How To Run Social Media Ads Successfully [Ad Campaign Structure]

In our current digital age, there are among 3 billion active social media users worldwide, making up about half of the entire population. (Source: Statista) If you run social media ads always keep this in mind, building the right social media ads for your brand on the wide spectrum of media platforms and for numerous users may seem like a strenuous task. Yet, with an effective strategic plan, social media advertising can present many opportunities to reach the right audiences, enhance awareness of your brand, and increase conversions for your business.

This blog will serve as a guide to creating the most valuable social media ads that will contribute to your brand’s overall mission.

 

Know Your Target Audience: Customer Avatars

One of the most essential aspects of designing your social media ad campaigns is to define your audience. In this, you can create the ideal customer avatars that will represent segments of your brand’s potential customer base. When defining your target avatars it’s important to do your research thoroughly. Here are some important aspects to identify: 

 

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The more you know your audience and are able to define their primary pain points, the more valuable your campaign will be; ultimately translating into more customer conversions. It will also answer one of the most frequently asked questions we receive, “What platforms should my business be on, and where should I run ads?”. If you know who you are intending to reach, you will know where to find them. For instance, do you sell products to an older demographic? Facebook may be the best ROI for direct conversions. Are you a B2B service needing to build brand awareness and organic connections? LinkedIn should be one of your main focuses. By understanding the who, you will be maximizing advertising costs with the greatest return.

A different approach to gaining knowledge of your target audience is to analyze competitors and industry leaders. Who are their primary target segments? What social media campaign strategies are they utilizing and what is the response and engagement they get from their followers? This information can serve to not only help define your brand’s ideal customer but also find gaps in your competitor’s strategy to spark ideas in differentiating your approach, content, and social media ad strategy by bringing more value to your audiences.

 

I love the saying ‘success leaves bread crumbs’. There are plenty of models out there to help guide decision-making in your industry. Not only looking at competitors (like, kind, quality) to find gaps that you can take advantage of and gain market share but businesses that have established themselves at a high level that have gone through the heavy lifting of target audience identification and testing content and ad implementation.

– Kate Donadio | CMO

 

Create A Strong Brand Presence Foundation

In order for your social media ads to convert your audience into potential leads, you must first create a brand identity. This begins with establishing a firm foundation for your brand’s social media platforms and website. In terms of social network users, 86% of Americans say a brand’s transparency on social media is one of the most determining factors for deciding whether to take their business to a competitor. (Source: SproutSocial) This emphasizes that brand authenticity will demonstrate credibility and boost the success of your social media advertising efforts. Ensure you have consistent brand colors, voice, and frequency of posting on the identified platform(s), and that you have a systematic approach to driving engaged prospects to a well-designed and optimized website.

 

Create a Sales Funnel

Building a sales funnel is similar to creating a blueprint of the desired outcome to your advertising plan. List what you want to occur and organize it into a chain of events. With this method, you are minimizing steps a potential customer needs to go through and maximizing organization for creating your ads. How many clicks does it take for them to perform the desired action like filling out a form or putting their contact information in to receive a download of valuable information from your website? Are there ways to optimize this process (I.E. have the ad go to a fillable form on the desired platform such as LinkedIn instead of multiple steps of your website)? 

For guidance on structuring a sales funnel that matches your company’s advertising goals, be sure to read our informational blog that discusses the fundamentals of utilizing the AIDA model. Please keep in mind that the funnel you create should be customized to your company, personnel, and capabilities. Do you have someone that can service the leads as soon as they come in? What processes do you have in place to direct leads into a CRM (client relationship manager)? Be realistic with yourself and your team, and literally draw out the intended plan visually. 

 

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Build Ad Strategy Focused on Budget

It’s important to establish a plan of action for your paid social media advertising based on how aggressive you can be with your budget. Create an overall monthly budget that matches your current advertising goals and adjust as needed. 

