Fast Track Your Paid Advertising Efforts By Avoiding These 5 Key Mistakes

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Grayson Lafrenz
By Grayson Lafrenz

One of the biggest marketing challenges I see brands consistently failing at is finding profitable online advertising channels to drive and scale sales for their business. The challenge is that there are so many factors that go into a paid advertising campaign and the competition continues to grow stiffer as brands pump more and more money into these channels.

The formula for digital advertising success usually isn’t clear cut. Not only do you need to find and reach the ideal audience for your brand, you also need to do so in a cost-efficient and compelling manner that can work with the economics of your business and drive profitable revenue growth.

When I dive into a brand’s digital advertising accounts, I typically find some combination of these five issues:

  1. Advertiser is way too focused on traffic volume vs. quality and they’re optimizing off of poor metrics and data
  2. They do not have a tiered traffic system that talks differently to a prospective client based on where they are in the buying process. These brands don’t understand that their online marketing is like offline sales (something they usually better understand). If someone walks up to you, doesn’t introduce themselves, shake your hand, or build any rapport, but instead immediately tries to sell you something, you will probably slam the door on them or hang up on them – same thing with online ads!
  3. The brand is reaching the right audience but their Value Proposition isn’t strong or compelling. Because of this, no emotion is triggered from it and it doesn’t impact the prospect or engage them in anyway.
  4. What they are asking the prospect to do is not clear, therefore, they have trouble closing the prospect at the various steps of the online sales funnel. Let’s think about offline sales again – great salespeople are usually great closers. Does your strategy have a great closer?
  5. They do not have clear analytics to measure the different parts of the online sales process. Without this data, they cannot find and improve their weak points. Do they have low quality traffic? Poor message or offer? Is there a problem with the conversion process or check out? If you have no clue which of the parts of the process are failing, how can you improve them and increase your ROAS?

If any of these five shortcomings resonate with you, keep reading to learn helpful tips and resources to get them fixed and on track.

Mistake #1: Focusing On Traffic Cost Vs. Quality

This is a common mistake. I have seen way too many executives and marketing people get way too caught up with the cost of traffic and metrics like CPC’s and CPM’s.  This might make sense for a brand building campaign, but when it comes to performance campaigns, you should be thinking quality over quantity.

Related: Top Five Best Practices for Paid Search

I recommend really putting some time into thinking about your target audience, their persona, the types of sites they read and engage with most, and ways you can tailor your messages on different networks to zero in on them.

Mistake #2: Not Having A Tiered Traffic System In Place

What do I mean when I say a tiered traffic system? When it comes to online advertising, it is important to not only understand your target customer and audience as mentioned above, but also to understand where you are reaching them in the buying process for each of your ad types.

Generally, when we look at this tiered traffic system, it is best to think of it as a funnel.

Top of the Funnel – These prospects are at the top and have a long way to go before they make it into the gas tank. Generally, when it comes to digital marketing, these people do not even know they need your help yet or realize they have a problem.

Related: What TOFU Means to a Digital Marketer

A typical mistake that advertisers make is trying to sell to these people when they need to be more focused on storytelling and helping these people realize they have an issue that they need to explore.  Often, display advertising and social media advertising would be considered top of the funnel. With that said, both display and social media advertising can be more bottom of the funnel if your audience is a retargeting pool of people that have already visited your site or an email list you are nurturing.

Middle of the Funnel – These people realize they may have a problem that they need help with. As you reach them, your message needs to be focused more around why you are the brand that can help them out with this problem or need.

It cannot be too salesy but should still be more promotional than the top of the funnel education ad. Often this audience is people that have visited your site before but not converted and are now part of a retargeting pool you are working to nurture.

Bottom of the Funnel – These people are hot leads and are ready to be sold too.  A lot of times these ads are “transactional search ads” meaning people that are searching for exactly what you do and showing purchase intent vs. research intent.

With these people, it is time to give them a sales offer they cannot resist and focus on the conversion. This traffic is often very expensive because A) everyone wants it and is going after it or B) you have nurtured this prospect from the top of the funnel to the bottom and need to make that effort count.

As you can see it is critical to tier out your traffic to provide the right message and value proposition to your client.  One of the most common mistakes made in 2017 is simply having a completely inappropriate message to people based on where they are in the funnel.

“It’s like brands are trying to ask prospects to marry them within 5 minutes of meeting the person.  That never works unless the bride is CRAZY and that is not the prospect you want.”

Mistake #3: Having a weak value proposition that is not enticing

In the 2017 world of the internet everyone has lots of options…. If you want to win you need to make yourself stand out as the best possible option.  That comes down to your unique value proposition.  Why did you start the company?  What problem have you set out to solve? Why do your other customers love you?

It is critical that you come up with a value proposition that you can articulate through a visual ad, landing page or video and that makes people want to take action and work with you. This is just like offline sales, you are not going to just start cold calling people with a weak value proposition, that will NOT work. This is even more critical with digital advertising campaigns.

If you do not know your unique value proposition you have some big problems, so this shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

Mistake #4: The “ask” or call-to-action is not clear so the sales ready prospect isn’t buying

This is a very common issue that we see.  Consumers online are not nearly as intuitive as you think.  Once you connect with the right audience, at the right time in the buying process with your amazing value proposition, you need to tell them what they should do next. This is your call-to-action and should make it very easy for them to accomplish your conversion point.  It is your job to make the form easy to fill out and intuitive, so their e-commerce checkout process is a breeze.

If you don’t make it clear that this is the next step, it very rarely will happen.  Again, this is just like offline sales, once you have the prospect ready to close, you need to ask for the order and ask them to sign.  Crappy sales people cannot do this, crappy internet marketers suck at this too.

Mistake #5: The “breakdown point” is not clear because your analytics set up is not clean

If you are managing a sales team or team of individuals who are not getting results or completing a critical process, what do you do to fix it?  That is simple, you review the process and analyze where the breakdown is occurring so you can work to fix that part.

The same thing is very true for digital advertising, the big mistake most brands make is their data and analytics tagging is not structured correctly and they do not have visibility into this.  That is a real problem.  As you can see, there are a lot of factors (5+ that is) that go into making this work. If you can’t tell which part is not working, you are praying that you will get lucky and crack the code.  Have you ever tried to crack a combination lock when you don’t know if any of the 5 dials are correct?  Exactly. But, If you could narrow it down to one of the 5 parts of the combination that is broken you have a great shot to crack the code.

In the day and age, this is not rocket science to get clean analytics for your campaigns.  If you don’t know how to do this, hire a pro and dial it in.  You will waste a ton of money and have very little chance of success if you don’t invest in clean data.

In Conclusion

Digital Advertising isn’t easy and success doesn’t happen overnight, no matter what you hear.  Too many brands make big mistakes when it comes to their digital campaigns and then hire agencies to step in and save the day. However, many agencies themselves are lazy with their campaigns and do not put enough effort into helping their brands do this right or really making the clients advertising dollars count.

If you have these things in place and they are optimized well you probably wouldn’t have made it this far down the article. If you do not, get on your team to improve these things or contact me and let’s discuss how we can help turn your campaigns around.

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Grayson is one of the Co-founders at Power Digital and the CEO. He is born and raised in San Diego and has a wealth of knowledge in Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Team Building and Business.