As a business owner, your task is to optimize your expenses and maximize profits. Unless you’re a multinational enterprise that can afford to splurge to some degree, your marketing budget is finite; this is something to carry in your mind, always. And as it so happens, far too many business owners don’t even know how much they’re spending on ads, let alone track the results of their campaigns.
Does any of this sound familiar? Check if any of the mistakes below apply to your business.
1. Poor Targeting
If you’re not particular about who your target audience is, you’re wasting your money. There’s no need to say twice there’s little correlation between someone who’s, say, a golf enthusiast and someone who’s shopping for a new garage door. And even if you get more specific and focus on golf lovers, not all of them need the same thing. For instance, someone just starting may be looking for the first pieces of essential gear, while an intermediate player may be looking to improve their swing.
The bottom line is, know the needs of your audience and target them accordingly. Even though your first impulse may be to reach the widest audience possible, this is the incorrect approach – it’ll burn through your dollars before you say ‘cheese’. What you should be doing instead is laser-focusing on a particular demographic.
For instance, if you’re selling bras, the first thing to rule out is the male demographic for obvious reasons – and yes, most social advertising platforms will let you do that. But you could segment it even more and only target specific groups of people that meet other specific criteria such as age, education, or socioeconomic status. In other words: target those who are the most likely to buy whatever it is that you’re offering and rule out the rest (they are not worth the resources you’d spend to reach them).
2. Lack of Tracking
Not every single one of your campaigns will be a success, but that’s fine – as long as you keep monitoring them, adjusting them, and – in the end – cut out the ones that are losing you money. For this purpose, Google Analytics and similar tools will serve you well. Are you using them? If not, you’re leaving money on the table.
One of the goals is to identify not only the winning/losing campaigns, but also your best and worst performing traffic sources. Once you’ve identified the winners, the only thing that’s left is to focus on them. This is how you should allocate your resources. In a nutshell, if you don’t track these things, it’s impossible to know how to move forward!
3. Spreading Your Resources Too Wide
Everyone is affected by the ‘next shiny object’ syndrome to some degree, but if you truly want to make your advertising campaigns a success, you’re going to have to force yourself to focus on what works best in your market. In the beginning stages where you’re still getting your feet wet, experimenting a bit is fine, but in the long run, it’s easy to go overboard with it because it keeps your energy away from the main objective.
4. Advertising Beyond Your Means
Starting out trying to reach as many people as possible is also problematic from the budgeting perspective. After all, if you end up spending more on your ads than the difference you make in sales, then why bother advertising at all? It’s vital to know how much you can afford to spend on acquiring a new customer.
So do the opposite of what the beginners are doing. Instead of butting heads with the big players in your industry, go after low-hanging fruit and laser focus on the niche your products and services are best suited for. Not only will you be paying less for ads, they will bring in more targeted leads. And once you determine your small campaigns are working, you can always expand later.
5. Over-relying On One Source of Traffic
In the world of marketing, things can change overnight and what was once a great source of cheap traffic, may no longer work as well as it once used to. The platform’s policies may change, the competition may run you over, who knows what could happen.
Therefore, the solution is to keep educating yourself about different sources of traffic that may apply to you and your business. For instance, most Pinterest and Instagram users are female. If your campaign has flopped on other social media, don’t discard it entirely and consider testing out new advertising avenues.
Tips to Optimize Your Advertising Budget
Before we conclude today’s post, here’s a rundown of what you should be focusing on:
– Start small by testing and expand once you’ve confirmed your campaigns are bringing in more than they cost you.
– Know your target audience. It makes little sense to blow your advertising budget on someone who’s unlikely to be interested in what you’re selling.
– Keep educating yourself about different traffic sources (again, start small if you’re going to be testing out a new one).
– Learn how to integrate tracking tools or pay someone else to do it. Never keep throwing money at a campaign that’s losing you money and learning to cut your losses.
– Be as niche-specific as you can be. If your brand is selling entry-level music instruments, for instance, see where your audience is most likely to be coming from (chances are it contains more younger than older individuals).
Knowing how to optimize your advertising campaigns is a lot like knowing how to pick your battles. In more cases than not, taking on the giant may be more trouble than it’s worth and you’d be better off putting your focus on where you’re the most likely to make a sale.