If you're thinking about starting an ad program for your business, congratulations! Running ads can be a truly effective way to get a large volume of leads into your business quickly. Before you get started, though, it is critical for you and your team to create an effective ads strategy. One that will help move a cold, busy prospect into a hot, excited buyer.
Last week, I walked us through the 3 Questions to Ask Yourself before Running Social Ads. Answering these questions helps ensure that your business is prepared to welcome an influx of leads and produce maximum ROI on your ad spend. I encourage you to check out that article before creating your ad strategy.
Now, let's get to it.
There is a right and wrong way to structure your ad program. One thing that I've discovered when working with founders is even the most experienced and "switched-on" folks have never been taught how to create an effective ad strategy. What's worse is that many ad managers don't always build out this structure from the beginning-- which means businesses are losing out.
If this is you, don't worry! There are a few critical steps I've outlined below that are going to help you lay the right foundation for growth, plan your fool-proof creative plan, and scale your ads once they start producing for you.
How to Build an Ad Strategy for 7-figure Success
Plan for a Testing Period: To make sure that you are being as efficient as possible with your budget; the first thing to consider is building in a testing period. This means building in one to three testing months to run ads on your platform of choice and allocating a modest budget to get started. This budget is the investment you must make to help the algorithms get to know your business and the right audience to connect you to. The recommended budget varies by platform and your ad manager should help guide you on what that testing length and the dollar amount should be for your specific situation. During the testing period, the platform technology is learning about your business, the content of your website, and the kind of people who are more likely to click through to your ad. In order for all this to happen, you need to be meeting certain budget minimum requirements for this process to actually take place. If you're just spending a couple of bucks each month, the algorithm and the platform itself are not really going to register all this information for you. So again, consult your ad manager to understand your individual case. Once that is done, you're going to want to start doing some A/B testing on the creative and the messaging, which is the next step.
Intentionally Test Copy and Creative: During your testing period, you are going to want to experiment with different visuals and copy to see what gets the best response. Pay attention to the kind of communication that is working in terms of reach and clicks. Look into what type of people are clicking and the actions they are taking once they get to your landing page. These numbers will be small but they will offer you some important clues to what will be most effective as you increase your budget. BONUS TIP: Want to get a head start on A/B testing creative? Use your organic social media as a testing ground as well. It is a free way to validate your ideas and creativity before you begin the testing period altogether.
Build your iron-clad ad structure: An ad strategy structure typically has three layers.
Top of the Funnel (TOF) - These ads run to a "cold audience." They are brand awareness ads used to get your brand out there for people to recognize. There is no real "call to action" aside from getting folks to your homepage to learn more. These ads are typically cheaper to run and are great for increasing traffic to your website. BONUS TIP: Make sure your homepage user interface is good and that you have an enticing lead magnet placed "above the fold" as a form or pop-up. This will help convert traffic into leads.
Middle of the Funnel (MOF) - These ads typically run to a cold or retargeted audience. They are intended to ask the prospect to take a small action with you. This is where your lead magnet becomes really important. Run your lead magnet offer as an ad and optimize for lead generation.
Bottom of the Funnel: (BOF) - These ads typically ONLY run to a retargeted audience. The content of the ad is asking for the prospect to take a bigger action like booking a sales call or making a purchase. We run these ads to a retargeted audience who has either clicked on one of your previous ads or to your past website visitors.
Start in the Middle: Starting at the middle of the funnel ads is the best possible thing that you can do when running ads. This is because your ROI is quite clear. You're going to want to be optimizing for lead conversions and paying attention to your cost per lead. Right now, you're really not spending money on your ads in order to get direct revenue but once those leads are on your email list, you have tons of options on how to warm them up for free via email sequences and added value content. You don't want to be spending ad money to warm those leads up under you have found a clear process for converting those leads into buyers once they get into your email list.
Once you've seen some traction with your leads and your lead list is growing strong, then it is the moment to retarget those leads who are on your email list with Bottom of the Funnel Ads asking them to take that bigger action. These ads will be less expensive to run and yield a higher return because they are very familiar with your brand and have been warmed up by you. This is when you can start really seeing that money in money out ROI, but it's not going to happen right away.
Last, when you are seeing some clear ROI on your ads, it's time to invest in those Top Funnel Ads. These ads spread the news about your brand and can help get large volumes of prospects into your retargeting lists. At this stage, you can begin running Top Funnel ads, then retargeting the folks who saw/interacted with those ads to be served your middle funnel ads, and eventually your Bottom Funnel ads. Once everything starts flowing, you'll begin to see how the ad machine continues to work to serve more right-fit clients directly to you. It is an incredible way to reach more people and grow your revenue in a sustainable way-- as long as you maintain a larger return on the ads than you are spending.
Remember, at first, you are going to lose some money getting set up and learning. But as you run ads longer and gain a deeper understanding of the communication and creative that moves your prospects into action, you'll begin to see fantastic returns on investment for your ads spend.
Take a listen!👇🏻
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Victoria is a Marketing Mentor to early-stage founders. She has built compelling brands around the globe and has worked as a marketing director across several verticals. She is passionate about helping women think BIGGER about their businesses and giving them the tools to grow. She'd love to connect on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.