There are several ways to effectively market a brand nowadays. Many of those methods involve taking an organic approach: from content marketing and search engine optimization to leveraging word-of-mouth and putting on wacky promotions, there’s no shortage of ways to grow a following without paying for advertising space.
But while using these organic methods is cheaper than going the paid route, they also have some drawbacks. Content marketing and SEO, for example, are time- and resource-consuming upfront, and they both take time to start working. Word of mouth strategies rely on the consumer to take action, which won’t always occur.
Paid content, on the other hand, has many benefits:
- Enhanced Visibility: With paid ads, you define who sees your ads as well as when and where they appear. Organic content requires your audience to stumble upon it on their own.
- Quick Implementation: Whereas most organic marketing methods take time to gain traction and momentum, paid ads are public immediately. This means you can decide to target a new audience today, and start showing ads to them by the end of the week.
- Measurability: It’s easier to get down to the nitty-gritty in terms of performance for paid ad campaigns than for organic campaigns. In the same vein, it’s also easier to make changes to your campaigns as needed.
- Affordability: While paid ad campaigns cost money, this doesn’t mean you’ll need to break the bank. There are a number of things you can do to ensure your ad spend stays manageably affordable over time.
So yes, paid campaigns are effective, But before jumping in, it’s important to ask the following questions:
- Is paid content right for your company?
- Can you afford the costs of running paid campaigns?
- What are your goals for these campaigns?
- What is your strategy for using paid ads?
- Are you prepared to stick with it?
Let’s take a closer look at what each of these questions entails.
Is Paid Content Right for Your Company?
While organizations in every industry can experience success with paid content and ads, this approach is more appropriate for certain niches because:
- Certain consumer bases are more affected by paid ads than others
- The products or services offered by certain types of businesses are more advertisable than others
- Certain business types stand to gain more from paid ads than others
IMPACT explains that the companies which stand to benefit the most are those that:
- Operate Locally: By using location-based targeting, local businesses can show ads to potential customers living in a specific area
- Have High-LTV Customers: Companies that retain customers for the long haul can recoup their ad spend over time.
- Sell Products with High Profit Margins: Similarly, companies that sell high-priced and/or luxury items can usually easily justify their ad spend.
It’s a good idea to take a look at what your competitors are doing with paid content. If they’re using it, it’s worth digging deeper into and taking a closer look at what paid ads can do for your brand.
Can You Afford It?
Look at the typical cost of running ads for your industry compared to your financial situation.
- Do you currently have the funds to allocate to paid campaigns?
- Will you need to sacrifice some of your organic budget to get started?
- Will this sacrifice lead to greater returns?
It’s also important to pay attention to the hidden costs that come with running paid ad campaigns (design and copy, supplemental content, etc.), as well as the cost of maintaining the campaigns over time.
What are the Goals of Your Paid Campaigns?
What are you looking to accomplish here?
- Spread brand awareness to a new audience?
- Generate more or better leads?
- Increase your conversion numbers?
- Drive retention and other post-sale metrics?
You’ll want to define the exact metrics you hope to improve—and how much you hope to improve them.
What is Your Strategy for Using Paid Campaigns?
Once you know what you’re hoping to accomplish, you’ll need to focus on the how. Continuously dumping money into your campaigns is not necessarily the way to go. A strategically measured approach will make your ads more cost-effective and impactful.
There are a variety of factors to consider when forming your campaign strategy, such as:
- Which platform(s) to advertise on
- Which keywords to focus on (for paid search ads)
- How to bid effectively and efficiently
Are You Prepared to Stick With It?
Running paid advertising campaigns is an ongoing process that frequently requires a hands-on approach. At any given moment, you may need to address any of the following:
- Your ads’ visibility
- Your click-through and conversion rates
- Your ad spend and max bid
This required being in it for the long haul. While you can get your ad campaigns up and running in a matter of days, perfecting them to maximize returns can take months—and even longer.
The good news is, once you figure out what works best for your company, you won’t need to start from scratch when creating your next campaign. If you can stick with your new initiative long enough to start seeing some positive initial results, using paid ads to promote your brand will become an increasingly viable option for your company.