If you’re a startup company just starting to get the word out about a new company or product, it might be best to invest in targeted digital advertising, especially if your business plan calls for quick results.
Organic search is great, but when a company is unknown, it takes time to build and audience, and it takes even longer to build a contact database of qualified leads to nurture and convert to sales. Digital advertising, especially through social networks like Facebook, Snapchat, and LinkedIn allow you to target very specific audiences, reducing your spend and helping you get more contacts and leads, faster.
Social media platforms have advanced targeting capabilities. First, there’s the standard demographic filtering criteria like age, gender, location, and income. You can also target people who like similar or competitive products, belong to groups related to your business, or hold a specific position in a specific industry or company. Banner advertising on third party websites don’t allow that kind of targeting.
This kind of targeting limits your spending because you’re not doing a “spray and pray” campaign, launching a message to the masses and hoping it will reach the right people. This type of advertising is more focused on gaining impressions, or views, to build brand awareness. We recommend startups pay for clicks, not impressions, as what you really want is to get people to give you their email addresses for future communications. You’ll only get that if they click.
It’s also important to offer something valuable and relevant through your ads. They should link to a landing page with a clear offer–to subscribe to your blog or newsletter or to download a third party analysis of your industry–something designed to inform and help, not sell. It’s important to think about how much information you want to require–beyond a name and email address. In general, the more information you require the fewer people will fill out the form You need to balance that against the value of what you offer and the qualification criteria you are using. You may want fewer contacts that are interested enough in your offer to give you more contact information.
Don’t Forget Mobile
Mobile is the fastest growing digital advertising channel because it is the fastest growing computing platform people use to live and work. More searches are done on mobile than on desktop, and for retailers, 90 percent of consumers use their phones to shop, even when inside a store’s walls.
Mobile advertising can be tricky when you’re in contact and lead generation mode. People don’t always like to fill in forms on tiny screens. Make sure your mobile landing pages have large fields for text entry, and don’t use type-ahead technology that will force users to backspace. A lot of companies now offer free apps when people click on a mobile ad, but young companies don’t always have an app infrastructure or much for an app to do. Others are using mobile ads to collect phone numbers and nurture leads via text. Texting coupons or other incentives that can then be used to collect email information when opened is another option.
Prepare for Change
The digital advertising landscape is changing fast, and new products and technologies are coming all the time. Proximity marketing is enabling companies to beam messages to people based on their actual location, such as when they are in or near a store, at a car dealership, or attending a trade show. The opportunities can be overwhelming, and get expensive fast. Startups need to stay focused on their objective. If it’s list building, invest in what will deliver the best results.