms, Facebook is still the real champion. About 4.8 billion people are part of this network. A big audience like this ensures that brands using Meta for advertising can reach a relevant audience. Almost 7 million advertisers use the social media giant to grow their brands.
For your business, Meta is the ultimate audience targeting tool. Thanks to its massive reach, you can target:
- Audiences based on demographics like location and age.
- Audiences who previously engaged with your brand.
- Audiences with similar interests to your customers.
Advertising on Meta includes a wide array of options, like:
- Story ads — ideal for sharing short videos about your business.
- Photo ads — great for sharing images that relate to your company and industry.
- Lead ads — perfect for capturing lead information without leaving the platform.
- Video ads — ideal for instructional videos for your field and branding videos of your business.
Pricing will change based on what customers you are trying to get with your advertising and the number of other companies in your field advertising to them. For example, you might decide based on your target market research, most of your potential customers are on Meta.
Here’s what the advertising promotion may cost you.
$0.97 per click + $7.19 per 1,000 impressions.
For an ad campaign to earn likes or app downloads: $1.07 per like and $5.47 per download.
Meta Ads are generally very visible, and easy to know what to do next.
The most used search engine offers a paid online advertising program called Google Ads. It allows you to create digital ads to reach your core audience and others looking for the products and services you offer.
Google Ads is an excellent tool to promote your business, increase your sales, create brand awareness, and bring traffic to your website.
Once you’ve created your campaign, your advertisements will appear in the Search Engine Result Pages (also known as SERPs) when a potential customer searches for your type of service. There are two types of Google Ads:
- Sponsored results — these are paid for and appear in a box with an "Ad" label.
- Organic links appear right below the sponsored results and are ranked based on online traffic, search engine algorithms, and how your website is built “behind the scenes.”
Google also offers Display Ads through the Google Display Network, an extensive collection of third-party websites that have partnered with Google and show Google ads on their pages via image, video, text, or rich media format. Google Ads on "outsider" websites can be targeted differently. The chances are high that you have seen an example of these on a news site or other sites you visit frequently.
The cost of Google Ads varies depending on your industry, location, ad campaign quality, and competitiveness of your keywords.
On average, the cost per click for Google Ads in the U.S. is $2.32.
This can be much lower in other countries. However, there’s no minimum spending commitment, and you have complete control over your budget and ad placement.
Google Search Ads are a great way to bring in new customers
Since Meta owns Instagram, the Meta Ads Manager also allows you to advertise on Instagram, which, as we speak, has over 1 billion monthly users around the world. This platform lets you:
- Promote your Instagram posts and stories through a business account.
- Promote your page’s ads through Instagram.
- Access Meta's full targeting capacities to create campaigns.
Instagram has ad types similar to Facebook, including:
- Photo ads
- Video ads
- Story ads
This platform also has two other types of advertisements:
- Ads in the Explore section
- Shopping Post ads that show up in the shopping section
Instagram can be best for local businesses and people who have visually appealing brands.
Clear call-to-action signs are key for Instagram ads
Don't underestimate the power of one of the newest social media networks out there. TikTok's popularity keeps growing by the day. The short video platform has already reached 500 million monthly users, and it’s only increasing from there. Although its advertising options are still limited, using TikTok to promote your brand allows you to reach a decently sized audience, as you can see.
At the moment, business advertising on TikTok primarily focuses on increasing brand awareness. It isn’t helpful for boosting traffic because it doesn't allow links — yet. Promoting your business through videos that align with your brand identity and offer added value to your target audience is an excellent way to engage your customers and stay in their minds.
Video marketing is on the move, and YouTube has over 2 million active users. Second only to Google, it's one of the most significant search engines available for video content. Ads on this popular platform show up before, during, and after most videos. They can also appear as stand-alone videos when potential customers are searching for content on YouTube's website and application.
YouTube allows you to target specific interests and demographics, which helps show your videos to customers who are already watching similar or related content.
It can be a great spot to post video content related to your company and then promote it to the customers. It will also produce “organic” views and can give you a chance to go “viral” if you have a video go viral on YouTube. It will receive a lot of free views of your video and can lead to new customers.
The first step with YouTube is to make sure you have a YouTube channel for your business. Afterward, you can start creating videos and ads to showcase on YouTube channels and even put ads in front of your own videos.
Test on YouTube Ads to see which type of ad works best for you
Organic searches on Google and Bing/Yahoo showing posts from Twitter is a significant driver of brand performance. That’s why digital advertising is less common on this platform, even though it has over 300 million users per month.
