Paid marketing does not always equal instant sales

Many new business owners dive into paid advertising, thinking that it is “an instant cure” for their cash flow problems. Just pop in ad in the paper, or throw up an ad on Facebook, and you’re good to go, right?

Been there, done that (long time ago). Had a fat load of debt to show for it.

Fair enough, it is faster than say, social media marketing, and a lot faster than search engine optimization. But in reality it’s not quite as simple as that.

Still, many businesses throw money at paid advertising, hoping that they will see a good ROI.

In reality, paid advertising is – in most cases – a journey. It takes time to figure out what works:

  • How should you choose, structure and present your offer?
  • How wide should you advertise?
  • Should you target specific segments of your market?
  • Should you target specific areas?
  • Should you target specific days of the week, or times of day?
  • When people reading or viewing an specific platform see your ads, how likely will they be to respond to them?

Not to mention that all of the above is irrelevant if your offer is perceived to be poor.

The only way to figure it all out is to test until you see what works and what doesn’t.

Fair enough, you can go and look at what other people in your industry are doing. At the very least, that should give you a fair idea of where to start, and which types of advertisements and ad copywriting is more likely to work.

You can also start out by compiling a ICP (ideal customer profile). If you had to imagine your typical customer or client, what would he/she/they be like? Even if you think that “everybody will buy your product”, there will still be some shared characteristics, expectations and behaviors. Use that information to your advantage.

But at the end of the day, your target market will still have some degree of uniqueness to it, which you will have to figure out by yourself.

The only way to do that is by trial and error, collecting data along the way. The more data you collect, the more you will be able to discern the patterns in viewer/reader response – and a lack thereof.

As a result, it can take months to collect enough data to learn enough to consistently run profitable marketing campaigns. Be prepared to spend a fair amount of money in order to collect the data.

In conclusion:

Don’t expect to be in profit from day one – unless you offer something that is in high demand, with little or no competition where you advertise.

Now and then someone gets lucky, and hits the sweet spot upon launching their first advertising campaign. It happens.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen often. Most business owners have to put in the work (and the money) to learn what works best for them.