As we’re nearing the end of the first quarter, companies are out in full force, spending their shiny new 2016 marketing budgets on lead gen campaigns; ad campaigns, email marketing, you name it – they’re doing it. The problem? For many industries, this means the big dogs in the arena are shouting the loudest and out-spending the rest. For smaller brands (or brands with smaller budgets), this presents a challenge, albeit not an unbeatable one.
Despite limited budgets, success on ad platforms like Google AdWords is possible for brands if you’re strategic with your campaign planning. Be smart and most importantly flexible. Where to start?
Understand Your Goal
Understanding where your campaign fits into your overall business objective is imperative. Are you looking to gain overall brand awareness in your industry? Do you want to generate leads? Trying to move a prospect along in their decision process? Each of these scenarios means a different campaign strategy – from syndicating a piece of content to driving conversions with retargeting. With your goal in mind, develop clear a clear call-to-action (CTA) for each segment of your audience. This will drive the other aspects of your campaign.
Once you’ve determined your CTA and messaging, it’s time to slice and dice your audience. All potential new customers are not created equal. Find your niche and target each ad segment to those particular decision makers. This means digging deep into the thought process and buying cycle of your customers to understanding their problems (but don’t forget about your goal!). The more you can pin-point the problem and demonstrate your precise value, the better your campaign will perform.
Do Your Research…and Test, Test, Test!
If your industry has highly competitive keywords or if you have a competitor outspending you by 10x, it’s time to do your research. Think back to your goal and CTA – who is your audience and what action do you want them to take? Map out your campaigns and clearly outline your targeting and CTAs. Once you have a plan, test it. Moving out of your comfort zone and trying out new strategies comes with slight risk; not every targeting idea or new campaign will yield the success you want right off the bat. Planning is key here (and don’t give up!).
Without a clear goal and plan, marketing campaigns tend to go awry. Be smart with your 2016 budget by developing objectives, getting specific with your campaigns and testing! This process may take longer than the typical PPC campaign, with keywords you’re familiar with and CTAs pulled straight from your website, but from our experience it’s well worth the investment.
Senior Marketing Analyst