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How to Choose the Right Advertising Channel

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If you’re starting a small business you might think you need to learn the ins-and-outs of virtually all the major online advertising channels, then act on all that knowledge to ensure you drive sufficient brand awareness and revenue. The truth is that, for a new small business with only an employee or two, an effective strategy may involve choosing only one ideal channel for your audience, then absolutely kill it on that channel.

 

 

Why Not Use More Channels?

 

Online advertising channels require monitoring and optimization, not to mention sufficient investment to maintain ongoing visibility. Put simply, the combination of time and money, when spread thin across different advertising platforms, can be inefficient and confusing for new business owners.

 

OK, sure, there are exceptions, and even those businesses that start out on a single advertising platform may soon reach out to a digital agency to expand reach. But today we’re talking to those lean-and-mean small business startups and business owners who may be looking to run digital ads themselves.

 

Now, obviously if you’re choosing just one channel, you’re probably saying to yourself that it damn well better be the right one. True, so to start you on your path let’s dive in with a primer on the options and the types of audiences they serve best.

 

 

Selling Services Your Audience Knows Exists, and Are Actively Seeking

 

If you’re selling products or services that are well known, and you expect your audience to have specific goals in mind, Google or Bing search ads may be best. Search ads are those you see at the top of a Google search page, for example.

 

To use an extreme – if not outright silly – example, let’s look at a law firm: When you need a law firm you search for one and act on what you see in your search. You don’t peruse an online magazine, see an ad on the magazine’s website, then say, “Hey, I guess I do need a lawyer!”  

 

 

Selling a Product Your Audience May Not Know About

 

Now, sticking with our magazine ad example, if you are selling a product that your audience may not know about, but you expect they would like if they saw, display advertising is likely your best option.

 

The Google Display Network utilizes over two million websites where ads can be displayed, and is a solid place to start. Display ads also help build brand awareness.

 

 

Selling Based on Lifestyle or Specific Interests

 

If your business targets an audience that has one or more specific lifestyle interests, and you sell a product or service that relates to those interests, Facebook advertising may be for you. Picture someone targeting Justin Bieber fans when selling their Justin Bieber T-shirts.

 

Facebook’s detailed targeting means ads can be served to people based on interests and behaviors, location, age, gender, language, and various forms of connection to your business’ Facebook page. Another excellent feature is ‘lookalike audiences’ – That is, users with similar interests as those who already like your page.

 

As a Facebook owned property, Instagram also uses the same advertising platform and may be a great addition as well.

 

 

And When You’ve Outgrown This Strategy…

 

As helpful as focusing on a small number of marketing channels can be for a small business early on, there is certainly no shortage of advertising channels and effective marketing options. As your business grows and you outgrow your initial strategy, a digital agency can jump in to assist you in managing and optimizing various channels, help you understand which channels are most effective to guide business decisions, and a slew of other activities.