 A helpful tip in designing your brand’s ad strategy is with a top-down structure:

  • Campaigns (goals and desired outcomes)
  • Ad sets (well-defined target audiences and segments)
  • Ads (variations of messaging, aesthetics, and call to action to specific audiences based on goal)

 

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Organizing your ad strategy comes down to precisely defining your goals. For example, let’s say you would like to increase overall brand awareness and conversions. First, be sure to understand your brand’s bearings. Maybe your company is new, been recently repositioned, had a shift in management, etc. Now, dive into specifics. Think strategically; do you want to increase your number of leads, website traffic, or direct sales? If your brand desires to accomplish multiple goals, create different ads for each category. You may be thinking, “everyone wants to increase their sales”. While this is true, without the proper brand foundation, sales funnel, brand awareness and outreach strategy, and social proof, direct response ads are less likely to be successful. Be realistic with where you are in the process, especially based on your overall marketing budget.

Once you have properly determined your primary campaign outcomes, defined target audiences, and structured your social platform ads, you can begin to focus on what audience is most likely to convert. This allows you to pivot your marketing efforts to that specific target’s needs and grow potential leads.

According to the CMO Survey, sponsored by the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Deloitte LLP, and the American Marketing Association, marketing budgets now comprise 11 percent of total company budgets on average. Meanwhile, companies on average spend 7.5 percent of total revenue on marketing. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends, “As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing.” This percentage is based on companies that have margins in the 10-12 percent range (after expenses).

 

Craft Multiple Ad Copies and Audiences

The main focus of your social media ads should be centered on your desired audience. We have the tendency to want to believe and act upon our own experiences and biases. By putting ourselves in their shoes, we will be more likely to identify trends in our audience’s behavior, their main pain points, and how to bring them the most value in your ads through strategic tone and language.

Don’t create just one copy of an ad for a specific audience. Design multiple that stay consistent with your campaign’s desired message for a greater selection of options. In addition, allow several pairs of eyes to review the social media ads. By collaborating, your team can provide diverse feedback and ultimately design ads that best complement your advertising strategy, and avoid silly mistakes that can easily turn away potential leads (like spelling, grammar, or tone-deaf content based on current political or economic landscapes).  

For further inspiration and ideas, be sure to research designs and models to help elevate your ad potential. Some examples of utilizing Facebook’s advertising opportunities can be found here. 

 

Execute, Evaluate and Update

The process of running social media ads is not a linear line. It can be unpredictable and may require many changes and updates after it’s been established. Think of your social media ad as a test run, once you have allowed the ad to learn and have gained analytical data, evaluate and update your strategy. Be sure to also elevate your strategy to comply with your budget and frequency of actions. For example, if it’s found many customers have left items in their cart, it may be appropriate to launch a campaign such as We Know Life is Fanatic, Take 20% Off Your Purchase On Us. Now, not only have the ads learned customer behavior, you have learned how to properly cater them to your audience’s needs. 

If an ad campaign is not performing as well as expected or desired, it does not mean that it is a failure. With each campaign, ad audience set, and ad variation, you are gaining valuable data about your audience. To truly be effective in ad campaign execution, you must be able to read and understand what the data (and your audience) is telling you.

It is important to develop several ads, and be patient with ad delivery because it takes about seven interactions with your brand before a user takes an action. (Source: B2Bmarketing) 

Paid social media ads can serve as a catalyst to successfully connecting with your audience on the largest media networks. At Dolomites Consulting Group, we specialize in developing strategies that align with your brand’s value proposition. Contact us today to see how we can assist with your brand’s vision. 

 

Key Takeaways

  • Gaining knowledge of competitor and industry leader ad strategies can help define your brand’s ideal customer and spark ideas to differentiate your social media ad strategy to bring more value to your audience.
  • Think of your social media ad as a test run, once you have allowed the ad to learn and have gained analytical data, update and evaluate your strategy.
  • By putting yourself in the shoes of your customers, you will be more likely to identify trends in their behavior, identify main pain points, and how to bring them the most value through strategic tone and language in your ads.
  • The process of running social media ads is not a linear line, it requires time to operate, evaluate, and implement updates.

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Kathryn Donadio Kathryn Donadio April 1, 2021 0 Comments

The AIDA Model: Fundamentals of a Successful Sales Funnel

A sales funnel is a tool used for understanding a customer’s journey from thought to action, that will help you define your sales and marketing strategy to reach your business goals. It’s important to have a strong brand communication strategy and know where to find your target audience. You must define what mediums they are on, and what your outreach strategy will be.

