4 Questions to Ask Before You Run Local Paid Ads

Feb 07, 2020

THE SURPRISING STATS ABOUT LOCAL BUSINESSES

80% of local businesses surveyed in our recent State of Local Online Marketing 2020 report, are spending money on paid ads. 

But 59% also say they have a limited budget or no money to spend on marketing... so what's going on?   

Are 59% of these local businesses making a bad choice with paid advertising?  Well, not necessarily. 

You know that old saying, you have to spend money to make money? 

In business that's true more often than not.  If you put together an amazing offer that moms will love but nobody sees it, it's not going to do you much good. 

Even if you max out your time and effort on free ways to spread the word, many businesses are still unlikely to recover their opportunity costs.

But how do you guarantee success with your paid ads so you won't cause irreversible harm to your bottom line?

It starts with a plan.

Before you spend a penny on paid ads, make sure you ask yourself these four questions.

WHY

Why are you paying for advertising?  What are your goals? 

Broad goals like increasing revenue or brand awareness?  Or specific goals like filling your upcoming summer camp session with 20 new kids? 

If you're working with a shoestring budget, it's best to stick to specific, measurable goals.  Make sure they're realistic and achievable so you're setting yourself up for success right from the start.

WHERE

Where is your audience?  What paid ad platforms will fit your needs? 

When we're talking about reaching moms, online ads are your go-to.  Social media, Google, banner or display ads on local parent websites or mom blogs – those are your best bets. 

In fact 87% of those businesses surveyed who are spending money on paid ads, are advertising on Facebook. 

That's a pretty smart move since 94% of moms use Facebook and you can advertise for as little as a few dollars a day. 

Plus targeting options allow you to focus your message exactly at your prospects, making it a no-waste DIY advertising platform if you know how to use it.

Local websites and blogs can also be a home run, offering the exact audience you need, often featuring local influencers, plus the support from real live people when you need help.

WHEN

When do you need to run the ads?  For limited budgets, there's probably no need to advertise all the time. 

Focus on those times you need to fill seats – that's when it really counts and is the time to invest in some outbound marketing.

But make sure you have enough time to craft the necessary creative and landing pages to properly implement your paid campaign. 

Last minute ads are far more likely to fall short.  So give yourself some breathing room to prepare.

WHAT'S YOUR BUDGET?

What does your budget look like?  How much can you afford to spend to acquire those customers? 

To answer those questions, you have to know your current cash flow position but also your customer lifetime value. 

If your average customer is worth $200 over their lifetime, how much money are you willing to spend to acquire them? 

If your paid ads are costing less than your max customer acquisition costs, then keep it up.  If they're costing more?  Time to try something else.

GETTING STARTED

If you can answer all of these questions then you're ahead of most local businesses. 

Make your lean marketing funds work for you by making smart choices with your ad placements and timing and tracking your results. 

Successful businesses make smart decisions and that includes planning your paid ads strategy. 

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