(If You Don’t Get The Basics Right)
I LOVE paid traffic.
I LOVE running Google Ads for people, getting them leads and customers.
But there is one thing Idon’tlove about it, and that’s the tendency of some business owners to think that as soon as they add paid traffic to their business, they’ll automatically be successful.
Someone has told them they need to be running Google ads, or appearing on Facebook, and so they rush to the media, hoping that it’ll pay dividends for them.
But here’s the reality: a huge proportion of small business paid traffic campaigns are doomed to failure for one specific reason:
An inability to take the fundamental principles of marketing into account.
You’ll have heard the phrase ‘market, message, media’ a million and one times before, so I won’t insult your intelligence by taking you through it, but the fact of the matter is that in the small business space, far too much time is focused on the final ‘M’, with scant attention given to the first two.
I want to give you a few pointers today about how you can ensure that you’re spending enough time focused on the ‘market’ and ‘message’ bit of the three Ms.
So first things first, there’s ‘market’…
Market comes before anything else; we all get this in theory. But all too often, it isn’t reflected in our paid traffic campaigns.
We’ll see that someone we know is using Facebook Ads, or we’re told that ‘everyone should be using Google AdWords’, and we jump to that media, forgetting to take into account whether or not our market is there or not.
So, here are some simple questions you need to be asking yourself BEFORE selecting media:
Who is my target customer?
Where do they hang out?
Do they hang out somewhere that I can easily and cost effectively reach them?
If so, do ENOUGH of them hang out there for it to be worth my while investing my time and money in trying to reach them there?
Those few questions should put paid to ‘silly’ paid traffic selections like B2B professional services organisations devoting hours of their time to growing an audience on Snapchat two years ago.
(And just to be clear, I don’t blame the business owners who did try out Snapchat, I blame the ‘experts’ for telling everyone they needed to be on it.)
And then there’s ‘message’…
To me, this is the one that gets overlooked when it comes to paid traffic, but actually it’s the missing piece of the puzzle, the filling of the sandwich, and if you don’t get it right, your marketing won’t work, EVEN if your market and media selection is spot on.
Here’s an example:
Say you want to sell a pair of trainers.
You’ve identified that your market is searching on Google for ‘running shoes’, and you want a slice of the action.
You’ve taken a good look at the number of searches, seen that ‘running shoes’ is a pretty fruitful one, and decided to use AdWords to drive some of that traffic to your business.
So you put some traffic live, and advertise your best-selling running shoe, the one that you sell lots of.
And guess what happens? No one buys it, you spend a load of cash and you conclude that AdWords doesn’t work.
But here’s the problem. You’ve got the marketright. You’ve even got the mediaright. But you’ve failed with the big one in the middle.
You haven’t delivered the right message to the people searching for ‘running shoes’.
Because they’re not looking for the specific solution you’ve offered them.
They’ve used the generic term ‘running shoes’, so they want to have a little browse around, do a comparison of different shoes out there, maybe read some useful information on how to select a running shoe and thenmake their selection.
But you’re not allowing them to do that, so they don’t buy from you – you’ve delivered the WRONG MESSAGE to the RIGHT PEOPLE using the RIGHT MEDIA.
Here’s another example:
One of my clients provides psychometric testing for HR professionals and companies who want to use the testing as part of their recruitment process.
Easy, right? Just chuck up some ads with the search term ‘psychometric testing’, direct them to the landing page and watch the money roll in?
Not quite. You see, it’s not just people who want to use psychometric testing in recruitment who are searching that term, candidates to be tested are searching for it too, which means that if we just put some ads up and got it live, we’d potentially be wasting a lot of our budget on the wrong sort of clicks.
The search volume is too low to tack on ‘psychometric testing for companies’ or anything like that, so we’ve got little choice but to showthe ads to the right people AND the wrong people.
So how do we stop the wrong people wasting our money? As before, the answer lies in the message that we craft to reach them.
By using ‘attract and repel’ language within our ads, we can ensure that we only get clicks from the right people, while repelling the people who aren’t right for us.
In other words, we use the ad copy to make it clear that the information on the other side of the click isn’t relevant for the people we don’t want, and highly relevant for the people we do.
People talk about ‘pay per click’ as if it’s the easiest thing in the world – just buy some traffic and end up with a pot of gold, and when things go right it can seem a bit like that.
But – as I hope these words have demonstrated – without getting the first two Ms right, you haven’t got a hope in hell of getting rich from media selection alone.
Use your marketing brain first, and allow your media selection to follow that, and you’ll make better decisions when it comes to pay-per-click. Good luck!