AIDA model is a simple and effective model used to understand the path of buyers from their first interaction with your brand to a desired conversion. Below we guide you through each step of the funnel and provide practical tips to keep your efforts focused on elements that will drive success.

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Attention

Grabbing attention is the start to generating a prospective lead or desired action in the sales funnel. This stage is not only the first introduction to your brand, but can also include several touch points in which consumers form opinions. First impressions are lasting. 

Getting attention in a competitive marketplace takes creativity and clear communication. Be sure to focus your efforts on quality content over quantity, where spreading yourself too thin from producing a larger number of posts can often hurt your efforts more than it helps.

Any form of communication that your audience may be consuming has the potential to impact your brand awareness. Examples of attention grabbing content include:

  • A Well-Designed Email Newsletter
  • An Eye-Catching Social Media Post
  • An Aesthetic Website Landing Page
  • A Well-Crafted Blog Headline
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photo courtesy of adweek.com
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photo courtesy of Starbucks Instagram account

Interest

Once a potential customer’s attention is piqued, they’ll want to know more. Quality content is crucial in this stage of the sales funnel to make sure consumers don’t continue to pass you up. What can you do to set yourself apart from your competitors? If you’ve done your research, you will have examples of content that your target audience likes to consume, and be able to have a launch point for developing your own content. Develop a variety of content on multiple platforms to increase the likelihood of reaching your potential clients. 

Ways to make your content valuable:

  • Answer Consumers’ Questions
  • Relate to Your Target Audience’s Pain Points
  • Use A/B Testing to Determine the Best Content
  • Provide Relevant Statistics

Desire

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Shifting a consumer from displaying casual interest to intentional action involves building a relationship that encourages trust and continues to provide value. Consumers are hesitant to provide their information such as email addresses if there isn’t enough perceived value in the exchange. To foster a feeling of desire for your products or services, relate to your audience and show your value proposition in terms of how it will solve the consumers’ problems or make their lives easier. This can be achieved by purposeful, customized, and segmented content. 

Here are a few examples of going above and beyond to create a deeper connection with your audience:

  • Educate Consumers with a Webinar or Newsletter
  • Develop Interactive Social Media Posts and Campaigns that Encourage Engagement Such as Polls, Contests, and Series
  • Master Storytelling to Share Your Company Culture
  • Segment Your Messaging (Ex. Demographic: “Hey Moms, we know you could use an extra hand.” or Geographically: “Can’t wait for warmer weather?”)
  • Build Your Reviews and User Generated Content to Increase Social Proof

Action

In this final stage of the sales funnel, it’s time to advance closing in on the desired action. If all of the previous phases were successful, the action stage will be a natural transition in consumer behavior. The prospect has become aware of your brand, the content piqued their interest, and you have discussed their needs and offered solutions. Now you have built trust and communicated the benefit customers receive from your product or service. If an individual understands and believes in your value proposition, you will not only encourage conversions, but foster long-term and repeat business.

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A few tips to ensure you nail the sale:

  • Make Sure Your Process is User Friendly and Functional
  • Follow Through with Exceptional Customer Service
  • Ask for Feedback, and Update Your Strategy Accordingly

Key Takeaways

  • Sales funnels are like plants, they require continued nurturing to grow.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel, use real life models to give you blueprints of successful practices.
  • Create an outreach strategy with your brand voice in mind.
  • Know your target audience inside and out.
  • Data and analysis is necessary to better your funnel and increase your sales.

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Kathryn Donadio Kathryn Donadio December 15, 2020 0 Comments

Marketing During a Crisis

As we navigate through uncertain times, many questions run through the minds of not only the nation, but communities around the globe. Cities, states, and countries continue to escalate restrictions, slowing down operations and marketing to a crawl worldwide. We continue to watch the news and social media for updates on the Coronavirus and its impact in order to determine the best course of action for ourselves, our families, and our businesses. No matter where you stand in the political climate or the concern spectrum, there is a widespread need for many businesses and entrepreneurs to continue making strategic decisions on how to best move forward with marketing their business. 