However, it's important to note that just because it's less common to advertise on Twitter, it doesn’t mean you can’t get strong results from it. This network holds various niches that can relate to most small businesses.
Advertising on Twitter allows you to:
- Promote your tweets to maximize your reach and get more retweets, likes, and replies.
- Promote your account to grow your following.
- Promote your site to increase traffic.
- Promote your app to boost your downloads.
- Grow your brand awareness of your company.
Twitter may not lead to direct business as other channels, but it can be a great way to promote your brand, showcase seasonal promotions, and engage with your audience.
Google Display Advertising
While other types of online advertising focus on being subtle, display advertising uses a style and format that clearly announces: "I'm selling you something."
These ads can be animated with motion or just be an image and are typically found on the tops or sides of your favorite pages and have the reputation of being intrusive, distracting, and irrelevant.
They aim for quick conversion and massive reach since most search engines can match them with relevant sites based on targeting preferences and keywords.
Native Advertising and Sponsored Content
Online advertising use paid ads that match the place online in which they appear — their look, feel, and function — to impact a specific customer you would like to get without them even noticing. This concept refers to non-disruptive marketing materials that blend in with the editorial flow of the page. In other words, it looks like regular content to make it seem less like an ad — or less of an imposition. These types of ads engage customers in a somewhat unique way. Some examples are:
- Content recommendations
- Ads that appear in social media feeds
- Search and promoted listings
How To Get Customers With Advertising Online
Nearly all online interactions begin with a search on Google/YouTube or Bing/Yahoo. That’s where your online advertising efforts can start. By placing your services where your audience is most likely to see them, you're increasing your chances of more people types of contacting you for your business.
What's more, online advertising doesn’t necessarily have to cost you money. You can attract and engage an audience by posting relevant content you know they’ll love and establishing a connection using their favorite social media channels.
Nowadays, there are plenty of ways to promote your business online. You need to determine who you’re trying to reach, establish the goals you want to meet and build a strategy for achieving results. Knowing and focusing on your core audience while creating a campaign will increase your chances of succeeding.
An excellent way to do that is by doing a survey with your customers. You can ask them questions on the phone or send out a survey over email to help you understand them better. If you know your customers, you’ll guarantee your advertising efforts won't be in vain.
You can also look into your website numbers to see what pages people spend time on and understand what keywords they type in a search engine like Google to find you.
The questions you need to answer are:
- Where does your ideal customer spend most of their time online?
- What are the most searched keywords on their most frequented social media platforms?
- What are their interests, wants, or needs?
- What types of content are they more likely to share?
Once you’ve gathered this information, you can use it in your favor and translate it into organic and paid marketing strategies. Using pay-per-click (PPC) ads on the most popular social media networks and search engines will allow you to promote your posts and expand your reach to your ideal clients. An excellent online marketing plan will increase brand awareness and increase return on investment (ROI).
If the research task seems overwhelming, there are effective ways to partner with companies to help. Scorpion is a top provider of technology and marketing services for thousands of small businesses across the United States. They will work with you to research your customers, develop your website, and create digital ads to get your ideal customers to contact you for your services. They then use artificial intelligence to make that ad buys for you.
Steps To Getting Started With Advertising Online
Now that you know the basic concepts of digital advertising, the most popular options, and how it works, let’s explore the process of creating a successful online campaign step by step.
1. Know Your Customer, Your Growth Goals, and Your Budget to Build a Strategy that Works for Your Brand
To create an effective online ad, you first need to do your research. You do this by understanding your audience and asking yourself what problem you’re trying to solve with your product or service. There are numerous tools available online, like Google Analytics and Google Trends, that reveal the demographic information of your customers and the topics they’re interested in. This data is the ultimate foundation for building a solid campaign that will produce your growth goals. You can also run a simple survey to your current customers to learn how they found you.
You should also look at your competition — learn what they’re doing and determine what makes you different. Once this information is clear, you can set up a plan to determine your timetable, goals, audience, distribution channels, materials, and budget. All of this will help you create your plan and polish the message you're trying to convey.
2. Create a Budget
Once you know where your digital campaign is going, it's time to decide how much you want to spend. This may start as an estimate or be limited to what you have available. It's essential to set realistic expectations when it comes to your revenue goal.
Determine where you want to put your ads so that you can decide whether you'll need to hire someone to produce your marketing materials. Also, think of your distribution channels, if you're willing to pay for PPC ads, and whether you're sticking to posting free content.
