So you’ve made your shiny website for your new business. You’ve poured hours into it. It’s a lot of hard work. When you’ve finally launched it, there’s a certain urge to sit back and excitedly wait for the sales to roll in, isn’t there? It takes so much thinking and action to get a website to the point of launch, that you feel like you deserve the success to just simply arrive. And by gosh and golly, perhaps you do!

All too often though, the launch of a website is the realisation that one phase is complete and now another begins. Unless you’ve already got a steady stream of business queued up, you realise that no-one knows about your business or website, and if they don’t know you exist, how will they find you?

Now, there are many answers to that question. There are limitless ways you can go about marketing your new business. Some offline, and some online. It’s usually a question of effort vs financial expenditure, respectively. If you’re still gawking at your list of to-dos in order to launch your business, you probably don’t have a lot of time, and advertising may appeal. How do you make the most of your limited budget and which platform should you choose? Let us walk you through some of the options…

Social Ads vs Paid Search

Get a Plan

To help you decide where to invest your budget, get a plan. Only when you know who you’re targeting and what you want to achieve, can you accurately select the right marketing channels.

What are your goals? Do you want to shoot for brand awareness? Get people to sign up to your mailing list? Click through to your blog or follow you on social media sites? If you’re running an online store, do you just want to get people there to encourage a sale?

Choose your channels with your goals in mind

The most prominent online advertising channels available are social advertising and paid search ads. The key difference being that with social, you’re putting your ad up like it’s a billboard poster and hoping that people who are going about their business notice your ad and are intrigued enough to click through to your site, or page or whatever. in other words, they’re not actively looking for you. With paid search such as Google’s AdWords, they are. Well perhaps not you specifically, but a business or service such as yours by the search phrases they enter.

Of course, you want to know which channel is most effective. Well the answer is – as with most things in life – probably ‘both’, and ‘it depends’. Humph. It’s made clear through a combination of your target market, your budget, and your priorities.

Target Market – Who is your audience? Who are the group of people most likely to buy from you? Where do they hang out online? How old are they? Are they mostly male or female? Which interests do they have, or what kind of jobs. etc etc. Get as much information about your target audience as you can, because this stuff is exactly what you’ll use to target your adverts.

Your Budget – Your budget determines to a certain degree which kinds of advertising you will use. Facebook ads can be purchased for very little and so can PayPerClick ads on platforms like Google or Bing. Obviously the amount of money you put into these campaigns will determine the results.

Your Priorities – Whether you’re looking to create brand awareness, a following, or simply channel people to your site to help them buy your product(s).

Depending on what you sell, you might choose one type of advertising over another. For example, if you sell a niche product, you may have more direct success from Google AdWords than through social media ads, because you’re not necessarily going to need to spend as much time convincing people about your product. They may simply have to arrive at your website, and the sale may take care of itself (well helped along by your website copy). On the other hand, if your product or service is more expensive or has a greater level of competition, you may need to try harder to differentiate your offering from your competitors. You might do this by using social media ads to distribute your blog content to a wider audience, enticing them to come to your website to read it. Doing this can establish a following by building trust and repeat visits through authoritative and knowledgable content in your area of expertise. If this is of a good quality, it’s a great way to build a following that you can re-market to. Some types of product or service require many contact points with your prospects before they are ready to buy. Email marketing also plays a key role, but more of that in another post.

Combine Social and Paid Search

Often a combination of social advertising and paid search can work well. The social side of things taking care of stuff like your social proof, providing a good way to establish a following and a means of interacting with your target audience. Community is essential to business these days – communication is two-way, and it’s highly valuable because the better you know your target audience, the better your marketing decisions can be.

Paid search can help by targeting people who are already looking for your product or service. These people are often much more ready to make a purchase than those who happen across your advert on social media.

Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Each business is different and no-one can tell you exactly what is going to work for your business. So it’s good to experiment a little – but do so in an informed way. Read as much as you can about how to advertise on each platform so you can make your ads as compelling and relevant as possible.

If you’re on a tight budget, perhaps try and test the waters with a small ad spend on different types of ads and let the results show you what works most effectively for your business. For example, you might try increasing your page likes on Facebook through a page promotion. This will provide better social proof and give you the beginnings of a social following to remarket to. If you’ve got some good blog content, try boosting some posts to drive more traffic to your website. You could also try running a promotion, discount or contest. Using AdWords, you might decide to use the Display Network to show graphical ads on related websites on the Internet that complement your website. This is a good way of generating awareness of your brand. Next you might use AdWords PPC search ads to drive hotter leads through to your site.

There are of course a lot of details you’ll need to get at least somewhat right to be able to target people effectively, or you’ll waste your budget on useless clicks. Social ads via Facebook allow you to very finely tune your targeting because Facebook holds so much personal information on each user on the platform (eek!). Google AdWords on the other hand allows you to target people based on the phrases they type into a search box, and the trick with that is ensuring that your ad is relevant to what they’re searching for. You only want people to click your ad when they’re a good match for your business or you’ll waste your budget.

Be mindful of what each advert is intended to achieve. Is it a wild goose-chase or tangential? Will it actually result in eventual sales? Don’t pursue growing a following for the sake of it, particularly if that following isn’t likely to result in sales. Keep your content and ads relevant to what you sell.

Of course there are other social networks besides Facebook, and the ones you use will depend on who your target market is. Instagram and Pinterest are great for sharing visuals and typically have greater engagement than Facebook. Instagram is owned by Facebook, by the way, and that means that ads that you run on Facebook can be run in parallel on Instagram. Other social networks may be more suitable if your audience is particularly young. Or you may want to advertise through other apps and games if you have an app or game to advertise.

There are also lots of free ways of getting your business seen and known on the web, and we’ll be covering lots of these in our blog too, so stay tuned.