Paid advertising—running ads on Google, Facebook, or Instagram, for example—can be a great way to drive traffic.
Unfortunately, it can also be a great way to lose big bucks. It’s very easy to turn on a campaign, check back a couple of days later, and discover you’ve spent a couple of hundred bucks to get nothing. Nada. Niente.
This article is all about keeping costs down, and before we even go into the three tips, here’s are a couple of bonus ones: Keep an eye on your ads! Don’t start them up and then not check them. Even just $10 bucks a day adds up so much faster than you think.
And when you’re checking your ads (daily!) you need to keep an eye on your numbers. Advertising is not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of deal. You need to evaluate your costs based on how those ads are performing. What does your click-through rate look like?
And, even if they’re clicking, are they taking action on your landing page? (If not, pause! You don’t want to pay to send people to a page where they’re not doing anything!)
Okay, them’s the bare-bones basics. Let’s move on, shall we?
If you’re giving paid advertising a shot, here are three ways to help keep your ad cost down:
1. Split Ad Costs.
As they say, “it takes two to make a thing go right” and, yeah, sometimes that can mean ad spend. If you need traffic but you’re strapped for cash (or want to just be savvy), try splitting costs with another business owner. As in, you both split the cost of ads and traffic lands on a page that references both of you.
Say, for example, you own an online yoga studio and your colleague owns an online aerobics studio. Set up a campaign that drives to a page that highlights both of your businesses.
(If you’re extra-super-clever, you should also have one Call to Action that benefits both of you; like signing up for email gets that person on both of your lists. )
Then, arrange between the two of you to split the costs of advertising to that page. You can’t split costs directly through Facebook or Google, so make sure you’re working with someone you trust to Venmo or Paypal you that cashola.
2. Send traffic to an article page.
I get it: When you want someone to do something, you want them to do it now. So when you want someone to sign up for a webinar, you run an ad for that webinar and try to get them to sign up immediately.
The thing is, though, that people won’t necessarily be willing to engage with you immediately—even for a seeming no-brainer like a free and awesome webinar.
Sometimes people need to know a bit more about you before they’re willing to give up an email address and/or commit their time to you. They want to know if you have experience, if you’re an expert, and if you are trust-worthy.
And can you blame them? There are a lot of skeezy “businesspeople” on the net.
So, one way to overcome this skepticism and help them discover the wonderfulness of you is to send traffic to an article page with two key features. The first feature? An article that shows you off at your best; one that clearly, authentically, and generously demonstrates your expertise.
They’ll learn from you and, while they do, they’ll come to like and trust you.
The second key feature is a call to action for wherever you wanted to send them in the first place. If your goal is to drum up signups for a webinar, put links and Calls to Action to sign up for that webinar throughout the article. Maybe feature it in your sidebar. Consider giving a pop-up a shot. Once they know they can trust you and learn from you, they’ll want more—so make sure they know they can get it.
3. Send traffic to someone else’s site.
Okay, this one really freaks people out. It feels like setting money on fire to pay to send people away from your own site.
But you’re not sending people just anywhere—there’s a method to this madness.
If someone has written an article about you or a review of your service or product on their site with a link back to you, test sending traffic to this review.
A review by someone else feels like an objective insight into what you offer. It’s one thing for you to say great things about yourself, but it’s a whole other thing for someone else to say it! People tend to be much more willing to click through to articles that aren’t from your own site—especially when you reference that site.
It looks like you’re just passing along a useful article. (Which, technically, you are.) People don’t feel like they’re going to be asked to read a sales pitch, they just think they’re about to get some insight and information. So they click, and that click tends to cost you much less than it would to send traffic back to your own site. (Caveat: Always check your numbers!)
Note the emphasis on “with a link back to you” a couple of paragraphs ago. You still want people to come back to your site, so that article needs to have a link back to you. You want people to read the article, think, “Hey, I’d like to know more about this!” and then click on the link.
If you don’t currently have any articles written about you, reach out to bloggers who could use what you have to offer. Consider offering them free services or products for an unbiased review. You could even pay to get an advertorial on a site, though unbiased reviews are just a bit better.
Pro Tip: When they link back to you, create a custom link so you can see just how much traffic you’re getting back to your site from that page. (Here’s Google’s tool to build one for yourself.)
And there you have it! Three ways get into paid advertising and make that cost pinch your purse just a little bit less.