As a business owner today, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to the topic of online advertising. Maybe you’ve been approached by a salesperson stating the benefits. Maybe you’ve encountered it, talking shop with a fellow entrepreneur. You may be working with a firm already. Or you may even be managing this part of your brand personally.

The variety of online advertising platforms is vast. Businesses from all over the world, of all shapes and sizes, need to convey their message online. How should you apply it to your business? Constructing a program that is effective for you, and is built to last, is much easier than it may appear on the surface.

While there’s no shortage of different theories, opinions, and preferred techniques within the industry, there are two fundamental truths I’ve come to know in this world of online advertising.

  1. No two businesses have identical goals, thus each program must be tailored uniquely.
  2. Online advertising can provide leverage toward any desired business outcome.

With all the perceived complexity, be sure not to lose the forest for the trees. Building the best plan for your business is as simple as knowing who you are, knowing who cares most, and defining your goals based on that.

Offering – Who Are We as a Business?

What you do does impact how you should utilize online advertising. The nature of your business may lend itself to being promoted more easily on certain platforms. Keep this in mind, while also maintaining an open mind. Be careful to avoid limiting beliefs.

The competitive environment you belong to matters as well. In some cases, it may make sense for you to use the platforms that are most “traditional” within your industry. In other cases, it may be best to advertise off the beaten path.

For example, what you need to advertise goes head-to-head with much larger companies and their much larger advertising budgets on the most popular platforms. There are effective ways to cultivate what you can afford while they battle more fiercely for their opportunities in the mainstream.

Target – Who Cares Most?

Who you need to reach also plays a big role in which platforms you should use. People can be effectively reached in multiple ways. The best programs are built to approach the ideal target audience from multiple angles. You can do this by knowing your personas. Know the motives of each audience and what they’re searching for.

Goals – What Do We Need to Accomplish?

Each business is unique. Each set of goals and objectives is unique as well. Even businesses within the same industry hold different values about the same objectives, at different points in time, for very different reasons. While goals and approaches vary wildly, there are several common goals that many businesses share. Let’s explore some of the most common business goals.

How would you prioritize the following objectives for your organization today?

  • Drive New Customers
  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Keep Current Customers Coming Back

The priority you assign these common goals in your business may vary from others in your industry, and certainly can change with time. What is most important at one point may be a lesser priority in the future. Where your priorities lie will provide a great deal of direction about where and how you should advertise online. The way you define each of these goals is very relevant as well.

For example, while one business may describe “Driving New Customers” as the need to generate more new online leads, another may describe “Driving New Customers” as the need to increase the closing efficiency with existing online leads through remarketing. A third may describe “Driving New Customers” as the need to do both of these in equal parts.

No matter what you do, who you’re targeting, or what you need to accomplish, online advertising is a highly effective marketing tactic bound to help you do more business. Be sure to take these three steps prior to embarking on an online advertising campaign to ensure you’re getting the most out of your efforts.

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