So, how should you market during this crisis or recession? Where do you start?

Here is a quick guide on marketing strategy during emergencies:


1.Pause and evaluate your current marketing efforts. What do you have scheduled or on autopilot on various platforms and mediums? Do you have ads running or email campaigns scheduled to go out? Identify all queues and put a stop to them immediately if it makes sense to do so. It will be much better to delay communication from your brand to evaluate and update it, rather than risk the interest, trust, or even respect of your follower base due to messaging that is not relevant, tone deaf, or in bad taste

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2. Update your customers and followers on what your business is doing. Yes, we see news about it everywhere, but it’s important to let your customers know what to expect during the foreseeable future. Make sure you update your Google listing, website, and social media pages with adjusted changes (i.e. hours and closures). If you are able to assist those in need, be sure to have clear information on how customers or community members can take advantage of your products or services. Even if you are unsure of how you will move forward long term, acknowledging the circumstance and informing your followers with updates goes a long way in keeping your brand relevant

3. Be real and genuine in your efforts. Address your employees, teammates, and consumers with a caring message. No matter what industry or vertical in which you operate, nor the size of your company, people’s lives are being affected. Almost 89% of American consumers say that they are loyal to brands that share their values, so it’s wise to emphasize your core values in your messaging and how you will be handling what the future holds. Communicating empathy reinforces qualities that are human, and offers a chance to reinforce an emotional connection with your audience. Messaging using “we”, “us”, and “together” shows solidarity with your company culture and gives a positive message of resilience.

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

– Seth Godin

4. Know your audience to understand and predict consumer behavior. We are seeing first-hand how individuals and groups act in crisis and uncertain situations. A lack of trust in media and news outlets, combined with an overload of information sources, causes confusion, fear, and distrust that drives people to act in ways they normally may not. Economic uncertainty drastically changes financial and buying practices for everyone.

Understanding your audience and their decision-making process allows you to create a strategic marketing plan that aligns with what is most important to them. Focus more on how you can help your consumers and what problems you can solve more-so than simply what your company does. Something like, “Got your hands full? Eliminate the stress of planning meals by ordering online!” will speak to your restaurant audience more than, “We are open and deliver”. Communicate what consumers could miss out on if they wait, let them know about how a product could be helpful during stressful times, and let them know you’ll be there for them whenever they are ready.  Use this time to lay a foundation to build brand loyalty as the economy improves.

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5. Look for other creative ways to connect as consumer values and attitudes shift. If your company hasn’t modernized yet, it’s crucial that you do so now. Adopting videos, webinars, and video chat in communications will allow you to keep connected and top of mind. Find unique ways to reach out with a personal touch like handwritten notes to top clients. Send big supporters a private message on social media and let them know you are there for them. Think about parts of your experience that you can share to relate to your consumers. Our social media feeds will continue to be saturated with stressful information. Sharing a bit of humor on your feed can stand out to your followers and reinforce a positive sentiment, loyalty, and conversions when the time is right. Creating engaging content like polls and asking consumers to share photos is a good example of ways to connect. 

6. Stay focused and update your goals accordingly. While operations are slow, you will naturally have more time for other things. It can be a golden opportunity to PLAN! Make sure you are still paying attention to how you’re spending your time, even with adjusting habits to accommodate work-from-home dynamics. Think critically about projections. The business landscape will shift dramatically, but that doesn’t mean opportunities don’t exist. As competitors cut back, there may be opportunities to take advantage of lower marketing costs to increase market share. 

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Make sure your operations are ready to handle increased interactions digitally. Make sure your website is optimized to be found on google. Take advantage of organic social media tactics to grow and connect with your audience, and provide a high level of customer service. And when you see a good story, pass it along.

If you are looking for customized recommendations for your business, our MC360 team is here to help. Contact us to get started today, or click here to read more on our strategy consulting services. 

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Kathryn Donadio Kathryn Donadio March 28, 2020 0 Comments

2019 Social Media Trends

The time has finally come. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your most recent content piece, and it’s ready to be packaged up and sent to the client to be pushed live. After a few final checks and only…

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Kathryn Donadio Kathryn Donadio July 25, 2019 0 Comments