When online advertising was new i.e. a decade ago it was hailed as a cheap yet highly effective way to get the word out about your business. Mostly ecommerce websites like eBay and Amazon started investing in online advertising and their returns on every bit of investment they made was huge. Even though these businesses were not at that time using a specific online advertising and marketing game plan they succeeded along with other smaller businesses at that time. Today, though this is not the case with CPC advertising being called the ultimate advertising budget black hole if you don’t know how to manage it. That is not to say that online advertising is no longer effective but because it has become highly competitive and really expensive draining your budget and having nothing to show for it has become pretty easy.
Mistake no. 1: Not having a budget set in stone
The nature of online advertising dictates that you have a budget set in stone. This budget is easy to set regardless of if you use Google’s Adwords CPC advertising platform or any other. When businesses do not set aside a budget their ads can continue to run even if they don’t need them to or cannot afford to have them running. This is often noticed later on when the account has been emptied. Also it does not save businesses against competitors who pay people to register false clicks on their ads which ends up costing them big time. Having a clear and manageable budget is one of the keys to success when you are advertising online.
Mistake no. 2: Not setting goals
What is your goal each time you spend $100 on advertising? In the offline world it is hard to set goals but online if you do your homework you should know what to expect realistically in the way of sales or visitors for every dollar you spend. Your advertising dollars are precious and if the $100 you spend yields no results you need to go back to the drawing board and redo your campaign because if not fixed in time this $100 expenditure can turn into a $1000 nightmare. Ideally, you will want to set solid goals like a 0.1% or 2% sales rate for every $100 you spend or 1000 visitors to your website. This will have to be figured out based on the nature of your business.
Mistake on. 3: Not focusing your campaign enough
One of the beauties of online advertising is the fact that you can laser focus and target your audience right down to their gender and age group. However, many businesses lose money because they have no idea of who their target audience is and how to best target them. This often results in hundreds of dollars being spent on what experts term as generic campaigns, campaigns that have no meaning and just designed to bring in loads of visitors with no regard for sales and providing value. That said this happens to be a great way to lose money. Ideally, if you are selling a group of products for instance, you should have an individual campaign for each product, which is laser focused on the market segment it is meant for.
Mistake no. 4: Not having a honed landing page
This is a mistake that even some established websites make and it prevents them from running highly efficient advertising campaigns. Every campaign regardless of it is a CPC or a CPM campaign needs to have its own landing page which is laser focused for that campaign. For instance, if you are selling shoes for teens, your landing page should have all the most popular shoes that teens are buying. This way when a teen clicks on your CPC ad they are taken to a page where they see all the shoes they like and then eventually buy, instead of being taken to the homepage and having to navigate from there to where they want to be.
Mistake no. 5: Not running test campaigns
Smart SEO recommends that businesses start by running small and cheap test online advertising campaigns. Then further build on the ones that are performing well and discard the ones that are not delivering results. This helps save time and advertising dollars.
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Nathanael Vanderkolk is an online advertising expert who has a degree in advertising. He was initially the advertising manager for his own business and later branched out to online advertising after finding much success of his own. He is also the author of various publications on online advertising and regularly helps businesses improve their campaigns.