3. Start Your Ad Development
Now that your plan is all set up, it's time to get down to work. Be very specific with the instructions you give to your marketing team. If necessary, create more detailed plans for each contractor depending on their roles and goals. Remember to offer timely feedback to help ensure that everything runs according to plan.
If you are a one-person shop, choose just one channel, such as Google, that you want to advertise. Choose some keywords and create your ads. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. If you were searching for a lawyer, plumber, HVAC tech, dentist, doctor, etc… what would you search for? Those are good keywords to consider paying for in your strategy.
4. Let the Results Begin to Take Shape
Once you have all your images, videos, and other creative assets ready, it’s time to start posting your ads. Keep in mind that each platform has different rules and instructions regarding ad distribution, so make sure to do your research beforehand. Don't forget to monitor your ad results regularly so that you can have a clear picture of whether they're working or not. Most platforms have inbuilt analytic tools to help you keep tabs on your metrics.
How To Setup a Facebook Ad
You can set up your ads on Facebook through your Facebook Business Page via the desktop website or mobile app. It only takes five simple steps:
1. Select your goals – Pick the main goals for your ad. You can choose between:
- Getting more messages
- Getting more website visitors
- Promoting your business locally
- Promoting your Facebook Page
- Boosting a Facebook or Instagram post
- Getting more leads
- Building your business
2. Create your ad – Build your ad using visuals, text, and perhaps a button that instructs your customers as to what you want from them as well. That “call to action button” could say “sign up,” “set up an appointment,” “talk with us,” etc.
- Define your audience – Identify the ideal customer whom you want to reach.
- Set your budget and duration – Determine how long you want your ad to run and how much you're willing to spend per day.
- Decide ad placement – Pick between Facebook and Instagram, or choose both.
How To Setup a Google Ad
To promote your product or service through Google, you must:
- Sign in to your Google Ads account
- Click Campaigns on the left-side menu.
- Click the plus button.
- Select New campaign.
- Select the goals for your campaign. If no option fits, select Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance.
- Pick your preferred campaign type. If you set up a goal, you’ll see the best campaign types to reach it.
- Choose a campaign subtype if prompted.
- Click Continue.
- Follow the instructions for each campaign type.
With Google, you will also want to make sure you are actively monitoring your Google My Business page to make sure your reviews are strong. That will only benefit your overall ability to get leads through Advertising.
Moving Forward With Online Advertising
Digital advertising is vital to your growth. If you aren’t currently using it to increase your business’s visibility and boost your sales, you’re definitely behind the curve and falling behind the competition.
Implementing a solid online advertising strategy might seem daunting if you’re just getting started. However, it’s as simple as following each platform’s instructions. Much as you would with any other marketing effort, you need to study your audience and your competitors to have a clearer idea of what actions to take and which channels to use.
If you’re a small business or on a tight budget, online advertising might just be the solution for you. It can connect you with your audience and allow you to build a robust and long-lasting relationship with them in a way no other type of advertising can. What's more, it will give you immediate feedback on whether your efforts are working or not, allowing you to tweak them as many times as you need.
You should also look to incorporate search engine optimization as a part of your advertising strategy. It can help you rank "organically" in search engines like Google and Bing/Yahoo without the need for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
How Scorpion Can Help With Digital Advertising
At Scorpion we have over 20 years of experience helping small businesses just like yours with their marketing. Our team and technology can set you apart from the competition so you can run your best marketing.
How Scorpion’s technology helps you drive better visitors to your website
- Predict the performance of advertising before you spend. You will be able to make an informed decision about your advertising budget.
- Maximize your advertising with our partners. Fully automated and integrated partnerships with Google, eLocal, Archenia, Ring Partner, and more to help you achieve higher levels of growth and success.
- We help your budget go further. With Scorpion Advertising, you can be confident that your money is being allocated to the right partners. Not only will your campaign launch with the right mix of partners like Google, Bing, and LSA, but it will adapt daily based on performance.
We at Scorpion have experience helping small businesses achieve that goal. Are you looking for more growth and consistent revenue? We have a complete platform of tools, including CRM, CMS, LiveChat, Payment Processing, Ad buying, and website management — all of which are designed to help with your advertising. We also provide a team to help you research your customers, run your ad campaigns, create brand loyalty, and hire the right talent.
Talk with us today if you want support for your advertising to meet your growth goals.